Robert the Monk

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Robert the Monk or Robert of Rheims or Robert of Oates (born 1047, died 1122) was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He did not participate in the expedition, but rewrote the Gesta Francorum at the request of his abbot, who was appalled at the 'rustic' style of the Gesta.[citation needed]

His chronicle contains an account of Pope Urban II's speech at the Council of Clermont, which has had a great influence on how the Crusades have been portrayed over the centuries. Robert writes as though he were present at Clermont, but he wrote his account perhaps in 1116, twenty-one years after the Council, or later. Runciman[1] dates Robert's popular and somewhat romantic version, known as the Historia Hierosolymitana, to 'about 1122'.

According to Robert, Pope Urban proclaimed "They [the Turks] have completely destroyed some of God’s churches and they have converted others to the uses of their own cult. They ruin the altars with filth and defilement. They circumcise Christians and smear the blood from the circumcision over the altars or throw it into the baptismal fonts. They are pleased to kill others by cutting open their bellies, extracting the end of their intestines, and tying it to a stake. Then, with flogging, they drive their victims around the stake until, when their viscera have spilled out, they fall dead on the ground. They tie others, again, to stakes and shoot arrows at them; they seize others, stretch out their necks, and try to see whether they can cut off their heads with a single blow of a naked sword. And what shall I say about the shocking rape of women?". [2]

Robert the Monk made the astonishing claim that the importance of the Crusades had been exceeded only by the creation of the world and Jesus's crucifixion. As a consequence, Muslims were now regarded in the West as a 'vile and abominable race,' 'despicable, degenerate and enslaved by demons,' 'absolutely alien to God,' and 'fit only for extermination.' ...


  1. ^ Appendix I of The First Crusade
  2. ^ Madden, Thomas. The Concise History of the Crusades. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 264. ISBN 9781442215740. Retrieved 4 April 2016. 

The First Crusade (A History of the Crusades, Volume 1) by Steven Runciman (1951, Cambridge University Press) "eclectic excerpt" titled "muslims were stunned by crusader's violence", 3/4/16. Derived from "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence" by Karen Armstrong.

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