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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

I: The Crusade in the fourteenth century,   pp. 2-26 ff. PDF (69.3 KB)

Page 6

never been extinguished. Men of the sword and men of the pen together with
a stream of pilgrims returning from Jerusalem helped to rekindle enthusiasm
for the cause by word of mouth and by the written letter. Indeed, it would
be idle to attempt to make a full list of the late medieval propagandists
and to outline their life and work. The fourteenth century in particular
is marked by an avalanche of literary propaganda covering almost all the
countries of Europe. 
 That propaganda was inaugurated by an eye-witness of the fight ing which
had taken place within Acre in 1291, one Thaddeus of Naples. He wrote a tract
of considerable interest under the title of Hystoria de desolacione. . .
tocius Terre Sancte. . . shortly after he had been forced out of Acre with
the rest of its Christian inhabitants. He describes himself as "Magister
Neapolitanus" and presents his work in the form of an Epistola addressed
to the whole of Christen dom. He describes the siege and the storming of
the city in a style designed to arouse the feelings of all Catholics for
the revival of the crusading movement against the enemies of the cross. He
exhorts all the princes of Europe to abstain from their local squabbles and
join their forces and efforts into one united body under the leadership of
the church militant in order to save the Holy Land, which he calls "our heritage."
 Thaddeus was a contemporary of pope Nicholas IV (1288—1292), whose
pontificate was an important landmark in the history of propaganda for the
crusade. Nicholas grouped around himself at the Roman curia a number of men
devoted to the cause, two of whom are worthy of special mention. Charles
II of Anjou, king of Naples, who had inherited his father's claim to the
crown of the kingdom of Jerusalem, was naturally interested in the affairs
of the east; he was also a papal vassal and as such collaborated with Nicholas
IV in his project of a passagium generale. The second advisor to Nicholas
was a Franciscan friar named Fidenzio of Padua, who had just returned from
a special mission to the east before the Moslem conquest of Acre. He drew
up his recommendations in his Liber recuperationis Terre Sancte. 8 He favors
a maritime blockade of the Mamluk empire, and he states that certain points
on the coast of Cilician Armenia would provide a fine base for military operations
against Syria and Palestine. His book deals with the routes as well as with
numerous details concerning the fleet and the land forces and other items
of interest to the pilgrim and the crusader. Perhaps the most vulnerable
7. Ed. Paul Riant (Geneva, [1873J). 
 8. Ed. G. Golubovich, Biblioteca bio-bibliografica della Terra Santa e dell'
Oriente francescano, 1st ser., II (Quaracchi, 1913), 1—60. 

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