Reader in Medieval History
Location Arts Two 4.06
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8343
I studied for a BA in Ancient and Medieval History at Cardiff University, and then undertook doctoral research on the early history of the ‘crusader’ principality of Antioch at Royal Holloway, University of London.
I then taught at St Andrews and the University of Reading, before joining Queen Mary in 1999.
I am a medieval historian specialising in the study of the crusades, knighthood and chivalry, and medieval violence. My major publications include The Crusades – The War for the Holy Land (2010), which so far has been translated into eight different languages, and a biography of the influential medieval knight William Marshal titled The Greatest Knight (2015). My current research explores whether the violence enacted during the crusades was more extreme than that witnessed in other forms of medieval warfare.
- Medieval history
- Crusades & the Crusader States
- Medieval Knighthood
- Medieval Violence
Current PhD Students
- Stephen Bennett – Elite participation in the Crusades
- Belinda Guthrie – There's no room for the perfect knight in Jerusalem': The Portrayal of Knights during the Era of the Crusades
- James Wilson – Northern Syria 441-549 AH/1050-1154 CE: Interactions between City-states and Factions, Frontiers and Political Identity prior to and during the Early Crusading Period
I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research on any field of medieval history, with particular reference to:
- military and religious history
- the crusades and the crusader states
- knighthood and chivalry
- The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones (London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), pp. 1-464). Other editions of this work already published: US Edition – New York: Ecco Press, HarperCollins, 2014; German Translation – Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Forthcoming editions of this work in press: Mandarin Translation – Bejing: Gingko Book; Russian Translation – Moscow: Centrepolygraph.
- The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (London: Simon & Schuster, 2010), pp. 1-784. A second edition of this book was reprinted with a new forward in the UK in 2012. Other editions of this work already published: US Edition – New York: Ecco Press, HarperCollins; Dutch Translation – Amsterdam: Het Spectrum; German Translation - Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta; Romanian translation – Iasi: Polirom; Danish Translation – Copenhagen, People’s Press. Forthcoming editions of this work: Spanish Translation – Barcelona: Edhasa; Russian Translation – Moscow: Centrerpolygraph.
- The First Crusade: A New History (UK Edition: London: Free Press, Simon & Schuster, 2004), pp. 1-408. US Edition: The First Crusade: A New History. The roots of conflict between Christianity and Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). Dutch edition: De Eerste Kruistocht: De oorsprong van het conflict tusen Islam en Christendom (Amsterdam: Athenaeum – Polak & Van Gennep, 2006). Polish edition: Pierwsza Krucjata: Nowe Sporjzenie (Poznan: Rebis, 2006).
- The creation of the principality of Antioch 1098-1130 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2000), pp. 1-272.
- Walter the Chancellor’s ‘The Antiochene Wars’: A translation & commentary (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), pp. 1-230. Co-authored with S.B. Edgington.
- ‘William of Tyre and the first rulers of the Latin principality of Antioch’, Deeds Done Beyond the Sea: William of Tyre, Crusade and Settlement, ed. S.B. Edgington & H. Nicholson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 35-42.
- ‘Bohemond of Taranto and the foundation of the principality of Antioch’, Convegno IX centenario morte Boemondo I d’Altavilla, ed. C.D. Fonseca (Canosa di Puglia, 2014), pp.134-50.
- 'How the crusades could have been won: King Baldwin II of Jerusalem’s campaigns against Aleppo (1124-5) and Damascus (1129)’, Journal of Medieval History, vol. 11 (2013), pp. 73-93.
- ‘Talking to the Enemy: The role and purpose of negotiations between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade’, Journal of Medieval History, vol. 39 (2013).
- ‘The principality of Antioch and the early history of the Latin East’, East and West in the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean II, ed. K. Ciggaar & V. Van Aalst (Wilsele: Peeters, January 2013).
- ‘The Holy Lance of Antioch: Power, devotion and memory on the First Crusade’, Reading Medieval Studies, vol. 33 (2007), pp. 3-36.
- ‘Knowing the Enemy: Latin relations with Islam at the time of the First Crusade’, Knighthoods of Christ, ed. N. Housley (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 17-25.
- ‘Alice of Antioch: a case study of female power in the twelfth century’, The Experience of Crusading: Defining the Crusader Kingdom, ed. P. Edbury and J. Phillips (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 29-47.
- ‘The impact of Islam and Byzantium upon the crusader community at Antioch’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, vol. 9 (1999), pp. 305-325.
- ‘The significance and causes of the battle of the Field of Blood’, Journal of Medieval History, vol. 24.3 (1997), pp. 301-316.
- ‘The Jabal as-Summaq and the principality of Antioch’, The First Crusade: Origins and Impact, ed. J. Phillips (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), pp. 142-152.
- Online Historiographical Database for Crusader Studies
Membership of professional associations or societies
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Appearances in the media
I have written and presented a number of documentaries for the BBC, including a landmark three-part BBC Two television series The Crusades based on my book The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land, which has been widely broadcast internationally, and The Greatest Knight: William Marshal for BBC Two, based on my recent biography of this storied warrior.
I have also presented The Crusades: A Timewatch Guide for the BBC and the Timewatch documentary The Crusaders’ Lost Fort, and have appeared in a number of other documentaries both nationally and internationally.
I have been interviewed about my research on both television and radio, on outlets including BBC One’s Breakfast News, Today and Front Row on BBC Radio 4, and Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio, USA. I have also worked as a historical consultant for HBO and Company Pictures.
I am currently engaged in a number of projects that disseminate the findings of my research. These include:
- Co-curating a major exhibition to commemorate the 1217 Battle of Lincoln with The Collection, Lincoln and Lincoln Cathedral.
- Founding and running the Teaching the Crusades Network, which brings together school teachers and academic specialists
- Developing a number of digital humanities projects exploring crusading history and the life of William Marshal