“Where is Tripoli? Where is Acre? Where are the churches of the Christians who used to be there? Where are the saints’ relics, the devout men and women praising the Lord as ‘morning stars’? Where is the multitude of Christian peoples that were there?”- Friar Riccoldo da Montecroce. Acre, an opulent Crusade capital, fell in 1291, thus marking the end of the Latin presence in the Holy Land. The West was shocked by the news, which extinguished any hope of re-conquering Jerusalem. The book describes the consequences of the Acre tragedy and the main reactions to it, up to the end of the century, including: the drawing up of strategic plans for fighting the Mamluks, the accusations levelled against maritime cities and military orders, the spread of prophecies regarding the end times, the spread of fake news (such as the liberation of the Holy Land by the Mongols), the defence of Cyprus and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, the convening of history’s first Jubilee, the rise of the Turkish threat. The Crusades appeared to have entered their twilight era… but it was not yet a definitive nightfall.
Antonio Musarra has earned a doctorate in Medieval History and is a fellow at the Harvard University Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies.