Vignettes of the Crusades & the Papal

Vignettes of the Crusades & the Papal (i.e. Pope) / the Church’s Influence on Secular Society


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-Historical Context: What is the historical context of these primary sources?  How many years do these writing span?


Questions & Content:


-In Document One – Leo I – Peterine Doctrine, what essentially is the “Peterine Doctrine” and according to Western Catholic Christianity, what power does it give the Pope / Bishop of Rome? Cite textual evidence to prove your point.


-In Document Two – what essentially is Pope John VIII justifying and rewarding if someone serves in defending the Church from “heathen” attack?  Cite textual evidence to prove your point.


-In Documents Three – what does Ralph Glaber believe is occurring and / or will soon occur because of the dawn of the New Millennium of the 1000’s AD / CE (hint: Judeo-Christian End-Time Prophecies and Eschatology)? Cite textual evidence to prove your point.


-In Document Four – What does Pope Urban II call for and why?  What geographical on the globe does he target and why is this important to Christian End-Time Prophecy and Eschatology?  Cite textual evidence to prove your point.


-In Document Five – What happened as a result of the Battle of Hattin? In other words, who won, how did they win, and what area was won?  Who wrote the account and which side do they represent?  How would the result of the Battle of Hattin affect the Christian Medieval mind that already believes they are living in the “new millennium” or the end-times?


-Looking at each writing as a whole piece, connect the themes of each source.  What do these sources show us and how do they reveal the power, scope and influence of the Church upon Medieval society?  Was the concept of “Freedom of Religion” foreign to the Medieval European mind?


Historical Significance: What is the historical significance of these sources?  How did the Church interpret “worship and devotion” at this time in history?  Think back to reading from the Gospel of Luke?  Do the ideas presented in these primary sources seem to conflict with Jesus’ ideas in the “Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount”?  Why and how so?  Extend and Predict: At this point, Bibles were not available to the majority of the population.  Furthermore, most could not read in Medieval Europe.  How might these primary sources cause people to question the Church when literacy and printed copies of Bibles became more available throughout Europe in the late 1400’s and throughout the 1500’s.  What movement might begin as a result?



  1. I) Medieval Sourcebook – Leo I: The Petrine Doctrine [r.440-461]:

SERMON III. On His Birthday, Iii: Delivered On The Anniversary Of His Elevation To The Pontificate.

  1. From Christ and through S. Peter the priesthood is handed on in perpetuity.

Although, therefore, dearly beloved, we be found both weak and slothful in fulfilling the duties of our office, because, whatever devoted and vigorous action we desire to do, we are hindered by the frailty of our very condition; yet having the unceasing propitiation of the Almighty and perpetual Priest, who being like us and yet equal with the Father, brought down His Godhead even to things human, and raised His Manhood even to things Divine, we worthily and piously rejoice over His dispensation, whereby, though He has delegated the care of His sheep to many shepherds, yet He has not Himself abandoned the guardianship of His beloved flock. And from His overruling and eternal protection we have received the support of the Apostles’ aid also, which assuredly does not cease from its operation: and the strength of the foundation, on which the whole superstructure of the Church is reared, is not weakened(1) by the weight of the temple that rests upon it. For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the chief of the Apostles is perpetual: and as that remains which Peter believed in Christ, so that remains which Christ instituted in Peter. For when, as has been read in the Gospel lesson(2), the LORD had asked the disciples whom they believed Him to be amid the various opinions that were held, and the blessed Peter bad replied, saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living GOD,” the LORD says, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and flood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father, which is in heaven. And I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.”

III. S. Peter’s work is still carried out by his successors.

The dispensation of Truth therefore abides, and the blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he undertook. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ. And still to-day he more fully and effectually performs what is entrusted to him, and carries out every part of his duty and charge in Him and with Him, through Whom he has been glorified. And so if anything is rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the mercy of GOD by our daily supplications, it is of his work and merits whose power lives and whose authority prevails in his See. For this, dearly-beloved, was gained by that confession, which, inspired in the Apostle’s heart by GOD the Father, transcended all the uncertainty of human opinions, and was endued with the firmness of a rock, which no assaults could shake. For throughout the Church Peter daily says, “Thou an the Christ, the Son of the living GOD,” and every tongue which confesses the LORD, accepts the instruction his voice conveys. This Faith conquers the devil, and breaks the bonds of his prisoners. It uproots us from this earth and plants us in heaven, and the gates of Hades cannot prevail against it. For with such solidity is it endued by GOD that the depravity of heretics cannot mar it nor the unbelief of the heathen overcome it.


[Note: pagination of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Vol XII, edition, preserved] 117

trans. C.L. Feltoe, in Sermons of Leo The Great , in Library of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol. XII, (New York: 1895) [reprinted since by variety of publishers], p. 117


  1. II) Medieval Sourcebook – Pope John VIII: Indulgence for Fighting the Heathen, 878

John VIII to the bishops in the realm of Louis II [the Stammerer]. 

You have modestly expressed a desire to know whether those who have recently died in war, fighting in defence of the church of God and for the preservation of the Christian religion and of the state, or those who may in ‘he future fall in the same cause, may obtain indulgence for their sins. We confidently reply that those who, out of love to the Christian religion, shall die in battle fighting bravely against pagans or unbelievers, shall receive eternal life. For the Lord has said through his prophet: “In whatever hour a sinner shall be converted, I will remember his sins no longer.” By the intercession of St. Peter, who has the power of binding and loosing in heaven and on the earth, we absolve, as far as is permissible, all such and commend them by our prayers to the Lord.


Thatcher and McNeal attribute this text to “John II,” but this appears to be a typographical error since John II ruled in 523.. The pope who was ruling in 878 was John VIII (872-882). [Thanks to a correspondent for pointing out the problem here.]

In Migne, Patrologia Latina, 126: 816
trans. Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 512


III) Medieval Sourcebook – Ralph Glaber: On the First Millennium of 1000’s AD / CE:

From Ralph Glaber, Miracles de Saint-Benoit (from Migne, PL 142:655ff)

[Coulton Introduction] Ralph Glaber was put by his uncle to a monastic school, and took the vows in due course. His wandering and somewhat irregular life was partly spent in the Monastery of St. Bénigne at Dijon, and seems to have ended at Cluny somewhere about 1044, at which date his Chronicle finishes. In spite his crabbed style, he is one of the very few French chroniclers of the tenth and eleventh centuries who are worth reading: “it is, with the Miracles de Saint-Benoit, the most precious source we possess for manners and ideas in France at the end of the 10th and beginning of the 9th century” (G. Monod, in Revue Historique 28, p 272). Certain exaggerated deductions drawn from him by modern writers, as to the overwhelming significance of the year A.D. 1000, have been corrected by Jules Roy in his admirable little monograph L’Anmille, Paris: Hachette 1885)- It was not only at and about this date that our forefathers expected strange events: the medieval mind was perpetually haunted by the expectation of Antichrist, and even Sir Thomas More seems to have believed that the end of all things was at hand in his own days.
[Added Note, May 1997: Richard Landes ( informs me that Glaber did not write the Miracula of St. Benedict, but rather the Quinque Libri Historiarum. The quotations made by Coulton here are from all over theis work. For modern studies of the whole subject Look at the web page of The Center for Millennial Studies, especially the page on the Year 1000.



Warned by the prophecy of Holy Writ, we see clearer than daylight that in the process of the Last Days, as love waxed cold and iniquity abounded among mankind, perilous times were at hand for men’s souls…


So on the threshold of the aforesaid thousandth year, some two or three years after it, it befel almost throughout the world, but especially in Italy and Gaul, that the fabrics of churches were rebuilt, although many of these were still seemly and needed no such care; but every nation of Christendom rivaled with the other, which should worship in the seemliest buildings. So it was as though the very world had shaken herself and cast off her old age, and were clothing herself everywhere in a white garment of churches. Then indeed the faithful rebuilt and bettered almost all the cathedral churches, and other monasteries dedicated to divers saints, and smaller parish churches.. . When therefore, as we have said, the whole world had been clad in new church buildings, then in the days following that is, in the eighth year following the aforesaid thousandth year after. the Incarnation of our Saviour – the relics of very many saints, which had long lain hid, were revealed by divers proofs and testimonies; for these, as if to decorate this revival, revealed themselves by God’s will to the eyes of faithful, to whose minds also they brought much consolation. This revelation is known to have begun first in the city of Sens in ;Gaul, at the church of the blessed Stephen, ruled in those days by the archbishop Leoteric, who there discovered certain marvellous relics of ancient holy things; for, among very many other things which. lay hidden, he is said to have found a part of Moses’ rod, at the report whereof all the faithful flocked together not only from the provinces of Gaul but even from well-nigh all Italy and from countries beyond the sea; and at the same time not a few sick folk returned thence whole and sound, by the intervention of the saints. But, as most frequently befalls, from that source whence profit springs to men, there they are wont to rush to their ruin by the vicious impulse of covetousness; for the aforesaid city having, as we have related, waxed most wealthy by reason of the people who resorted thither through the grace of piety, its inhabitants conceived an excessive insolence in return for so great benefits.. . At that time, moreover, that is in the ninth year after the aforesaid thousandth anniversary, the church at Jerusalem which contained the sepulchre of our Lord and Saviour was utterly overthrown at the command of the prince of Babylon.. . . After that it had been overthrown, as we have said, then within a brief space it became full evident that this great iniquity had been done by the wickedness of the Jews. When therefore this was spread abroad through the whole world, it was decreed by the common consent of Christian folk that all Jews should utterly driven forth from their lands or cities. Thus they were held up to universal hatred and driven forth from the cities; some were Slain with the sword or cut off by manifold kinds of death, and some even slew themselves in divers fashions; so that, after this well-deserved vengeance had been wreaked, scarce any were found in the Roman world. Then also the bishops published decrees forbidding all Christians to associate themselves with Jews in an matter whatsoever; and ordaining that, whosoever would be converted to baptismal grace and utterly eschew the Customs or manners of the Jews, he alone should be received. Which indeed was done by very many of them for love of this present life, and impelled rather by fear of death than by the joys of the life everlasting; for all such of them as simulated this conversion returned impudently within a brief while to their former way of life.. . .


After the manifold signs and prodigies which came to pass in the world, some earlier and some later, about the thousandth year from our Lord’s birth, it is certain that there were many careful and sagacious men who foretold other prodigies as great when the thousandth year from His Passion should draw nigh.



  1. IV) Medieval Sourcebook – Urban II Speech at Clermont 1095By: Robert the Monk’s Versiion – Call for Crusades:


Introduction:This account of Urban II’s speech was written toward twenty-five years after Urban’s visit to France and does not claim to give more than a general idea of the pope’s arguments

In the year of our Lord’s Incarnation one thousand and ninety-five, a great council was celebrated within the bounds of Gaul, in Auvergne, in the city which is called Clermont. Over this Pope Urban II presided, with the Roman bishops and cardinals. This council was a famous one on account of the concourse of both French and German bishops, and of princes as well. Having arranged the matters relating to the Church, the lord pope went forth into a certain spacious plain, for no building was large enough to hold all the people. The pope-then, with sweet and persuasive eloquence, addressed those present in words something like the following, saying:

“Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race beloved and chosen by God, – as is clear from many of your works,- set apart from all other nations by the situation of your country as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor which you render to the holy Church: to you our discourse is addressed, and for you our exhortations are intended. We wish you to know what a grievous cause has led us to your country, for it is the imminent peril threatening you and all the faithful which has brought us hither.

From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth and has -repeatedly been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race wholly alienated from God, `a generation that set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God,’ violently invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire. They have led away ap art of the captives into their own country, and a part have they have killed by cruel tortures. They have either destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of their own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness….The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and has been deprived of territory so vast in extent that it could be traversed in two months’ time.

“On whom, therefore, is the labor of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you, you upon whom, above all other nations, God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength to humble the heads of those who resist you ? Let the deeds of your ancestors encourage you and incite your minds to manly achievements:-the greatness of King Charlemagne, and of his son Louis, and of your other monarchs, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the Turks and have extended the sway of Church over lands previously possessed by the pagan. Let the holy sepulcher of our Lord and Saviour, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially arouse you, and the holy places which are now treated, with ignominy and irreverently polluted with the filth of the unclean. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, do not degenerate; our progenitors., but recall the valor of your progenitors….

“Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage, and shall make his vow to God to that effect, and shall offer himself to him for sacrifice, as a living victim, holy and acceptable to God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead or on his breast. When, indeed, he shall return from his journey, having fulfilled his vow, let him place the cross on his back between his shoulders. Thus shall ye, indeed, by this twofold action, fulfill the precept of the Lord, as lie commands in the Gospel, ‘he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”‘

  1. V) Medieval Sourcebook – Ernoul: The Battle of Hattin, 1187Victory of Saladin the Magnificent


Introduction:Account of the Battle of Hattin, 1187 by a local Frank, “Ernoul”, written soon after 1197


“Now I will tell you about King Guy and his host. They left the spring of Saffuriya to go to the relief of Tiberias. As soon as they had left the water behind, Saladin came before them and ordered his skirmishers to harass them from morning until midday…

This hatred and scorn led to the loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

When the fires were lit and the smoke was great, the Saracens surrounded the host and shot their darts through the smoke and so wounded and killed men and horses. When the king saw the disadvantageous position the host was in, he called the master of the Temple and Prince Raynald and told them to give him their advice. They conselled him that he must fight the Saracens. He ordered his brother Aimery, who was the constable,[2] to organise the squadrons. He organised them as best he could. The count of Tripoli who led the advance guard at their arrival led the first division and was in front. This division included Raymond, the son of the prince of Antioch, with all his company and the four sons of the lady of Tiberias, Hugh, William, Ralph and Otto.[3] Balian of Ibelin and Count Joscelin made up the rear guard. Just as the divisions were being put in position and the battle lines ordered, five knights from the count of Tripoli’s division left him and went to Saladin and said, `Sire, what are you doing? Go and take the Christians for they are all defeated’. When he heard these words he ordered his squadron to move forward, and they moved off and approached the Christians. When the king was aware that Saladin was coming against him he ordered the count of Tripoli to charge. It is the right of the barons of the kingdom that when there is a host summoned by the king (ostbanie) in their lordship, the baron on whose land the battle is to take place leads the first division and is out in front, and on entering his land leads the advance guard and on leaving leads the rear guard. Because of this the count of Tripoli took the forward position, since Tiberias was his. The count and his division charged at a large squadron of Saracens. The Saracens parted and made a way through and let them pass; then, when they were in the middle of them, they surrounded them. Only 10 or 12 knights from the count’s division escaped them. Among those who escaped were the count of Tripoli and Raymond, son of the prince of Antioch, and the four sons of the lady of Tiberias. When the count saw that they were defeated he did not dare go to Tiberias which was only 2 miles away, for he feared that if he shut himself up in there and Saladin found out he could come and take him. He went off with what company he had and went to the city of Tyre. After this division had been defeated the anger of God was so great against the Christian host because of their sins that Saladin vanquished them quickly; between the hours of tierce and nones[4] he had won almost all the field. He captured the king, the Master of the Temple, Prince Raynald, Marquis Boniface, Aimery the constable, Humphrey of Toron, Hugh of Gibelet, Plivain, lord of Botron, and so many other barons and knights that it would take too long to give the names of all of them; the Holy Cross also was lost. Later, in the time of Count Henry (of Champagne, “Lord of the Kingdom of Jerusalem” 1192-7), a brother of the Temple came to him and said that he had been at the great defeat and had buried the Holy Cross and knew well where it was; if he had an escort he would go and look for it. Count Henry gave him his leave and an escort. They went secretly and dug for three nights but could not find anything; then they returned to the city of Acre.



This disaster befell Christendom at a place called the Horns of Hattin (Karnehatin) 4 miles from Tiberias on Saturday 4 July 1187, the feast of St. Martin le Boillant,[5] Pope Urban III (1185-7) governing the apostolic see of the church of Rome, Frederick (I Barbarossa) being emperor in Germany, Philip (II Augustus), son of Louis (VII), king of France, Henry (II) au CortMantiau, king of England, and Isaac (II), emperor in Constantinople. the news of it struck the hearts of those faithful to Jesus Christ. Pope Urban who was at Ferrara died of grief when he heard the news. After him (the pope) was Gregory VIII who was of saintly life and only held the (papal) see for two months before he died and went to God. After Gregory came Clement III (1187-91) to whom Archibishop Josias of Tyre brought a truthful account of the news as you will find written below. [6] When Saladin had left the field with great joy and great victory and was in his camp, he ordered all the Christian prisoners who had been captured that day to be brought before him. They brought to him first the king, the master of the Temple, Prince Raynald, Marquis Boniface,[7] Humphrey of Toron, Aimery the constable, Hugh of Gibelet and several other knights. When he was them all together before him he told the king that he would have great joy and would consider himself greatly honoured now that he had in his power such valuable prisoners as the King of Jerusalem, the Master of the Temple and the other barons. He ordered that a syrup diluted with water in a cup of gold be brought. He tasted it, then gave it to the king to drink, saying: “Drink deeply”. The king drank, like a man who was extremely thirsty, then handed the cup on to Prince Raynald.[8] Prince Raynald would not drink. When Saladin saw that he had handed the cup to Prince Raynald, he was irrittated and told him: “Drink, for you will never drink again!”. The prince replied that if it pleased God, he would never drink or eat anything of his (Saladin’s). Saladin asked him: “Prince Raynald, if you held me in your prison as I now hold you in mine, what, by your law, would you do to me?”. “So help me God”, he replied, “I would cut off your head”. Saladin was greatly enraged at this most insolent reply, and said: “Pig! You are my prisoner, yet you answer me so arrogantly?”. He took a sword in his hand and thrust it right through his body. The mamluks who were standing by rushed at him and cut off his head. Saladin took some of the blood and sprinkled it on his head in recognition that he had taken vengeance on him. Then he ordered that they carry the head to Damascus, and it was dragged along the ground to show the Saracens whom the prince had wronged what vengeance he had had. Then he commanded the king and the other prisoners to be taken to Damascus, where they were put in prison as was appropriate for them. “


1. Geoffrey of Franc Leuc was presumably a member of a family which had been in the Kingdom of Jerusalem from at least as early as the time of Baldwin II, and so was himself a polein, i.e. a man born in the East and not an immigrant. #Return to text at n. 1
2. Aimery of Lusignan, constable of Jerusalem by 1181 and later king of Cypurs and Jerusalem. #Return to text at n. 2
3. The four sons of Eschiva of Tiberias by her first husband. Ralph of Tiberias was later famous as a jurist. #Return to text at n. 3
4. i.e. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. This is probably allegorical, being the period Jesus was on the cross. #Return to text at n. 4
5. St. Martin of Tours is sometimes called “callidus”. July 4th , a day noted in this country for other reasons, is celebrated in the Roman Church for the saint’s ordination and translation. #Return to text at n. 5
6. This is not in the portion translated here, but to be found in the printed edition of Le Mas Latrie, p. 115. #Return to text at n. 6
7. Boniface of Montferrat is famous for his leadership of the 4th Crusade rather later. Presumably the reference here as elsewhere in the chronicle is to his brother, William 1135-88. #Return to text at n. 7
  1. Bernard Hamilton, “The Elephant of Christ: Reynald of Chatillon”,Studies in Church History15 (1978), 97-108 traces the career and impact of the man who has most claim to have brought about the Hattin Campaign and the end of the First Latin Kingdom. #Return to text at n. 8



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