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Between the Council of Basle and the Fifth Lateran Council the papal curia was subject to much pressure to convene a new general council to address the urgent need for a crusade. This essay examines the relationship between the forceful lobbying for a council by Europe's rulers, and the persistence of conciliarist sentiments in society at large, particularly among its educated elite. While secular rulers were exploiting the vulnerability of the popes for their own ends, it would be reductive to interpret their demands for a council as crudely manipulative rather than as the expression of broadly-based fears and aspirations.
This essay surveys the ways the attitudes of Piccolomini and Cusa toward the initiation of a crusade were shaped by their shifting allegiances between 1432 and their deaths in 1464. Piccolomini's developing interest in crusade, which became his central concern during his reign as pope, is traced through his years at Basel and in the service of Frederick III. Cusa's attitude toward crusade is approached in terms of the apparent contradiction between the views set out in his De pace fidei and the role that he played at imperial diets in the 1440s and 1450s. In the case of both men, the impact of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 is reassessed.
Croatia's entry to the EU in July 2013 signalled an association with Europe which was anticipated in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in the regular use of antemurale (bulwark) rhetoric. This rhetoric was one of the salient characteristics of the period's crusading discourse, as the task of mobilising Christian assistance for regions confronting the Ottoman advance, and in so doing defending the faith as a whole, created a two-way traffic of information and arguments between the embattled frontline states and centres of power in the European interior. This paper investigates the distinctively Croatian features of antemurale language. The exposition of Croatia's role as an antemurale reveals the extent of the country's embrace of humanist ideals and techniques, enabling prominent lobbyists like Tomaso Negri to convey Croatia's plight with finesse in orations delivered at Rome, Venice and elsewhere. The written output of the humanists also shows that Croatia's dismemberment occurred at a time when national identity was forming, and the emphasis placed on the country's relationship with fellow-Catholics reinforced the tendency to look westwards. In addition, Croatia provides a telling example of the tension between centre and periphery in the person of Andrija Jamometić. When he dramatically called for the deposition of Sixtus IV in 1482, Jamometić included neglect of the crusade against the Turks amongst the accusations directed against the pope.
Nobody who has been engaged in the study of medieval history over the past two or three decades can fail to be struck by the recent resurgence of interest in military history. From a subject that was neglected by most practising medievalists, indeed regarded by many as fit only for amateurs, it has moved into the foreground of serious research. The military history of the crusades has benefited a good deal from this revival. This may seem unsurprising to those who view the crusades primarily as wars, but much of the most original recent research into the phenomenon of crusading has focused on its religious characteristics – crusade theology, preaching, devotional practices and associated legal and cultural aspects. R. C. Smail's Crusading Warfare (1097–1193) (1956) has always been treated with great respect by military historians for its methodological rigour and penetrating insights, but for many years Smail's study stood virtually alone as a book-length treatment of the strategy and tactics that were adopted by the crusaders, military orders and settlers in the East. When Christopher Marshall took Smail's analysis forward to the fall of Acre (1291) in 1992, it was tempting to conclude that the military history of crusading was effectively closed as a field of research in which new things could be discovered. That has turned out to be far from the case, and given that michael Prestwich has written both about the military history of western Europe and about the military aspect of crusading, this Festschrift provides a welcome opportunity to undertake a comparative review of the two fields of study.