For this writing assignment, choose one of the prompts below and write an informal letter to a friend or family member. You need to put yourself in the shoes of someone living during the applicable time period. Modern notions of law, justice, etc. are not relevant, for example. Even though this is an informal letter, you need to include direct evidence from the required readings (quoted material) to support your ideas.
Your letter must be at least three full pages long, excluding the title page / header and bibliography. The sources provided must be the foundation of your paper. You do not need any “outside” sources to complete your assignment successfully.
Although the writing itself is informal, because you are still required to use source material, you must also include APA.
- In November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont to organize the First Crusade. In April the following year, Peter the Hermit led a band of untrained and unskilled peasants through the Rhineland (modern day Germany) on the way to the Holy Lands. This particular expedition came to be known as the People’s Crusade or the Peasants’ Crusade. As Peter and his followers marched through the Rhineland, they massacred entire Jewish communities that they encountered, occasionally offering to spare some lives if the would-be victims agreed to convert to Christianity instead. Historians have argued that “probably one-fourth to one-third of the Jewish population of Germany and Northern France at that time” were murdered during the Crusade. Who was Urban II’s “intended target” for the First Crusade? Did Peter the Hermit act in accordance with the Pope’s wishes? Using at least three of the versions of Urban II’s speech at Clermont, write a letter to a friend or family member justifying or condemning the People’s/Peasants’ Crusade. Be sure to keep your reasoning within the proper historical context (medieval Europe). For example, the idea that no one should be killed or persecuted based on their religion is not relevant.
The link below provides all five excerpts. You will need to refer to the author of each one and / or include it at the beginning of your citation to illustrate exactly which excerpts you are using.
- “Urban II (1088-109): Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, Five Versions of the Speech.” Medieval Sourcebook. 20 January 2021. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/urban2-5vers.asp.
- In 1215, Pope Innocent III called together the Fourth Lateran Council to discuss reforms within the Catholic Church. The result was the acceptance of 70 tenets concerning the conduct of clergy, the authority of the Pope, communion, and confession. Write a letter to a friend or family member explaining why you approve of two of the canons and why you disapprove of or question two others. Be sure to keep your reasoning within the proper historical context (medieval Europe).
The link below provides the full text of all 70 canons plus much shorter summaries. I recommend perusing the summaries in order to decide which of the decrees you want to discuss, but you should use the actual texts when referring to them in your paper.
- “Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215.” Medieval Sourcebook. 20 January 2021. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/lateran4.asp.
- In part of his book, Formicarious, Dominican scholar Johannes Nider wrote about the experience of a husband and wife who were accused of witchcraft. Both were ultimately executed as a result of the charges against them. Using the excerpt from Nider’s work along with evidence from Pope Innocent VIII’s papal bull and excerpts from the Malleus Maleficarum, write a letter to a friend or family member explaining why you think the couple should or should not have been executed. Be sure to keep your reasoning within the proper historical context (medieval Europe). Modern notions of law, justice, etc. are not relevant, for example.
The links below are the same, but I have provided a citation for each individual excerpt to help you keep them separate in your own citations.
- Innocent VIII. “Witchcraft Documents [15th Century]: Bull Summis desiderantes, Dec. 5th, 1484.” Medieval Sourcebook. 20 January 2021. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/witches1.asp.
- Kramer, Heinrich. “Extracts from The Hammer of Witches [Malleus Maleficarum], 1486.” Medieval History Sourcebook. 20 January 2021. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/witches1.asp.
- Nider, Johannes. Formicarius. “The Ant Hill.” Medieval History Sourcebook. 20 January 2021. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/witches1.asp.