Jonathan Riley-Smith

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Jonathan Riley-Smith
Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History
University of Cambridge
In office
Preceded by Christopher N. L. Brooke
Succeeded by David Maxwell
Personal details
Born Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith
27 June 1938
Harrogate, England
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Citizenship British
Parents William Henry Douglas Riley-Smith
Elspeth Agnes Mary Craik Henderson
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith GCStJ FRHistS (27 June 1938 – 13 September 2016) was a historian of the Crusades,[1] and, between 1994 and 2005, Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge.[2] He was a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[3]

Provenance and early life

Riley-Smith was the eldest of four children born into a prosperous Yorkshire brewing family. His maternal grandfather (to whose memory he later dedicated his book What Were the Crusades?) was the British Conservative Party MP, John Craik-Henderson (1890-1971).[4]

He attended Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took his BA (1960), MA (1964), PhD (1964), and LittD (2001).[5]

Academic career

Riley-Smith taught at the University of St Andrews (1964–1972), Queens' College, Cambridge (1972-1978), Royal Holloway College, London (1978–1994) as well as at Emmanuel (1994–2005).[2][3] His many respected publications on the origins of the crusading movement and the motivations of the first crusaders have deeply influenced current historiography of the crusades.[6]

He was appointed a Knight of Grace and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.[7]

Personal life

Riley-Smith was a convert to Catholicism.[5] He married Louise Field, a portrait artist, in 1968.[8][9] Their three children include the singer/songwriter Polly Paulusma.

Jonathan Riley-Smith died on 13 September 2016.[10]


In an appreciative obituary, a senior colleague described Riley-Smith as "quite simply the leading historian of the crusades [of his generation] anywhere in the world".[11]


  • The Knights of St John in Jerusalem and Cyprus, c. 1050–1310 (London, Macmillan, 1967, reprinted 2002)
  • Ibn al-Furat (1971). Jonathan Riley-Smith (ed.). Ayyubids, Mamlukes and Crusaders: Text. 1. Translation by Malcolm Cameron Lyons, Ursula Lyons. W. Heffer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ibn al-Furat (1971). Jonathan Riley-Smith (ed.). Ayyubids, Mamlukes and Crusaders; selections from the Tarikh al-duwal wa'l-Muluk. 2. Translation by Malcolm Cameron Lyons, Ursula Lyons. Cambridge: W. Heffer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Feudal Nobility and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1174–1277 (London, Macmillan, 1973, reprinted 2002)
  • What Were the Crusades? (London, Macmillan, 1977, 2nd edition 1992, 3rd edition Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2002)
  • The Crusades: Idea and Reality, 1095–1274, with Louise Riley-Smith (London, Edward Arnold, 1981)
  • The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (London and Philadelphia, Athlone/ University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986, paperback US 1990, UK 1993)
  • The Crusades: A Short History (London and New Haven, Athlone/ Yale University Press, 1987, also in paperback, translated into French, Italian and Polish)
  • The Atlas of the Crusades (editor) (London and New York, Times Books/ Facts on File, 1991, translated into German and French)
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, editor (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995, paperback 1997, now reissued as The Oxford History of the Crusades, paperback, 1999, translated into Russian, German and Polish)
  • Cyprus and the Crusades, editor, with Nicholas Coureas) (Nicosia, Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East and Cyprus Research Centre, 1995)
  • Montjoie: Studies in Crusade History in Honour of Hans Eberhard Mayer, editor, with Benjamin Z. Kedar and Rudolf Hiestand (Aldershot, Variorum, 1997)
  • The First Crusaders, 1095–1131 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, paperback 1998 and 2000)
  • Hospitallers: The History of the Order of St. John (London, The Hambledon Press, 1999, also in paperback)
  • Al seguito delle Crociate Rome (Di Renzo: Dialoghi Uomo e Societΰ, 2000)
  • Dei gesta per Francos: Etudes sur les croisades dιdiιes ΰ Jean Richard, editor, with M. Balard and B.Z. Kedar (Aldershot (Ashgate), 2001)
  • The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (Columbia University Press, 2008)
  • The Knights Hospitaller in the Levant 1070–1309 (Basingstoke, 2012)


  1. Andy Soltis; Richard Johnson (5 May 2005). "Knight Clubbing - Historians' Jihad Vs. 'Heaven'". New York Post. Retrieved 25 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jonathan Phillips (19 September 2016). "An appreciation of the great historian of the Crusades". History Today Ltd. Retrieved 21 January 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 George Garnett (6 October 2016). "Jonathan Riley-Smith obituary". Scholar of the Crusades whose books promoted the public’s interest in his subject. The Guardian, London. Retrieved 10 August 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Jonathan Riley-Smith (21 April 2009). What Were the Crusades?. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-137-14250-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Jonathan Riley-Smith, historian of the medieval Crusades - obituary". Daily Telegraph, London. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Jonathan Riley-Smith on the Motivations of the First Crusaders | Andrew Holt, Ph.D". Retrieved 15 September 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Order of St John". The Gazette. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 10 August 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Cambridge colleges head porters in portrait show". BBC News. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith 1938-2016". Cambridge University. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. David Abulafia (August 2017). "Obituary: Jonathan Riley-Smith 1938-2016". History at Cambridge. Faculty of History, Cambridge. Issue 9: 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links