Bloody and brutal, the Crusades were meant to be the religious wars to end all others. Except they didn't, their history has been hijacked by politics and religious fervour, with both Muslim and Western world's misunderstanding the truth. This series sets out to shed new light on these legendary wars, and re-analyse the romanticised, idealised history to find out what really happened eight centuries ago. Through archaeological research, fresh scrutiny of the ancient battle sites and by re-examining the eyewitness accounts: this fascinating series presented by Dr. Thomas Asbridge takes us through a sequence of brutal events that define the Crusades and is changing the way we think them.
1. Holy War Traces the epic journey of the first crusaders, as they marched 3,000 miles from Europe to recapture the city of Jerusalem from Islam, enduring starvation, disease and a bloodthirsty battle to reach their sacred goal, and then unleashed an appalling tide of barbaric violence upon their Muslim enemies.
2. The Clash of the Titans The Clash of the Titans examines the Third Crusade and the two renowned figures who have come to embody Crusader war: Richard the Lionheart, king of England, and the mighty Muslim sultan Saladin, unifier of Islam. Almost perfectly matched as adversaries, these two titans of holy war clashed during a year-long campaign that raged across Palestine. Both were willing to commit appalling atrocities in pursuit of victory and the ultimate prize: Jerusalem.
3. Victory and Defeat Victory and Defea reveals that the outcome of these epic holy wars was decided not on the hallowed ground of Jerusalem, but in Egypt. As trade blossomed between Christians and Muslims and the Mongol hordes arrived from Asia, a saintly French king - afire with crusading zeal - and the most remarkable Muslim leader of the Middle Ages fought for ultimate victory in the East. Asbridge also challenges the popular misconception that the medieval crusades sparked a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West that continues to this day.
Tom Asbridge, Taef Al Azhari, Reuven Amitai, Sandrine Boucher, Robert Kool, Rafael Lewis, Kate Raphael, Khader Salameh, Charles Stanton