Saint Gilles between the year 1000 and 1200 is a city of 30000 inhabitants its fair has an international reputation, its seaport is open on the Rhone, and Europe. It prospers, with an educated elite, troubadours of sculptors of a level that will be found only in the Renaissance. Cathar, Jew, Arab, traded there with either Genoa or Constantinople.
Despite all the geostrategic advantages, despite the millennial existence and wealth of this free city, with its tribunal, its wealthy lords, its already known church, its great rabbinical center, its mosque, its ancient library the crusades reduced this city. It already traded with Tir or Babylon well before Christ, and because of these canals, rivers and access to the Rhone it was a sanctuary for the sailors, offering by the port of Ra to Espeyrant the possibility of exporting to Montpellier. Another canal along the Roman road and old pottery up to Beaucaire, where the Rhone lacks depth for the passage of boats. And of course the river of its port, throwing itself in the Rhone, offered the trade upstream of the Rhone. The city being of a higher altitude than Arles, Avignon or any other site nearby it offered a refuge during the floods and the high marshes, and the road towards Nimes remained always practicable.
The Crusades, against the Albigenses, or those who believed only in Christ and wanted a poor church, crusades in Holy Land, supported by a series of popes put into power by the Italian nobility, all these crusades have forever sanded down Forgets the era of the troubadours. The Crusades even to Constantinople! Understanding this moment of history, or how we can rewrite history with fictions such as Saint Louis and the creation of Aigues-Mortes after 1200, is also to understand the religious conflicts and extremisms of today, hui.
I have hewn some old books and added some pictures I hope you will like.