This volume provides the first comprehensive English translation, with a substantial introduction and notes, of the writings of Caffaro of Genoa, as well as related texts and documents on Genoa and the crusades. The majority of early crusading historiography is from a northern European and clerical perspective. Here is a very different voice, one with a more secular, Mediterranean tone. To see the similarities and differences with the mainstream sources offers an exciting new dimension to our understanding of the reception of crusading ideas in the Mediterranean and, given Genoa’s prominence in the commercial world, can help to illuminate the complex and controversial relationship between holy war and financial gain.
Caffaro’s main composition, the ‘Annals’ of Genoa, began with the First Crusade and extended down to 1163. It also covers the city’s dealings with the Papacy, the German Empire, Sicily, Muslim Spain, and Pisa, as well as the development of Genoa itself. Sections from Caffaro’s continuators take the story down to the Third Crusade.
Caffaro’s two other texts are exclusively about the crusades: ‘The Liberation of the Cities of the East’ and ‘The Capture of Almería and Tortosa’, while associated with him but of a later date is the ‘Short History of Jerusalem’. Alongside these narratives are a number of charters and letters that relate to, and complement, the main texts. These relate to matters such as Genoese privileges in the Holy Land and form a valuable resource in their own right. Placed alongside Caffaro’s narratives they can show the blend of commercial energy, civic pride and religious conviction that were the basis of Genoese activity in the complex world of the medieval Mediterranean.