The central theme of this book is the largely untold story of English knighthood's ongoing obsession with the crusade fight during the age of Chaucer, "high chivalry" and the famous battles of the Hundred Years War. After combat in France and Scotland, fighting crusades was the main and a widespread experience of English chivalry in the fourteenth century, drawing in noblemen of the highest rank, as well as knights chasing renown and the jobbing esquire. The author exposes a thick seam of military engagement along the perimeters of Christendom; details of participants and campaigns are chronicled - in many cases for the first time - and associated matters of tactics, diplomacy, organisation, and recruitment are minutely analysed, adding substantially to the historiography of the later crusades. The book's second theme traces the surprisingly strong grip the crusade-idea possessed at the height of politics, as an animating force of English kingship. Disputing the common assumption that crusade plans were increasingly ill-treated by the monarchs - adopted as diplomatic double-speak or as a means of raiding church coffers - the author argues that courtiers and knights moved in a rich environment of crusade speculation and ambition, and exercised a strong influence on the culture of the time. Timothy Guard gained his DPhil at Hertford College, University of Oxford.
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