The First Crusade
What was the cause for Western Europe to implement the Crusades? To answer this, we must go back the 11th century when the Seljuk Turks made their presence known in the east by conquering Armenia, Syria, and Palestine. They soon moved on to Jerusalem where they burned down Christian churches and murdered the clergy and many Christian pilgrims visiting there. Byzantium quickly saw the Seljuk Turks as a threat, and in 1071, met them at the Battle of Manzikert in Asia Minor. The Byzantines were slaughtered and it would not be long until the Seljuk Turks closed in on Constantinople. Byzantium's only hope rested on the shoulders of Emperor Alexius I Comnenus who quickly raised a mercenary army to help protect Byzantium.
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Gregory VII decided to leave Germany's King Henry IV in charge of the church, while he was gone with the army, but relations between the two soon broke off after Gregory VII issued his decree against the lay investiture of the clergy. This started the investiture controversy in Western Europe and matters in the east were soon forgotten. At the end of the eleventh century, the Papacy had gotten an upper hand on the Holy Roman Empire and in 1095; the Papacy had gained the authority that they needed to build an army to move on the Seljuk Turks. So, on November 27th of 1095, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called for the first crusade. Pope Urban II realized that just saving Constantinople would not be enough to motivate men to join the cause, so instead of making this the focal point of the expedition, he made the journey to the holy land to liberate the lands of Christ the focal point. Pope Urban II then preached of how the Seljuk Turks defiled Christian relics and tortured Christians at Jerusalem. Christian men in Western Europe saw this as an outrage and this moved many men to join the cause, and thus the first crusade had begun. In order for the church to condone a call for a holy war, they asked for all the crusaders to take an oath of pilgrimage to visit the Holy Sepulcher, located in Jerusalem. This being the main goal of the crusaders, they would have to go through the