The Case For The Crusades By Rodney Stark

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Rodney Stark’s book, God’s Battalions: The Case for The Crusades, is an overview of the highly controversial Christian Crusades into the land of Israel from a predominantly Christian perspective. Stark covers reasons for why the Crusades happened, how they happened, and the effects they had on the people and culture who took part. In addition to this, Stark refutes many of the commonly shared claims about the Crusades and Christianity of that time, opposing views that hold Christians responsible for all the atrocities of the war.
Stark doesn’t hold to the belief that the Crusades were unprovoked and were the cause of greed and war fever, he believes the Crusades to be a warranted response to the Arabs invading Christian lands in the seventh
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The First Crusade was actually a collection of smaller Crusades that happened around the same time. Because they had no central governing body, there was a lot of confusion, lack of unity, and sacking and looting of underserving cities along the way on their journey. They were also betrayed by the Byzantine people, as they discovered they had little care what happened to Jerusalem and just wanted their own territory back. Nevertheless, the First Crusade was a success and established four Crusader Kingdoms in the territory (165). The Second Crusade was more organized, but resulted in the fall of the remaining Christian kingdoms in the area to Muslim belligerents (187). The Third Crusade did not fail per say, rather Richard the Lionheart decided not to attempt another conquest to secure the Holy Land due to the risks involved. However, the Peace Treaty of Ramla allowed Christians into the cities for Pilgrimage (210). The members of the Fourth Crusade intended to protect the Holy Land by conquering Egypt, but instead sacked friendly city Constantinople because of a Byzantine Emperor’s betrayal of the Crusaders (213). The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to cut off the main source of support for Muslims in Palestine by conquering Egypt, but it was plagued with poor leadership and decision making. It also ended in a peace settlement, after crusaders failed to penetrate deep into Egypt and obtain control (225). Europe and its people grew tired of the Crusades, because of high taxes needed to fund them and theological opposition to them. Thus, the age of the Crusades came to a

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