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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 148

 148 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES 
be worth roughly 80 li. a year.'°4 If a knight had only 80 li. a year
income and it cost him about that to maintain himself in the Holy Land, then
he had nothing with which to prepare and transport himself as well as to
provide for his estate and family in his absence. In other words, current
income was insufficient for the simple knight to finance a crusade. For the
higher ranks of the feudality the matter is more complex: if a baron had
an income of several hundred pounds, he could have gone on a crusade as a
simple chevalier and paid the cost from his current income. But such a course
of action would have violated the mores of the time; he was expected, in
the words of Gregory IX, to take a "decent company" with him.105 Thus Joinville
set out as the leader of a company of ten knights, a number he might have
supported for forty days in France, but which required him to pawn his lands
and still have no more than a third enough for his crusade. Again, if 3,000
li. was the amount required for a baron to keep ten knights in the Holy Land,
only a half a dozen or so of the barons of thirteenth-century England could
have supported such an expedition from their current income. 106 
 The crusade was the most expensive adventure of medieval chivalry, often
financially ruinous to the individual crusaders. Collective and corporative
methods of financing the crusades were imperative. Burghers, princes, and
popes made use of such methods almost from the beginning, their individual
resources being insufficient for the kind of expeditions they desired. The
general taxation which reached a climax in the Saladin Tithe offered hope
that a satisfactory financial structure might be created for the great enterprise.
But the Saladin Tithe had no real successors. It was the model for taxation
by princes for secular purposes; it was the model for taxation of the clergy
by popes who found other uses for their money. The Holy Land continued to
depend on armies essentially supported by private means, which were not sufficient,
and the failure to develop sufficiently fast and far social methods of financing
the crusades must be considered a factor in the loss of the Holy Land. 
 Like all wars the crusades were unproductive economically but had significant
economic effects through their financing. Not only did the crusade taxes
provide a model for later taxation on income and wealth, but the borrowing
and lending necessary for most of the crusaders 
 104. Stubbs, Constit utional History of England, 6th ed. (3 vols., Oxford,
1903), I, 287—288; Round, Feudal England (London, 1895), p. 295: 20
pounds sterling. 
105. Registres de Grégoire IX, I, no. 1070. 
106. Painter, Studies in the History of the English Feudal Barony (Baltimore,
1943), pp. 170- 
175. 


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