Urban II (1088-1099):
Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095,
Five versions of the Speech


In 1094 or 1095, Alexios I Komnenos, the Byzantine emperor, sent to the pope, Urban II, and
asked for aid from the west against the Seljuq Turks, who taken nearly all of Asia Minor from
him. At the council of Clermont Urban addressed a great crowd and urged all to go to the aid
of the Greeks and to recover Palestine from the rule of the Muslims. The acts of the council
have not been preserved, but we have five accounts of the speech of Urban which were
written by men who were present and heard him.

Versions by:

Fulcher of Chartres: Gesta Francorum Jerusalem Expugnantium
Robert the Monk: Historia Hierosolymitana
Gesta Francorum [The Deeds of the Franks]
Balderic of Dol
Guibert de Nogent: Historia quae dicitur Gesta Dei per Francos
Urban II: Letter of Instruction, December 1095


1. Fulcher of Chartres

[adapted from Thatcher] Here is the one by the chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. Note how the
traditions of the peace and truce of God - aimed at bringing about peace in Christendom - ties
in directly with the call for a Crusade. Does this amount to the export of violence?

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. 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. 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.

"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

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.

"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. 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. 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 hem eagerly set out on
the way with God as their guide."


Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 1, pp. 382 f., trans in Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes
McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 513-17

2. Robert the Monk

Robert perhaps 25 years after the speech, but he may have been present at the counicl. He
used the Gesta version (see below, number 3).

Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by Godas
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.

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. 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

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

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!" 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!

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.

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 be 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


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

3. The Gesta Version

Circa 1100-1101, an anonymous writer connected with Bohemund of Antioch wrote the Gesta
francorum et aliorum Hierosolymytanorum; (The Deeds of the Franks) This text was used by
the later writers as a source.

When now that time was at hand which the Lord Jesus daily points out to His faithful,
especially in the Gospel, saying, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me," a mighty agitation was carried on throughout all the region
of Gaul. (Its tenor was) that if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart
and mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after Him, he would no longer hesitate to
take up the way to the Holy Sepulchre.

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."' 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.

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 28-30.
See also Rosalind M. Hill, ed. and trans., Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum:
The Deeds of the Franks (London: 1962), [Latin text with English translation.]

4. Version of Balderic of Dol

Balderic was archbishop of Dol. He wrote in the early twelth century and his main source was
the Gesta
. . . "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. 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 shamel) is everywhere profaned.
Whatever Christians still remain in hiding there are sought out with unheard of tortures.

"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 relighted 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.

"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

"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 oppressers 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 defence 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. 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. 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.

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 frol going; nor let the
trials that are to be borne so deter you that you remain here."

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."

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.


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

5. Version of Guibert de Nogent

Guibert, Abbot of Nogent, attended the Council of Clermont. His Historia quae dicitur Gesta
Dei per Francos used both his own knowledge and other sources such as the Gesta.

"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 saysnamely, '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.

"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? 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.

"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.

"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 fulness 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

"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.

"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."

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 t 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. 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. . . .


August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 36-40

6. Urban II: Letter of Instruction to the Crusaders, December 1095

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 an laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient.
More than this, blasphemous to say, it has even grasped in intolerabe servitude its churches
and the Holy City of Christ, glorified b 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 accomplishment of) 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.


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


Sources for entire file:

Fulcher of Chartres: Gesta Francorum Jerusalem Expugnantium
Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 1, pp. 382 f., trans in Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes
McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 513-17
Robert the Monk: Historia Hierosolymitana. in [RHC, Occ III.]
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
Gesta Francorum [The Deeds of the Franks]
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 28-30
Balderic of Dol
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 23-36
Guibert de Nogent: Historia quae dicitur Gesta Dei per Francos [RHC.Occ. IV]
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 36-40
Urban II: Letter of Instruction, December 1095
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 42-43


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