Here is some background and help with some of our material for this week and beyond. We have
material on Charlemagne left to finish in lecture: how developments of his regime contributed to the
High Middle Ages.
See Xerox Packet pp. 35b, 36, 39, 39a
Then we’ll discuss the reform movement of
century, which leads to the crusades.
We have two stages of chivalry:
1. Warrior chivalry—represented in the glorification of Christian knighthood in the Peace & Truce of
) and especially in the First Crusade
2. Romantic chivalry—the courtly love tradition represented by "The Knight of the Cart" (Lancelot).
Also, please read carefully the notes in our XP through page 39a, 41a, and page 46 (EPIC section)
See the documents on pages 114-116, 133-142, and 171-174 of
Reading in Hollister Reader is
listed on our syllabus and the homework sheet for week 10. The outline of material on the crusades is on
page 37 of the XP, and make sure to look at the map on page 37a showing Muslim expansion.
The crusades have obvious connections to earlier wars of Charlemagne, Clovis, and other kings who
combined a desire for conquest and expansion with a Christianizing "missionary" zeal to convert the
conquered. This gained them the support of the Church for their endeavors, and justification for these
wars. Charlemagne's wars were fought in the West (i.e. "at home"), and in that sense they were more
like defensive wars to protect the Church and Christians of the West. But this was not as true of the First
Crusade, which was fought in Jerusalem.
Pope Urban II agreed to send help in answer to the Emperor's plea for assistance in the Byzantine effort
to protect the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople, which were threatened, and to reconquer
Jerusalem, held by Muslims since the 7th century. In the 11
century, Jerusalem was conquered by the
Seljuk Turks, Turks from Central Asia who had converted to Islam, invaded the Islamic world and
conquered both Islamic and Byzantine territories in the 11
century. In 1071, the Byzantines suffered a
major defeat in Turkey at the battle of Manzikert as the Turks gained control of vast Eastern territories,
from Jerusalem to what is now Afghanistan. This continuing threat prompted the Byzantine Emperor
Alexius Comnenus to ask the Pope (as the head of a united Latin West) for military help. There was
concern among Christians to protect pilgrims and pilgrimage routes in the East which Muslim warriors
threatened and sometimes attacked.
The fighting took place in the East. In this sense, the First Crusade was both a defense of Christendom
and perhaps an attempt to expand the influence in the East of the Western Church and Pope.
words, this seems like a further stage of the warrior chivalry we see in Charlemagne's wars—
representative of an even more pronounced acceptance of Christian warfare—in the East and against
Muslims, and eventually also against Eastern Byzantine Christians! The crusades were "holy wars"—