Today in Middle Eastern history: the “People’s Crusade” ends (1096)

The “People’s Crusade”—which actually preceded the First Crusade, making it sort of like the Crusades’ beta phase I guess—was the brainchild of one either very holy or very opportunistic man (although I guess “both” is certainly possible) named Peter of Amiens, better known to posterity as Peter the Hermit. He sort of burst on to the historical stage in 1095, after Pope Urban II issued his Crusading summons at the Council of Clermont. Peter, who appears to have been a priest in the northern French town of Amiens at the time, was way into this Crusade idea, so much so that he started traipsing around Europe on a donkey (the transportation of choice for any self-respecting hermit). He galloped (NOTE TO SELF: find out whether donkeys gallop) from town to town, delivering what must have been some ultra-compelling, fire and brimstone-type sermons about the need for all good Christians to take up the cross and go on a pilgrimage (which is what the Crusades were, a very well-armed pilgrimage) to the Holy Land.

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