Scribal crusading as medieval propaganda

Propaganda is of all times. Today social media are used. In the times of the Crusades letters and travel reports were common, which were hand copied and distributed by monks.

Reading on Jerusalem and celebrating its first Crusader conquest in 1099 was recommended, as in doing so the the glory of the event and God's help therewith would be magnified. As such this monastic praise would enhance the glorious reverberations from the event itself and support the crusading movement. In this way the transmission and reception of First Crusade letters represented a form of “scribal crusading. ”

There was an important liturgical and devotional aspect to this, as prayers, both private and corporate, as well as processions and liturgical rites became a fundamental manifestation of crusade participation on the home front.

These letter may also have provided effective material that could be used to support and inform crusade preaching campaigns in the West. One way the copies of First Crusade letters reached an outside audience was through Cistercian preaching in support of crusades to recover the Holy Land. The second was through monastic contact with the outside world, which took the form of letter-writing and welcoming guests. The Cistercians, like other religous communities, engaged with society from within the confines of their cloisters. They sent out their prayers to assist individuals and support specific ventures such as war and the crusades. They welcomed guests, buried outsiders and wrote letters of advice to men and women of all states. It was through such contact that monastic scribes might have hoped to disseminate persuasive texts to other clergy and the laity in support of the crusades.

Source "Scribal Crusading: Three New Manuscript Witnesses to the Regional Reception and Transmission of First Crusade Letters', Traditio 72 (2017): 133-169 by Thomas W. Smit. Illustration Scriptorium at the Cistercian Fontenay Abbey, source 

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

No comments: