The 1096 People's Crusade were joined mostly by peasants, led by the priest Peter the Hermit independently of their lords. What was the status of these peasants' trip? Were they free to take trips and not serve their lords, or did this fall under some exception, or did they violate their feudal obligation by going on this trip?

  • Hasn't there always until 20th century been an excess of mouths to feed. Meaning if you can convince people to take of to either die or live from someone else's land. Don't stop them Dec 30, 2016 at 20:44
  • 1
    @AkselWillgert No. There have been times where peasants were forced to stay on their land, and there have been times where there was a deficit of workers. Apr 28, 2017 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


The crusade may have been incited by the testimonies of Peter the Hermit, but it was endorsed by Pope Urban the Second:

... Pope Urban the Second who presided at the assembly seconded the proposition of Peter the Hermit with so much force and eloquence that the whole council exclaimed unanimously "God wills it; let us depart!!"

and from the same page:

Neither Phillip of France nor the other European monarchs joined the league but permitted their vassals and subjects to follow the general movement.

The above From The Universal Chronologist, and Historical Register, from the ..., Volume 1 By William Henry Ireland, Joseph Martin

So, it appears that these peasants probably had permission from their respective lords, as it was being endorsed by the Pope, and supporting a cause endorsed by the church would have possibly curried favor for these nobles, while refusal could have incurred the churches wrath.

  • If Phillip of France permitted his vassals to join, that would not cover the entire French peasantry? Most of them had smaller lords that they had to obey, right?
    – user69715
    Apr 28, 2017 at 20:27
  • I would guess most lower level nobles would have followed suit, if they had the resources to do so, and out of fear of reprisal or being singles out for 'not contributing'.
    – justCal
    Apr 28, 2017 at 21:08
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    @user69715 No, because the serfs were outside the network of vassalage. They were just serfs - an appendage to the land, basically. Oct 15, 2017 at 10:14

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