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Encyclopedia > The High Crusade
Book cover for "The High Crusade"
Book cover for "The High Crusade"

The High Crusade is a novel by Poul Anderson. First published in 1960 by Doubleday, it is a work of science fiction. It is still in print with a paperback edition issued by IBook in 2003 with ISBN 0-7434-7528-3. The High Crusade explores the situation that would arise if extraterrestrials had visited Earth many centuries ago. Anderson's work was nominated for a Hugo Award. In 1994, The High Crusade was made into a movie of the same name. This work is copyrighted. ... This work is copyrighted. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative in prose. ... Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001) was a prolific science fiction author of the genres Golden Age; some of his short stories were first published using the pseudonyms A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, and Winston P. Sanders. Poul Anderson also wrote fantasy such as the King... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... Doubleday is one of the largest book publishing companies in the world. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Extraterrestrial, as an adjective, refers to something that originates, occurs, or is located outside Earth or its atmosphere. ... Earth (IPA: , often referred to as the Earth, Terra, or Planet Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ... This page is about centuries as units of time. ... The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb Kosiba. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... For other uses see film (disambiguation) Film refers to the celluliod media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as...



It is 1345 AD, and in the English town of Ansby (in northeastern Lincolnshire), Sir Roger, Baron de Tourneville, is recruiting a military force in order to assist King Edward III in the Hundred Years' War against France. Suddenly, an enormous silver spacecraft lands outside the town. It is a scouting craft for the Wersgorix Empire, a brutal dominion light-years from our solar system. The Wersgorix attempt to take over Earth by testing the feasibility of its settlement. However, the aliens are caught off-guard by the angered Englishmen, who mistake the craft for a French trick. The villagers and soldiers in Ansby storm the craft and kill all but one Wersgor, Branithar. Events Miracle of the Host Births October 31 - King Fernando I of Portugal (died 1383) Agnès of Valois, daughter of John II of France (died 1349) Eleanor Maltravers, English noblewoman (died 1405) Deaths April 14 - Richard Aungerville, English writer and bishop (born 1287) September 16 - John IV, Duke of... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... Ansby is a fictional village in United Kingdom. ... Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. ... Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377) was one of the most successful English kings of medieval times. ... Combatants England Burgundy Brittany Portugal Navarre Flanders Hainault Aquitaine Luxembourg France Castile Scotland Genoa Majorca Bohemia Aragon The Hundred Years War was a conflict between England and France, lasting 116 years from 1337 to 1453. ... A spacecraft is a vehicle, vessel, craft or device designed to operate beyond the surface of the Earth in outer space. ... The Wersgorix are a fictional race of extraterrestrials in Poul Andersons book The High Crusade. ... A light-year, symbol ly, is the distance light travels in one year: exactly 9. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Colonialism. ...

It may be confusing that backward countrymen could defeat highly-advanced alien beings, but after centuries of space travel, the Wersgorix were used to taking planets easily, with little or no resistance from natives. Space exploration is the physical exploration of outer-Earth objects and generally anything that involves the technologies, science, and politics regarding space endeavors. ...

Sir Roger formulates a plan that with the captured ship, he can take the entire village to France to win the war, and then liberate the Holy Land. The townspeople, with all of their belongings, board the ship at the baron's instruction, and prepare to take off. The people of Ansby are mystified at the advanced technology aboard the ship, which they come to call the Crusader. Being unable to pilot the Crusader Sir Roger directs the surly Branithar to pilot them to France. In spite and treachery, the alien wrecks the baron's plan by throwing the Crusader into autopilot on course to Tharixan, another Wersgor colony. As the ship ascends high above Earth, the human characters are horrified to learn that their home is actually a sphere (a reflection of the apocryphal modern view that medieval Europeans believed that the Earth was flat). A village is a human residential settlement commonly found in rural areas. ... The phrase The Holy Land (Arabic الأرض المقدسة, al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah; Hebrew ארץ הקודש: Standard Hebrew Éreẓ haQodeš, Tiberian Hebrew ʾÉreṣ haqQāḏēš; Latin Terra Sancta) generally refers to Israel, otherwise known as Palestine (sometimes including Jordan, Syria and parts of Egypt). ... Baron is a specific title of nobility or a more generic feudal qualification. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ... In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to ones nation. ... A simple detachable autopilot on a sailboat. ... It has been suggested that Colonisation be merged into this article or section. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or knowing man) under the family Hominidae (known as the great apes). ... A sphere (< Greek σφαίρα) is a perfectly symmetrical geometrical object. ... World map showing Europe Political map (neighbouring countries in Asia and Africa also shown) Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of the Earth. ... 15th century adaptation of a T-O map. ...

Book cover for "The High Crusade" from 1964
Book cover for "The High Crusade" from 1964

The Crusader arrives at Tharixan in days, and Sir Roger learns of this new world: it is sparsely-populated, with only three fortresses, Ganturath, Stularax, and Darova (the chief base). The humans capture Ganturath yet destroy the Crusader in the process. Word spreads of the invaders and meetings between Sir Roger and his soldiers and the chief of Tharixan, Huruga. This work is copyrighted. ... This work is copyrighted. ...

The humans and Wersgor hold talks which do very little to give either side any advantage, but a truce is agreed to. Sir Roger, in order to intimidate the aliens, makes up tall tales about his estate, "which only took up three planets" and his other accomplishments, including a very successful conquest of Constantinople. Sir Roger demands that the entire Wersgorix state submit to the King of England. During the talks, Baron de Tourneville ignores the truce, and orders the capture of the fortress of Stalurax. Unfortunately, the entire base is obliterated by what we would call an atomic bomb. In retaliation, Huruga attacks Ganturath again, but loses. He is forced to give up. This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... == T.R.U.C.E == Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Childrens Entertainment. ... The eight planets and three dwarf planets of the Solar System. ... Map of Constantinople. ... Fortifications (Latin fortis, strong, and facere, to make) are military constructions designed for defensive warfare. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... Revenge is retaliation against a person or group in response to wrongdoing. ...

Now comes Sir Roger's most outrageous plan; having captured Tharixan, he sets out to overthrow the Wersgorix Empire itself. He enlists the help of three other races enslaved by the Wersgor: the Jairs, the Ashenkoghli, and the Pr?*tans. The Pr?*tans are an extraterrestrial race featured in The High Crusade, a science fiction novel by Poul Anderson. ...

Meanwhile, one of his main soldiers and friends, Sir Owain Montbelle hatches a plan to return to Earth, something that Sir Roger has lost interest in. With Lady Catherine, Sir Roger's wife, Montbelle corners the baron and demands that he help the people of Ansby get back to Earth. De Tourneville gives in, but attacks Sir Owain in person. At the climax, Lady Catherine betrays Montbelle and kills him herself. Unfortunately, she also destroys the notes that could have helped get the villagers of Ansby back home. The climax of a narrative work is its point of highest tension or drama. ...

Sir Roger goes on to topple the Wersgor Empire and build one for himself. He manages with the help of not only the species under the Wersgor, but from members of the Wersgor race who rebelled against their government. The religious figures in the story go on to establish a new branch of the Roman Catholic Church. In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity. ... Look up rebellion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Various religious symbols Religion is a system of social coherence based on a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen being, or system of thought considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine or highest truth, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions, and rituals associated with such... Catholic Church redirects here. ...

Prologue and Epilogue

A millennium after the main events of The High Crusade, the holy galactic empire founded by Sir Roger and his people finally reunites with long lost Earth. A spacecraft from Earth comes across the empire, and is welcomed by the descendants of Red John Hameward. A millennium is a period of time, equal to one thousand years (from Latin mille, thousand, and annum, year). ... NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light years in diameter and approximately 60 million light years distant. ...

There is, in the epilogue, a reference to events on Earth since 1345. The captain of the Earth ship is described as being a loyal subject of an Israeli empire. It also appears that Huruga wound up as an Archbishop. An epilogue, or rarely epilog, is a piece of writing at the end of a work of drama, usually used to bring closure to the work. ...


  • Sir Roger de Tourneville: Roger, Baron de Tourneville is fictional. He was a soldier in Ansby, Lincolnshire when he volunteered to raise an army to help King Edward III of England fight the Hundred Years' War in France. His wife is Lady Catherine.
  • Lady Catherine
  • Brother Parvus, the narrator of The High Crusade
  • Sir Owain Montbelle
  • Red John Hameward, a soldier under de Tourneville
  • Sir Brian Fitz-William, a soldier under de Tourneville
  • Alfred Edgarson, a soldier under de Tourneville
  • Thomas Bullard, a soldier under de Tourneville
  • Branithar
  • Chief ("Grath") Huruga
  • Hubert the executioner
  • Tertiary Eggmaster of the Northwest Hive, aka "Ethelbert"

The Narrator is the entity within a story that tells the story to the reader. ... A judicial executioner is a person who carries out a death sentence ordered by the state or other legal authority, which was known in feudal terminology as high justice. ...

The Movie

The directors were Klaus Knoesel and Holger Neuhäuser and the producers were Roland Emmerich, Ute Emmerich, and Thomas Wöbke. Roland Emmerich is known for directing The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Patriot (2000), Godzilla (1998), and Stargate (1994). The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... A film producer creates the conditions for making movies. ... Roland Emmerich on the set of IndependenceDay Roland Emmerich (born November 10, 1955) is a film producer, director and writer. ... The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 apocalyptic science-fiction film that depicts catastrophic effects of global cooling and boasts high-end special effects, bending the lines between science, reality and science fiction. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Patriot is an American film released in 2000 that was written by Robert Rodat and directed by Roland Emmerich. ... This article is about the year 2000. ... Godzilla (1998) was a Sci-Fi film directed by Roland Emmerich and stars actor Matthew Broderick. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... Stargate is a science fiction/action film released in 1994, directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, with a soundtrack by David Arnold. ...

The movie version of the High Crusade differed in many significant respects from the novel. It was written with many comedy elements and had a much-reduced scope; the scoutship bearing the human knights landed at an isolated Wersgorix base, where they battled with the small Wersgorix battalion stationed there before eventually taking the ship back home.


  • John Rhys-Davies ‒ Brother Parvus
  • Rick Overton ‒ Sir Roger de Tourneville
  • Catherine Punch ‒ Lady Catherine
  • Patrick Brymer ‒ Red John Hameward
  • Debbie Lee Carrington ‒ Branithar
  • Rinaldo Talamonti ‒ Huruga
  • Holger Neuhäuser ‒ Hubert the Executioner

John Rhys-Davies John Rhys-Davies (born May 5, 1944) is a British actor. ... Rick Overton is an American writer, actor, and comedian. ... Debbie Lee Carrington (December 14, 1959) is an American actress. ...


Brother Parvus's name comes from the Latin word parvus, meaning "small" or "short". Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ...

The High Crusade was originally serialized in the July-August-September 1960 issues of Astounding. It has been published in book form in (at least) 1968, 1983, 1991 (by the SFBC and again by Baen Books), and most recently in 2003. Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ...

External links

  • The High Crusade at Fantastic Fiction
  • Book review and in-depth analysis of The High Crusade
  • The High Crusade at ISFDb
  • The High Crusade at IMDb
  • Book review
  • Information on the movie
  • Movie review (in German)
  • Brief book review

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