The Field of Blood: The Battle for Aleppo and the Remaking of the Medieval Middle East
By Nicholas Morton
Published in February 2018
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
The Field of Blood describes the events before, during, and after the battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119.
The failed crusader invasion of Aleppo and the ensuing battle of Ager Sanguinis would mark a turning point in the history of the crusades. Prior to 1119, the crusaders seemed like an indestructible and unstoppable force.
The crusader defeat in 1119 saw a turning point.
In material terms, the crusader states lose significant amounts of money, manpower, and resources during the battle. Even more importantly, the illusion of crusader invincibility was shattered. The Christian forces lost confidence, while the Muslim forces gained confidence.
Aleppo also plays a pivotal role in the civil war which started in 2011 and is still raging today in Syria. This goes to show that, despite radical changes in society and technology, geography continues to shape geopolitics and causes history to echo.
I enjoyed reading “The Field of Blood” and thought it was an excellent book. However, I do not recommend this book to a general audience. Many of the topics covered are quite advanced, and require a deep pre-existing knowledge of the events that precede and proceed the battle of Ager Sanguinis.
I highly recommend this very competently written and sourced narrative history to my fellow amateur historians who want to go very deep into the specific details of the crusades.
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