Tag Archives: First Crusade

The crusades: Step by step through a spectacular mess


medieval miniature painting of the Siege of An...

Medieval miniature painting of the Siege of Antioch - First Crusade

After lecturing the other day to Bethel undergrads on the feudal system (the defining reality of “those who worked”), and before outlining the idea of sacramentality and the sacraments in the Middle Ages (a central notion and rituals for “those who prayed”), I laid out what many of “those who fought” were doing between the 11th and 15th centuries.

They were going on Crusades.

That is, they were seeking to reclaim the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in general for Christendom.

[Again, sources for this part of the lecture include several lectures from the Teaching Company, e.g., http://teachingcompany.12.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=2605]

Jerusalem was the center of the world for medieval Christians—and for hundreds of years, Christians had been making pilgrimages there. Yet since the 7th century, Jerusalem and the surrounding area had been controlled by the Muslims, whose massive growth from the 7th through the 11th century came at least partially at the expense of formerly Christian territories. Continue reading