IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1508: Crusades and Sagas

Thursday 12 July 2007, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Peter Jensen, Department of History, University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Moderator/Chair:Sigbjørn Olsen Sønnesyn, Centre for Medieval Studies, Universitetet i Bergen
Paper 1508-aLeiðangr and Crusade?: The Impact of the Crusading Movement in the 12th-Century North Atlantic Examined through a Philological Analysis of the Old Norse Concept Leiðangr
(Language: English)
Peter Jensen, Department of History, University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Index terms: Crusades, Military History
Paper 1508-bReligion and Honour in the Norse Crusades in the 12th Century
(Language: English)
Arnved Nedkvitne, Department of Archaeology, Conservation & Historical Studies, Universitetet i Oslo
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities
Paper 1508-cNorse Perceptions of Arabs and Muslims, c. 1100-1400
(Language: English)
Bjørn Bandlien, Department of History, Universitetet i Oslo
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities

Traditionally historians have only regarded the expeditions to the Holy Land as true crusades. From this point of view the history of the crusades started with Pope Urban’s call to the First Crusade in 1095 and ended with the loss of Acre in 1291. However, since the 1970’s the definition of a crusade has gone trough a huge expansion in space as well as in time. This expansion has raised many new areas of research and a new understanding of the way in which medieval Christian wars against enemies of faith were understood within the same ideological frame, whether the wars were fought in the Holy Land or in other places.

In this way crusades were fought everywhere on the periphery of the Latin Christendom and inside against schismatic heretics. The Danish historian Janus Møller Jensen has recently shown that the Crusading Movement as early as in the High Middle Ages probably influenced Christians of the North and their meeting with the pagans as far away as in Greenland. The sources, which can be used to examine the relationship between the Crusading Movement and Greenland in high medieval society, are few and the conclusions which can be drawn from this material are therefore uncertain. However, the subject is very interesting as it sets the scene for a closer look at the impact of the Crusading Movement in the whole North Atlantic in the High Middle Ages and to a more systematic examination of the skaldic poetry and the sagas which widely have been neglected in crusading history.