The Subject of Crusade: Lyric, Romance, and Materials, 1150 to 1500

December 4, 2020
The Subject of Crusade: Lyric, Romance, and Materials, 1150 to 1500

In the Middle Ages, religious crusaders took up arms, prayed,bade farewell to their families, and marched off to fight in holywars. These Christian soldiers also created accounts of their livesin lyric poetry, putting words to the experience of personalsacrifice and the pious struggle associated with holy war. Thecrusaders affirmed their commitment to fighting to claim a distantland while revealing their feelings as they left behind their lovedones, homes, and earthly duties. Their poems and related visualworks offer us insight into the crusaders’ lives and values at theboundaries of earthly and spiritual duties, body and soul, holydevotion and courtly love.In The Subject of Crusade, Marisa Galvez offers a nuanced viewof holy war and crusade poetry, reading these lyric works within awider conversation with religion and culture. Arguing for aninterdisciplinary treatment of crusade lyric, she shows how suchpoems are crucial for understanding the crusades as a complexcultural and historical phenomenon. Placing them in conversationwith chronicles, knightly handbooks, artworks, and confessional andpastoral texts, she identifies a particular “crusade idiom” thatemerged out of the conflict between pious and earthly duties.Galvez fashions an expanded understanding of the creative worksmade by crusaders to reveal their experiences, desires, ideologies,and reasons for taking up the cross.