Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522

Article excerpt

Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522. By Ane L. Bysted, Carsten Selch Jensen, Kurt Villads Jensen, and John H. Lind. [Outremer: Studies in the Crusades and the Latin East, Vol. 1.] (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers. 2012. Pp. xiv, 393. euro75,00. ISBN 978-2-503-52325-5.)

The subject of the present volume is the Danish involvement in the crusades in northeastern Europe that traditionally have been perceived to begin with the Wendish crusade of 1147 and to have continued with the Baltic crusades of the late-twelfth century and later. These were aimed at conquering and converting the lands on the eastern and southern coast of the Baltic Sea. The campaigns in northeastern Europe have been the subject of a number of scholarly works. Until recently the most notable book in English was arguably Eric Christiansen's The Northern Crusades (Minneapo-lis, 1980), but since the late 1990s a great deal of research has been published in English. There has, however, been very little research on the Danish involvement in the crusading movement since Paul Riant's Expéditions et pèlerinages des Scandinaves en Terre Sainte au temps des croisades (Paris, 1865).That is not to say that twentieth-century historians working on the Danish Middle Ages completely ignored the crusades, but most scholars mentioned the Danish crusading activity only briefly and often ascribed it to local economic and political concerns, thus weakening the links between the Danish expeditions and the cross-European crusading movement.

That is convincingly challenged by the authors of the present volume, who highlight the exchange of ideas between the Danish realm and the rest of Latin Christendom as well as the complexity of the motivations of the crusaders. The volume, which is a translation of the Danish book Danske korstog-krig og mission i 0stersoen (2nd ed., Copenhagen, 2004), opens with a brief historiographical survey. The remainder of the book is dedicated to a thorough discussion of the Baltic crusades and the Danish engagement in these campaigns, including themes such as the funding of the crusades, the of society, and the role of the military orders and the mendicants. It focuses on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries-namely, the period up to the Treaty of Stensby (1238), which secured the Danish king control over northern Estonia (chapters II-XII). …

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