contributor.author: Anne Gilmour-Bryson

title.none: Pringle, The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (Gilmour-Bryson)

identifier.other: baj9928.0101.018 01.01.18

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Anne Gilmour-Bryson, University of Melbourne, annegb@home.com

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2001

identifier.citation: Pringle, Denys. The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, A Corpus: Vol 2, L - Z (excluding Tyre). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Pp. xxiv, 456. $150.00. ISBN: 0-521-39037-0.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 01.01.18

Pringle, Denys. The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, A Corpus: Vol 2, L - Z (excluding Tyre). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Pp. xxiv, 456. $150.00. ISBN: 0-521-39037-0.

Reviewed by:

Anne Gilmour-Bryson
University of Melbourne
annegb@home.com

The first volume of this impressive trilogy covering the sites from A-K appeared in 1993. We have thus had to wait for five years to receive the second volume. One assumes that the third volume, perhaps the most useful of the three since it will cover Acre, Jerusalem, and Tyre, may not appear for another three to five years. This project was begun in October, 1979 (some twenty-one years ago) "under the auspices of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem" (vol. 1, xxi). Pringle has been assisted in this long and arduous task by Dr. Alan Borg and Professor Jaroslav Folda. The author also thanked, among others, Professor Bernard Hamilton for reading both volumes, and Dr. Richard Fawcett for reading and commenting on vol. 2. The extremely detailed drawings of buildings and sites are all by Peter Leach.

Most of the fieldwork for volume 2 was accomplished long ago, between 1979 and 1984 when Pringle was Assistant-Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. He has returned several times since to complete his fieldwork, undertaking surveys with Matthew Pease and meeting with Peter Leach. Since Pringle is the Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Historic Scotland, he has clearly found it difficult to bring this monumental work to completion as quickly as he would have wished. He thanks a very large number of persons on pp.xx-xxi who have enabled him to undertake his research and he has had excellent cooperation from members of various religious orders present in the Holy Land, scholars in Israel, Syria, Jordan and the other areas covered, and numerous international experts specializing in the Holy Land, the Crusades, or medieval architecture.

There is no question that this is a work of an extremely high scholarly level. A look at the list of abbreviations xxiii- xxiv indicates that the author has used all the major published contemporary sources, and the best secondary sources, in his commentary on each place or building. Although it took me some time to realize what system was being used in the individual references, vol. 1, p.xxiv explains that "six- or eight-figure grid references are to the Palestine Grid. References preceded by L are to the Levant Grid, covering Syria and Lebanon. Other sites beyond the reaches of either of these grids are referred to by their degrees of longitude and latitude."

Using vol. 2 without vol. 1 leads to problems, since the Introduction appears only in vol. 1. I cannot imagine many scholars buying only vol. 1 or vol. 2 since the volumes are organized alphabetically, but it is not impossible that a specialist in Mount Tabor or Nazareth, for example, might want only the second volume yet the Introduction to which he or she would not have access is essential to understanding volume 2.

The Introduction (vol. 1, pp.1-4) explains that the period from 1099 until the Fall of Acre in 1291 saw the greatest explosion in church building to occur in Palestine from the fifth to the nineteenth century. Fully 400 buildings were built, rebuilt, or in use in the two hundred years of crusader presence. Only about 200 of these remain partially or completely. As well as archaeological remains, further evidence on these buildings can be found in chronicles, charters, papal documents, or pilgrims' accounts of their travels. Since the seventh century, travelers and residents have been making diagrams of these churches and buildings. Maps have indicated their emplacement from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. Franciscans have written and published widely on such matters, particularly of course with regard to churches belonging to the order.

Modern archaeological study of these buildings and churches began about one hundred and forty years ago with the first of a series of mostly French and British works on the subject. Pringle points out the contribution of the Dominican Order from the founding of the convent of St Stephen north of the walls of Jerusalem and the foundation of the French School of Biblical Archaeology there. From about the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman rulers allowed wider latitude to the French and Russian authorities caring for the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches to repair crumbling buildings.

In 1917, the Ottomans lost power and the League of Nations established a Mandate of French Administration in Syria and Lebanon and a British Mandate in Palestine and Transjordan. Camille Enlart, the indefatigable French scholar, was commissioned "to undertake a survey of Crusader religious and civil architecture" (vol. 1, p.2) completed by a 3-volume work by Paul Deschamps on military architecture in 1934, 1939, and 1973. Enlart's work was not published until after his death in 1925 and 1928. While his work was very detailed, and often accurate, it quite naturally concentrated on areas of the French Mandate, and not on the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The result was that 140 of the 200 churches were omitted from his books.

The British authorities began surveying churches and commissioning other work on Crusader architecture in Palestine from 1935 forward. Further excavations and investigations have been carried out since 1948 and the founding of the State of Israel. The problem which necessitated the publication of Pringle's three-volume corpus is that while a great amount of work had been done over the last 140 years, by a considerable number of scholars from different countries, it is scattered in various archives, in little known journals and research papers, and consequently is almost impossible to consult.

Pringle informs us that this corpus will only deal with "the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the strict sense...the areas corresponding to Mandated Palestine and Transjordan (i.e., the modern states of Israel and Jordan, and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), southern Lebanon as far north as Juniya, the Jaulan (or Golan Heights, a part of Syria presently under Israeli occupation), Sinai and such other parts of Egypt as were invaded at various times by the Franks in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries." (vol. 1, p.3)

The method used to organize this huge amount of material is explained only in vol. 1. Each church is identified with a unique number and arranged alphabetically in sequence. The alphabetical reference which governs the emplacement of a particular building is that of the place name. This practice can make it rather difficult to find a particular church. For example, the castle often referred to in chronicles as Toronum, Turo(nem) Militum, le Toron des Chevaliers, Toron de los Caballeros, Turris militum, Torun as Chivalers appears in vol. 2, p.5 under the place name of "Latrum". Fortunately for the users, the extremely complete index does include the variant names plus a listing of the place name under which the church will be found. Ecclesiastical buildings which included a church or chapel (i.e., the fortresses and preceptories of the military orders) are also included. If there is no proof that a military order's buildings included a chapel, the complex is omitted.

The drawings are prepared to a scale of 1:200 and the key to the conventions used in the archaeogical drawings occurs in vol. 1, p.4.

One can expect to find following the place name, the variants under which the place also occurs in literature, the history of the place including bracketed references to the sources used for the history, one or more plans of the castle, church, or site, references to the various scholarly opinions on the site over the years, a full description of the buildings, sometimes with photographs of certain elements of it, a description of the decoration or furnishings if relevant, a final summary of key points in the on-going scholarly discussion, and a final alphabetical list of sources. For important churches, plans of the town or city may occur (see Tiberias, vol. 1, p.353) which serve to locate the church within it.

Volume 2 is completed by a list of Abbreviations which is slightly different from the list in volume 1. It has been updated to include sources which were needed for this volume but not in the earlier one. Similarly, the Bibliography too has been updated for this volume, not merely reprinted. It now takes up 29 pages instead of 18. Ten maps are printed which, in my view, need captions and a written explanation to enable the reader to quickly find the desired map.

The index in vol. 2 is to both volumes, appears to be complete, and happily, as I noted above, one can look up "Our Lady" and be informed that one should see "St Mary". I checked the index particularly carefully under "Templars" and it gives a somewhat confusing alphabetic list of people, churches, and related topics. Once one grasps the way the index is organized one appreciates the exhaustive nature of it, nevertheless.

A comparison between various sites listed in Hugh Kennedy, Crusader Castles , Cambridge, 1994, reviewed by Maria Georgopoulou in The Medieval Review 97.02.05, shows that in many works the two very different treatments of Crusader architecture are complementary. Safad, in Pringle, vol. 2, pp.206-9, deals as expected almost entirely with a very brief history of the castle's construction, including excellent references to sources, followed by a detailed description of the Castle Chapel. Kennedy, 128-9 and brief mentions on 40, 54, 98, 99, 100, 105, 109, 113, 124, 132, 133, 138, 170, 179, 181, 187, 190-98 (a translation of the contemporary document relating to its construction) specializes in information on how the castle was used militarily, as befits the purpose of his book. Pringle refers to far more sources. Undergraduate students, in particular, would benefit greatly from using Kennedy while the scholar less interested in military history who wants full references to contemporary texts will prefer Pringle.

Every crusade historian, every architectural scholar, every ecclesiastical specialist will profit enormously from these two volumes. I appreciate especially the great care which has gone into this work, the careful and thorough references to the primary and secondary sources on each place, the simple clear drawings, and detailed photographs. I only wish that I had possessed these two books a half-century ago when I began to study the Crusades. We will all look forward impatiently to volume 3 which will complete this magisterial task.