The Crusades Regesta

Introduction

Welcome to The Crusades Regesta, a searchable database of charters, letters and other documents relating to the Latin kingdoms of the Eastern Mediterranean between 1098 and 1250, with the aim to bring the database to 1291.

The project is an international collaboration between experts on the crusades, crusader states and medieval Mediterranean which began over twenty years ago, instigated by eminent historian Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith. Today, supported by the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (SSCLE), a team of prominent historians continues to add new entries to the database.

The Crusades Regesta was until 2024 known as Röhricht's Regesta Revised (RRR).

Overview

The database is founded on the work of nineteenth-century German historian Reinhold Röhricht who catalogued documents he could find on the medieval Latin territories of the Latin East. His work – the Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (1893) and the Additamentum (1904), reprinted in 1960 – became a fundamental research tool for generations of historians.

The Crusades Regesta substantially revises this classic work in the light of over a century of new scholarship and historical discover and makes accessible summaries of over three thousand medieval documents. The most striking departure has been to render the calendar in English, in the hope that it will be useful to university teachers who want to introduce their students to a valuable range of sources and researchers from across the world.

The database is fully word-searchable, includes cross-references to other relevant entries, and signposts where information came from. Each entry in the database has been evaluated, translated into English and corroborated by specialists working in the field bringing our knowledge of them up to date. Every entry from Röhricht's database (RRH) has been rechecked against the latest or best edition of the original document and redrafted.

Many new entries have been added. These include newly discovered material in law-books; western and eastern cartularies; chronicles and narrative histories; secular governmental records; papal and episcopal registers; necrologies and other ecclesiastical documents; Genoese and Venetian notarial archives; letter collections; the Templar process; Arabic, Greek, Armenian and Syriac narratives and Jewish records. Also included are all known inscriptions and other epigraphic material, such as epitaphs and commemorative plaques, that refer to persons living under Latin rule or are deemed to be of historical significance.

The collection of documents represented here is a tremendously valuable resource for anyone interested in the medieval Latin states of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Antioch, Cilician Armenia, Edessa and Tripoli. Researchers, teachers and authors alike will find insight into the day-to-day life in the Latin East, the concerns of popes and their bishops, the prosecution of crusade expeditions, the extensive properties of the military orders, and much more. The Crusades Regesta represents an exciting trove of material, essential for anyone looking for a window into a fascinating period of conflict and cooperation.

Evolution

The Crusades Regesta started life in the nineteenth century as Röhricht’s collection of summaries, and was taken up by Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith in the twenty-first century. Where Riley-Smith envisioned a printed update to Röhricht’s work, he was convinced by Professor Ronnie Ellenblum to move the project online and so make the database accessible. You can find more about Röhricht, Riley-Smith and Ellenblum on the Founders page.

The project has operated under the title Röhricht’s Regesta Revised (RRR) or The Revised Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani Database until 2024 when it was rechristened The Crusades Regesta for simplicity. Since the passing of Riley-Smith and Ellenblum in the last decade the project has been continued by a team of experts and editors, some original members and other new voices. Supported by recent funds provided by the SSCLE new entries have been added to the database, bringing the catalogue up to 1254 and closer to 1291. You can see our future plans here.

User Guide

The search filters for the database include search functions for keyword searching the entire database, and searches by parameters, including institution, initiator, recipient, year, and document type. Each entry has a unique RRR reference number for citation; citations should include the project name (The Crusades Regesta), the web address (http://crusades-regesta.com), the RRR reference for an entry, and the date accessed. As the database is updated it is possible that existing, published entries will be edited.

While earlier years represented in the database are largely charters, later entries are generally longer, more complex documents – often papal correspondence. This means that some search categories are less relevant to some forms of documents in the database: for example, letters from the papacy to all rulers in the Latin East do not have each recipient listed individually in the ‘recipient’ field and so would not show up in a recipient-specific search or a keyword search for a particular lord.

Forgeries and deperdita are clearly signalled and justified by reference to existing scholarship. Use is made of the symbols * for a lost text and † for a forgery, which were employed by Hans Mayer in his Die Urkunden der lateinischen Könige von Jerusalem. Calendar entries are enclosed with square brackets [....]. All of Hans Mayer’s deperdita are included, the evidence for many of which is provided by references to confirmations in later royal charters, but gifts by other landlords, which are known only through mentions in later documents, have not been entered, because it is not always clear that every gift was recorded formally.

An attempt has been made to date the entries more precisely, when this has been possible. Like Röhricht, all names and technical terms are included, together with full witness lists, the entries are more detailed and all protocols of the rulers of the settlements and references to eleemosynary grants have been noted. Röhricht’s practice of listing every published edition of a charter or letter has been abandoned, and reference is generally made only to the latest or best edition, which in many instances provides a guide to other editions should a reader be interested in them. Dating clauses and legally necessary, but otiose, phrases have usually been omitted, as have entries that are not strictly relevant, such as commercial agreements between Italian merchants and the government of Egypt. And where a document such as a papal confirmation includes lists of European properties, these are indicated by reference to the regions in which the estates were located.

Technical terms have been left in the original languages (although accompanied on first appearance by a translation when the meaning is beyond doubt); the Glossary has been provided to translate commonly used terms in the database.

For the most part, the names of places and of individuals residing in or visiting the Latin East are rendered as they appear in the documents, unless they are prominent persons, places, groups and institutions with commonly recognised English names. The standardised names are usually put first, with the original in parentheses afterwards. Over the course of such a large and complex set of documents this standardisation is incomplete. When searching for a specific person, place etc. users will need to look for variant spellings in Latin and relevant contemporary languages – some of these variants will be indicated where the original is visible and can be followed up that way.

The Crusades Regesta is a collaborative project which depends on our contributors and scholarly community. We would love to hear how we could improve the website or how it could be more useful for you – if you’d like to offer feedback you can contact us directly here.

The database is continuing to be updated and despite our best efforts things are missed. If you have an edit to suggest or have spotted an error please do contact us.

  The Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (SSCLE)      isf     gif