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The Tarragona Vortex, Volume 1


The Tarragona Vortex

Volume 1. History Remembered, Revisited and Retold: Interpretations across the Millennia

Lawrence J. McCrank

Publication date: September, 2022

Pages: 1.159, colour

ISBN 978-615-6405-30-2                                Paperback, €110.00

ISBN 978-615-6405-47-0                                Hardcover, €198.00

eISBN 978-615-6405-54-8                              eBook, €110.00

Printed copies will be available from November 2022. Until then, you can pre-order your paperback or eBook copy at publishing@trivent-publishing.eu with a 40% discount.

For any unavailable copies on our website, please refer to our distributors: ISD LLC for North and South America and EUROSPAN for Europe and the rest of the world.

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Abstract  Download PDF

Preface   Download PDF


CHAPTER 1. Medieval Realities and Modern Historiography

  Prolegomena: Retrospection in the New Millennium and Metahistory

  1. Grand Themes and Historiographic Problems

  2. The Concept of the Frontier: Trans-cultural Ethno-historiography

  3. Traditional and Revisionist Historiographies

  4. Sources: Founts and Lacunae

  5. A New Synthesis: The Master Narrative Revisited

CHAPTER 2. Religious Experience in History and Beyond

  Prolegomena: Driving Forces. Conviction, Compliance, Identity and Devotion

  1. Religious Conversion: Psychology, Behavior, and Identity

  2. Reform Ideology and Renewal: Historical Restoration Theology

  3. Conditioning Agents: Immanence, Alterity and Transcendence

  4. Religious Fervor: Empowerment and Dedication

CHAPTER 3.  Religions at War: Universalism, Rivalry, and Violence

  Prolegomena: The Crux of the Matter -- Religions Do Not War; People Do

  1. Religion and Historical Agency in War and Peace

  2. The Islamic Modality: Motivation, Conditioning, and Mobilization

  3. The Force of Islām to be Reckoned: Friend or Foe?

  4. An Arsenal of Faith: Christianity’s Counterforce

  5. Just War Apologetics: Forethought and Regret Afterward

  6. After-Thoughts about Religions in World War

CHAPTER 4. Reconquest and Crusade: Evolving Complexity and Confused Paradigms

  Prolegomena: A Needless Polemic: Reconquest or Crusade -- or Both?

  1. Historiographic Debates: Old Questions and Continuing Battles

  2. Reconquest Historiography and the Crusades: Peninsular Perspectives

  3. Framework Revision for Reconsideration of the Western Theater

  4. Crusade Themes Extrapolated for Reconsideration in a New History

  5. The Tarragonan Crucible: The Admixture of All-the-Above

CHAPTER 5. History in its Environment: People on Land and Sea

  Prolegomena: Spatial Comprehension and Sense of Place

  1. The Iberian Peninsula: Perspectives from a Sub-Continent

  2. In the Middle of all Lands: The Mediterranean Basin

  3. New and Old Together: Human Geography and Political Mapping

  4. New Towns in Old Places: Late-Antique and Medieval Frontiers

  5. Changing Landscapes: Geographic Determinism and Human Will

List of Illustrations

Extended Table of Contents  Download PDF

Data sheet

Lawrence J. McCrank
Set Title
The Tarragona Vortex. Conquest and Reconquest, Liberation and Restoration of Christendom in the Frontiers of Aragó-Catalunya
Set ISBN (hardcover)
Set ISBN (paperback)
Set ISBN (eBook)
Trivent Medieval
Book series
Mediterranean Studies in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Book series editor(s)
Damien Kempf
Publication date
September, 2022
Page numbers

Specific References

This extensive bibliographic essay underpins the entire Tarragona Vortex study by focusing on this arena as one of the most contested frontiers in Western history, comparable to Jerusalem in the East, for broad issues of Romanization, Westernization, Islamization, and Christianization.  Its book length chapters treat (1) diverse historiographies from local and Spanish to comparative Mediterranean and Crusade History, and especially Ethno-historiography and the explanatory concept of frontiers; (2) the phenomena of religion conversion and reform, and the conditioning agents of Islām and Latin Christianity in practice and adversity; (3) religious universalism and violence, especially religious war; (4) the Crusade and Reconquest paradigms and century-long debate; (5) the environment on land and sea, and setting for this History. Although these themes are explored to include due reconsideration but avoid major digressions in its telling about Tarragona and the Tarraconensis, they underly so much of Late-Antique and Medieval historical research that this discussion pertains to the whole field of historical, cultural, and religious studies.

This multi-volume lifelong work features a millennium of history in a major frontier for the Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, and Latin Christians in North-East Iberia and Southern France from Late-Antiquity  through the Middle Ages, i.e., the 3rd to 13th c.,  that defined the political geography of the West – Southern Europe, the Western Mediterranean, and Spain. Focusing on Tarragona and its province of the Tarraconensis that became the Crown of Aragó-Catalunya, separate volumes in the series, each entitled as an individual book, treat (1) Historiography, key constructs, and reconsiderations about Religion; (2) foundational Roman Tarraco; (3) Hispano-Visigothic Tarracona; (4) Berber Tarrakūnah where the expansion of African Islām was stopped; (5) Terrachona and the restoration of Christendom; and (6) Tarragona as an epilogue, critical apparatus, and an extensive bibliography.

All the six volumes will be published by the end of 2024.


Professor and Dean Emeritus

Now retired after a 40-year career as a professor and dean / university librarian, your author has written 18 books, bibliographies, and 70 scholarly articles, and thus has been recognized in bibliometric studies as one of America’s most published academic librarians. His contributions are in two fields: (1) the Information Sciences and Library / Archives profession for Heritage studies (especially in Archives, Documentation, Curatorship and Library Special Collections, Codicology and Analytical Bibliography) and academic library administration, with a pioneering interest in computer applications from informatics to modern information systems (including one of the first books totally electronically published before widespread digitization); and (2) Medieval and Early Modern History (History of Archives, Libraries, Codicology and Analytical Bibliography, monastic history especially the Cistercians; Church History; and History of the American West). He is a Fellow of SAA (Society of American Archivists) and RSAT (Reial Societat Arqueológico Tarraconensis). After a start at the University of Kansas under a team of outstanding medievalists and as a student of the late Hispanist and AHA bibliographer, Spain’s knighted  Charles J. Bishko, at the University of Virginia where he earned his PhD (1974), he focused on Tarragona as an emblematic city and northeastern Spain’s federated Catalan and Aragonese regions and Occitania in southern France.

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