Pius II, Nicholas of Cusa, and the Crusade to Retake Constantinople and Jerusalem


  • Nathan Ron The University of Haifa


crusade to retake Constantinople, Pope Pius II, Nicholas of Cusa, A Scrutiny of the Koran, Cribratio alkorani, De pace fidei


The chapter argues that the objective of Pope Pius II’s abortive crusade, which came close to realization in 1464, was not just the retaking of Constantinople, as historians usually observe, but the conquest of Jerusalem as well. This can be deduced from several of Pius II’s orations and other sources that are analyzed here. Indeed, Nicholas of Cusa, the Pope’s lieutenant in setting the crusade in motion, does not refer to any crusade in his anti-Islamic book A Scrutiny of the Koran (Cribratio alkorani, 1461). However, the book’s treatment of Islam as a religion of the sword and its harsh denigration of Muhammad resonate with the crusading spirit of both Cusanus and Pius II. Thus, Cusanus, known as a man of peace through his irenic work De pace fidei (1453), distanced himself from the idea of religious dialogue that his name is often linked with.