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“Principes Et Populus”: Civil Society And The First Crusade

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Chapter Summary

A most striking account of the involvement of the wider community of crusaders is provided by Raymond of Aguilers, chaplain of Count Raymond of Toulouse, in his description of events in northern Syria in the autumn and winter of 1098?99. In late September, Raymond of Toulouse attacked the town of al-Bara, forty miles south east of Antioch, which the westerners had captured three and half months earlier. The necessity to choose or to elect leaders presented a familiar feature of the crusading expeditions as of other enterprises involving disparate groups thrown together for long periods or to travel long distances. What emerges from these accounts of the First Crusade can be viewed from a number of perspectives. The expedition itself relied on a corporate consensus in order to exist in the first place and to surmount the great challenges it faced.

Keywords: Crusade; Richard Fletcher



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