Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
I: The Crusade in the Fourteenth Century, pp. 2-26 ff. PDF (9.6 MB)
4 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III Jerusalem in 1187. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, the crusading spirit had been slumbering throughout Europe. Now the time was ripe for action, but the calamities and humiliations which had befallen the Christian hosts in the past indicated the need for better organization and a greater measure of harmony in the future. Thus the crusade in the fourteenth century passed through two distinct stages. The first was that of propaganda, consisting mainly of literary works by numerous thinkers and pious travelers who planned the passagium and advised the leaders on the elements of a successful campaign. The second comprised positive action in a series of expedi tions conducted against the Moslem states in the Near East. The first phase occupied roughly the first half of the century, while the second followed as a natural corollary to propagandist efforts on behalf of the crusading cause. In a number of cases we find that propagandists also took part in some of the memorable crusading campaigns of the later Middle Ages. In regard to the crusading terrain, the fourteenth century pre sented a broader arena. In 1096, when Godfrey of Bouillon em barked with the blessing of pope Urban II on his momentous journey to the Near East, the medieval world was still very limited in dimensions. Beyond the confines of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, if we except certain areas on the western shores of India, the rest of the globe was enveloped in the thick mist of oblivion.4 It was not until the age of the later crusades that the clouds began to lift and the imagination came to perceive the alien regions of Central Asia and the Far East. This immense growth in the size of the known world was, in part, a by-product of the later crusades. Even though the movement lacked the full vigor and the spectacular achievements of the early crusades, its later history brought forth results of a more enduring value for mankind. It is true that the traditional scene of action remained as before in the Levant, and the eyes of all Chris tians remained fixed on the land of promise, but the crusading mind traveled much farther into limitless Cathay with the adventurers and missionaries who opened up the eastern route to Khanbaliq ("Cam baluc," Peking) in the heart of Asia. The idea of collaboration with the Mongols, who had become a growing factor in world politics and who shared with the Christians an abhorrence for the Moslem Mam luks, was regarded as basic to the foreign policy of the papacy and its 4. For a full discussion, see John Kirtland Wright, The Geographical Lore of the Time of the Crusades (New York, 1925), and a more recent work by I. de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys to the Great Khans (Stanford, 1971).
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