HIS 3342 – The Crusades

Final take-home exam


In lieu of a written exam where students often speedily regurgitate information in class, this exam is designed to force you to critically consider the material covered over the second half of the semester. 


For the purposes of this exam, any information presented in class (i.e. what I presented in the lectures and what was seen/heard in the videos—at any point in the semester) should be considered common knowledge.  All additional information, whether taken from handouts, the online readings, Riley-Smith, Maalouf or the Allen reader should be cited correctly using either MLA or Chicago style.  (Failure to cite correctly in one of these styles will lower your exam grade.  Also, when you use the Allen text, cite the source material correctly.) 


There is no need to use additional information in writing the essay.  (Clarification: Do not use any additional sources in answering the question.  If you do, expect your grade to suffer accordingly.)


Remember that good essays rely on primary source information in formulating arguments.


Your essay should be double-spaced, 12-point Times font, 1-inch margins all around with numbered pages.  Essays will not be longer than 6 pages, exclusive of the works cited/Bibliography page.  (Clarification: 6 pages and one line on page 7 is not acceptable.  No shrinking fonts either!)


Essays must be turned in via Blackboard by 7pm on Tuesday, December 12.  (Clarification: If you’re feeling ill or a family member, child, friend or pet seems to be coming down with flu or it seems like your about to have some sort of crisis, get it turned in early—late exam essays will not be accepted.)


Grading:  Essays will be marked following the standard History Essay/Research Paper Rubric. 


Introduction to the question:


The Crusading (defined as taking/holding Jerusalem) period began in 1095 when Urban II encouraged the faithful to undertake an armed pilgrimage.  According to Robert the Monk’s version of his sermon at Clermont, the infidels were guilty of destroying churches, corrupting altars with filth and defilement, and killing Christians.  The First Crusade responded to his call with a quick (for the late ninth century) and amazingly successful march to and conquest of much of what the Europeans considered the “Holy Land.”




How does the ideal of Crusading change after the First Crusade?  Your answer to that question will be your thesis.  Use examples from the subsequent Crusades (i.e. after the First Crusade) to support that thesis.  Be sure to consider the three perspectives we’ve discussed in the class (European, Islamic, Byzantine).


Conclude by asserting (with evidence/examples) what, in your informed opinion, is the dominant theme or purpose of the entire Crusading period (1095-1291).  (You can answer this with a single theme or from the three perspectives we’ve discussed.)