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J. T. Roche
The Crusade of King Conrad III of Germany
Warfare and Diplomacy in Byzantium, Anatolia and Outremer, 1145-1148

approx. 300 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2021
ISBN: 978-2-503-53038-3
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (02/2021)
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This book represents the first work of history dedicated to the crusade of King Conrad III of Germany (1145-48), emperor-elect of the western Roman Empire and the most powerful man yet to assume the Cross. Even so, many of the people following the king on the Second Crusade were dead before they reached Constantinople and their ranks were devastated in Anatolia. Yet he went on to join with his fellow kings, Louis VII of France and Baldwin III of Jerusalem, in an attempt to capture the city of Damascus, the most powerful Muslim stronghold in southern Syria. Their unsuccessful attack lasted just five days. The recriminations for the many privations and problems the Germans suffered and encountered in Byzantium, Anatolia and Outremer were long and loud and have echoed down the ages: German indiscipline and poor leadership, Byzantine deceit and duplicity, and the self-serving interests of a Latin Jerusalemite nobility were and still are blamed for the various failings of the expedition. Scrutinising the original source evidence to an unparalleled degree and employing a range of innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches this work challenges the traditional and more recent historiography at every turn leading to a significantly clearer and fundamentally different understanding of the expedition’s complex and much maligned history.

Jason T. Roche is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests cover the history of the crusades and the Latin East and the topography of medieval Anatolia.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

Note on Names and Translations





1.      Key Texts

Odo of Deuil’s De profectione Ludovici VII in orientem

Greek Texts

Verse Encomia and So-Called ‘Manganeios Prodromos’

The Epitomae of John Kinnamos’s History

Niketas Choniates’s Historia

2.      Prelude

The Staufer-Komnenian Alliance

Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux and King Conrad III of Germany

Conrad III’s Iter: Royal Command and Princely Assent

3.      Practicalities

Composition of the German Army

Numerical Size of the German Army

Victualling on the Via Militaris in 1096 and 1147

4.      The Army in the Balkans and its Arrival at Constantinople

Braničevo to Naissos

Sardika to Philippopolis


Philippopolis to Adrianople


Adrianople to Choirobakchoi

The Arrival of the German Army at Constantinople

Violence at the Philopation

5.      The Army at Constantinople

Conrad III, Manuel I and the Stand-Off Outside Constantinople

Byzantine Reception Ceremonial

Louis VII of France and the French Barons: Fealty and Homage

Conrad III and Manuel I: Proud Inheritors of the Imperial Title of Old Rome

Pikridion and the Propaganda of Legitimisation

Pikridion and the Emperor’s Ascendency over the Staufer Pretenders

6.      Twelfth-Century Western Anatolia

7.      The Army at Nikaia

The Bosphoros to Nikaia

The Pöhlde Annals and the Army’s Arrival at Nikaia

The Route Between Nikaia and Ikonion

Victualling and Logistics

Otto of Freising and the Division of the Army

8.      The Advance Towards Ikonion

Traditional Interpretations of the Failure to Advance on Ikonion

The Advance Beyond Dorylaion

The Collapse of the Campaign

‘The mob on foot which was unable to follow the army’

‘For every time our lines strove to charge them, the enemy broke ranks’

‘These men of Belial’

9.      Retreat, Detour and Return to Constantinople

‘At the request of our princes and barons, we led the army back to the sea’

Dorylaion Türkmens and the Attacks on the German Army

Retreat to Nikaia and Detour to Ephesos

Conrad III’s Return to Constantinople and the Strengthening of the Staufer-Komnenian Alliance

10.  The Crusade in Outremer

Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch

The Council of Palmarea and Decision to Attack Damascus

Current Interpretations for the Failure of the Attack on Damascus

A Further Explanation for the Failure of the Attack on Damascus






Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : genres & specific topics

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