How were Christian and Pagan relationships before the Crusades started?

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The first Crusade was in 1095 and lasted for 200 years (per wikipedia). Was the relationships civil, hostile, tolerant.

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Bored Lord

They were different…back then the Pagans were the majority and had the power…Egyptians and Romans etc…

It's just me :)

One would have since a great part of the Crusades was a fight against pagans that the relationship was not so great to begin with. 🙂


Could you perhaps elaborate a little on what you feel is the connection between the Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land from its Muslim invaders and Christians relationships with Pagans?


The crusades involved the Roman Catholic Church, and they were the Pagans right? And the Catholics (Pagans) killed the Christians which wouldn’t accept the paganized false christianity of the Catholic Church.
That’s the truth about who were the Pagans, and who were the Christians. The Crusades were 2 false religions battling it out with one another. Not Christian vs. Pagans.

That Damned Heathen

Where? Which Pagans? The differences between the people in, say, “Germany” and “Spain” would give you a different answer for this question. And if you take into consideration that during that time many Christians believed the Muslims were Pagan *shrug*
I guess one way to look at it, is to look at America. In some places Pagans are accepted, in others they get death threats if they open a store.


At that time in the areas where Christians already had control Paganism had been pretty much wiped out (and was suppressed wherever it appeared).


Depends on the region and the point of view. In Northern Europe the indigenous faith system is not hostile toward those outside it. Because it is a polytheistic system we do not deny any deity. Because it is a very personal relationship with the divine, we don’t expect others to believe the same things we do or even practice the same way we do even if they share a base faith. So my ancestors were not only tolerant, they most likely would have looked at this new, foreign faith with a bit of curiosity but nothing else. They wouldn’t have even argued with these foreigners or tried to get them to understand the Germanic/Nordic Heathen point of view. It wasn’t until forced christianization through torture and murder of men, women and children who refused to convert became common that my ancestors got downright nasty about things. We learned very quickly that violence was the only thing the followers of this new deity seemed to respect, so we gave it right back and learned to hide in plain sight. This is why the old churches are covered in Heathen symbols and even though the Nordic countries are all christian countries with a state sanctioned and tax supported official church most people have never set foot in one of “their” churches and our old customs never died out. As a matter of fact, the christians adopted a lot of our traditions and simply melded them with their own.
Heathens, Pagans and other “others” in Nordic countries have never viewed matters of faith as a reason to dislike another or act against them. We were always very tolerant until we were given a reason to NOT be tolerant. We modern followers of those older traditional and cultural faith systems are the same way to this very day. “We’ll keep our gods and you keep yours” is another way of saying “live and let live” and has pretty much been the Heathen outlook on foreign faiths forever and holds true to us to this day. We’re so attached to that outlook that it’s not unusual at all to NOT know which deity(ies) your friends follow. It’s a personal relationship with the divine even in the christian POV in many places and therefore it is not advertised in daily life. It’s actually considered quite rude in many places to “spread the word” or malign another person’s faith.

Captain Jack

The crusades weren’t with pagans, they were with Muslims.


depends on who you are asking about. Between the leaders of the countries and the religious leaders… Hostile. Between the masses? either civil or tolerant depending on if they were merchants, or just the regular people who never traveled? Usually Civil or tolerant, unless their opinion was colored by the church then it was hostile. Most so called holy wars were excuses by the rulers to take the lands of other countries so they blamed it on GOD’s will.


The Crusades were unrealted to Pagan religions. The Crusades were conducted by Christian European forces against Muslims who had forced Byzantine forces out of Egypt and the Levant. That was mainly a pretext for a war to attempt to win control of Levantine and Mediterranean trade corridors. In fact, relations between the the Byzantines and European Kingdoms was little better than those with the Caliphates.
As for the Pagans, at this point European Kingdoms had little contact with them, as European Paganism was confined to areas beyond their control and there was only limited contact (the rest had been converted, one way or the other). Only the Nordic countries retained any significant Pagan culture by 1000 CE. The last great Pagan civilizations of the Middle East (Persia and Yemen) had fallen to Islamic forces centuries before, and European countries had no direct contact with the Indian and Chinese civilizations and this point.

Sim - plicimus

Before the crusades? I understand there were a lot of intramural bowling leagues…..
n a more serious note, the relationship between pagans and Christians were much the same during the crusades as before them. Paganism was not endorsed by the residual states of the Roman Empire. There were very few pagans about, and for the most part – wisely – kept their heads down.


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