IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 218: The Pleasure of Crusading, II: The Pleasure of Being Killed

Monday 1 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Society for the Study of the Crusades & the Latin East / Centre for Medieval Literature, Syddansk Universitet, Odense & University of York
Organiser:Kurt Villads Jensen, Institut for Historie, Kultur & Samfundsbeskrivelse, Syddansk Universitet, Odense
Moderator/Chair:Sini Kangas, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture & Art Studies, University of Helsinki
Paper 218-aIn the Company of Martyrs?: The Wonderful Death by the Hands of Baltic Pagans
(Language: English)
Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen, Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier / Cultural Encounters in Pre-Modern Societies, Aalborg Universitet
Index terms: Crusades, Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities
Paper 218-bSweet Delights of Crusading: Earthly Pleasures, Physical Sufferings, and Spiritual Joys in the Crusade Propaganda of the 13th Century
(Language: English)
Miikka M. Tamminen, Department of History, University of Tampere
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 218-cThe Emotional Rhetoric of Crusader Spirituality in the Narratives of the First Crusade
(Language: English)
Stephen Spencer, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London
Index terms: Crusades, Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities

Crusading was an act of love and combined extreme pride in fighting for a lofty cause, and extreme humility in fighting to the ultimate, to martyrdom. The pleasure of crusading is explored in two sessions, ‘The Pleasure of Being Killed’, and ‘The Pleasure of Killing’.

Paper -a:
In this presentation, I will analyze different kinds of ‘Christian deaths’ as these are depicted in the chronicles from the Baltic Crusades, i.e. the Livonian Chronicle of Henry (c. 1227), the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (c. 1290), the Prussian Chronicle of Peter of Dusburg (c. 1326) and the Chronicle of Prussia by Nicolaus von Jeroschin (c. 1341). I will investigate these sources to establish whether specific groups or persons were singled out to meet specific kinds of death, hoping hereby to establish their inherent ‘taxonomies of death’ in these texts. Finally, I wish to discuss the development of such taxonomies over the course of the Baltic crusades.

Paper -b:
The crusade preachers were largely responsible for spreading the crusade message and promoting the movement during the 13th century. In the crusade sermons the preachers often made a distinction between ‘good’ Christians and ‘false’ Christians – the crusaders and the ‘anti’-crusaders. The differences between these groups were highlighted in the sermons by illustrating from where the two took their pleasures. The ‘anti’-crusaders were interested in temporal joys, while the crusaders enjoyed spiritual delights and aimed to have eternal pleasures inheaven. The crusade preachers also explained to the participants of the movement that crusading journeys were difficult, burdensome, and full of suffering. Still, these tribulations of the crusaders would be sweet and easy to endure. The paper will explore the delights of crusading as presented in the crusade sermons. I will examine the relations between carnal pleasure, physical suffering, and spiritual pleasure in the crusade ideology.

Paper -c:
Over thirty years ago Jonathan Riley-Smith demonstrated how crusading was conceived and promulgated as an act of Christian charity, encompassing love of God and love of neighbour but excluding love for one’s enemies. Yet love was only one element within a broader spectrum of emotions associated with crusading spirituality.

By analysing representations of fear and weeping in the Latin narratives of the First Crusade, this paper argues that emotions and affective displays function as indicators of participants’ piety. It will firstly be suggested that fear of death was primarily illustrative of a deficiency of faith – that, rather than fearing death, the idealised crusader unflinchingly placed their hope in God and, in several of the texts, joyously sought martyrdom for Christ. It then considers depictions of weeping – including tears of joy – as an instrument for invoking divine assistance and as evidence of participants’ dedication to Jerusalem.