Friday, October 12, 2012

Some interesting medieval scholarship on the web, Crusaders take note

The always interesting  Jonathan Jarrett reminded me of some interesting material that has been posted to the web which might be of interest to people who like the Franks and the Frankish nobility or who are fascinated  by the motivations of the people who went on the First Crusade.

I was particularly interested in the second post, which is the next best thing to a scholarly article, because I have been reading student papers about the motives of crusaders. Jonathan Jarrett, takes the position that you just can't dismiss the fact that, expensive as the crusading expedition was likely to be, some of the pilgrims thought they might possibly become rich. Jonathan Riley – Smith, a leading contemporary interpreter of the First Crusade is well-known for his opposition to the idea that any sensible person could have gone to Jerusalem expecting riches. In my lectures on the First Crusade, I make the point that Frankish warriors/early Knights were in the habit of taking big risks, notably to their own bodies, in hopes of gains of various sorts, monetary and reputational. It is nice to see this point of view systematically developed in any sensible form. If any of my students are still interested in this problem, our library has a more detailed article by John France in the collection of articles by Thomas Madden. This collection is called, rather obscurely, The Crusades. Just so it won't be confused, no doubt, with any other collection of articles on the Crusades.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou for the links, Steve! I was once taught the Crusades by Jonathan Riley-Smith, who is an amazing man, and I adopted his line totally. I wrote that Crusades piece years later, when first teaching the First Crusade and meeting some of the texts again for the first time since, and felt an itch in the brain, as it were, which turned into that essay. I showed it to a couple of people who thought it was solid but not a paper by itself, and when I started the blog I thought it would be a good thing to put there. It draws me more hits (and more spam...) than almost any of my other posts even now. I'm glad it's being useful!