In the summer of 2021, I was granted the opportunity to carry out historical research through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). I chose to research anti-Western and anti-Byzantine stereotypes in Crusade-era primary sources regarding the first three Crusades, to investigate whether these stereotypes played a role in the deterioration of relations between the Crusaders and the Byzantine Empire and in the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Constantinople. With the help of my research adviser, Professor David Bachrach, I selected eight Western primary sources and five Byzantine primary sources to read and analyze for evidence of these stereotypes. Although I knew beforehand that the Crusaders and the Byzantines had negative views toward each other, I was surprised during the course of my research by how much virulent hatred was contained in these sources, some expressing explicit calls for violence. My research demonstrates that these stereotypes were widespread in literature during the Crusades and that these deeply held beliefs contributed to the Fourth Crusade’s attack against the Byzantine Empire.
David S. Bachrach
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
Saputo, Ryan, "Barbarians and Heretics: Anti-Byzantine and Anti-Western Sentiments in Crusade-Era Chronicles, 1096–1204" (2022). Inquiry Journal. 7.