Monday, April 29, 2013

The Conquest of Constantinople

Title: The Conquest of Constantinople (part of Chronicles of the Crusades)

Author: Villehardouin

First Copyright date: Written in early 1200s

Type of Book: Crusades, Fourth Crusade, Greece, Constantinople, 1199-1207, simplistic

General Subject Matter: Crusades

Special Features: There are maps on the back, and glossary of various terms,

Price: About $12.00?

ISBN: 978-0-14-044124-6

Possible Purpose:

I have read the entire primary source, and cannot figure out why he wrote this particular book. Perhaps from observations I can arrive at why: the book focuses more on events and is not in depth when it comes to human foibles. There is constant fighting and its hard to keep things straight. Besides piety nothing is stressed. It does seem to be chronological and it focuses more on names rather than on people behind the names. I would guess he wrote it like a textbook a bit and wanted there to be accuracy.

a. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?

He participated in these events and, to a degree, has experience and knowledge of how and why things went wrong, (although how he makes these events seem boring is hard to understand.)

b. From what point of view is the work written?

Its written from third person limited. As mentioned there is no focus on humanity, but only on actions and events and only piety is stressed. We watch action going on, but nothing else. He mentions himself a few times, but in third person rather than first person, and he's not descriptive of personality.

c. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?

I think the author was trying to give information rather than anything else. Its a constant narration and sequence of events rather than anything else.

d. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? (Use outside sources to familiarize yourself with the field, if necessary.) Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form. and how it functions.

General field would be Fourth Crusade, war and non-fiction and personal account or memoir.

e. Who is the intended audience?

The intended audience would be historians or people who would research what happened during the Fourth Crusade and perhaps construct a narrative.

f. What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, correct use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity. Does it suit the intended audience?

I would guess the style would formal maybe and to an extent the author does know what he's talking about, although I feel that the author lacks ideas of proper storytelling or dramatization methods. I found the story to be boring, and most ironic part is that when I was taking a Crusades part, learning about Fourth Crusade was my favorite part. I think it does suit the intended audience because it focuses on what happened rather than people behind the names.

g. Scan the Table of Contents, it can help understand how the book is organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they are developed - chronologically, topically, etc.

It's two books in one: here's part for Villehardouin
* Muster-roll of the Fourth Crusade
* Treaty with the Venetians
*The Army seeks a leader
*Delays and Disappointments
* Siege of Zara
*Discord in the Army
*Voyage to Scutari
*Preparations for an Assault
*First Siege of Constantinople
*The Emperor's Covenant
*Appeal to Arms
*Second Siege of Constantinople
*Election of an Emperor
*A Case of Strained Relations
*War against the Greeks
*Siege of Adrianople
*A Regency Established
*King Johanitza Ravages the Empire
*Offensive and Counter-offensive
*War on Two Fronts
*Excursions Outside the Empire

g. How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda? What personal experiences you've had relate to the subject?

Besides causing me to feel bored, I don't think the book affected me in any way, I'm sad enough to admit.

h. How well has the book achieved its goal?

I think it achieved them well enough.

i. Would you recommend this book or article to others? Why?

Not really, unless one is looking for an accurate view of the Fourth Crusade because the book tends to be boring and confusing for me.

a. Theme: The theme is the subject or topic. It is not necessarily the title, and it is usually not expressed in a complete sentence. It expresses a specific phase of the general subject matter.

An accurate account of what happened during the Fourth Crusade along with some behind the scenes deals minus the description of people who behaved like puppets.

b. Thesis: The thesis is an author’s generalization about the theme, the author’s beliefs about something important, the book’s philosophical conclusion, or the proposition the author means to prove. Express it without metaphor or other figurative language, in one declarative sentence.

There is more human than divine in the book.

Personal Opinion:

I found the book to be boring and confusing because it lacked storytelling things that we take for granted. Everything requires an action, a climax and a falling action along with detail and attention to characters and other things. This book has nothing like that.

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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