The 11th century brought good things to the Eastern Mediterranean. There were generally no immense problems to deal with, as everything was in a very tranquil state. The people who lived there went with the flow, but what they did not know is that they would soon be part of a turning point in religious history.
A large group of Christians formed a small military which was called the Crusaders. They were out to recapture the Holy land from the Muslims, and dedicated their lives to this. They were identified by red cloth that was sewn on their garments in the form of a cross. This indicated that they were the soldiers of Christ.
Their name, The Crusaders was derived from the Latin word crux meaning cross, this then in turn was a reference to the biblical ruling that good Christians always carry a cross. The Crusaders existence was based on strong religious beliefs more then any of the other minor reasons they were established. The Crusaders also resurrected an older tradition of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was often imposed as a reconciliation of your-self. They assumed two roles: pilgrims and soliders. Armed pilgrims would normally not be accepted, but in this case they were, because they were fighting for the Christian Holy Land.Order now
This made the war justifiable in their eyes. In the 7th century the Muslims took control of Jerusalem, and in the 11th century they began to hassle and interfere with Christian pilgrims and teaching in the Jerusalem area. To the Christians Jerusalem was a heavenly city, the center of their existence and they did not take lightly to being pushed out. The Popes encouragement, religious indulgences, and promise of eternal merit provoked thousands of Christians to enroll in this holy military to fight for the cause.
The Crusades were also a response to the cries of help from the Byzantine Empire, who was very worried about a gaining threat in the form of the Seljuk Turks. In 1071 Jerusalem was taken and the Byzantine army went down at Miniskirt to the Turks. This caused a bad economic state for the west and the Crusades were a last stab at extending trade routes and bring the Byzantine Empire to a status that matched a rich and flourishing Italy. Late in the year of 1095 Pope Urban announced on Tuesday, November 27 that he would hold a public session to make an announcement. This was the beginning of what was to be the First Crusade. He thought that western Christendom should march to the rescue of the East.
Rich and poor alike should go and they should stop murdering each other and instead fight a great war for what they really believe in. They believed it was Gods will and that God would lead them to victory. During his speech many interruptions took place. People yelled and rallied behind Pope Urban and other crowd members. Just after the Pope ended his speech the bishop of Le Puy dropped to his knees and asked permission to join what was first called the “Holy Expedition.
” The crowd quickly embraced him and many followed with his example. Each man involved with the expedition was to wear a cross in symbolization of his dedication. Anyone who took this cross vowed to go to Jerusalem and fight. By August 15th everyone who was leaving was to be ready. The armies meet in Constantinople.
When all arrived Pope Urban made clear that the crusade was under the control of the church, and appointed Bishop Le Puy as the their leader. This was the beginning of a great movement. The Byzantine emperor Alexious I provided the crusaders with food and shelter; he also attempted to get oaths of loyalty from them but the crusaders that would not agree. This caused distrust in the emperor. Which lead to the fall of Constantinople.
Life during the first crusade was horrible. Men pushed themselves to their limits, they pushed on because their life would be prosperous and joyful and they would truly befriend god when it was all over. During the many years this campaign went on it finally ended and this letter was seen as an icon to the Crusades victory. This letter was translated into English:For on the very day on which they had promised that they would surrender, Solomon and all the Turks, collected from neighboring and distant regions, suddenly fell upon us and attempted to capture our camp.
However the count of St. Gilles, with the remaining Franks, made and attack upon them and killed an innumerable multitude. All the others fled in confusion. Our men, moreover, returning in victory and bearing many heads fixed upon pikes and spears, furnished a joyful spectacle for the people of God” In religious terms, the Crusades, hardened Muslim attitudes toward Christians.
At the same time, doubts were raised among Christians about God’s will, the church’s authority, and the role of the papacy. Religious commitment halted to disinterest, and skepticism. On the other hand, the Crusades did stimulate religious enthusiasm on a broad scale. The Crusades continued many years after Pope Urban originally lead them to Constantinople.
The Mediterranean had an addiction to warfare. The Crusades helped some religions, but they had to destroy and oppress others so many question if what they were doing was or did further an advancement in religion. Written by J. Humes Tucson, AZ Sorry for the inconvenience and confusion that this may have caused anyone.