Impact of the Crusades Essay

1805 Words Jan 29th, 2015 8 Pages
How the Crusades Changed the World
June 23, 2014

How the Crusades Changed the World
The Dark Ages were a time of cultural recession for Western Europe. The barbarian invasions during the fifth and sixth centuries had obliterated the Roman Empire in the West. The wisdom of the lost Empire was nothing more than a memory. The Crusades offered endless opportunity and provided exposure the knowledge, culture, and resources that fueled the European progression into the Renaissance; a fortuity that shifted both cultural and religious power in the modern world.
By the end of the 10th century, Western Europe was destitute. The inhabitants could not farm their land properly, and soon a cycle of famine, flood, and disease began to
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The Byzantines could no longer keep the Seljuks off their land, reducing the Byzantine territory to a small strip of land around Constantinople (Stalcup, 2000). The new emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, attempted to fight the Seljuks, but by 1090, he realized he needed assistance. His plea to the West, in the form of a letter to Pope Urban III, touched the religious leaders of Rome. Despite their previous conflict with the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholics found it beneficial to help the Byzantine Empire in their battle against the Muslims. There were several incentives for Western Europe to participate in the Crusades. The Roman Catholic Church of the West saw it as a perfect opportunity to extend the papal power into the Byzantium and eventually unite the two churches under one authority. Pope Urban III had also portrayed the pilgrimage into Jerusalem as “a holy war of liberation which would push back the frontiers of the infidel and extend the power of the Roman Church” (Armstrong, 2001, p.66). The feudal society of France (and eventually parts of England, Italy, and Sicily) supplied military force and heavy cavalry at every stage in the hierarchy (Stalcup, 2000). These knights and feudal barons were promised land and other material gains by the Pope, who knew of the economic struggles that previous feudal wars had brought upon them. Economic factors also urged the common people of Europe to find independence and

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