The Political Crusades – A useful historiographical concept?
MA. Honours, University of Edinburgh (2001)
This paper deals with the modern historiographical concept of the “political crusades”. The term “political crusade” was, of course, not coined during the Middle Ages itself. The simple explanation for the historiographical invention and application of the term would be that it is perceived to act as a concept enabling us to enhance our knowledge and understanding of an important aspect of the period, much like the broader concepts of “the crusades” or “feudalism”. My aim in this paper is to clarify certain aspects of the content and historiographical usefulness of the concept of “the historical crusades” by seeking to answer the following question:
What is meant by the term “political crusade”, how may we use it, and to what extent is the concept of “the political crusades” useful in enhancing our knowledge and historical understanding of the earliest crusades against Christian lay powers in Europe?