The Values And Daily Lives Of Medieval Knights


To complete this journal assignment, you will do the following tasks:

  1. You will read the primary source: “Urban II’s Speech”
  2. You will evaluate the primary source by answering the following questions in two or three paragraphs:
  3. Who wrote these texts?
  4. Who was the author’s intended audience?
  5. What was his purpose in writing the text? Think about audience and genre.
  6. What does this text tell you about the values and daily lives of medieval knights? Give specific examples.
  7. Do the ideas and values conveyed in the text differ from today? If so, in what ways?
  8. In a concluding paragraph, you will compare and contrast these accounts of the speech. What do they have in common? Do you notice significant differences? How should these differences cause us to think about other historical sources that might only have one surviving account?

Your answers to these prompts should be thorough and contain pertinent examples.  Please cite any secondary sources you’ve used with Turabian/Chicago style. Your assignment must be submitted in Microsoft Word file format (.doc or .docx). Make sure you format your document using one-inch margins and double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font. Include a Works Cited page if you are using resources for this assignment.

In 1094 or 1095, Alexios I Komnenos, the Byzantine emperor, asked Pope Urban II for aid against
the Seljuq Turks, who had taken nearly all of Asia Minor from the Byzantine Empire. At the Council
of Clermont, Pope Urban gave a speech that called upon all of the Christian princes of Europe to march
their armies to the Holy Land, in order to recover the city of Jerusalem. Several eyewitnesses wrote
accounts of this speech. The following are three different versions.
Version 1: Fulcher of Chartres, Gesta Francorum Jerusalem
“Most beloved brethren: Urged by necessity, I, Urban, by the
permission of God chief bishop and prelate over the whole world, have
come into these parts as an ambassador with a divine admonition to you,
the servants of God. I hoped to find you as faithful and as zealous in the
service of God as I had supposed you to be. But if there is in you any
deformity or crookedness contrary to God’s law, with divine help I will do
my best to remove it. For God has put you as stewards over his family to
minister to it. Happy indeed will you be if he finds you faithful in your
stewardship. You are called shepherds; see that you do not act as hirelings.
But be true shepherds, with your crooks always in your hands. Do not go
to sleep, but guard on all sides the flock committed to you. For if through
your carelessness or negligence a wolf carries away one of your sheep, you
will surely lose the reward laid up for you with God. And after you have
been bitterly scourged with remorse for your faults-, you will be fiercely
overwhelmed in hell, the abode of death. For according to the gospel you
are the salt of the earth [Matt. 5:13]. But if you fall short in your duty, how,
it may be asked, can it be salted? O how great the need of salting! It is
indeed necessary for you to correct with the salt of wisdom this foolish
people which is so devoted to the pleasures of this -world, lest the Lord,
when He may wish to speak to them, find them putrefied by their sins
unsalted and stinking. For if He, shall find worms, that is, sins, In them,
because you have been negligent in your duty, He will command them as
worthless to be thrown into the abyss of unclean things. And because you
cannot restore to Him His great loss, He will surely condemn you and drive
you from His loving presence. But the man who applies this salt should be
1 Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 1, pp. 382 f., trans in Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes McNeal,
A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 513-17.
prudent, provident, modest, learned, peaceable, watchful, pious, just,
equitable, and pure. For how can the ignorant teach others? How can the
licentious make others modest? And how can the impure make others
pure? If anyone hates peace, how can he make others peaceable ? Or if
anyone has soiled his hands with baseness, how can he cleanse the
impurities of another? We read also that if the blind lead the blind, both
will fall into the ditch [Matt. 15:14]. But first correct yourselves, in order
that, free from blame , you may be able to correct those who are subject to
you. If you wish to be the friends of God, gladly do the things which you
know will please Him. You must especially let all matters that pertain to the
church be controlled by the law of the church. And be careful that simony
does not take root among you, lest both those who buy and those who sell
[church offices] be beaten with the scourges of the Lord through narrow
streets and driven into the place of destruction and confusion. Keep the
church and the clergy in all its grades entirely free from the secular power.
See that the tithes that belong to God are faithfully paid from all the
produce of the land; let them not be sold or withheld. If anyone seizes a
bishop let him be treated as an outlaw. If anyone seizes or robs monks, or
clergymen, or nuns, or their servants, or pilgrims, or merchants, let him be
anathema [that is, cursed]. Let robbers and incendiaries and all their
accomplices be expelled from the church and anathematized. If a man who
does not give a part of his goods as alms is punished with the damnation of
hell, how should he be punished who robs another of his goods? For thus
it happened to the rich man in the gospel [Luke 16:19]; he was not
punished because he had stolen the goods of another, but because he had
not used well the things which were his.
“You have seen for a long time the great disorder in the world
caused by these crimes. It is so bad in some of your provinces, I am told,
and you are so weak in the administration of justice, that one can hardly go
along the road by day or night without being attacked by robbers; and
whether at home or abroad one is in danger of being despoiled either by
force or fraud. Therefore it is necessary to reenact the truce, as it is
commonly called, which was proclaimed a long time ago by our holy
fathers. I exhort and demand that you, each, try hard to have the truce kept
in your diocese. And if anyone shall be led by his cupidity or arrogance to
break this truce, by the authority of God and with the sanction of this
council he shall be anathematized.”
After these and various other matters had been attended to, all who
were present, clergy and people, gave thanks to God and agreed to the
pope’s proposition. They all faithfully promised to keep the decrees. Then

the pope said that in another part of the world Christianity was suffering
from a state of affairs that was worse than the one just mentioned. He
“Although, O sons of God, you have promised more firmly than
ever to keep the peace among yourselves and to preserve the rights of the
church, there remains still an important work for you to do. Freshly
quickened by the divine correction, you must apply the strength of your
righteousness to another matter which concerns you as well as God. For
your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you
must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them.
For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked
them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as
far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is
called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the
lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They
have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and
devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for a while with
impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them.
On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to
publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, footsoldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those
Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say
this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent.
Moreover, Christ commands it.
“All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle
against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant
them through the power of God with which I am invested. O what a
disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should
conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made
glorious with the name of Christ! With what reproaches will the Lord
overwhelm us if you do not aid those who, with us, profess the Christian
religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private
warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory
this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long
time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been
fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way
against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for
small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing
themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor.
Behold! on this side will be the sorrowful and poor, on that, the rich; on

this side, the enemies of the Lord, on that, his friends. Let those who go
not put off the journey, but rent their lands and collect money for their
expenses; and as soon as winter is over and spring comes, let them eagerly
set out on the way with God as their guide.”
Version 2: The Gesta Version2
Circa 1100-1101, an anonymous writer connected with Bohemund of Antioch wrote
Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymytanorum. This text was used by
the later writers as a source.
When now that time was at hand which the Lord Jesus daily points out to
His faithful, especially in the Gospel, saying, “If any man would come after
me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” a mighty
agitation was carried on throughout all the region of Gaul. (Its tenor was)
that if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart and
mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after Him, he would no longer
hesitate to take up the way to the Holy Sepulcher.
And so Urban, Pope of the Roman see, with his archbishops,
bishops, abbots, and priests, set out as quickly as possible beyond the
mountains and began to deliver sermons and to preach eloquently, saying:
“Whoever wishes to save his soul should not hesitate humbly to take up the
way of the Lord, and if he lacks sufficient money, divine mercy will give
him enough.” Then the apostolic lord continued, “Brethren, we ought to
endure much suffering for the name of Christ – misery, poverty, nakedness,
persecution, want, illness, hunger, thirst, and other (ills) of this kind, just as
the Lord says to His disciples: ‘Ye must suffer much in My name,’ and ‘Be
not ashamed to confess Me before the faces of men; verily I will give you
mouth and wisdom,’ and finally, ‘Great is your reward in Heaven.”‘ And
when this speech had already begun to be noised abroad, little by little,
through all the regions and countries of Gaul, the Franks, upon hearing
such reports, forthwith caused crosses to be sewed on their right shoulders,
saying that they followed with one accord the footsteps of Christ, by which
they had been redeemed from the hand of hell.
2 Rosalind M. Hill, ed. and trans., Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum: The Deeds of the
(London: 1962), [Latin text with English translation].
Version 3: Guibert de Nogent3
Guibert, Abbot of Nogent, attended the Council of Clermont. His Historia quae
dicitur Gesta Dei per Francos
used both his own knowledge and other sources such
as the
“If among the churches scattered about over the whole world some,
because of persons or location, deserve reverence above others (for
persons, I say, since greater privileges are accorded to apostolic sees; for
places, indeed, since the same dignity which is accorded to persons is also
shown to regal cities, such as Constantinople), we owe most to that church
from which we received the grace of redemption and the source of all
Christianity. If what the Lord says namely, ‘Salvation is from the Jews,’
accords with the truth, and it is true that the Lord has left us Sabbath as
seed, that we may not become like Sodom and Gomorrah, and our seed is
Christ, in whom is the salvation and benediction of all peoples, then,
indeed, the very land and city in which He dwelt and suffered is, by
witnesses of the Scriptures, holy. If this land is spoken of in the sacred
writings of the prophets as the inheritance and the holy temple of God
before ever the Lord walked about in it, or was revealed, what sanctity,
what reverence has it not acquired since God in His majesty was there
clothed in the flesh, nourished, grew up, and in bodily form there walked
about, or was carried about; and, to compress in fitting brevity all that
might be told in a long series of words, since there the blood of the Son of
God, more holy than heaven and earth, was poured forth, and His body, its
quivering members dead, rested in the tomb. What veneration do we think
it deserves? If, when the Lord had but just been crucified and the city was
still held by the Jews, it was called holy by the evangelist when he says,
‘Many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming
forth out of the tombs after His resurrection, they entered into the holy city
and appeared unto many,’ and by the prophet Isaiah when be says, ‘It shall
be His glorious sepulcher,’ then, surely, with this sanctity placed upon it by
God the Sanctifier Himself, no evil that may befall it can destroy it, and in
the same way glory is indivisibly fixed to His Sepulcher. Most beloved
brethren, if you reverence the source of that holiness and I . you cherish
these shrines which are the marks of His footprints on earth, if you seek
(the way), God leading you, God fighting in your behalf, you should strive
with your utmost efforts to cleanse the Holy City and the glory of the
Sepulcher, now polluted by the concourse of the Gentiles, as much as is in
their power.
3 August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921),

“If in olden times the Maccabees attained to the highest praise of
piety because they fought for the ceremonies and the Temple, it is also
justly granted you, Christian soldiers, to defend their liberty of your country
by armed endeavor. If you, likewise, consider that the abode of the holy
apostles and any other saints should be striven for with such effort, why do
you refuse to rescue the Cross, the Blood, the Tomb? Why do you refuse to
visit them, to spend the price of your lives in rescuing them? You have thus
far waged unjust wars, at one time and another; you have brandished mad
weapons to your mutual destruction, for no other reason than covetousness
and pride, as a result of which you have deserved eternal death and sure
damnation. We now hold out to you wars which contain the glorious
reward of martyrdom, which will retain that title of praise now and forever.
“Let us suppose, for the moment, that Christ was not dead and
buried, and had never lived any length of time in Jerusalem. Surely, if all
this were lacking, this fact alone ought still to arouse you to go to the aid of
the land and city — the fact that ‘Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the
word of Jehovah from Jerusalem!’ If all that there is of Christian preaching
has flowed from the fountain of Jerusalem, its streams, whithersoever
spread out over the whole world, encircle the hearts of the Catholic
multitude, that they may consider wisely what they owe such a well-watered
fountain. If rivers return to the place whence they have issued only to flow
forth again, according to the saying of Solomon, it ought to seem glorious
to you to be able to apply a new cleansing to this place, whence it is certain
that you received the cleansing of baptism and the witness of your faith.
“And you ought, furthermore, to consider with the utmost
deliberation, if by your labors, God working through you, it should occur
that the Mother of churches should flourish anew to the worship of
Christianity, whether, perchance, He may not wish other regions of the
East to be restored to the faith against the approaching time of the
Antichrist. For it is clear that Antichrist is to do battle not with the Jews,
not with the Gentiles; but, according to the etymology of his name, He will
attack Christians. And if Antichrist finds there no Christians (just as at
present when scarcely any dwell there), no one will be there to oppose him,
or whom he may rightly overcome. According to Daniel and Jerome, the
interpreter of Daniel, he is to fix his tents on the Mount of Olives; and it is
certain, for the apostle teaches it, that he will sit at Jerusalem in the Temple
of the Lord, as though he were God. And according to the same prophet,
he will first kill three kings of Egypt, Africa, and Ethiopia, without doubt
for their Christian faith: This, indeed, could not at all be done unless
Christianity was established where now is paganism. If, therefore, you are

zealous in the practice of holy battles, in order that, just as you have
received the seed of knowledge of God from Jerusalem, you may in the
same way restore the borrowed grace, so that through you the Catholic
name may be advanced to oppose the perfidy of the Antichrist and the
Antichristians then, who cannot conjecture that God, who has exceeded
the hope of all, will consume, in the abundance of your courage and
through you as the spark, such a thicket of paganism as to include within
His law Egypt, Africa, and Ethiopia, which have withdrawn from the
communion of our belief? And the man of sin, the son of perdition, will
find some to oppose him. Behold, the Gospel cries out, ‘Jerusalem shall be
trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.’
‘Times of the Gentiles’ can be understood in two ways: Either that they
have ruled over the Christians at their pleasure, and have gladly frequented
the sloughs of all baseness for the satisfaction of their lusts, and in all this
have had no obstacle (for they who have everything according to their wish
are said to have their time; there is that saying: ‘My time is not yet come,
but your time is always ready,’ whence the lustful are wont to say ‘you are
having your time’). Or, again, ‘the times of the Gentiles’ are the fulness of
time for those Gentiles who shall have entered secretly before Israel shall
be saved. These times, most beloved brothers, will now, forsooth, be
fulfilled, provided the might of the pagans be repulsed through You, with
the cooperation of God. With the end of the world already near, even
though the Gentiles fail to be converted t the Lord (since according to the
apostle there must be a withdrawal from the faith), it is first necessary,
according to their prophecy, that the Christian sway be renewed in those
regions either through you, or others, whom it shall please God to send
before the coming of Antichrist, so that the head of all evil, who is to
occupy there the throne of the kingdom, shall find some support of the
faith to fight against him.
“Consider, therefore, that the Almighty has provided you, perhaps,
for this purpose, that through you He may restore Jerusalem from such
debasement. Ponder, I beg you, how full of joy and delight our hearts will
be when we shall see the Holy City restored with your little help, and the
prophet’s, nay divine, words fulfilled in our times. Let your memory be
moved by what the Lord Himself says to the Church: ‘I will bring thy seed
from the East and gather thee from the West.’ God has already brought our
seed from the East, since in a double way that region of the East has given
the first beginnings of the Church to us. But from the West He will also
gather it, provided He repairs the wrongs of 1 Jerusalem through those
who have begun the witness of the final faith, that is the people of the
West. With God’s assistance, we think this can be done through you.

“If neither the words of the Scriptures arouse you, nor our
admonitions penetrate your minds, at least let the great suffering of those
who desired to go to the holy places stir you up. Think of those who made
the pilgrimage across the sea! Even if they were more wealthy, consider
what taxes, what violence they underwent, since they were forced to make
payments and tributes almost every mile, to purchase release at every gate
of the city, at the entrance of the churches and temples, at every side
journey from place to place: also, if any accusation whatsoever were made
against them, they were compelled to purchase their release; but if they
refused to pay money, the prefects of the Gentiles, according to their
custom, urged them fiercely with blows. What shall we say of those who
took up the journey without anything more than trust in their barren
poverty, since they seemed to have nothing except their bodies to lose?
They not only demanded money of them, which is not an unendurable
punishment, but also examined the callouses of their heels, cutting them
open and folding the skin back, lest, perchance, they had sewed something
there. Their unspeakable cruelty was carried on even to the point of giving
them scammony to drink until they vomited, or even burst their bowels,
because they thought the wretches had swallowed gold or silver; or,
horrible to say, they cut their bowels open with a sword and, spreading out
the folds of the intestines, with frightful mutilation disclosed whatever
nature held there in secret. Remember, I pray, the thousands who have
perished vile deaths, and strive for the holy places from which the
beginnings of your faith have come. Before you engage in His battles,
believe without question that Christ will be your standard-bearer and
inseparable forerunner.”
The most excellent man concluded his oration and by the power of
the blessed Peter. absolved all who vowed to go and confirmed those acts
with apostolic blessing. He instituted a sign well suited t so honorable a
profession by making the figure of the Cross, the stigma of the Lord’s
Passion, the emblem of the soldiery, or rather, of what was to be the
soldiery of God. This, made of any kind of cloth, he ordered to be sewed
upon the shirts, cloaks, and
byrra of those who were about to go. He
commanded that if anyone, after receiving this emblem, or after taking
openly this vow, should shrink from his good intent through base change
of heart, or any affection for his parents, he should be regarded an outlaw
forever, unless he repented and again undertook whatever of his pledge he
had omitted. Furthermore, the Pope condemned with a fearful anathema all
those who dared to molest the wives, children, and possessions of these
who were going on this journey for God.

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