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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years
(1969)

VII: The Councils of Piacenza and Clermont,   pp. 220-252 PDF (13.0 MB)


Page 220

VII 
THE COUNCILS OF PIACENZA 
AND CLERMONT 
The crusade was first proclaimed by Urban II at the Council of Clermont on
November 27, 1095. So we must believe, unless evi dence of earlier publicity
is found. Some have thought that the pope preached the crusade earlier in
the same year at the council which he held at Piacenza, but if this was the
case, what he said failed to produce any widespread popular response. To
be sure, contemporary writers were not immediately impressed by the his torical
significance of his November speech, and, as Chalandon 
 The crusade inspired considerable contemporary historical literature, but
is not mentioned in any existing document written before the Council of Clermont,
and seldom in sources that appeared before the undertaking had come to a
successful end. For letters which give in formation about the beginning of
the movement, consult P. Riant, Inventaire critique des iettres historiques
des croisades (AOL, I, i88i), pp. 5—224. The letters of Gregory VII
are found in MGH, Epistolae selectae (ed. E. Caspar), II, and any others
that contain references to immediate antecedents are in H. Hagenmeyer, Epistulae
ci chartae ad historiam primi belii sacri spectantes: Die Kreuzzugsbriefe
aus den Jabren io88—iioo (Innsbruck, 1901). For the Council of Piacenza
the chief source is Bernold of St. Blaise, Cbronicon (MGH, SS., V): 
Bernold died in i ioo. See D. C. Munro, "Did the Emperor Alexius I Ask for
Aid at the Council of Piacenza ?" AHR, XXVII (5922), 73 5—733. 
 The earliest account of the Council of Clermont and its antecedents is that
of Fulcher of Chartres, GestaFrancorurn iherusalern peregrinantiuin (ed.
11. Hagenmeyer, Heidelberg, 1913). Fuicher was an intelligent, observant
man who had read the classics at Chartres. He went on the crusade and spent
the rest of his life in the east, and although he wrote the first part of
his history about 1101, he may have revised it later. See on this D. C. Munro,
"A Crusader," 
Speculuni, VII (1932), 321—335. 
 Another contemporary historian who had first-hand knowledge of the east,
having accompanied the crusaders in iioi, was the German, Ekkehard, author
of a universal chronicle. About i i i, he wrote his Hierosolymita, an account
of the crusade, which was intended to be a part of his Chronicle (ed. H.
Hagenmeyer, Tdbingen, 1877), and which contains some observations about conditions
just before the crusade. 
 Three other historians of the crusade, who did not accompany the expedition,
but were at the Council of Clermont, wrote their accounts in the early twelfth
century: Guibert of Nogent (Historia quae dicitur Gesta Dci per Francos,
in RHC, 0cc., IV) was a well-educated and critical person for his time —
"the theologian" of the crusade, Villey calls him. Most of Guibert's history
is based on the anonymous Gesta (see the following chapter), but the reflections
and observations in the first part of his work are very interestinganduseful.
Another historian who, like Guibert, undertook to put the material in the
Gesta in what was then regarded as good literary form, was Baldric of Dol
(Historia Jerosolimitana, RHC, 0cc., IV), who wrote about I 107—1110.
Robert the Monk (Historia Hierosoly?nitana, RuG, 0cc., III) also used the
Gesta as the source of his history, but added other information, including
an account of the council at Clermont. His work was very popular, and was
not written before 1122, according to C. Cahen (La Sync du nord c l'poque
des croisades, Paris, 5940, p. so, note i). Another contemporary, William
of Malmesbury (Gesta regum, ed. W. Stubbs, Rolls 
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