The Children’s Crusade

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The long-standing view of the Children’s Crusade is some version of events with similar themes. A boy began preaching in either France or Germany claiming that he had been visited by Jesus and told to lead the next Crusade. Through a series of supposed portents and miracles he gained a considerable following, including possibly as many as 20,000 children. He led his followers southwards towards the Mediterranean Sea, where it is said he believed that the sea would part when he arrived, so that he and his followers could march to Jerusalem, but this did not happen. Two merchants gave passage on seven boats to as many of the children as would fit. The children were either taken to Tunisia and sold into slavery, or died in a shipwreck on the island of San Pietro (off Sardinia) during a gale. In some accounts they never reached the sea before dying or giving up from starvation and exhaustion. Scholarship has shown this long-standing view to be more legend than fact.