“War has been aptly described as ‘a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships.’ The First Crusade was especially psychotic. From all accounts, the Crusaders seemed half-crazed. For three years [on their march from Europe to Jerusalem] they had had no normal dealings with the world around them, and prolonged terror and malnutrition made them susceptible to abnormal states of mind.
“They were fighting an enemy that was not only culturally but ethnically different — a factor that, as we have found in our own day, tends to nullify normal inhibitions — and when they fell on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, they slaughtered some thirty thousand people in three days. ‘They killed all the Saracens and Turks they found,’ the author of the Deeds of the Franks reported approvingly.
” ‘They killed everyone, male or female.’ The streets ran with blood. Jews were rounded up into their synagogue and put to the sword, and ten thousand Muslims who had sought sanctuary in the Haram al-Sharif were brutally massacred. ‘Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen,’ wrote the Provencal chronicler, Raymond of Aguilers: ‘Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers.’ ”
Page 214, Fields of Blood, by Karen Armstrong (Anchor A. Knopf, 2014)