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Chivalry, Kingship and Crusade

Chivalry, Kingship and Crusade: The English Experience in the Fourteenth Century

Timothy Guard
Volume: 38
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Chivalry, Kingship and Crusade
    Book Description:

    The central theme of this book is the largely untold story of English knighthood's ongoing obsession with the crusade fight during the age of Chaucer, "high chivalry" and the famous battles of the Hundred Years War. After combat in France and Scotland, fighting crusades was the main and a widespread experience of English chivalry in the fourteenth century, drawing in noblemen of the highest rank, as well as knights chasing renown and the jobbing esquire. The author exposes a thick seam of military engagement along the perimeters of Christendom; details of participants and campaigns are chronicled - in many cases for the first time - and associated matters of tactics, diplomacy, organisation, and recruitment are minutely analysed, adding substantially to the historiography of the later crusades. The book's second theme traces the surprisingly strong grip the crusade-idea possessed at the height of politics, as an animating force of English kingship. Disputing the common assumption that crusade plans were increasingly ill-treated by the monarchs - adopted as diplomatic double-speak or as a means of raiding church coffers - the author argues that courtiers and knights moved in a rich environment of crusade speculation and ambition, and exercised a strong influence on the culture of the time. Timothy Guard gained his DPhil at Hertford College, University of Oxford.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-086-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-x)
  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    This book is a study of the outlook and development of late-medieval English chivalric society, and its appetite for warring against the ‘enemies of Christ’. It is an account of English military involvement in the later crusades and an attempt to show how crusading remained a defining function of chivalric society, particularly during the fourteenth century, the so-called ‘golden age’ of English chivalry. It contributes to the growing corpus of literature on the late-medieval crusade movement, supplying a case study from a local and regional perspective, centred largely on the experiences of crusading’s most active constituents, the military elite, and...

  8. Part I

    • 1 Questions and Perspectives
      (pp. 9-20)

      In 1349 the Ely chronicler recorded a new miracle. His account is worth quoting in full:

      In the 23rd year of King Edward III’s reign … Sir William Hinton was fighting against the enemies of the cross in Spain when he summoned his brother Hugh, a highly spirited esquire (armiger). The young man rushed to Spain and joined the Christian army, soon acquitting himself courageously against the Saracens. One day, however, battle was particularly hard fought and, as happens in war, the sword swung calamitously, felling many on both sides. Among those killed was the valiant knight William Hinton. His...

    • 2 Eastern Mediterranean and the Holy Land
      (pp. 21-50)

      In 1319 the noted crusade enthusiast and former companion of Edward I, Sir Otto Grandson, finally retired from political life, making the gloomy prediction that the general passagium to the Holy Land appeared unlikely to embark in the near future. Close to the royal courts of England and France, he was well placed to judge, and installing a large part of his seignorial treasure at the papal camera, over 20,000 gold florins, Grandson redeemed his crusade vow.¹ Wider expectations were more robust. Throughout the fourteenth century the allure of the partes de terra sancta, an area roughly corresponding with the...

    • 3 Spain and North Africa
      (pp. 51-71)

      Compared to the entrepreneurial, polyglot character of the crusade in the eastern Mediterranean, crusades against the Moors of Spain and north Africa remained largely the monopoly of Spanish kings. Dynasticism and political unrest dictated the pace of fourteenth-century campaigning, which was fitful, but the strategic objective of seizing the Straits of Gibraltar and severing Muslim Granada’s life-line to north Africa provided grounds for co-operation. Only later, when the conflict promised to move along the shores of Berber Morocco and Tunisia, could other powers, most notably the Genoese, intervene.¹ Historic contacts of diplomacy and trade paved the way for English involvement...

    • 4 The Baltic
      (pp. 72-97)

      The crusade to Lithuania was established in the chivalric calendar throughout the Catholic world by 1350. First founded as an offshoot of campaigning during the Second Crusade, from 1147 the conquest and Christian colonisation of territory in the Baltic regions of Prussia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Russia won approval and canonical recognition from the Latin church. Sandwiched between the Ordensstaat of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia and Livonia, the heathen regions of Lithuania and (further east) western Rus’ came under increasing pressure at the end of the thirteenth century, absorbing significant Catholic colonisation and a heavy pounding from the...

    • 5 Constantinople and Eastern Europe
      (pp. 98-116)

      Writing in 1402, the Regent of Constantinople, John VII, addressed the English court, and narrated the grim situation of the eastern Empire. Overrun by the Ottoman Turks, the tiny and disjointed state of Byzantium was on its knees, crippled by the costs of war and the destructive raiding of Sultan Bayezid I (r. 1389–1403). The yoke of the infidels was firmly about the Christians’ necks.¹ Hope of salvation rested with the west, and John VII sought to emphasise the precedent of English military aid, paying tribute to certain of Henry IV’s noblemen who had already contributed to the defence...

  9. Part II

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 117-122)

      As the first five chapters have shown, the English sources provide ample evidence of continuing personal commitment to fourteenth-century crusading. For many in knightly society, it could be the avenue to military prestige, public honour and spiritual gain. Not all cheated the dangers of campaigning. The humble William Toli, to give one example, had to endure the rest of his days nursing terrible wounds after escaping the battered crusade camp at Smyrna. Many others fared worse. But crusading’s magnetic appeals and rewards remained forceful, despite the apparent languishing of the traditional Holy Land cause. In fact, as attested by the...

    • 6 Military Service, Careerism and Crusade
      (pp. 123-143)

      Against the backdrop outlined above, participants of the crusade formulated responses urged on by a range of pressures and incentives. The structure of martial culture itself – with close contact between prominent men and strong (often temporary) demands made upon personal and local loyalties – predisposed certain groupings to military mobilisation and co-operation. Formed of large pockets of active interest, crusade idealism was primarily a function of knights’ personal relationships (hierarchical or otherwise), and the gravitational pull of friendship, and service and reward. To this extent, imperatives of finance, logistics and military leadership – not unbridled zeal or personal ambition...

    • 7 ‘All are truly blessed who are martyred in battle’: Crusading and Salvation
      (pp. 144-158)

      While the competitive pressures of military society provided the platform for material action, and urged would-be crusaders on, a range of other incentives retained important dynamic force. Predictably, church sources formed an unequivocal view of crusader motivation and ethos, identifying exceptional piety as the primary characteristic in military recruitment. Papal letters described crusader devotion in visceral terms: men’s bodies were aflame with fervour; hearts fell sick at the gathering forces of paganism; compassion for the Redeemer and love of the church flooded mentalities. Urban V referred to the mood descended upon English crusaders in 1364 as cruciatum mentis, an agonised...

    • 8 Chivalry, Literature and Political Culture
      (pp. 159-181)

      Besides individual concern for the health of the soul, numerous other factors helped to sow enthusiasm for the physical contest with the infidel. According to Froissart, talk of royal crusades in the early 1330s was warmly received by warlike men because they had nothing better to do at the time. The desire to cross swords in a rewarding cause is evident throughout the period, when western soldiery, toughened by fighting in France and elsewhere, became swollen in numbers and in need of an outlet for its energy. This violent and opportunistic quality can be highlighted ample times, whether in the...

    • 9 The Chivalric Nation and Images of the Crusader King
      (pp. 182-207)

      Central to this emergent debate over the preferred outlet for arms in the 1380s and 1390s lay the relationship between national patriotic interests and faithful prosecution of the crusade ideal, tensions prominent throughout the pages above. Knightly constituents of the later crusades may, or may not, have been well placed to reconcile such competing ideals, but their presence raises some important final questions. As many knights found, going against the infidel offered a route to social advancement, promotion in county community and at court, as well as an opportunity to escape the backwaters of domesticity. It has been seen how...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 208-216)

    This book has documented the various ways in which active experience of fighting in the hethenesse remained a central characteristic of fourteenth-century chivalric society. Evidence of attitudes and behaviour among the military elite show a rich culture of distant campaigning and crusader militancy, unstifled by the demands of the Hundred Years War, the collapse of Jerusalem crusading and the onset of the papal schism. There was no general decline in enthusiasm for war in the hethenesse, despite the various obstacles that lay in the path of embarking captains and retinues. We have seen, moreover, that English knights and esquires did...

  11. Appendix: Register of English Crusaders c.1307–1399
    (pp. 217-240)
  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 241-262)
  13. Index
    (pp. 263-280)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-283)