Fascinating this on the First Crusade and its modern misinterpretation, from Simon Sebag-Montefiore’s ‘biography’ of Jerusalem:
The Crusade offered personal adventure, the removal of thousands of troublemaking knights and freebooters, and escape from home. But the modern idea, promoted in Hollywood movies and in the backlash after the disaster of the 2003 Iraqi war, that crusading was just an opportunity for enrichment with sadistic dividends, is wrong. A handful of princes created new fiefdoms and a few Crusaders made their careers, whereas the costs were punishing and many lives and fortunes were lost in this quixotic and risky but pious enterprise. A spirit was abroad that is hard for modern people to grasp: Christians were being offered the opportunity to earn the forgiveness of all sins. In short, these warrior-pilgrims were overwhelmingly believers seeking salvation on the battlements of Jerusalem.