Official Recommendation: Real Crusades History

Over the weekend I mentioned the channel Real Crusades History, but added that I hadn’t watched enough to give it a full recommendation. In the intervening days I’ve watched a number of his videos, and from what I’ve seen I’m pretty comfortable recommending it.

One major reason is the fact that he cites his sources, and a lot of time uses the all-important primary sources. I mean, not in every video, but sometimes he’ll end his videos with a short bibliography, or he’ll read direct from documents of the time, and in any case often lets you know where he’s getting the information he’s presenting. In his video on Kingdom of Heaven, for instance, he cites from Saladin’s original biographer (who was also a personal friend) for why the depiction in the film is inaccurate to the actual man. Or in his video on Medieval toothcare, he shows footage of Medieval skulls as supporting evidence that ‘Medieval people had horrible teeth’ is a myth.

He plays fair too; he himself is apparently Catholic, but he cites enthusiastically from Muslim sources as well and makes no bones about the fact that both sides did gruesome things during war. One video has him pointing out how ready both sides were to praise the other for their valor and fighting prowess (since beating someone pathetic and incompetent is no credit to you).

In short, he seems to put in the time and work to make his history as accurate as he can, and he makes an effort to enter into the Medieval mindset, such as the central role of personal loyalty, and the fact that peasants were not slaves but had rights of their own (e.g. in his Braveheart video he points out that prima nocta absolutely would never have been tolerated by any population of peasants, even assuming that anyone thought to try it).

In any case, he seems like a reliable and valuable resource to me, not least because his citations provide a wealth of extra research material to follow up on. Check him out.

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