Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
V: The Fourth Crusade, pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)
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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