One of the popular images of the Crusades is the story of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine taking 300 of her ladies-in-waiting with her on the Second Crusade during the years 1147-49. While this particular tale has long-been debunked, a recent article has shown that many other aspects of Eleanor’s role, and the overall effort of women during the Second Crusade has been emphasized too much.
Conor Kostick’s article, “Eleanor of Aquitaine and the women of the Second Crusade,” which appears in the book Medieval Italy, Medieval and Early Modern Women: Essays in Honour of Christine Meek, shows that female participation was likely much smaller during the Second Crusade than it was for the First Crusade at the end of the eleventh century. Kostick believes that the crusade preaching that took place in the lead up to the march to the Holy Land was more aimed at getting people with a military background to commit to the crusade, and avoided encouraging non-combatants, including women, into participating.
Click here to read this article from Medievalists.net