To the snobbish, mother-fixated failed abbot Guibert of Nogent, spinning his vision of ‘the Deeds of God performed by the Franks’ (Gesta Dei per Francos) before 1108, the Jerusalem campaign offered the laity a new path of salvation; the German abbot Ekkehard of Aura, a veteran of the 1101 fiasco, saw it as a new means of penitence.1 Many western observers were quick to associate the Jerusalem enterprise’s uniqueness with a general manifesto for spiritual redemption, ecclesiastical discipline and Christian expansion, such rewarded, sanctified violence exploited by a reinvigorated papacy and its supporters to reinforce the tradition of penitential war in the church’s interests. However, the radical effect of the First Crusade can be exaggerated. Secular and clerical refinements of the story of the First Crusade, in poem, song, chronicle or sermon, confirmed as much as redefined long-standing cultural acceptance of the equality of physical with spiritual religious militancy. Urban II had not invented soldiers of Christ nor spiritually beneficial and meritorious warfare, a tradition that encompassed rather than surrendered to the First Crusade. While the first Jerusalemites basked in unique glory, their example did not lead to a succession of large expeditions east following the disasters of 1101. Some regions that had supplied large contingents between 1095 and 1101, including the Limousin, Champagne and Provence, provided few traceable military crucesignati between 1102 and 1146.2 Those who assumed the cross and departed to fight in the east attracted admiration; the cause of Outremer received close, often anxious attention; yet, despite papal commitment and sporadic local recruitment, no mass movement emerged. The images, attitudes and actions of the First Crusade were disseminated across western society widely but fitfully, often as rhetorical evangelical tropes as much as calls to arms. Jerusalem in Christian hands stimulated a wave of pilgrims with the occasional military adventurer or princely swell, their motives possibly as chivalric as pious. Meanwhile, popes integrated aspects of Urban’s expedition into their increasingly authoritarian role as leader and protector of Christendom within as well as beyond its frontiers, encouraging use of the language and institutions of this new holy war against papal enemies in Italy or bandits in northern France as well as Muslims in Outremer or Spain.
SPREADING THE WORD
Awareness of the First Crusade pervaded elite western culture. When, around 1143 in the midst of the backsliding and compromises of the English civil war, the Anglo-Norman baron Brian FitzCount wished to expose the mendacity of the turncoat bishop of Winchester, he naturally chose a familiar reference, the golden memory of the loyalty of the boni milites of the First Crusade.3 A monk from the Cambrésis on the northern Franco-Flemish frontier, writing c.1133, refrained from a detailed account of the Jerusalem expedition, arguing that the events were better described in books, songs and hymns, a regrettable forbearance as he claimed to have attended the Council of Clermont four decades earlier.4 There was no need for either baron or monk to elaborate; the story was well known. The scale and rapid production of histories of the First Crusade by eyewitnesses and others eager to interpret the startling events didactically finds no parallel in medieval historiography. Within a dozen years of Jerusalem’s capture, at least four full eyewitness accounts, three major western histories and part of the great Lorraine version by Albert of Aachen were being circulated along with a bevy of other accounts, more or less derivative, imaginative or polemic. While originating in monasteries and cathedrals, these texts reflected and excited secular interests, for example in local heroes or national pride. Most of the histories sculpted stirring tales of faith, bravery, suffering, danger, tenacity and triumph. The theologians distilled the message of God’s immanence and Christian duty; the no less artful eyewitnesses provided accessible tales of miracles and butchery. One of the very earliest, the Gesta Francorum, included elaborate scenes with stereotype exotic Orientals declaiming extravagant, bombastic nonsense much in the style of the verse chansons de geste. Naturalistic representation, especially of the enemy, did not feature.5
Signifying this artificiality, accurate knowledge of Islam and the Prophet remained almost non-existent in western Europe until the translation of the Koran in the 1140s by the abbot of Cluny, Peter the Venerable. Despite a quickening of interest after 1099, accounts of Muhammed relied on translated Byzantine polemic or mangled accounts derived from Spain or returning Holy Land pilgrims. Around 1110, Guibert of Nogent’s life of the Prophet in his Gesta Dei Per Francos and that by Embrico of Mainz both provided Muhammed with a pet cow, presumably derived from a garbled false memory of the Sura of the Koran known as ‘The Cow’. Most discussion of Muslims failed to rise beyond the racist ignorance and abuse of the epics and romances, a tradition in which the Gesta Francorum, one of the most popular and copied sources, rested comfortably.
Such texts, while sketching an increasingly fixed canon of adventure stories, fed the language of preaching, as with the invented versions of Urban II’s Clermont address (i.e. all of them). A more or less distinctive, although never prescriptive or uniform, corpus of scriptural references and paraphrases became employed by popes and later propagandists and chroniclers of Jerusalem campaigns. In this narrow vocabulary of holy war a defined set of intellectual and religious attitudes and theories emerged at the precedent-obsessed papal Curia and among the propagandists and apologists of the Second Crusade (1146–8) but, until the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 once more made the story immediately relevant, not elsewhere beyond the cloister or the study. Twelfth-century circulation of even the most prominent histories of the First Crusade may have been limited, including the most ‘popular’, the Historia of Robert of Rheims. Surviving in at least thirty-nine twelfth-century manuscripts, only during the Third Crusade (1188–92) did it clearly assume the character of an exemplar. In a famous drawing of Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, dressed as acrucesignatus, a copy of Robert’s Historia is being presented by the provost of Schäftlarn. At about the same time the Cistercian monk Gunther of Pairis, near Basel, later one of the few western chroniclers of the Fourth Crusade (1202–4), rendered Robert’s work into verse. Descriptions of the First Crusade and similar later expeditions may have encouraged the application of the language of the Jerusalem holy war, much of it conventional biblical rhetoric, to other conflicts, forming a specialized literary genre. This hardly constituted a demotic movement.6
More accessible to the partially literate communities of the twelfth century stood oral transmission of ideas, stories and news: sermons, the liturgy, living witness and the Cambrésis monk’s songs, cantica and carmina, chansons de geste, hymns or liturgical chants. Sermons – actual, invented or remembered – sparked ideas and aspirations: the early invented accounts of Urban’s Clermont speech; descriptions of addresses made in 1106 on behalf of Bohemund’s eastern enterprise or in 1103 by the archbishop of Würzburg concerning a plan of Henry IV to visit Jerusalem; or a recruiting circular composed at Magdeburg in 1108 to encourage support for expansion into the lands of the Slavs beyond the Elbe. It was remembered that Bohemund began his sermon in Chartres cathedral to rouse enthusiasm for a holy war against Byzantium in 1106 by relating ‘all his deeds and adventures’, prominently, no doubt, his leadership to Antioch in 1098.7 Such public performances, alive in the collective memory of historians a generation later, helped secure a crusade narrative in the minds of listeners. To reinforce his message, Bohemund may have distributed, in addition to relics, doctored copies of the Gesta Francorum which demonized the Greeks while praising him.
Information was conveyed by oral testimony. Chroniclers of the First Crusade relied on the reminiscences of returning veterans. Guibert of Nogent picked the memory of his acquaintance Robert of Flanders; Albert of Aachen’s history depended on the testimony of returning members of Godfrey of Bouillon’s contingent. The most effective medium of popular memory remained verse. Although the great verse epics, such as the Chanson d’Antioche, found a form stable enough to be written down only later in the century, verses for singing or recitation, perhaps with musical accompaniment, were compiled much earlier. These contain little if any historical as opposed to literary value, but they provided vivid stories. Thus, in his own lifetime, Duke Robert II of Normandy (d. 1134) was confronted with wholly fictitious tales that he had killed Kerbogha at Antioch and had been offered the crown of Jerusalem, legends that the Anglo-Norman poet Gaimar had incorporated into his vernacular Estoire des Engleis by the 1140s.8 Such adventure stories fashioned the image of the First Crusade and conditioned responses to further appeals to holy war. The power of songs and verses operated on a number of levels, from taproom to court, causing disquiet even in the powerful. In 1124, Henry I of England blinded a rebel, Luke of La Barre, because of his effective slanderous songs.9 In mid-century, Gerhoh of Reichersberg credited the medium with producing a creeping puritanism: ‘The praise of God is also spreading in the mouth of laymen who fight for Christ, because there is nobody in the whole Christian realm who dares to sing dirty songs in public.’10
Gerhoh pointed to the close connections of the warlike laity and their families with religious houses, reflecting the interwoven social context for the varied channels of reminiscence, sermon, encyclical, chronicle and song as well as the physical context of visual reinforcement to the ideology of holy war in sculpture, painting and stained glass, of which only the ecclesiastical survives. In parish churches throughout western Europe, holy knights combated evil and qualified for salvation; in a fresco of the Apocalypse on the roof of the crypt of Auxerre cathedral Christ Himself appears as a mounted military hero. The work was commissioned by Bishop Humbaud (1095–1114), a protégé of Urban II who assisted at the Synod of Anse in 1100, which called on crucesignati to fulfil their vows, and who died a Jerusalem pilgrim.11 Pilgrimage as much as holy war lay behind representations of the Holy Sepulchre itself, in manuscript illuminations, pictorial decorations, ecclesiastical carving or, as at Eichstätt Bavaria, in the form of a full-scale physical copy.12
Not all media of communication told a story. Liturgical chants, hymns and songs encapsulated moods, ideas and admonition, not narrative, as in the very early twelfth-century Jerusalem Mirabilis: ‘There we must go, selling our estates to purchase the temple of God and destroy the Saracens’.13More subtly, increased contemporary elaboration of the mass focused attention on Christ and the cross, their transferred vocabulary and imagery helping define the mentality on which crusading depended. To work as a focus for action, diffuse verbal and visual references depended on knowledge of the Jerusalem campaign and the motifs of holy war or pilgrimage it encouraged. The elevation of the deeds of the Jerusalemites, as they were often described, to legendary status marched in step with the programme of the post-Gregorian church and the cultural assertiveness of theordo pugnatorum, the warrior class. In the overt and, after 1099, increasingly uncontested alliance between the two lay much of the significance of the events of the First Crusade for later generations.
RECEPTION AND RESPONSE
The success of the Jerusalem campaign silenced critics of the Gregorian promotion of penitential warfare, encouraging the papacy’s branding of its enemies as fit targets for holy war. In 1103–4, Paschal II, in full Gregorian mode, offered unspecified remission of sins to Robert of Flanders and his knights in return for their deeds of ‘just knighthood’ against papal opponents in Cambrai as well as to southern German supporters against the emperor. Papal adherents in Italy were similarly encouraged: in 1135 the remission of sins granted at the Council of Pisa to those who fought against the anti-pope and the king of Sicily was explicitly equated with that decreed by Urban II at Clermont.14 Such an association became regarded as the most potent sign of holiness, justice and honour. Elsewhere, the popularity of penitential war proved useful in essentially secular conflicts. Repeatedly after 1100 the higher clergy of northern France invoked the language of holy war and grants of remission of sins for those engaged in policing the lawlessness of the region, even where the alleged malefactor, such as Thomas of Marle, attacked in 1115, was a crusade veteran destined to epic immortality in the Chanson d’Antioche.15 The distinction between brutal violence and valiant heroism lay in the eye of the beholder. For the clerics authorizing such campaigns they provided active demonstrations of the church’s direction of the laity for which the First Crusade provided the most striking model.
Acceptance of the values legitimized by the Jerusalem expedition lay in reactions to the returning veterans, fêted on their homecomings laden with relics and other souvenirs from the east. One was reputed to have brought back a lion as a memento.16 Most were content with the palm leaves that marked their status as Jerusalemites. The aura of distinction clung to many for the rest of their lives. Some retired to monasteries; others continued their pious careers by endowing religious houses or donating relics. Careers were advanced by exploiting contacts made on campaign. Most, perhaps, picked up the threads of their lives as best they could, returning, in externals at least, to the lives they had left behind. Count Robert of Flanders’s crusade exploits earned admiration in chronicles and charters, his death by trampling in a skirmish in 1111 lamented as a sad fate for a ‘bellicosus Jerosolimitae’.17 Reputation could produce tangible benefits. King Henry I explained to Pope Calixtus II in 1119 that he had afforded his captive brother Duke Robert of Normandy good treatment because of his crusader status: ‘I have not kept him in irons like a captured enemy but have lodged him as a noble pilgrim in a royal castle’.18 Whether the hero of Antioch and Jerusalem appreciated such fraternal generosity over the twenty-eight years spent in his brother’s prisons must be debatable.
Other veterans returned to their former lives largely unmarked. Thomas of Marle’s career of rapine, if less lurid than his political opponents and their tame clerical apologists portrayed it, exposed the myth that service in the papal holy war engineered a form of spiritual conversion. As numerous commentators observed, the qualities that produced mayhem in Europe had not been suppressed, merely channelled in a good cause. Thomas of Marle’s aggression had proved very useful in the desperate battles in the east. Not all crusaders attracted unrealistic sentimentality; Everard III of Le Puiset, viscount of Chartres, was accused by Abbot Suger of St Denis a generation later of having undertaken the Jerusalem journey out of pride, his evil reputation for violence in the Ile de France being in no way mitigated by the gesture. The centrality of the martial ethos in popularizing the Jerusalem expedition left some participants happy to pursue former habits. Resort to arms was forced on some: Hugh of Chaumont, lord of Amboise, faced with the loss of his inheritance, acted vigorously and violently; yet he returned east with Count Fulk of Anjou in 1128. Belligerent resolution to disputes still came naturally. Only a few years after his return, Raimbold Croton, a hero at Antioch and Jerusalem, where he lost a hand, had a monk castrated over some stolen hay. Despite a fourteen-year penance forbidding him to bear arms, effectively suspending his social status, Raimbold appealed successfully to Pope Paschal II on account of his bravery at Jerusalem, although he soon died in one of the interminable petty wars in the Ile de France.19
Just wars and godly knights were not invented in 1095 or first consecrated in 1099. Not all subsequent accounts of war echoed the heroics in Syria. Orderic Vitalis’s description (c.1140) of the motives of Henry I’s troops in refraining from slaughtering their defeated French opponents at Brémule (1119) rested on accepted rhetoric of Christian wars:
they spared each other… out of fear of God and fellowship in arms… As Christian soldiers they did not thirst for the blood of their brothers, but rejoiced in a just victory given by God for the good of the Holy Church, and the peace of the faithful.
In fact Henry’s men thirsted for juicy ransoms. By contrast, in Orderic’s description of the fighting around Fraga in 1134 between Alfonso I of Aragon and the Almoravid Muslim fundamentalists from Morocco, the Aragonese wore ‘the cross of Christ’ (whether Orderic meant literally or metaphorically is unclear), their battle cries ‘in the name of Jesus’.20 In the account of the battle of the Standard (1138) by the contemporary English writer Henry of Huntingdon, the English soldiers facing the invading Scots received absolution before the conflict, which was declared ‘very just’ by a bishop present, who promised full remission of sins to any who died in the fight in defence of their homeland (‘patria’). The symbols of the church and the appeal to patriotism as well as martyrdom in this description may have been sharpened by the new holy war but in essence derived from older traditions. Similarly, although in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fanciful but widely circulated Historia Regum Brittaniae (History of the Kings of Britain) of 1136, King Arthur’s troops at the battle of Bath have been ‘marked with the sign of the Christian faith’, i.e. the cross, they were only promised absolution from all sins if they perished in the fight. There is no explicit suggestion that fighting the pagans, however praiseworthy, was itself penitential.21 As with Charlemagne’s doomed paladins in the epic poem The Song of Roland, c.1100, paradise, where souls rested ‘amid the rose-blossoms’, beckoned only those slain in the good fight. Such conservatism embraced even the papacy: in December 1118 Gelasius II granted Alfonso I of Aragon plenary indulgences only to those killed fighting the Moors.22
While memories of the First Crusade undoubtedly influenced the sharper confidence in describing and prescribing holy war, especially against infidels and pagans, the haphazard adoption of specifically new forms of penitential warfare by writers and popes alike points to a contingent appreciation of the significance of 1095–9. Even the rhetoric lavished on the new military order of the Templars by Bernard of Clairvaux in his De laude novae militiae (In Praise of the New Knighthood) c.1130, for all its radical reworking of St Paul’s spiritual metaphors of fighting for Christ into literal calls to arms, dwells on martyrdom and the prospect of salvation, at once traditional and immediate anxieties of the fighting classes. The images, language and ideology specifically related to penitential holy war as coined by the preachers, leaders and led of 1095–9, distinctive by association as much as by any liturgical, juridical, ceremonial or semantic coherence, formed only one part of a wider articulation of holy war and militant Christianity. In no sense did the early twelfth century knowingly witness the dawning of a pervasive ‘age of the crusade’.
Instead, the dynamic force of the idealized and physical Jerusalem provided the prime focus, for travellers, in arms or not, as for theorists. Pilgrimage not holy war proved the most immediate legacy of the Christian occupation of the Holy City. King Eric I of Denmark in 1102–3 and King Sigurd of Norway in 1107–10 went east as pilgrims as well as warriors, their martial intent an extension of traditional Scandinavian service for Byzantium, which acted as host to both monarchs; fatally for the Norwegians, many dying from excess of undiluted retsina. Eric died in Cyprus before reaching the Holy Land; his wife on the Mount of Olives. In 1110, King Sigurd only allowed himself to be recruited ‘to the service of Christ’ by Baldwin I for the siege of Sidon once his vows had been fulfilled at Jerusalem, where he may have received the cross.23
Links with Jerusalem established the domestic respectability of lords, especially kings. In the winter of 1102–3, the German emperor, Henry IV, for a quarter of a century the papacy’s most hated and implacable enemy, voiced his intention to travel to the Holy City, probably as a pilgrim. The public announcement at a diet at Mainz in January 1103, accompanied by solemn masses and an exhortatory sermon by the bishop of Würzburg, attracted wide interest, cynics suspecting a trick. Privately, in a letter to his aged godfather, the enormously grand Abbot Hugh of Cluny, Henry made his desire to see where Christ had lived, conversed with mortals and died conditional on a peace settlement with the papacy over the Investiture dispute. No deal, no pilgrimage.24 In seeking to use the Jerusalem pilgrimage in helping resolve intractable secular conflicts, Henry was not alone. From England to Sicily, political outlaws, such as the would-be assassins of William I of Sicily (1160) and the actual murderers of Thomas Becket (1170), worked their passage back to respectability or found a nobler form of exile through the trip – or the promise of a trip – to Jerusalem.25 In 1102/3, Henry IV hoped a commitment to visit Jerusalem would expedite a deal with the papacy and pacify his kingdom just as St Bernard’s preaching and King Conrad III’s taking of the cross did in 1146–7. It may have been the failure of such a strategy to resolve family feuding in the Danish royal house that led to the murder of Duke Canute, Eric I’s son, by his cousin Magnus in 1131. Apparently, Magnus had vowed to go to Jerusalem, probably as a pilgrim, leaving his wife and children in the care of Canute, whom he then murdered as an alternative to clinching the deal.26 In 1128, on the death of William Clito count of Flanders, many of his followers not pardoned by his hostile uncle, Henry I of England, ‘took the Lord’s Cross and, becoming exiles for Christ’s sake, set out for His sepulchre in Jerusalem’.27 As a technique of resolving feuds, the Jerusalem journey became embedded into the public culture of western Europe: successive treaties between Henry II and his French overlords Louis VII and Philip II featured mutual commitments to go east. However, using Jerusalem (and other) pilgrimages for political ends, to re-establish respectability and authority or as a form of temporary exile, predated the twelfth century: notable eleventh-century pilgrims included the bloodthirsty Count Fulk Nerra of Anjou, Duke Robert I the Devil of Normandy and the Anglo-Danish murderer Sweyn Godwinson, older brother of the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
The twelfth-century explosion of peaceful pilgrimages to Jerusalem stood in marked contrast to the occasional and, after the debacle of the Second Crusade, limited enthusiasm for holy wars to the east. Yet there developed a ready association between noble pilgrims and deeds of arms, highlighted by the creation in Jerusalem of the Order of the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, the Templars, in 1119 to whom visiting grandees, such as Count Fulk of Anjou in 1120, could temporarily attach themselves. The habit began earlier. In the first decade of the twelfth century, pilgrims were repeatedly pressed into military action by inducements from the Christian rulers of Outremer. Shortly after being knighted, some time before 1111, Charles of Denmark, a nephew of Robert II of Flanders and later count of Flanders himself, underwent a pilgrimage on which he fought against the pagan ‘enemies of the Christian faith’. In 1124, Conrad of Hohenstaufen, the future King Conrad III and leader of the Second Crusade, possibly after some sort of conversion experience, vowed to go to Jerusalem as a soldier for Christ, the only European monarch to campaign in the Holy Land twice.28 Charles and Conrad were not unique. In the generation after 1100, a steady trickle of affluent French nobles visited Outremer, a few of them First Crusade veterans revisiting as pilgrims the scenes of their youthful martial glory; one or two, like Stephen of Neublans from Burgundy in 1120 or Hugh of Chaumont in 1128/9, even signed up to fight again. Interest in the east ran in families, such as those of comital Burgundy – roughly modern Franche Comté – (which included Pope Calixtus II, who proclaimed a new holy war in the east in 1119), or of the French lordships of Montlhéry and Le Puiset, a concern that embraced fighting and settlement as well as pilgrimage. Such contacts spread unevenly across western Europe, with German speakers lacking established links in Outremer ‘as they… had no mind to stay there’, to the regret of John of Würzburg in 1170.29 Settlers’ relatives provided a conduit for interest, information and material help for the Holy Land. By the 1130s, these associations could find outlet in new, permanent institutions of holy war.
Hugh I count of Troyes went east three times, 1104–8, 1114 and 1125; the final visit saw him enrolling in the new religious order of the Knights Templar; he was not alone. By 1131, when the childless King Alfonso I of Aragon (d. 1134) drew up a will in which he bequeathed his possessions jointly to the canons of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of the Hospital of St John (the Hospitallers) and the Templars, the two Levantine military orders, especially the latter, had established themselves as unique institutions within the Catholic church, combining charity with violence, religious vocation with fighting. Through attracting recruits and grants of property in the west, these orders established on a permanent footing the basic idealism of penitential warfare, a mechanism for its expression and a physical presence throughout Christendom reminding the faithful of the plight of the Holy Land.30
The Order of the Hospital of St John, the Hospitallers, originated in an Amalfitan hospital established in Jerusalem by 1080 to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims. Originally dedicated to St John the Almsgiver, a seventh-century patriarch, after the conquest of 1099 its enhanced role and importance in coping with the new rush of western visitors, many ill, exhausted and impoverished, led to an elevation in status and patron saint, the local historical cleric giving way to the much grander, universally recognized John the Baptist. Receiving grants of property from King Baldwin, in 1113 the order acquired papal recognition as a charitable confraternity bound together into an order through the adoption of religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, in outline little different from other new orders such as the Augustinian canons. While the structure of the Hospitaller order may have provided the model for the Templars, the martial function of the latter influenced the Order of St John. While never losing its essential charitable hospital function, by 1126 Hospitaller brothers were serving in the army of the kingdom of Jerusalem on campaign against Damascus, and by 1136 the order was being entrusted with garrisoning frontier fortresses.
The original function of the Templars was military yet, like the Hospital, its purpose derived from the needs of Jerusalem pilgrims. In 1119, a group of knights in Jerusalem led by Hugh de Payns from Champagne and a Picard, Godfrey of St Omer, established a confraternity to protect the pilgrim routes from the coast to Jerusalem and from there to Jericho. Licensed by the patriarch of Jerusalem and bound by the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, the knights received official ecclesiastical recognition at the Council of Nablus in January 1120. From its earliest days, although dependent on alms even for clothing, the order was lodged in and around the royal palace at the al-Aqsa mosque and elsewhere on the Temple platform, inspiring the name of the Order of Temple of Solomon (which the Franks identified with the al-Aqsa) and demonstrating the strong and consistent support of the king. The same year, their contacts were sufficiently illustrious to recruit the visiting Count Fulk of Anjou into their ranks, if only temporarily; on his return to the west Fulk endowed the order with an annual income of thirty livres anjou, setting an example followed by many.31 Between 1127 and 1129, Hugh de Payns toured western Europe to attract donations and members, as well as assisting in negotiations to persuade his former confrater Fulk of Anjou to return east and recruiting forces for a new campaign against Damascus. Travelling widely in France and visiting England and Scotland, Hugh’s success is reflected in the extensive grants made to the order in 1127–8 of land, rents, customs, war materials and, from the counts of Flanders, the proceeds from entry fines to fiefs, known as reliefs. Hugh’s contacts included some of the greatest lords in France. Apart from Fulk of Anjou, Hugh of Troyes was already a member of the order, and other patrons included William Clito and Thierry of Alsace, successively counts of Flanders, and Theobald count of Blois, while his welcome in England and Scotland testified to his status.32 His triumphal progress was crowned at the Council of Troyes in January 1129, presided over by a papal legate and attended by many from the elite ecclesiastical establishment, including the most influential of all, Bernard abbot of Clairvaux, who a few years later was to compose the famous paean of praise for the new knighthood and holy war on behalf of the new order, De Laude novae militiae. At Troyes, after hearing Hugh’s description of the principles and practices of the new order, the council confirmed its foundation and provided a systematic Rule.
Although the Templars had received property in the west before 1128–9, Hugh’s trip consolidated the order’s standing as a recipient of charitable donations. By 1150, it had become an extensive and wealthy landowner from England to Italy and Portugal, and especially in northern France, Languedoc and north Spain, the extensive network of estates soon organized into regional commanderies. In some areas, the connection between crusading families and patronage of the order is obvious. In England, the Temple’s chief patrons proved to be King Stephen, son of the coward of Antioch, Stephen of Blois, and his wife Queen Matilda, daughter of Eustace of Boulogne and niece of Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin I. King Stephen’s brother Theobald and William Clito of Flanders, son of the crusader Robert of Normandy, also proved generous donors. In such concrete ways, the propaganda of St Bernard and the enthusiasm of individual recruits were lent physical expression and support, the great centres of the Temples in Paris or London, or the estates such as Temple Cowley or Knightsbridge in England acting as familiar reminders of the cause of Christianity in the east.
The clear association of the Templars with the tradition of the First Crusade found reinforcement in their enjoyment of full remission of sins for fighting and the adoption of the red cross on their white robes, showing them unmistakably as knights of Christ. However, the concept of members of a religious order, fortified by the offices of the church, riding out to shed blood could still jar, especially as other religious, such as monks, were actively discouraged from participation in holy wars. To some observers, not otherwise hostile to holy war, the vocational combination of a knight and a monk appeared monstrous. Guigo, abbot of the austere Grande Chartreuse (1109–36), expressed anxiety at the dangers inherent in this fusion of the spiritual and profane: ‘It is useless attacking external enemies if we do not first conquer those within ourselves… first purge our souls of vices, then the lands from the barbarians’.33 Such unease provoked lengthy apologia in support of the Templars by their adherents and supporters, most famously and polemically in St Bernard’s De Laude. Yet, despite such honed rhetoric, the active encouragement of the great and a series of papal bulls granting recognition and extensive ecclesiastical and spiritual privileges (1139–45), doubts persisted, never entirely stilled until the order’s suppression and abolition in the early fourteenth century. While in the early days of the order, the conceptual novelty disturbed some, even in the thirteenth century canonists such as Thomas Aquinas needed to spell out the meritorious connection between fighting God’s war and a penitential vocation.34
Nonetheless the Templars and the Hospitallers, whose continued charitable function deflected criticisms, provided a model quickly copied elsewhere. Proliferation of religious confraternities was a prominent feature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, some designed for military purposes, such as Alfonso I of Aragon’s militia at Monreal del Campo (1128–30) and the confraternity of Belchite (1122), which some have argued imitated Muslim ribats in combining military service and a life of prayer, or the Danish confraternity established in 1151–2 by Vetheman, a wealthy merchant from Roskilde, to police the seas against pirates, often pagan; while not specifically connected with penitential warfare, members took Communion and confessed their sins before each tour of duty.35 Not all these brotherhoods imposed service or commitment for life: even the Templars admitted temporary members visiting Jerusalem, such as Count Fulk in 1120 or the Burgundian Humbert III the Old, lord of Beaujeu, in 1142, and provided an elite hotel service for other grandees such as Conrad III in 1148.36
The success of the formula pioneered in the east by the Temple and Hospital in attracting donations and organizing men, money, defence and political control of whole regions encouraged emulation in the Iberian peninsular, where local military orders were established in the struggle against the Moors: in Castile the Orders of Calatrava (1164) and Alcantara (1176); in León the Order of Santiago (1170); and in Portugal the Order of Avis (c.1176). In Outremer, the Order of Lazarus, founded in the 1130s mainly but not exclusively for leprous knights, possessed close ties with the Templars. Leprosy, or similar-appearing skin diseases, were indigenous to the Near East, carrying with them a social stigma and religious charge far beyond their infectious potential (which was and is small). The association with St Lazarus became widespread in Latin Christendom, leper hospitals being known as ‘lazar houses’. The Templar rule became the model for the Order of Teutonic Knights (1198, based on a hospitaller confraternity formed at the siege of Acre in 1190) which in turn gave its statutes to the English Order of St Thomas of Acre (founded for canons 1190/1; militarized 1228). Such institutions closely shadowed mission and warfare on Christendom’s frontiers, as with the Swordbrothers of Livonia (c.1202) and the Prussian Knights of Dobrin (Dobryzn, c.1220). The larger orders, especially the Temple and Hospital, grew into international organizations, with extensive property and political influence, comprising structures, membership and dependants far beyond the original knights, priests or hospitallers, or the sergeants and other necessary military personnel: there were even convents of nuns attached to the Hospitallers in the thirteenth century.
The military orders formed just one aspect of the great revival and extension of institutional religious life in the twelfth century. What rendered them distinctive was their function and their inspiration, the war of the cross. However, those who joined the orders as the small elite of professed knights, sometimes, especially in the early years, after long careers of secular knighthood, were not crucesignati in the ordinary sense; their crosses were signs of a lifetime vocation not a temporary act of penance. Entry to a military order was not an alternative to becoming a crucesignatus; the alternative to becoming a Templar or Hospitaller was to become a monk, an altogether more serious step into a new life not merely a temporary gesture of faith and chivalry. Even St Bernard, who repeatedly drew analogies between crucesignati and monks – vows, profession, liturgical entry ceremonies, special clothing, communal living – recognized that becoming a monk, or, by extension, a Templar or Hospitaller, and becoming a crucesignatus were neither genuine alternatives nor synonymous.
With the exception of the military orders, the development of new crusading institutions in the west in the early twelfth century is confused and obscure. There were few general calls to repeat the penitential warfare of 1095: Bohemund’s war in 1106–8; the eastern campaign promoted by Calixtus II in 1119–20; Fulk of Anjou’s expedition of 1129; the campaigns in Spain of 1114–16, 1118 and 1125–6 also attracted papal authority and indulgences. Even with these and other explicit associations of holy war and the armed pilgrimage of 1096–9, there appears little radical departure from pre-existing social and religious activities or attitudes connected with pilgrimage and church-sanctioned holy war. Little coherence existed between large-scale expeditions east (1107 or 1120–24); small, private armed and unarmed pilgrimages, many lacking any papal authority; the interests of Outremer settlers such as Fulcher of Chartres to create a process of constant reinforcement; and the emergence of the military orders. Each appeared distinct in operation even if related in terms of motive and appeal while reflecting extremely traditional responses of obligation, honour, service (to God or terrestrial lord), adventure or penitential anxiety. The First Crusade confirmed and extended existing acceptance of holy war but created no new settled legal framework, the hot rhetoric of its apologists bereft of accepted canonical formulae. In the great digest of Canon Law, Gratian of Bologna’s Decretum (c.1140), the extensive discussion of legitimate just warfare (Causa 23) ignored anything that could be regarded as specifically flowing from any new institutions established during or after the holy war of 1095–9, a silence pointedly filled by an Anglo-Norman commentary on the Decretum later in the century that referred explicitly tocrucesignati and the manner in which the faithful should pray for them.37
These new institutions scarcely amounted to a revolution in Christian habits. The legacy of the First Crusade included spiritual and temporal privileges previously associated with those enjoyed by pilgrims, which by 1145 had become recognized by the pope as comprising remission of confessed sins (not just, as in some of Urban II’s pronouncements, the penalties of sin), protection by the church, legal immunity for the duration of the expedition, permission to raise mortgages and a moratorium on repayment of debts.38 In addition the ceremony of taking the cross asserted itself as characteristic of a certain form of pilgrimage. However, implementation was erratic and at times baffling to contemporaries faced with novelty. In 1107, a committee of clerics set up to investigate a claim for protection by a recruit for Bohemund’s campaign in the east failed to give a verdict because ‘the institution of committing to the church’s care the possessions of milites going to Jerusalem was new’.39 Uncertainty was explicable. With Jerusalem in Christian hands, no incentive existed to elaborate a new form of holy war to recover it. Thus repeated calls to arms simply evoked the precedent of Urban II and Clermont rather than developing it. Pilgrimage, not war, constituted the overwhelming response to the capture of the Holy Land, the language and practice of crusading and pilgrimage increasingly fused together, pilgrims and holy warriors indiscriminately described as peregrini (pilgrims), a dilution of any novel aspects of Urban’s holy war. This reflected reality. Not all armed pilgrims fought (e.g. Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony, in 1172) and not all who fought had taken the cross (e.g. the pilgrims employed by Baldwin I in 1102 and 1107).Crucesignati bore the staff and satchel of the pilgrim: pilgrims bore crosses and carried arms. Both shared the vocabulary of the peregrinatio, some of the same privileges and status as quasi-ecclesiastics. In twelfth-century charters it is rarely possible to distinguish the two activities. Taking the cross appeared to mark involvement in penitential warfare, yet chroniclers applied the word pilgrim. Notions of unarmed pilgrimage and armed penitential war were less discrete than the contradiction in purpose and function might imply. The cross tended to suggest violence, yet the English hermit Godric of Finchale (d. 1170) twice took the cross, the vexillum crucis, before visiting Palestine and yet each time, according to his contemporary biographer, he contented himself with sight-seeing, fasting and penance. In a charter of 1120 Guillaume le Veneur (i.e. huntsman) from Maine was said to have ‘accepted the cross as a sign of his pilgrimage (in signum peregrinationis)’. A liturgical rite for taking the cross survived the events of 1095–6. Some evidence suggests that it was perceived as separate from the adoption of the signs of pilgrimage; other the opposite: for Guillaume le Veneur in 1120 and Fulk of Anjou in 1128, taking the cross was said to follow ‘the custom of such pilgrimages’.40 This may indicate regional differences similar to those found in the liturgies themselves: no standard liturgical rite for taking the cross existed for the rest of the middle ages. Such disparity, while typical of the practice if not the rhetoric of the high medieval church, hardly confirms the creation of a homogeneous movement, more a changing series of modified and conservative associations, habits and responses, stimulated by new political and ecclesiastical circumstances but rooted in tradition. Even the novel military orders grew out of existing attitudes to holy knighthood. If the new penitential warfare, especially to the east, was innovative in its eschatological resonance and its physical demands, the spiritual, social, political or economic tensions assuaged were not.
Potentially the new exercise possessed wide implications if the privileged legal and fiscal immunities claimed for crucesignati found guarantee with the church and support from secular power. There is little evidence before the very end of the twelfth century, from the period of the Third Crusade (1188–92) and later, for the active operation, either in church or lay courts, of these immunities. Despite a decree of the First Lateran Council (1123), the first general council of the western church in the middle ages, reinforcing the church’s duty to protect crusaders’ property, much depended on the local secular context and the willingness of interested parties to cooperate. When they did not, confusion ensued, as in the case of the property dispute between Hugh II of Le Puiset and Routrou of Perche in 1107, which exposed the ecclesiastical authorities as both muddled and ineffective as the case ping-ponged between secular and clerical courts, with one of the best canon lawyers of the time manifestly unable to identify clear legal cause let alone remedy.41 Even after 1123, uncertainty persisted. As late as November 1146, Pope Eugenius III had to inform the bishop of Salisbury that the immunity only operated in regard to law suits and seizure of property after the cross had been taken. During the Second Crusade, the pope received numerous complaints that church protection simply did not work. It took another half-century for the immunities ofcrucesignati to find a place in accounts of law courts and in the records of secular government.42 For much of the earlier twelfth century, in any given region, taking the cross was uncommon and military expeditions of the cross rare: hardly the dawn of a new age.
WARS OF THE CROSS
This ephemeral nature of the wars of the cross can partly be explained by lack of occasion. The disastrous campaigns of 1101 killed extravagant optimism. Jerusalem remained in Christian hands. The very success of the Franks of Outremer in carving out principalities militated against any sense of crisis, relatively few laymen thinking in terms of permanent holy war, fewer even than those wishing to settle in the east. Pilgrimage and later the military orders provided the main connection between the two parts of Catholic Christendom, not crusading. Yet sporadic attempts were made to summon up enthusiasm for the old cause as well as to apply its forms to conflicts elsewhere.
Bohemund of Antioch’s campaign of 1107–8 demonstrated both the potential and the limitations of attempts to revive the spirit of 1096. On his release from Danishmend captivity in 1103, Bohemund was faced by the loss of much of his conquests in Cilicia to the Byzantines and, in 1104, of his eastern provinces to Ridwan of Aleppo. Western assistance provided an obvious solution; Bohemund’s reputation would act as the chief recruiting officer. Arriving in Italy in 1105, after securing the approval of Paschal II, Bohemund proceeded to France early in 1106, accompanied by a papal legate, Bruno of Segni, a veteran of Urban II’s preaching tour a decade before. Bohemund planned to harness concern for the Holy Land to an attack on the Byzantine empire, a sleight of hand highlighted by the presence with him on his triumphal tour of France of a spurious pretender to the Byzantine throne and other Greek exiles. During his sermon at Chartres in early April, Alexius I was identified as a target, those who joined up being promised ‘wealthy towns and castles’. Writing to the pope in 1107, Bohemund argued that he sought, in the general context of aiding the Holy Land, to resolve the supposed Greek problem by ending Alexius’s usurpation, the ecclesiastical schism and Byzantine hostility to crusaders. Yet Bohemund’s official line during 1106–7 focused on the via Sancti Sepulchri. One eyewitness remembered the papal legate at a council at Poitiers in June 1106 particularly emphasizing the need to arouse enthusiasm for the journey to Jerusalem.43 Whatever his motives, Bohemund used his fame to acquire a high-class wife, Constance, daughter of King Philip of France, and create a mood of excitement. Nobles apparently queued up to persuade him to become godfather to their children. King Henry of England, preparing his attempt to conquer Normandy from his crusader brother Duke Robert, was sufficiently alarmed as to ban him from crossing the Channel lest too many knights joined the eastern adventure. The number, geographic range and social standing of Bohemund’s recruits testified to his charisma and successful propaganda. Not only did they come from lands associated with the leader’s ancestry, Italy, Normandy, England, but also from large swathes of France from the Limousin and Poitou northwards across the Loire through the Chartrain and Ile de France to Flanders and imperial Burgundy. The rumour of war may also have inspired more distant interest in Jerusalem, including that of King Sigurd of Norway, although he had no practical involvement in Bohemund’s plans. While piety may have played a significant part in the success of Bohemund’s carefully orchestrated appeal, at least one later observer noted, perhaps with the cynicism of hindsight, that many ‘set out on the road for Jerusalem like men hastening to a feast’.44
By October 1107, even the most purblind of his followers could see that Bohemund’s intention was to revisit the battlefields of his youth in the western Balkans. Landing in Albania on 9 October, Bohemund directed his army, which marched under a papal banner, to besiege Durazzo. For all his famed military skill, Bohemund found himself completely outmanoeuvred. By the spring of 1108, his force was surrounded and cut off from reinforcements across the Adriatic. It is testimony to his determination and generalship that he resisted the logic to surrender until September. Writing a generation later of Bohemund’s final interview with Alexius I before agreeing to the humiliating Treaty of Devol, Alexius’s daughter, Anna, was prompted to include her famous description of this dangerous but attractive barbarian: tall, muscular, broad chest, slim waist, ‘perfectly proportioned’, pale skin, short, light-brown hair verging on reddish, shaven face, light blue eyes, a man of disconcerting charm, with a ‘hard, savage quality’ about him such that ‘even his laugh sounded like a threat to others’. To rub Bohemund’s nose in his failure, Alexius ensured that the Byzantine witnesses to the treaty included a number of leading Normans in his service.45 The Treaty of Devol ended Bohemund’s remarkable career. Returning to Apulia with the remnant of his army, he skulked in the west until his death in 1111, leaving a son, a famous legacy but little else. A few of those who took the cross in 1106–7 may have pursued their goal of Jerusalem after the debacle at Durazzo. Most found only disillusionment, as one commentator understated it: ‘in that expedition things did not fall out as the peregrinationes desired’.46
Bohemund’s failure was more than a defeat, it was an embarrassment, tarnishing not only his reputation but also the use of the via Sancti Sepulchri, especially sensitive precisely because of the extent of genuine devotion to Jerusalem, witnessed by pilgrimages as well as by Bohemund’s own recruiting. Yet the extension by analogy of the Jerusalem expedition to other theatres of conflict with the infidel continued to flourish. In the same year as the Treaty of Devol, a Flemish propagandist associated with the archbishop of Magdeburg explicitly linked war against the pagan Wends of the south Baltic with the Jerusalem expedition, calling on his audience to ‘follow the good example of the Gauls… sally forth and come, all lovers of Christ and the Church, and prepare yourselves just as did the men of Gaul for the liberation of Jerusalem’. By analogy, the German church became ‘our Jerusalem’.47
Spain provided an active arena for such parallels. Although before 1095 Urban II had regarded the rebuilding of the frontier town of Tarragona south of Barcelona as a penitential exercise meriting offers of plenary indulgences, only after Clermont was the Jerusalem expedition equated with the Christian reconquista in Spain.48 Thereafter, this interpretation of a common conflict between Christianity and Islam lent fragmented secular wars for territorial gain and political advantage spiritual energy and coherence, a transformation reflecting papal efforts to control the Spanish church as much as any indigenous religious revival. This ideological import conveniently and importantly coincided with the dominance of Muslim al-Andalus by the Almoravids, a fundamentalist Islamic sect from north Africa. Thus there were real battles to be fought against Muslims, which, with the eye of rhetoric, could be viewed in the context of a struggle between Faiths that embraced the Holy Land. At a council held in Santiago de Compostela in January 1126, Archbishop Diego Gelmirez, ‘St James’s catapult’, urged his audience to imitate the conquerors of Jerusalem and ‘become knights of Christ and, after defeating his wicked enemies the Muslims, open the way to the same Sepulchre of the Lord through Spain, which is shorter and much less laborious’, a geographic and military fantasy with a long future.49 Thanks to the papally inspired clerical attitude, the language and props of the Jerusalem penitential holy war began to suffuse the far from idealistic conquest of al-Andalus. The holy war tradition persisted after most of al-Andalus had fallen to the Christian kings in the thirteenth century, the link with Jerusalem never entirely fading for the rest of the middle ages. Yet in the twelfth century it was fuelled as much by evocation of an older legend; in the poem on the capture of Almeria, Alfonso VII is lauded as ‘continuing the deeds of Charlemagne, with whom he is rightly compared’.50
The interest in warring in Spain from north of the Pyrenees reflected a tradition of itinerant fighting among the affluent arms-bearing elites of western Europe that reached back far beyond 1095. In that sense, the contest with the infidel, in the eastern or western Mediterranean, scarcely altered social mores, even if it provided fresh outlets. The new focus of holy violence exerted only a sporadic, occasional, irregular and uneven hold on the activity of the fighting classes however powerful a grip it exerted on imaginations, or, at least, those recoverable parts of their thought-world which owed most to the new orthodoxies of the western church. Victims of sordid internecine political feuding, such as Duke Canute of Denmark, murdered in 1131, could be elevated into crusader saints by association with the Holy Land adventure – which in life he lacked.51 Yet, despite its iconic status as living proof of God’s immanence and favour attracting the anxious attention of clerical and monastic chroniclers, Outremer failed to provide as popular theatre for chivalry as for pilgrims. Sustained interest tended to run in families: those with claims to Outremer inheritances, such as Bohemund II, brought up in Apulia, who arrived to claim his inheritance in Antioch in 1126, or with political influence in the east, such as the extended Montlhéry or Le Puiset affinities from northern France, who dominated Jerusalem politics and patronage under Baldwin II.52 Even the army mustered in 1128 by Hugh de Payns and his colleagues revolved around the acceptance by Fulk of Anjou of the hand of Princess Melisende and the inheritance of Jerusalem. In the event, the 1129 sortie against Damascus failed, and many regarded the whole enterprise as a fraud, which was probably unfair as the campaign, involving most of the great leaders of Outremer as well as the western recruits, was thwarted by poor tactics and worse weather, not malice or indifference. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded Hugh’s great recruiting success – ‘so large a number of people as never had done since the first expedition in the days of Pope Urban’ – and subsequent disappointment: ‘He [Hugh] said that thoroughgoing war was prepared between the Christians and the heathens. Then when they arrived there it was nothing but lies – thus miserably were all the people afflicted’.53 Different priorities and expectations of westerners and residents of Outremer persisted throughout subsequent dealings between the east and west. Much active campaigning by westerners in Outremer was opportunistic, a matter of local rulers fitting the martial skills and ambitions of chance visitors to desired objectives, such as Sigurd of Norway and the seizure of Sidon in 1110. However, a crisis in Outremer’s affairs could excite widespread support however uneasily eastern setbacks stood beside the providential triumphalism that the capture of Jerusalem had originally inspired.
The disaster of the defeat of Roger of Antioch at the Field of Blood in 1119 provoked Baldwin II and his advisers early in 1120 to send ambassadors west to seek help from the papacy and Venice. A number of western lords, including Fulk of Anjou, may have answered the call. Pope Calixtus II, perhaps inspired by his abundant family ties with crusading and the east, added his weight to the appeals to the Venetian doge, Domenico Michiel, sending him a papal banner for an eastern campaign. The Doge, who acquired a well-deserved bellicose reputation, took the cross with other prominent Venetians in 1122 before embarking with a substantial fleet for the eastern Mediterranean. The Venetian expedition of 1122–4 encapsulated many of the diverse motives that propelled westerners eastwards; trade, plunder, military adventurism, colonial expansion, profit, piety and the appetite for relics. On the way out, the fleet attacked Corfu in retaliation for the reduction in their trading privileges proposed by Byzantine emperor John II. Only on hearing of the capture of Baldwin II by Balak of Aleppo in April 1123 did the Venetians proceed to the Levant, where the following month they destroyed an Egyptian fleet between Jaffa and Ascalon. While the doge claimed to be fulfilling a longstanding wish to visit the Holy Places, the Venetian credentials as soldiers of the cross operated within a frame of self-interest. Only after protracted negotiations with the regency government of Jerusalem held during Christmastide 1123 and much wrangling among the Jerusalemites as to the best target did the doge agree to an attack on Tyre, with Ascalon the last great port of the Levantine coast outside Frankish possession. In return for this aid, Venice was to receive a third of Tyre with extensive privileges in the conquered city, including free trade, the use of their own weights and measures, wide legal autonomy and immunities and an annual tribute of 300 besants. The siege lasted from February to July 1124 before the Damascene garrison surrendered. Along with the immediate booty and future privileges, the Venetians, whose commercialism never excluded piety, carried off a lump of marble on which Christ was alleged to have sat. The capture of Tyre did not end the Venetian campaign. Returning westwards, they terrorized the Aegean, sacking Rhodes and wintering in Chios, where they acquired relics of the martyred St Isidore, before pillaging Samos, Lesbos and Andros, then launching a series of raids along the Dalmatian shore of the Adriatic culminating in the plunder of Zara, after which, singing the Te Deum Laudamus, they returned to Venice ‘full of happiness and joy’.54 Or so it was remembered in the lagoon. Seen only from the perspective of wars of the cross, the Venetian crusade represented a serious commitment of time and investment in ships, men and money. While the Venetian fleet was at war it could not be trading as well. Yet the context for the victories off Ascalon and at Tyre was an extended, Viking-like raid on Christian Byzantine territory and property. The whole enterprise appeared designed for tangible as well as spiritual gain; it certainly reaped the former. While this did not represent as much of a contradiction at the time as it may seem now, such a layered response informed much of the interest in the cause of the cross and the Holy Land. It also serves as a foretaste and clue to the events eighty years later that led to the sack of Constantinople.
The Venetian expedition of 1122–5 illustrated how the needs of the Holy Land could be stitched into concerns of the Faithful that had little or no intrinsic association with armed pilgrimage or holy war except coincidence. Much the same could be applied to many responses to the papacy’s new militant formula: social; political; chivalric; diplomatic; colonial; commercial. The striking feature of the early twelfth century appears the lack of consistent action on behalf of the cross at the same time as the image of the first Jerusalem campaign patchily suffused cultural attitudes to war and Christian society of the lay and ecclesiastical elites. As the enclaves in the east became established and their borders tentatively secured, the sense of urgency in appeals for aid slackened. The 1130s saw penitential wars on the Jerusalem model applied elsewhere, for example against the supporters of the anti-pope Anacletus. The 1120s, despite the imprisonment of Baldwin II and the death of Bohemund II, had seemingly marked an end to major, state-threatening crises, while the failure before Damascus in 1129 ended further dramatic territorial expansion. However, both assumptions as well as the ideal of holy war itself were to be tested to their limits before the 1140s were out.