Sunday, July 8, 2012

Peter the Hermit

 ‘…' As we hear,' replied Nicephorus, ' this Godfrey is one of
the wisest, noblest, and bravest of the leaders who have thus
strangely put themselves in motion ; and among a list of inde-
pendent princes, as many in number as those who assembled
for the siege of Troy, and followed, most of them, by subjects
ten times more numerous, this Godfrey may be regarded as the
Agamemnon. The princes and counts esteem him, because he
is the foremost in the ranks of those whom they fantastically
call knights, and also on account of the good faith and gener-
osity which he practises in all his transactions. The clergy give
 him credit for the highest zeal for the doctrines of religion,
and a corresponding respect for the church and its dignitaries.
Justice, liberality, and frankness have equally attached to this
Godfrey the lower class of the people. His general attention
to moral obligations is a pledge to them that his religion is
real ; and, gifted with so much that is excellent, he is already,
although inferior in rank, birth, and power to many chiefs of
the crusade, justly regarded as one of its principal leaders.'

' Pity,' said the Emperor, ' that a character such as you
describe this prince to be should be under the dominion of a
fanaticism scarce worthy of Peter the Hermit , or the clownish
multitude which he led, or of the very ass which he rode upon ;
which I am apt to think the wisest of the first multitude whom
we beheld, seeing that it ran away towards Europe as soon as
water and barley became scarce.'…’

Peter the Hermit of Amiens is the famous charismatic leader of the People’s Crudade to regain the Holy Land.  Peter led a peasant army of 40,000, which among other accomplishments, landed him in Walter Scott’s “Count Robert of Paris”.  Emperor Alexius’ speech portrays Peter as many people of the time – and later – felt.  Peter’s death is placed on July 8, in 1108.

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