The Crusades started in 1095, when during the Council of Clermont Pope Urban II decided to undertake a holy war for the liberation of Jerusalem and called upon believers to take up arms. The Crusades would become a key characteristic of Western Christianity. Of the eight expeditions which took place between the 11th and the 13th centuries, the first four directly involved the Byzantine Empire. This book describes the Crusades' wide-ranging implications on the empire; pillaging and devastation led, in 1204, to the conquest of Byzantium herself and the establishment of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.
Giorgio Ravegnani teaches Byzantine History at the University of Venice.