the crusades

A 15th-century manuscript depicting Saladin as King of Egypt

A new version of Saladin — as silver-tongued diplomat

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Saladin is often portrayed as either an evil man of blood or a noble jihadist. In fact his greatest gift was not for war but diplomacy, says Jason Burke

St Francis receiving the stigmata. Credit Getty Images

Francis of Assisi’s life in poetry will stay in the mind forever

3 November 2018 9:00 am

This passionate series of engagements with the life of St Francis will stay in my mind for a very long…

The Templars’ final disaster: Guillaume de Clermont on the ramparts of Acre in 1291. Painting by Dominique Papety

Whether heroes or villains, the Knights Templar were inept crusaders

9 September 2017 9:00 am

In W.B. Yeats’s ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’, a testing allusion emerges amid a scene of nightmare: Monstrous familiar…

The interior of Hagia Sophia by Gaspare Fossati, 1852

There is no one Istanbul, but a series of competing, clashing, coexisting cities

11 February 2017 9:00 am

I was a young, aspiring writer when I decided to leave everything behind and move to Istanbul more than two…

Frederick Barbarossa: the Teutonic King Arthur

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Hitler, ever seeking to emulate strong German hero types (especially if their Christian name was Frederick), unsurprisingly named his great…

William Marshal: kingmaker — or just king of the joust?

17 January 2015 9:00 am

In February 1861 a 21-year-old French medievalist called Paul Meyer walked into Sotheby’s auction house near Covent Garden. He had…