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[Tidbits] The Crusaders

The Crusaders

The 11th to the 15th centuries. The links between craftsmen and church
are bonded with gold. Alters are encrusted with gems. Pilgrims flock
to the cathedral of Chartres, bringing with them silks and jewels
with which to adorn the images of saints and the vestments of priests.
Jewelry for the woman of the day reflects the influence of the church
with pendants and brooches in gold miniatures of saints complete with
stone canopies.

But juxtaposition of gems and church presents the greatest curiosity
in history. Bands of Crusaders go forth to rescue the Holy Land from
the infidel. Anybody here know the difference between a Crusader and a
Marauder? If you’re doing it for the Church…you’re a Crusader. If
you’re doing it for yourself, you’re a Marauder. Either way…it’s
loot they bring back. Religion is militant. The Church benefits with a
vengeance. Monumental numbers of precious stones and engraved gems are
brought back from the forays. The spoils of war are “rescued” and put
to devotional use. To the people of the Middle Ages…all is as it
should be.

Vestments of the clergy are heavily laden with gems and gold fibulas.
The fact that much of the booty worn by the clergy usually represented
figures of Roman or Greek mythology means not a whit. Monks and
Bishops wear rings bearing the images of Hercules, or Hermes, or
Cupid. They change the meanings. Cupid with wings…it’s an angel.
Venus…a female…is the Madonna. No one explains how the
infidelsfrom whom this jewelry is "rescued"happened to carve
Christian saints and angels. All that counts is that the jewelry is
rescued, dagnabbed.

Well then…there it is in microcosm. The Marauder’s dream of the
Middle Ages. License to loot…as long as you turned most of it over
to the “proper” owners. Did the Crusaders keep any of this jewelry
for themselves? One can only guess. And if and when they kept some
for themselves…were the still Crusaders… or were they now
Marauders? Bah. Who cares? A rose by any other name…or something
like that. By a show of hands, how many of you would like to see a
fibula of those times? Wow! All of you? I yam impressed. Okay. Go for

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the table menu till you get to the box that says
Tidbits…and inside the box where it says Tidbit Graphics…click on
the link that says: Fibula…where you will see a rendering of an
Eagle Fibula.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark