Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522
By Ane L. Bysted, Carsten Selch Jensen, Kurt Villads Jensen and John H. Lind
‘God wills it, God wills it!’ – this was the response to the sermon of Pope Urban II at Clermont in 1095, in which he exhorted his audience to take the cross and liberate Jerusalem. And his words spread, even to the remotest islands in the north of Christendom. For the first time since the mid-nineteenth century, historians have investigated Latin, Danish, German, and Russian source materials about the Danish Crusades in the Baltic region. This team of four Danish medievalists describe how the idea of crusading reached the North and how Scandinavia became involved in the Western European crusading movement. Crusading ideology inspired Danish wars for hundreds of years against the Wends, Prussians, Lithuanians, Estonians and other pagan peoples along the coasts of the Baltic Sea so that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Denmark became the dominant crusading power in the region: a Jerusalem in the North. Indeed, crusading remained an important political reality in Denmark until the Lutheran Reformation in the early seventeenth century.