Crusading and Crusade Memory in Caesarius of Heisterbach's Dialogus miraculorum

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Abstract

This article is a preliminary investigation into the way the Cistercians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries conceptualised and contextualised the history of the crusading movement, with a specific focus on the way in which they integrated their involvement in crusading into the Order's sense of institutional memory and corporate identity. The article presents a study of Caesarius of Heisterbach's Dialogus miraculorum, a collection of exempla that was composed for the edification of Cistercian novices in the first quarter of the thirteenth century. Although the text is well known to medievalists (and particularly to scholars of medieval Cisterciana), it has yet to be subjected to a close reading by historians of the crusades. By examining the way in which Caesarius used and described the crusades in the Dialogus, the article demonstrates the potential of using non-narrative texts to explore medieval understandings of the crusading past and, more generally, illustrates further the importance of warfare in the shaping of medieval monastic culture.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-127
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Volume39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • crusades, Cistercians, Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogus miraculorum, memory, historiography