The crusades were never referred to as such by their participants. The original crusaders were known by various terms, including fideles Sancti Petri
(the faithful of Saint Peter) or milites Christi
(knights of Christ). They saw themselves as undertaking an iter
, a journey, or a peregrinatio
, a pilgrimage, though pilgrims were usually forbidden from carrying arms.
Like pilgrims, each crusader swore a vow (a votus
), to be fulfilled on successfully reaching Jerusalem, and they were granted a cloth cross (crux
) to be sewn into their clothes. This "taking of the cross", the crux
, eventually became associated with the entire journey; the word "crusade" (coming into English from the Medieval French croisade
and Spanish cruzada
developed from this.