Crusaders were not just soldiers and merchants as is commonly believed – but also scholars

On July 15, 1099, the armies of the First Crusade, which had departed from their European homelands about three years earlier, broke into Jerusalem and conquered it. This marked the beginning of an almost 200-year period in which the Holy Land was ruled by a Latin Catholic elite. Latins arrived for a wide range of motives, contributing to the development of what is referred to in scholarly discourse as “Frankish society”. It is often assumed that the Western population that settled in the Holy Land had very little interest in learning. Thus, for example, the late British historian Steven Runciman wrote in his influential Aeon.