The First Crusade

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Before the First Crusade took place, tensions between Muslims and Christians already existed. Muslims and Christians were both taking pilgrimages to the Holy Land, but each group truly thought the Holy Land belonged to them alone. Seljuk Turks wanted to overtake Islamic regions and regions that did not follow Islam, but they focused more on taking power from other Muslims and not from the “West,” or Christendom. The Turks did attack Byzantium, which was already weak, so the empire had to rely on European troops for military support. When the emperor sent this plea to Pope Urban II, he reworded it to make it seem like a war to take back a Christian region, which created a misinterpreted call to war. Despite past tensions, Pope Urban II’s misconstrued …show more content…
The First Crusade forced two groups that were already tense towards each other to live in the same region. The power struggle between Christians and Muslims only deepened the divide, and this power struggle existed because of how Pope Urban II initially described the Seljuk Turks. Ibn al-Athir’s depiction of the crusaders deepened the division between the Muslims and the Christians as it created a view of Muslim superiority. Neither the Christians nor the Muslims truly understood each other’s causes, which led to their division from each other. Ibn al-Althir’s view of the crusaders deepened this divide, but it was Pope Urban II’s gross misunderstanding of the Seljuk Turks and the First Crusade that created an incredibly deep split between the two different groups. By taking a war initially about political expansion and territorial expansion and making it about religious identity, Pope Urban created a divide that was deep, personal, and further formed the “us vs. them” …show more content…
The Holy Land, specifically Jerusalem, held special religious significance for both groups. People from each religion made pilgrimages to the Holy Land, but each religion saw it as their Holy Land alone and did not recognize the sacredness it held for the other religion. Previous holy wars that church leaders also created tensions, because each religion saw the wars as the “rival” religious group wrongfully taking their land. After the First Crusade, Europeans gained some control over land, the Crusader States, in the Middle East. These states did not last long due to feeble leadership, which made the states open to attacks from Muslims in the region so they could regain the land they thought belonged to them. These constant fights over the Holy Land deepened the tensions between the Christians and Muslims because these fights simply deepened the misconceptions created during the First

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