Introduction: Definition and Scope

  • Helen J. Nicholson
Part of the Palgrave Advances book series (PAD)


The crusades were a startling and spectacular phenomenon which exerted a powerful influence on European development over a period of many centuries. Crusading was a many-faceted experience and much recent writing has been devoted to explaining how the remarkable notion of salvation by slaughter arose and to understanding the mentalities which gave rise to it. Out of this has arisen an exciting debate about the nature of crusading, between the ‘pluralists’, chiefly British and American, who argue that the crusade was essentially an arm of papal policy and others, mainly continental European, who argue for an organic connection between Jerusalem and the movement. This may currently be the dominant theme in writing about the crusades, but it is most certainly not the only one.


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© Helen J. Nicholson 2005

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  • Helen J. Nicholson

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