History Of Crusades The Holy Wars
Pope Urban II called a meeting of important clergymen in the year 1905. The meeting took place in the town of Clermont located in France. The meeting was in response to the plea of Alexius Comnenus, the emperor of Byzantine, asking for soldiers to fight the Turkish Muslims. It was during this meeting that the pope requested that the Holy Land be freed from the hands of the Muslims, and the attendees were in favor of this. As a result, this lead to the first crusade, which was the most successful out of the eight major ones.
The crusades started from 1096 and continued until 1270. Many Christians decided that they should join the crusades, as it was god's will to free and liberate the Holy Land from the clutches of Islam and Muslims. You may be surprised to hear that there were even two crusades for children organized in the year 1212. Unfortunately, the crusades took the lives of thousands of nobilities, merchants, peasants, soldiers and children, who all set out to carry out god's will.
The first crusade was all about the Christian soldiers going to Palestine in order to free Jerusalem as well as other places considered holy from the clutches of the Muslims. The first crusade was a success with the soldiers capturing Jerusalem and several other holy cities. However, the second crusade organized in 1148 was a complete disaster. The Christian army of Germany and France were unable to capture Damascus. The third crusade organized 1192 resulted in a negotiation between King Richard, the Lion Heart, England's king and Saladin. This negotiation allowed the Christians to visit the holy places without hindrance. The fourth crusade was instrumental in setting up of the Byzantine Kingdom when the invasion of Constantinople took place. The Byzantine Kingdom was established in the 1204 and it flourished for the next 60 years. Even children took part in the crusades, but most of them perished, got sold as slaves or simply got lost.
History experts have mixed views about the crusades. The crusades helped to enhance knowledge about the East, improved the chances of doing trade with the countries and of course, spreading of Christianity. However, the religion was spread with violence and military aids, and the possible trading partners were conquered after a lot of bloodshed. Many non-Christians died at the hands of the Christian soldiers, and this continued even during the inquisition centuries later.
Nonetheless, the crusades were responsible for establishing European colonies and rule in the Near East. The Christians taking part in the crusades also waged wars against the pagans, Christians who were viewed as dissidents and other Muslims in order to expand what they thought was Christian Europe. By conquering the countries and regions in the Near East, Christians learned about other cultures. They forced their views on these cultures, but simultaneously, they also spent time absorbing some of the finer points from other cultures.
The crusades in the medieval period had a reason. Once the Frankish king, Charlemagne passed away in the year 814, the Frank Empire fell apart. At the same time, Christians in Europe were being attacked by the nomads from Asia, Magyars and other kingdoms in the eastern and central part of Europe. Then, at the start of 800, Vikings began their raids in the northern part of Europe and also started eying the Mediterranean region. However, the biggest threat to Europe was from the Muslims. By the time the eight century came along, most of northern part of Africa as well as the eastern part of the Mediterranean were under the control of the Muslims. Even Spain and Italy were not spared. In fact, the Muslims had established military bases in Italy and managed to seize a lot of power from the Byzantine Empire. For the Christians in Europe, Islam was a bigger threat to their religion and culture compared to the Magyars and Vikings. Hence, they viewed it as a religion that threatened their very foundation and basis.
By the time 11th century came, the Church had become centralized and no longer was under the control of kings. As a result, the different popes were able to get support from the people and this is one of the reasons why the first few crusades turned out to be so popular.
In addition, the population in Europe was growing and overseas trade as well as local trade was flourishing. So, when the crusades started, the Church could get financial help from the enterprises and even soldiers were readily available. The traders in Europe were always keen on establishing a foothold in the Mediterranean, but they also wanted to increase their trade and profits. So, the pope managed to use these demands and club them with religious fervor to start the crusades. The businesses and enterprises that supported the crusades knew that more avenues for trading would open up in the Near East if the Christian soldiers were successful.
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