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Jean de Joinville
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Chronicles of the Crusades

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,351 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The two most authoritative accounts of the Holy Wars -- Villehardouin's "Conquest of Constantinople" and Joinville's "Chronicle of the Crusade of St. Lewis --" offer firsthand testimony of battles and their religious and political context. ...more
ebook, 717 pages
Published March 9th 2012 by Dover Publications (first published August 30th 1212)
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Jan-Maat
Joinville's life of St Louis is a moving tribute to the friendship of these two men. Written to be submitted as evidence for the proposed canonisation of the recently deceased king Joinville writes about their experiences together on crusade.

We see the gathering of the soldiers and the supply dumps readied in preparation. We sit at the council of war and listen to the deliberations of the nobles. We experience battle, defeat and imprisonment, then pranks and life in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and
...more
Katie
Villehardouin's accounting of the Fourth Crusade falls solidly into the category of truth-is-way-crazier-than-fiction stories. The Fourth Crusade is absolutely nuts, filled with unexpected detours, lost princes, and shifting alliances. If you don't know the story, it's definitely worth reading (I'm honestly kinda shocked that no one has bothered to make a movie out of it yet). Villehardouin's account of it is clear if somewhat detatched - you'll get a nice overview of what happened, but most of ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Going on a crusade never seemed like a very good idea to me, and reading these firsthand accounts of the 4th and 7th crusades reinforced my opinion.

In Villehardouin's account of the 4th crusade, not very much real crusading gets done. The French fleet gets caught up the politics of Constantinople, and as certain of the clergy point out, Christian fighting Christian was not really the point of crusading. When Constaninople falls, the French divvy up the various territories, and most of the new ru
...more
Duntay
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I much preferred Joinville's warmly human account to Villehardouin's war-correspondent style. Though I can see how he would not be everyone's cup of tea - he wanders off the thread of his story at times and there is some repetition. Those interested in the details of military maneuvers and diplomatic wrangling would most likely prefer Villehardouin.

I developed a soft spot for Joinville reading the book's introduction - the translator writes that both accounts were most likely dictated as readin
...more
Janez
The crusades (1096-1291) were religious, political, military and civilisational event that has changed the relations between the West (Europe) and the East for ever. And that change was irreversible. The consequences of the crusades are still felt today. However, all was not bad. The European civilisation got richer and better by the acquisitions brought back from the East by the crusaders.
This volume includes two first-hand accounts of the crusades. Geoffroy de Villehardouin gives the account o
...more
Siria
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This edition brings together two eye-witness texts about the Crusades—Geoffroi de Villehardouin's account of the Fourth Crusade, and Jean de Joinville's of the Seventh Crusade some fifty years later. A solid translation, though it's much easier to warm to Joinville than it is to Villehardouin—the latter may have a far better sense of how to structure a narrative, but Joinville seems to have understood people better. There are some wonderful vignettes here, full of character, even if they mostly ...more
Helena Schrader
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages
This is a rare book which offers us two contemporay accounts of the crusades through the eyes of participants -- and not just monkly croniclers but fighting men.

Although the two accounts are by different authors (Geoffroy de Villehardouin for the Fourth Crusade and Jean de Joinville for the Seventh), they both offer stark, unromanticized and often critical reports. These men are describing military campaigns not creating romaticized works of art. They are both soldiers and statesmen, intimates
...more
Pedro Pascoe
Having recently read an account of relics in the wake of the 4th Crusade, and seeing this book, already in my collection, cited as a primary source, that pretty much sign-posted this book as the next medieval text for me to read.
This book, as published, collects two medieval texts, from Villehardoin and Joinville, chronicling their views of the events of the Fourth and Seven Crusades respectively. I was very tempted, having finished Villehardoin's account, to put the book down, as I was primaril
...more
Richard S
Much odder and bizarre than most contemporaneous histories from the distant past. It seems and feels very untrustworthy. Certainly not as good as something like Bernal Diaz's Conquest of New Spain. ...more
Suzannah
I think I might have a new favourite primary source historian in John de Joinville. What a duck.
I must tell you here of some amusing tricks the Comte d'Eu played on us. I had made a sort of house for myself in which my knights and I used to eat, sitting so as to get the light from the door, which, as it happened, faced the Comte d'Eu's quarters. The count, who was a very ingenious fellow, had rigged up a miniature ballistic machine with which he could throw stones into my tent. He would watch us
...more
Shiloah
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding compilation of two books written by laymen-men who fought in the crusades (the 4th and 7th). I learned so much from these accounts including: battle in the medieval times, culture, war machines, that lances were used in battle not just for sport, about Louis IX's life and how he led the 7th crusade. Egyptian culture, battle strategies, and much about the ancient Muslims and especially the Bedouins. Fascinating. I highly recommend this for history buffs and scholars. ...more
Brian Wilkerson
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book I got while in College. It is a combination of two accounts, Geoffrey of Villehardouin's record of the Fourth Crusade and John of Joinville's record of the Sixth Crusade. It is unusual among my books for being primary sources. I will go into each one individually.

Geoffrey of Villehardouin's record of the Fourth Crusade.

The presentation here is interesting. There is no introduction written by Geoffrey of Villehardouin so his purpose in doing so can be debated. Personally,
...more
Markus
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the two works of Joinville and Villehardouin in their French versions.
Two outstanding 'must reads' for the sake of reality history recorded by eyewitnesses.
...more
Bryn Hammond
Joinville has such raw material as this:

A blow from one of the enemy’s swords landed in the middle of Erard de Sevirey’s face, cutting through his nose so that it was left dangling over his lips. At that moment the thought of Saint James came into my mind, and I prayed to him: ‘Good Saint James, come to my help, and save us in our great need.’ Just as I had uttered this prayer Erard de Sevirey said to me: ‘My lord, if you think that neither I nor my heirs will incur reproach for it, I will go an
...more
Mark Adderley
The Fourth Crusade was a shambles. The Crusaders (Geoffrey de Villhardouin consistently calls then "pilgrims") set out to recapture the Holy Land from the Turks, but finished up killing other Christians in Zara, Hungary, and by sacking Constantinople. Villhardouin portrays the whole thing as a glorious and heroic enterprise, but it's relatively easy to find Byzantine sources that portray the sacking of Constantinople as anything but heroic. Pope Innocent III, who initiated the campaign, was sign ...more
George
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historybooks
Hollywood movies be damned; it doesn't get any closer to being there during a crusade then this book of collected journals from the 4th, 6th and 7th crusades. The blood, sweat, rank stench of death, the smell and taste of salt water as they sail towards the holy land... it's here, in every word, every sentence. ...more
Rebecca L
I just couldn't get into this.
It was interesting and all but the writing was just so slow and boring and ahhhhh!
...more
Gino Kutcher
This book consists of accounts of two crusades [the 4th and 7th]. The first half of the book written about the 4th crusade by Geoffrey De Villehardouin, I found to be engaging and educational. I enjoyed reading it and would rate it a 4.5.
The second part of the book written by Jean de Joinville about the life of King Louis IX and the 7th crusade I did not enjoy at all. I found it repeated itself repeatedly and then proceeded to relay the same information in a slightly different manner. In additi
...more
Libby Beyreis
Not a wonderful book, but definitely interesting to read first-hand accounts of the Crusades. It's depressing when you see how all the talk about freeing Jerusalem from the infidel was really just about killing people and taking their land, without being super fussy about whether those people were Christian or not. Anyone who thinks that the Crusades were something noble to be admired should read this book and get a different perspective. ...more
Nicholas Garcia
Two enlightening, entertaining first-hand accounts of several crusades. Joinville's account of the Conquest of Constantinople is particularly engaging and interesting. The second account is less fascinating, but still noteworthy. ...more
Timothy
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very well written text, as neutral as could be expected when written by the invading side. Had to read it for a history class in university. Glad that I did.
Jill Rebryna
Not a bad read.
Eric
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating
John
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woah, these guys didn't even make it to the Holy Land lol ...more
Jared
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaw's mid-20th-century translations from the Old French of Villehardouin and Joinville are well done and accessible to the modern English reader, making it possible for those who aren't medievalist specialists to learn of some of the most important events in world history. Joinville's biography of his saintly, honorable friend is an edifying and inspiring portrait of godly leadership and a whole man, a redeemed sinner striving to serve God and his subjects. Villehardouin's chronicle, however, s ...more
Edward Waverley
A glimpse into this treasure: "King Louis also spoke to me of a great assembly of clergy and Jews which had taken place at the monastery of Cluny. There was a poor knight there at the time to whom the abbot had often given bread for the love of God. This knight asked the abbot if he could speak first, and his request was granted, though somewhat grudgingly. So he rose to his feet, and leaning on his crutch, asked to have the most important and most learned rabbi among the Jews brought before Him ...more
Reds_reads
This book is really two in one, each written by a different participant in the Crusades and they are very different in style.

The first, 'The Conquest of Constantinople', is written by Villehardouin, a nobleman who took part in the Fourth Crusade. It reads as a career politician's account - a little dry, but packed with detail about the different factions, squabbles & negotiations, alliances and treachery. It clearly shows why the Crusade was such a shambles, with conflicting ambitions & aims and
...more
Julie
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in the Crusades. However, I don't think I ever really understood the reason for the Crusades until I read this book. Christians from the West desired to see the holy land and would make the sacrifice to travel long distances, but infidels from Syria (including Saladin) would thwart their way by capturing, torturing and killing the travelers. Traveling to the Holy Land became so difficult that leaders (bishops, kings, groups of people, nations) w ...more
Kristopher Swinson
Closer to 1.8.

Unlike one reviewer, I found Joinville's portion more enjoyable than Villehardouin's, primarily because Villehardouin's was recitation of incessant fighting...and not even of much tactical merit at that. All we could gather is that French (Franks) were fighting each other, the Greeks, or the Saracens at every available opportunity. Joinville's was a tad more psychological in nature, at least, and he seemed a right honest chap for his times.

Joinville disclosed the hypocrisy of most
...more
Matt
Originally I skimmed through this book almost a decade ago in preparation for my Senior History Oral Exam and only focused on the overall theme questions listed in my study guide at the time. However this past week while actually reading Chronicles of the Crusades and found thanks to the excellent translation, a easy read and very informative on its subject matters. Of the two chroniclers, I found Jean de Joinville the easier to read because of his style of writing. Most likely the spread and ev ...more
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Jean de Joinville (c. May 1, 1224 – 24 December 1317) was one of the great chroniclers of medieval France. He is most famous for writing Life of St. Louis, a biography of Louis IX of France that chronicled the Seventh Crusade.

He is the grandfather of Sir Geoffroi De Charny, distaff side.

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