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Principes And The Crusading Nobility

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Chapter Summary

The evidence of the sources for the First Crusade shows that they considered nobility to be a honoured social status possessed not only by the very uppermost members of the expedition, but also for the far more numerous milites, the knights. The most important examples in this regard comes from Guibert of Nogent. He described the relatively lowly knight Matthew as being of 'noble birth' (genere nobilis) and the entire body of knights on the crusade as the 'flower of the nobility' (flos nobilitatis) of the Franks. The examination of the vocabulary of the sources with regard to the upper strata of the First Crusade suggests one thing above all: that it might be a mistake to assume that the direction of affairs was solely in the hands of a very few prominent princes.

Keywords:crusading nobility; First Crusade; principes



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