chapter  4
24 Pages

Religious War: The Wars of the Corporate-Sovereign Church

The “crusades”—a series of wars launched by the Latin Church between the eleventh and fi fteenth centuries-were a defi ning, distinctive and unprecedented feature of the geopolitical relations of the later Middle Ages. They were defi ning in that they “dominated the thoughts and feelings of western Europeans between 1095 and 1500.”1 Conducted on a vast scale, they touched the lives of people from every corner of Latin Christendom and from almost every walk of life. They infl uenced the culture and politics of Latin Christendom, shaped its frontiers and powerfully conditioned its relations with the pagan, Muslim and Byzantine worlds beyond those frontiers.2 They were, to put it directly, a near-ubiquitous element of life in medieval Catholic Europe-one that placed a clear and defi ning imprint on cultural, social and political fabric of that historical world order.