Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pierre l'Ermite et la Premiere Croisade

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pierre l'Ermite et la Premiere Croisade

Article excerpt

Pierre l'Ermite et la premire croisade. By Jean Flori. (Paris: Fayard. 1999. Pp. 647. FF 170.00.)

Peter the Hermit does not have quite the centrality in M. Flori's masterly and persuasive study of the First Crusade that its title may at first sight suggest, fior what it offers is a comprehensive reconsideration of the history and historiography of the Crusade in its many aspects; an attempt is made to establish and assess Peter's role within the total picture. The foundation of this reappraisal of the Crusade is a thorough and challenging consideration of the primary sources, and especially of the chronicles. A salutary caution is sounded against an undue reliance upon the anonymous Cresta F'rencorusn, which as it stands is not only colored by the concerns of the Norman Bohemond in the first decade of the twelfth century but is also derived from a common source which it shares with Tudeb(xie. It cannot without much qualification be credited with the immediacy to the events of the Crusade which has often been supposed. Like other recent historians, Flori finds valuable material in Tudebode, especially in passages peculiar to this source. But his major reassessment concerns the chronicle of Albert of Aachen. Although Albert did not hear Urban I's preaching or go to the East himself, he was freer than most other chronic:lers from attachment to any of the main Crusading leaders or groupings. Moreover, his history gives evidence of his reliability, judgment, and moderation, as well as his access to information. Flori therefore rates him highly as a source,

Recent scholarship has made much of the Crusade under its aspect as an armed pilgrimage. While Flori confirms such an interpretation, he convincingly argues that it should also be understood, as Carl Erdmann argued, against the background of established traditions of holy war; unlike Erdmann, however, Fl(ori regards the liberation of Jerusalem as having been from the start the prime objective of the Crusade, not least in Urban s preaching. …

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