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(Winter, 2004)

There are many accounts of Pope Urban’s call for crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Two particularly important versions are those of Fulcher of Chartres and of Balderic of Dol. Fulcher’s Chronicle was not completed until 1127 or 1128, but he was present at the Council of Clermont and also participated in the First Crusade. Balderic of Dol’s version also dates to the early 12th century, although his main source appears to have been a textual one: the Gesta Francorum, written c. 1100. Both accounts can be found online in the Medieval Internet Sourcebook, at vers.html.

In 4-5 pages of tight, compact prose, tell me what you as an historian can learn from these two accounts of Urban’s call to Crusade. What do these excerpts tell you about the sentiments to which Urban hoped to appeal? About Urban’s own motives in summoning the Council? About the manner in which persons of this period conceptualized “crusade”?
The purpose of this paper is to help you learn to exercise your historical imagination and articulate an historical argument in a clear and concise form. Remember that every history paper is an argument: not everyone will agree with your interpretation of these sources, nor with how you read the two of them together. You need to be as clear and forceful as possible in articulating and substantiating your particular point of view. In other words, your assignment is not merely to describe what these sources say, but to analyze them as sources, taking into account the motives and agenda of the authors (to the extent you can deduce them) as well as of Urban himself.
Apart from the assigned reading in the textbook, no outside reading is required (or even desired) for this assignment.

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