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Women And The First Crusade: Prostitutes Or Pilgrims?

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Chapter Summary

From the very large numbers of women on the First Crusade who could be ranked among the pauperes through to the much smaller number of women who came with their relatives and guardians among the male magnates, the women of the crusade could, in fact, be distributed among these social layers and be considered as a component part of them. Insofar as historians have considered the role of women on the First Crusade they have tended to make the assumption that the majority of women were associated with the movement as camp followers, prostitutes. A closer examination of the evidence suggests that this is an error and that the thousands of women who went on the crusade-to find a promised land, or to get away from the towns in which many of them had been abandoned-did so as participants, as pilgrims.

Keywords:First Crusade; pilgrims; prostitutes; women



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