Cruce signatus: the form and substance of the crusading vow, 1095-1216
Price, Jennifer Ann, 1973-
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Modern historical inquiry into the crusade movement continues to be shaped by the overarching question of what exactly the crusade was. Instead of focusing on the ways in which the institutional authorities that summoned and organized these expeditions defined them, this dissertation examines the crusade from the perspective of the participant through an in-depth study of the form and substance of the crusade vow as it existed during of the first century of crusading activity. When Pope Urban II called for the knights of Western Europe to embark upon an armed pilgrimage to liberate Jerusalem in 1095 CE he directed those who answered his call to affirm their intention with a solemn vow. Votaries were instructed to attach a cloth cross to their outer garments while pronouncing their promise aloud. Together these two acts transformed the votary into a crusader or cruce signatus---"one signed with the cross." The terms of the vows made by twelfth-century crusaders show that most crucesignati associated the cross and its resulting obligations specifically with the penitential pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However, in a few small circles, the cross was to stand first and foremost as a sign of the crusader's willingness to serve God and risk his life in battle. Because some crusaders believed the votive obligation was based primarily upon providing service in Christ's army, they accepted that the crusade vow might be fulfilled in a variety of locations. That this perception of the crusader's votive obligation view came to dominate the way in which the institutional authorities in charge of the crusades conceived of the activity in the thirteenth century was due in no small part to the recruitment strategies employed after 1187 and the efforts of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216 CE). It was a view that would not go unchallenged by crucesignati, however. Many contemporaries continued to define the crusade as a penitential pilgrimage undertaken for the liberation and protection of the Holy Places. Just as no single definition of the crusade has been fully accepted by all modern scholars, no one vision of the crusade was shared by all twelfth-century crusaders.
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