The triumph of the First Crusade (1095-1099) led to the establishment of a Latin Christian community in the Levant. Remarkably, despite growing pressure from the neighbouring Muslim powers, and the failure of the Second Crusade (1145-49), the settlers were able to occupy Jerusalem and substantial areas of what are now Israel, Syria and the Lebanon for over three-quarters of a century. It was the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187 which precipitated the famous Third
Crusade dominated by Richard the Lionheart.
This is the first systematic investigation of the settlers' attempts to seek support for their vital role as guardians of the Holy Land. Jonathan Phillips draws together a disparate range of evidence to show how they turned to western Europe, and to a lesser extent Byzantium, for help. As attitudes and strategies evolved, the settlers' approach became increasingly sophisticated, peaking during the reign of King Amalric of Jerusalem (1163-1174), when diplomatic activity was particularly intense.
The author also investigates the attitude of King Henry II of England towards the crusades, and the effects of the Becket dispute on western responses to the needs of the Holy Land. In this fascinating and original study, Jonathan Phillips demonstrates that contact between the Latin East and the
West was far more complex than previously believed, and exposes for the first time the range and scale of the settlers' efforts to maintain Christian control of the Holy Land.