As I started to read the (vast) historiographical and (sparse) International Relations (IR) literatures dealing with what was to have been the fi rst historical case, however, the focus and purpose of my project changed radically. Simply put, the more I read, the more dissatisfi ed I grew with the existing IR literature on medieval “international relations.” To begin with, it seemed impossible to reconcile realist analyses premised on the timeless logic of anarchy with a historiographical literature that emphasized the historical specifi city and uniqueness of both the medieval “state” and its derivative international order. Nor was the historical materialist literature much better. Focusing on social property relations and class confl ict, this literature failed to engage seriously with what appeared to be the scholarly consensus regarding the nature of key geopolitical phenomena such as the crusades and state-centric war. Finally, it was diffi cult to square the constructivist literature’s attempt to deny the very existence of the medieval “state” with a historiographical literature that self-consciously employed the concept of the state and did so to great effect.