Western Reserve Public Media

The People’s Crusade

As the pope was getting knights, warriors, supplies and plans collected, the story of a great crusade spread through the countryside. Common people wanted to join up and they eventually chose as their leader a man known in history as “Little Peter.” In 1096, Peter led a band of uneducated and unprepared people in what is now known as the People’s Crusade. In order to make the journey, though, the crusaders needed money. The common people preparing to leave with Little Peter for the Holy Land found the money in the only place they could justify. Throughout Europe, 10,000 Jews were stabbed, dismembered and killed for their gold by the Christian crusaders. When this particular holocaust was finished, the People’s Crusade had plenty of money and over 100,000 followers.

Little Peter’s army was rich but not well-led or well-trained. The army trashed and pillaged Christian towns as it traveled. When it finally did arrive in Byzantine and met with Emperor Comena, it was a terrifying band of wild people. Comena helped Little Peter’s army get through his country and on toward the Turks, who promptly slaughtered the soldiers. The better-looking people were sold into slavery, but most died. The year was 1096.


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