chapter  12
12 Pages

Emmanuele Piloti and Crusading in the Latin East

ByNorman Housley

Although Anthony Luttrell has specialized in the history of the Order of St John, he has also written a good deal about the development of crusading in the fourteenth and early fi fteenth centuries. His 1965 essay on ‘The crusade in the fourteenth century’ remains the most satisfying account of the awkward and problematic process by which crusading in the Eastern Mediterranean changed its character from that of a war to recover the Holy Land to a mechanism for defending lands under the control of Catholic Europeans from the advance of the Anatolian Turks, initially the coastal emirates but by 1400 increasingly the Ottoman sultan.1 One of the most intriguing and revealing pieces of evidence for this overall process of change is Emmanuele Piloti’s treatise (tractatus) on the recovery of the Holy Land. Piloti began writing his text in 1420 but fi nished it only in 1438 or shortly thereafter.2 The end result was a lengthy document, almost 240 pages in the edition that Pierre-Herman Dopp published in 1958. Dopp used the French text of the sole surviving manuscript, MS 15701 in Belgium’s Bibliothèque Royale; the Latin text from which this translation was made has almost certainly been lost, as has the original text, which Piloti probably composed in his own vernacular. Although this issue of translations, and the errors that they may have introduced, is just one of several question marks that still hang over Piloti’s text,3 it has attracted little attention since 1958.4 The neglect

1 A. Luttrell, ‘The Crusade in the Fourteenth Century’, in J. Hale et al. (eds), Europe in the late Middle Ages (London, 1965), pp. 122-54.