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John of Brienne
King of Jerusalem, Emperor of Constantinople, c.1175–1237


  • Date Published: October 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107043107
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About the Authors
  • John of Brienne's progress, from mid-ranking knightly status to king of Jerusalem and, later, Latin emperor of Constantinople, traces one of the most remarkable careers in the entire medieval period. But how and why did he achieve such heights? This biographical study of aristocratic social and geographical mobility in the 'Age of the Crusades' reassesses John's fascinating life, and explores how families and dynasticism, politics, intrigue, religion and war all contributed to John's unprecedented career. John was a major figure in the history of the thirteenth-century Mediterranean, and yet very much a product of the workings of the society of his day. This book reveals how John's life, and its multifarious connections to France, Italy, the German empire and the papacy, can illuminate the broad panorama of the early thirteenth-century world, and the zenith of the crusading movement.

    • The first in-depth study of John of Brienne for more than seventy years, with new insights into the conditions that led to his extraordinary career
    • This reassessment of John's career permits a much better understanding of the complex interplay between the Latin West and East in the early thirteenth century
    • John was the only man ever to hold both titles of king of Jerusalem and emperor of Constantinople, offering a unique opportunity to compare and contrast these crowns and realms
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Guy Perry has in this engagingly written work produced an excellent biography of John of Brienne (Jean de Brienne), a relatively little-known medieval figure who led one of the most fascinating of careers and whose life encapsulates the notion of a rags-to-riches story … Perry's work is a superb reassessment of the extraordinary life of John of Brienne and offers an excellent point of departure for further investigation into the affairs of the Latin East and Latin West and where they overlap. The book contains more than enough for those concerned with the details of John's fascinating life, and appeals to those with wider interests in Champagne and the Mediterranean world.' Stephen Donnachie, Royal Studies Journal

    '… a wide-ranging and immensely readable work. Perry writes well and has a light-hearted but scholarly turn of phrase that makes this book a pleasure to read … this study will be the fundamental point of reference on this subject for many years to come.' Nicholas Morton, History

    'So unlikely, so varied and highly coloured can John of Brienne's career appear to us that the relative lack of attention it has received from historians is all the more surprising. Guy Perry's assured and very readable new study of John is the first full-length treatment of his career since 1938. Since then, of course, crusading historiography has changed almost out of recognition, and Perry's John of Brienne is a very different and more nuanced figure.' Crusades

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    Customer reviews

    08th Sep 2015 by TuhComa

    ...Right, as the blurb says, the life of John of Brienne, beginning in Capetian France, ranged over the breadth of the earlier 13th-century Mediterranean world. Along with the usual suspects, please include Papal Tuscany, southern Italy and Iberia. ...Never mind. Just get the book. While far from typical, what can be known about such a career arc --inviting comparison, in respective capacities, to William Marshal and Forrest Gump-- has much to contribute to modern, multidisciplinary understanding of the period. Meanwhile, it’s been over 65 years since the last full-length biography of the subject has appeared in any language. Dr. Perry has keenly apprehended the resonant significance of his subject, and made brilliant use of advances in historiography since the last significant secondary studies. One appendix is composed of two dense pages of neglected primary sources. The writing is exemplary, combining concision and precision with an engaging absence of pretension. –Exactly what you Won’t find in the preceding sentence. For anyone interested in the period, with the kind of money to buy brand-new, academic-press books, you are not likely to do any better than this. Thank you, people at the Oxford Press website, for allowing me to edit this review, with previously unavailable punctuation. Conspicuously absent parentheses.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107043107
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 157 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 5 maps 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Origins and half a life
    2. Ruling from Acre and Tyre
    3. The Fifth Crusade
    4. A decade in the West
    5. Imperium

  • Author

    Guy Perry, University of Leeds
    Guy Perry is Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on East-West interaction in the central Middle Ages.

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