Love of God or Hatred of Your Enemy? The Emotional Voices of the Crusades

Love of God or Hatred of Your Enemy? The Emotional Voices of the Crusades

By Sophia Menache

Mirabilia, Vol. 10 (2010)

Abstract: The present paper attempts to investigate three cornerstones of the history of the early crusades from a wider range of emotions while focusing on [1] the call to the crusade and the conquest of Jerusalem, [2] the fall of Edessa and, subsequently, the Second Crusade and its outcomes, and [3] the Christian defeat at the Horns of Hattin. Less than a century before the crusades, different groups in Christian society had been the target of the same pejorative emotions that were later used to denounce and reproach the Moslems. These terms should therefore be seen and analyzed, not to produce a superficial moral reading of the vilification of the Moslems, but as an essential part of the thesaurus in which Christian society analyzed itself. In fact, the use of the same Augustinian emotional index transforms negative attitudes toward the Moslems into an act of inverted inclusion of the Moslems within the Christian sphere; in other words, using illusionary inclusion in order to exclude. This inverted inclusion means that within its inner discourse, Christian society defeated the Moslems symbolically, independently of the real outcome on the battlefield. The transformation of the crusaders from Westerners into Easterners in Fulcher’s eschatology is a conscious practice of erasing the “other” by expropriating its identity. This was not, however, an act of including the Easterner into the crusaders’ weltanschauung, but a symbolic denial that further served to exclude the Easterners altogether.

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