The First Crusade

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The First Crusade

There was curiously little pacifism in the High Middle Ages.
St Augustine, already by the fourth century, had formulated a theory of just
war (bellum justum), and subsequent clerics interwove his theory into a wider
ideology of Christian kingship. The ideal Christian king tried to avoid war or,
if war was unavoidable, tried to find honourable ways to re-establish peace
(‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’,
Matthew 5:9). The Christian prince whose lands were invaded without legitimate
reason or whose subjects were imperilled by the forces of a rival prince or by
rebellion would necessarily use war as an instrument of policy and could do so

War had rules – in time this elaborate set of rules became
known as chivalry. In the late eleventh century, it was widely accepted in
elite circles that non-combatants were not licit targets, unless they were
spies or harboured or supplied the enemy. Under special protection were those
considered as the most vulnerable non-combatants: women and children in
general, but especially widows and orphans, as well as priests, monks, nuns,
the aged and the infirm.

The just wars of the biblical past, for which the book of
Joshua provided textual proof, openly received the blessing of God. Had He not
made the sun stand still so that Joshua’s victory might be assured? (Joshua
10:12). In the most extreme statement of the case, it was said that wars
against non-believers who had attacked the people of God were waged by the
direct will of God. Apart from direct illumination from the Almighty, how
better to determine the will of God than to have a priest, preferably the high
priest, sanctify the war?

Jesus’s rebuke to Peter, who tried to defend him when he was
being taken prisoner in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion,
was the proof here: ‘Put up thy sword into the sheath’ (Matthew 26:52). The
sword of physical retribution was not to be wielded by the spiritual descendants
of St Peter – the clergy – but lordship over the sword still remained with the
clergy: ‘Put up thy sword.’ It therefore rested with the Church, according to
some ecclesiastical theorists, to determine how and under what conditions
secular rulers could legitimately unsheathe and wield the sword of physical
retribution. This was not in conflict with the older ‘doctrine of the two
swords’ – one, spiritual (humiliation, malediction, excommunication,
interdict), to be employed by the Church to coerce open but recalcitrant
sinners; the other, temporal (physical force), to be employed by secular
rulers. Rather, it clarified the traditional doctrine of the two swords by
explaining the Church’s superintendence of temporal authority.

There was a centuries-old liturgy of war that emphasized
certain other aspects of the intimate relationship between the clergy and
righteous military violence. Ideally there was general fasting before battles
were waged, and the clergy present in the entourage of the army celebrated
votive masses, asking for victory and promising eternal devotion to God. The
priests blessed the commanders and their troops and gave sermons of
exhortation, the spiritual equivalent of the secular commanders’ harangues.
They led the faithful in hymns and responsive readings like Psalm 20 (Vulgate
19), with the famous verse, ‘Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we
will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen:
but we are risen, and stand upright.’

Also drawing on the stories in the biblical Book of Joshua
of the conquest of the Promised Land, the clergy and the commanders
commemorated victory, suggestive if not self-evident testimony, when and if it
came, of the justness of their cause. They did so in part by following the
example of the ancient Hebrews, who, at God’s command, despoiled their beaten
enemies during the conquest of the Promised Land (e.g., Joshua 8: 26–27). They
also obliged the army to hear mass, to rededicate itself to the vows of
devotion with which the soldiers had prepared for battle, and to honour the
weapons of war in the cult of military relics.

So, already in the eleventh century elite thinkers and other
high-born people knew what a just war was and how it should be fought, even if
they did not live up to their ideals. The Peace and Truce of God had done much
to disseminate and popularize some of these ideals, but a particular set of
events in the late eleventh century helped to create a more remarkable type of
just and holy war – the crusade.

There was, it has been argued, a significant strain of
millenarian feeling in eleventh-century western European society. This was
perhaps slightly more characteristic of the earlier part of the century, but it
may be that millennial and apocalyptic movements of a more or less popular
character were in train throughout the century. The idea of a decisive colossal
confrontation between the forces of good and the servants of evil was at the
prophetic centre of several of these movements.

Jerusalem and its liberation, and more particularly the
deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre, the Tomb of Christ, from pagan domination,
loomed large in apocalyptic discourse. (In the eleventh and into the twelfth
century Christians in northern Europe tended to regard Muslims as pagans.)
Jerusalem was being used as a first name for girls in the West (Riley-Smith,
1997, p. 33), evidence of the penetration of its image into popular
consciousness; and pilgrimages to Jerusalem from the West, relatively uncommon
from the seventh to the tenth century, began to increase in frequency in the
tenth. They became fairly common in the eleventh and also on occasion
enormously large. In 1054, one band of such pilgrims numbered 3,000. Seven
thousand Germans are said to have joined together to make the Jerusalem
pilgrimage in 1064–5.

Reports of various Muslim victories over Near Eastern and
Spanish Christians and of the gestures that sometimes followed fuelled the
smouldering hatred and desire for vengeance by western Catholics. In October
1086, the Muslim victors at the battle of Sagrajas in Spain had the heads of
the Christian victims gathered up into wagons and in a gruesome procession the
wagons made their way down the peninsula and thence through North Africa with
their rotting trophies. Pope Gregory VII himself, a decade or so before, seems
to have envisaged the papacy’s retainers, the fideles of St Peter, as a
possible army, to be accompanied by him, for delivering eastern Christians from
the onslaught of their Muslim enemies and also for redeeming Jerusalem. Because
of the Investiture Controversy and perhaps lingering doubts about the
appropriateness of direct papal involvement in fighting, the fantasy never
became reality, and important features of genuine crusade ideology, such as the
penitential vow of the troops, were lacking in his vision, but Gregory’s
musings helped inspire and sustain other images of a just war of liberation in
reform circles.

After his election in 1088, and being obliged to vie with
the imperial anti-pope Clement III for backing, Pope Urban II cast about for
support in numerous ways. In part owing to the Peace Movement a close
relationship had emerged between local aristocracies and a number of powerful
monasteries, especially in France. Focusing on prayer – the prayers of the
monks for the ancestors and living members of these aristocratic lineages – the
relationship implicitly and sometimes explicitly raised the hope of these
aristocrats’ salvation because of the good work they did in protecting the
monastic life, the highest form of the Christian life and, by extension,
Christendom in general. In practice, protection was ordinarily achieved by
persuasion or the threat of force rather than by the actual use of force
against would-be malefactors. But when persuasion and threats failed, the
application of force against those who attacked monks and other vulnerable
Christians was believed to be righteous in itself.

Force in the service of retributive justice (the bellum
justum) was carefully distinguished from the fury and chaos attending ‘petty’
disputes among lords, the acts of internecine violence (guerrae, the origin of
our modern word ‘war’) that had plagued the Central Middle Ages and helped
excite the Peace Movement in the first place and which were still thickly woven
into the fabric of social life in the late eleventh century. But Urban II or
one of his advisers, drawing on the legacy of Gregory VII and inspired by pleas
for help from eastern Christians, took another decisive step in the development
of the idea of the crusade. The same lords who protected monks could protect
Christendom east and west by directing their violence against the Muslim
invaders and conquerors of the eastern Mediterranean, including the Holy Land.

There is some uncertainty as to the rewards the pope
promised these would-be soldiers in his famous sermon at the Council of
Clermont in southern France on 27 November 1095. But there is no doubt that the
idea of fighting to regain the Holy Sepulchre or to help fellow Christians in
the east was in the air and met a genuinely enthusiastic response. Although the
mutual excommunications of pope and patriarch of Constantinople in 1054,
emphasized so much in traditional interpretations, had exacerbated tensions
between the western and eastern churches, they had not set them in malignant
combat or reduced all mutual feelings of respect to nothing.

At the Council of Clermont shouts went up of ‘God wills it!
God wills it!’ in response to the pope’s words. He appealed to lords and
lordlings to put aside their petty strife, which would lead them to hell, and
instead to take up the Cross, to offer their lives to save threatened
Christians. Would there be sin in killing their enemies in what was clearly
conceived of as a just and holy war? No. Would there be remission of sins in
some wider sense, a wiping clean of the slate or immediate entrance into
paradise if one died in the effort? The pope might have been carried away and
uttered ambiguous words on this occasion or on any of the many subsequent
occasions on which he gave similar speeches in favour of an expedition to the
east. Certainly some of his audience that first day and many others later on
believed that faithfully fighting in such an expedition would be rewarded with
full forgiveness of all past sins and that death in such fighting was equivalent
to martyrdom. Although learned churchmen understood and stressed the
penitential nature of crusading, they were far more insistent on the limited
nature of the forgiveness that joining or dying on a crusade might entail.

The pope recognized from the moment he addressed the crowds
in Clermont that he had touched a well-spring of militant devotion. He
continued in future sermons to make the same plea and to urge those lords who
responded to make firm plans for an expedition in the spring of 1096. It may
well be that some of the enthusiasm at subsequent councils and rallies in late
1095 and early 1096 was scripted, with supporters of the pope’s plan
strategically planted in the crowds to get the chanting of ‘God wills it!’
started. It may also be the case that the genuine enthusiasm of the moment
sometimes ebbed in the weeks that followed, as lords came to recognize the
dangers and expense of the long and otherwise unpredictable journey they were
going on. Fear of dying in a far-off place when one’s expectation had been to
be buried in the choir of the family church, or at least in Christian soil,
troubled their souls. It would later be stipulated that the flesh could be
buried but the bones of dead crusaders had to be brought back for separate
burial in their native lands.

All these apprehensions notwithstanding, the crusading
movement, once started, grew exponentially in territories like France, the
southern Low Countries, and those parts of Italy where the legitimacy of
Urban’s pontificate was recognized. And, given its later successes, attributed
to the intervention of God (He simply worked through the Franks), it raised
disturbing questions about the evident lack of imperial sponsorship for the
project. Emperor Henry IV was well aware of this, for at one point he offered
to join the crusade himself. But as he would not yield on the point of lay
investiture, his offer came to nothing.

Pope Urban II encouraged those who took the vow to prepare
conscientiously, and the principal leaders, including many Flemish, Rhine-land,
northern French and Provençal barons – though in the end no king – ultimately
settled on 15 August 1096, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin,
as the date of departure. However, it was difficult to co-ordinate and control
efforts that were taking place all over northwestern Europe, and what is
sometimes known as the Peasants’ Crusade or Popular Crusade – the expeditions
of several dispersed groups under the leadership of various itinerant preachers
and knights – set off in the late spring. A small group at Rouen in Normandy
helped set the violent and almost anarchic tone of these early expeditions by
massacring several Jews in the city. Another of these groups, somewhat better
commanded by a knight known as Walter the Penniless (Sansavoir), left France
and travelled through Germany and Hungary, making it to the outskirts of
Constantinople by July. A third group, led by the charismatic preacher, Peter
the Hermit, arrived there by the end of July, but on their way these poorly disciplined
troops provoked any number of bloody and, for them, humbling skirmishes with
Hungarian and Byzantine soldiers.

Many of the earliest crusaders never made it, even to
Constantinople. The disorder and depredations of one group, whose leader was a
priest by the name of Gottschalk, provoked the Hungarians, through whose lands
they were marching, to destroy them. An otherwise unknown preacher named
Volkmar led his followers to a similar fate in Nitra on the Hungarian border
with Bohemia, but only after they had violently attacked the Jews of Prague.
The most notorious of the bands was led by the Swabian Count Emich of Flonheim.
He and his followers, inspired in part by the desire to loot but mainly, it
seems, to force the Jews’ conversion, carried out a series of violent attacks
in the Rhineland, repercussions from which would reach down the centuries.

Before they left Germany on their way to the east and were
themselves cut down by Hungarian forces, Emich’s men and other bands ravaged
the Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Metz and
Regensburg. In some cases, like Mainz, the entire Jewish population of these
towns was annihilated; at others (Regensburg is an example) nearly every Jew
was forced to convert to Christianity. Even where Christian authorities,
especially bishops, intervened to protect the Jews, the situation continued to
be ferociously dangerous. Occasionally, for example, Jews were dispersed into
the countryside to prevent the crusaders from besieging them en masse, but search
parties hunted down the refugees in villages and hamlets. On other occasions,
churchmen promised protection at the price of conversion. Most arresting,
perhaps, was that in several places Jewish resistance to the crusaders’ demands
for conversion assumed the form of voluntary suicide. Many Jewish women led the
way, urging the men of their communities to take their own lives rather than
convert. Parents also slaughtered their children as a supreme act of devotion.

There had been rare instances of mass suicide earlier in the
history of Judaism, but in 1096 and later years rabbis were troubled as to the
moral legitimacy of the suicides. In the end, they came to accept them and
subsequent ones as legitimate responses to the threat of forced conversion, and
generations of poets would celebrate the heroism of the martyr suicides and the
martyred children. Many of their names would be inscribed in memorial lists.
The poetry celebrating their sacrifice entered the liturgy of the synagogue, so
that the memory of the events of 1096 and of the martyrs and victims in later
crusades and at other crises would never be forgotten.

Oh, how the children
cried aloud!

Trembling, they see
their brothers slaughtered;

the mother binding her
son, lest he profane the sacrifice by shuddering;

the father making the
ritual blessing to sanctify the slaughter.

Compassionate women
strangle their own children;

pure virgins shriek

brides kiss their
bridegrooms farewell –

and all rush eagerly
to be slaughtered.

Almighty Lord, dwelling
on high,

in days of old the
angels cried out to You to put a halt to one sacrifice.

And now, so many are
bound and slaughtered –

why do they not
clamour over my infants?

(Carmi, 1981, pp.

Relations between Christians and Jews were affected in at
least one other way by the horrendous incidents of 1096. A fissure developed in
the Jewish community between those who seem to have developed a more restricted
understanding of proper Jewish life and those who went back to the way of life
they knew before. It is probably unfair to see the movement or sect attributed
to these hasidim or pietists of the Rhineland only as a reaction to the crusade
massacres, but that slaughter must have had an enormous impact in sustaining
the rigorous beliefs of those survivors who insisted on a more pious way of
living and an even greater avoidance of social and religious contamination by
contact with non-pious Jews, let alone Christians. The sect disappeared in
time; its ideas, embedded in an important body of texts, especially the Sefer
Hasidim (‘Book of the Pious’), have repeatedly inspired revival movements among
European Jews.


Although most of the contingents of the Peasants’ Crusade
never reached Constantinople, those commanded by Walter the Penniless and Peter
the Hermit did. The Byzantine emperor, Alexius, and his commanders were
suspicious of these rag-tag troops and, rather than have them bivouac for a
protracted length of time on the outskirts of the imperial capital, they
transported them across the straits to Asia Minor on 6 August. There the
crusaders split into several groups, largely along linguistic lines. A few
early raids were successful, but a large band of German crusaders was isolated
and defeated near Nicea and forced to convert to Islam and be deported
eastwards or, if they refused, to die. By 21 October, the main body of
crusaders, chastened by the slaughter of their comrades but still not coordinating
their operations competently, and with relatively ineffective military
intelligence, came face to face with overwhelming Turkish forces and were

Meanwhile, back in Europe, the Princely Crusade was in the
final stages of preparation. Powerful aristocrats commanded the various units,
and in each case the commander knew that his retinue had honed their skills in
battles at home. Long-standing and strong personal loyalties bound many of the
units as well. It is a myth that the crusaders were composed of landless young
knights; they tended to be mature and experienced men who left considerable
properties behind. The prominence of loyalty among these warriors did not mean
that there was always harmony within the units or that the various units
themselves coordinated their efforts effectively. Nevertheless, there was a
military ethos that informed the Princely Crusade in a way that it did not the
Peasants’ Crusade. Moreover, the new units were relatively better supplied than
their predecessors. Partly this was because the great aristocrats had much more
cash and credit at their disposal to buy equipment and other supplies. Partly,
however, it was a matter of timing: having departed at a later date, the new
crusaders had more liberty to plan, while also having the opportunity to
benefit from the harvests of 1096.

The chief princes and their crusader retinues began to
arrive in Constantinople in November and continued to arrive until May 1097,
and were steadily ferried across the Bosporus in anticipation of engagement.
Most of the commanders promised that, if they were successful, those lands they
conquered which had once been part of the Byzantine Empire would revert to the
Empire, a necessary concession if Byzantine troops were to complement their
efforts, as in fact they did for a time. According to the best estimates, the
crusade could count on more than 40,000 troops.

This enormous army appeared at Nicea on 19 June and overawed
the Turkish garrison, which surrendered to the Byzantines. A week later, the
crusaders set out for the interior and on 1 July defeated additional Turkish
forces at Dorylaeum. Forty-eight hours later they resumed their march,
traversing city after city of interior Asia Minor in the weeks that followed,
but eventually encountering another major Turkish force at Ereghli in early
September. Here, too, the crusading army crushed their enemies and sent the
remnants packing.

Two of the leading commanders, Baldwin of Boulogne and a
mercurial baron, Tancred, the son of Robert Guiscard, then took contingents
eastwards and south-eastwards, where they accomplished the reconquest of the
coastal cities of Anatolia, including Tarsus, which they knew as St Paul’s
birthplace. Baldwin followed up this success with the conquest of Edessa and,
after supplanting its Armenian prince, he set up the first crusader principality
there. Pressure was then put on the temperamental Tancred to rejoin the main
crusader army, which was engaged in the long siege of Antioch from 21 October
1097 until June 1098.

The successful conclusion of the siege, with only the Muslim
garrison of the citadel still holding out, led to the occupation of Antioch,
but a few days later a large number of Turkish reinforcements arrived and
surrounded the occupied city. At this point, a Byzantine army in reserve a few
miles from Antioch and under the direct command of Emperor Alexius might have
saved the situation, but the emperor’s military intelligence overstated the
size of the Turkish forces and the significance of their early successes. The
Byzantines therefore withdrew.

Out of this desperate situation arose the first great
sequence of events that would mark the crusade – in the crusaders’ minds at
least – as undeniably God’s work. Visionaries among the besieged claimed to
have received comfort and inspiration personally from Jesus. The Blessed Virgin’s
appearance was reported, as were the appearances of St Andrew and St Peter.
And, miracle of miracles, thanks to a poor peasant, a lance was found under the
floor of the Cathedral of Antioch which was said to be, though not everyone at
first credited the tale, the lance with which the centurion had stabbed the
dead Christ on the Cross (John 19:34). The Holy Lance, regarded as a relic, was
interpreted as a sign for the crusaders to abandon the relative safety of
Antioch’s defences and confront the Turks directly. On 28 June, they did just
that. Completely surprised and unnerved by the crusaders’ daring, the Turks
fled. Equally surprised by the failure of the Muslim army, the citadel
garrison, which until that moment had courageously held out, also surrendered
to the crusaders. Antioch, where the followers of Jesus were first called
Christians, was now entirely in crusader hands.

The crusaders believed that such success, like finding the
Holy Lance itself, was a sign from God, but success also bred strife. The
treachery of the Byzantine emperor, as some of the crusaders conceived it,
relieved them of the necessity of honouring their promise to return all
conquered lands to his authority. Other commanders demurred at forswearing
their solemn oaths. Presently disease afflicted the army, felling some of its
most gifted commanders and decimating the ranks. But despite this, the
bickering persisted: as they continued to debate future plans, what was and was
not pleasing to God became painfully and dangerously uncertain.

By January 1099 many of the rank and file were rallying
around lesser lords, who intended to bring order to the army by compelling
dissident commanders, by force if necessary, to put aside their disagreements
and resume the march. Force was necessary, it turned out (in the guise of an
attack on the fortifications of Raymond of Saint-Gilles, who favoured holding
to the agreement with the Byzantines), but it was followed by a sobering
rededication to the expedition. By February most of what was left of the army
was on the move, traversing Lebanon and reaching Palestine in May. On 6 June
Tancred conquered Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and on 7 June the bulk of
the army began the siege of Jerusalem. There were now approximately 15,000
troops left to do so.

They moved more quickly than they had at Antioch to end the
siege, storming the city on 15 July. The frenzy of the assault and the
slaughter were of epic proportions, as the crusaders took control.

Many of the Saracens [Muslims] who had climbed to the top of
the Temple of Solomon in their flights were shot to death with arrows and fell
headlong from the roof. Nearly ten thousand were beheaded in this Temple. If
you had been there your feet would have been stained to the ankles in the blood
of the slain. What shall I say? None of them were left alive. Neither women nor
children were spared. (Fulcher of Chartres, 1969, pp. 121–2).

A week later the victors elected Godfrey of Bouillon as
ruler – not king – of Jerusalem: Jesus was king. But they had learned something
from the experience at Antioch. The Muslims would undoubtedly send another
force to try to retake Jerusalem, and indeed an enormous Egyptian force invaded
Palestine in August. But on the twelfth of the month, crusader forces surprised
the Egyptians near Ascalon, on the Mediterranean coast about fifty miles west
of the Holy City, and utterly destroyed them.

The First Crusade had reached its emotional high point, and
it is customary to claim that the crusade more or less ended at this moment.
The setting up of principalities and the evolution of political and religious
life proceeded apace, but these hardly appeared to be aspects of the crusade
itself. In fact, the crusade was far from over. For the next twenty years, men
streamed into the Holy Land and fought any number of actions in the
extraordinary attempt to stabilize, expand and territorially consolidate the
Crusader States. These actions were the necessary coda of the more spectacular
conquest of Jerusalem and are properly considered part of the First Crusade.
What this almost continuous warfare ensured was that the political institutions
and social arrangements of the Crusader States would be skewed. What has
sometimes been said of Spain in the era of the Reconquest can be said even more
accurately of the Crusader States: they constituted a society organized almost
solely according to the exigencies of war.

One of the more distinctive features of this society was the
presence of military orders, well-organized associations of devout Christians
who cared for and provided protection for pilgrims, nursed the sick, and
ultimately took an active part in the military defence of the Crusader States.
Groups of people dedicated to the nursing of pilgrims probably existed before 1099,
but there were dramatic increases in the numbers of Christian pilgrims to the
Holy City from the time of the Christian reconquest onwards. Pilgrims to
Jerusalem characteristically, if not exclusively, were aged or sick; they came
to the city not for miraculous cures but in order to die where Christ had died.
It was in part due to the pressure of such numbers that the people ministering
to them organized themselves into formal orders. The earliest of these seems to
have been the Order of St John of Jerusalem, known more familiarly as the
Hospitallers. The Order of the Temple of Solomon or Knights Templars came into
being in 1119–20, originally to guard the pilgrimage routes.

The Hospitallers ran the great pilgrim hospital in the Holy
City, sometimes employing Jewish and Muslim physicians to help minister to the
sick. The hospital accepted both Muslims and Jews who needed care. Orphans of
war and abandoned children were taken in and put in the charge of female
nurses; when they came of age they were invited to join the Order. But, as was
typical of the military orders, the Hospitallers, while never losing their
original function, came more and more to be identified as a fighting force. The
Order’s great hospital, perhaps 1,000 beds or more, was often filled with the
wounded from its own battles.

The military orders, in their mature form, came to be
composed of knights who took monastic vows and vowed celibacy, priests who
carried out the spiritual functions of the order, sergeants from lesser social
backgrounds, and nuns who helped nurse women and children and who prayed for
the success of the Christian mission. They were international orders who owed
direct obedience to the pope and were supported by houses established
throughout Europe which both sent funds to the orders in the Holy Land and
provided venues for the retirement of older members of the orders. Their work,
in the heroic age following the conquest of Jerusalem, was deeply admired. To
St Bernard, who wrote in praise of the Templars, they represented a new order
of Christian knighthood. King Alfonso I of Navarre and Aragon (d. 1131) wanted
to give one-third of his kingdom to the Hospitallers to carry on their work.


The news in Christendom of the fall of Jerusalem and the
good work of devoted Christians confirmed, more than almost anything else
could, the spirit of renewal that had been articulated in the efforts at papal
and popular reform. Of the crusaders who lived and returned home to Europe, few
came back rich, and the difficult local conditions that had arisen on their
estates during their absence often demanded extraordinary efforts at
peacekeeping and restoration on their part. All of these men had lost kinsmen
and good friends in great numbers in the deserts and plains of the Near East.
Nonetheless, those who returned relished recalling their adventures – stories
of their suffering and courage that grew in the retelling into wondrous tales
of inspiration for generations to come.

Those who had failed to go on the expedition felt all the
more need to prove themselves as time went by. But the specialness of having
gone on the First Crusade was never lost. Families assiduously preserved the
memory of the participation of their ancestors. Other families who could not
count an ancestor on the expedition found it difficult to explain why this was
so, since nobility and the defence of Christendom were so closely related in
the aristocratic imagination. As time passed, some of these lineages ‘invented’
ancestral participants in the First Crusade by clever misreadings, whether
deliberate or inadvertent, of original chronicle reports (Murray, 1998, pp.
38–54). Surely, it might be said, if the family of so-and-so had gone off to
war in the East with a great entourage, and this family was closely connected to
one’s own, then it was only natural and right to suppose that in that entourage
one’s own kinfolk could be numbered. To have served Christendom in this,
allegedly the most righteous of its wars, was the crowning achievement of

Forschungsmitarbeiter Mitch Williamson is a technical writer with an interest in military and naval affairs. He has published articles in Cross & Cockade International and Wartime magazines. He was research associate for the Bio-history Cross in the Sky, a book about Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton’s career, in collaboration with the flier’s son, Dr Charles S. Eaton. He also assisted in picture research for John Burton’s Fortnight of Infamy. Mitch is now publishing on the WWW various specialist websites combined with custom website design work. He enjoys working and supporting his local C3 Church. “Curate and Compile“
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