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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years

Preface,   pp. xxi-xxiii ff. PDF (1.2 MB)

Page xxi

 Some years ago, our late colleague John L. LaMonte remarked that modern
crusading historiography has expanded notably in two directions.1 First,
the chronological scope has been extended to include not only the background
of the eleventh century and even earlier, but also what have sometimes been
called the "later crusades" of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Second,
there has been in recent years a more extensive consideration of those aspects
of civilization in the eastern Mediterranean and its hinter land which affected
both the launching of the crusades and the development of the Latin states.
The present volume, the first in the series, illustrates both these tendencies.
It is appropriate, for example, that it include a discussion of the manifold
problems which confronted the government of Constantinople, the origins and
consequences of the schism of 1054, and the stake of Byzantine diplomacy
in the Near East. Equally significant are such matters as the history of
the Selchükid Turks, the vicissitudes and divisions of the caliphate,
and the major movements within Islam. 
 Within European Christendom two lines of development were to converge in
the First Crusade: pilgrimage and the holy war. The first is the older of
the two, indeed, nearly as old as Christian ity. As the practice developed
it received direction and ultimate ly became associated with the penitential
system of the church. Deeply ingrained in western thinking, the idea of pilgrimage
in spired even the most worldly of the crusaders. The Norman ad venturer,
Bohemond, did not assist his fellow warriors in the capture of Jerusalem
because he was busy securing valuable terri tory elsewhere for himself. But
he did fulfil his vow to visit the Holy Sepulcher later. In papal exhortations
and in medieval nar ratives the crusade is a pilgrimage, the "way to Jerusalem".
The notion that war against the infidel could be a holy thing is in Christian
history a distinctively western development. The Byzan tine emperor Heraclius,
it is true, restored the Holy Cross to Jerusalem. And something resembling
the crusade idea seems to 
 1 John L. LaMonte, "Some Problems in crusading Historiography," Speculurn,
XV (1940), p. 60. 

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