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

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

Page 117

availability of more money and credit made both saving and borrowing easier.
Though the situation changed thus during the crusading era, it is well to
emphasize at the beginning that the crusades were always financed. When Urban
II issued his call for the First Crusade, he recognized specifically that
his crusaders would have to collect the money necessary for their expenses.
Then and later there were some who took the vows but could not themselves
find the money to pay the costs of their journey. In the financing of the
crusades Innocent III saw the key to their success or failure: "If the money
be not wanting, the men will not be wanting."2 
 Like the palmers who had made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land for so many
centuries, the crusaders were individually responsible for carrying out their
vows.3 How could the individual crusader finance his journey? He might look
first to his current income, but it will be shown later in this chapter that
few crusaders had sufficient cash income both to pay their obligations at
home and to support themselves decently on a crusade. If one was wealthy
enough to support himself from current income, then he had to arrange to
resupply himself with money as he needed it. The Holy Land lay beyond a long
and dangerous passage by land or sea, and the receipt of money from home
was correspondingly uncertain. On Louis IX's first crusade a shipment of
money to the king was lost at sea, though at least one nobleman planned to
send home to resupply himself.4 From the middle of the twelfth century, it
is true, the Templars provided facilities for the transfer of crusaders'
funds, and merchants came to provide similar services by lending money in
the east to be repaid in the west. 
 Many crusaders, however, may have hoped to support themselves with plunder.
The mob led by Peter the Hermit and others like it undertook to support themselves
by robbing fellow Christians in Hungary and Greece. The Jews were robbed
as well as murdered by some of the crusaders. More justifiable was the booty
won from the Moslems. On the First Crusade the booty of the Moslem armies
defeated at Dorylaeum and at Antioch, as well as the tribute and ransom of
those who had the misfortune to dwell in the path of the crusaders from Antioch
to Jerusalem, all enriched the Christians. Stephen of Blois wrote home from
Antioch that he had more silver and gold than when he left 
2. Mansi, Concilia, XXII, 958. 
 3. On pilgrimages and pilgrims see Henry L. Savage, chapter I in volume
iv of the present work. On crusaders' private financial arrangements see
Constable, "The Financing of the Crusades," pp. 70—84. 
 4. Matthew Paris, Chronica majora, ed. Henry R. Luard (Rolls Series, 57),
v, 239, and vi, 
155— 162. 

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