“What Did Urban II Say at the Council of Clermont?” 

On November 27, 1095, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called for an “armed pilgrimage” to Jerusalem. That council, which had been in session since November 18, had already approved various reforms and handled much ecclesiastical business.  But November 27 was a public session, moved out of the cathedral and onto a platform built outside the eastern gate of the city.  There the pope delivered to lay folk as well as to churchmen a summons that, its results suggest, must have been one of the most successful speeches in history.  Immediately afterward, on November 28, the Council went back into executive session  in order to arrange how the project would be implemented. The good news is that many accounts of Urban's speech survive, some by eyewitnesses.  The bad news is that they do not agree.

            Such problems are frequently faced by historians.  Sources may conflict, or appear to conflict, because witnesses have different perspectives, interests, and abilities, authors tend to make rhetorical “improvements,” and some accounts, for various reasons, may deliberately mislead.  It may be impossible to determine exactly what actually happened.  Nevertheless, it is the business of historians to seek out the “most probable” reconstruction. 

            To sort out conflicting sources, historians employ principles of evidence that resemble to some extent those used in a court of law:  eyewitness testimony is privileged over hearsay evidence;  greater proximity to events and expertise may give more weight to a witness; the testimony of several independent witnesses is preferred over the testimony of a single uncorroborated witness; on a disputed point a witness whose testimony as a whole has proven to be coherent and to fit the facts should be preferred over a witness whose testimony lacks these qualities.  A historian needs to deal with all the evidence available, and thus needs not only to assemble the facts that support a thesis but also to explain away potentially contradictory data.

            Your assignment is to determine as far as you can, on the basis of the evidence given here, what Urban II said.  Compare the sources.  Discover where they agree and where they disagree.  Indicate clearly the evidence upon which you base your reconstruction.  Cite authors by name and by paragraph (¶).  For this assignment, since all the sources are presented in this one dossier, you do not need to attach a separate bibliography.  Recognize the possibility that some sources may have conflated into Urban’s speech decisions made earlier in the council or decisions made, once the call to crusade had been well received, when the churchman reconvened on November 28 to finalize arrangements.

DOCUMENT 1: Crusade Canon from Clermont (Church councils often issued formal statements of their decisions, but those issued by the Council of Clermont are attested only in a few fragments and summaries of whatever original version was produced in 1095:  A "crusade canon" seems to have been enacted there—would it have reflected the preaching of Urban II?) 

“if any man sets out from pure devotion, not for reputation or monetary gain, to liberate the Church of God at Jerusalem, his journey shall be reckoned in place of all penance.”

Source: J.D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissama Collectio, xx, 816; Robert Somerville The Councils of Urban II. Vol .I: Decreta Claromontensia (Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 1972) 74, 108, 124n.


DOCUMENT 2:  Urban II, Letter of Instruction to the Faithful of Flanders (sent December 1095), perhaps related to the themes this pope would have invoked in his original speech(?):

"Urban, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful, both princes and subjects, waiting in Flanders; greeting, apostolic grace, and blessing.

            "Your brotherhood, we believe, has long since learned from many accounts that a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient.  More than this, blasphemous to say, it has even grasped in intolerable servitude its churches and the Holy City of Christ, glorified by His passion and resurrection.  Grieving with pious concern at this calamity, we visited the regions of Gaul and devoted ourselves largely to urging the princes of the land and their subjects to free the churches of the East.  We solemnly enjoined upon them at the council of Auvergne [the region in which the city of Clermont is located] such an undertaking, as a preparation for the remission of all their sins.  And we have constituted our most beloved son, Adhemar, Bishop of Puy, leader of this expedition and undertaking in our stead, so that those who, perchance, may wish to undertake this journey should comply with his commands, as if they were our own, and submit fully to his loosings or bindings, as far as shall seem to belong to such an office.  If, moreover, there are any of your people whom God has inspired to this vow, let them know that he [Adhemar] will set out with the aid of God on the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and that they can then attach themselves to his following.”

 DOCUMENT 3:   The Gesta Francorum [the Deeds of the Franks], written probably about1100/1101 by an anonymous crusader, probably an Italian layman since he seems to have been in the company of the southern Italian Norman Bohemond.  This early account was known to some later writers.

¶ 1       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 saith 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.’” 

¶ 2      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.

DOCUMENT 4:  Fulcher of Chartres (d. after 1127), Deeds of the Franks on Their Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (perhaps started about 1105, but continuously revised until his death).  Fulcher gives so much detail about the reforming initiatives of the council, prior to the Jerusalem appeal, that he must either have been present or had a good source.  He traveled with the crusade, shared in its triumphs, and promoted the Outremer until his death.  Fulcher's direct summary of the speech is as follows:

¶ 1     "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.

¶ 2     "But the man who applies this salt should be 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.

¶ 3      "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 anthematized.  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.

¶ 4      "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."

¶ 5      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 continued:
            "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 awhile 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, foot-soldiers 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.

¶ 6    "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.

¶ 7     "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.

¶ 8     "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."

¶ 9     After these words were spoken, the hearers were fervently inspired.  Thinking nothing more worthy than such an undertaking, many in the audience solemnly promised to go, and to urge diligently those who were absent.  There was among them one bishop of Puy, Ademar by name, who afterwards, acting as vicar apostolic, ruled the whole army of God wisely and thoughtfully, and spurred them to complete their undertaking vigorously.
         So, the things that we have told you were well established and confirmed by everyone in the Council.  With the blessing of absolution given, they departed, and after returning to their homes, they disclosed to those not knowing, what had taken place.  As it was decreed far and wide throughout the provinces, the established the Peace, which they call the Truce, to be upheld mutually by oath.
         Many, one after another, of any and every occupation, after confession of their sins and with purified spirits, consecrated themselves to go where they were bidden.

¶ 10   Oh, how worthy and delightful to all of us who saw those beautiful crosses, either silken or woven of gold, or of any material, which the pilgrims sewed on the shoulders of their woolen cloaks or cassocks by the command of the Pope, after taking the vow to go.  To be sure, God's soldiers, who were making themselves ready to go to battle for His honor, ought to have been marked and fortified with a sign of victory.  And so by embroidering the symbol [of the cross] on their clothing in recognition of their faith, in the end they won the True Cross itself.  They imprinted the ideal so that they might attain the reality of the ideal. ...

DOCUMENT 5:  Robert the Monk, who might have been at Clermont, wrote a history of the crusade   He was not a crusader but he began to rewrite the Gesta Francorum at the request of his abbot, who was appalled at its 'rustic' style.  He apparently began prior to 1108 but worked on the project for more than a decade.  In Robert's version, Urban II addresses the Franks:

¶ 1      "Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by God--as shines forth in very many of your works--set apart from all nations by the situation of your country, as well as by your catholic faith and the honor of the holy church! To you our discourse is addressed and for you our exhortation is intended. We wish you to know what a grievous cause has led us to Your country, what peril threatening you and all the faithful has brought us.

2       "From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until the viscera having gushed forth the victim falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent.

¶ 3       "The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and deprived of territory so vast in extent that it can not be traversed in a march of two months. On whom therefore is the labor of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you? You, upon whom above other nations God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength to humble the hairy scalp of those who resist you.  Let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements; the glory and greatness of king Charles the Great, and of his son Louis, and of your other kings, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the pagans, and have extended in these lands the territory of the holy church. Let the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord our Saviour, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially incite you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with their filthiness. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, be not degenerate, but recall the valor of your progenitors.

¶ 4       "But if you are hindered by love of children, parents and wives, remember what the Lord says in the Gospel, 'He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.'  'Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life.' Let none of your possessions detain you, no solicitude for your family affairs, since this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough for its cultivators. Hence it is that you murder one another, that you wage war, and that frequently you perish by mutual wounds. Let therefore hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves.

¶ 5       "That land which as the Scripture says 'floweth with milk and honey,' was given by God into the possession of the children of Israel.  Jerusalem is the navel of the world; the land is fruitful above others, like another paradise of delights. This the Redeemer of the human race has made illustrious by His advent, has beautified by residence, has consecrated by suffering, has redeemed by death, has glorified by burial. This royal city, therefore, situated at the centre of the world, is now held captive by His enemies, and is in subjection to those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathens. She seeks therefore and desires to be liberated, and does not cease to implore you to come to her aid. From you especially she asks succor, because, as we have already said, God has conferred upon you above all nations great glory in arms.

¶ 6       "Accordingly undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the kingdom of heaven."

¶ 7       When Pope Urban had said these and very many similar things in his urbane discourse, he so influenced to one purpose the desires of all who were present, that they cried out, "It is the will of God! It is the will of God!"

¶ 8       When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, with eyes uplifted to heaven he gave thanks to God and, with his hand commanding silence, said:
            "Most beloved brethren, today is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.'  Unless the Lord God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry. For, although the cry issued from numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry was one. Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let this then be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! It is the will of God!

¶ 9        "And we do not command or advise that the old or feeble, or those unfit for bearing arms, undertake this journey; nor ought women to set out at all, without their husbands or brothers or legal guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a burden than advantage. Let the rich aid the needy; and according to their wealth, let them take with them experienced soldiers. The priests and clerks of any order are not to go without the consent of their bishop; for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without permission of these. Also, it is not fitting that laymen should enter upon the pilgrimage without the blessing of their priests.

¶ 10      "Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage and shall make his vow to God to that effect and shall offer himself to Him as a, living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead or on his breast. When,' truly', having fulfilled his vow he wishes to return, let him place the cross on his back between his shoulders. Such, indeed, by the twofold action will fulfill the precept of the Lord, as He commands in the Gospel, 'He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me'."

Source: Dana C. Munro, "Urban and the Crusaders", Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, vol. 1(2)(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1895), 5-8.

DOCUMENT 6:  Guibert, Abbot of Nogent (d. mid 1120s), History (perhaps written around 1108).  He was a French abbot who might reasonably be expected to have attended Clermont.  According to this historian, Urban emphasized the cosmic significance of Jerusalem:

¶ 1      "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 Sabaoth 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 sepulchre,' 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 Sepulchre. 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 Sepulchre, now polluted by the concourse of the Gentiles, as much as is in their power.

¶ 2      "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?

¶ 3      "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.

¶ 4      "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.

¶ 5      "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 can not 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 fullness 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.

¶ 6      "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.

¶ 7      "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."

¶ 8      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 to 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.

¶ 9        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. . . .

Source:  August C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants (Princeton: 1921), 42-43.

DOCUMENT 7:  Balderic, Archbishop of Dol (d. 1130), History (perhaps written around 1108).  In his History, he claims on two occasions to have been present at Urban’s speech at Clermont.  His main source appears to have been the Gesta

¶ 1        ". . . We have beard, most beloved brethren, and you have heard what we cannot recount without deep sorrow--how with great hurt and dire sufferings our Christian brothers, members in Christ, are scourged, oppressed, and injured in Jerusalem, in Antioch, and the other cities of the East. Your own blood brothers, your companions, your associates (for you are sons of the same Christ and the same Church) are either subjected in their inherited homes to other masters, or are driven from them, or they come as beggars among us; or, which is far worse, they are flogged and exiled as slaves for sale in their own land. Christian blood, redeemed by the blood of Christ, has been shed, and Christian flesh, akin to the flesh of Christ, has been subjected to unspeakable degradation and servitude.

¶ 2      "Everywhere in those cities there is sorrow, everywhere misery, everywhere groaning (I say it with a sigh). The churches in which divine mysteries were celebrated in olden times are now, to our sorrow, used as stables for the animals of these people! Holy men do not possess those cities; nay, base and bastard Turks hold sway over our brothers. The blessed Peter first presided as Bishop at Antioch; behold, in his own church the Gentiles have established their superstitions, and the Christian religion, which they ought rather to cherish, they have basely shut out from the ball dedicated to God! The estates given for the support of the saints and the patrimony of nobles set aside for the sustenance of the poor are subject to pagan tyranny, while cruel masters abuse for their own purposes the returns from these lands. The priesthood of God has been ground down into the dust. The sanctuary of God (unspeakable shame) is everywhere profaned. Whatever Christians still remain in hiding there are sought out with unheard of tortures.

¶ 3     "Of holy Jerusalem, brethren, we dare not speak, for we are exceedingly afraid and ashamed to speak of it. This very city, in which, as you all know, Christ Himself suffered for us, because our sins demanded it, has been reduced to the pollution of paganism and, I say it to our disgrace, withdrawn from the service of God. Such is the heap of reproach upon us who have so much deserved it! Who now serves the church of the Blessed Mary in the valley of Josaphat, in which church she herself was buried in body? But why do we pass over the Temple of Solomon, nay of the Lord, in which the barbarous nations placed their idols contrary to law, human and divine? Of the Lord's Sepulchre we have refrained from speaking, since some of you with your own eyes have seen to what abominations it has been given over. The Turks violently took from it the offerings which you brought there for alms in such vast amounts, and, in addition, they scoffed much and often 'at Your religion. And yet in that place (I say only what you already know) rested the Lord; there He died for us; there He was buried. How precious would be the longed for, incomparable place of the Lord's burial, even if God failed there to perform the yearly miracle! For in the days of His Passion all the lights in the Sepulchre and round about in the church, which have been extinguished, are re-lighted by divine command. Whose heart is so stony, brethren, that it is not touched by so great a miracle? Believe me, that man is bestial and senseless whose heart such divinely manifest grace does not move to faith! And yet the Gentiles see this in common with the Christians and are not turned from their ways! They are, indeed, afraid, but they are not converted to the faith; nor is it to be wondered at, for a blindness of mind rules over them. With what afflictions they wronged you who have returned and are now present, you yourselves know too well you who there sacrificed your substance and your blood for God.

¶ 4      "This, beloved brethren, we shall say, that we may have you as witness of our words. More suffering of our brethren and devastation of churches remains than we can speak of one by one, for we are oppressed by tears and groans, sighs and sobs. We weep and wail, brethren, alas, like the Psalmist, in our inmost heart! We are wretched and unhappy, and in us is that prophecy fulfilled: 'God, the nations are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem in heaps; the dead bodies of thy servants have been given to be food for the birds of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them.' Woe unto us, brethren! We who have already become a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing, and derision to them round about us, let us at least with tears condone and have compassion upon our brothers! We who are become the scorn of all peoples, and worse than all, let us bewail the most monstrous devastation of the Holy Land! This land we have deservedly called holy in which there is not even a footstep that the body or spirit of the Saviour did not render glorious and blessed which embraced the holy presence of the mother of God, and the meetings of the apostles, and drank up the blood of the martyrs shed there. How blessed are the stones which crowned you Stephen, the first martyr! How happy, O, John the Baptist, the waters of the Jordan which served you in baptizing the Saviour! The children of Israel, who were led out of Egypt, and who prefigured you in the crossing of the Red Sea, have taken that land, by their arms, with Jesus as leader; they have driven out the Jebusites and other inhabitants and have themselves inhabited earthly Jerusalem, the image of celestial Jerusalem.

¶ 5     "What are we saying? Listen and learn! You, girt about with the badge of knighthood, are arrogant with great pride; you rage against your brothers and cut each other in pieces. This is not the (true) soldiery of Christ which rends asunder the sheepfold of the Redeemer. The Holy Church has reserved a soldiery for herself to help her people, but you debase her wickedly to her hurt. Let us confess the truth, whose heralds we ought to be; truly, you are not holding to the way which leads to life. You, the oppressors of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another's rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood -- as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. Verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! if, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defense of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joys of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels. We say this, brethren, that you may restrain your murderous hands from the destruction of your brothers, and in behalf of your relatives in the faith oppose yourselves to the Gentiles.

¶ 6      "Under Jesus Christ, our Leader, may you struggle for your Jerusalem, in Christian battleline, most invincible line, even more successfully than did the sons of Jacob of old - struggle, that you may assail and drive out the Turks, more execrable than the Jebusites, who are in this land, and may you deem it a beautiful thing to die for Christ in that city in which He died for us. But if it befall you to die this side of it, be sure that to have died on the way is of equal value, if Christ shall find you in His army. God pays with the same shilling, whether at the first or eleventh hour. You should shudder, brethren, you should shudder at raising a violent hand against Christians; it is less wicked to brandish your sword against Saracens. It is the only warfare that is righteous, for it is charity to risk your life for your brothers.

¶ 7        "That you may not be troubled about the concerns of tomorrow, know that those who fear God want nothing, nor those who cherish Him in truth. The possessions of the enemy, too, will be yours, since you will make spoil of their treasures and return victorious to your own; or empurpled with your own blood, you will have gained everlasting glory. For such a Commander you ought to fight, for One who lacks neither might nor wealth with which to reward you.

¶ 8        "Short is the way, little the labor, which, nevertheless, will repay you with the crown that fadeth not away. Accordingly, we speak with the authority of the prophet: 'Gird thy sword upon thy thigh O mighty one.' Gird yourselves, everyone of you, I say, and be valiant sons; for it is better for you to die in battle than to behold, the sorrows of your race and of your holy places. Let neither property nor the alluring charms of your wives entice you from going; nor let the trials that are to be borne so deter you that you remain here."

¶ 9        And turning to the bishops, he said, "You, brothers and fellow bishops; you, fellow priests and sharers with us in Christ, make this same announcement through the churches committed to you, and with your whole soul vigorously preach the journey to Jerusalem. When they have confessed the disgrace of their sins, do you, secure in Christ, grant them speedy pardon. Moreover, you who are to go shall have us praying for you; we shall have you fighting for God's people. It is our duty to pray, yours to fight against the Amalekites. With Moses, we shall extend unwearied hands in prayer to Heaven, while you go forth and brandish the sword, like dauntless warriors, against Amalek."

¶ 10      As those present were thus clearly informed by these and other words of this kind from the apostolic lord, the eyes of some were bathed in tears; some trembled, and yet others discussed the matter. However, in the presence of all at that same council, and as we looked on, the Bishop of Puy, a man of great renown and of highest ability, went to the Pope with joyful countenance and on bended knee sought and entreated blessing and permission to go., Over and above this, he won from the Pope the command that all should obey him, and that he should hold sway over all the army in behalf of the Pope, since all knew him to be a prelate of unusual energy and industry.

Source: August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants (Princeton: 1921), 33-36.

DOCUMENT 8: Pope Paschal II, Council of Benevento (February/March 1113).  [Reply to the complaint of a Greek delegation from Antioch] “I am unaccustomed to respond quickly concerning disputes about churches, but since you came a long distance and a long journey awaits you on the way back, what we have prepared as a response to your petition should not be deferred.  Venerable Pope Urban of blessed memory, when he celebrated the very well-attended council at Clermont and set in motion the journey to Jerusalem, is remembered and known to have decreed that whoever of the princes conquered provinces or cities from “the gentiles,” restored churches should belong to their prinicipalities, after the rituals of these people were eliminated.” 

DOCUMENT 9:   William, monk of Malmesbury (d. ca. 1143), History of the Kings of England (written ca, 1120).   Although he was only a child when Urban preached at Clermont, he claims in his History to present Urban’s speech “as I have learned it from those who were present, preserving its sense unimpaired.”  His sources for the council may have been good, since he offers the longest existing summary of the canons enacted by that council.  Then, after all sorts of conciliar business has been itemized,

¶ 1      Afterwards a clear and forcible discourse, such as should have come from a priest, was addressed to the people, on the subject of an expedition of the Christians against the Turks.  This I have thought fit to transmit to posterity, as I have learned it from those who were present, preserving its sense unimpaired.  For who can preserve the force of that eloquence?  We shall be fortunate if, treading an adjacent path, we come to its meaning even by a circuitous route.

¶ 2      "You recollect," said he, "my dearest brethren, many things which have been decreed for you at this time; how some matters have in our council been commanded, others inhibited.  A rude and confused chaos of crimes required the deliberation of many days; an inveterate malady demanded a sharp remedy; for while we give unbounded scope to our clemency, our papal office finds numberless matters to proscribe, none to spare.  But it has hitherto originated from human frailty that you have erred, and that, deceived by the speciousness of vice, you have exasperated the longsuffering of God by too lightly regarding his forbearance.  It has arisen too from human wantonness, that disregarding lawful wedlock, you have not duly considered the heinousness of adultery.  From too great covetousness, also, it has arisen that, as opportunity offered, making captive your brethren, bought by the same great price, you have outrageously extorted from them their wealth.  To you, however, now suffering this perilous shipwreck of sin, a secure haven of rest is offered, unless you neglect it.

¶ 3       "A station of perpetual safety will be awarded you, for the exertion of a trifling labour against the Turks.  Compare now the labours which you underwent in the practice of wickedness, and those you will encounter in the undertaking I advise.  The intention of committing adultery or murder begets many fears (for, as Solomon says, "There is nothing more timid than guilt") and many labours; for what is more toilsome than wickedness?  But, "He who walks uprightly walks securely."  Of these labours, of these fears, the end was sin; the wages of sin is death; the death of sinners is most dreadful.  Now the same labours and apprehensions are required from you for a better consideration.  The cause of these labours will be charity; if thus warned by the command of God, you lay down your lives for the brethren; the wages of charity will be the grace of God; the grace of God is followed by eternal life.

¶ 4      "Go then prosperously; go then with confidence to attack the enemies of god; for they long since (O sad reproach to Christians!) have seized on Syria, Armenia, and lastly all Asia Minor, the provinces of which are Bithynia, Phrygia, Galatia, Lydia, Caria, Pamphylia, Isauria, Licia, Cilicia, and now they are insolently dominating over Illyricum, and all the hither countries, even to the sea, which is called the straights of St. George.  Nay, they usurp even the Sepulchre of our Lord, that singular assurance of faith, and sell to our pilgrims admissions to that city which ought, had they a trace of their ancient courage left, to be open to Christians only. 

¶ 5      "This alone might be enough to cloud our brows; but now who except the most abandoned or the most envious of Christian reputation can endure that we do not divide the world equally with them?  They inhabit Asia, the third portion of the world, as their native soil, which was not improperly esteemed by our ancestors equal, by the extent of its tracts and greatness of its provinces, to the remaining two parts.  There formerly sprung up the branches of our religion; there all the apostles, except two, consecrated their deaths; there, at the present day, the Christians, if any survive, sustaining life by a wretched kind of agriculture, pay these miscreants tribute, and even with stifled sighs long for the participation of your liberty since they have lost their own.  They hold Africa also, another quarter of the world, already possessed by their arms for more than two hundred years; which, on this account, I pronounce derogatory to Christian honour, because that country was anciently the nurse of celebrated geniuses, who by their divine writings, will mock the rust of antiquity as long as there shall be a person who can relish Roman literature; the learned know the truth of what I say.  Europe, the third portion of the world, remains, of which how small a part do we Christians inhabit, for who can call all those barbarians who dwell in remote islands of the frozen ocean Christians, since they live after a savage manner?  Even this small portion of the world, belonging to us, the Turks and Saracens oppress.  Thus for three hundred years Spain and the Balearic isles being subjugated to them, the possession of the remainder is eargerly anticipated by feeble men, who, not having courage to engage in close encounter, love a flying mode of warfare; for the Turk never ventures on a close fight, but, when driven from his station, bends his bow at a distance, and trusts the wind with his meditated wound; and as he uses poisoned arrows, venom and not valour, inflicts death on the man he strikes.  Whatever he effects then I attribute to fortune, not to courage, because he wars by flight and poison.  It is apparent too that every race born in that region, being scorched with the intense heat of the sun, abounds more in reflection than in blood; and, therefore, they avoid coming to close quarters, because they are aware how little blood they possess.  Whereas people that are born amid the polar frosts and distant from the sun's heat are less cautious indeed; but, elate from their copious and luxuriant flow of blood, they fight with the greatest alacrity.  You are a nation born in the more temperate regions of the world, who may be both prodigal of blood in defiance of death and wounds, and are not deficient in prudence.  For you are equally obedient in camp and prudent in battle.  Thus endued with skill and with valour you undertake a memorable expedition.  You will be extolled throughout all ages if you rescue your brethren from danger.  To those present in God's name, I command this; to the absent I enjoin it.

¶ 6      "Let such as are going to fight for Christianity put the form of the cross upon their garments, that they may outwardly demonstrate their devotion to their inward faith; enjoying by the gift of God and the privilege of St. Peter, absolution from all their crimes; and, in the mean time, let this joyful consideration soothe the labour of their journey, that they shall obtain after death the advantages of a blessed martyrdom.  Putting an end to your crimes then, that Christians may at least live peaceably in these countries , go, and employ in a more righteous war, that valour and that sagacity which you used to waste in civil broils; go, soldiers everywhere renowned in fame, go and subdue these dastardly nations.  Let the noted valour of the French advance, which, accompanied by its adjoining nations, shall affright the whole world by the single terror of its name.
¶ 7      "But why do I delay you longer by detracting from the courage of the Gentiles?  Rather bring to your recollection the saying of God, 'Narrow is the way which leads to life.'  Be it then that the track to be followed is narrow, replete with death, and terrible with dangers; still this path will lead to your lost country; for 'By much tribulation you must enter into the kingdom of God.'  Expect then, if you shall be made captive, torments and chains, nay, every possible suffering that can be inflicted; undergo, for the firmness of your faith, even horrible punishments; that so, if it be necessary, you may redeem your souls at the expense of your bodies.  Do you fear death, you men of exemplary courage and intrepidity?  ... Why then do you fear death who love the repose of sleep, which resembles death?  Surely it must be madness, through lust of a transitory life, to deny yourselves that which is eternal.  Rather my dearest brethren, should it so happen, lay down your lives for the brotherhood; rid God's sanctuary of the wicked ; expel the robbers:  bring in the pious. 

¶ 8      "Let no love of relations detain you, for man's chiefest love ought to be towards God.  Let no attachment to your native soil be an impediment, because in different points of view all the world is exile to the Christian, and all the world is his country; thus exile is his country and his country exile.  Let none be retrained from going by the largeness of his patrimony, for a still larger is promised him, not of such things as soothe the miserable with vain expectation, or flatter the indolent disposition with the mean advantages of wealth, but of such as are shown by perpetual example and approved by daily experience.  Yet these, too, are pleasant but vain, and which to such as despise them produce reward a hundred-fold.

¶ 9       "These things I publish, these I command; and for their execution I fix the end of the ensuing spring.  God will be gracious to those who undertake this expedition, that they may have a favorable year. both in abundance of produce and in serenity of season.  Those who may die will enter the mansions of heaven, while the living shall behold the Sepulchre of the Lord.  And what can be greater happiness than for a man, in his life-time, to see those places which the Lord of Heaven visited in his human nature? Blessed are they, who. called to these occupations, shall inherit such a recompense; fortunate are those who are led to such a conflict, that they may partake of such rewards."

¶ 10     I have adhered to the tenor of this address, retaining some few things unaltered, on account of the truth of the remarks, but omitting many.  The bulk of the auditors, being extremely excited, attested their sentiments by a shout:  pleased with the speech, and inclined to the pilgrimage; and immediately in the presence of the council some of the nobility, falling down at the knees of the pope, consecrated themselves and their property to the service of God. Among these was Aimar, the powerful bishop of Puy, who afterwards ruled the army by his prudence and augmented it by his eloquence..."

Source:  William of Malmesbury, History of the Kings of England ed. Joseph Stevenson, Church historians of England vol. 3 (London:  Seeleys, 1854), 292-98.

DOCUMENT 10:   Pope Calixtus II, Lateran Council (March 1123), canon 10:  “To those who go to Jerusalem and effectively offer help both for defending the Christian people and battling the tyranny of the infidels, we concede remission of their sins, and we receive their homes, families, and all their goods into the protection of blessed Peter and the Roman Church, just as it was decreed by our lord, Pope Urban.”

DOCUMENT 11:   Geoffrey of Vendôme (1122-24).  “For just as going to Jerusalem was urged on the laity, so it was prohibited by the apostolic see to monks.  I know this as one whose  ears heard the voice of lord Pope Urban when he urged laity to undertake the pilgrimage of going to Jerusalem, and forbade that very pilgrimage to monks.”