East Beats West: The Crusades on TV

Tom Bowers previews the History Channel’s new series on the Crusades and finds out what is different from previous attempts to put the holy wars on screen.

Can television offer a genuine contemporary insight into the wars of the eleventh and twelfth centuries?

The History Channel’s The Crusades: Crescent & The Cross illuminates the historical roots of Christian-Islamic conflict, using historical sources from both cultures and perspectives. Warfare and religion, the defining elements of the era, are brought to life onscreen and the struggles to reach Jerusalem of the First, Second and Third Crusade provide the basis for the story.

The four programmes use reconstructions, primary sources, and innovative computer-generated animation (once the preserve of big budget movies), alongside commentators such as Tariq Ali and expert historians including Dr Jonathan Phillips and Professor John France.

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