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Peter The Hermit: The First Crusade

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Peter the Hermit, a priest of Amiens, who may, have attempted to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before 1096, and have been prevented by the Turks from reaching hisdestination. It is uncertain whether he was present at Pope Urban II's great sermon at Clermont in 1095; but it is certain that he was one of the preachers of the crusade in France after that sermon and his own experience may have helped to give fire to his eloquence. He soon leapt into fame as an emotional revivalist preacher: his very ass became an object of popular adoration; and thousands of peasants eagerly took the cross at his bidding. The crusade of the pauperes, which forms the first act in the first crusade, was his work; and he himself led one of the five sections of the…show more content…
At the end of the year he went to Laodicea, and sailed from there for the West. From this time he disappears; but Albert of Aix records that he died in 1115, as prior of a church of the Holy Sepulchre which he had founded in France. Legend has made Peter the Hermit the author and originator of the first crusade. It has told how, in an early visit to Jerusalem, before 1096, Jesus Christ appeared to him in the Church of the Sepulchre, and bade him preach the crusade. The legend is without any basis in fact, though it appears in the pages of William of Tyre. Its origin is, however, a matter of some interest. Von Sybel, in his Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges, suggests that in the camp of the pauperes (which existed side by side with that of the knights, and grew increasingly large as the crusade told more and more heavily in its progress on the purses of the crusaders) some idolization of Peter the Hermit had already begun, during the first crusade, parallel to the similar glorification of Godfrey by the
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