What Happened When Thousands of Children Tried To Start a Crusade?

How the children were gathered for the crusade? Myths and realities



Painting depicting Children’s Crusade by famous painter Gustave Doré

InIn 1212 children’s crusade started to establish a second Latin kingdom in the holy land. Nicholas and Stephen were the leaders of the Children’s crusade. Although this crusade was not official, it successfully gathered a mass to move toward the holy land. Historians have widely questioned that either it was a mass movement impelled by two personalities in different regions of Europe or a gathering of young people flowing in emotions?

Both of the leaders of the children’s crusade, later on, came to be known in history by the names Nicholas of Cologne, and Stephen of Cloyes. Both of these started this expedition from two different geographical regions. Stephen led the crusade from France and Nicholas from Germany.

How did the children’s crusade begin?

Indeed these two guys, one from Germany and the other from France floated a very interesting narrative to urge people to their campaign of children’s crusade.

They told that they have met Jesus in their dreams. They were instructed to move towards Jerusalem with bands of children to convert Muslims to Christianity and establish a kingdom.

Soon this narrative was popular to such an extent that they gathered around 30,000 children around them. This number of children is also widely questioned by historians as all the narratives about the children’s crusade do not produce a brief account of this whole event. ( This would be discussed in the latter part of the article)

Indeed, this was the first time in history that such a big number of children were moving together to participate in a move to overthrow a rule and to establish the sway of another.

Mythical stories which encouraged children’s crusade

The primary encouragement for children as well their parents to send them for the crusades was the reference to the dream that Jesus has desired to begin an expedition for peaceful conversion of the Muslims. Another was that they would find any easy passage through the sea as it would be parted and they…