Henry of Livonia & the Baltic Crusades
Missions to the Baltic are a little known aspect of the Crusading era. Although these missions clearly fed off of and fostered the crusading zeal, there is some debate as to whether or not they should all be considered crusades. While the campaigns against the Wends and Prussians were authorized by papal bulls and officially recognized as crusades, it is unclear whether the campaigns to Livonia and Esthonia in the 13th century can be rightfully called crusades. These campaigns seem, in some ways, motivated more by economic than religious concerns. They received only unofficial and inconstant papal endorsement, and never enjoyed the same number and status of pilgrims as the crusades to the Holy Land. Yet they were missions organized to convert the Baltic to Christianity and, as such, did receive some level of papal support. Can they, then, be considered crusades?
Indulgences throughout the Crusades
It is important, first, to consider the nature of the crusading ideal. The First crusade was preached on the basis of two ideals, one concrete and one symbolic. The first was that Christian pilgrims were being physically harmed in the Holy Land. The second was that the Holy Land was the land of Christ. Thus, it was imperative to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. To anyone who would do this, Pope Urban granted remission of sins.
It was not until the Second crusade that the first papal bull regarding the crusades was issued. Eugenius’