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The First Crusade In Medieval Times History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The crusades had a large affect on the medieval lives of Christians, Muslims and every other person who lived in Europe in that time. The first one, the one that started the rest was to believe to be in the 1096. The dates of the early ages vary among each source. The crusades were a Christian force, army that was created to re-capture the holy city of Jerusalem. The city at the time was controlled by the Muslims, who thought of it as their holy city as well.

Did the first Crusade impact the human society to such a large extent that it changed the future in a bad way? The Crusade brought forth a loose of faith in religion trough out Europe that resulted in separation in the European countries that once stud under that rule of their god. The wars also increased the dislike between the Christians and the Muslims which increased the hate and racism, which is still affecting us today. The church had many supporters, including kings and queens. When the church went to war the Kings went with their armies, but the First Crusade was one of the only successful ones, so the pope then decided that he would be in control of the tactics of the next crusade. When the Muslims gained control of Jerusalem, before 1095, the Christians thought it was it was important to get the holy city back through a holy war. Both religions thought that they were fighting for the right side, their own religion, and that the other side was out of place.

The complete knowledge of the Crusades has been lost over time, the dates and the stories have been told differently several times. Meany sites and books clam different thing about the crusades, different theories and different sides of the historic time. The historians in the west and the Muslim historians do not give credit to the Islamic interpretation of the Crusades. “Modern scholars exhibit an ambivalent attitude towards the Islamic sources for the crusades” (Paul E. Chevedden 187). The most accepted theory is something called the “Big Bang” theory. This theory talks about how pope Urban II made a mass movement when he made an appeal as Clermont in 1095 (Paul E. Chevedden 183).

“Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross and your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.” Pope Urban, 1095, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru1.htm?ref=Guzels.TV.

The crusading brought forth violence and the Muslims found themselves the objective of an invasion from the west. The people who support this theory find themselves unwilling to tell of the development of the crusades and they simply say

“Major premise: The crusades began in 1095, because that is the date agreed upon by scholarly authorities.

Minor premise: The earliest evidence for crusading dates from the year 1095.

Ergo: The crusading enterprise as a political force and as a set of ideas and institutions (e.g. the ecclesiastical apparatus of indulgence, vow and cross) emerged in 10895.” Paul E. Chevedden 183.

Many scholars have found that the “Minor premise” might be wrong but people still continuo to follow it. The supporters of the “Big Bang” theory still need to present proof of their work.

The Christians thought that they were fighting god’s war. “Deeds of God through the Christians” (Paul E. Chevedden195). The pope Urban said that all who fought would be forgiven of their sins and that they would go to heaven if they died in battle. “If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.” (Pope Urban 1095, found on http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru1.htm?ref=Guzels.TV). The pope declared that when killed in war the person would go to heaven, no matter what sin he committed in life. The men who joined would also be pardoned from taxes and other expenses. Another hope that people joined for was the hope that Jerusalem had riches and gold beyond the imagination. People from all over joined a group and they marched, or sailed over to the east Mediterranean and fought to control the lands that once belonged to the Christians. They traveled though France, Italy, all though Eastern Europe, and then through what’s now called Turkey. They were able to cross a large amount of land a sea and still have numbers to fight only because they started out with so many that even if half of them died, with an uncountable amount did, they would still have an army to fight with. The men who died on the way died from starvation, dehydration, maul nutrition, sickness and illnesses that would be passed through the men unchecked. The men would sometimes get food from towns and villages, but other times they would eat the fesses and drink their urine. Christians from all classes joined in hopes that their sins would be forgiven by god by fighting in “Gods War” but a lot of them didn’t even get to the battle grounds.

The Muslims fought to get control of Jerusalem because their founder, Muhammad, had lived there for a time. The Muslims had a sacred place called the “Dome of the Rock”, this place was a place of meditation where Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim religion, prayed and sat. The city was sacred to the Muslims, just like it was sacred to the Christians (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru1.htm?ref=Guzels.TV). The Muslims understood the meaning of the crusades and fought back, but once the city of Sicily was taken by the Christians they could not be stopped. They fought and they tried to keep their land, but the Christian force was to strong.

The church believed that the Muslims were endangering the people, who still lived in the east, and they thought that they needed to restore the Christian culcher in the east. The church also had many kings and queens supporting them, which include their armies. The Christians were concentrating on re-conquering Jerusalem because that’s where Jesus lived for some time. They saw the city as the “City of God”. This was also the place where Jesus was crucified on Calvary hill. Pope Urban the II also wanted to go into Africa and “liberate” the people there. In a way the church was planning a mass invasion of countries that were not a part of their religion. The Christians thought that they were doing ‘the right thing’ by going and converting people into their religion. The pope wanted more land to be under his control, under god.

The similarities of the views of the First Crusades were extremely similar; they were enantiomorp (mirror-image). The Muslims new that the war was to take back lands lost by the Christians hundreds of years before the First Crusade. They also understood that the First Crusade was aimed for Jerusalem and the lands around it. The Christians set out wanting to help other Christians that live in the Mediterranean that was now under control of the Muslims. The Muslims new this and called it jihad. This word means struggle, fight, basically what a crusade was. They understood the meaning of the First Crusade but they did not have the power to fight it, even with the help they had from the Turks in protecting the land.

The Christians had once controlled the whole Mediterranean. They had a kingdom set up where everyone had a king but the king answered to the Church, to god. Pope Urban the II called war on the Muslims in 1095, the first Crusade started to move in 1096. The Pope latter called this “the changing times” from Dan 2:21. By this he said that the times of change spoken of in the bible are coming true and that the First Crusade, the one that when to “liberate” Jerusalem, set this into play. He thought that he was changing the world for the better; he thought that the Christians that lived in Muslim land would be much happier if the church came in and free them from the tyranny of the Muslims.

The Christian and the Muslims had very similar ideas, but both thought that the other was wrong and that they were doing wrong and should be stopped and/or killed. Both sides thought that the other side would harm or desecrate the city of Jerusalem. The Muslims did not want a mass war over the Mediterranean, but once they heard of it they seemed to know what was happening. The Church wanted to have control over the areas of land that had once been theirs, and also because they had enough forces they thought that continuing to Asia and Africa would help people. By doing this the church had made many enemies and had become a hated symbol in some of its new lands.

The Church not only went after the Muslims in Islam, but they also helped Venus in their war with the Turks in the island near them. They did this because they needed more ships to get across the Mediterranean, so they made a deal. The crusaders would kill some Turks to get enough ships to sail to the west. In another crusade to many men were dying because of the long road, so they decided to go and kill the nearest town of Jews and make it a trip. So that’s what they did and then they went home. Other detours for other groups of crusaders also happened over the different crusades with different religions.

The First Crusade was important because not only did it kill many people and give the Christians Jerusalem back, but it caused other Crusades to happen after. The Muslims fought to keep Jerusalem and the pope after Urban declared that the city must be under Christian rule. The First Crusade changed a lot in the world. It was the reason for many deaths and unhappiness. The pope called it a change in time, and specific crusade was. It changed time so that even today people are affected by it. If one thinks about it, the crusades might have been a reason that racism became such an extreme between the Muslims and white countries who are heavily involved with Christianity. The mass war in 1096 lasted for over 200 hundred years, off and on. The people in charge changed as well as the people who were affected by it. Several alliances were severed by the crusades. The pope expected a lot out of his kings and queens, including their people, armies, fighting experience, food, water and money. Pope Urban and the popes after him also expected to be able use the people again and again till the destination was won. Because Jerusalem was once again taken over by Muslims and put back into the land of Islam, the Christians had to keep remaking the crusades and rebuilding their forces and numbers. As one can imagine, because of this people began to become more rebellious towards the crusades. Eventually the pope could not get enough people willing to fight and join the crusades for a battle that would last to about 1291.

Years after the First Crusade, the city Edessa was lost to the Turks, once again, so that meant that the Christians had to get it back in the second crusade in 1147-1149. The strong Turks were said to have kill many people and show no mercy to the inhabitants. Another threat to the Christians were the growing forces to the east, the Muslims were getting stronger once again. The pope called for help and Bishop Eugenius III answered and helped. But his efforts were not enough; a lot of people were killed off before they even reached the “holly land”. Turks followed one of the groups and killed many in sudden attacks. (http://dmbinns.com/secondcrusade2.htm)

The Christians still believed after all of this that the power over the city a priceless thing, but the Christians said some things that were seemed like gloating, even though they failed to protect a lesser city to Jerusalem. Sisnando Davidiz, a count who served under Fernando I, king of Leon-Castile, said:

We seek only our own lands which you conquered from us in times past at the beginning of your history. Now you have dwelled in them for the time allotted to you and we have become victorious over you as a result of your own wickedness. So go to your own side of the straits (of Gabraltar) and leave your hands to us, for no good will come to you from dwelling here with us after today. For we shall not hold back from you until God decides between us. (Paul E. Chevedden 189)

The Christians and its followers seemed happy with themselves after they won back so much land and more so they were okay when they kicked the Muslims out. They took homes and land away from hundreds of families. The questioning part of this statement by Davidiz, is why did he say “until God decides between us? Does he mean in religion, what religion is favored by god? or until god puts a physical barrier between Islam and Europe? It seems rather strange that he would question their god’s love for them.

Years after the Muslims regained control, in the third Crusade in 1189-1192, the Lion King and the Muslims made a three year treaty so that Christians could come and visit the city. The Church thought these were wrong and bands the Lion King. The Lion King was Richard I of England, and had fought in the crusades before with other power figures (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru1.htm?ref=Guzels.TV). The Church had used an Old Testament “sin-punishment-restoration cycle” (Paul E. Chevedden195) and put it into the Christians history. Pope Urban hoped that this system would help the recovery of the lost lands to Islam and gain some population.

The crusades, specifically the first, impacted the world in a bad way. The crusades brought death and suffering to many that were not Christians and many who were Christians. The killing engulfed Europe, a small portion of Africa and Asia. This war seemed to have maximized racism between the Christians and the Muslims, and all who came between. The violence that was created by the Christian pope Urban II was because of a religious city that could have been sheared. Even when that was a possibility, the pope bands it and called the makers of the treaty sinners. Even the tactics the pope used to gain followers was wrong and deceitful. He told people that “All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sin” (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-fulcher.html). This would bring significant numbers of people of all classes and ages. It would also attract people who are sick, dyeing, and old. This may be the cause of the many deaths on the way to Jerusalem.

The First Crusade seemed to have several components to it. First, it had a way for the Christian church to spread its beliefs and culcher. Second, it allowed Christians to regain control over the “city of god”. Third, the pope was able to have more control over more land. The crusades seemed to be a pointless war that could have been avoided if the Christians would have simply shared their “holy city” with another religion that would have respected it as such. the many useless fight over cities and boarders would not have happened if the Christians learned to respect other religions in that time.

Work Cited


1. “What Were the Crusades?” Jonathan Riley-Smith

2. “The Islamic View and the Christian View of the Crusades: A New Synthesis” Paul E. Chevedden


3. Documentary, BBC “An Islamic History of Europe”

4. www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru1.htm

5. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/bible/crusades.stm

6. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-fulcher.html got it from From Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 1, pp. 382 f., trans in Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 513-17

7. http://dmbinns.com/secondcrusade2.htm

Scholarly Journal:

8. “The Islamic View and the Christian View of the Crusades: A New Synthesis” Paul E. Chevedden

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