Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Jay Rubenstein

Committee Members

Thomas Burman, Jacob Latham, Rachel Golden


This dissertation examines Raymond of Saint-Gilles’ regional affiliation in Occitania (modern southern France) and the effect of that identity on his conduct of the First Crusade. Crusade historiography has not paid much attention to regional difference, but Raymond’s case shows that Occitanians approached crusading in a fundamentally different manner from other crusaders. They placed apocalyptic eschatology in the forefront of the First Crusade and portraying the First Crusade as bringing about the New Jerusalem. To be Occitanian was not merely to be a speaker of Occitan. It was to be part of a Mediterranean culture, halfway between classical Roman and medieval Frank, with a religious culture influenced by Greek saints, Egyptian monasticism, an intellectually and culturally vigorous Jewish population, and repeated Arab invasions and pirate raids. It was also to be imbued with romanitas, a close connection to Rome, to both the Papacy and the material, legal, and cultural legacy of the Roman Empire. At the same time, Raymond was not the only important figure to go on the First Crusade from Occitania. The papal legate, Adhemar of Le Puy, came from the Auvergne, a radically different region where the reaction to the collapse of the Carolingian empire led to a region ruled by the clergy, supported by idol-like statues of saints and organized through the Peace of God. These two disparate identities came together in the First Crusade, a Gregorian Reformist venture conceived and organized with Occitanian leadership. This team, the new Moses and Aaron of the crusaders, effectively followed papal policy in the early stages of the crusade. With the traumatic siege of Antioch and the “discovery” of the Holy Lance, however, a radical shift in the crusade occurred, following the eschatological visions of a handful of Occitanian priests. Though the Kingdom of God did not, in the end, appear, the apocalyptic eschatology that the Occitanians brought with them on the First Crusade led to Raymond of Saint-Gilles refusing the crown of Jerusalem, preferring to leave empty-handed than risk becoming the Antichrist.

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