Fragments of Devotion: Relics and Remembrance in the Time of the Fourth Crusade, 1204-1248


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




In 1204 European crusaders captured the Byzantine city of Constantinople, established a Latin Empire in Greece and in the years that followed French knights sent hundreds of precious objects and relics from Greek treasuries and chapels to their homeland. This study analyzes the movement and meaning of these objects of devotion within the social and familial networks of northern France. Moving beyond a narrative of military events, this study offers a new history of the materiality of crusading, of the role of women and remembrance, and of the changes in religious ideas and practices that the import of eastern relics precipitated. As the crusades failed militarily during the thirteenth century, the appropriated fragments of devotion recreated the Holy Land in the religious landscape of France.