University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

IV: Financing the Crusades,   pp. 116-149 PDF (13.4 MB)


Page 144

 144 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES 
if he did not, countless other crusaders continued to sell or pledge their
lands or chattels to make the great journey. 
 Corporative finances remained in the thirteenth century a superstructure
reared upon the solid base of individual finances. The reasons for this fact
may be sought partly in the nature of the crusade, child of the individual
pilgrimage and the individualistic chivalry, but partly also in the cost,
which was greater not only than any individual could sustain but than any
medieval state or corporation, even the church, was able or willing to afford.
The evidence for the whole cost of any of the great expeditions is not forthcoming,
but some idea of its magnitude can be obtained for Louis IX's first crusade.
A fourteenthcentury account of the French government says the crusade cost
the king over 1,537,570 li.87 It has been estimated that Louis financed between
one half and three fifths of the crusaders,88 and if this calculation is
correct, the whole cost of the crusade might have been between 2,500,000
and 3,000,000 89 The possibility of error in this figure is great, but it
may help to put in perspective the relative value of individual and corporative
sources of crusade finance. To begin with the largest corporate sums, the
twentieth of their income paid by the clergy for the crusade of 1248 was
probably in the neighborhood of 750,000 li. over the whole five-year period.90
The alms, legacies, redemptions, and usuries of the church would have added
somewhat more to corporative support, as did the Templars and Hospitallers.
Aides and tailles added still more: his towns may have contributed as much
as 274,000 li.~' But when all allowances are made, it seems unlikely that
half of the costs of the crusade came from corporative sources. The rest
still had to be raised by the individual crusaders from savings, current
income, or borrowings. 
 Something more can be said of the costs of the crusades for the various
ranks of participants. For Louis's second crusade in 1270 a document has
preserved the gist of the contracts made between the king and a number of
crusaders he took into his pay. 92 The terms var 
87. RHGJ~ XXI, 404. 
 88. Strayer, "The Crusades of Louis IX," p. 494. 
 89. Franco Cardini, "I Costi della crociata," in Studi in Memoria di Federigo
Me/is, 5 vols. (Naples, 1978), II, 179—210, concludes that in the first
quarter of the fourteenth century a modest crusade would cost more than 360,000
li., one of 40,000-50,000 combatants about 1,200,000 ii. per year. 
 90. Gottlob, Kreuzzugssteuern, p. 49, gives 760,000 li.; Strayer, "The Crusades
of Louis IX," p. 491, roughly 950,000 Ii., but I cannot replicate his calculations.
 91. See William C. Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade (Princeton,
1979), p. 98. 
 92. RHGP XX, 305—308; but cf. ibid., XXIII, 732—734. 


Go up to Top of Page