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Straggling behind their group made them easy prey for wild animals and outlaws as well.

Women, Pilgrimages, and the Crusades

The pilgrimage to the Holy Land was considered to be the most dangerous route. After the First Crusade recaptured Jerusalem in , important knightly orders such as the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, and the Hospitallers were formed and provided a safe passage for pilgrims.

Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe

During this period, the number of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem increased. However, pilgrimages were once again restricted and threatened by the Ottoman Empire.


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  • Lane on Chareyron, 'Pilgrims to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages'.

Apr 14, Goran Blazeski. Pilgrim by Gheorghe Tattarescu. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the church managed to extend its power and dominate the lives of both the peasants and the nobility in Europe. It influenced all aspects of European life and encouraged many people to perform extraordinary acts of devotion.

Cosmopolitanism or Competition?Late Medieval Pilgrims at the Eastern Christian Holy Places

Medieval French Manuscript illustration of the three classes of medieval society: those who prayed—the clergy, those who fought—the knights, and those who worked—the peasantry. Among these acts of devotion to God, were the pilgrimages to special holy places called shrines. Christian pilgrimages became a common thing during the Middle Ages since people believed that by going on a pilgrimage they might be forgiven their sins.


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Thus, a pilgrimage was considered an ultimate spiritual act. The Way of St. Monasteries located along the pilgrimage roads Some monastic churches also housed relics of their own, and these often incorporated an interior passageway called an ambulatory, which allowed pilgrims to circulate and venerate the relics without interrupting the monks in their regular orders of prayer.

The need to accommodate larger numbers of pilgrims caused many churches to undertake major renovations, for example, Saint-Denis, which was dramatically altered under Abbott Suger in the early twelfth century. The concept and experience of pilgrimage was so strong in medieval Europe that it fired the imagination of the age and set the tone for travel of all kinds. The Crusades , armed campaigns mounted to win control of the Holy Land, were understood as a particular kind of pilgrimage, and so were many of the quests pursued by knights in life and legend.

The norms of medieval pilgrimage affected the visual arts as well. For example, an ivory carved around depicts the risen Christ with the two disciples who met him on the road to Emmaus; they are shown as contemporary pilgrims, with walking sticks, a vessel for water, and a purse marked with a cross The ivory reflects the popularity of Santiago de Compostela, then at the height of its fame, and it differs markedly from another depiction of the same subject in a ninth-century ivory, where the travelers wear modified classical garb and pursue their goal less emphatically A fragment of a painting by Sassetta represents another biblical journey, that of the Magi on the way to adore the infant Jesus; the kings are fashionably dressed, mounted on horseback, and surrounded by a lively entourage, like aristocratic pilgrims traveling in state The increase of humanity and naturalism in religious art of this time may be linked to this type of spiritual exercise.

F. Thomas Noonan

Even travels of nonreligious character might share the spirit of pilgrimage or appear so in art. Sorabella, Jean. Ashley, Kathleen, and Marilyn Deegan. Burlington, Vt.

Medieval Pilgrimages: It’s All About the Journey

Barnes, Ruth, and Crispin Branfoot, eds. Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, Husband, Timothy B.

Voices of Jerusalem: A Host to Pilgrims and Travelers in the Holy City

New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, See on MetPublications. Kessler, Herbert L. Rome On the Path of the Pilgrim.

New Haven: Yale University Press, Sumption, Jonathan. Mahwah, N.