THE FIRST CRUSADE & CANNIBALISM
In November 1095, Pope Urban II called on Western Christian leaders to reclaim the kingdom of God from Muslim Turks and Arabs.
As mantioned above, the First Crusade is generally accepted to be started with the call of Pope in the Council of Clermont. In reality, there were two seperate calls to crusade around Western Europe at the same time.
Pope Urban II Preaching the First Crusade Francesco Paolo Hayez oil painting
In the south, noble families pledged their oaths to Urban II and recruited men directly to join the cause. It was an orderly campaign that remained under direct papal control. But, in the north the call to holy war had been taken up by various wandering preachers who gave public sermons and enlist everybody without a selection process.
In March 1096, four months before the First Crusade starts officially, an army commanded by Peter The Hermit crossed into German territory. The Peasants Crusade had started and soon became a convergence point for other armed bands led by monks, warlordlets and fanatics.
The first target of these radicals were the Jews who were increasingly growing in population over Europe and thet were started to be considered as Enemies of Christianity. Their intention was to wipe Judaism from the the earth & this army created a widespread massacres of Jews across the Rhine Valley. Jews were forced, under the threat of death, to convert to Christianity in order to fulfill a necessary precondition for apocalyps the rest would be executed or driven to suicide.
Peter de Hermit
The army led by Peter The Hermit attacked the city of Zemun in Hungary. Thousands of inhabitants were killed in the siege, their flesh, arms and limbs placed in the Sava River as a warning to the city Belgrade which would be on their way.
The bands under the wordlords were all eventually overcomed by the Hungarians. they had great loses. Many of the survivors regrouped under the army of Peter The Hermit and continue to clash with Christian Byzantine forces. They again had heavy losses at the hands of the Balkan Slavs. Manyof them died of starvation or disease. After the permission of Emperor Alexios at Constantinople, the strange army passed into Asia Minor to the outskirts of Nicaea
This first wave of Crusaders soon met the Suljuk Turks in anatolia. They were the new power in the East. The Seljuk Turks were originally nomadic horsemen from the steppes of Central Asia who converted to Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries. Using similar tactics to those practiced by the Huns. Seljusks slaughtered many of them and the Peasant’s Crusade had been crushed.
Being not entirely crushed the survivors managed to ascape back to Constantinople and regrouped under the official Crusader armies. The so called holy war continued in early 1097.
Resistence of Turks
Our main subject here is not the whole dtory of crusades but only a specific part of it which was reported to be happened in the Syrian City Ma'arna.
The crusades controlled a wide part of asia Minor and finally conquered the city of Antiokhia which has a population around 300.000. many of the inhabitants and the resistences were slaaughtered by swords, raped and tortured to death. the other victim would be the Syrian City Ma'arna. again in that city many violent acts had beenj witnessed but something was worse than every violent act.
It was cannibalism.
Fulcher of Chartres who wrote Cronicles about the 1st crusade depicts what happened with his words below
“They cut pieces from the buttocks of the dead Saracens, which they cooked and ate, and even if they were barely warmed over (not well done), they savagely filled their mouths and devoured them.”
Rubenstein, Armies of Heaven, 240.
Another chronicler, Radulf of Caen, graphically added
“the pagan adults were boiled in a stewpot, the young boys were skewered on spits and eaten grilled.”
Radulf of Caen, The Gesta Tancredi of Ralph of Caen
''There were even reports of human flesh being sold by street vendors, treated like cuts of meat from butchered livestock''
Jay Rubenstein, “Cannibals and Crusaders,”
The Tafurs, for their part, are said to have gorged themselves shamelessly at these macabre feasts, boasting how the roasted Turks “tasted better than spiced peacock.”
Carol Sweetenham, The Chanson d’Antioche: An Old French Account of the First Crusade
Gesta Tancredi "The Deeds of Tancred in the Crusade" is a prosimetric history by Ralph of Caen. His text provides an exceptional narrative of the First Crusade and events.
Fulcher of Chartres was a priest who participated in the First Crusade. under the command of Baldwin
Besides, we have to add that not every historian agree with what have been written by Ralph of Caen and Fulcher of Chartres saying that Caen hasn't even participated in the crusade. They all accept an exaggeration. They say, Fulcher of Chartres wasn’t a direct eye-witness but was at least in the country at the time and wrote only a few weeks after the events. He depicts these incidents as acts of desperation of starving men but not cannibalism. He says, before the siege ended, the corpses of enemies who’d fallen from the walls they were defending could have been eaten bu starving men.
Therefore, the historians also insist that not a single Muslim source mentions anything about men eating other men or children.