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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on the Near East
(1985)

VII: The Population of the Crusader States,   pp. 295-314 PDF (7.5 MB)


Page 295

VII 
THE POPULATION 
OF THE CRUSADER STATES 
 opulation pressure was stressed by pope Urban II in his famous speech at
Clermont. Speaking of the condition of France, he is alleged by Robert the
Monk to have said: "This land in which you live, surrounded on one side by
the sea and on the other side by mountain peaks, can scarcely contain so
many of you. It does not abound in wealth; indeed, it scarcely provides enough
food for those who cultivate it. Because of this you murder and devour one
another, you wage wars, and you frequently wound and kill one another. .
. . Begin the journey to the Holy Sepulcher; conquer that land. "1 This overpopulation
was hardly true of northern France, whatever the condition of the area near
Clermont, but it may have been true of the fighting class from which the
crusaders were drawn, although too many of the others went along. Since each
knight was drawn from almost 
 A short account of medieval population is Josiah C. Russell, "Population
in Europe 500-1500," Fontana Economic History of Europe, ed. Carlo M. Cipolla,
I (London, 1972), pp. 25-70. A longer account may be found in Russell, Late
Ancient and Medieval Population (Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, n.s., 48, no. 3; Philadelphia, 1958), and there is information about
the population of 1250-1348 in his Mediaeval Regions and Their Cities (Newton
Abbot, 1972). 
 On Syria a brief account appears in Hans Prutz, Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzuge
(Berlin, 1883; repr. Hildesheim, 1964), pp. 91—107; see also Joshua
Prawer, A History of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (2 vols., Jerusalem,
1963), I, 459—461 (in Hebrew, for which Professor Prawer kindly supplied
me with a translation). Excellent studies of crusading cities are Jean Sauvaget,
Alep (Paris, 1941) and "Le Plan antique de Damas," Syria, XXVI (1949), 314—358.
Very good information is given by Emmanuel 0. Rey, especially in his Les
Colonies franques de Syrie au XIIe et XIIIe siècles (Paris, 1883).
The Palestine Exploration Fund has published valuable reports on their excavations
in their Quarterly Statements. The Encyclopaedia of Islam gives much information
about Moslem persons and cities. On conditions of rural settlement see Claude
Cahen, "Le Régime rural syrien au temps de la domination franque,"
Bulletin de Ia Faculté des lettres de Strasbourg, XXIX (1950—1951),
286—310. On efforts to bring western colonists to settle villages see
Prawer, "Colonization Activities in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem," Revue
belge de philologie et d'histoire, XXIX (1951), 1063—1118, and on the
economic conditions of the seignory of Tyre his "Étude de quelques
problèmes agraires et sociaux d'une seigneurie croisée au XIIIe
siècle," Byzantion, XXII (1952), 5—61; XXIII (1953), 143—170.
1. James A. Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary Survey (Milwaukee, 1962),
p. 19. 
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