Section: 11 Fri
Religion and Violence in Raoul of Cambrai and Pope Urban II’s First Crusade Speech
Following the birth of the Christianity, violence against heretics, or those who supposedly were a threat to the religion itself, steadily continued until it culminated in the crusades – the first of which was launched by Pope Urban II. In the speech that launched the crusade the broadening of terms used to classify “the enemy” illustrate the same methods used to justify violence towards others, even those that were Christian, in the tale of Raoul of Cambrai. In both texts the mitigation of violence towards others is propagated by the argument that that the ...view middle of the document...
After the burning of the town results in the death of Bernier’s mother, he exclaims, “…0 Raoul, felon, God must punish you! I wish to do you homage no more. If now I cannot avenge this shame, I hold myself not worth a farthing…” (Raoul, Stanza 71). Although Bernier seemingly puts the fate of vengeance in the hands of his God at first, it is evident that this “action” by God is something that he plans to carry out. The resulting death of Raoul by Bernier’s hand demonstrates the degree to which religion mitigates violence. This institution meant to develop morals is twisted into a validation to act on baser desires for vengeance and power is also quite evident in Pope Urban II’s speech beginning the First Crusade.
The desire for those in power to keep it and build upon it is very much the driving force for the call to First Crusade as Pope Urban II is not simply preaching his religion, but making claims about other religions and his own that simply aren’t true. Here, a religious leader is the vessel upon which these false assertions reach crusaders. “…[A] race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race,… utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has
not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians…”( Crusades, c. 1096-1150, Speech, in Primary Sources, Week 2, p. 29). Two notes present in the minds of soldiers in Raoul of Cambrai are also present here in this passage – vengeance and false notions about religion (Christianity and others). Muslims and Jews are monotheistic and believe in a God that at the very least could be argued to be very similar to the Christian God (Galli). Also, once again the God’s vengeance is placed in the hands of humans. Thus it is obvious that the great acts of violence towards Christians and Muslims that followed were substantiated...