The first full account of the medieval struggle for Jerusalem, from the seventh to the thirteenth century
The history of Jerusalem is one of conflict, faith, and empire. Few cities have been attacked as often and as savagely. This was no less true in the Middle Ages. From the Persian sack in 614 through the bloody First Crusade and beyond, Jerusalem changed hands countless times. But despite these horrific acts of violence, its story during this period is also one of interfaith tolerance and accord.
In this gripping history, John D. Hosler explores the great clashes and delicate settlements of medieval Jerusalem. He examines the city’s many sieges and considers the experiences of its inhabitants of all faiths. The city’s conquerors consistently acknowledged and reinforced the rights of those religious minorities over which they ruled. Deeply researched, this account reveals the way in which Jerusalem’s past has been constructed on partial histories—and urges us to reckon with the city’s broader historical contours.
About the Author
John D. Hosler is professor of military history at the Command and General Staff College. His previous books include John of Salisbury and The Siege of Acre, which was a Financial Times Book of the Year.
“Hosler is a sure guide to this winding story. . . . This is an intriguing and occasionally eye-opening account of the Middle Ages’ most alluring city.”—Dan Jones, Sunday Times
“This elegantly written monograph carefully evaluates a wide variety of surviving written and archaeological evidence to identify the factors that led to violence and/or peace in Jerusalem.”—Jessalynn Bird, sehepunkte
“Unwaveringly evenhanded, Hosler succeeds in constructing a plausible and surprising counternarrative to histories of Jerusalem focused on violence and conquest. A fresh perspective elevates this sharp chronicle.”—Publishers Weekly
“During the Middle Ages, Jerusalem did not go a century without armies surrounding and entering its walls. The city was continually sacked and the inhabitants massacred. Jerusalem Falls covers this violent and bloody history with thoroughness and brilliance. Reading it one can clearly agree with so many throughout history who wished that God cared a little less for a city that so many religions call ‘holy.’”—Kelly DeVries, author of Battles of the Crusades 1097–1444
“With an original and thought-provoking approach, Hosler tackles the always controversial topic of Jerusalem. The seven centuries, from the Persian sack of 614 until the final fall of the Crusader city in 1244, are studded with successive brutal conflicts and conquests, but also with remarkable examples of rapprochement and concord. Hosler’s history will come as a revelation, and perhaps an optimistic one for readers mainly acquainted with the violent aspects of the Holy City’s past and present.”—Adrian J. Boas, author of Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusades