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The Social Structure of the First Crusade



The First Crusade (1096-1099) was an extraordinary undertaking. Because the repercussions of that expedition have rippled on down the centuries, there has been an enormous literature on the subject. Yet, unlike so many other areas of medieval history, until now the First Crusade has failed to attract the attention of historians interested in social dynamics. This book is the first to examine the sociology of the sources in order to provide a detailed analysis of the various social classes which participated in the expedition and the tensions between them. In doing so, it offers a fresh approach to the many debates surrounding the subject of the First Crusade.
The Social Structure of the First Crusade
The Medieval Mediterranean
Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400–1500
Managing Editor
Hugh Kennedy
SOAS, London
Paul Magdalino, St. Andrews
David Abula a, Cambridge
Benjamin Arbel, Tel Aviv
Larry J. Simon, Western Michigan University
Olivia Remie Constable, Notre Dame
The Social Structure
of the First Crusade
Conor Kostick
Cover illustration: “Dieu le veule—Peter The Hermit preaching the First Crusade” by
James Archer (1823–1904)
© Photograph by K. Ross Hookway
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kostick, Conor, 1964–
The social structure of the First Crusade / by Conor Kostick.
p. cm. — (The Medieval Mediterranean ; 76)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–90–04–16665–3 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Crusades—First, 1096–1099.
2. Civilization, Medieval. 3. Social classes—Europe—History—To 1500. I. Title.
D161.2.K67 2008
ISSN 0928–5520
ISBN 978 90 04 16665 3
Copyright 2008 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
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In Memoriam
Anne Walsh
Acknowledgements ....................................................................... ix
Abbreviations ................................................................................ xi
Introduction .................................................................................. 1
Chapter One: The Eyewitnesses .................................................. 9
Chapter Two: The Early Historians ............................................ 51
Chapter Three: Pauperes and the First Crusade: From the
Preaching of the Crusade to the Rise of the Visionaries ....... 95
Chapter Four: Pauperes and the First Crusade: From Antioch to
Jerusalem ................................................................................... 131
Chapter Five: Milites: Knights or Simply Mounted Warriors? ... 159
Chapter Six: Iuvenes: The Glory-Seeking Knights of the
Crusade ..................................................................................... 187
Chapter Seven: Principes and the Crusading Nobility .................. 213
Chapter Eight: The Leadership of the First Crusade ................ 243
Chapter Nine: Women and the First Crusade: Prostitutes or
Pilgrims? .................................................................................... 271
Conclusion .................................................................................... 287
Bibliography .................................................................................. 301
Index ............................................................................................. 315
A number of medieval historians were kind enough to share their
thoughts on certain points featured in this book and for their com-
munications I would like to thank Anne Duggan, S. B. Edgington,
John France, Bernard Hamilton, Natasha Hodgson, A. V. Murray and
Leena Roos. Sini Kangas was particularly supportive and brought her
extensive knowledge of the First Crusade to bear on the early drafts
of some of the chapters.
The formulations in this book have bene ted greatly from their hav-
ing been discussed with my colleagues at Trinity College Dublin; my
thanks are due to Terry Barry, Léan Ní Chléirigh, Peter Crooks, Séan
Duffy, David Green, Katherine Simms and all those who attended the
seminars at which some of the ideas in this book were rst presented.
Most heartfelt thanks are especially due to Christine Meek, whose
extensive bibliographical knowledge was extremely helpful and who
was very generous with her time.
It has been a great pleasure to work with such ef cient, friendly and
supportive librarians as Anne Walsh and Mary Higgins at the Library
of Trinity College Dublin. Alas, since I wrote the preceding sentence
Anne passed away: this book is dedicated to her memory.
Much of the research for this book was conducted while I was a
post-graduate scholar of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities
and the Social Sciences and I am very grateful for their assistance.
I was fortunate in growing up in a household where medieval history
was frequently a topic for discussion, a topic informed by my father’s
extensive and scholarly book collection, much of which has stealthily
been transferred over the years to my own bookshelves. The impact on
this book of conversations with my father, Gerry Kostick, and especially
my brother, Gavin Kostick, has been considerable.
Two other non-medievalists who I am keen to acknowledge here for
their moral and intellectual support are my old comrade Andy Wilson
and my partner Aoife Kearney.
Finally, I turn to I. S. Robinson. If I were to do justice to the kind-
ness, intellect, erudition and generosity of my former supervisor this
acknowledgement would both embarrass him and sound distinctly like
this was a work of medieval hagiography. I therefore con ne myself to
saying that no scholar could have wanted for a better mentor.
AA Albert of Aachen, Historia Iherosolimitana, ed. S. B. Edging ton
(Oxford, 2007).
AC Anna Comnena, The Alexiad, trans. E. R. A. Sewter (Middle-
sex, 1979).
BD Baldric of Dol, Historia Hierosolymitana, RHC Oc. 4, 1–111.
CA La Chanson d’Antioche, ed. S. Duparc-Quioc, 2 (Paris, 1977).
CC Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis.
EA Ekkehard of Aura, ‘Chronica’, Frutolfs und Ekkehards Chroni ken
und die Anonyme Kaiserchronik, ed. F.-J. Schmale and I. Schmale-
Ott (Darmstadt, 1972).
FC Fulcher of Chartres, Historia Hierosolymitana (1095–1127),
ed. H. Hagenmeyer (Heidelberg, 1913).
GF Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, ed. R. Hill
(London, 1962).
GN Guibert of Nogent, Gesta Dei per Francos, ed. R. B. C.
Huygens, CC LXXVIIa, (Turnhout, 1996).
GP Gilo of Paris and a second, anonymous author, Historia Vie
Hierosolimitane, ed. C. W. Grocock and J. E. Siberry (Oxford,
MC Monte Cassino Chronicle (Historia Peregrinorum euntium Jerusolymam),
RHC Oc. 3, 167–229.
MGH SS Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores, Scriptores in Folio, 32
OV Orderic Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History, ed. and trans.
M. Chibnall, 6 (Oxford, 1969–79).
PL J. P. Migne ed., Patrologiae cursus completus. Series Latina
PT Peter Tudebode, Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere, ed. J. H.
Hill and L. L. Hill (Paris, 1977).
RA Raymond of Aguilers, Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Iherusalem,
ed. John France (unpublished PhD. thesis: University of
Nottingham, 1967).
RC Ralf of Caen, Gesta Tancredi, RHC Oc. 3, 587–716.
RHC Oc. Recueil des historiens des croisades, Historiens occidentaux 1–5
(Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres: Paris 1841–95).
RM Robert the Monk, Historia Iherosolimitana, RHC Oc. 3, 717–
WT William of Tyre, Chronicon, ed. R. B. C. Huygens, CC 63
(Turnhout, 1986).
xii abbreviations
In 1096, tens of thousands of people of all backgrounds left their
homes in Europe to march to Jerusalem and capture it for Christianity.
Among them were many thousands of knights. These professional
warriors lived for the chase; if they were not at war they were at the
hunt and the horse that they rode not only gave them military prow-
ess but a social status that was signi cantly more prestigious than the
lowly footsoldiers who were marching in great bands, stave in hand,
unstrung bows over their shoulder.
Even greater throngs of more lowly non-combatants tried to keep
pace with those trained for war. Farmers sold their lands and tools,
except for a plough and a few animals. Hitching a cart to their oxen,
they placed their remaining possessions in the vehicle, put their chil-
dren on top and set out determinedly for the Holy Land. Serfs too,
with little more than a few coins, dependent upon charity, the bounty
of God, ran from the prospect of lifelong toil for their social superiors
and, arming themselves with crude weapons, obtained freedom in
the ranks of the army of God. Among the crowds were women, also
present in their thousands. The presence of so many women dismayed
the senior clergy, but popular preachers distributed alms to them, so
that they could nd husbands and protectors. Some women, though,
had the temerity to dress as men and cast off the role that had been
assigned them from birth.
As the great armies snaked their way along the old Roman roads,
elderly men, monks, nuns, artisans and peasants joined the expedition.
The poor escorted the princes and the glittering knights, who in turn
felt some responsibility for the protection of the defenceless. And they
died in great numbers. Ships full of pilgrims sank in the Adriatic.
Stragglers left trails of dead across hundreds of miles, especially once
the pilgrim armies were south-east of the Alps and could no longer
count on the sympathy of Latin Christian towns. Once in Muslim ter-
ritory, enormous numbers of non-combatants died, both by the sword
and from the hardship of desert, mountain and disease.
It was an extraordinary, unprecedented, moment in human history;
one whose repercussions are still with us, like the distant ripples of a
once powerful tidal wave. What did they think they were doing? Is it
2 introduction
possible to draw close enough to these people that we can have some
understanding of their actions, their motives, their hopes? Was it all,
like Edward Gibbon believed, a monumental act of folly? Did their
shared goal mean that they had a common understanding of what they
were doing: the lord of four castles from France, with the servant from
Germany? The aristocratic lady, a descendent of Charlemagne, with
her cook? How did they organise themselves? Did the expedition always
follow a course set by the princes? What happened when people of
that era were thrown together in the face of annihilation, but with the
prospect of eternal salvation in their grasp? Did they maintain the social
norms they were accustomed to? Or did propriety break down?
These are hard questions to answer for an enterprise that took place
nearly a thousand years ago. Thus, even though the extraordinary nature
of the First Crusade has attracted an immense amount of investigation
and attention, both of a popular and academic nature, there is still
much to be said, and much that will never be known. Even to approach
tentative answers to such issues requires that a more fundamental set of
questions be examined. When, for example, the sources talk of ‘knights’,
what do they mean? When they refer to the ‘poor’, who, exactly, are
they talking about? Like an astronomer who nds they need to master
particle physics to explain celestial phenomena, the historian who wishes
to discuss social dynamics has to involve themselves in the minutiae of
contemporary language.
The contemporary accounts of the First Crusade, by eyewitnesses
and those alive at the time, provide answers to the questions above,
providing it is understood what they mean when they employ terms like
milites, pauperes, minores or iuvenes. What such terms meant at the time
of the First Crusade is not, however, particularly well understood. In
part this is because of the intrinsic obscurity of the subject, but it is
also because none of the great social historians of the medieval period
devoted a major study to the crusades. Instead, gures like Georges
Duby, Rodney Hilton, Abram Leon, and Perry Anderson have left
fragments of analysis: throwaway remarks, often rich in potential,
but not elaborated. This has been a loss not just to those interested
in questions concerning social structure, but also to the study of the
crusades in general.
Even very basic features of the First Crusade, such as its social
composition, have yet to be rigorously analysed. It is surprising to nd
very eminent crusading historians, sure-footed on their own terrain,
stumbling as soon as they discuss the social structure of the movement.
introduction 3
Jonathan Riley-Smith, for example, when he turned to the subject,
argued that the Christian forces of the First Crusade ‘can be divided
into three classes, the principes or maiores, the minores or mediocres and the
plebs or populus.’1 He de ned minores as the ‘great lords, castellans and
petty knights’ beneath the ranks of the senior princes and repeatedly
utilised the term minores for a sustained investigation of those of the
nobility on the First Crusade who were just below the level of the
senior princes.
This portrayal of the social structure of the First Crusade is rather
eccentric in its de nitions. In particular, none of the crusading sources
uses minores in the manner described by Riley-Smith. In fact, in the early
crusading sources the term minores is typically used to indicate common-
ers, often by coupling the term with maiores to indicate the entirety of
society, the great and the small.2 Nor do the other terms used to dissect
the social structure of the First Crusade by Riley-Smith t his purpose.
Mediocres has a limited and specialised use in the sources, not for those
knights below the rank of the senior princes but, depending on context,
for either footsoldiers or for the lowest social orders.3 Principes and maiores
very often were not synonymous, with the former usually a very narrow
elite within the broader grouping of nobles encompassed by maiores.4
Furthermore, plebs and populus were used, in the main, to indicate the
entire body of Christian forces, not a subgroup unless quali ed by an
appropriate adjective. If Riley-Smith’s intention was to indicate the
lower social orders by these terms, then more appropriate would have
been vulgus, pauperes, egeni, or minores, to mention only the more frequently
used contemporary terms. Again, the extremely prominent historian of
medieval Germany, Karl Leyser, in discussing the question of supplies
and the First Crusade, con ated the pauperes, the poor, with the very
different social group, the pedites, the footsoldiers.5
A detailed analysis of the structure of First Crusade from a social
perspective has, therefore, something of value to offer those studying
1 Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Philadelphia, 1986), p. 74.
2 For example GF 35, 74, 44, 53, 75; FC I.v.11 (152), I.xvi.1 (225), I.xxv.3 (267);
AA 226, 268 503–4; BD 42.
3 For example RM 742; GN 102, 153, 201, 262, 313.
4 See below pp. 219–241.
5 Karl Leyser, ‘Money and Supplies on the First Crusade,’ in T. Reuter ed., Com-
munications and Power in Medieval Europe: the Gregorian Revolution and beyond
(London, 1994), pp. 77–96, here p. 93.
4 introduction
the subject from a variety of points of view, as well as to those readers
simply interested in deepening their understanding of the crusade. The
ambition of this book is to supply the groundwork that in so many
other areas of history is taken for granted, even by those who would
not focus their work on social dynamics. In other words, to achieve as
much clarity as possible as to which social groupings were present on
the Crusade, in what proportions, and with what structural tensions
between them.
This book has not been written to address the question of ‘motivation’
of the crusaders. But as a secondary consequence of striving to achieve
clarity on the issue of social structure, it does have something to offer
on that issue and the matter is discussed further in the conclusion.
A certain methodology arises from the nature of the subject matter.
Once the question has been posed, ‘what was the social structure of
the First Crusade?’, the basic approach suggests itself. The sources for
the First Crusade have to be dissected and the material poured over
with respect to their evidence concerning the full range of the social
orders present on the crusade. The accumulated evidence then has to
be reassembled, prosopographically, to provide as coherent and accurate
account as possible of the social groupings under examination. While
it is possible to gather a fairly wide annalistic body of evidence for the
extent of plagues and famines around the time of the preaching of
the First Crusade and use this to supplement the discussion, especially
with regard to pauperes,6 the foundations of the study therefore have to
rest on a close reading and understanding of the sociological outlook
of the longer sources.
With regard to sources, something of a constraint is forced upon
the historian who wishes to examine the social dynamics of the First
Crusade. There needs to be suf cient material in the source to provide
an understand the sociological perspective of the author. In what man-
ner are the key terms being used? How xed are they? Do they echo
classical or biblical language? To what extent can they be trusted as
labels for speci c social classes? Shorter chronicles, letters and char-
ters are unsuited to an analysis of their philosophical and theological
standpoint. Verse sources present the problem that their vocabulary is
constantly subordinated to metre. Therefore the more substantial early
6 See below pp. 100–105.
introduction 5
narrative histories of the First Crusade form the core subject matter
of this study.
The rst two chapters of this book examine the work of eight
medieval historians, either participants on the First Crusade, or near
contemporaries. For the reader wishing to rush ahead to the narrative
of events or the discoveries here with regard to the social status of those
present on the crusade, these opening chapters will seem rather slow.
But quite apart from the indispensability of treating the sources with
respect, there is something intrinsically interesting about deepening our
understanding of the outlook of those who provided the accounts from
which we gain an insight into the past. This book is as much a study
of the sociology of these eight medieval writers as it is an account of
the social structure of the expedition itself.
The accounts studied in depth here are rst of all those of the four
eyewitness: the anonymously authored Gesta Francorum; Peter Tudebode’s
variant of the same; Raymond of Aguilers’s Historia Francorum and
Fulcher of Chartres’s Historia Hierosolymitana. In Chapter Two, four more
histories are examined, all written in the decade following the capture
of Jerusalem. There exist three histories written around 1108 that are
similar to one another, in that they are all the work of northern French
monks and are all reworkings of the Gesta Francorum. Distinctly differ-
ent from these works is Albert of Aachen’s extremely well informed
Historia Iherosolimitana, a history rich in social content and unique in
Modern historians have tended to neglect the three French works:
the Historia Hierosolymitana of Baldric of Dol; the Historia Iherosolimitana
of Robert the Monk; and (to a lesser extent) the Gesta Dei per Francos
of Guibert of Nogent. This is because the texts of the eyewitnesses
have to be preferred over the later works, especially given that as they
rewrote the story of the First Crusade, these monks sometimes distorted
historical information in order to provide edifying examples for their
readers. But for the social historian such reworkings are something
of a treasure trove, for, at the very least, they indicate how a French
monk of the time understood the Gesta Francorum. To take one of very
many examples, the crusading army at Antioch won a victory against a
sortie from the city, 6 March 1098, soon after which the Gesta Francorum
reported that ‘our men’ went to where the citizens had buried their
dead, dug them up and cut their heads off.7 Robert the Monk’s version
7 GF 42.
6 introduction
of this incident, instead of using the vague term nostri, speci ed it was
the iuvenes of the Christian army who did this.8 When these monastic
historians enriched their text with such details, it cannot necessarily
be invoked as evidence for what actually happened, especially if the
amendments disagree with the eyewitness, but such alterations do pro-
vide powerful evidence for how near contemporaries understood the
social content of their fons formalis.
These eight works provide, therefore, the bulk of the material for
this study.
In weighing up the social perspective of these authors, particularly in
placing their thought into context, the possibilities available to the his-
torian have undergone something of a minor revolution since research
for this book began. At the start of the new millennium, in order to
understand the context for a distinctive phrase, for example, Guibert of
Nogent’s homines extremae vulgaritatis, scholars would either rely on de ni-
tions provided by earlier generations who devoted a lifetime of study
to Latin, such as those in Du Cange’s monumental Glossarium mediae et
in mae Latinitatis, or would be obliged root around among micro ches
and indexes without ever being fully satis ed that perhaps a key tome
had been left unturned. Today, an enormous amount of classical and
medieval material has been digitised and put on to databases, allowing
searches to take place in minutes that would previously have taken years.
In Dublin, for example, in 2006 Dr. Katherine Simms made available
her database that catalogues the themes of Gaelic bardic poetry. This
allows researchers not only to search by opening lines, geographical
area, key names, meter and period, but the poems have all been cat-
egorised as to whether they are petitions, elegies, apologies etc.9 This
particular database is freely available as are several other important
ones, especially for the classical era.
The two databases used most heavily in this study are the online
versions of the Patrologia Latina and the scriptores series of the Monumenta
Germaniae Historica. These are immensely useful resources, invaluable
for this kind of study. Additionally, the French Government has rather
generously made the important crusading collection Recueil des Historiens
des Croisades accessible for free.10 With the assistance of these huge
8 RM 788.
9 At
10 At
introduction 7
resources and databases it has proved possible to say something about
each of the author’s distinct sociological perspectives.
The main body of this book consists of a discussion of the material
gleaned from these sources, assembled around the signi cant social
groupings. Insofar as this book offers an original interpretation of the
narrative of the Crusade, this appears mainly in Chapters Three and
Four. In particular, although the case has previously been made that
as the expedition stalled from July 1098 to May 1099, it was popular
pressure that provided the impetus to drive the movement towards
Jerusalem,11 up until now, this has only been asserted in outline, in
Chapter Four the role of the poor of the Crusade is examined in great
detail and it is demonstrated that their self-conscious activity played a
signi cant part in the subsequent outcome of the expedition.
Issues concerning knighthood and chivalry have proved to be a major
interest right across the medieval era. By the time of the First Crusade
the term milites was beginning to be applied not simply to the common
soldier, but more and more to that distinct social group, the warrior
members of the nobility. This is not to say that a knightly class emerged
around the time of the Crusade. Analysis of charters, especially that done
by Georges Duby for the Mâconnais, suggests that in parts of France, at
least, they were a distinct social grouping from around the year 1000.12
Chapter Five demonstrates, albeit with important quali cations, that
by the time that the early historians of the First Crusade were writing
(c. 1100–1110) the term miles was often being used to indicate a knight,
someone with a distinctly noble status, and not simply a soldier. The
more interesting material concerning the class below that of the knights,
the pedites, footsoldiers, namely their juxtaposition with the milites, has
not warranted a separate chapter, but is included in Chapter Five.
In sifting the information about social groupings it becomes clear
that an entirely unrecognised strata of person was present on the First
Crusade, not only present, but playing a key role as the ‘shock troops’
of the movement: rst into battle, rst on to the walls of a besieged
city, rash, impetuous and thirsty for fame. This stratum, in essence
senior nobles who had yet to establish families or careers, were termed
by the sources iuvenes and they have been invisible for centuries due to
11 Perhaps best by J. France, Victory in the East (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 297–324.
12 G. Duby, La Société aux XIe et XIIe siècles dans la région mâconnaise (Paris, 1953).
8 introduction
the fact that the term is also, and more commonly, employed simply
for youths. Chapter Six discusses this term, along with the complexities
of the issue. The discussion of the iuvenes of the First Crusade is worth
pursing in its own right, but it also enriches the discussion about the
motivation of the crusaders and this aspect of the material in Chapter
Six is referred to in the conclusion.
Chapter Seven examines the vocabulary of the sources with regard to
the magnates. Although writers of this era could often be very crude in
their depiction of society, splitting it into just two groups say, rich and
poor, closer inspection reveals a very rich appreciation by them of the
different layers of the nobility. Albert of Aachen, whose near contem-
porary history makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding
of the Crusade, wrote at various times of nobiles, magni, maiores, optimates,
primores, potentes, principes, proceres, capitales, capitanei and domini. Are these
terms synonyms? Or did their employment re ect different grades and
status among the elite? The results of this investigation assist in under-
standing how the Crusade was lead, the subject of Chapter Eight.
Finally, Chapter Nine examines the role of women on the First
Crusade. Strictly speaking the women present on the expedition were
not a separate social grouping, rather they were a component part of
each stratum, a vertical slice through the social structure of the expedi-
tion rather than a horizontal one. Nevertheless, they were treated by
the sources as a distinct group and played an interesting role on the
expedition, both in deed and in their obtaining the unsympathetic atten-
tion of the sources. One important issue dealt with in this chapter is
whether the women who joined the First Crusade came as prostitutes,
or was their motivation more spiritual, did they come as pilgrims? This
book argues for the view that they saw themselves, in fact, overwhelm-
ingly as pilgrims.
The major Latin eyewitness accounts of the First Crusade consist
of the anonymously written Gesta Francorum, a near identical version
of the same text by Peter Tudebode, Raymond of Aguilers’s Historia
Francorum and Fulcher of Chartres’s Historia Hierosolymitana. Each of the
eyewitnesses had a distinct perspective on the events they wrote about
and, although sharing a similar social vocabulary, reveal a consider-
able difference in emphasis in their writing about the social structure
of the expedition.
The Gesta Francorum
The Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum is the most studied and
in uential account of the First Crusade. It was the version of events
that had the greatest impact in its day and it formed the basis of
most of the subsequent twelfth century histories of the First Crusade.
Although a new edition by Marcus Bull is in preparation, the most
recent modern edition is that of Rosalind Hill (1962), which was issued
with an accompanying English translation. It is Hill’s edition that is
used for this discussion.1
The author of the Gesta Francorum is unknown, leading to considerable
discussion over the centuries as to his background. There is no doubting
that the emphasis of the author was slanted towards the activities of
the South-Italian Norman prince Bohemond I of Taranto and a strong
consensus has been reached that the author travelled from Italy as far
as Antioch in the contingent of Bohemond.2 There is far more colour
1 Editions of the Gesta Francorum: J. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanover, 1611);
RHC Oc. 3, 121–63; Anonymi Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, ed. H. Hagen-
meyer (Heidelberg, 1890); Anonymi Gesta Francorum, ed. B. A. Lees (Oxford, 1924);
Histoire Anonyme de la première Croisade ed. L. Bréhier (Paris, 1924); Gesta Francorum et
aliorum Hierosolimitanorum ed. R. Hill (Oxford, 1962), hereafter GF.
2 For Bohemond I of Taranto see R. B. Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch (New
York, 1924).
10 chapter one
in the description of how Bohemond’s contingent was formed and its
subsequent journey than for the equivalent, cursory, accounts of the
armies of the expedition led by Hugh the Great, count of Vermandois,
Count Raymond IV of Toulouse or Duke Godfrey IV of Bouillon.3 As
Rosalind Hill pointed out, the author knew the names of many of the
individual knights of Bohemond’s following, but not even the correct
titles of the other senior princes, let alone their followers.4
There is also a consensus among scholars that the Gesta Francorum
was completed shortly after the last event that it described, the victory
of the Christian forces near Ascalon against al-Afdal, vizier of Egypt,
12 August 1099. Louis Bréhier thought that two passages in the work
indicated that the expedition was not complete at the time that they
were written, indicating that the text as we have it is the result of more
than one redaction.5 Hill further suggested that the rst nine of its
ten books were composed before the author left Antioch in November
1099.6 There is no explicit evidence in the work to support this insight,
which Hill leaves unsupported in her introduction, but the structure
of the work makes it plausible. The rst nine books have roughly even
amounts of material and nish coherently with the surrender of the
citadel of Antioch, following the Christian victory over Kerbogha,
atabeg of Mosul, 28 June 1098, that makes for the highpoint of the
work. The tenth book is considerably longer and can be seen as a large
addendum, written at a later date, that brings the story up to the battle
of Ascalon. Colin Morris has noted that the way the Gesta Francorum
deals with the matter of the discovery of the Holy Lance becomes
more comprehensible if it is considered to be a work of two sections.
Otherwise the passages of unquali ed praise and acceptance of the
3 For these princes see M. Bull, ‘The Capetian monarchy and the early crusade
movement: Hugh of Vermandois and Louis VII’, Nottingham Medieval Studies 50 (1996),
pp. 25–46; J. Hill and L. Hill, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse (Syracuse, 1962); J. C.
Andressohn, The Ancestry and Life of Godfrey of Bouillon (Bloomington, 1947) and A. V.
Murray, The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, A Dynastic History 1099–1125 (Oxford, 2000),
4 GF xi–xii. Although titles at this time had considerable uidity, see I. S. Robinson,
‘Eine unbekannte Streitschrift über die Salevamento von Exkommuniziesten im
Münchener Kodex lat. 618’, Studi Gregoriani 11 (1978), p. 311 n. 30.
5 Histoire Anonyme de la première Croisade, ed. L. Bréhier, p. ix, referring to GF
21 and 35.
6 GF ix.
the eyewitnesses 11
legitimacy of the lance do not t well with the relic’s later loss of favour.7
Another pertinent observation by Morris with regard to the bipartite
structure of the work is that the epithet dominus is applied regularly to
Bohemond in the rst nine books but not at all in the tenth.8
One common argument for a terminus ad quem by which the existence
of the Gesta Francorum had to have existed has arisen from the testimony
of the chronicler, Ekkehard, later abbot of Aura, who in 1101 made
the pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he came across a libellus.9 This has
often been taken as a reference to the Gesta Francorum and thus as giving
a date by which the work must have been completed.10 But this is not
an entirely safe assumption; Raymond of Aguilers’s Historia Francorum
was available at around the same time11 and Peter Knoch’s detective
work has raised the possibility that at least one other earlier crusad-
ing history was available in the region.12 There is no reason to doubt
that the version of the Gesta Francorum as we have it today had been
written by 1101 but hard evidence is lacking. The earliest manuscript
is Vaticanus Reginensis latinus 572, written and punctuated ‘in a bold
round hand of the early twelfth century.’13
Two historical events can be used to suggest a very early date for
the completion of the Gesta Francorum, albeit with the risk that always
attends an argument based on an absence of material rather than on
more positive evidence. On 18 July 1100, Duke Godfrey of Lotharingia,
Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre, died, yet nowhere does the author
of the Gesta Francorum show any awareness of his death. In particu-
lar, the description of the election of Godfrey as ruler of Jerusalem,
23 July 1099, was written towards the very end of the text at which
point it would have been conventional to have written an epitaph on
his praiseworthy character or offer a blessing, should the writer have
possessed knowledge of his death less than a year later.14 Similarly, as
7 C. Morris, ‘Policy and Visions’, p. 37, n. 14, referring to GF 59–60. For a full
discussion of the Holy Lance see below pp. 121–5.
8 C. Morris, ‘The Gesta Francorum’, p. 66.
9 EA 148.
10 For example, Histoire Anonyme de la première Croisade, ed. L. Bréhier, viii; GF ix and
xvi; RHC Oc. 5 (Paris, 1895), p. 21 n. b and ix; S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades
p. 329; Fulcher of Chartres, A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem 1095–1127, F. R.
Ryan trans. (Knoxville, 1969), p. 19.
11 RA ccxxvi. See below p. 28.
12 P. Knoch, Studien zu Albert von Aachen (Stuttgart, 1966), pp. 36–59.
13 GF xxxviii.
14 GF 92–3.
12 chapter one
Morris has observed, the author wrote of the election of Arnulf of
Chocques, chaplain to Duke Robert of Normandy, to the Patriarchate
of Jerusalem, 1 August 1099, without any indication that this election
would be considered uncanonical and Arnulf deposed in favour of
Daimbert of Pisa shortly after Christmas 1099.15
The exact social status of the anonymous author has proved to be
dif cult to determine. Bréhier initially proposed seeing the author as a
cleric taking down the story from a knight. Heinrich Hagenmeyer argued
in favour of seeing the author as a literate knight, which is a view that
has found favour with subsequent historians, including Hill. But Colin
Morris sounded a note of caution in regard to the characterisation
of the author as a simple knight, with an analysis that went further
than that of Bréhier in drawing attention to the clerical elements of
the work.16 In resolving this issue there are inevitably great dif culties.
What would be the difference in language between a knight dictating
to a cleric who helped shape the material17 and a literate knight with a
‘half-conscious’ memory of the phrases he had heard in church?18 Do
the rare moments when the author reveals a sophisticated grammar
de nitely indicate he was a cleric,19 or someone who had once trained
for the clergy but subsequently become a knight?20
The question of the authorship of the Gesta Francorum is an important
one for historians of the crusades generally and social historians in par-
ticular. If it is considered the work of a knight, the text can be utilised
in a slightly different manner than if, like all the other sources for the
First Crusade, it is thought to be the work of a cleric. In particular, the
Gesta Francorum can then be cited as evidence for the outlook of a knight
with regard to the key events and themes of the Crusade, it would also
give greater weight to the author’s assessment of the military events
15 C. Morris, ‘The Gesta Francorum’, p. 66, referring to GF 93. For Arnulf of Chocques
see B. Hamilton, The Latin Church in the Crusader States (London, 1980). For Duke Robert
of Normandy see C. W. David, Robert Curthose Duke of Normandy (Cambridge, Mass.,
16 First in a footnote, C. Morris, ‘Policy and Visions—The case of the Holy Lance
at Antioch’, War and Government in the Middle Ages, ed. J. Gillingham and J. C. Holt
(Woodbridge, 1984), pp. 33–45, here p. 36 n. 12, then expanded in C. Morris, ‘The
Gesta Francorum as narrative history’, Reading Medieval Studies, 19 (1993), pp. 55–71.
17 Histoire Anonyme de la première Croisade, ed. L. Bréhier, v–viii.
18 GF xiv.
19 C. Morris, ‘The Gesta Francorum’, p. 66, referring to GF 59–60.
20 K. B. Wolf, ‘Crusade and narrative: Bohemond and the Gesta Francorum’, Journal
of Medieval History 17, II (1991), pp. 207–216.
the eyewitnesses 13
he described. A detailed attempt to reach a verdict on this question is
therefore warranted here.
Insofar as this study sheds any light on the identity of the author of
the Gesta Francorum, it is inclined not to see him as a cleric. Although
knights were generally not literate around 1100, it was not particularly
rare for a younger son of a knightly family to begin clerical training,
only to be brought back into secular life. There are several examples
of this type of person being on the First Crusade. From Guibert
of Nogent’s Gesta Dei Per Francos comes an example of an otherwise
unknown crusader, Alberic of Normandy, nobly born, who was sent
to school early, became a cleric but ‘out of a love for warfare’ defected
from the clergy.21 Guibert himself declined the offer from his mother
of arms and equipment to change profession from that of a monk to
that of a knight.22
In his discussion of the authorship of the Gesta Francorum, Bernard
Hamilton drew attention to the example of a very prominent crusad-
ing knight who had in his youth been clerically trained, Baldwin of
Boulogne, later King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.23 According to William
of Tyre, Baldwin, the youngest of the three sons of Eustace II, count
of Boulogne and Ida of Bouillon, trained for the priesthood but left
the clergy to become a miles.24 Albert of Aachen described him as a
vir litteris eruditus.25
The crusading historian Raymond of Aguilers stated that he wrote
his own history along with a knight, Pons of Balazuc.26 Finally, further,
very signi cant, evidence that the ability by eyewitnesses to write a
history of the crusade was not con ned to the clergy comes from the
author of the Gesta Francorum himself; at one point he observed that
so much had happened that no clericus or laicus could possibly hope to
write it all down.27 In other words, general considerations of literacy
c. 1100, along with the words of our author himself, do not have to
21 GN 217: militiae amore.
22 Guibert of Nogent, Monodiae, I.6.
23 B. Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West (London, 1986), p. 108.
24 WT 10.1 (453).
25 AA vii.61 (573). For the early career of Baldwin of Boulogne see A. V. Murray,
The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (Oxford, 2000), pp. 30–36.
26 RA 201. For Pons of Balazuc see RA iv–vi, see also J. Riley-Smith, First Crusaders,
p. 218.
27 GF 44.
14 chapter one
lead to a conclusion that such narrative histories were necessarily the
work of clerics.
The key passage on which Collin Morris’ argument rests is the author’s
report of a the death of the papal legate, Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy,
1 August 1098: Quia ille erat sustentamentum pauperum, consilium divitum,
ipseque ordinabat clericos, predicabat et summonebat milites, dicens quia: ‘Nemo ex
vobis saluari potest nisi honori cet pauperes et re ciat, vosque non potestis saluari sine
illis, ipsique vivere nequent sine vobis.’ (‘Because [Adhémar] was the helper
of the pauperes, the counsel of the rich and he ordered the clergy; he
preached to and summoned the milites, saying this: none of you can be
saved unless he does honour to the pauperes and assists them; you cannot
be saved without them, and they cannot live without you’).28
For Colin Morris this passage is a decisive one in indicating that the
author was a cleric, since it shows an outlook that would be unlikely
for a knight, particularly in its concern for the poor.29 But a careful
look at the phrasing of the sentence shows that, in fact, the concern
for the poor reported here was Adhémar’s and, indeed, the reportage is
given from the perspective of a miles who was remembering the bishop
as someone who recalled them to their duties to the poor, which they
might otherwise have neglected. The conclusion that this passage was
not articulating the perspective of a cleric is strengthened by consid-
eration of the work of Peter Tudebode.
As discussed below, Peter Tudebode’s work has some small variations
from the Gesta Francorum worth noting, in particular his revisions and
additions show a slightly greater awareness of social division within
the First Crusade than does the Gesta Francorum itself. Such changes are
in keeping with the view that the original was the work of a knight,
the revisions the work of a cleric. This is particularly true for the key
passage on the death of Adhémar.
The version of Adhémar’s words in the Historia De Hierosolymitano
Itinere has the notable difference that the legate was reported as saying
‘none of you can be saved unless he honours and assists the pauperes
clerici.’30 This signi cantly changes the meaning of the passage. The
28 GF 74. For Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy see J. A. Brundage, ‘Adhémar of Puy:
The Bishop and his Critics,’ Speculum 34 (1959), pp. 201–212.
29 C. Morris, ‘The Gesta Francorum’, p. 66.
30 PT 117: Quoniam nemo ex vobis salvus eri potest, nisi honori cet et re ciat pauperes
the eyewitnesses 15
theological message from Adhémar is no longer that by the meritorious
deeds of the knights towards the pauperes they save their own souls, but
now it is the prayers of the clergy that save the souls of the knights. It
is a change that shifts the psychological standpoint of salvation from
that of a knight to that of a cleric.31
Jay Rubenstein follows Hans Oehler in making the point that there
is suf cient knowledge of scripture displayed in the Gesta Francorum to
indicate that the author was no secular warrior. Indeed, ‘the evidence
for his secular character barely withstands a second glance.’32 If the
choice were between viewing the author as an irreligious knight or a
cleric, the discussion would indeed have to conclude, without a second
glance, that he was a member of the clergy. Not only does he paraphrase
biblical passages but there is a strong theology at work throughout the
book, most evident in the author’s belief that the crusaders were milites
Christi. But this dichotomy fails to encompass a proper consideration
of the observation that there were those on the First Crusade who had
once received a certain amount of clerical training but nevertheless
end up pursuing a career as a knight. The amount of clerical learning
displayed in the Gesta Francorum is not great; it is considerably less than
that visible in the other sources. It is, in fact, within the bounds that
would be expected from someone with a limited amount of religious
training, or whose prose learning had been shaped by the Vulgate, the
most in uential text of the Medieval period.33 So long as the debate
is not reduced to insisting the author was either an unlearned warrior
or an educated cleric, then the possibility that he was a knight remains
a likely one. A knight who was ‘secular’ in the sense of not being a
practising member of the clergy, but who nevertheless held strongly to
his Christian theology.
The social vocabulary and concerns of the author of the Gesta
Francorum are quite different from those of all the other early crusading
31 Note that Peter Tudebode’s amendment is clumsy and arti cial, as the new sen-
tence no longer follows consistently with the start of the eulogy in which Adhémar is
described as the helper of the pauperes. This is relevant to the discussion below on the
relationship between Peter Tudebode’s work and the Gesta Francorum, as it indicates the
phrasing in the Gesta Francorum was the original.
32 J. Rubenstein, ‘What is the Gesta Francorum, and who was Peter Tudebode?’
Revue Mabillon 16 (2005), 179–204, here p. 187. Hans Oehler, ‘Studien zu den Gesta
Francorum’, Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, 6 (1970), 58–97.
33 See also J. G. Gavigan, ‘The Syntax of the Gesta Francorum,’ Language 19, III (1943),
pp. 10–102, here p. 12.
16 chapter one
historians, including those who were heavily dependent on the Gesta
Francorum, all of whom were demonstrably clerics. The attention of the
author of the Gesta Francorum is almost entirely xed on the activities of
the seniores and milites. While the lower social groupings get a handful
of mentions each, the milites have over a hundred. This simple fact is
among the strongest pieces of evidence that the author was himself a
member of the knightly class.
The social concerns of the author were not particularly for the
poor, although he was aware of the hardships they faced, but insofar
as the author refers to an internal differentiation among the Christian
forces (which was uncommon) much more attention was given to the
milites, for example, in noting the loss of status of a miles through the
death of his mount.34 As will become evident in a closer examination
of his language, the author of the Gesta Francorum was a writer who
was untypical and rather clumsy in his vocabulary when it came to
commentating on the lower social orders. It is the conclusion of this
discussion then that some con dence can be given to assertion that the
Gesta Francorum was indeed, as Hagenmeyer and his followers conjec-
tured, written by a knight.
As a social historian the author of the Gesta Francorum was extremely
limited. He was generally content to describe the expedition as a whole
and not comment on the internal differentiation within it. The standard
point of view he adopted is that given by the rst person plural, typi-
cally he wrote of how ‘we’ viewed a certain event, meaning the whole
movement. When the author went beyond this simple designation he still
tended to use terms that embraced the entirety of the Christian forces:
populus, peregrini, or milites Christi. In large part this is because the events
that were of greatest interest to the author were the major military
con icts between the Christian army and their Muslim opponents.
He seems to have been reluctant to dwell on internal dissension within
the movement, so, for example, his own move from the contingent of
Bohemond to that which journeyed on to Jerusalem is made without any
justi cation, or any criticism of Bohemond for not ful lling his oath. In
this regard, as Colin Morris and Natasha Hodgson have observed, the
Gesta Francorum appears to parallel a chanson, with its focus being on a
simpli ed con ict between two undifferentiated blocks, Christians and
34 GF 23.
the eyewitnesses 17
pagans.35 Only in a few instances did the author comment on events
that drew attention to the diverse social makeup of the First Crusade.
His vocabulary had very few terms that carried a social connotation
and those he did adopt were clumsy ones and invariably altered by the
later authors who used the Gesta Francorum as their fons formalis.
The author of the Gesta Francorum had very little at all to say about
the lower social orders. When wishing to comment on their plight he
seems to have been at a loss for an appropriate term and coined a
phrase, gens minuta, which, other than its occurrences in Peter Tudebode’s
direct borrowings, does not occur in any other early crusading history,
nor indeed, in the entire collection of writings in the Patrologia Latina.
He wrote that because of the hardship of the siege of Antioch, around
February 1098, the gens minuta et pauperrima ed to Cyprus, Rum and the
mountains.36 When the Provençal magnate, Raymond Pilet, attempted
prematurely to lead an expedition against Ma’arra in July 1098, Ridwan,
emir of Aleppo, threw him back, in large part because Raymond’s forces
had a great number of poor and local Christians unused to combat.37
Of this incident, the author of the Gesta Francorum wrote that the gens
minuta were seized by extreme terror.38
The phrase gens minuta is a vague one. From the example of those
who accompanied Raymond Pilet out of Antioch in July 1098 it seems
to be used to describe footsoldiers, probably of the less well equipped
sort, unattached to any following. But the gens minuta et pauperrima who
abandoned the hardship of the siege of Antioch are more likely to be
the entire lower social orders, ghters and non-combatants.
In the context of describing the totality of persons on the expedition,
the Gesta Francorum used the couplet maiores et minores. This very simple
division of the expedition says little about the make up of the Crusade,
but its deployment might indicate a possible biblical reminiscence by
35 For the Gesta Francorum as a chanson see GF xv, C. Morris, ‘The Gesta Francorum’,
p. 61 and N. Hodgson, ‘The Role of Kerbogha’s Mother in the Gesta Francorum and
Selected Chronicles of the First Crusade’, Gendering the Crusades, ed. S. B. Edgington
and S. Lambert (Cardiff, 2001), pp. 163–176.
36 GF 35.
37 For references to Raymond Pilet, lord of Alès, see J. Riley-Smith, First Crusaders,
p. 220. See also RA 253 n. a.
38 GF 74.
18 chapter one
the author, despite the phrase maiores et minores being something of a
The issue of supplying the crusading army as it gathered, rst at
Constantinople and then at the siege of Nicea, April 1097 to its sur-
render 19 June 1097, prompted the author of the Gesta Francorum to
write more observantly about the poor. He recorded the promise of
Alexios I Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, to give alms to the pauperes
in the contingent of Duke Godfrey to keep them alive after they had
departed Constantinople, 4 April 1097.40 In summing up the siege of
Nicea and the sense of frustration that the sacri ces of the expedition
had not been properly rewarded, the anonymous author pointed out that
many of the pauperrima gens had in fact starved to death.41 Immediately
afterwards he nevertheless acknowledged that, exceedingly pleased with
the fall of the city, Alexios ordered alms to be distributed bountifully
to nostri pauperes.42
After this cluster of usages in writing about the siege of Nicea and
its aftermath, the term pauper appears only three times more in the
entire work. Two of these instances were cases where the term pauperes
was used as an adjective that seems to have been used to describe poor
combatants rather than ‘the poor’. The author described a scene where
the chief enemy of the Christian army, Kerbogha, the atabeg of Mosul,
was brought a rusty sword, a bad bow and a useless spear, recently sto-
len from the pauperes peregrini.43 The purpose of depicting this incident
was to show Kerbogha as gloating hubristically and prematurely over
the superiority of his forces to those of the Christians and the term
pauperes peregrini here is being used very loosely.
Similarly, when the castellan Achard of Montmerle left the siege of
Jerusalem to contact six Christian vessels that had arrived at Jaffa on
17 June 1099, he was intercepted by some Arab soldiers and killed.
According to the report of the Gesta Francorum Achard died along with
the pauperes homines pedites.44 In this case, the only such formulation,
the most likely meaning is that these were footsoldiers who were dis-
tinguished, perhaps, by poverty relative to the condition of better-off
39 I Chronicles 24:31: tam maiores quam minores.
40 GF 7.
41 GF 17.
42 GF 18.
43 GF 51.
44 GF 89. For Achard of Montmerle see J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusaders, 1095–1131
(Cambridge, 1997), p. 197.
the eyewitnesses 19
footsoldiers in the main body of the Christian forces for whom the
author consistently used the term pedites without quali cation.45 The
point here is that the author of the Gesta Francorum, even when employ-
ing terms that make it seem as though he was attentive to the lower
social grouping, was as often making a distinction between rich and
poor warriors as that between those who fought and the non-combat-
ant poor. In this regard, as will be seen, his vocabulary is signi cantly
different to the clerical authors.
There is one instance in which the term pauperes probably was being
used by the author of the Gesta Francorum for non-combatants. This was
in the epitaph to Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy discussed above. Karl
Leyser has noted that Adhémar’s speech re ected the contemporary
orthodoxy of the tripartite division of society into those who worked,
those who fought and those who prayed.46 This is a valuable observa-
tion, but it applies with even greater force to the preceding description
of the legate as: sustentamentum pauperum, consilium divitum, ipseque ordinabat
clericos (helper of the pauperes, the counsel of the divites, and he regulated
the clergy).47 The division of rich and poor here is hierarchical rather
than functional but nevertheless this passage provides evidence that the
author of the Gesta Francorum did indeed see the expedition in tripartite
terms and, by loose analogy with the orthodox understanding of the
three orders, it seems that in this case at least pauperes is being used for
If the author of the Gesta Francorum had little insight to offer with
regard to the lower social orders, his language did become more
nuanced with regard to the more senior social groupings of the Crusade.
He employed the term, servientes in an interesting way, not in its com-
mon sense of ‘servant’ but rather for warriors of some sort, perhaps
serjeants, or perhaps for those whom other sources describe as iuvenes,
that is, knights yet to establish their own families and careers, who
therefore attached themselves as followers to a prince.48
45 Also J. G. Gavigan, ‘The Syntax of the Gesta Francorum,’ p. 37.
46 K. Leyser, ‘Money and Supplies’, p. 82 n. 25. For the tripartite division of society
the best discussion still remains, G. Duby, The three orders, feudal society imagined (Chicago,
47 GF 74.
48 See below pp. 187–212.
20 chapter one
With nearly a hundred usages, milites was by far and away the most
common term for a group of persons in the Gesta Francorum. This should
provide suf cient material to yield a precise interpretation of the social
grouping referred to by the term. Yet milites was such a ubiquitous
a term for the anonymous author that it was used to cover a broad
variation of person, ranging from unnamed soldiers ghting in their
thousands to the senior princes. Chapter Five contains a full discus-
sion of this term, but it is worth noting here the common phrase in
the Gesta Francorum: milites Christi.49 Although the frequency with which
the phrase appears tells us something about the theological framework
through which the author viewed the expedition, it sheds little light on
social status. For example, Bishop Adhémar was included in a grouping
with Count Raymond, Godfrey of Lotharingia, and Hugh the Great
that together were termed milites Christi.50 It was not, therefore, a term
speci cally reserved for warriors of the First Crusade.
The phrase miles Christi derives from a letter of the apostle Paul,
a passage much exploited by Pope Gregory VII and by the authors
of investiture polemics.51 Other examples of the appearance of miles
Christi in the Gesta Francorum include it being adopted for the young
Norman prince Tancred52 and collectively for Bohemond, Godfrey
of Lotharingina and Count Raymond of Toulouse, who together are
termed Christi milites.53 One of Bohemond’s speeches to his colleagues
began: Seniores et fortissimi milites Christi.54 These examples indicate that
the author of the Gesta Francorum considered the leadership of the First
Crusade to be devoted to the idea of a Holy War, at least as they are
depicted in the rst nine books. For the battle with Kerbogha the entire
army are described as milites Christi. Thereafter the term is never applied
to individual knights but only for the general army of the expedition,
suggesting both a certain disillusionment with the leaders and also
49 GF 6, 11, 18, 19, 23, 24, 70, 73, 88, 89, 96.
50 GF 19.
51 Paul, to Tim 2:3. For Gregory VII and miles Christi see C. Erdmann, The Origin
of the Idea of Crusade, trans. M. W. Baldwin and W. Goffart (Princeton, 1977), pp.
202–3, 340–2.
52 GF 24. For Tancred see R. L. Nicholson. Tancred: a study of his career and work in
their relation to the First Crusade and the Establishment of the Latin States in Syria and Palestine
(Chicago, 1940).
53 GF 11.
54 GF 18.
the eyewitnesses 21
providing further evidence that the work probably was written at two
distinct stages.55
One interesting variation was the phrase, Christi milites peregrini, for
Raymond Pilet’s expedition of July 1098.56 As this contingent of the
Christian army was made up from previously unattached footsoldiers
and knights, including the gens minuta discussed above, it might well be
the case that the author of the Gesta Francorum adapted his conventional
phrase to match the less princely nature of that force.57 The other
variation on milites Christi that appeared in the Gesta Francorum was the
phrase, ‘milites veri Dei.’58 This was used to describe a Christian force
in battle with the garrison of Antioch, 6 March 1098. The Christians
suffered heavy losses due to an ambush on an expedition returning
from St Symeon’s Port. When they had regrouped, together with rein-
forcements from the camp, they turned the battle around and won a
major victory. The phrase, ‘knights of the true God,’ appeared here,
not as any kind of point concerning knighthood, but to underscore
the comforting thought that the author of the Gesta Francorum had just
made, which was that those killed must surely have earned the reward
of Heaven.
One passage concerning milites deserves more detailed attention here
as it makes an important point about the knightly class. When news
of the crusade reached Bohemond, in the summer of 1096, he was
engaged in the siege of Amal alongside his uncle, Count Roger I of
Sicily.59 The Gesta Francorum reported that when Bohemond declared he
was joining the crusade, so many milites joined him that Count Roger
remained behind almost alone, lamenting the loss of his forces.60
The interesting aspect of this passage is that milites who were once
evidently vassals of Count Roger are described as transferring their
allegiance to Bohemond. The same movement of milites from prince
to prince can be seen during the course of the First Crusade and was
a feature of the struggle of the magnates to exert leadership over the
55 GF 70 (against Kerbogha), 88, 89, 96.
56 GF 73.
57 GF 73. For a discussion of the term peregrini for in early crusading sources see
C. Tyerman, The Invention of the Crusades (London, 1998), pp. 20–22.
58 GF 40.
59 For Count Roger I Sicily (d. 1101) see G. A. Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard
(Harlow, 2000) chs. 4 and 5.
60 GF 7.
22 chapter one
expedition.61 In the view of the Gesta Francorum it was not inappropri-
ate for a vassal to transfer his allegiance in the context of the crusade.
The author of the Gesta Francorum himself, if it is accepted that he was
a miles, might be an example of this, as, having travelled to Antioch
in the contingent of Bohemond, he then joined that part of the expe-
dition that pushed on to Jerusalem. Furthermore, the author of the
Gesta Francorum seems to describe Raymond Pilet, a miles and vassal
of Count Raymond of Toulouse, as having made a bid for a more
senior status by retaining (retinere) many milites and pedites from those
who did not want to wait ve months after the fall of Antioch for the
expedition to continue.62 The author of the Gesta Francorum may have
been among those who set out with Raymond Pilet.63 With the failure
of his expedition the next appearance of Raymond Pilet in the Gesta
Francorum showed him to be once again a member of the contingent
of Count Raymond.64
The association of the verb retinere with the enlistment of milites
appeared again in the Gesta Francorum in al-Afdal’s lament that having
been defeated by a poor Christian force (at the battle of Ascalon) he
would never again retain (retinere) milites by compact (conventione).65 Even
though the statement was made by the vizier of Egypt concerning his
own forces, it allows us to see the type of terminology that the author
of the Gesta thought suitable for the recruitment of milites by a lord.
There are several terms for the senior nobility in the Gesta Francorum,
the most common of which was nostri maiores.66 In marked contrast to
the other crusading sources, especially those northern French writers
basing their work on the Gesta Francorum, the author used the term seniores
a great deal to indicate the leading gures of the First Crusade.67 The
author was displaying what is probably an Italian bias that contrasts with
the vocabulary of the French sources.68 The term principes, so common
61 See K. Leyser, ‘Money and Supplies’, pp. 89–92; and W. G. Zajac, ‘Captured
property on the First Crusade’, The First Crusade, ed. J. Phillips (Manchester 1997),
pp. 153–180, p. 169. See also below pp. xx–yy.
62 GF 73.
63 GF 73 n. 1.
64 GF 83.
65 GF 96.
66 GF 12, 16, 30, 39, 40, 45, 57, 59, 63, 65, 66, 72, 75, 87.
67 GF 25, 29, 30, 33, 37, 44, 67, 72, 75, 76, 78, 80, 81, 84, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90.
68 J. G. Gavigan, ‘The Syntax of the Gesta Francorum,’ p. 11.
the eyewitnesses 23
in those other sources, seems to have been used in the Gesta Francorum
only to indicate the very uppermost gures of the expedition.
In general, the author of the Gesta Francorum clearly had a much
more limited social vocabulary than any of the other early crusading
historians. His attention to the condition of the milites does, however,
provide particularly valuable material for a discussion of the meaning
of that term as it was applied to participants of the First Crusade.
The Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere of Peter Tudebode
There has been a centuries long controversy over the status of the
Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere of the Poitevin priest, Peter Tudebode.
The work is very similar indeed to the anonymous Gesta Francorum
and the debate has been conducted about the relationship between
the two. In 1641 Jean Besly produced an edition of the Historia De
Hierosolymitano Itinere that challenged the version of the Gesta Francorum
in Jacques Bongars’s famous 1611 collection of crusading sources.69
From the internal evidence presented in the manuscript from which
he was working (now Paris, B. N. MS. latin 4892), Besly argued for
the primacy of the version in which the author gave his name as Petrus
Tudebodus a sacerdos of Civray, approximately 50 km from Poitiers.70 Henri
Wallon and Adolphe Régnier adopted this perspective for the Recueil
des Historiens des Croisades version edited in 1866.71 With the appearance
of Heinrich Hagenmeyer’s scholarly edition of the Gesta Francorum in
1880 the argument was made that the relationship of the two works
should be reversed and that the Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere should
be considered the derivative work.72
The consensus of historians since 1880 was to follow Hagenmeyer,
until, in 1977, John and Laurita Hill produced an edition of Peter
69 Peter Tudebode, Historia de Hierosolymitano itinere, ed. J. Besly Historiae Francorum
Scriptores, IV, ed. A. Duchesne (Paris, 1841); J. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanover,
1611); see Peter Tudebode, Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere trans. J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill
(Philadelphia, 1974), pp. 1–2.
70 Petrus Tudebodus, Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere, eds. J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill
(Paris, 1977), hereafter PT, p. 138 n. b; see Peter Tudebode trans. J. H. Hill and L. L.
Hill, pp. 1–2.
71 RHC Oc. 3, 3–117.
72 Anonymi Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, ed. H. Hagenmeyer (Heidelberg,
24 chapter one
Tudebode’s text. The Hills performed valuable work in examining the
key manuscripts and, largely on stylistic grounds, separating the two
traditions. This allowed them to publish the modern edition of Historia
de Hierosolymitano Itinere, which is used here. On the issue of the rela-
tionship between the Gesta Francorum and the Historia de Hierosolymitano
Itinere, they argued in the introduction both to the Latin edition and the
separately published English translation, that the Gesta Francorum, the
Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere and the Historia Francorum of Raymond
of Aguilers shared a now lost common source.73
The dif culty with this position is that the Historia de Hierosolymitano
Itinere seems indisputably to be adopting passages wholesale from the
Gesta Francorum, unconsciously importing the perspective of the anony-
mous author in many instances. As John France has pointed out, the
main problem with the ‘missing source’ theory is that it does not explain
how a French priest came to adopt the term nos for events that are
describing the viewpoint of the Italian contingent.74
By and large, there is much more material in Peter Tudebode’s work
that appears to come from the Gesta Francorum than the other way
around. The issue is not a neat one, however, because, as Jay Rubenstein
has shown, there are some very distinct passages which strongly suggest
Peter Tudebode had the fuller version of events than that given in the
Gesta Francorum.75 The solution to this puzzle offered by Jay Rubenstein
is the very plausible suggestion that at least one, and, based on a study
of the Monte Cassino chronicle, possibly two, early versions of the Gesta
Francorum were in circulation when Peter Tudebode wrote his history.76
In other words, Peter Tudebode was not amending the Gesta Francorum
as we have it now, but a very similar, earlier, draft.
This is not to dispute the importance of Peter Tudebode as a source
for the First Crusade in those matters where he does offer new material.
It is clear that he was present on the First Crusade. He wrote several
passages that offer new information, or slight revisions of the version
of events that are described in the Gesta Francorum, consistent with
his putting forward his own name as a participant. Indeed, he listed
73 PT 21–24; Peter Tudebode, trans. J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill (Philadelphia, 1974),
pp. 10–13.
74 J. France, ‘The Use of the Anonymous Gesta Francorum in the Early Twelfth-Century
Sources for the First Crusade’, From Clermont to Jerusalem. The Crusades and Crusader Societies
1095–1500, ed. A. V. Murray (Turnhout, 1998), pp. 29–42.
75 J. Rubenstein, ‘What is the Gesta Francorum’, pp. 190–201.
76 Ibid., p. 201.
the eyewitnesses 25
several other individuals who were not mentioned in other sources,
including two knights also with the name Tudebode.77 All in all, as
Susan Edgington puts it, ‘his work is . . . chie y of ancillary value, add-
ing convincing and circumstantial detail particularly about the sieges
of Antioch and Jerusalem.’78
It is hard to distinguish Peter Tudebode as a social observer from
the anonymous author of the Gesta Francorum. Since they both had a
great amount of material in common they necessarily had the same
social language. Peter Tudebode’s work did, however, have some small
variations worth noting and he put a different perspective on some of
the passages discussed with regard to the Gesta Francorum. Furthermore,
he used two terms that are not to be found in the Gesta: clientes and
familiares. His revisions and additions show a slightly greater aware-
ness of social division within the First Crusade than does the Gesta
Francorum itself.
Peter Tudebode retained the two usages of the expression gens minuta
from the Gesta Francorum, a term so unusual that it is not found anywhere
else in the Patrologia Latina. The author of the Gesta Francorum used
minores as a broad term for the lower social order on three occasions.
Peter Tudebode added two more examples.79 These additions, although
relatively unimportant, begin to demonstrate a greater awareness of
the presence of the lower social orders in Peter Tudebode’s work than
in the Gesta Francorum. This distinction between the two texts is more
clearly evident in their respective use of the term pauperes.
In describing the vision of Christ by a priest, Stephen of Valence,
at Antioch, 10 June 1098, Peter Tudebode added an extra line of
oratio recta, reporting that Christ ordered everyone to make penance,
undertake a procession with bare feet through the churches and ‘give
alms to the pauperes.’80 This is useful additional information that the
visions of Stephen were giving expression to the needs of the poor.
Peter Tudebode made it clear that this advice was acted upon, when he
altered the Gesta Francorum’s report that just before battle with Kerbogha
‘they gave alms’ to read ‘they gave alms to the pauperes.’81 In the month
77 PT 97 and 116.
78 S. B. Edgington, ‘The First Crusade: Reviewing the Evidence’, The First Crusade,
origins and impact, ed. J. Phillips (Manchester, 1997), pp. 55–77, p. 56.
79 PT 108 and 109 referring to GF 67.
80 PT 100: . . . pauperibus dent eleemosinas.
81 PT 110: Et dederunt eleemosynam pauperibus. Referring to GF 67–8.
26 chapter one
after the fall of Ma’arra, 11 December 1098, the pauperes engaged in
a form of behaviour that, in the version of events reported by Peter
Tudebode, brought forth a response from the seniores. The pauperes pere-
grini cut open the bodies of the dead to look for coins hidden in the
stomachs. They then cooked and ate scraps of esh from the bodies.
As a result, reported Peter, the seniores dragged the bodies outside the
gates of the city, where they formed large piles that were burnt.82 The
version in the Gesta Franorum was blander, not distinguishing the pauperes
as those responsible for cannibalism nor reporting the response of the
As noted above, there is a slight but interesting change to the critical
passage in the Gesta Francorum on the death of Bishop Adhémar of Le
Puy at Antioch, which alters the meaning of the passage to one where
it is through the prayers of the clergy and not their own meritorious
deeds that the knights will be saved.
Peter Tudebode wrote a description of an appearance of St Andrew
to the lowly Provençal visionary Peter Bartholomew that is not in
the Gesta Francorum.84 The phrasing was drawn from the account of
Raymond of Aguilers although Peter Tudebode placed it in his account
of the storming of Ma’arra, while Raymond was referring to the
events of March 1099. From this and the other passages that mention
the lower social order it is evident that Peter Tudebode had a greater
awareness of the activities and needs of the pauperes than did the author
of the Gesta Francorum.
Several times Peter Tudebode added the term seniores where the
Gesta might have a more vague term like alii. None of these examples
introduce new information or clarify the role of the seniores, other than
the example under pauperes above, of the seniores being spurred to action
to prevent acts of cannibalism by the poor.
Since the Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere of Peter Tudebode was so
heavily dependent on the Gesta Francorum it added only a few new pas-
sages containing extra information that distinguishes between the various
social orders of the First Crusade. Although the quantity is limited, the
additional material is in fact relatively rich in social information and
there is suf cient to discern a difference in outlook between the two
82 PT 124–5.
83 GF 80.
84 For references to Peter Bartholomew see J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusaders
(Cambridge, 1997) p. 216. See also below pp. 121–147.
the eyewitnesses 27
authors, in particular through Peter Tudebode having shown a greater
interest in the presence of the poor.
Raymond of Aguilers’s Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Iherusalem
The Historia Francorum of Raymond of Aguilers is a critical text for
the history of the First Crusade, yet it is a relatively neglected work in
comparison to the other eyewitness sources. Ten manuscripts of the
history have survived from the medieval period. It was rst published
by Jacques Bongars in the collection Gesta Dei per Francos (1611) and
edited by various authors for the version that was published in the
Recueil series (1866). A very important modern edition with consider-
able critical apparatus was prepared by John France for his PhD. thesis
(1967); surprisingly this thesis has not been published, perhaps because
of the publication of an edition in 1969 by J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill.
Nevertheless France’s is used here as easily the most reliable edition.85
The edition of 1969 is based on one manuscript, Paris, B. N. MS Latin
14378. The editors seem to have been unaware of France’s work, which
has established that among the surviving manuscripts, MS 14378 is
relatively far removed from the archetype.86 France’s edition used all
ten manuscripts in a sophisticated reconstruction of the archetype.
The biographical information available concerning Raymond of
Aguilers derives entirely from the text. The author was a canon of the
cathedral church of St Mary of Le Puy, in the Auvergne region of
France.87 He participated on the expedition with the Provençal con-
tingent, probably that of Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy, the papal legate,
to judge by the bias of his detail.88 Having earlier been raised to the
priesthood during the course of the expedition,89 Raymond of Aguilers
subsequently joined the chaplaincy of Count Raymond IV of Toulouse.
85 J. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanover, 1611); RHC Oc. 3, 235–309; J. France, A
Critical Edition of the Historia Francorum of Raymond of Aguilers (unpublished PhD. thesis:
University of Nottingham, 1967), hereafter RA; Le ‘Liber’ de Raymond d’Aguilers, eds.
J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill (Paris, 1969). I am grateful to J. France for permission to quote
from his thesis. References to the more easily accessible RHC edition are in brackets.
86 RA clxiv–ccv.
87 RA 5 (235).
88 RA 11–12, 17 (237, 238).
89 RA 202 (276).
28 chapter one
In referring to the events of 10 June 1098, when the visionary Peter
Bartholomew rst came forward, Raymond of Aguilers mentioned that
he was already chaplain to Count Raymond at that time and presum-
ably thereafter.90
The Historia Francorum was written very soon after the end of the
First Crusade, some time after the battle of Ascalon. As John France
has pointed out, it must have been written before the end of 1101,
when Count Raymond of Toulouse’s participation in the Lombard and
French expedition in Anatolia that summer would have contradicted a
statement by the historian that the count intended to return to France.91
The earliest writer to make use of the Historia Francorum was Fulcher
of Chartres, which shows the work was available in Jerusalem between
1101 and 1105.92 Through an analysis of the cross-references in the
work, France has made a strong case for seeing the nished work as
being based on notes or longer extracts that Raymond wrote during
the course of the expedition.93
As a writer Raymond of Aguilers had an above average command
of Latin for a priest, but no familiarity with the classics, quoting only
the Bible.94 Shaped by the traditions of pilgrimage that were the
dominant feature of religious life in the Le Puy region,95 Raymond’s
Historia Francorum was framed by the author’s perspective that the First
Crusade was an iter Dei and that God was working miracles through
the participants of the journey.96
The miracles and visions that ll the account have led later historians
to treat Raymond as an excessively credulous and therefore unreliable
source. Paulin Paris has described Raymond of Aguilers as a sinister
fanatic.97 L. L. and J. H. Hill in their biography of Count Raymond
of Toulouse and in their English translation of the Historia Francorum
considered the historian to be extremely disingenuous, describing him
as inaccurate, ‘superstitious, and prejudiced.’98 In particular they argued
90 RA 100 (255).
91 RA 354 (301). See also RA cxxxviii–cxxxix.
92 RA cxxxix.
93 RA cxxxix–cxliii.
94 RA xvii.
95 RA xvi.
96 Itinere Dei see RA 202 (276); ‘miracles’ see RA 59 (247).
97 Anon., La Chanson d’Antioche, ed. P. Paris (Geneva, 1969) 1, xxi.
98 Raymond d’Aguilers, Historia Francorum Qui Ceperunt Iherusalem, trans. J. H. Hill
and L. L. Hill (Philadelphia, 1968), p. 7.
the eyewitnesses 29
that the entire account of the discovery and use of the Holy Lance
found at Antioch was fanciful on Raymond’s part.99 In fact, they con-
sidered Raymond of Aguilers to have fabricated most of the material
concerning the Lance as he ‘weaves in events along with miracles to
give the semblance of truth. We think that he is the creator of most
of the account rather than a naive reporter.’100 This is an unbalanced
viewpoint. Steven Runciman’s statement that ‘within his limits he
was obviously sincere and well informed,’101 is a much more accurate
Raymond of Aguilers seems to have taken to heart his avowed belief
that, having been made a priest, he should speak the truth before God.102
This honesty is shown in particular with regard to the very issue of the
peasant visionary Peter Bartholomew and the Holy Lance. Raymond
clearly did wish to believe in Peter Bartholomew as an authentic conduit
for the messages of Christ and the apostles, but this does not seem to
have led him to falsify his account of events. Raymond reported the
doubts of Bishop Adhémar on the subject of the Lance;103 he described
an interview with Peter Bartholomew in which the visionary was caught
out lying about his knowledge of scripture104 and, in a convincingly
candid passage, Raymond admitted that he held doubts about Peter
Bartholomew and secretly desired to see the visionary take the ordeal
of re to have them resolved.105 Raymond of Aguilers therefore was not
given to invention in order to justify his view. Nor, in his own terms,
would he need to, as the fall of Jerusalem to the Christians fully satis-
ed the historian that the participants had performed God’s work so
worthily that the event would be remembered in all the world to come
as the day when paganism was reduced to nothing.106
From the point of view of an investigation of social class the distinct
theological perspective of Raymond of Aguilers is more helpful than
harmful. It encouraged the historian to be attentive to the lower social
orders, whom he understood to be especially meritorious in the eyes of
99 Ibid., p. 12.
100 J. H. Hill and L. L. Hill, Raymond IV Count of Toulouse (Syracuse, 1962),
p. 109.
101 S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades (third edition: London, 1991), 1, 328–9.
102 RA 202 (276).
103 RA 100 (255).
104 RA 113–4 (257–8).
105 RA 256–7 (284–5).
106 RA 348 (300).
30 chapter one
God, precisely because of the hardship that they had to endure during
the expedition. The fact that the goals, desires and sentiments of the
poor were seen as important by Raymond means that historians have
an insight into the social tensions that existed during the expedition
that would be almost indiscernible from the other sources.
Although the lower social orders on the expedition were no longer
living and working on farms, their former status was re ected in the
vocabulary of Raymond of Aguilers. He reported that in the winter
of 1097 sorties from the city of Antioch against their besiegers killed
squires and rustici who were pasturing horses and oxen beyond the
river.107 Writing about a foraging expedition, 31 December 1097,
Raymond described how Bohemond was alerted to the presence of
an enemy force when he heard certain rustici from his men cry out.108
John France assumes this was a passing reference to Christian infantry,
although, given the purpose of the expedition, it could be that non-
combatants in search of foodstuffs accompanied the ghting forces.109
The visionary Peter Bartholomew, who came on the expedition as the
servant of a knight, was described as a pauper rusticus.110 This shows
the historian’s use of rusticus as a general social term for someone of
a lowly background. According to Raymond, those who disbelieved
Peter drew attention to this low social state, refusing to accept that
God would desert principes and bishops to reveal Himself to a rusticus
homo.111 The other two examples of rustici in the Historia Francorum are
for people other than the Christian forces and convey no signi cant
social information.112
There are only three instances in the Historia Francorum in which
Raymond of Aguilers used the term vulgus, in each case with the sense
of the ‘crowd of commoners’. At Antioch, shortly after the discovery
of the Holy Lance, 15 June 1098, the vulgus recovered from famine
and demoralisation to accuse the principes of delaying battle against
the forces of Kerbogha that were besieging them.113 Shortly before the
battle of Ascalon, Raymond reported that the Egyptians were being
107 RA 36 (243).
108 RA 42 (244).
109 J. France, Victory in the East. A military history of the First Crusade (Cambridge, 1984),
p. 237.
110 RA 88–9 (253).
111 RA 229–30 (280–1).
112 RA 81, 194–5 (252, 274).
113 RA 120 (259).
the eyewitnesses 31
told by those who had ed from the fall of Jerusalem how few were
the Christian forces and of the in rmity of the vulgus and the horses.114
In the latter case the term was deliberately chosen so as to emphasise
just how lowly was the state of the Christian army in the eyes of the
Egyptians; it cannot be therefore concluded that Raymond himself saw
the term vulgus as appropriate for combatants. The one other appearance
of the term vulgus in the history occurs with respect to non-Christian
forces. When Raymond referred to the Muslims killed outside Tripoli
early in March 1099, he noted the great numbers of bodies both of
the nobles and the vulgus.115
Raymond of Aguilers’s preferred term for the lower social orders
on the First Crusade was pauperes; there are over thirty examples of his
use of the term. Raymond’s early usages of the term help establish the
social group he was referring to. In the winter of 1096 the stragglers
of the Provençal contingent became the targets of the inhabitants of
Dalmatia who slaughtered the feeble old women, the pauperes and the
sick straggling behind the army because of their in rmity.116 Raymond
reported that the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Comnenus, promised
that when Nicea was captured he would found there a Latin monastery
and hospice for pauperes Francorum.117 In these examples Raymond’s
use of pauperes is for people in a state of weakness, not necessarily ‘the
poor’. As Karl Leyser has written in an important footnote, ‘discussions
of the pauperes on the First Crusade generally assume the translation
pauper = poor, though western European usage even at this period prob-
ably still had overtones of the sense pauper = defenceless.’118 Similarly,
later, January 1099, on the march through the Buqaia, the plain that
connects inner Syria to the sea, Raymond wrote that certain pauperes,
who were experiencing weakness and were lingering a long way behind
the army, were killed and despoiled by Turks and Arabs.119 Raymond
also reported that the Christian army before Jerusalem had no more
than twelve thousand ghters, as well as many who were in rm and
114 RA 369 (304).
115 RA 262 (286).
116 RA 6–7 (236).
117 RA 22 (240).
118 K. Leyser, Communications and Power in Medieval Europe: the Gregorian Revolution and
beyond, trans. T. Reuter (London, 1994), p. 82 n. 26.
119 RA 191 (273).
120 RA 338 (298).
32 chapter one
The term pauperes could, however, be used by Raymond to indicate
a class of people, not simply the weak and defenceless. In his descrip-
tion of the famine experienced by the Christian forces as they besieged
Antioch in the early days of 1098 he wrote that the pauperes began to
leave ‘and also many divites fearing poverty.’121 In this case the juxtaposi-
tion of pauperes with the divites makes it clear they are being considered
the lower part of a basic bipartite division of the Christian forces into
‘rich’ and ‘poor’. In another example arising from the same period
of the expedition the pauperes were described as fearing to cross the
Orontes to nd fodder, giving a small insight into at least one of their
activities.122 Raymond singled out the pauperes as being most affected
by the expedition being stalled at Antioch due to the discord of the
princes at the end of October 1098.123
Raymond’s next example was the first that gives an indication
that the term pauper could be positive one in the Historia Francorum,
embracing the entire Christian army. Having described the victory of
the Christians over the relieving forces of Ridwan, emir of Aleppo
and Suqman ibn Ortuq, 9 February 1098, and the similarly successful
defence of the camp from a sortie by the garrison of Antioch on the
same day, Raymond wrote that the ambassadors of al-Afdal, vizier
of Egypt, were in the camp at the time and seeing the miracles that
God performed through His servants, praised Jesus, son of the Virgin
Mary ‘who through His pauperes trampled under foot the most powerful
tyrants.’124 The use of pauperes here is schematic (there is an obvious
echo of the Magni cat, Luke 1:52–3); clearly it was the ghting force
of the expedition which was responsible for the miraculous victories,
but Raymond was working in a framework that saw the mighty pagan
powers being confronted by a Christian force which, although in
appearance lowly and weak, was powerful through the assistance of
God. From this theological point of view the entire movement could
be considered to be one of pauperes.
On 6 March 1098, a sortie from Antioch that began well ended
disastrously for the Turkish forces; they were thrown back and their
retreat blocked by the narrowness of the bridge between them and the
121 RA 46 (245): et multi divites paupertatem verentes.
122 RA 50 (246).
123 RA 163 (267).
124 RA 59 (247): . . . qui, per pauperes suos, potentissimos tyrannos conculcabat. The embassy
was sent by al-Afdal, vizier of Egypt in the name of the boy caliph, al-Mustali.
the eyewitnesses 33
city. This was the occasion for Raymond of Aguilers to enjoy the sight
of certain pauperes returning after victory. He described these pauperes
as dashing in among the tents on Arab horses, displaying their new
found wealth to their comrades, dressing themselves in robes of silk,
and being strengthened with two or three new shields. He went on to
say that the pauperes, provoked by these scenes broke into a Saracen
graveyard in search of more booty.125 These pauperes returning from
battle, on horseback, delighted that their hardship was over and carrying
shields cannot therefore have been pauperes as traditionally understood.
The incident has to be placed in the context of the loss of mounts and
status by milites during the hard march through the desert of Anatolia
and on the narrow mountain paths south of Coxon.126 The people
depicted by Raymond must have been those milites who had fallen
to a status that Raymond clearly understood as being that of pauperes
through the loss of their mounts and equipment. This conclusion is
strengthened by his description of those breaking into the Saracen
graves as pauperes, since according Robert the Monk, elaborating on the
Gesta Francorum’s brief version of the same incident, those who dug up
bodies in search of booty were identi ed as iuvenes, that is, knights yet
to become independent heads of households.127 In a certain context
then, Raymond was willing to apply the term pauperes even to combat-
ants. The appearance of two such examples of this unusual use of the
term shows that the choice of vocabulary was not accidental; in this
sense Raymond of Aguiler’s use of pauperes anticipates a similar use of
the term by the scholar and civil servant, Peter of Blois (c. 1180), and
Innocent III (r. 1198–1216).128
For Raymond of Aguilers, pauperes as an adjective and paupertas, the
state of poverty, could also, depending on the context, be indicative of
social status, of being a member of the pauperes. This seems to be the
case in Raymond’s writings about Peter Bartholomew, the lowly servant
of William Peyre of Cunhlat, from the Provençal region of France. As
noted above, Raymond introduced Peter as, ‘a certain pauper rusticus.’129
He reported that when Peter explained his reason for being hesitant
125 RA 68–69 (249).
126 See below p. 180.
127 RM 788.
128 See I. S. Robinson, The Papacy 1073–1198 Continuity and Innovation (Cambridge,
1990), pp. 365–6.
129 RA 88–9 (253–4): . . . pauperem quemdam r usticum.
34 chapter one
in approaching the princes, the visionary said that his reluctance had
come about from ‘recognising . . . paupertas mea130 and from ‘standing
in fear from paupertas mea.’131 Peter emphasised his own paupertas twice
more, the second time saying to the princes that re ecting on ‘paupertas
mea’ led him not to want to come forward in case they believed he had
made up the visions in order to obtain food.132 In these statements are
possible reminiscences from the Vulgate, where there are many refer-
ences to pauperes and paupertas such as Tobias 5:25, ‘for our paupertas
was suf cient for us.’133 Or the prophet speaking in Lamentations 3:1,
‘I am the man seeing paupertas mea . . .134 Ecclesiasticus 10:33 reads,
‘the pauper is glori ed by his discipline and fear,’135 which has echoes in
Peter Bartholomew’s careful and avowedly fearful initial approach to
the princes. In Ecclesiasticus 11:12–13, the point is made that no mat-
ter the degree to which a person is experiencing paupertas, they can be
raised up by the eye of God, a view that is very similar to Raymond’s
with respect to Peter Bartholomew.
Evidence that Raymond had in mind a treatment of the condition of
paupertas that indicated it to be a state which was conducive to gaining
the support of God was displayed in his report of Peter Bartholomew’s
vision which took place on or about 1 December 1098. Here SS. Peter
and Andrew appeared, but they were not initially recognised as they
were wearing misshapen clothing and were dressed most sordidly, so
that Peter Bartholomew thought them to simply members of the pau-
peres.136 St Peter explained to the visionary that they appeared in this
condition to make him aware that anyone who serves God devotedly
obtains His assistance.137 This vision gave an answer to the critics of
Peter Bartholomew who could not believe that God would reveal him-
self to one so lowly.138
Another example of Raymond seeing the pauperes as especially impor-
tant to God arose from the deaths of six or seven people following a
Saracen raid in January 1099. The corpses were found to have crosses
130 RA 95 (254): recogitans . . . paupertatis meae habitum.
131 RA 96 (254): Metuens paupertati meae.
132 RA 97 (255).
133 Tob 5:25, Suf ciebat enim nobis paupertas nostra.
134 Lam 3:1, Ego vir videns paupertatem mea.
135 Eccus 10:33, Pauper gloriatur per disciplinam et timorem suam.
136 RA 168 (268).
137 RA 169 (269).
138 RA 229–30 (280).
the eyewitnesses 35
on their right shoulders. Those who saw this gave great thanks to God,
reported Raymond, for His having comforted His pauperes.139
In his reports of the visions of Peter Bartholomew, Raymond also
used the term pauperes in a more sociological sense, one less laden with
theological overtones, particularly in describing the social tensions that
existed within the expedition over the distribution of plunder. The key
visions are discussed in full below, in a context provided by the full range
of early crusading histories.140 Most of the remaining examples of the
term pauperes in the Historia Francorum are connected with Raymond of
Aguilers’s account of the actions of Count Raymond of Toulouse. At
times the historian portrayed the count as a religious and worthy leader
of the poor, but Raymond of Aguilers also indicated a tension between
those who were supposedly being led and the count. These examples
are also discussed in the narrative of events set out in Chapter Four.
Raymond of Aguilers seems to have believed in the obligation of
the leadership of the expedition to show concern for the welfare of
the pauperes. This idea is present in a vision of 3 August 1098 in which
Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy appeared before Peter Bartholomew, having
died just two nights earlier. According to Peter, as reported by Raymond
of Aguilers, the Bishop said that he was saved from a punishing re by
a robe returned to him by the Lord because the robe had been given
away to a pauper on his ordination as bishop.141
The collective term for a crowd turba is not, strictly speaking, one that
denotes social status, but it is discussed here for the important social
information that accompanies its use in the Historia Francorum. Raymond
used turba on four occasions, two of the which were straight forward:
he described a crowd of footsoldiers, turba peditum, from the army of
Duquq of Damascus, who were scattered in battle by Bohemond, 31
December 1097;142 secondly he wrote of the turba that was the Christian
army being roused for battle against al-Afdal near Ascalon.143 The two
other usages of the term are more interesting. At an assembly during
the siege of Jerusalem, in a speech by the leaders, the Christians were
urged to remember the time when Christ entered Jerusalem humbly on
139 RA 184 (272).
140 See below pp. 120–152.
141 RA 138–9 (262–3).
142 RA 45 (245).
143 RA 368 (304).
36 chapter one
an ass, a turba running to honour him with a great procession.144 This
was a correct use of the Vulgate term for the crowd that spread their
garments before Christ (Mat 21:8) and who surrounded him on that
occasion (Mat 21:9, Luc 19:37, Luc 19:39, Ioh 12:12). But Matthew
also used the same term, turba, for the armed mob who arrested Christ
(Mat 26:47, 26:55, Mar 14:43, Luc 22:47). Mark used the term for the
crowd who freed Barabbas rather than Christ (Mar 15:8, Luc 23:18).
Raymond of Aguilers was familiar with how the term was used in the
Vulgate, not just for a crowd, but a crowd that could be ckle and
violently ungodly. This is particularly signi cant in his account of the
ordeal of Peter Bartholomew, 8 April 1099. In the light of the Vulgate
depiction of the passion of Christ it is noteworthy that in the Historia
Francorum the watching crowds at the ordeal by re of the visionary
were described initially as populus, then multitudo populi, then turba as
they progressed from praying, to watching, to charging across to Peter
and in icting wounds more lethal than those of the ames.145 In his
choice of term for the crowd Raymond appears to have been echoing
the scenes in the Vulgate.146
There was a distinct grouping of craftsmen on the crusade, whose
status seems to have been above that of the lowest social order on the
expedition, given that pay was set aside for their work. The skills of the
craftsmen were required especially in the making of siege equipment
for the attacks on Nicea and Jerusalem. It was while preparing equip-
ment for the storming of Jerusalem that they came to the attention
of Raymond of Aguilers. He noted that while everyone else worked
spontaneously, the arti ces were given wages from the collections that
were made among the people. Count Raymond had his own operarii
whom he paid out of his own wealth.147 The urgency to have this
equipment made led the council of leaders to order those present to
lend their mules and boys to the arti ces and lignarii.148 The term operarii
seems to have been used by Raymond as synonymous with arti ces. Not
only is this evident in the rst example above, but also in the report
that Duke Godfrey and the Counts of Normandy and Flanders placed
144 RA 328 (296).
145 RA 252–254 (284).
146 RA 252–4 (284).
147 RA 333 (297).
148 RA 334 (298).
the eyewitnesses 37
Gaston, viscount of Béarn, over the same body of craftsmen, now
termed operarii.149
Raymond of Aguilers wrote that Count Raymond put the recently
arrived Genoese sailor William Ricau in charge of his operarii on Mount
Zion.150 The historian stated that the Genoese aided Count Raymond in
the construction of siege equipment with the ropes, iron mallets, nails,
axes, pick-axes and hatchets they had salvaged from the loss of their
ships at Jaffa.151 These skilled workers were paid, unlike the captured
Saracens who were put to work as slaves under the direction of the
Bishop of Albara.152
Although the main importance of Raymond’s work in terms of the
social structure of the First Crusade is with regard to the lower social
orders, his observations are also valuable for those of higher status. It
becomes clear from Raymond’s account that the familiares, the members
of the households of the senior princes, were a very signi cant politi-
cal force. There role is discussed in the narrative of events in Chapter
Four, particularly with regard to the household of Count Raymond,
of which Raymond of Aguilers was a member.153
The use of the ubiquitous term milites was generally uncontroversial
in the Historia Francorum. There is a single passage, however, which
although applied to Turkish troops in Antioch stands out in so far as
it indicates Raymond’s willingness to make a distinction between ordi-
nary and senior knights. In the description of Antioch by Raymond
of Aguilers at the time of the siege by the Christian army, 21 October
1097, he wrote that there were in the city two thousand milites optimi
and four or ve thousand milites gregarii and also ten thousand pedites.154
Clearly the distinction here between good knights and common knights
is not a reformulation of that between knights and footsoldiers. As
Raymond makes this distinction only once, however, in connection with
the hostile forces based at Antioch, it could be that he had in mind
a very speci c point here based on the difference between the lightly
149 RA 331–2 (297). For Gaston of Béarn see J. Riley-Smith, First Crusaders, p. 206.
150 RA 332 (297). For William Ricau see F. Cardini, ‘Pro lo d’un crociato, Guglielmo
Embriaco’, Archivio Storico Italiano, 136 (1978), pp. 417–8.
151 RA 337 (298).
152 RA 332–3 (297).
153 See below pp. 147–52.
154 RA 33 (242).
38 chapter one
armed Turkish riders who fought with bow from horseback and their
better armed superiors.
One clear theme with regard to milites in the Historia Francorum is that
of the importance they attached to horses and this provides valuable
evidence for the discussion of milites in Chapter Five.155 Only three indi-
vidual milites were identi ed by name in the Historia Francorum: ‘Isoard
miles of Ganges, a most noble Provençal’;156 ‘Roger of Barneville, a most
illustrious miles, much loved by all’157 and Raymond Pilet ‘a most noble
and strong miles.’158 It is instantly obvious that the historian, possibly to
distinguish these knights from the general body of milites, deliberately
underlined the noble status of each of these miles.
The phrase milites Christi is notable for its near complete absence in
the Historia Francorum. This is a marked contrast to all the other sources
of the First Crusade and the Gesta Francorum in particular. Raymond
wrote the formulation down only once, in reporting the battle cry
of Isadore of Gaye.159 Although Raymond has the most theological
framework for his Historia of any of the early crusading historians, his
was not a work that praised the deeds of God through His milites, but
rather through His whole army.160
In the discussion of iuvenes in Chapter Six, important material is
provided by Raymond of Aguilers, who despite his general perspective
displayed a familiarity with knightly culture and the mentality of the
warrior class. If his use of the term for St George was for a warrior
rather than simply a ‘youth’, then it suggests that he saw the unat-
tached knights willing to carry banners in to the heart of battle as a
model knight.161
Raymond of Aguilers’ distinctive vocabulary extended to the upper
social orders. Whereas in the other sources the term principes was lim-
ited to the most senior leaders on the crusade, Raymond employed it
to indicate a wider body of magnates, such as those from within his
155 See below pp. 184–5.
156 RA 66–7 (249): Isuardus miles de Gagia, Provincialis nobilissimus. For Isoard I, count
of Die see RA 66 n. 2, see also J. Riley-Smith, First Crusaders, p. 213.
157 RA 84 (252): Miles clarissimus et karissimus omnibus, nomine Rotgerius de Barnevilla.
For Roger, Lord of Barneville-sur-mer, see RA 84 n. a; see also J. Riley-Smith, First
Crusaders, p. 221.
158 RA 253–4 (284): Miles nobilssimus et fortis.
159 RA 67 (249).
160 RA 5, 14, 64, 137, 180, 368, 369 (235, 237, 248, 262, 271, 304, 304): Exercitu
Dei. RA 12 (237): Populus Dei.
161 See below pp. 209–11.
the eyewitnesses 39
following who advised Count Raymond of Toulouse.162 This sense, that
all magnates were princes, is perhaps appropriate for someone writing
from the perspective of the more lowly. When he came to write about
those at the very apex of the social structure of the First Crusade he
added an emphasis to the term principes, those leading the army were
principes maiores.163 He also referred to Bohemond and Raymond as the
‘two greatest principes in the army.’164
The language and perspective of Raymond of Aguilers with regard
to social structure is very different from all of the other early crusading
sources. His theological outlook placed a much greater emphasis on
the deeds of the commoners than did any of the other accounts. The
consequence of Raymond’s belief that he was recording the events of
a people chosen by God was not a history of irrational mysticism but
one that provides a valuable insight into the outlook of the poor on
the First Crusade.
The Historia Hierosolymitana of Fulcher of Chartres
Heinrich Hagenmeyer published the de nitive edition of the Historia
Hierosolymitana of Fulcher of Chartres in 1913.165 The main strength
of the 1913 edition was the fact that it took into account all fteen
existing manuscripts and the fact that in 1124 Fulcher reworked his
history. While the edition of Jacques Bongars, which was reprinted
in the Patrologia Latina was based on a reading of manuscripts of the
rst redaction, the 1913 edition was based on manuscripts containing
Fulcher’s second redaction, giving variant readings from fourteen codices
and all the printed editions.166 Hagenmeyer’s edition therefore allows
an examination of the text as it would have appeared both before and
after the 1124 revision.
162 RA 49 (245), 157 (266).
163 RA 183 (272).
164 RA 64 (248): Duo maximi principes in exercitu.
165 Fulcher of Chartres, Historia Hierosolymitana (1095–1127), ed. H. Hagenmeyer
(Heidelberg, 1913), hereafter FC.
166 J. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanover, 1611); PL 150, cols. 823–942B; RHC
Oc. 3, 311–485.
40 chapter one
According to his own account, on which we are almost entirely depen-
dent for biographical information,167 Fulcher was born in 1058 or 1059.168
He indicated his place of birth from the use of the surname Carnotensis,
which appeared three times in the Historia Hierosolymitana.169 Fulcher
was a participant in the First Crusade. His description of the departure
of the various contingents makes it clear that he set out with Duke
Robert II of Normandy and Count Stephen of Blois.170 Just south of
Marash, 17 September 1097, Baldwin of Boulogne detached his forces
from the main body of the Christian army and marched towards
Tarsus. At this point Fulcher reported that he was in the company of
Baldwin.171 Fulcher stayed with Baldwin after the Lotharingian prince
became ruler of Edessa, 10 March 1097, and in his account of those
events wrote that ‘I, Fulcher of Chartres, was the chaplain of this same
Baldwin.’172 This testimony implies that Fulcher was a cleric, probably
a priest, the position ascribed to him by the northern French monk and
historian, Guibert of Nogent, although not as one who knew him, as
well as by the title of one of the manuscripts.173
Fulcher accompanied Baldwin, now count of Edessa, to Jerusalem
late in 1099 to worship at the Holy Sepulchre.174 He was also present
when Baldwin came to Jerusalem, 9 November 1100, to obtain the title
of king.175 Thereafter Fulcher made his home in Jerusalem and lived at
least until 1127, the year that his history abruptly ended; at this time
Fulcher would have been approximately sixty-eight years old.176
The rst redaction of the Historia Hierosolymitana was Fulcher’s account
of the First Crusade from the Council of Clermont, 18–28 November
1095, and the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem up until victory
of King Baldwin I at Ramleh, 27 August 1105. Much of the history is
167 With the possible exception of the appearance of ‘Fulcher’ and ‘Fulcher, prior
of the Mount of Olives’ as a witness on three documents from the Kingdom of
Jerusalem; see FC 2.
168 FC III.xxiv.17 (687); III.xliv.4 (771).
169 FC I.v.12 (153); I.xiv.15 (215); I.xxxiii.12 (330).
170 FC I.vii.1–viii.9 (163–176). For Robert II of Normandy see C. W. David, Robert
Curthose, Duke of Normandy (Cambridge, 1920).
171 FC I.xiv.2 (206).
172 FC I.xiv.15 (215): Ego vero Fulcherus Carnotensis, capellanus ipsius Balduini eram.
173 GN 329. FC 16.
174 FC II.iii.12 (368).
175 FC II.v.12 (383–4).
176 FC III.xxiv.17 (687); III.xliv.4 (771).
the eyewitnesses 41
that of an eyewitness, although once Baldwin’s contingent had left the
main army for Tarsus, Fulcher had to depend on other accounts for
his narrative of their experience. The information that Fulcher used
for events among the main body of the Christian army while he was
at Edessa was mainly derived, as Hagenmeyer demonstrated, from the
Gesta Francorum and the Historia Francorum of Raymond of Aguilers.177
Hagenmeyer has plausibly argued that Fulcher began writing his his-
tory in 1101, after news of the secunda peregrinatio had reached him, but
before the death of Stephen of Blois at the second battle of Ramleh, 17
May 1102.178 In 1105 Fulcher probably ceased writing his rst version
and copies of his work then began to circulate. The strongest evidence
for this is the appearance of a near copy of Fulcher’s history: Bartolf
of Nangi’s Gesta Francorum Iherusalem expugnantium.179 As Hagenmeyer has
pointed out, Bartolf ’s placing nis after the account of the Third Battle
of Ramleh, 27 August 1105, might well have marked the completion
both of Bartolf ’s history and that of his source, Fulcher.180
Guibert, abbot of Nogent, probably writing in 1109,181 came across
Fulcher’s Historia late in the composition of his own work and incor-
porated a polemical response to the Historia Hierosolymitana in his own
history.182 While manuscripts of Fulcher’s rst redaction began to
be distributed through Europe, he continued his work in the fashion
of a chronicle, until reworking the entire text in 1124. The second
redaction made only slight modi cations in style, but was suf ciently
different in tone for Verena Epp to detect a development in Fulcher’s
thinking. She argued that in his second redaction Fulcher became
more willing to admit Christian losses in battle and she claimed that
the portrayal of God in the work shifted from God as a ruler to God
as a friend.183 Fulcher then regularly updated the Historia Hierosolymitana
177 FC 66.
178 FC 44–45. See Fulcher of Chartres, A history of the expedition to Jerusalem 1095–1127,
trans. F. R. Ryan (Knoxville, 1941), pp. 19–20.
179 RHC Oc. 3, 491–543. Nothing is known of Bartolf outside of this work, the inter-
nal evidence of which seems to indicate he was a resident in Syria and an acquaintance
of frater Fulcherus Carnotensis, see RHC Oc. 3, 492.
180 RHC Oc. 3, 541, FC 46.
181 See below p. 75.
182 GN 329.
183 V. Epp, Fulcher von Chartres (Dusseldorf, 1990), p. 11.
42 chapter one
until it abruptly stopped in 1127, probably indicating the date of death
of the author.
Fulcher’s terse, straightforward, style does not favour a sophisticated
examination of social structure. It is mainly through his occasional
digressions from the historical narrative that the historian’s strong
theological framework can be discerned along with a certain amount
of social commentary. The most striking examples of this arise in
Fulcher’s observations on Christian kingship. Fulcher reported in detail
the dramatic escape of Joscelin of Courtenay, count of Edessa,184 from
Kharpurt (Hisn Ziyãd) in August 1123, in which Joscelin had to disguise
himself as a peasant. This led the chronicler to comment on the power
of God, echoing the idea in I Samuel, 2:7–8 that God cast down the
mighty from on high and ‘raises the pauper from the dust.’185 Fulcher
continued by writing that both Baldwin II and Joscelin of Courtenay
had the experience of being a ruler in the morning, a slave in the
evening.186 Fulcher made an even stronger formulation concerning the
power of God over kings with regard to the fact that the Kingdom of
Jerusalem prospered despite the capture of Baldwin II, 18 April 1123.
The historian went so far as to raise the idea that ‘perhaps he was no
king.’187 Furthermore, Fulcher questioned whether someone deserved
the title of king if he was lawless, did not fear God, was an adulterer,
perjurer or sacrilegious;188 if the king was a dissipater of churches,
if he was an oppressor of pauperes, then he did not rule but brought
disorder.189 The perspective from which Fulcher was expressing these
extremely critical ideas was not necessarily that of someone with a
strong sense of social justice, but rather someone who subscribed to the
ideas of ecclesiastical reform, as indicated by the ideas he attributed
to pope Urban II concerning simony and the Truce of God at the
Council of Clermont.190
Fulcher was clearly a believer in the rights of the church, although
not necessarily an advocate of papal authority. He found himself hav-
ing to formulate a response to his lord, Baldwin of Edessa, taking the
title of ‘king’ of Jerusalem, 11 November 1100, and being crowned,
184 For Joscelin of Courtenay, count of Edessa, see OV 5, 324.
185 FC III.xxiv.16 (687): . . . de pulvere pauperem sublimet.
186 Ibid.
187 FC III.xxi.2 (673): Forsitan non erat rex . . .
188 FC III.xxi.4 (674).
189 Ibid.
190 FC I.ii.9–14 (126–130).
the eyewitnesses 43
25 December 1100. Aware of the controversial nature of this step,191
Fulcher took the side of those who argued that since Christ was crowned
with thorns in Jerusalem, God had thereby turned a symbol of humili-
ation into one of salvation and glory. It was permissible for Baldwin to
be crowned.192 Fulcher, however, quali ed his support for the existence
of kingship in Jerusalem. A king was only rightly a king, especially in
Jerusalem, if he ruled justly. During the relatively successful kingship
of Baldwin I, to whom he was a chaplain, Fulcher suspended any
expression of criticism. While writing on the kingship of Baldwin II,
however, as noted above, Fulcher showed no hesitation in raising the
question of whether a king was legitimate if he was unjust.
Another interesting passage arising from Fulcher’s particular theo-
logical perspective was his view of the attitude to personal property
that existed among the participants of the First Crusade. Fulcher was
diverted from his account of the dif culties of the journey through Asia
Minor, August 1097, to comment that although many languages divided
them, everyone seemed to be brothers in the love of God and kinsmen
with a shared outlook.193 Fulcher added that if someone found property
that had been lost, it would be kept carefully for many days, until the
rightful owner was found, when it would be gladly handed back, as was
proper among ‘those who undertook the pilgrimage rightly.’194 This is
good evidence from an eyewitness that for all the regional differences,
there was a sense of community among the Christian forces, at least
among those who saw the expedition as a pious one.
Fulcher had a strong sense of social order, evident from his use of
both the ecclesiastical and military use of the term ordines. In his account
of the Council of Clermont, Fulcher, who may have been an eyewitness
although he does not state this directly,195 quoted Urban II as telling
his listeners to ‘maintain the Church in its ordines in every respect free
from all secular power.’196 At the end of the work Fulcher wrote that in
191 FC (385–6). See also A. V. Murray, ‘The Title of Godfrey of Bouillon as
Ruler of Jerusalem,’ Collegium Medievale, 3 (1990), pp. 163–78; J. France, ‘The election
and title of Godfrey de Bouillon’, Canadian Journal of History 18 (1983), pp. 321–29;
J. Riley-Smith, ‘The title of Godfrey of Bouillon’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical
Research 52 (1979), pp. 83–86.
192 FC–3 (386).
193 FC I.xiii.5 (203).
194 FC I.xviii.5 (203): . . . qui recte peregrinantur.
195 FC 3 n. 5; Fulcher of Chartres, A history of the expedition to Jerusalem, pp. 7–8.
196 FC I.ii.10 (127): Ecclesiam suis ordinibus omnimode liberam ab omni saeculari potestate
44 chapter one
the Kingdom of Jerusalem priests and the minor order (ordo) of clergy
were known as tribunes of the people (tribuni plebis).197 In addition to
this conventional understanding of the ‘orders’ of the clergy, Fulcher
used the term ordo for military order of battle in three instances, one of
which occurred in the letter of the Christian princes to Pope Urban II
after their victory over the Turkish atabeg of Mosul, Kerbogha, which
Fulcher inserted into his history.198 That Fulcher was aware that the
term ordo could also be used in a social sense is evident from his report
of a key passage in Urban II’s speech at Clermont. Fulcher described
the pope as appealing to his audience to urge ‘everyone of whatever
ordo, whether equites or pedites, divites or pauperes’ to join the expedition.199
Perhaps even more interesting is Fulcher’s use of the term gradus for
rank in a similar manner to ordo. At one point he wrote of a squire
being raised to the gradus of a miles.200 This is very signi cant evidence
that for Fulcher being a miles involved more than performing the mili-
tary function of a horseman; it involved being of a certain gradus. The
same sense of the term gradus for rank appeared when Fulcher echoed
the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, writing that secular power had different
worth according to its gradus, rstly the Augustus or emperor, next the
Caesars, then kings, dukes and counts.201
A key theme for Fulcher’s entire work was to emphasise that condi-
tions in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem were favourable for settlers
of all ranks. As a result he several times gave particular mention to
the situation of the lower social ranks. This was most notable in a late,
1124, digression in which the chronicler wrote that in the kingdom those
who were poor (inopes), God had made wealthy (locupletes); those who
had little money had countless bezants and those who did not have an
estate now possessed, by the gift of God, a city.202 With this same theme
in mind Fulcher twice made the point that pauperes had become wealthy
through the conquests of the Christian forces. In an important passage
describing the fall of Jerusalem, 15 July 1099, the historian wrote that
‘after such great bloodshed they entered the homes seizing whatever
they found in them, such indeed that whoever had entered the home
197 FC III.xxxiv.10 (738).
198 Letter of Princes FC I.xxiv.10 (263); II.lx.2 (602); III.xlii.7 (765).
199 FC I.iii.4 (134): Cunctis cuiuslibet ordinis tam equitibus quam peditibus, tam divitibus
quam pauperibus.
200 FC III.xxxi.7 (726–7).
201 FC III.xxxiv.11 (739).
202 FC III.xxxvii.6 (749).
the eyewitnesses 45
rst, whether he was a poor man ( pauper) or a rich man (dives), was
in no way to be subject to injury by any other. Whether a house or a
palace, he was to possess it and whatever he found in it was his own.
They had established this law (ius) to be held mutually. And thus many
poor (inopes) were made wealthy (locupletes).’203
The second appearance of a similar formulation arose with Fulcher’s
description of the fall of Caesarea, 17 May 1101, where he reported
that many pauperes became locupletes.204 Fulcher’s version of the speech
of Pope Urban II at Clermont had the pope offer the pauperes precisely
this prospect. Having exhorted every ordo, whether pauperes or divites
to support the expedition,205 Urban was reported as saying that those
pauperes here will be locupletes there.206 This part of the speech has the
appearance of a retrospective formulation made in the light of Fulcher’s
later examples of the poor becoming rich. The idea is not in keeping
with one of the few surviving letters of Urban II, to the Bolognese,
which speci cally warned against taking the cross for material motives
(pro cupiditate).207 Similarly the second canon of the council of Clermont
decreed that the journey was a substitute for penance only for those who
set out to free the Church out of devotion and not for the acquisition
of honour or wealth.208
For Fulcher, however, it was clearly important to make the point
about the rise in condition of the pauperes. The Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem suffered a chronic shortage of Christian farmers as well as
military forces and this fact seems to have in uenced Fulcher’s report
of Urban’s speech at Clermont as well as his own desire to emphasise
203 FC I.xxix.1 (304): . . . post stragem tantam ingressi sunt domos civium, rapientes quaecumque in
eis reppererunt: ita sane, ut quicumque primus domum introisset, sive dives sive pauper esset, nullatenus
ab aliquo alio eret illi injuria, quin domum ipsam aut palatium et quodcumque in ea repperisset, ac
si omnino propria, sibi adsumeret, haberet et possideret. Hoc itaque ius invicem tenendum stabilier-
ant. Unde multi inopes facti sunt locupletes. The law (ius) of property refers to a tradition
established during the course of the First Crusade that the rst to obtain booty had
the right to retain it; see below pp. 153–5.
204 FC II.ix.7 (403).
205 FC I.iii.4 (134).
206 FC I.iii.7 (137).
207 Letter of Urban II to the people of Bologna: H. Hagenmeyer ed., Epistulae et
Chartae ad Historiam Primi Belli (Innsbruck, 1901), p. 137.
208 Decreta Claromontensia (n. 32), ed. R. Somerville, The Councils of Urban II I,
(Amsterdam, 1972), p. 74; see also I. S. Robinson, The Papacy 1073–1198 Continuity and
Innovation (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 327–8, 343–4.
46 chapter one
the gains for the pauperes on the fall of Jerusalem and Caesarea and in
the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem generally.
In January 1098, during a time of extreme hardship for the Christian
forces besieging Antioch, Fulcher wrote that both divites and pauperes suf-
fered either from famine or the daily slaughter.209 Verena Epp noted this
passage as one of her examples for the view that Fulcher blurred social
distinctions.210 Certainly Fulcher was emphasising how the entire body
of Christians was suffering. But he was also aware that the suffering was
unequal, noting that in the same period of famine the poorer people
(pauperiores) ate even the hides of the beasts and seeds of grain found
in manure.211 A similar awareness of the uneven pressures on the poor
seems to be evident when he reported that because of this hardship
some left the siege,