Crusades (BBC TV series)

Terry Jones' Crusades
Genre Documentary
Written by
Directed by
Presented by Terry Jones
Composer(s) José Nieto
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 4
Distributor BBC Entertainment
Original network BBC2
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Stereo
Original release 10 January (1995-01-10) – 31 January 1995 (1995-01-31)
Related shows Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

Crusades was a 1995 historical documentary series presented by former Monty Python member Terry Jones. It looked at The Crusades and included elements of black comedy.


1. "Pilgrims in Arms"

The first episode recounts Byzantine Emperor Alexius's appeal to Pope Urban II for help in fighting Muslim Turks, the first crusaders as they neared Jerusalem, and the first casualties of The Crusades: Jews massacred in Worms and Cologne, Germany.

2. "Jerusalem"

The second episode covers hardships encountered by crusaders as they neared the Holy City, including intense heat and starvation. Also the Siege of Antioch and Turkish retaliation.

3. "Jihad"

The third episode chronicles the response that the Arab world gave to the gains of the Crusades. Jones takes the viewer from Syria to Jordan to shed light on the Arabs counter-crusade led by Muslim leader Saladin. Additionally, experts detail the political intrigue behind Saladin's rise to power as he tried to lead Muslims in winning back Jerusalem from the Christians.

4. "Destruction"

The Crusade of Richard I of England is explored to find the seeds of his eventual failure. The fourth episode examines the massacres during the siege of Acre, the Treaty of Ramla in 1192 when Richard was forced to concede Jerusalem to Saladin, and the establishment of the Empire of Latins in Constantinople after the Crusade of Venetian statesman Enrico Dandolo.


A number of distinguished Crusade historians appeared to give their views on events. The documentary followed the perspective established by Steven Runciman in A History of the Crusades, which casts the Crusades in a negative light. Because the historians did not support this narrative, the producers edited the taped interviews so that the historians seemed to be agreeing with Runciman. Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith accused the producers, "they made me appear to say things that I do not believe!"[1]


  1. "Crusade Myths". Ignatius Insight. Retrieved 3 January 2016.

External links

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