Fulk Nerra

In the year 1000, the county of Anjou (in west-central France) was ruled by Fulk Nerra, a brutal and rapacious warlord…

But for all the blood on his hands, Fulk was also a committed Christian–one who recognised that his brutish ways were, by the tenet of his faith, inherently sinful, and thus might lead to his eternal damnation. The count himself admitted in a letter that he had “caused a great deal of bloodshed in various battles” and was therefore “terrified by the fear of Hell”. In the hope of purifying his soul, he made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, more than 2,000 miles away. On the last of these journeys, now an old man, Fulk was said to have been led naked to the Holy Sepulchre–the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection–with a leash around his neck, being beaten by his servant, while he begged Christ for forgiveness.

Thomas Asbridge, The Crusades (2010), pp. 4-5.

About brucelarochelle

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