Support Structures in Crusading Armies, 1095-1241
By David Benjamin
PhD Dissertation, University of Leicester, 2015
Abstract: This thesis will examine the support structures in crusading armies from the First Crusade, launched in 1095, to the end of the Barons’ Crusade, in 1241. Support structures were the networks through which resources were channelled in order to support crusaders during the expeditions to the Holy Land and the eastern Mediterranean. These structures developed in response to the growing costs and challenges of crusading, with increased efforts by the authorities in the West to raise money to support crusaders.
The study of crusader logistics has only taken off in the last twenty years, and the study of how crusading armies were supported is a relatively unexplored field. Recent scholarship has made headway in the logistics of individual crusades, the efforts to raise funds in the West and support structures in western medieval armies. To date, little work has explored the long-term development of support structures in crusading armies or how developments in the West influenced these structures. This thesis will attempt to bridge this gap by examining how the resources raised in the West and those gathered on Crusade were employed to support crusaders, and how these structures developed throughout this period.
This thesis will attempt to address three main issues. Firstly it will attempt to examine the role of the West in the development of crusading support structures, and the growing expectation that support should be provided by the authorities in the West. Secondly, it will study the distribution of resources through these structures, and how effective they were in providing support. Thirdly it will examine the increased role of money and paid service in crusading armies and the impact upon support structures.