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Iuvenes: The Glory-Seeking Knights Of The Crusade

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Chapter Summary

The epitome of the medieval warrior, the hero of the chanson, the glorious competitor in the sports of the tournament, was the iuvenis. The 'youth' was a knight whose career was still unsettled, and was in search of reputation, family and career. The Latin term iuvenis, or collective substantive iuventus, is typically used to mean a young person, or body of young persons, not a subcategory of knights. It is therefore natural enough that as historians have encountered this term in the sources for the First Crusade they have assumed its common meaning. But is it always correct to make this assumption? Or were the sources drawing attention to knights on the First Crusade who were 'youths' in the sense of such turbulent glory-seeking warriors? The chapter shows that the iuvenis were seen not so much as young knights, but more as champions out to prove their worth.

Keywords:First Crusade; glory-seeking knights; iuvenes



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