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Risking battle

The Antiochene frontier, 1100-1164
Nicholas Morton
p. 189-210


This article contributes to debate amongst military historians by focusing on the principality of Antioch and its wars with neighbouring Turkish powers between the years 1099-1164. It makes the point that this state lived a precarious existence on the frontiers of Christendom and had a great deal to lose from a major defeat. This article consequently seeks to explain why the Franks would so frequently chance pitched battles when they had so much to lose.

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history, Crusades, chronicle, Antioch
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Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en août 2022.


The implications of defeat in the principality of Antioch and the other states of the latin east
The Antiochene appetite for battle
Frequent and defensive battles

Aperçu du texte

When the warrior writer Usama ibn Munqidh captioned his Frankish enemies as ‘the most cautious of all men in war’, he can’t possibly have known how much trouble he was going to cause modern historians. Usama’s statement has sat at the heart of an ongoing debate in which studies have first defined and then redefined the Eastern Franks’ appetite for major pitched battles against their Turkish and Fatimid opponents, reaching very different conclusions. Some have suggested that Latin Eastern commanders were unwilling to risk such large-scale encounters. Prima facie this view makes sense because it chimes with the commonly-held view that commanders in Western Christendom were equally reluctant to fight battles, except in the most desperate of circumstances. By contrast, J. France has suggested that the rulers of the Crusader States were far more willing to give battle than has hitherto been supposed and were fully prepared to give battle when the need arose. He argues that this more fron...

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Référence papier

Nicholas Morton, « Risking battle »Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, 37 | 2019, 189-210.

Référence électronique

Nicholas Morton, « Risking battle »Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes [En ligne], 37 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 août 2022, consulté le 20 janvier 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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Nicholas Morton

Nottingham Trent University

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© Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes

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