Crusade song

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A Crusade song (Occitan: canson de crozada, Catalan: cançó de croada, German: Kreuzlied) is any vernacular lyric poem about the Crusades. Crusade songs were popular in the High Middle Ages: 106 survive in Occitan, forty in Old French, thirty in Middle High German, two in Italian, and one in Old Castilian. The study of the Crusade song, which may be considered a genre of its own, was pioneered by Kurt Lewent. He provided a classification of Crusade songs and distinguished between songs which merely mentioned, in some form, a Crusade from songs which were "Crusade songs".

The Crusade song was not confined to the topic of the Latin East, but could concern the Reconquista in Spain, the Albigensian Crusade in Languedoc, or the political crusades in Italy. The first Crusade to be accompanied by songs, none of which survive, was the Crusade of 1101, of which William IX of Aquitaine wrote, according to Orderic Vitalis. From the Second Crusade survive one French and ten Occitan songs. The Third and Fourth Crusades generated many songs in Occitan, French, and German. Occitan troubadours dealt especially with the Albigensian campaigns in the early thirteenth century, but their decline thereafter left the later Crusades—Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth—to be covered primarily by the German Minnesinger and French trouvères.

List of Occitan crusading songs[edit]

The following list is only of those songs defined as "Kreuzlied" in Lewent, "Das altprovenzalische Kreuzlied" (Berlin: 1905). Other songs may be considered "crusading songs", but there is no definitive list or lengthy, generic treatment of them since Lewent.

Composer Classification[1] Incipit (i.e. title) Date and context[2]
Aimeric de Belenoi 9.10 Consiros com partitz d'amor Between Battle of Hattin and January 1188.
Aimeric de Peguillan 10.11 Ara parra qual seran envejos 1213, addressed to William VI of Montferrat to go to Syria.
Bertran de Born 80.30 Nostre seigner somonis el meteis Early November/December 1187, or after January 1188, after Battle of Hattin when Bertran thought Philip I of France had made a crusading vow.
Bertran de Born 80.40 S'eu fos aissi seigner e poderos
Elias Cairel 133.11 Qui saubes dar tant bon conseil denan Before August 1219, forecasting an easy Crusader victory at Cairo.
Folquet de Marselha 155.7 Chantars mi torn' ad afan November 1194 – 10 July 1195, probably during truce between Richard I of England and Philip I of France, before Battle of Alarcos and the German Crusade.
Folquet de Marselha 155.15 Oimais no.i conosc razo After 19 July 1195, date of the Battle of Alarcos. A song about the Reconquista.
Falquet de Romans 156.12 Quan lo dous temps ven e vai la freidors Before 1228, during Albigensian Crusade and conflict between Empire and Papacy.
Gaucelm Faidit 167.9 Ara nos sia guitz 1203, but probably consisting of parts written at the time of the Third Crusade and some from the Fourth.
Gaucelm Faidit 167.14 Cascus hom deu conoisser et entendre 1201.
Gauceran de Saint Leidier
or Guillem de Saint Leidier
or 168.1a
El temps que vei cazer foillas e flors If by Gauceran, it is probably from before 1267 and contains references to Richard of Cornwall and James I of Aragon. If by Guillem, it dates to before 1183.
Gavaudan 174.10 Seignors, per los nostres peccatz Possibly 1196–97, shortly after the Battle of Alarcos, but perhaps as late as 1210–12. A song about the Reconquista.
Guilhem Fabre 216.2 Pos dels majors / princeps auzem conten June 1265 – February 1266.
Guilhem Figueira 217.2 D'un sirventes far 29 September 1127 – 28 June 1228. Gormonda of Monpeslier wrote a response to this sirventes contra Roma.
Guilhem Figueira 217.7 Totz hom qui be comens'e be fenis 1215, after the Emperor Frederick II took the cross on 25 July.
Giraut de Borneil 242.6 A l'onor Deu torn en mon chan After 21 January 1188 but early in the year, praising Richard I of England, who is about to embark on Crusade.
Giraut de Borneil 242.41 Jois sia comensamens After 1187, 1190 suggested.
Guiraut Riquier 248.48 Karitatz / et amors e fes 1276.
Lanfranc Cigala 282.20 Quan vei far bon fag plazentier 1244–45, to celebrate Louis IX's taking of the cross in 1244.
Lanfranc Cigala 282.23 Si mos chanz fos de ioi ni de solatz November 1246 – Spring 1248, praising Louis IX of France for having gone on Crusade.
Lunel de Monteg 289.1 Mal veg trop apparelhar 1326, when Charles IV of France was vowing a Crusade.
Marcabru 293.21 Emperaire, per mi mezeis After the spring of 1148, when some Christian were trapped at Attalia and converted to Islam.
Marcabru 293.35 Pax in nomine Domini 1149, after the failed Second Crusade, the loss of Tortosa to the Almohads, and the death of Baldwin of Marash (1146), but before the death of Raymond of Poitiers. A song about the Reconquista.
Olivier lo Templier 312.1 Estat aurai lonc temps en pessamen 1267–69, about the Crusade of James I of Aragon and his conquest of Valencia and Majorca.
formerly Peire d'Alvergne
323.22 Ab fina joia comensa After August 1198, when Innocent III proclaimed the Fourth Crusade, once thought to be between early 1213 – July 1214, before the Battle of Bouvines.
Pons de Capdolh 375.2 Ar nos sia capdelhs e garentia Around 1213.
Pons de Capdolh 375.8 En honor del pair'en cui es Early 1213, refers to the Emperor Otto IV, Frederick I of Sicily, and war between John of England and Philip II of France.
Pons de Capdolh 375.22 So qu'om plus vol e plus es voluntos June 1213, refers to the Emperor Otto IV, Frederick I of Sicily, and Peter II of Aragon.
Raimbaut de Vaqueiras 392.3 Ara pot hom conoisser e proar 1201, in celebration of the election of Boniface I of Montferrat at Soissons to lead the Fourth Crusade.
Raimbaut de Vaqueiras 392.9a Conseill don a l'emperador After May 1204, after conquest of Constantinople and election of Baldwin IX of Flanders as emperor.
Raimon Gaucelm de Beziers 401.1 Ab grans trebalhs et ab grans marrimens 1270, refers to the death of Louis IX of France on the Eighth Crusade.
Raimon Gaucelm de Beziers 401.8 Qui vol aver complida amistansa 1268, urging support for the Eighth Crusade.
Raimon de Cornet I[3] 1332, after Philip VI of France took the cross in July.


  • Lewent, Kurt (1905). "Das altprovenzalische Kreuzlied." Romanische Forschungen, 21(2):321–448.
  • Paterson, Linda (2003). "Lyric allusions to the crusades and the Holy Land." Colston Symposium.
  • Paterson, Linda M. "Occitan Literature and the Holy Land." The World of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Literature and Society in Southern France between the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, edd. Marcus Bull and Catherine Léglu. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84383-114-7.
  • Paterson, Linda (2018). Singing the Crusades. French and Occitan Responses to the Crusading Movements, 1137–1336. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  • Routledge, Michael (2001). "Songs". The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, ed. Jonathan Riley-Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-285428-3.


  1. ^ The numbering system is that of Alfred Pillet and Henry Carstens in the Biographies des Troubadours (Halle: 1933).
  2. ^ All dates come from Paterson (2003) and carry various degrees of certainty.
  3. ^ Not in Pillet-Carstens, but Paterson calls it "Raimon de Cornet I", as opposed to a later Crusade-oriented piece mentioned by Lewent, which she calls "Raimon de Cornet II".