Polychronicon 127: The Crusades

Teaching History feature

Published: 31st May 2007

Modern research on the crusades has concentrated on three basic questions. What were they? How were they justified? What motivated the crusaders? The first of these questions became controversial twenty-five years ago, when historians with a traditional approach to the subject, who took into consideration only those expeditions launched to recover or defend Jerusalem, were challenged by a group of scholars, who came to be known as Pluralists because they believed that many other campaigns, with the same features but fought in the Iberian peninsula, the Baltic region, eastern Europe and even western Europe, were also authentic crusades. Although Pluralism is in the process of being modified by its leading protagonists, there is now general agreement that crusades were indeed fought in many theatres-of-war and the consequences for the subject have been immense. It has expanded in space and in time, because, although the movement was at its most

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