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This volume provides a survey of the thousands and thousands of people from the West who travelled to Constantinople between 962 and 1204, and of the influence Byzantium exerted on them and on those who remained home. Crusaders were an important group, but other social groups played a key role as well in the exchange of ideas.
An indepth examination of the presentation of Constantinople and its complex relationship with the west in medieval French texts.
Cultures of learning and practices of education in the Middle Ages are drawing renewed attention, and recent approaches are questioning the traditional boundaries of institutional and intellectual history. The volume assembles contributions on both Byzantine and Latin learned culture, and aims to locate medieval scholars in their religious and political contexts instead of studying them in a framework of 'schools'. Eleven contributions on eastern and western scholars offer complementary perspectives on scholars and their work, discussing the symbolic and discursive construction of religious and intellectual authority, practices of networking and adaptations of knowledge formations. Sita Steckel is Junior Professor of Medieval History at the University of Munster and author of a study on 'cultures of teaching' in the early and high middle ages. Niels Gaul is Associate Professor of Byzantine Studies at CEU Budapest, with an interest in Byzantine scholarship, especially the societal functions of rhetoric. Michael Grünbart is Associate Professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Munster. He is currently working on the image of Byzantine aristocracy and preparing an introduction to the function of letters and words in Byzantine daily life.
Recently recovered Arabic-Latinate interlinear treaties, between James the Conqueror of Arago-Catalonia and the Muslims of Mediterranean Spain, illumine that hard-fought crusade (1225-1276), its many Islamic and European contexts, and the radically opposed mentalities involved.
Claude Cahen's book on Crusader Antioch cast a long shadow. His thorough monograph seemingly leaves little more to be said. Decades may pass before scholars return to the topic. The long shadow fell even on the Wisconsin History of the Crusades which still seeks, essentially, to stich the written sources together into traditional narrative history, only to do it better. But topics such as architecture, or coins are optional extras and not much integrated into the whole picture. A thorough analysis of political and military developments is indeed the essential groundwork of most medieval history. But high politics was not the whole of life; and charters and texts are not the only witnesses to that life. Social and economic life has its own momentum and its own continuity. Its moral and spiritual aspects deserve historical study, and impose new historical disciplines. Crusades studies have become more interdisciplinary, and less monolithic. That new style of enquiry is fully reflected in the range and variety of the papers, tightly focussed on Antioch, printed in this volume.
Charting important new territory within medieval gender studies, Megan Moore explores the vital role that women played in transmitting knowledge and empire within Mediterranean cross-cultural marriages. Whereas cross-cultural exchange has typically been understood through the lens of male-centered translation work, this study, which is grounded in the relations between the west and Byzantium, examines cross-cultural marriage as a medium of literary and cultural exchange, one in which women's work was equally important as men’s. Moore's readings of Old French and Medieval Greek texts reveal the extent to which women challenged the cultures into which they married and shaped their new courtly environments. Through the lens of medieval gender and postcolonial theory, Exchanges in Exoticism demonstrates how the process of cultural exchange – and empire building – extends well beyond our traditional assumptions about gender roles in the medieval Mediterranean.

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