Friday, December 23, 2016

Deus Vult! Part IV: Off to the Races

Continuing TOF's intermittent series on the Crusades. Hooray. I think.
Dudes, let's all go to the Holy Land and kick the Turks
out of Byzantium! Wear the pilgrim's cross when you go!

In Deus Vult! Part I, we reviewed four hundred years of muslim aggression against Christendom, a region known to the muslims by the subtly suggestive name "House of War."

In Deus Vult! Part II, we encountered the Standard Model of the Crusades as an unprovoked  incursion by boorish oafs (as well as oafish boors) into the suave and sophisticated House of Submission. No one thought to ask how all those muslims got all over everywhere in the first place.

 In Deus Vult! Part III, we noted that crusading was a crowd-sourced enterprise with voluntary participation. Participants were enticed by promises of suffering, impoverishment, and probable death. Who can resist inveiglement like that? But crusading was conceptualized as an act of charity and in the mental universe of the day, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the merit. Like any vassal, they were pledged to recover their lord's lost territories. The Lord in this case was Jesus H. Christ himself, and his lands were all the Middle East. This was not then an unrealistic goal: even Egypt was still about 50% Christian, and the lands more recently lost to the Turks were eminently recoverable. In fact, the Byzantines had briefly recovered some of them, only to lose them once more in the disaster following Manzikert. The crusade was less an organized military expedition than it was a joint pilgrimage undertaken by several thousand well-armed knights  initially with the purpose of restoring their Greek brothers' lost territories; then as it built up steam, of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem as a sort of protest movement.

Problem was, there' s a whole bunch of muslims sitting on it.

Right Makes Might

Set a later time, this map shows the division within Islam
between the"highlands" (green) and the "lowlands" (yellow),
which in 1098 were exemplified by the Saljūqs and Fatimids, resp.
The House of Submission was divided into two broad zones. The Highlands -- the mountainous plateaus that run from Anatolia eastward to the Hindu Kush -- was occupied by Saljūq Turks, nominally comprising a great Sultanate but actually a potpourri of subordinate emirs of varying degrees of independence and mutual hostility. The Lowlands were the desert borders more or less reigned on lightly by the Fatimid caliphs. The Abbasid Caliphate owned a spurious independence and pretended not to notice the Saljūq hand up their skirts working the arms and voice. The Turks had a Sunni disposition while the Fatimids were in deep Shi'ite. This added piquancy to the usual rivalry between the uplands and the lowlands.¹ Syria-Palestine, which lay in between the two, suffered the usual soccer ball fate of lands-that-lie-in-between, which is why the Christian pilgrims going there found an on-going state of turmoil going on. Neither the Saljūqs nor the Fatimids were in complete control of their vassals and disorder was the order of the day. 
1. Uplands vs. Lowlands. This goes back to the Hittites vs. the Egytians.

At the pre-game pep-rally at Clermont and elsewhere, Pope Urban set 15 Aug 1096 for the kick-off and a number of high nobility set about prepping for their journey: borrowing money, mortgaging properties, maxing out their credit cards, and so on as they assembled followers and such to travel together for fellowship, company, and protection.
Urban (II), bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful, both princes and subjects, waiting in Flanders; greeting, apostolic grace, and blessing.
...If, moreover, there are any of your people whom God has inspired to this vow, let them know that he (Adhemar) will set out with the aid of God on the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and that they can then attach themselves to his following.
Crusading was an expensive business, as noted in the previous episode, and the typical pilgrim-penitent did not especially expect to return hale and hearty, or even to return at all. Past history is no guarantee of future performance, as they say in the commercials, but the forces of Islam had been on a roll for a very long time, laying siege to both Rome and Constantinople, occupying and colonizing Spain and North Africa, conquering the ancient homeland of the Faith, and bedeviling the southern coasts of Europe in general. In fact, the last muslim franchise in southern Italy had been shut down only a few years before the crusade was called. So it's not as if the professionals expected a cake-walk to Jerusalem down a path strewn with rose petals.
Context: The Normans had conquered England only thirty years ago. They had recently finished reconquering Sicily from the Arabs and had made a credible stab at conquering the Balkans. Feisty folk, them Normans.
Kings were a drag on the market in the days before the modern centralized state. In fact, all three major kings -- England, France, and Germany -- were currently excommunicated and so had to wash their hair rather than answer the crusade. However, in medieval Europe you didn't need no stinking king to get things done. Hence, the myth that the crusades were undertaken by "second sons." As if there was something wrong with that. Several high lords gathered companies¹ at various points in Europe.

Godfrey of Bouillon. Crusaders were once celebrated on
trading cards, like ball players.
Godfrey of Bouillon, the Duke of Lower Lorraine (and not, alas, inventor of the bouillon cube) and his brother Baldwin of Boulogne (who ought to have invented bologna but didn't) gather a following at Bouillon, near Trier.  

Hugh, Count of Vermandois, known for obscure reasons as "Hugh the Great," brother of the French king, assembles a smaller band at Paris.

Bohemond of Taranto, a son of the late Norman ruler of Sicily, rallies his men in southern Italy. He is the lord who most intends to enrich himself from the enterprise and makes no bones about it. His family has not only extinguished muslim rule in Sicily, but drove out the last Byzantine strongholds too, after which they had invaded western Greece at about the same time as the Turkish victory at Manzikert. Bohemond's presence in the crusade does not exactly fill the Emperor Alexis with warm fuzzies.

Ray Toulouse takes the Oath
The greatest lord to respond to the Pope's sermon at Clermont is Raymond, Count of Toulouse, who controls wealth, lands, and armies larger than most kings, including the king of France, his nominal suzerain. Everybody loves Raymond. He is so inspired by Urban that he settles his lands and titles on his son and dedicates his life to God. He is older and more mature than the other lords, and the Pope apparently intends him to be the military commander-in-chief of the whole shebang. His bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, is papal legate to the enterprise. (And the Pope always regards Adhemar as the leader of the crusade. It was, after all, a religious pilgrimage.)

These lords mobilize their strength, organize their logistics for the trip to Constantinople (where they expect to be resupplied), and prepare to depart. But all that strategerizing bugs the 99%-ers.
1. company. This is a French term and meant literally "those who eat bread together."

Just Do It!

The Pope had requested that women, the poor, and others not embark on the pilgrimage:
 And we do not command or advise that the old or feeble, or those unfit for bearing arms, undertake this journey; nor ought women to set out at all, without their husbands or brothers or legal guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a burden than advantage. Let the rich aid the needy; and according to their wealth, let them take with them experienced soldiers. The priests and clerks of any order are not to go without the consent of their bishop; for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without permission of these. Also, it is not fitting that laymen should enter upon the pilgrimage without the blessing of their priests.

Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage and shall make his vow to God to that effect and shall offer himself to Him as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead or on his breast.

Wearing the cross on one's cloak was something done by all pilgrims. (On returning from the pilgrimage, they were to wear it on their backs.) But it is by dint of these crosses that they came to be called in later generations "crusaders." No one called them that at the time: they were "cross-bearers."

Again, note that this movement was conceptualized as a pilgrimage, not a "holy war." Obviously, the pilgrims would be armed or bring armed retainers because the Turks were not expected to hand the Byzantine territories back just because a bunch of pilgrims asked, however politely. Remember, the Turks were steppe nomads. The Arabs had long ago adopted the fruits of classical Greco-Hellenic civilization. In fact, like all new converts, the Turks regard the Arabs as being lax and having Christian cooties.  

But even though the Pope has called only for trained fighting men, nearly half of those who take the crusader's oath for what later generations will call the First Crusade are classed as pauperes; that is, "poor folk." By one estimate, 40,000 of the 90,000 fall into this group. (Kostick, 2008: 288) This mass movement will change the face of the crusade almost before it has started.

The Middle Ages was one of those unusual periods of human history in which the upper and the lower classes share the same fundamental world-view. However, they often differ in those details wherein the devil is said to dwell. Although the main basic function (as design engineers would put it) is to aid the Eastern Church and the "Byzantine" Empire against the Turkish threat, what moves the "99%" is an intoxicating vision of the liberation and purification of Jerusalem. For centuries, preachers (Jewish as well as Christian) have been creating a mystical vision of the "New Jerusalem" which at the end of days will come down from heaven and serve as the capital of the Messiah. Among the less-sophisticated poor, this allegorical vision is muddled with the physical city itself in far-off Palestine. The People are less interested in shoring up the borders of the Roman Empire than in the eschatology of the Holy City. (Brundage, 1964: 36)

Since in the medieval view, Right Makes Might, the masses see the careful preparations of the professionals as a lack of faith. (In this they are much like Trump supporters in their impatience with the "elites" and the "Establishment.") Why the delay, dudes? Just get moving, fer Christ's sake. God will provide! And so begins spontaneously one of the great migrations in European history, one that we might call in modern terms Occupy Jerusalem!

People with nothing to lose need little prep time. Shove a few victuals in a sack and off you go, confident that the people you meet along the way will be happy to feed and shelter you. Although Moderns, secure in their sense of self-superiority, have sometimes said that these folks had no idea how far off Jerusalem lay and confused every large city they encountered with Jerusalem itself, in reality, during the Age of Pilgrimages, most folks had a pretty fair notion of the distance and location of the Holy City and of the pilgrimage routes. A lot of people, after all, had already gone there and back.

For the most part, these pauperes went unarmed. For one thing, they could not afford weapons, and for another, there was no Second Amendment. (In fact, Laws like The Swabian Peace forbade the lower classes from possessing arms, or limited the size and nature of the arms they could carry.) But no worries. God will strengthen your arms. Woo-hoo! Power to the People! Deus vult, babycakes!

The People's Crusade

Peter the Hermit showing the way to Jerusalem, French illumination ca. 1270
Pulpit of John Capistrano
Stefansdom, Vienna
Sermons in those days were typically "stand-alone" and were given outdoors. They were not like the tepid "homilies" given nowadays at Mass. Cathedrals in Europe had outdoor pulpits to facilitate this, often on the town square, such as the one in Stefansplatz in Vienna. People packed lunches to go hear the sermons and a good preacher could pack 'em in with a sockwollaper of a sermon. This was before the Kardashians and Reality TV.

Among the most effective crusade preachers was Peter the Hermit. One history book in TOF's possession describes him as a "propagandist," a word which today carries implications of state-sanctioned spinning. However, it would be well to suppose that he was actually speaking from his heart. Not everyone is as cynical as a Late Modern. Peter was no one's mouthpiece but his own. He had attempted a previous pilgrimage, but had been hassled and driven out by the Turks. He now claimed to have a letter from heaven directing him to lead people to Jerusalem.¹ Guibert de Nogent, a contemporary, wrote of him:
Therefore, while the princes, who felt the need of many expenses and great services from their attendants, made their preparations slowly and carefully; the common people who had little property, but were very numerous, joined a certain Peter the Hermit, and obeyed him as a master while these affairs were going on among us.

He was, if I am not mistaken, from the city of Amiens, and we
have learned that he had lived as a hermit, dressed as a monk, somewhere in Upper Gaul. After he had departed from there -- I do not know with what intention -- we saw him going through the cities and towns under a pretense of preaching. He was surrounded by so great throngs of people, he received such enormous gifts, his holiness was lauded so highly, that no one within my memory has been held in such honor.

He was very liberal in the distribution to the poor of what he had received. He restored prostitutes to their husbands with gifts. By his wonderful authority he restored everywhere peace and concord, in place of discord. For in whatever he did or said it seemed as if there was something divine, especially when the hairs were snatched from his mule for relics. We do not report this as true but for the common people who love novelties. He wore a wool shirt, and over it a mantle reaching to his ankles; his arms and feet were bare. He lived on wine and fish; he hardly ever, never, ate bread.

His sermons were uncommonly persuasive and, contrary to the Pope's wishes, he called everyone: young and old, men and women, rich and poor to the crusade. And while most of his followers were pauperes, many were knights and lords. Alas, matters would have befallen better had Peter been less inspiring. While the great lords were marshaling their forces at Paris and Toulouse and Sicily, Peter roused the People to ditch everything and haul ass.

Or haul goose. A peculiar story, also recounted by Guibert and others, regards a holy goose that led the way.
"What I am about to say is ridiculous, but has been testified to by authors who are not ridiculous. A poor woman set out on the journey [pilgrimage], when a goose, filled with I do not know what instructions, clearly exceeding the laws of her own dull nature, followed her. Lo, the rumor flying on Pegasean wings, filled the castles and cities with the news that even geese had been sent by God to liberate Jerusalem. Not only did they deny that this wretched woman was leading the goose, but said that the goose led her. At Cambrai they assert that, with people standing on all sides, the woman walked through the middle of the church to the altar, and the goose followed behind, in her footsteps, with no one urging it on. Soon after, we have learned, the goose died in Lorraine; she would certainly have gone more directly to Jerusalem if, the day before she set out, she had made herself a holiday meal for her mistress. We have attached this incident to the true history so that men may know that they have been warned against permitting Christian seriousness to be trivialized by vulgar fables."
--Guibert of Nogent, ...Gesta Dei per Francos
 Albert of Aix alludes to the same story and calls it "another detestable crime in this assemblage of wayfaring people" who, he tells us, "were foolish and insanely fickle." A Jewish chronicler in Mainz also mentions the goose. Other writers have used this and other incidents to show that the peasantry of middle Europe had been incompletely Christianized and paganism still lingered. To us, it is fairly evident that this goose the woman had raised from a gosling had "imprinted" on her.²
1. carried a letter. This letter may actually have been one written by the Patriarch of Jerusalem on Peter's previous visit (cf. Peters: 108)
2. goose.
TOF had a friend in college who had a pet duck that followed him around in like manner, in consequence of which he was called "The Duck." Had Dave set off for Jerusalem, that duck would have followed him there.
Arms of commune
8 March 1096.  "In the year of the Incarnation of the Lord, 1096, in the fourth Indiction, in the thirteenth year of the reign of Henry IV, third august Emperor of the Romans, and in the forty-third year of the Empire, in the reign of Pope Urban II, formerly Odoard, on the eighth day of March,  Walter Sans Avoir,¹ a well-known soldier, set out ... with a great company of Frankish foot-soldiers and only about eight knights." (Peters: 104-105)

12 April. After gathering a following in France, Peter the Hermit proceeds to Cologne, planning to stop there and preach to the Germans and gather more followers. He tells Walter he will catch up later.
1. Walter Sans Avoir.
"Sans Avoir" in French means "without having" and he was mistakenly called "Walter the Penniless" by historians and translators in service of the modern myth of poor Europeans lordlings out to strike it rich; but he was actually the lord of Boissy-sans-Avoir in the Île-de-France and a well-known soldier.. 
To get where they're going, the People must cross Hungary. Different shadings on the map represent different ethnicities

K. of Hungary in the 1090s. Wikipedia.
8 May. Walter's French division reaches Hungary, where they are welcomed by King Coloman and are given permission to pass through the kingdom, which they do without incident until arriving at the Morava river on the Hungarian/Byzantine border. Walter crosses the river, but sixteen of his men turn back into Hungary and try to rob a market in Zemun (a/k/a Mallevila, now part of Belgrade) across the river. They are stripped of their armor and clothing, which the Hungarians hang from the castle walls.¹

 When the sixteen catch up with Walter in Belgrade proper, he decides it is too far to turn around and take revenge. Surprised by the sudden appearance of thousands of penurious peasants, the Belgrade commander refuses them entry and sends for instructions. Albert of Aachen calls the people "Bulgarians" but they seem to have been Serbs. The Serb/Bulgars have no clue what the pilgrims are up to and do not allow the merchants to sell them food. Since the pauperes have brought very little with them, they begin to pillage the countryside for food.² After rustling some cattle, some are besieged in a chapel by the "Bulgarians," who set it on fire. Walter and his people spend eight days scattered and hiding in the woods.

Walter finally reaches Niš, where the prince and duke provide him with food and arms and escort him through Sofia, Philippopolis, and Adrianople to the City itself, where he petitions the Emperor for permission to cross over to Asia once the rest of the army (under Peter the Hermit) would arrive. The Emperor, looks over the bedraggled, largely-unarmed "army" and says, uhhh... why not wait up until the main force arrives? (Peters: 104-105) This rag-tag mass was not what he was expecting when he asked the West for help.
1. Sixteen soldiers
. Albrecht of Amiens says that "sixteen of Walter's company remained in Malevilla, that they might purchase arms. Of this Walter was ignorant, for he had crossed the Morava river long before. Then some of the Hungarians of perverse minds, seeing the absence of Walter and his army, laid hands upon those sixteen and robbed them of arms, garments, gold and silver and so let them depart, naked and empty-handed." The two accounts cannot be reconciled -- were the sixteen victims or perps? -- and should serve as a warning against accepting any historical account at face value. But it should also serve as a warning that simply because two accounts differ in their details we cannot conclude that the events did not happen at all.

2. Pillaging. Only modern armies have had the ability to carry their own logistics train. In the medieval era, they must either arrange a market to travel with them or "live off the land."

Meanwhile, Back at the Rhine

While Walter's French contingent moved in relatively good order for a mob of amateurs, Peter has difficulty controlling his men, who go on rampages killing Jews in the Rhineland (the Kingdom of Lorraine). There is no evidence that Peter himself preaches against the Jews, though he bears letters from Jewish enclaves in France asking their Rhenish brethren to donate money to Peter's cause. This might be considered extortion by Late Moderns.

Shortly after Peter's contingent sets off, Count Emicho of Leiningen¹ assembles an army at Mainz, said with that wonderful medieval imprecision to be "10,000" strong gathered from France, England, Flanders, and Lorraine. He gets the idea of plundering the Jews in order to replenish his stores and perhaps forcibly to convert them.
I know not whether by a judgment of the Lord, or by some error of mind, there arose a spirit of cruelty against the Jewish people scattered throughout these cities and slaughtered them without mercy, especially in the Kingdom of Lorraine, asserting it to be the beginning of their expedition and their duty against the enemies of the Christian faith.  
-- Albert of Aachen
Hey, why go all the way to the Holy Land to fight well-armed muslims when you can attack virtually unarmed Jews closer to home? Emicho's force is hard-put for finances, and there is a lot of money ready to hand; viz., the International Bankers, i.e., the Jews.² Because Christians are forbidden to lend money at interest to other Christians, Jews have filled the niche and like middlemen everywhere have endeared themselves to their neighbors.³

The Emperor Henry, who is off in Apulia, gets wind of this and sends a message to leave the Jews alone. They are direct vassals of the Emperor and not to be molested. Emicho smiles with all his teeth and promises that it is the furthest thing from his mind. 
1. Leiningen. But also called Emicho of Flonheim. On the map below, Flonheim is in Alzey-Worms between Worms and Mainz. It might be that Leiningen is the family name, a branch of which still exists, and Flonheim is the geographical location of their castle.
2. International bankers.
When recently, one D. Trump referred obliquely to "international bankers," the connection of the term to Jews was duly noted with great ooh-rah. But when the Occupy movement and the anti-globalists had earlier done so, not a peep of the connection was heard. A curious inconsistency.
3. middlemen minorities. For example, the Lebanese in West Africa, the Overseas Chinese in S.E.Asia, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. See Sowell, Race and Culture, for discussion.

Count Emicho's razzia through the Rhineland. Flonheim, is in Alzey-Worms.
(political boundaries modern)
06 May. At Speyer, Bishop John attempts to save the Jews by paying a hefty donation to the army's purse. Despite this, eleven or twelve Jews are killed during a riot. This is the first major slaughter of a Jewish community by crusaders marching to the Holy Land. Bishop John and his militia take the Jews into protective custody and cut off the hands of some of the rioters.

18 May. The Jews in Worms have heard about the massacre in Speyer and try to hide - some in the homes of Christian neighbors and some in the bishop's palace, but they are unsuccessful. The burghers of the city call up the militia and fight the crusaders, but what are a few hundred against a few thousand and they soon throw down their arms. Emicho's people massacre 800 Jews at Worms.

27 May.  Mainz closes its gates to Emicho. Bishop Ruthard hides over 1,000 Jews in his cellars and in his great hall and he and the burgrave promise they will live or die with them. Following payment of another hefty Danegeld, Emicho promises to be good, but does not stop his people from entering the Imperial Free City. The burgrave's troops, the bishop's militia, and the guild militias of the burghers repel the first attack, but as more companies continue to arrive, they find themselves vastly outnumbered by the vagabond 'crusaders.' Emicho's people then attack the cathedral, where the bishop's people flee.  The bishop's courage breaks, for they plan to hunt him down and kill him for protecting the Jews, and he seeks flight rather than martyrdom. Emicho attacks the bishop's palace, breaks in and after a sharp fight with armed Jews at the gate, kills most of them, slaughtering men, women, and children of all ages, committing the most barbaric atrocities. The remainder hiding in the back rooms, using Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac as their model, kill their own children and themselves, after first cursing the crusaders and throwing rocks on them from the windows.
There women girded themselves with strength and slaughtered their sons and daughters, along with themselves. Many men likewise gathered strength and slaughtered their wives and their children and their little ones. ... [They] gazed through the windows and cried out loudly: "Behold and see, O God, what we do for the sanctification of your holy Name, rather than deny you for a crucified one, a trampled and wretched and abominable offshoot, a bastard and a child of menstruation and lust."
-- Solomon ben Simson, Gezerot Tatnu
30 May.  Emicho's army attacks Jews in Cologne,¹ but most are protected by local citizens who hide the Jews in their own houses. Archbishop Hermann will later send them to safety in neighboring villages, but the mob will follow them and slaughter hundreds.
1. Cologne. Downriver, north, off the map. But this is perhaps Coblenz, which makes more sense route-of-march-wise. It may also be an independent attack by other free companies coming south to join forces with Emicho.
While it is true to say that "Crusaders massacred thousands of Jews on the way to the Holy Land," it is misleading to say it in that fashion. It was not the main body of crusaders. It was not even the main body of the "People's Crusade." The Church opposed the attacks, and the local clergy often came to the defense of Jews in their community, as did the Establishment. 

Meanwhile, Peter's army reaches the Danube, where some decide to continue on by boat while the main body continues overland and enters Hungary at Sopron. They pass through Hungary without incident and rejoin the Danube contingent at Zemun on the Byzantine frontier. There, seeing Walter's sixteen suits of armor hanging from the walls, they become suspicious, and eventually a dispute over the price of a pair of shoes in the market leads to a riot, which then turns into an all-out assault on the city by the People, in which "4,000" Hungarians were killed. The crusaders then flee across the river Sava to Belgrade, but only after skirmishing with Belgrade troops. The residents of Belgrade flee, and the crusaders pillage and burn the city.

So when Emicho and his bandit crusaders show up, the Hungarians are not in any kind of mood. 
The kingdom of Hungary "was shut up tight" in the face of the enemy. Then came the Rhinelanders, the inhabitants of the Rhineland, [in case you couldn't figure that out] a very mighty army, along with the army of Swabia and the army of France and the army of Austria -- they are the children of Seir the Horite¹ -- an army as numerous as the sand on the shore of the sea. The head of them all was the wicked Count Emicho of Leinigen, may his bones be ground up. 
-- Solomon ben Simson, Gezerot Tatnu
This mischaracterizes the size and status of Emicho's force. Only the king of France could raise "the army of France," but that did not stop any old captain from raising free companies from among the French people (or the Swabians or Lorrainers, etc.). Albert of Aachen tells us that:
With very great spoils taken from [the Jews], Count Emicho, Clarebold, Thomas, and all that intolerable company of men and women then continued on their way to Jerusalem, directing their course toward the Kingdom of Hungary, where passage along the royal highway was usually not denied the pilgrims, but on arriving at Wieselburg², the fortress of the King, which the rivers Danube and Leytha protect with marshes, the bridge and gate of the fortress were found closed by command of the King of Hungary, for great fear had entered all the Hungarians because of the slaughter which had happened to their brethren. 
But while almost everything had turned out favorably for the Christians,³ and while they had penetrated the walls with great openings, by some chance or misfortune, I know not what, such great fear entered the whole army that they turned in flight, just as sheep are scattered and alarmed when wolves rush upon them. And seeking a refuge here and there, they forgot their companions. . . .
In another account, we read that Coloman dickered with some representatives sent by Emicho and offered them a hefty bribe to assassinate Emicho. Either they flubbed it or Emicho got wind of it, but it set off internals fighting within the army. Emicho decided to be somewhere else, fast. 
Emicho and some of his followers continued in their flight along the way by which they had come. Thomas, Clarebold, and several of their men escaped in flight toward Carinthia and Italy. So the hand of the Lord is believed to have been against the pilgrims who had sinned by excessive impurity and fornication, and who had slaughtered the exiled Jews through greed of money, rather than for the sake of God's justice, although the Jews were opposed to Christ. The Lord is a just judge and orders no one unwillingly, or under compulsion, to come under the yoke of the Catholic faith.
Those who made it to Carinthia with the Hungarians hot on their heels joined up with Hugh of Vermandois' forces, which were taking that route. As for Emicho, he seems never to have gotten near the Holy Land. In fact, except for the survivors who joined up with Hugh, none of these crusaders ever got near the Holy Land. TOF was unable to discover what ever happened to Emicho.
1. Seir the Horite. A common malediction among the Jews. The Christians were supposed to be descended from the ancient Edomites who were originally the Horites. Similarly, the characterization of Jesus as "a trampled corpse," "a wretched and abominable offshoot," "a bastard," and "a child of menstruation and lust." Mary had supposedly gotten herself knocked up by a Roman soldier and made up a wild story to explain the baby.
2. Wieselberg. literally, "castle where two rivers meet."
3. Christians. Albert means Emicho's crusaders. The Hungarians were also Christians.
3 July. The People's Crusade arrives at Niš after a seven day march. The garrison commander promises to provide food and an escort to Constantinople -- if they would "get out of Dodge" right away. Peter obliges, and the next morning he sets out. However, a few Germans get into a dispute with some locals along the road and set fire to a mill, which escalates out of Peter's control until Niš sends out its entire garrison against the People. The crusaders are completely routed, losing about "10,000" (a quarter of their number), the remainder regrouping further on at Bela Palanka.

12 July The People reach Sofia, where they meet their Byzantine escort, which brings them safely the rest of the way. Safely for the Byzantine citizens, we may suppose. For the moment, there is no further looting and smashing of storefronts by the 99%.

1 August. Peter's contingent finally reaches Constantinople, where they rejoin Walter's contingent as well as some companies of Italians who had also made their way there. Hey, whussup? How was yer trip? Don't ask. Albert of Aix writes, Peter rested only five days in the fields and lands near Constantinople, where Walter had likewise pitched his tents. Becoming companions from that very day, thereafter their troops, arms, and all necessary provisions were joined together. Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus advises them to wait for the main body of crusaders, which is about to set out from Europe. But the People's Crusade did not rush off impulsively at the start because they were inclined to dilly-dally at the end. Forced to wait, they prove that idle hands are the devil's tools and, running low on supplies, begin to loot the markets. The Gesta says, The Christians conducted themselves badly, inasmuch as they tore down and burned buildings of the city and carried off the lead with which the churches were constructed sold it to the Greeks. Albert does not mention this. 

6 August.  Exasperated at this unexpected and low-class "army," the Emperor has all 30,000 People ferried across the Bosporus to get them out of his hair.  
Next, after five days, they moved their tents and, with the aid of the Emperor, passed by boat over the Strait of St. George. Entering the confines of Cappadocia,¹ they advanced through mountainous country into Nicomedia. and there passed the night. After this, they pitched camp at the port called Civitote. There merchants were constantly bringing ships laden with supplies of wine, corn, oil, and barley, and with abundance of cheese, selling all to the pilgrims with just measure.

While they were rejoicing in this abundance of necessities and were resting their tired bodies, there came messengers from the most Christian Emperor. Because of the danger of ambushes and attacks from the Turks, they forbade Peter and his whole army from marching towards the mountainous region of the city of Nicaea, until a greater number of Christians should be added to their number. Peter heard the message, and he with all the Christian people assented to the counsel of the Emperor. They tarried there for the course of two months, feasting in peace and joy, and sleeping secure from all hostile attacks. 
-- Albert of Aix
The People make a hairy nuisance of themselves in Constantinople and get shipped across the Hellespont, probably to Chalcedon which despite the coloring on the map, is still (once more) in Roman (i.e. Greek) hands. So are parts of the northern coast of Anatolia. From there, copiously supplied, the People make their way to Nicomedia. Power to the People!
Once again, idle hands prove the devil's tools, and the People decide to teach the damned Turks a thing or two about righteous wrath.
And so two months later [sic], having become wanton and unrestrained because of ease and an inestimable abundance of food, heeding not the voice of Peter, but against his will, they entered into the region of the city of Nicaea and the realms of Soliman². They took as plunder cattle, sheep, goats, the herds of the Greek servants of the Turks, and carried them off to their fellows. Peter, seeing this, was sorrowful in heart, knowing that they did it not with impunity. Whereupon he often admonished them not to seize any more booty contrary to the counsel of the Emperor, but in vain did he speak to a foolish and rebellious people. -- Albert of Aix
Its actually the Greek peasants who are suffering. The Turks may have taken over and changed from herding cattle to herding men, but there has not been enough time (or Turks) yet for a wholesale replacement of the original population of Greek and Hellenized Anatolian farmers by Turkish sheepherders. Think: Norman lords and Saxon peasants in England at the same time period.

At Nicomedia, where an argument breaks out between the German and Italian pilgrims on one side and the French on the other. The Germans and Italians split off and elect a new leader, an Italian named Rainald, while Geoffrey Burel takes command of the French. Peter has effectively lost control of his own crusade.

The crusaders camp at Civetot, north-west of Nicaea (the capital of the Saljūq Sultanate of Rûm³ and once site of the great ecumenical council). The young Sultan, Kilij Arslan I, is of to the east in the middle of a military campaign against the Danishmend emirate.

Burel's French finally reach the edge of Nicaea. They pillage the suburbs and scamper off with all sorts of goodies back to the crusader camp at Civetot, where they flaunt their successes to the Germans, who say "Jolly good show, old chaps!"

Not. They seethe with jealousy, and wonder "how I can get me some of that?" Rainald decides to one-up the French. Albert of Aix tells us, But the Teutons, seeing that affairs turned out so well for the Romans and the Franks, and that they returned unhindered so many times with their booty, were inflamed with an inordinate desire for plunder. About three thousand footsoldiers were collected and about two hundred knights.⁴

The Turks, meanwhile, rub the sleep out of their eyes and mutter "WTF?" and send for their levies.

15 August. Meanwhile, back in Europe. The main crusader army shrugs into motion.
1. Cappadocia. You gotta be kidding. See a good map of the region. Cappadocia is in the middle of freaking Anatolia and is not a seaport. Either Albert [or his copyist] is hazy on Anatolian geography, he is using the term allegorically -- it is the Middle Ages, after all -- or there is an extra Cappadocia floating around somewhere. He may have meant Chalcedon, which is directly across from Constantinople and along the way to Nicomedia.
2. Soliman. Albert seems to have no idea of the name of the Turkish sultan or the local governor or the general. Soliman seems to be a symbolic name like Fritz for the Germans in WW1 or Ivan for the Russians. 
3. Rûm. Not yo-ho-ho and a bottle of. This is the Turkish world for "Rome," which is what the Byzantines call themselves with no sense of irony whatsoever. This was the Saljūq way of announcing that they were now in charge of "Rome." Much later, one of the titles of the Ottoman Sultan will be "Qaysar-i-Rûm," Caesar of Rome. Likewise, the German Kaiser and the Russian Tsar. That old empire sure made an impression on folks. 

4. 3000 footsoldiers and 200 knights. It's always hard to know how seriously to take medieval estimates of numbers. Were the logistics really up to it? This probably means "a lot." The footsoldiers were largely newly-armed peasants, trained (if at all) on the march by Walter Sans Avoir and the other professionals in the mob. And Peter had inspired a hodge-podge of knights by his preaching.

The Battle of Xerigordon

Captives being led from Xerigordon
in medieval manuscript
18 September. Because the nearer areas have been "pillaged out," Rainaud with "6,000" German crusaders move on Xerigordon, an old fortress four days march to the east, which is empty of people¹, and capture it for use as a base to raid the countryside. In it they find an ample supply of grain, wine, and meat, and an abundance of all goods. The Germans set up Rainaud's Excellent Pillaging Shop and look for customers.
Albert of Aix writes:
And exulting in that victory, they in turn gave counsel that, by remaining in that fortress, they could easily obtain, through their own valor, the lands and principality of Soliman; that they would gather from all sides booty and food, and thus could easily weaken Soliman, until the promised army of the great leaders should approach.

21 September. Surprise! Turkish General Elchanes, sent by the sultan, arrives three days later and besieges the crusaders. Rainaud was not expecting company and the place is a mess. Poorly fortified (Rainaud was able to take it, after all) the only source of water is a well outside the walls. This is not a good idea for a fortress. The speed of Turkish cavalry surprises everyone (until a couple centuries hence the speed of Mongol cavalry will surprise the Turks). The Germans are bottled up without adequate water. Say, whose bright idea was this? Rainaud looks around to see whose idea it was. Flick? Flick who?

The Gesta tells us:
Before the gate of the fortress was a cistern, and at the foot of the fortress was a fountain of running water, near which Reinald went out to trap the Turks. But the Turks, who came on the day of the Dedication of St. Michael, found Reinald and those who were with him and killed many of them. Those who remained alive fled to the fortress, which the Turks straightway besieged, thus depriving them of water. Our people were in such distress from thirst that they bled their horses and asses² and drank the blood; others let their girdles and handkerchiefs down into the cistern and squeezed out the water from them into their mouths; some urinated into one another's hollowed hands and drank³; and others dug up the moist ground and lay down on their backs and spread the earth over their breasts to relieve the excessive dryness of thirst. ...
They try to hold out until the French at Civetot should come to their aid. But relief never comes. That's because the French think the Germans are having fun. Turkish "civilians" tell them that the Germans are having a great time and wish you were there.
29 September. For eight days, the crusaders resist thirst and a rain of arrows and smoke from the Turks, which is actually pretty darn good resistance considering they are mostly the junior varsity and their position is inherently indefensible. Albert of Aix writes:
Therefore, the Turks, unable to drive out the Alemanni with this assault and shower of arrows, gathered all kinds of wood at the very gate of the fortress. They set fire to it and burned the gate and very many buildings which were within the citadel. As the heat of the flames became greater, some were burned to death; others, hoping for safety, leaped from the walls. But the Turks who were outside the walls cut down with swords those who were fleeing and took captive about two hundred who were pleasing in appearance and youthful in body; all the others they destroyed with sword and arrow.
 The Germans eventually surrender. In the Gesta:
 Then the lord of the Alemanni made an agreement with the Turks to surrender his companions to them; and, feigning to go out to fight, he fled to them, and many with him. Those, however, who were unwilling to deny the Lord received the sentence of death; some, whom they took alive, they divided among themselves, like sheep; some they placed as a target and shot with arrows; others they sold and gave away, like animals. Some they took captive to their own home, some to Chorosan, some to Antioch, others to Aleppo, or wherever they themselves lived.
1. empty of people. On a couple of anti-religious or specifically anti-Catholic websites the claim is that "thousands" were killed in taking the "town."
2. Bleeding their asses. This does not mean the crusading peasants suffered from hemorrhoids.
3. Drank urine. Eeeeuuuw.  

The Battle of Civetot

21 October. Back at the main crusaders camp, two Turkish spies had spread the rumor that the Germans who had taken Xerigordon had also taken Nicaea, which caused excitement to get there as soon as possible to share in the looting.

Civetot (red dot)
In the meantime, the Franks learn the truth about Xerigordon and "tumult arose among the people." The footsoldiers come in a body to Reinald of Broyes, Walter sans Avoir, to Walter of Breteuil, and to Folker of Orleans, who were leaders of Peter's army, to urge them to rise in a body in vindication of their brethren and against audacity of the Turks. But they refused to go without the presence and the counsel of Peter, who had gone back to the City to seek the Emperor's counsel.¹ Then Godfrey Burel, master of the foot-soldiers, hearing their response, asserts that the timid by no means prevail so much in war as the bold. Walter probably asks Don't you mean 'foolhardy, not bold?' Burel reproaches them for preventing their other companions from pursuing the Turks to avenge their brethren. Walter probably raises his eyebrows and says, Pursuing? You are using this word, but I don't think it means what you think it means. But the leaders, unable to endure Burel's insults and reproaches any longer, cave in and promise they will go "against the strength and wiles of the Turks," even if it should happen that they die in battle, which at this point is looking pretty much like a done deal. 

21 October. The entire French contingent "to the number of '25,000' foot soldiers and '500' knights in armor," marches out at dawn toward Nicaea, leaving women, children, the old and the sick behind at the camp. "And so, divided and arrayed in six battle lines, with standards uplifted in each, they advanced on the right and on the left."²

They march as noisily as possible, just in case no one knows they are coming.³ Three miles from camp, the road enters a narrow, wooded valley near the village of Dracon. Wouldn't you know it? The Turks enter the woods at the same time from the Nicaean side, only on tip-toe. When they hear the noise and shouting of the People, the Turks look at one another and say WTF? and think it might be a trap, so they move into the open area and the People when they emerge from the wood see the Turks lined up and they say, "Uh-oh. That's a whole lot of Turks."

Albert of Aix tells us:
"There Walter sans Avoir fell, pierced by seven arrows which bad penetrated his coat of mail. Reinald of Broyes and Folker of Chartres⁴, men of the greatest renown in their own lands, fell in like martyrdom, destroyed by the enemy, though not without great slaughter of the Turks. But Walter of Breuteuil and Godfrey Burel, master of the footsoldiers, having slipped away in flight through briars and thickets, turned back along the narrow path where the entire band, withdrawn from battle, had gathered together. When the flight and desertion of these men became known, all turned in flight, hastening their course towards Civitote along the same route by which they had come, but with little defense against the enemy."
So the leaders, "men of the greatest renown," who had cautioned against rushing into battle with an enemy of unknown strength, perished for the most part because they stood their ground against hopeless odds, while Godfrey Burel, who had talked up "pursuing" the Turks and "avenging" the fallen Germans at Xerigordon, beat swift feet out of there and run through the briars and run through the brambles and run though the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go. Happy trails, Geoff! Feet don't fail me now!
1. To seek the Emperor's counsel. The Gesta states that "Peter the Hermit had gone to Constantinople a short while before because he was unable to restrain that varied host, which was not willing to listen either to him or to his words." The emperor's daughter, Miss Upper East Side, says that Peter was among those rescued by her wonderful father's navy.
2. Six battle lines. This sounds entirely too orderly for the People, unless Walter has been drilling them mercilessly en route. 
3. As noisily as possible. "Boasting and shouting with vehement tumult and great clamor"
4. Folker of Cartres. One is tempted to speculate that his mama was called "Mother Folker," but we will not give in to the temptation. 

The End of the People

Hoo-hah! The Turks chase the wretched band for three miles, all the way into the camp, where they slaughter whomever they find, the weak and the feeble, clerics, monks, old women, nursing children, persons of every age. "Some they found sleeping, some lying down, others naked - all of whom they killed. With these people they found a certain priest celebrating mass, whom they straightway martyred upon the altar.¹" "But they led away young girls whose face and form was pleasing in their eyes, and beardless youths of comely countenance. They carried off to Nicaea money, garments, mules, horses, and all valuable things, as well as the tents themselves."
Those who can escape flee to Civitote; others hurl themselves headlong into the sea, while some hide in the forests and mountains, where they are hunted down. Above the shore near Civitote is an ancient, deserted fortress. Three thousand pilgrims, including Geoffrey Burel, enter the ruined fortress in hope of defense. Finding no gates or other obstacles, they pile up their shields for a gate, along with a huge pile of rocks; and with lances, wooden bows, and slingstones, they defend themselves from the enemy. The Turks, having little success in killing the defenders, surround the fortress, which was without a roof on all sides. They aim their arrows high, so that, as they fall from the air in a shower, they strike the bodies of the defenders, wounding and killing many²; but the rest, fearing even more cruel treatment if they are captured, will not surrender.  It took a while, but they have finally learned that chivalry is not practiced here.

The Turks collect wood to burn them out. But the defenders, checking the windage, set fire to the wood, and the fire turns in the direction of the Turks and cremates some of them. Oops. General Elchanes wonders who had the bright idea and everyone looks somewhere else.

The City
The Emperor is moved with pity (and perhaps not a little Schadenfreude) when he hears from Peter about the siege and the fall of his men. So he sends Constantine Katakalon with "the Turcopoles and all the nations of his kingdom," across the Strait to drive off the Turks. But the Turks skedaddle from the fortress at midnight with their captives and great spoils before the imperial forces can catch them, and so the pilgrim soldiers who had been shut up and besieged were freed.

And so of the great host that had set off with such enthusiasm in the wake of Peter the Hermit only about 3000 survive, mostly pauperes and camp followers and some foot soldiers. Did this dissuade folks from the maxim that Right Makes Might? 

Don't bet your bippy! Right did so make right, but the People hadn't been quite right. People at the time pointed out that the ill-disciplined mob had committed atrocities, not only the massacres of Jews that had been condemned by the Church, but also attacks on bishops, on Christian cities in Hungary, they had committed robbery and other petty crimes. It was widely supposed even in that century that the failure of the 99% had been a punishment for their treatment of the Jews in Lorraine.

November, 1096. About a month later, the first of the regular crusader armies, led by Hugh of Vermandois, arrives in Constantinople. The pros from Dover are here. Couldn't wait, People, could you? The First Crusade can now begin, Deus vult, baby.

1. martyred upon the altar. If this sounds to set to be true, recall that in 2016 two muslims did the same to Father Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen.
2. wounding and killing many.
Remember, they had used their shields to improvise a door for the fortress. There were none left over for umbrellas.


  1. Brundage, J.A. The Crusades, Motives and Achievements. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Cousins, Becky. (15 May 2010) "The Goose Who Led a Crusade... well, sort of!" The Medieval World.
  3. f000z8z (April 24, 2016) "Crusader Motivations and Motives — ‘Pauperes’: Europe’s Poor in the Holy Land," The Crusades and Crusade Memory
  4. Fordham Univ. The Medieval Sourcebook
  5. Kostick, Conor. (2008) The Social Structure of the First Crusade. (Boston and Leiden: Brill Publishing) Print.
  6. Madden, Thomas F. (2006) The New Concise History of the Crusades (Rowman & Littlefield) Print.
  7. Peters, Edward, ed. (1971) The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials (Univ. of Penn.)


  1. "The Turks had a Sunni disposition while the Fatimids were in deep Shi'ite."

    Men have been killed for better puns.

    1. Better puns cannot be imagined, this side of Heaven.

    2. There is NO "Shi'ite". It is "Shi'a". Leave the Jew deposited shit out of discourse on history and religion.

    3. There is NO "Shi'ite". It is "Shi'a". Leave the Jew deposited shit out of discourse on history and religion.

    4. The Shi'a refers to the party or sect, specifically, the party of Ali; shi'ite refers to the members of the party. So also, ash'arite and mu'tazilite for adherents of Ash'ariyya and Mu'tazila.

      I'm not sure what you mean by "Jew deposited shit." Is there a hyphen left out? How do we omit the Jews from a discussion of Emicho Count Leiningen and the Rhenish depredations? History is history.

  2. I think, however, that this is Deus Vult! Part III. Your parts II and III above both link to On Your Marks.

  3. "Letters from Heaven" were a thing, from Charlemagne's time onward. What usually happened was that, in lieu of an apparition of a saint, a letter would be found by some pious peasant or priest, either after waking up from a holy dream, in the middle of the woods, or inside a church. The thing to do was to place the letter on the church altar. If it didn't burst into flames or similar, it was a true letter from Heaven.

    Sometimes they were written in Latin (usually in letters of gold), and sometimes in angelic languages that could only be understood by some holy person or in a dream.

    Charlemagne and most churchmen and lords were not too happy with the average letter from heaven, because it usually was heresy or commanded something crazy and/or evil. Often they were banned, or had to be submitted to the bishop for his judgment. They don't seem to be a thing anymore, or are only associated with the occult.

  4. I am currently entertaining the theory that you wrote this entire essay simply as a framing device for the sentence "Everybody loves Raymond."

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It is a depravity to generate hilarity from cruelties and tragedies of the past generations, by way of self-amusing and flippant remarks when recounting history. This depravity will be counted against you.


Scrivening Part 7: Show and Tell

  Showing/Telling S ince the rise of movies followed by television, the common imagination has shifted from words to images, from logos to...