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Victory and Defeat

Series 1 - Episode 3 Victory and Defeat



There’s enough material in the centuries of holy war for several long series, but presenter Thomas Asbridge has had just three programmes. Just as well, then, that he’s a deft summariser, able to shift between sweeping historic overviews and close detail of the battles.

In this excellent final episode, we’ve reached the Seventh Crusade, launched by Louis IX of France (Saint Louis, if you prefer) against Egypt. However, Asbridge is more interested in the epochal clash between the Mongol hordes that swept in from Asia and the incredible military machine of the Mamluks.
You won’t have heard of the Mamluk sultan Baybars, but he was, Asbridge argues, “the true Islamic champion of the Crusader age”.


Dr Thomas Asbridge explores how the military confrontation between Christians and Muslims concluded in the 13th century, and visits France to find out more about Crusade leader King Louis IX, who saw his hopes of achieving victory ebb away on the shores of the River Nile in Egypt. The programme also examines the crucial role played in the final outcome by a blue-eyed Muslim warrior called Baybars.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Thomas Asbridge
Director James Gray
Executive Producer John Farren
Producer James Gray
Series Producer Chris Wilson