Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Cynthia Chapman
Joyce Babyak

Committee Member(s)

Cynthia Chapman
Joyce Babyak
Emilia Bachrach


First Crusade, Queen Melisende psalter, Psalter, Crusader art, Forgiveness, Pope Urban II


During and following the First Crusade of 1095, Christian understandings of religious violence and forgiveness became closely intertwined. Pope Urban II’s Call to Crusade established a violent pilgrimage as a form of penitence, conflating forgiveness with religious violence. This coalescence shifted understandings of forgiveness as documented through early Crusader art. Looking specifically at Queen Melisende’s Psalter (c. 1131), a history of religious violence surrounding the Crusading Kingdom emerges, showing the intimate relationship between violence and forgiveness that dictated Christianity during this period. By examining the First Crusade and the Psalter, a new understanding of forgiveness and religious violence emerges. Through these two separate instances of Crusader understandings of forgiveness, I argue that there is lingering Crusader guilt surrounding the misappropriation of religious violence as put forth by Urban II, revealed through the Psalter’s portrayal of King David’s biblical journey through sin and violence towards servitude to God.