Queen Melisende - the remarkable and forgotten ruler of the Middle Ages.
Queen Melisende successfully ruled the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the twelfth century even as her own husband and son fought her for control. As the eldest of four daughters, she was raised to rule by her father, King Baldwin II, who took unprecedented steps to ensure his daughter would hold power.
In order to grasp the person and world of Queen Melisende, it is necessary to piece together the scant information available about her and explore the world she inhabited. This book examines the circumstances surrounding the First Crusade and the unique geographical, political and cultural position of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in which three rich artistic traditions met and intermingled. Indeed, with the art of the period it is possible to see the breadth of Queen Melisende's world. As Queen of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, she was in contact with the wealth of the Byzantine, Islamic, and European artistic output. She could commission work from practitioners of all three traditions, and the way these traditions met and intertwined tell us a great deal about the central position of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the twelfth century as a crossroads for the exchange of art and ideas.
By exploring the life and times of Queen Melisende we get a glimpse of the tumultuous and fascinating period of the twelfth century, and an appreciation for the woman who ruled the fragile Crusader States during such a pivotal time.
Margaret Tranovich received a Master of Philosophy in History of Art and Connoisseurship with distinction from the University of Glasgow.
She teaches Art History courses at colleges in Southern California.
232 x 154mm; 216pp., 24pp colour, many black and white, maps, paperback
ISBN 978 1 907318 06 1
13 October 2011