Peter the Hermit

Peter the Hermit
Peter the Hermit points the way to Jerusalem. Adapted from a 13th-century illuminated manuscript of Roman du Chevalier du Cygne. Public Domain; courtesy of Wikimedia

Peter the Hermit Was Also Known As

Cucu Peter, Little Peter or Peter of Amiens

Peter the Hermit Was Known For

Preaching Crusade throughout France and Germany, and instigating the movement of common folk that became known as the Crusade of the Poor People.



Places of Residence and Influence

Important Dates

Born: c. 1050
Disaster at Civetot: Oct. 21, 1096
Died: July 8, 1115

About Peter the Hermit

Peter the Hermit may have visited the Holy Land in 1093, but it wasn't until after Pope Urban II made his speech in 1095 that he began a tour of France and Germany, preaching the merits of crusade as he went. Peter's speeches appealed not only to trained knights, who usually followed their princes and kings on crusade, but to laborers, tradesmen, and peasants. It was these untrained and disorganized folk who followed Peter the Hermit most eagerly to Constantinople in what became known as "The People's Crusade" or "The Crusade of the Poor People."

In spring of 1096, Peter the Hermit and his followers left Europe for Constantinople, then moved on to Nicomedia in August. But, as an inexperienced leader, Peter had trouble maintaining discipline among his unruly troops, and he returned to Constantinople to seek assistance from Byzantine Emperor Alexius. While he was gone the bulk of Peter's forces was slaughtered by the Turks at Civetot.

Disheartened, Peter almost returned home. Eventually, however, he made his way to Jerusalem, and just before the city was stormed he preached a sermon on the Mount of Olives. A few years after the capture of Jerusalem, Peter the Hermit returned to France, where he established an Augustinian monastery at Neufmoustier.

More Peter the Hermit Resources

Catholic Encyclopedia: Peter the Hermit - Concise biography by Louis Brehier.

Peter the Hermit and the Popular Crusade: Collected Accounts - Collection of documents taken from August. C. Krey's 1921 publication, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants.

The text of this document is copyright ©2011 Melissa Snell. You may download or print this document for personal or school use, as long as the URL below is included. Permission is not granted to reproduce this document on another website. 

The URL for this document is:​