Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image and Identity

28th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies

Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 29-30, 2008

Thomas Madden, Memory and the Diversion of the Fourth Crusade

The "Diversion Question" regarding the outcome of the Fourth Crusade has exercised the minds of scholars for at least the last two centuries.  Behind the question, of course, is the unstated assumption that the crusade had a specific destination from which it could be diverted -- an assumption that is problematic in light of the ambiguously stated or divergent targets proposed during the crusade preparations.  Modern approaches have utilized the diversion question as a means of assessing legitimacy, some deeming the project an "unholy crusade," an "un-crusade", or even a "crime against humanity."  This paper will approach the topic from the perspective of medieval memory.  How did contemporaries and then subsequent generations remember -- or even recognize -- the diversion of the crusade?  How did these memories affect their understanding of the Fourth Crusade within the framework of generalized crusading memory?


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