Church History:  The 1100s


What happened in this century?

  • The Second and Third Crusades took place.

  • The Cistercian Order will become prominent in Europe.  By the end of the century 500 monasteries will connected to the Cistercian Order.

  • Scholasticism developed.

Contact Mark Nickens, Ph.D. in Church History, at  Questions, comments, and observations are welcome!


2011 Mark Nickens


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late 1000s and early 1100s        Origination of Scholasticism.  This movement to understand Christian doctrine through intellectual pursuits lasted until around 1500.  This idea flows from Augustine's maxim to "understand in order to believe, believe in order to understand."  The Scholastics did not try to convince people to have faith through reason, but believed that once you have faith you can use reason to develop a deeper understanding of God (as opposed to using experiences or mystical methods). 

1109        Anselm of Caterbury died.  He was an early proponent of Scholasticism.  His most famous work is the ontological argument for God.  To read this go here

1112        Bernard of Clairvaux joined the Cistercian Order.  Three years later he will open a monastery in Clairvaux.  Eventually he will become the greatest proponent of this Order.  To read some of Bernard's spiritual classic, "On Loving God," click here.

1144        Sultan of Aleppo captured Edessa; this prompted the Second Crusade.  Edessa was located in the northern part of the land the Crusaders had captured and was the capital of the crusader state known as the County of Edessa. 

1145        Eugenius III became pope.  He was a former student of Bernard of Clairvaux. 

app. 1146-47        Second Crusade begins.  This Crusade was called to recaptured land that had been lost to the Muslims.  For the most part, it was unsuccessful.  Louis VII of France and many others took up the cross (joined the Crusade) in 1146.  Pope Eugenius III enlisted Bernard of Clairvaux to preach this Crusade.  This is the one stain on Bernard's character. 

1153        Bernard of Clairvaux died.

1170        Dominic was born.

1179        The decision was made at the Third Lateran Council that the college of cardinals would decide who replaced a deceased pope. 

1181/2        Francis of Assisi is born.

1187        The Muslim leader Saladin entered the kingdom of Jerusalem and annihilated a Christian army near Lake Tiberias.  The king of Jerusalem was made prisoner.  Saladin then marched on Jerusalem, which surrendered on September 17

1188        Third Crusade.  Led by Philip II of France, Richard I (the Lionhearted) of England, and Frederick I (Barbarossa), the Holy Roman Emperor of Germany.  Barbarossa died in 1190 while attempting to cross a river on horseback.  The overall goal of this Crusade was to recapture Jerusalem.  Richard and Philip did recapture much territory in the Holy Land (what had been the Crusader states.)  Nevertheless, Richard was not able to conquer Jerusalem.  He had a large enough army to do so, but he knew that he would not be able to hold Jerusalem against the certain counter-attack.  Therefore he and Saladin (the Muslim leader) agreed to a truce.  Richard's men and Christian pilgrims were allowed to visit the holy places in Jerusalem instead. 


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Secondary Sources

Riley-Smith, Jonathan.  The Crusades:  A History.  Second Edition.  1987, 2005.  ISBN:  0300101287.