The Crusades and Apocalyptic Thought in the Middle Ages
Paper by Simon John
Given at the Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies at the University of Heidelberg (CAPAS) on November 22, 2022
Excerpt: My research is concerned with how medieval perceptions of the Endtimes interface with ideas concerning the brand of pre-modern holy warfare known as the Crusades. These expeditions captured the imaginations of medieval observers and for better or worse; mostly worse for many in the modern era as well.
I’m starting by showing you two images – the first is from a painting which features in an early 14th-century manuscript produced in England. The image is often titled ‘Christ leading the Crusaders’ and it shows a band of knights following Christ who you might be able to see is ready for war. Besides riding a war horse exactly like those under the knights behind him, he carries a sword in his mouth. In the top left of the image is a saint who’s also a learned Churchman – we know that from the book that he’s holding in his hand. So with good reason this image is very often featured in modern scholarship on the Crusades – it represents a kind of key feature of what we might call Crusading Spirituality – that is the religious ideas of medieval Christians who participated in and supported the Crusades.
Simon John is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Swansea University. Click here to view his university webpage. You can learn more about his project ‘The crusades and apocalyptic thought in the Middle Ages‘ from CAPAS.
Before I forget – or the Twitter apocalypse happen – I'm giving a paper on Tuesday on the crusades and medieval ideas about the Endtimes – details and link for livestream below👇 https://t.co/tDtB1grIoj
— Simon John (@sjohnhist) November 18, 2022
Top Image: British Library Royal MS 19 B XV fol. 37r