A series of wars in the later Middle Ages, the Crusades are one of the most significant and deeply symbolic events in human history. Marked by warfare and cross-cultural encounter between Christians and Muslims, they saw the first large-scale migration and colonization by Europeans before the Age of Discovery, the rise of the Italian merchant republics, and the solidification of religious and cultural identities across Europe and the Mediterranean. Students will learn about the origins of the Crusades, the most important expeditions, the expansion of crusading toward new targets, and the decline of crusading after the sixteenth century. This course is about the Crusades both in history and in memory, about communities in war and peace, and about stories and memories that have endured to the present day. With the help of fascinating texts written by Westerners, Byzantines, and Muslims, it explores how each culture interpreted and remembered the Crusades, and how the Crusades have come to mark our understanding of the East and West as distinct cultural traditions.