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The Crusades Essay

1674 words - 7 pages

The Crusades were Christian military expeditions undertaken between the 11th and the 14th century to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. “The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin crux (\"cross\"), is a reference to the biblical restriction that Christians carry their cross.”1 Crusaders wore a red cloth, cross sewn on their tunics to indicate that they had assumed the cross and were soldiers of Christ. What were the real causes of the crusades and how did all of it finally came to an end? To answer these questions this paper will examine the following areas: The beginning of the crusades, how did it came to an end and what were the factors that encouraged so many ...view middle of the document...

In addition, the hopes of the papacy for the reuniting of East and West, the nobilitys hunger for land at a time of crop failures, population pressure in the West, and an alternative to warfare at home were major impulses.
In my opinion, the Crusades were equally a result of economic circumstances. The fabulous riches of the East attracted many participants; a campaign abroad appealed as a means of escaping from the pressures of this society, in which the younger sons in a family often lacked economic opportunities. On a larger scale, the major European powers and the rising Italian cities (Genoa, Pisa, and Venice) saw the Crusades as a means of establishing and extending trade routes.
The First Crusade was launched by Pope Urban II in a speech at the Council of Clermont, France, on Nov. 27, 1095. Urban spoke of the need to help the Christian East, to “stop the abuse of the holy places, and stressed the moral duty of keeping the \"Peace of God\" at home.”2 He appealed for volunteers to set out for Jerusalem. The response was overwhelming. With the cry “Deus vult!” (\"God wills it\"), thousands took the cross. Bands of poorly armed pilgrims, most of them inexperienced and poor, set out for Constantinople under Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless even before the army gathered. Some began by massacring Jews in the Rhine valley. Many perished on there way east, and the rest were destroyed by the Muslims when they crossed into Anatolia.
The main army, mostly French and Norman knights under brilliant leadership of Godfrey of Bouillon, Baldwin of Flanders, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond of Taranto, and others--assembled at Constantinople and proceeded on a long, difficult march through Anatolia. They captured Antioch (June 3, 1098) and finally Jerusalem (July 15, 1099) in savage battles. By the end of the campaign, four Crusader states had been formed along the Syrian and Palestinian coast: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, where Baldwin was crowned king.
The second Crusade had its immediate cause in the loss (1144) of Edessa to the Muslims of Mosul and Aleppo. Challenged by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, King Louis VII of France and the German King Conrad III tried to lead separate armies through Anatolia. What remained of them joined in an unsuccessful siege of Damascus. The only success of this Crusade was the capture of Lisbon (1147), Portugal, by English and Frisian Crusaders on their way to the East by ship.
The Third Crusade was a response to the conquest (1187) of almost all of Palestine, including Jerusalem, by Sultan Saladin, who had consolidated Muslim power in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt. The Crusades remarkable leadership included King Philip II of France, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, and King Richard I of England. “Frederick, however, drowned en route in Cilicia, and the Crusading effort disintegrated through...

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