Annales Herbipolenses, s.a. 1147:
A Hostile View of the Crusade
[From Brundage] The fiasco at Damascus gave rise to great bitterness,
as William of Tyre noted, both among the Crusaders themselves,
who suspected that treachery was involved, and also in the West.
After the withdrawal from Damascus, the grand alliance was irrevocably
shattered. Conrad of Germany at once set out for home by way of
Constantinople. King Louis of France lingered longer in Palestine,
but finally left the Holy Land in the summer of 1149 without having
attempted any further military action. The attitude of the West
toward the Crusade and toward those who bad played a prominent
part in it was hostile and suspicious. The anonymous annalist
of Würzburg reflects the current Western attitude in his
account of the Crusade:
God allowed the Western church, on account of its sins, to be
cast down. There arose, indeed, certain pseudo prophets, sons
of Belial, and witnesses of anti-Christ, who seduced the Christians
with empty words. They constrained all sorts of men, by vain preaching,
to set out against the Saracens in order to liberate Jerusalem.
The preaching of these men was so enormously influential that
the inhabitants of nearly every region, by common vows, offered
themselves freely for common destruction. Not only the ordinary
people, but kings, dukes, marquises, and other powerful men of
this world as well, believed that they thus showed their allegiance
to God. The bishops, archbishops, abbots, and other ministers
and prelates of the church joined in this error, throwing themselves
headlong into it to the great peril of bodies and souls.... The
intentions of the various men were different. Some, indeed, lusted
after novelties and went in order to learn about new lands. Others
there were who were driven by poverty, who were in hard straits
at home; these men went to fight, not only against the enemies
of Christ's cross, but even against the friends of the Christian
name, wherever opportunity appeared, in order to relieve their
poverty. There were others who were oppressed by debts to other
men or who sought to escape the service due to their lords, or
who were even awaiting the punishment merited by their shameful
deeds. Such men simulated a zeal for God and hastened chiefly
in order to escape from such troubles and anxieties. A few could,
with difficulty, be found who had not bowed their knees to Baal,
who were directed by a holy and wholesome purpose, and who were
kindled by love of the divine majesty to fight earnestly and even
to shed their blood for the holy of holies.
Annales Herbipolenses, s.a. 1147, in MGH, SS, XVI, 3,
translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History,
(Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 115-121
Copyright note: Professor Brundage informed the Medieval
Sourcebook that copyright was not renewed on this work. Moreover
he gave permission for use of his translations.
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© Paul Halsall December 1997