The Crusades >> The
First Crusade >> Bishop Adhemar
The papal legate for the First Crusade was Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy.
Adhemar was a bishop of the old school, well able to ride a horse and to
wear armor. Adhemar would demonstrate his military ability more than once on
A papal legate was someone chosen by the pope to act on his behalf in a
certain matter. A legate might be sent to negotiate a treaty, to settle a
dispute, even to crown a king if the pope himself could not go. In choosing
a legate to accompany the crusade, Pope Urban was clearly signalling that
the papacy should be represented in all that the crusade might accomplish.
More than this is not known. Did Urban intend that the crusade should be
led by the Church rather than by the laity? Did he mean that Adhemar should
become the Patriarch of Jerusalem? The sources don't say, and Adhemar died
at Antioch, so it cannot be deciphered from his actions, either. All armies
were accompanied by priests--perhaps since the pope had called this army
into existence, he merely was providing a chief priest for the expedition.
The answer to this question cannot be determined, but the larger question
will recur throughout the twelfth century: who should lead a crusade? Was a
crusade only called into existence by a pope? Should it be directed only
toward those ends he set? What if the crusaders diverged from those
In the case of the First Crusade, the lay lords took command early and
kept it throughout.