Crusading in the Fifteenth Century: Message and Impact by N. Housley

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By N. Housley

This number of essays through eu and American students addresses the altering nature and allure of crusading in the course of the interval which prolonged from the conflict of Nicopolis in 1396 to the conflict of Mohács in 1526. individuals specialize in key features of the topic. One is advancements within the crusading message and the language during which it used to be framed. those have been led to partially via the looks of latest enemies, notably the Ottoman Turks, and in part via moving spiritual values and leading edge currents of suggestion inside Catholic Europe. the opposite point is the wide variety of responses which the papacy's repeated calls to holy conflict encountered in a Christian group which used to be more and more heterogeneous in personality. This assortment represents a considerable contribution to the examine of the Later Crusades and of Renaissance Europe.

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In short, despite the classical veneer they gave to their accounts of the Scythian character of the Turks, what the humanists in Pius’s circle perpetuated in their discussion of the Turkish foe was nothing other than a medieval Christian image of barbarity. The unclean nations were pouring down from the north, blazing a trail for Satan. 47 Where medieval crusade propaganda viewed Islam as inspired by irrational hatred of the Christian religion and quite possibly unleashed by a vengeful Christian God, the humanists put forward an altogether more rational and secular assessment of the situation, as one of age-old Italian Humanists and the Problem of the Crusade 31 political tension between two world empires divided by political and cultural incompatibility.

Refusing to take holy orders for many years, he entered the Church only after he had reached middle age, sired two illegitimate children and written some provocative love poetry and prose. Added to all of this, he was old and very ill when he took up his final journey. Why, when so many other popes were content to summon a crusade, did Pius feel compelled to participate in one? This essay will attempt to explain what personal factors led him to Ancona as well as the religious and political currents that helped point him down that path.

This was a view that writers of mid-fifteenth century Europe could not have begun to understand, much less emulate. In contemplating the origins and rise of the conquerors of Constantinople, their reactions come much closer to the sense of fear and doubt that fourth- and fifth-century Romans, both pagan and Christian, expressed in the face of the encroaching Huns and Goths: the Turks were a monstrous, inhuman scourge sent by God against a sinful civilization. The humanists’ idea of what it meant to be ‘Scythian’ owed very little to classical notions of the primitive.

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