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On 27 November 395, shortly after the remains of Theodosius had been interred beside the tombs of Constantine and his successors in Constantinople, the eastern praetorian prefect Fl. Rufinus was murdered by troops outside the capital. Zosimus' narrative of the incident, deriving from Eunapius, adds that Rufinus' widow and daughter escaped with a safe conduct to sail to Jerusalem, ‘which had once been the dwelling of the Jews, but from the reign of Constantine had been embellished with buildings by the Christians’. As the only glimpse of the fourth-century development of Jerusalem from outside the Christian tradition, Zosimus' passing remark is not without interest – even if no more than a casual and seemingly unpartisan aside. We cannot unfortunately make comparisons with what, if anything, Eunapius' contemporary Ammianus Marcellinus had said on the subject in his lost narrative of Constantine; but to judge from the Constantinian back-references in the surviving books it is unlikely to have been sympathetic – certainly no more so than his lukewarm endorsement of Julian's later attempt at restoring the Jewish Temple to Jerusalem, which Ammianus attributed merely to a desire ‘to perpetuate the memory of his reign with great public works’.
A major problem for the student of a relatively new discipline or sub-discipline is the construction of a framework within which to operate. In the case of the economic, social and legal position of women in the Middle Ages the only clear thing is that the lines are slowly being redrawn, although more perhaps with respect to the central Middle Ages than to the earlier period. In fact, despite the paucity of evidence there has always been a surprising degree of agreement about the early Middle Ages. A wide range of authors from Lina Eckenstein to Eileen Power, Lady Stenton and Suzanne Wemple have regarded the period, from roughly the sixth to the ninth centuries, as one of ‘rough equality’ (to use Stenton's words) between men and women in general, and as a period of veneration, even elevation, of female religious. As for the later period, there is a much wider range of opinion, much of it conflicting. Speaking of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, Brian Tierney and Sidney Painter, in a popular general work, conclude that: ‘Evidence of the general improvement in the status of women is fairly extensive.’ The elevation of marriage to sacrament status in the twelfth century is undoubtedly seen by some as part of this process: ‘C'est dans la réforme du mariage qu'il faut chercher les germes les plus vigoureux de l'amélioration dont bénéficie la condition féminine à partir du XIIe siècle, même si cette amélioration n'est ni continue ni générate.’ By contrast, other works suggest that an earlier golden age for women came to an end in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as an even more male-dominated feudal society reached its zenith in terms of order and definition.
The lurches from Catholicism to Protestantism and back which occurred in the reigns of Henry VIII, his son and two daughters produced dramatic changes in the liturgies, decorative fittings, and even, on occasions, the architecture of the country's cathedrals. Yet, despite these changes, there was a real sense in which cathedrals were at the eye of the confessional storms which raged about them. It is true that, as part of the Henrician reform process, the monastic corporations at Carlisle, Durham, Peterborough, Ely, Norwich, Canterbury, Rochester, Osney, Winchester, Westminster, Gloucester, Worcester and Bristol had been first dissolved and then refounded as ‘cathedrals of the new foundation’, the monks replaced by minor canons and prebendaries. Once this upheaval was over, however, the new foundation cathedrals underwent little further institutional change. Those cathedrals which had been staffed by secular priests before the Reformation (known as cathedrals of the old foundation), moreover, survived almost wholly untouched. In both new and old foundations, the same administrative and financial structures continued to support dignitaries and liturgical officers whose only obvious function remained the celebration of liturgy, despite the rejection of opus Dei and its accompanying theology of good works.
By and large, the western world received the news of the Nazi-Soviet Pact (23 August 1939) with horror and a sick apprehension of what would come next. Quite different was the response of Guy Crouchback, the fictional hero of Evelyn Waugh's Sword of honour trilogy on the Second World War:
News that shook the politicians and young poets of a dozen capitals brought deep peace to one English heart [He had] expected his country to go to war in a panic, for the wrong reasons or for no reason at all, with the wrong allies, in pitiful weakness. But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle.
On 24 December 1144 'Imad ad-Din Zengi, the Muslim ruler of Aleppo and Mosul, captured the Christian city of Edessa. This was the most serious setback suffered by the Frankish settlers in the Levant since their arrival in the region at the end of the eleventh century. In reaction the rulers of Antioch and Jerusalem dispatched envoys to the west appealing for help. The initial efforts of Pope Eugenius in and King Louis VII of France met with little response, but at Easter 1146, at Vézelay, Bernard of Clairvaux led a renewed call to save the Holy Land and the Second Crusade began to gather momentum. As the crusade developed, its aims grew beyond an expedition to the Latin East and it evolved into a wider movement of Christian expansion encom-passing further campaigns against the pagan Wends in the Baltic and the Muslims of the Iberian peninsula. One particular group of men participated in two elements of the crusade; namely, the northern Europeans who sailed via the Iberian peninsula to the Holy Land. In thecourse of this journey they achieved the major success of the Second Crusade when they captured the city of Lisbon in October 1147. This article will consider how this aspect of the expedition fitted into the conception of the crusade as a whole and will try to establish when Lisbon became the principal target for the crusaders. St Bernard's preaching tour of the Low Countries emerges as an important, yet hitherto neglected, event.