Book Review: Logistics of Warfare in the Age of the Crusades


by John H. Pryor, editor

New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xxxii, 366. . Illus., maps, gloss., gazetteer, notes, bible., index. $44.80 paper. ISBN: 1138379077

Supplying the Crusaders

Considering their magnitude, duration, and geographic framework, its surprising that relatively little has been written on the question of how Crusader armies were feed and supplied. Hitherto available in a pricey hard cover edition, this important collection, one of a relative handful of works on the subject, comprises papers are by well-known Medievalists such as Bernard S. Bachrach and John Haldon, which were originally presented at a conference in Australia in 2002.

The titles of the essays in the volume offers some idea of the overall content and its value:

  • “Introduction: Modelling Bohemond's March to Thessalonike”
  • “The Logistics of the Mongol-Mamluk War, with Special Reference to the Battle of Wadi 'l-Khaznadar, 1299 C.E.”
  • “Crusader Logistics: From Victory at Nicaea to Resupply at Dorylaion”
  • “Ship Types and Fleet Composition at Genoa and Venice in the Early 13th Century”
  • “Logistics and the Second Crusade”
  • “Harbours and Facilities Along the Eastern Mediterranean Sea Lanes to Outremer”
  • “Provisioning Peter the Hermit: Form Cologne to Constantinople, 1096”
  • “Roads and Communications in the Byzantine Empire: Wagons, Horses, and Supplies”
  • “Reflections on Maps, Crusading, and Logistics”
  • “Infantry in Muslim Armies during the Crusades”
  • “Food and the Fourth Crusade: A New Approach to the 'Diversion Question'”
  • “Money and Logistics in the Forces of the First Crusade: Coinage, Bullion, Service, and Supply 1096-99”
  • “The Northern Crusaders: The Logistics of English and other Northern Crusader Fleets”

The final paper, “Digest”, is a synthesis by Prof Pryor (Sydney) of the evidence presented. The overall thesis of the collection is that Medieval armies were far more sophisticated and more capable than is usually thought; one paper includes a critique of Hans Delbruck’s views on the subject. The glossary covers contemporary military terminology and the gazetteer offers invaluable help in identifying places which have either vanished or gone through various name changes.

Logistics of Warfare in the Age of the Crusades is an essential work for those seriously studying medieval military history, and an important read for anyone with a serious interest in the period or the history of war and logistics.


Note: Logistics of Warfare in the Age of the Crusades is also available in hard coverand several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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