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Medieval Sourcebook:
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.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall December 1997