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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

V: The Fourth Crusade,   pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)


Page 158

158 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II 
had been conducting a revivalist campaign in the regions around Paris. With
the license of his bishop he had been traveling about, preaching to great
crowds of people and flaying them for their sins, especially usury and prostitution,
and many tales were told of the sudden conversion of moneylenders and harlots,
and of the miracles of healing and other wonders that attended his preaching.
From November 1198 until his death in May 1202, Fulk devoted himself entirely
to the crusade. He undoubtedly succeeded in arousing among the common people
an immense, if short-lived, enthusiasm. Contemporaries generally testify
to his large influence.<15> 
The first nucleus of an expeditionary force came into existence late in November
1199, at a tournament held in Champagne at count Theobald's castle of Ecry,
attended by counts, barons, and knights from the counties of Champagne and
Blois and from the lie de France. There count Theobald himself and count
Louis of Blois took the cross, and their example was followed by many other
jousters. Geoffrey of Villehardouin, who apparently was present and took
the cross with the others, begins his narrative of the actual expedition
with this incident; except for the unreliable Ernoul, no other contemporary
chronicler mentions it. Nothing in Villehardouin's account implies that Fulk
of Neuilly was present at the tournament. Instead, the taking of the cross
appears as the spontaneous response of the lords to the prevailing excitement
over the crusade. Had Fulk been there, Villehardouin would scarcely have
failed to mention it. Yet later historians, especially the nineteenth-century
writers of the Romantic school, such as Michaud, have so popularized the
legend that Fulk in person won the nobles for the cross at Ecry that it still
appears in histories of the crusade.<16> 
 15 Innocent III, Epp., an. I, no. 398 (PL, CCXIV, col. 378), appears to
be an abbreviation of Innocent's commission, rather than a later supplement
to it, as argued by Gutsch, "Fulk of Neuilly, a Twelfth-Century Preacher,"
The Crusades and other Historical Studies Presented to Dana C. Munro (New
York, 1928), pp. 202 ff., and by E. Faral, in his edition of Villehardouin,
I, 4, note I. Villehardouin, Robert of Clan, Gunther of Pains, Rigord, Otto
of St. Blaise, Roger of Hoveden, Robert of Auxerre, and Ralph of Coggeshall
all note Fulk's extraordinary success as a preacher. Ralph of Coggeshall,
Chronicon Anglicanum (Rolls Series, LXVI), p. 130, reports that Fulk himself
claimed to have given the cross to 200,000 persons during three years of
preaching. He also was a most successful money-raiser. The funds were deposited
at Citeaux for the needs of the Holy Land. Ernoul (p. 338) tells how Cistercians
came to the east with some of the money for use in repairing the walls of
Acre, Beirut, and Tyre, all damaged by earthquakes. The Devastatio (MGH,
SS., XVI, 10; ed. Hopf, pp. 86-87) reports that the large sums in Fulk's
possession at the moment of his death were turned over by Philip Augustus
to Odo of Champlitte and the castellan of Coucy to be spent on the crusade.
 16 E.g., in Jean Longnon, L'Empire latin de Constantinople (Paris, 1949),
pp. 21 ff. See E. H. McNeal "Fulk of Neuilly and the Tournament of Ecry,"
Speculum, XXVIII (1953), 371 ff. 


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