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The twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the Levant saw a substantial rise in the number of droughts. This coincided with some of the most violent tectonic activity the region had witnessed. Nature, however, could conjure other powerful disasters: swarms of locusts, armies of mice, scorching winds and thick dust storms.
The data for this research is drawn from contemporary Arabic and Latin sources. The main aim is to try and determine the long and short-term repercussions of environmental disasters on the political, military and social affairs in the Levant during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. Did environmental disasters spur or hinder conflict?
This research examines the most destructive disasters and gradual climate changes within a broader historical context.
Sarah Kate Raphael, Ph. D. (2008), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Currently works as an archaeologists in Jerusalem. She has published articles on the medieval Levant and a book, Muslim Fortresses in the Levant: Between Crusaders and Mongols (Routledge, 2010).
"The study contributes to a new and crucial recognition of links between climate and human history."
– Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
"The study of Raphael gives a good synopsis and expands our knowledge particularly about the influence of droughts and earthquakes in the Levant"
– Thomas Wozniak, Institut für Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Philipps-Universität, Marburg