Crusades, Richard Lionheart, Saladin, Barbarossa, Margaret of Beverley, Medieval Women, Jerusalem

The Exploits Of Margaret Of Beverley, Caught In The Crusades

The Medieval Crusades were a series of important historical events largely told through the perspective of men. Almost all the contemporary commentators, crusader knights, and Christian generals and leaders were of the masculine persuasion, leaving little room for the viewpoints of women to bubble to the surface. Historian Christoph Maier has argued that the scholarship on female contributions to the crusades has largely been ignored by academics and has resulted in a significant gap in the available knowledge.

Peter the Hermit Preaching the First Crusade – from the painting by James Archer – from Cassell's History of England, Vol. I – anonymous author and artists (Public Domain)

The overwhelmingly male accounts of the crusades of course make the topic of women during the crusades a difficult one to explore. Yet there exist a handful of female records that allow for a deeper understanding of the common woman’s experience of this turbulent period in modern history. Among the very limited selection available is the story of Margaret of Beverley, a commoner, as written by her monk brother, Thomas of Froidmont, in his Hodoeporicon et pericula Margarite Iherosolimitane. Margaret’s excursion to the Holy Land coincided with the events of the Third Crusade, and still remains one its most fascinating narratives.

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