The Pelican History of Medieval Europe by Maurice Keen: Dot Points

‘On 15 July 1099, the Holy City was stormed. ‘Sobbing for excess of joy’, and with their hands still bloody from massacre in the streets, the crusaders gave thanks for victory that night in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.’

Keen, Medieval Europe, 119.

‘As early as 950 a liturgy for the blessing of his sword was in use at Mainz. This is the oldest original that has survived of the later elaborate ritual for the making of a knight, with its prayer:

Almighty father, who hast permitted the use of the sword to repress the malice of the wicked and defined justice, … [sic] cause they servant here before Thee never to use this sword or any other to injure anyone unjustly, but always to defend the just and right.

Fine words, but it needed more than words and ceremony to curb the turbulence of a military aristocracy which viewed feuding as its hereditary right. The crusade provided a cause which could instead enlist and consecrate both its martial vigour and its social pride.’47


Pope Innocent III claimed political, as well as spiritual, authority for the papacy.48


Why were the Cathars considered heretics?

This website: about Cathar beliefs gives some insight into the ideological differences they may have had with the papacy.


The development of universities was a double-edged sword for the Church. It provided the faithful with the education to combat the arguments of the Cathars, but it also encouraged the pursuit of knowledge independent of orthodoxy and led to the questioning of orthodoxy, causing schisms within the Church.49


Encomiast50: Noun — A person who publicly praises or flatters someone.51

stupor mundi52: Translation — The wonder of the world or, more literally, the bewilderment of the world. Also, pre-medieval, the stupidity of the world.53

Diet54: Noun — A legislative assembly in certain countries; a regular meeting of the states of a confederation; a meeting or session of a court.55

Congeries56: Noun — A disorderly collection; a jumble.57


‘Not only, in fact, had the popes broken the authority of the empire in Italy: they had broken the only power which might restrain local Italian quarrels from threatening their own authority.’58

[Insert maniacal cackling here] Rather shot themselves in the foot there, yes?


Oecumenical59: Adjective — Less common spelling of ecumenical. 1: Concerned with promoting unity among churches or religions. 2: Of worldwide scope or applicability.60


I hadn’t known that the Mongols came so far as to threaten Germany!61

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Categories: Impressions

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2 replies


  1. What Were the Crusades? (Fourth Edition) by Jonathan Riley-Smith: Dot Points – Rafferty's Rules
  2. The Crusades (Videos) – Rafferty's Rules

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