By Jonathan Riley-Smith
Regardless of a number of experiences at the improvement of crusading notion, the 1st campaign itself has no longer been correctly tested from this angle. Drawing on more than a few eu chronicles and constitution collections, this publication discusses the launching of the 1st campaign, the sensible adventure of the crusaders and the interpretations positioned upon this adventure through modern commentators.
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26 And although we should never underestimate the importance of the non-combatants and the poor we should not overestimate it either. We shall see, for instance, that the so-called peasant armies were run by knights and probably contained almost as many knights as the other armies did. 36 The First Crusade There is, in fact, a significant body of material dating from the eve of the crusade which purports to reveal the feelings of the magnates, castellans and knights on taking the cross. It is made up on the whole of their charters in favour of churches and monasteries.
Beyond this, the Holy Land was the physical inheritance, the patrimony, of Christ. No passage of scripture was to be more often quoted in connection with crusading than the opening words of Psalm 78 (79): 'O God, the heathens are come into thy inheritance'. In the context of eleventh-century thought and devotion the view which prevailed until recently, that Urban's primary aim was to help the Greeks and that in his mind Jerusalem was secondary, in the sense that the restoration of the eastern church in general would lead 22 The First Crusade 35 to its liberation in the end, is untenable.
The crusade was preached at a time of severe agricultural depression caused by a succession of bad harvests due to drought. 54 Extraordinary measures were taken to raise cash by those who acted as financiers. 55 A commitment to crusade, therefore, involved heavy expenses and real financial sacrifices, and the burdens on families were even heavier if several members chose to go. This was common. 77 I have put down here only the closest relatives; the point would become even more striking were I to add more distant ones.
First Crusade and The Idea of Crusading by Jonathan Riley-Smith