Children's Crusade

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Definition

The so-called Children's Crusade of 1212 CE, was a popular, double religious movement led by a French youth, Stephen of Cloyes, and a German boy, Nicholas of Cologne, who gathered two armies of perhaps 20,000 children, adolescents, and adults with the hopelessly optimistic objective of bettering the failures of the professional Crusader armies and capturing Jerusalem for Christendom. Travelling across Europe, the would-be Crusaders perhaps reached Genoa but had no funds to pay for their passage to the Levant. While some participants simply returned home, a large number were sold into slavery, according to the legend. Whatever the exact events of the confused history of the 'Children's Crusade', the episode illustrates that there was a popular sympathy for the Crusade movement amongst the common people and it was not just nobles and knights who felt compelled to take the cross and defend Christians and their sacred places in the Holy Land during the Middle Ages.

More about: Children's Crusade

Timeline

  • 1212
    The Children's Crusade when Nicholas of Cologne leads a children's army to Jerusalem but many die of hunger crossing the Italian Alps and the Pope tells them to go home.
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