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Queens of Jerusalem

The Women Who Dared to Rule

Katherine Pangonis

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
01 March 2021
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In 1187 Saladin's armies besieged the holy city of Jerusalem. He had previously annihilated Jerusalem's army at the battle of Hattin, and behind the city's high walls a last-ditch defence was being led by an unlikely trio - including Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem. They could not resist Saladin, but, if they were lucky, they could negotiate terms that would save the lives of the city's inhabitants.

Queen Sibylla was the last of a line of formidable female rulers in the Crusader States of Outremer. Yet for all the many books written about the Crusades, one aspect is conspicuously absent: the stories of women. Queens and princesses tend to be presented as passive transmitters of land and royal blood. In reality, women ruled, conducted diplomatic negotiations, made military decisions, forged alliances, rebelled, and undertook architectural projects. Sibylla's grandmother Queen Melisende was the first queen to seize real political agency in Jerusalem and rule in her own right. She outmanoeuvred both her husband and son to seize real power in her kingdom, and was a force to be reckoned with in the politics of the medieval Middle East. The lives of her Armenian mother, her three sisters, and their daughters and granddaughters were no less intriguing.

The lives of this trailblazing dynasty of royal women, and the crusading Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, are the focus of Katherine Pangonis's debut book. In QUEENS OF JERUSALEM she explores the role women played in the governing of the Middle East during periods of intense instability, and how they persevered to rule and seize greater power for themselves when the opportunity presented itself.
By:   Katherine Pangonis
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   360g
ISBN:   9781474614085
ISBN 10:   1474614086
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   01 March 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

Katherine Pangonis is a historian specialising in the medieval world of the Mediterranean and Middle East. She holds MA degrees in literature and history from Oxford University and University College London. She has a particular interest in rewriting the voices of women into the historical narrative, re-examining understudied areas of history and bringing her findings into the public eye. Travel is central to her research process, and that is how she spends most of her time.

Reviews for Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule

Beautifully constructed, highly intelligent, perceptive, humane and empathetic, this wonderful book turns the forgotten women rulers of Jerusalem from powerless broodmares into complex actors with agency, ingenuity and fascinating lives -- WILLIAM DALRYMPLE Fascinating, intriguing, exciting and authoritative. Here are the female rulers of the crusader states as shrewd politicians, warrior queens and mothers and wives, holding their own against male crusader states and Islamic warlords in the ruthless arena of the Middle East. The female crusader potentates have long been neglected, so this is long overdue and it was worth waiting for -- Simon Sebag Montefiore


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