The New International Encyclopædia/Pastorels

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PASTORELS (OF. pastorel, Fr. pastoral, from Lat. pastoralis, relating to a shepherd). A name given to certain disorderly bands which appeared in France during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They were recruited from the lower orders of society, including many shepherds, whence the name. In the year 1251 a certain Jacob, who claimed to be Lord of Hungary, and is commonly known as Jacob of Hungary, appeared as their leader in Flanders. He was an unprincipled adventurer and fanatic, but an able man. The King, Louis IX. (Saint Louis), was then in the East, engaged in the disastrous Seventh Crusade, and the preceding year had been a prisoner in the hands of the Mohammedans. Jacob preached that God had rejected princes and the mighty and would free the Holy Land by means of the common people. He claimed to have special revelations and assumed ecclesiastical functions. He formed his followers in well-organized companies, and, ostensibly on the way to Palestine, they began to overrun the country. The true character of the movement soon became evident. The rulers were attacked, property was destroyed, priests and monks were murdered. and the Jews in particular suffered cruel persecution. The disorders were ultimately put down with a firm hand. Jacob was killed while haranguing a crowd in Paris, or, according to another account, in a conflict at Bourges. Seventy years later, under Philip V., similar disorders broke out under the same pretext. These bands of Pastorels ultimately threatened to attack Avignon, when the Pope, John XXII., excommunicated them, and the Seucschal of Carcassone dispersed them with an army.