What we think we know
Over dinner with wife Karen, daughter Sarah and her friend Pamela, in passing the Children’s Crusade was mentioned.
Seventeen year old Pamela said she had never heard of the Children’s Crusade. Karen said much the same. I explained that it took place during the Middle Ages and children from Western Europe marched in great numbers to the Middle East with the conviction that God would enable them to convert the Muslim’s to Christianity and thus restore access to the Holy Land. Those who didn’t starve along the way were sold into slavery.
To which Pamela opined “It sounds stupid to me.”
One of the reasons I recall that particular crusade so well is we had read a novel concerning it in junior high school and, in the mid-1950s, I had studied it in my college history course on the Middle Ages.
So not wanting to pass up a teaching opportunity, I left the table, snuck out to the library, checked Google for the Children’s Crusade, and came across the following from Wikipedia:
“The Children’s Crusade is the name given to a disastrous Crusade by European Catholics to expel Muslims from the Holy Land said to have taken place in 1212. The traditional narrative is probably conflated from some factual and mythical notions of the period including visions by a French or German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity, bands of children marching to Italy, and children being sold into slavery. A study published in 1977 casts doubt on the existence of these events, and many historians came to believe that they were not (or not primarily) children but multiple bands of ‘wandering poor’ in Germany and France, some of whom tried to reach the Holy Land and others who never intended to do so. Early versions of events, of which there are many variations told over the centuries, are largely apocryphal .”
Appears that Pamela was right: The idea of a mass children’s march was “stupid.” And I uncritically had accepted it.
So my concern is how many other things that I am certain about are not correct? And how about you?