Women Crusaders: “Quod Super His” by Pope Innocent III

Even in my SCA days, the only women crusaders (mulieribus crucesignatis) I ever had heard of were the womenfolk of the king of Jerusalem’s family, and Queen Eleanor’s party Amazons.

But Pope Innocent III wrote to the Bishop of Canterbury a letter known as “Quod super his,” which says that women could go to the Holy Land with their fighting husbands if they wanted, or lead bands of trained warriors at their own expense.

There seems to be a lot of talk about this letter on the internet, but not so much in the way of actual transcripts. Sigh. But anyway, it’s in Patrologia Latina 216, 1261-2.

“But concerning the women, we believe this ought to be heeded — that those who will not stay back may follow their men who are going. Surely the rest (except those perchance who are rich, who may lead warriors at their own expense) may redeem the [Crusading] vow they have vowed by having diligently influenced others to help the Holy Land, each according to their own means.”

About these ads

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Women Crusaders: “Quod Super His” by Pope Innocent III

  1. PFC

    Great post. Some other observations: though most people don’t know it, male crusaders were not allowed to go on crusade without the permission of their wives. (The reasoning being the wives were being deprived of their “marital dues,” inter alia, which is a good thing to remind people who say the Church is anti-sex.) Innocent did change that, actually, saying men could go without their wives’ permission, because it was already getting very hard to get people to crusade by 1215…but canon lawyers agreed, and still do agree, that he didn’t have the legal right to do that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s