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Papal Policy On The Baltic Crusades To 1198

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Chapter Summary

The papacy became involved in the ongoing conquest and conversion of the pagans in the Baltic region with the proclamation of the Wendish crusade in 1147. In the rest of the twelfth century, papal policy on the campaigns in the Baltic region varied considerably from pontificate to pontificate. With Pope Eugenius III’s proclamation of a crusade against the Slavs as part of the Second Crusade the idea of the crusade was applied to warfare against the pagans in northern Europe, and the campaigns were put on an equal footing with the crusades in aid of the Holy Land. Both Eugenius III and Alexander III in effect allowed forceful conversion of the pagans, in clear contradiction of canon law. Celestine III, by contrast, may have legitimated the employment of force against the pagans as necessary to bring apostate Livonians back to the faith.

Keywords: Alexander III; Baltic region; Celestine III; Eugenius III; Holy Land; pagans; papal policy; Wendish crusade



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