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Center Hosts Lecture on Crusades and the Cult of the Holy Lance, Thursday, Jan. 14 at noon

Join us on Jan. 14 (Thurs.) at noon for a lecture by Dr. Thomas Lecaque (Lecturer, UT History Department), on the topic: “Marching to Apocalypse: The Provencal First Crusade, the Cult of the Holy Lance, and Apocalyptic Anxiety during the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099”. The lecture will be held in Hoskins Library, on the second floor in the back, in the seminar space outside the Center for the Study of War and Society.

The First Crusade remains a historically important event, the first great “world historical” encounter of the Middle Ages and a critical milestone in the continuing role of Jerusalem in Western thought and politics. Of the nobles who went on the First Crusade, none had the wealth, prestige, and power of Raymond of Saint-Gilles, the lord of Provence (modern southern France), but he remains deeply under-appreciated in modern historiography. This paper will examine the peculiarities of his approach to the quest for Jerusalem, an understanding of the crusade that centered on apocalyptic eschatology, seeing his war for the earthly Jerusalem as ushering in its heavenly counterpart.  The recounting of the crusade as Revelation may seem strange to our modern sensibilities, but for the Provençals outside the walls of Jerusalem in 1099, the Final Battle approached, and the millennial kingdom was to come.
Dr. Thomas Lecaque is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Tennessee. He is a historian of the High Middle Ages, focusing on the varieties of regional religious identity and how the unique properties of those identities affect the performance of crusades, especially those of southern France. His monograph, Raymond of Saint-Gilles: Occitanian Piety and Culture at the Time of the First Crusade, is under contract with Ashgate Press.