Defending the City of God A Medieval Queen the First Crusades and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem Jerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia Yet in the middle of one of the region s most violent eras the Crusades an amazing multicultural

  • Title: Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem
  • Author: Sharan Newman
  • ISBN: 9781137278654
  • Page: 233
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Jerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia Yet, in the middle of one of the region s most violent eras, the Crusades, an amazing multicultural world was forming Templar knights, Muslim peasants, Turkish caliphs, Jewish merchants, and the native Christians, along with the children of the first crusaders, blended cuJerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia Yet, in the middle of one of the region s most violent eras, the Crusades, an amazing multicultural world was forming Templar knights, Muslim peasants, Turkish caliphs, Jewish merchants, and the native Christians, along with the children of the first crusaders, blended cultures while struggling to survive in a land constantly at war Defending the City of God explores this fascinating and forgotten world, and how a group of sisters, daughters of the King of Jerusalem, whose supporters included Grand Masters of the Templars and Armenian clerics, held together the fragile treaties, understandings, and marriages that allowed for relative peace among the many different factions As the crusaders fought to maintain their conquests, these relationships quickly unraveled, and the religious and cultural diversity was lost as hardline factions took over Weaving together the political intrigues and dynastic battles that transformed the Near East with an evocative portrait of medieval Jerusalem, this is an astonishing look at a forgotten side of the first Crusades.

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    One thought on “Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem”

    1. This book covers the period of the crusades that encompasses the reign of Queen Melisende and her father. It's a fascinating real-life Game of Thrones kind of story, and you will find it surprising just how interwoven the society around the Crusades became. It's not always about Infidels vs. Islam, there are far more complexities to it, even instances of Europeans and local populations working together. I have not spent a great deal of time reading about this period in history, but I did find my [...]

    2. I appreciate the wealth of first-hand citations used to piece together the tumultuous period leading up to and covering the 1st and 2nd Crusades. Besides enlightening me on aspects known about Melisenda's life and that of her relatives, it also imspired me to learn that women were in the forefront of power positions as bestowed by right of inheritance. Also appreciate how Ms. Newman involves the reader about the sometimes shortage of 'real time' historical detail as if in a soliloquy. Later hist [...]

    3. Sharan Newman began Defending the City of God as a biography of Melesinde, the first hereditary Queen of Jerusalem, but expanded it to include the lives of her parents, siblings, in laws, more distant relatives, their enemies and the ‘many diverse peoples who lived in the Near East’. It’s a complex story and one that in Newman’s hands left me as baffled as a six year old in a sex education lesson. What on earth is going on? It seems Melesinde, was born around 1105 in the city of Edessa, [...]

    4. I enjoyed this book, though not as much as I expected. Initially, I looked forward to reading it because I I knew nothing about Melisende -- indeed, had never heard of her -- before reading this book. I have read many books, both fiction and nonfiction, on the royal families of England and France through the centuries, so it was interesting to see where the life of Melisende (or contemporaries of hers) intersected with other stories of the time that I do know -- such as Louis & Eleanor of Fr [...]

    5. Defending the City of God A Medieval Queen the First Crusades and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem, by Sharan NewmanThink of “the crusades” and you immediate imagine blades clashing, sworn oaths and the ultimate belief in acting on God’s will and procuring a permanent place in Heaven. But that’s only one side of the terribly convoluted conflict that took place time after time in the middle east. Newman reminds us that it wasn’t always black and white. That there were cross-cultural liv [...]

    6. Could not decide on 2 or 3 stars. Really 2 and a half. The story was very interesting. Actually there were many stories here and Melisende did not get nearly 50% of the facetime, if you will. When the author's voice came through, it was thoughtful and often amusing. I wish there had been more of that. I am guessing she is a good speaker -- and she certainly would have a lot of research to impart. I felt the narrative, such as it was, was way too bogged down in seemingly endless facts, details an [...]

    7. A difficult book to read because (a) while it's supposed to be about Melisende she is not the focus of the book and (b) the sheer number number of names and places and people that share the same name make it difficult to read a big batch without getting terribly confused. It still held my interest though for genealogical information (Melisende's husband Fulk is an ancestor) so I hope to use the book to update some genealogical information

    8. This is a very complicated book to read because the times it depicts is extremely complicated. THe author does as good a job as possible keeping all the disparate story lines moving forward. The reward for the reader who hangs in there is a much deeper appreciation for life 1000 years ago in the Levant.The turmoil then reflects the tensions that exist not only between the Palestinians and the Israelis, but most of the turmoil in our world. Whoever said we live in a stressful world could not imag [...]

    9. I admit I hoped for an historical novel at which Newman excels and instead got a scholarly work, interesting, complicated, but not what I thought it would be. So little is known about Melisende that most of her life is sheer speculation. She dedicated shrines here, gave money there.I am sure Newman must have been appalled by this cover as no Christian woman in Medieval times and especially ruling over Arabs as well would have been seen in public with her arms and head uncovered ala an Egyptian g [...]

    10. The First Crusades, as depicted in this book, reads like a real-life Game of Thrones. Originally intending to write a biography of the first queen of Jerusalem, the author expanded the book when, during the course of her research, civil war broke out in Syria. Attempting to draw parallels between the past and present, the author gives a detailed picture of the convoluted politics of the time with its many players, diverse cultures, and ever-changing factions. With an eye toward reclaiming rightf [...]

    11. Very, very interesting read, I knew nothing about the Franks living in the Holy City during such a chaotic time. I knew that the crusaders came and set up stations, but this is a look into the kingdoms themselves and their ruling families. The writing style was more like a paper than a book, but it was fascinating to read this information and learn about a group of people overlooked by history that changed the future.

    12. Newman has written a fascinating book about medieval history, the crusades, religion, royalty. I loved this look at the Middle East. I had no idea how complex the society was. I always kind of pictured it as Muslim, Jew, Christian. But that is only where it starts. And in the middle of it all was Queen Melisende, hereditary ruler of Jerusalem, born of mixed heritage, eyewitness to the commerce and occasional violence that defined the age. Great read.

    13. Somewhat dull recounting of the early history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. A few illustrations which are printed in the text, making them murky.

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