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Re: Tomar Castle 2

Pope Urban had not intended that ordinary people should abandon their
occupations and join the Crusade.  Society had never operated that way and
it was expected that just the military levels and their retainers would
answer the call.  But as the preachers and priests throughout all of Europe
spoke, it touched a chord amongst the common folk. This was a sure way to
know that you would go to heaven and one might get some loot along the way.
Also if the menfolk went, who would protect the family and till the fields,
the families could die without them if they went and especially if they
never returned.   From NE France and nothern Germany town after town
abandoned everything and walked to Jerusalem.    Thousands were following a
charismatic named Peter the Hermit.   Pilgrimage had great importance in the
11th century.  There were good maps and a chain of pilgrim hostels, one
day's journey apart along virtually the whole route.  The Church encouraged
the journey as a penance (it also got troublemakers out of the way for many
months), and because travelling in a group of holy pilgrims was a useful
moral exercise.
   The air was thick with furture marvels.  Europe had been swept by
millenarianism.  It was being said that a huge body of Christian pilgrims
assembling in Jerusalem could hasten the return of the Messiah.   This had
already been tried in 1064-5.
   Although there is no reason to believe that Christians in Jerusalem were
having a particularly hard time in the 1090's, pilgrimage had become very
difficult as a result of the disintegration of authority along the
route....Strange bands of  visionaries, often led by minor German knights
from the edge of Christian Europe, began converging.  Hairs said to be from
the tail of Peter's (the hermit) donkey were venerated.  One group of
pilgrims were said to be following a goose inspired by God.  These groups
included women, children and old people from many ethnic backgrounds and
languages that were quick to quarrell with one another and break off into
separate groups.
   The first victims of the Crusades, were the Jews of Germany.   (see the
book "In the Year 1098")  European bishops did try to protect them but to
these wanderers from the main body of the Crusade, this was an easier and
closer battle to win then to go all the way to Jerusalem.
   When Peter the Hermit's huge, motley, group came along through Hungary
the Hungrian troops tried to block their way from overrunning their country
as a previous force had.  Bad tempers and complete absence of discipline led
to a riot in which 4,000 Hungarians were killed.  (these were Christians)
     When they passed Constantinople and entered Asia (Anatolia) the land
was controlled by the Turks but most of the population were Christians sects
and had found life easier under Islamic law than when they were back in
Europe.  But these Crusaders couldn't tell Christians from Turks and
destroyed them all.
    Some groups that separated themselves were captured by the Turks and
forced to convert to Islam.  Another group of 20,000 (just common folk not
the knights) set off at dawn to look for booty but were ambushed and wiped
     There is so much more to this story.  The point is that the Crusading
knights group also met many battles and defeats and didn't just ride to
Jerusalem with shining armor, fresh horses, and a blaze of color and glory.
They (some Knights turned to canablism even when desperate for food) would
have looked every bit as rough to the defenders of Jerusalem as any of the
uncivilized hoards that attacked Constantinople, Rome, or other cities of
the east that were more advanced than Europe.   Bagdad before the Turkish
invasion had been the largest and most civilized city in the world.  (I
wonder at that statement whether China has been ignored) It had Free
hospitals, public baths, postal service, water supply, sewage system and
several banks--with branches in China.  Arab medicine required a knowlege of
surgery, anatomy and the circulation of the blood (400 years before Harvey).
etc. etc.
     These knights were not shining examples of honor when they took
Jerusalem.  That is a story of Christian treachery, lies and gross blood
shed that haunts us today in the relations with the Middle East.


> Dear Laurel
> you have a vivid imagination if you can see the Crusaders walking.
> Mostly they rode. The foot soldiers would have walked,possibly unwillingly
> too, because they were the vassals and servants

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