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Source Exercise 2: The First Crusade: 5

This source is taken from a charter of the cathedral of Chalon, 1096; it seems to have been written by Bishop Walter of Chalon. Charters were documents recording grants, usually of land, but sometimes of other property or rights. They were thus the medieval equivalent of what we now call deeds, and were designed to ensure that everyone’s rights in the transaction were protected later.

Many charters record the steps taken by crusaders to raise money for the expedition and the measures taken by kindred to help them. In this case a crusader sells half a county to his maternal uncle, who in turn pledges the land in order to pay him. Maternal uncles tended to be the natural protectors of their nephews, whereas paternal uncles were natural competitors. This source shows that there could be great personal sacrifice involved for crusaders and their families.

The charter also provides an example of the way canons and monks stripped their churches and reliquaries of precious metals to raise money for the crusaders, establishing the precedent for future actions of this sort.

Finally do the same exercise for the third source:

  • Who wrote this passage?
  • What sort of source do you think it is taken from?
  • Why might it have been written?
  • Why were these people digging for the Lance? What significance do you think they attached to it?

Source 3

On that day twelve men and Peter Bartholomew collected the proper tools and began to dig in the church of the Blessed Peter, following the expulsion of all other Christians. The bishop of Orange, Raymond of Aguilers, author of this work, Raymond of St Gilles, Pons of Balazun, and Farald of Thouars were among the twelve. We had been digging until evening when some gave up hope of unearthing the Lance. In the meantime after the count had gone to guard the citadel, we persuaded fresh workers to replace the weary diggers and for a time they dug furiously. But the youthful Peter Bartholomew, seeing the exhaustion of our workers, stripped his outer garments and, clad only in a shirt and barefooted, dropped into the hole. He then begged us to pray to God to return his Lance to the crusaders so as to bring strength and victory to his people. Finally, prompted by his gracious compassion, the Lord showed us his Lance and I, Raymond, author of this book, kissed the point of the Lance as it barely protruded from the ground. I cannot relate the happiness and rejoicing which filled Antioch, but I can state that the Lance was uncovered on [14 June].