Origins Of The Crusading Ideal And Crusades

1844 Words 8 Pages
Research Paper – Topic 2: Origins of the Crusading Ideal + Crusades

If one were to try and pinpoint a single event or date to mark the origins of the Crusades and the Crusading ideal, the most obvious solution would be to make it November 27, 1095, when Pope Urban II uttered the famous phrase “Deus Vult!” and preached the First Crusade. However, when more closely analyzed, it becomes evident that the origins of this great movement that led thousands of Christians to travel to the Holy Land to wage war cannot be singled down to any one person, event, or idea. There were many religious, theological, political, economic, and social influences that lead to the Crusades, and these influences changed over time, so that the crusading ideals of the
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One of the primary reasons for the proclaiming of the Crusades was to cut down the power of the Seljuks, who were a threat to the Byzantine Empire, and also the safety of Christians on all areas that they conquered, which included the holy city of Jerusalem. At the Council of Clermont the Pope said of the Turks: “They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them.” The Crusades were an opportunity for people to make a name for themselves, and amass wealth, power, and glory. This was especially attractive towards second or third sons of nobles that wouldn’t inherit their father’s titles. Some of the first secular leaders to join up on the 1st Crusade were not kings, but counts and dukes. After the creation of crusader states like Jerusalem and Antioch after the 1st Crusade, many more started joining up to get their own slice of the pie. This trend actually continued into the 4th Crusade, after which crusader states such as the Latin Empire and the Duchy of Athens were set up in Greece on former Byzantine territory. Though it could be said that the political motivations for crusading were always there seeing as both the 1st and 4th Crusades ended up with the establishment of crusader states, there is still a difference in the Crusading …show more content…
As was the case in most wars fought during the medieval age, the Crusades had their fair share of slaughter, massacres, and destruction. The 1st Crusade in particular had numerous episodes of violence committed against innocents before they even got to the lands occupied by their enemies. The unorganized and ill-disciplined men headed by Peter the Hermit often acted more like a mob than an army, looting and sacking cities along their path regardless of allegiances or religious convictions. The People’s Crusade committed numerous atrocities in Hungary, even burning the city of Sofia. Jews in particular received a harsh treatment during the 1st Crusade. The People’s Crusade committed 8 massacres of Jews in Germany, the worst of which occurred in Mainz, where 1000 Jews were murdered. The organized, and professional army lead by the Council of Princes was tamer in comparison, but they too committed their fair share of atrocities. When they finally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, the city was subject to widespread massacres and looting, with much of its population, including all of its Jewry, being killed. As described previously, the 4th Crusade continued these trends of brutality with the looting of Zara and the sack of Constantinople. By believing themselves to be holy warriors on a divinely ordained war, the crusaders justified such actions as completely acceptable, and

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