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Material Matters Graduate Student Discussion Group
Army of Heaven?
The First Crusade and the Pogroms of 1096
Geneviève Allard, M.A. Candidate, History
Wednesday March 5, 1:30pm
Speaker’s Corner, Stauffer Library
In the spring of 1096, an army of German Crusaders led by Count Emicho marched upon the
gates of several cities and towns in the Rhineland. Their aim was to eradicate the Jewish
population either through forced conversion to Christianity, or death. These pogroms stand out
as particularly violent and radical episodes in the history of Crusading, and so historians must ask
why such an extreme program was taken on. I will argue that the answer lies in the radical
messianic apocalypticism of this particular band of German Crusaders. This episode provides a
key data point in the evolution of Christian anti-Semitism. The goal of this study is to establish a
greater understanding of the development of anti-Jewish sentiment within Christian theology.