Holy Men, Holy War: The Cistercians and the Crusades (A), Sources

Department of History, School of History and Cultures

College of Arts and Law


Code 24167

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1

Module description

Although the Cistercian monastic ideal advocated a withdrawal from secular life and a rejection of worldliness, from c.1120 onwards Cistercian monks came to play a fundamental role in the crusading movement, whether as crusade preachers or propagandists for sanctified violence, settlers in frontier regions that had been ‘reclaimed’ by crusaders for western Christendom, or as the leaders of crusade armies themselves. In this module students will explore the variety of ways in which members of the Cistercian Order became associated with the prosecution of holy war during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, examining how and why crusading became embedded in the Order’s institutional memory and its sense of corporate identity and assessing the impact that the Cistercians had on the development of crusading ideas and activities