The Effects Of The First Crusades In Medieval Europe

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The First Crusade, also the most successful, began with the speech of Pope Urban II at Clermont on 27 November 1095, and was initially a response to the request for armed aid against the Turks made by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. However, its purpose quickly shifted and it in turn became the largest mass pilgrimage of the eleventh century, though it differed from all the others in once crucial respect, in that it was, at the same time, a war, one set against what was by some referred to as the ‘savagery of the Saracens’.

Though there is a certain level of difficulty in defining what a crusade was in regards to the use of the word by the medieval people , a related question that gives a substantial amount of insight into what constituted a crusade involves the motivations that the knightly elite who answered Urban II’s call to arms had for taking the cross.
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To fully understand why western knights chose to embark on an expedition to the East that promised to be both utterly terrifying and dangerous, as well as cripplingly expensive, one must first address those arguments which lack sufficient evidence to support them, possible though they might be. There are those that would argue that the first crusade existed largely with the purpose of settling new lands in the East. These same arguments would propose that the makeup of the armies of the first crusade were primarily comprised of what one historian referred to as ‘self-serving, disinherited, land-hungry younger sons’

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