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

II: Crusade propaganda,   pp. 39-97 PDF (14.2 MB)

Page 39

A. The Preaching 
 n 1095 Europeans were already familiar with the constituent notions of the
crusade. When Urban II preached at Clermont, the Christian expansion in Spain
and Sicily that had been characteristic of the third quarter of the century
was well within living memory, and much of it was contemporary history even
to the younger men. In spite of that, the propaganda for the eastern crusade
seems to have introduced a new note of almost hysterical aggression. There
had been two earlier stages. The idea of meritorious fighting against the
enemies of God had been characteristic of the wars between Catholics and
Arians; directed specifically against Moslems, in a somewhat imprecise form,
it dated back to the ninth century, to the attacks on Rome and the settlements
in southern Italy. Then European morale had only just sufficed: 
"lest the Arabs should behave too insolently too long, and say ' Where is
their God?', God turned the hearts of the Christians, so that their desire
to fight was stronger than their old desire to run away." 
 Then with the ~ sing-momenturnof European aggression against the Arabs jpthe~courseofthe~i~yenthcentury,~there
was a revolutionary change of tone. The companions of count Roger, like the
first captors of Barbastro, were adventurers come to exploit the relative
weakness of Arab Sicily and the Spain of the taifas; though the~Cantar del
Cid and the Heimskringla Saga were written later, they seem ~o~fl~[~ry well
the spirit of the Varangian, "scourge of the Saracens", and of the Cid, who,
"born in a lucky hour", made his living from the booty of the Moors.2 These
men were successful professionals who made aggression into big business.
The recovery of morale was complete. It is equally and immediately obvious
that they were not religious enthusiasts, and that war was in the air. 
 1. Liutprand of Cremona, Antapadosis, II, 46 (MGH, SS, III, 297). 
 2. R. Menéndez Pidal, ed., Cantar de mio Cid (Madrid, 1913), passim;
Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla Saga, partly translated as King Harald's Saga
by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson (London, 1956), p. 51. 

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