FIF 240 - Mystics, Martyrs, and Madmen: History of the Crusades
Almost 1,000 years ago, Christian knights from Europe poured into the Holy Land and attacked Jerusalem. Why did they travel over 3,000 km to invade the most sacred city in Christendom? The struggle to reconquer the Holy Sepulchre would continue for more than a century. During this time, the mystic Knights Templar were formed, an order that eventually stood trial for witchcraft, heresy, and blasphemy when the Templars were accused of colluding with their Muslim enemies. Legends sprang up about relics from Jerusalem such as the Spear of Longinus, which was said to have pierced the side of Christ and drove at least one man to madness and voluntary martyrdom by fire. Topics include the causes and origins of the conflict, as well as the exchange of knowledge created by the intersection of cultures in the Holy Land. While the Crusades ultimately ended in failure, the political and religious ideals which prompted these events continue to fascinate scholars and history buffs alike.