Sunday, May 16, 2021

On The Word “Crusades”

The word “crusades” is not an invention of the people who lived in the period of the crusades. In his 27 November 1095 sermon, delivered in Clermont, to a clerical assembly comprising of twelve archbishop, eighty bishops, and ninety abbots, Pope Urban II called for a holy war to free the holy land and launched the First Crusade. But he did not use the word “crusade” in his sermon. His vision was to have a movement of pilgrims and warriors that would follow the tenets of existing religious practice while endeavoring to free the holy land. His contemporaries describe his appeal as a call for an “iter” (journey) or “peregrinatio” (pilgrimage). The terminology that would describe the crusader’s way of life was developed in the twelfth century, in the form of the word “crucesignatus” (one who is signed with the cross). In sixteenth century, the French word “croisade” (generally translated as the way of the cross) became popular. The modern word “crusades” was coined by the historians in the eighteenth century.

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