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  on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 17.00 p.m.

Women Behaving Badly? Illicit Sex in the Armies of the First Crusade (1096-1099)

Faculty Tower, Room #409


Dr. Alan V. Murray

University of Leeds

The crusade launched by Pope Urban II in 1095 had the aim of providing an opportunity for personal penitence as well as liberating the Holy Land from Turkish rule. It thus seems strange that so many of the Latin sources that describe the expedition devote considerable discussion to accounts of illicit sex: lust, debauchery, fornication, adultery, and even prostitution. This lecture will examine the many examples in which women were criticised explicitly or implicitly for illicit sexual behaviour, and seek to explain why obsessions with sexual morality grew in the course of the crusade.

Alan V. Murray studied Medieval History, German, and Folk Studies at the universities of St Andrews, Salzburg and Freiburg. He is currently Lecturer in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds and Editor of the International Medieval Bibliography. He has written numerous studies on the crusades and the Latin states of Outremer, medieval chronicles, and Middle High German literature. His publications include the monograph The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Dynastic History, 1099-1125 (2000), the collection Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier (2001) and the 4-volume reference work The Crusades: An Encyclopedia (2006). His most recent work has been on the logistics and practical dimensions of how major military expeditions functioned in the central Middle Ages.

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