Build-up to the First Crusade from the perspective of the Byzantine Empire, the Turks in Asia Minor and the Levant, the area about to be invaded
Build-up to the First Crusade. The Investiture Controversy between Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII, the growing influence of the Normans under Robert Guiscard, and the reasons behind the call for crusade by Pope Urban II
The capture of Toledo, the capital of the old Visigothic kingdom, by Alfonso VI The Brave from the Muslims. Also the final days of El Cid
King Ferdinand I of Leon and Castile and his sons Sancho and Alfonso, as depicted in the epic Hollywood film El Cid (see picture). Plus, the conflict between Aragon and Zaragoza, the arrival of crusaders from across the Pyrenees, and the Siege of Barbastro.
The Christian Kings of Spain
The Mulsim Taifa Kings
The History of early medieval Spain from the Islamic conquest in 711 to the establishment of the magnificent Caliphate of Cordoba, and the first successful Christian resistance which will ultimately lead to the reconquest, or ‘Reconquista’, of the Iberian peninsula (See the maps page for maps of medieval Spain)
The newly crowned King of England, Harold Godwinson faced two invasions within days, firstly from the viking Harold Hardrada in the north, and then William Duke of Normandy on the south coast. This is the story of probably the most important battle ever fought on English soil.
In the first half of the eleventh century, the Normans gained much territory in Italy but in so doing had made many enemies. In 1054 Pope Leo IX brought together a force of Lombards, Germans and Byzantines to confront them. The Normans won an overwhelming victory and effectively conquered the southern half of the peninsula
The popes of the eleventh and early twelfth century were hardly living by the standards set by their religion. In spite of this this they still enjoyed considerable reverence among the leaders of Christendom. A papal alliance with the German Emperors, which proved highly valuable but sometimes very difficult, became a key element of medieval Italian history
During the next four podcasts I will tell the history of Italy from between the fall of Rome up until 1053, the year of an important battle between Pope Leo IX and Norman invaders of Italy. These centuries witnessed a long struggle for power between various sides, with many shifts of fortune. The Battle of Civitate marks the point at which the Normans firmly established themselves in Italy and so reshaped the politics of the peninsula