The Principality Of Antioch And Its Frontiers In The Twelfth Century, by Andrew D. Buck
One of my favorite parts of being a prolific book reviewer for the De Re Militari is being able to read books on a variety of subjects that I would otherwise find it difficult to read otherwise. Among the subjects that I have read quite a few books on is the Crusades, which are a lot more fascinating and complicated than is often seen . Among the more important parts of the Crusader realm was the principality of Antioch, a vitally important city going back to Hellenistic times at least, and one of the cities whose reconquest was vital in showing the success of the mid-Byzantine revival under the Macedonian dynasty. To be sure, there are not going to be many people who care about the borders of a crusader kingdom during the 1100s unless they have a strong interest in Crusader history, but as I happen to be one of those people this is a book I appreciate and will likely enjoy reading and reviewing.
So, taking a quick look at the contents, I see a book that is about 250 pages, including two appendices that, strikingly, are integrated with the rest of the text. The chapters include materials on the extent of the principality, the rulers of Antioch, central governance and military service, the officers of the principality between 1127 and 201, Lordship (along with another appendix on noble families), the question of whether Antioch was a frontier society, and the relationships between the realm and Byzantium and the Latin East. The maps appear well integrated with the text and the author does not shy away from using a massive amount of sources to help justify his discussion. This looks like a short book, but one with a lot of focus and a lot of detail. Usually, when the subject of the book is this compelling–namely a small part of the history of the Middle Ages in a small part of the Middle East–the results are good. Here’s hoping that is the case here.
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