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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 304: Crusade Killing: Regulated or Indiscriminate?, III

Monday 3 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Centrum för medeltidsstudier, Stockholms universitet
Organiser:Kurt Villads Jensen, Historiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet
Moderator/Chair:Sini Kangas, School of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Tampere
Paper 304-aPathways to Violence: The Influence of Memory and History at the Battle of the Springs of Cresson
(Language: English)
Ronan O'Reilly, University College Dublin
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities, Military History
Paper 304-bPilgrims and / or Pillagers: Crusading Attitudes in Profectio Danorum
(Language: English)
Paul Theissen, Department of History, University of Iceland, Reykjavík / Institut für Geschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Index terms: Crusades, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Military History
Paper 304-cMaking the Landscape Sacred
(Language: English)
Kurt Villads Jensen, Historiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities, Military History, Theology

In the period c. 1100-1300, many understood and presented the crusades as a kind of war that could only be justified if initiated and fought according to the criteria of just war, which insisted that war be used as a last recourse and only for the purposes of defence, and, when unavoidable, that violence be moderated, escalation avoided, and that it only be waged against other combatants (not against, e.g., women and children). In the same period, others argued that crusading could be justified by strong emotions, zeal for God, and in order to take revenge on those who had affronted or blasphemed against Christ. They all deserved to be killed, and crusading was in principle aimed at the total annihilation of the enemy. How did these two attitudes to crusading coexist in practise?

Paper -a: On the 1st of May 1187, Gerard de Ridefort, accompanied by a mix of Templar and Hospitaller knights as well as a contingent of knights from the king's garrison at Nazareth, charged a detachment of Saladin's army, which numbered approximately 7000 men, as they were retiring back across the river Jordon. The battle that ensued was a massacre for the Christian forces which saw all but four knights either killed or captured. Gerard's decision to charge was perplexing and it is therefore the aim of this paper to explore the role that memory and history played in potentially influencing Gerard's decision to charge.

Paper -b: 'More Viking raid than crusade' one often reads about saga-style Norse crusade accounts. However, despite focusing exclusively on a Norse perspective, De profectione Danorum in Hierosolymam instead follows the style of other contemporary Latin accounts of the Third Crusade- often slavishly so. All the more remarkable are some striking deviations from those conventions. From the split call to action to a very ambivalent outcome, many events occur twice: the identities of 'Christian' and 'warrior' appear remarkably separate, and the crusaders fluently switch between them without ever mixing the two. So how can pilgrim and Viking coexist in the mind of a Danish crusader?

Paper -c: The crusaders' victory was the end of fighting, but the beginning of changing the newly conquered land fundamentally. New symbols, buildings, colours and new sounds were introduced in order to facilitate the conversion of peoples with another religion. But why was the physical world actually so important for beliefs, conversion, and crusader warfare?