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Twelfth Century

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TWELFTH CENTURY. This is the century of the crusades. The first crusade was preached in 1095 and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem came into existence (1099) just be fore it opened. Men continued to go from Eu rope in large numbers during the first quarter of the century to strengthen the little Christian kingdom. The second crusade (1147) gave a new impetus and the third crusade (1190) at tracted large numbers of men from Germany', France and England. It might be thought that with Europe pouring out hundreds of thou sands of her men, the youth and chivalry of the time, so many of whom were killed or crip pled, though the whole population was less than that of most of the countries now, the period would be distinctly one of sluggish transition and that great accomplishment could not be ex pected. In spite of all this the century wit nessed the great beginnings of that magnificent intellectual and artistic movement at the, end of the Middle Ages which culminated in the 13th century, a period that itself sent out the next three crusades. The intensity of feeling aroused by the heartfelt efforts of Europe to rescue the Holy Land from the Moslem more than made up for the physical losses'and this deep stirring of the human mind and will led to some of the greatest achievements that hu manity has ever made. The effect of this stimulus was noted all during the later Middle Ages and the movement affected all classes and made itself manifest in the smaller as well as the larger towns. The architectural impulse was felt particularly in northern France and was so widely diffused that °each village and hamlet of Northern France possessed a church that was commonly of real value. No matter how insignificant it usually contained some ob ject of art of striking beauty, an altar piece or a painting or a statue or stained glass or a tombstone or wood carving or a bell or wrought iron work that still bear the stamp of the genius time." All this has been emphasized for us by the destruction caused by the Great World War and the effort to catalogue the losses. Other countries were but little behind France in following the impetus. Spain has a series of great cathedrals, the foundations of which are traced to this time, though the country was in the midst of a determined effort to free it self from the incubus of the Moors. Many of England's great cathedrals were begun be fore the 12th century closed, while in Italy the earlier Renaissance, as it is sometimes called, affected architecture, art and literature. Gothic or pointed construction — so-called in depreca tion in the later Renaissance because not origi nating in classic antiquity it seemed only worthy of the Goths, their barbarous ancestors, came into existence. It has for its basic prin ciple that ornament should not be for its own sake but spring from construction work, and the first hints of it have been traced to Sicily. The pointed style fascinated the crusaders on their return and the fashion for it soon became diffused all over Europe.

The political history is that of the crusades. The second crusade was preached by Saint Ber nard, after the fall of Odessa, a frontier strong hold of the little kingdom of Jerusalem, awak ened the fear that the Holy Places might again fall into the hands of the infidels Bernard was bitterly disappointed in what seemed its failure, but it saved Jerusalem for the Christians for a generation. The Holy City was taken by Sala

din, the well-known sultan of Egypt (1187), and this brought on the third crusade in which the three greatest sovereigns of Europe, Frederick Barharossa, the emperor of Germany, Richard I of England, the Lion Heart, the title won by his heroism in this crusade, and Philip Augus tus of France took the cross (1190). The em peror led his troops by land, but the German crusaders suffered as did their predecessors on crusade from friction with the peoples of east ern Europe and from disease in Asia Minor. In spite of obstacles they achieved success, but Frederick was drowned, his troops became dis heartened, the Turks inflicted severe losses and only 5,000 out of 100,000 ever returned to their homes. Richard and Philip Augustus convoyed their troops by ship and joined their forces at the siege of Acre.. The siege was long and costly, but in spite of all Saladin's efforts to relieve the garrison the city had to capitulate. A rupture between Richard and the French king led to the return home of Philip Augustus and his troops. The English king remained to complete the task of winning back Jerusalem, but in vain. The tales of the personal combats between Richard and Saladin and their imme diate followers belong to romance rather than history, but have some foundation. Saladin proved an opponent worthy of the chivalry of Europe. Richard concluded a favorable peace with the provisions that the Christians should have free access to the Holy Places and hold all the coast from Acre to Ascalon. Richard's return was hastened by rumors that his brother John was plotting against his kingdom. On his tourney from the Holy Land homeward the English monarch fell into the hands of his po litical enemy the German Emperor Henry IV, the successor of Frederick, and was imprisoned incommunicado. Blondin, the favorite minstrel of the king, wandering in quest of him, sang to his harp beneath the walls of Richard's Ger man prison and his voice was answered by the king. The imprisonment of the champion of Christendom against the Turks evoked bitter protests, but Henry absolutely refused release except on payment of an immense ransom. The story has often been cited as typical of the po litical bad faith of the time, but analogous events are not rare in history, even in our time. Richard was so beloved of his people that even the enormous imposition demanded did not seem too much, and with the consent of the clergy they stripped the very churches to make up the sum. The Lion Heart returned to Eng land to be enthusiastically welcomed by his peo ple, though his death within a few years put john (Lackland), a younger brother, one of the most despicable of English monarchs, on the throne (1199).

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