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Walter the Penniless

Walter the Penniless (in French Fr. Gautier Sans-Avoir, d. 1096) co-led an army of peasants to the Holy Land with Peter the Hermit. Leaving well before the main army of knights and their followers, Walter led his band through Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria, traveling separately from Peter. While they passed through Germany and Hungary uneventfully, Walter's followers plundered the Belgrade area in Bulgaria, drawing reprisals upon themselves. The Bulgarians killed many of them.

Walter and Peter joined forces at Constantinople where Alexius I provided transport across the Bosporus. Despite Peter's entreaties to restrain themselves, the Crusaders engaged the Turks at once and were cut to pieces. Peter had returned to Constantinople, either for reinforcements or to protect himself, but Walter died with his followers in 1096.



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