"Dungeon, Fire, and Sword: the Knights Templar in the Crusades"
John J. Robinson
Great Britain: Brockhampton Press, 1999
"Our story calls for an understanding of the beliefs and the structure of the Templars' Muslim enemies. The First Crusade at the end of the eleventh century succeeded largely because of conflicts between Muslim factions that called themselves Sunni and Shiite. The new Templar order had to learn the make-up of the Muslim world as it took up residence in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount." p. xii
“Crusaders were military pilgrims, who came to fight and go home. The Templars were military monks, committed to remain in the Holy Land to consolidate the gains, or to clean up the mess, after the Crusaders had fulfilled their vows and then sailed away from the scene of their triumphs or tragedies.” xii
“[The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV,] was forgiven and the bans against him lifted in exchange for his public promise to obey [Pope Gregory VII] in all things. Then the pope demonstrated for all that he had acted only in accordance with God’s will. Taking a piece of consecrated bread from the altar, he called upon God to make the bread stick in his throat and choke him to death if he was guilty of any wrongdoing. He swallowed the bread with ease, and the assembly went wild with cheers and shouts. They had actually witnessed with their own eyes that God had given His approval to this blessed pope’s actions.” 7
“It was that incessant animosity between the Shiites, who controlled Egypt, and the Sunnis, who controlled Syria, that made the First Crusade possible, especially in that the Sunni Syrians also had to contend with Shiite enemies to the other side of them in Persia. At the time of that Crusade, the Sunni Caliph was based in Baghdad, while the Shiite caliph was resident in Cairo. It became the focal point of Christian diplomacy to play off one side against the other until the time came that all of the Middle East was united under one dynamic leader who was given the honorary title of Salah-ed-Din, or Saladin.” p. 8
“With such religious tolerance on the part of the Muslim rulers of Jerusalem, and with access to the Holy Places for Christian pilgrims, it was going to take some skillful effort on the part of the pope to stir up the people of Europe to the point that they would leave their homes and risk their lives in a foreign land.
Urban II was up to the task, and as he rose to address the crowd he employed all of the propaganda techniques the job required. He inspired hatred for the Muslims by allegations of horrible physical atrocities worked upon helpless Christians. He appealed to his listeners' quest for glory by comparing the proposed conflict with the victories of Charlemagne over the pagans. He held out the promise of land, catering to the frustrations of the non-inheriting younger sons of the nobility: 'Wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves. That land which the scripture says 'floweth with milk and honey.'” He held out the ultimate reward, an eternity in paradise, by declaring that all who died in this Holy Crusade would receive instant absolution and the total remission of sins. As Urban completed his inflammatory oration there were cries of 'Deus lo volt!' ('God willis it!'). The entire audience took up the chant, and it became the battle cry of the First Crusade. Adhemar de Monteil, the Bishop of le Puy, was the first to kneel before the papal throne to plead for permission to go with the host to the Holy Land.” p. 10
“... The emperor Alexius had asked for some help: He was about to be swamped.” p. 11
“Theologians rarely come up with really new concepts, but display their talents best when called upon to justify actions already taken or decisions already made.” 48
“A Roman Catholic knight had killed Peter of Castelnau, but that was not the way the murder was reported to the world. Innocent III blamed the Cathar heretics. In March of 1208 the pope issued a bull of anathema against the Cathars, condemning them all to death. At the same time he declared Peter of Castelnau to be a saint of the Catholic Church.
“A call to crusade went out, promising identical spiritual rewards for going to southern France as previous Crusaders had been promised for going to the Holy Land. The bloody robe of St. Peter of Castelnau was taken from one town to another to rouse the people to join in the war of extermination.
The murder of a Cistercian had been used to trigger the call to Crusade, and now Innocent III appointed another Cistercian as papal legate to lead it. He was Arnald-Amalric, the Cistercian general. Forty days was all the military service he required for any knight or commoner to earn the Crusader's special place in heaven, although as it turned out it took years to accomplish the maniacal slaughter throughout such an extended area.
The Crusade began with the public confession and humiliation of the count of Toulouse, who swore to obey the Church in all things and pledged himself and his vassals to eliminating the Cathars. He took his knights from Toulouse to join the growing Crusader army at Montpellier.
Their first target was the walled city of Béziers, whose citizens, sympathetic to the gentle Cathars among them, would not open their gates. It was well known that the Cathars constituted only a small minority of the population of Béziers, and they looked exactly like their Catholic neighbors. How were the Crusaders to know which ones to kill? They put the question to Arnald-Almaric. The papal legate's reply ranks as one of the most memorable quotations in military and religious history. “Kill them all,” he said. “God will know his own.” pp. 223-24