The Crusades Essay

The Crusades Essay

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The Crusades The beginning of the Crusades is started in the political uprising that resulted from the expansion of the Seljuk Turks in the Middle East in the mid-11th century. Western Christians saw the invasion of Syria and Palestine by these Muslims with alarm. Turkish invaders also went deep into the Christian Byzantine Empire and subjected many Greek, Syrian, and Armenian Christians to their rule. The Crusades were a reaction to these events, as well as serving the ideas of 11th, 12th, and 13th-century popes who wanted to make their political and religious power larger. Crusading armies were the military army of the popes policy. The Crusades came with the time of the growth of European population and commercial activity. The Crusades became an area of expansion to hold part of this growing population. They also became a center for the ambitions of land-hungry knights and vassals. At the same time, the expeditions offered commercial chances to the merchants of the growing cities of the West, mostly Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. Crusading thus had a large appeal to numerous Europeans. Some went on Crusades out for money, some for religious purpose. Almost all Crusaders sought adventure, and many of them believed that their helping would virtually guaranteed salvation. Every Crusader probably had different reasons for participation. The 1st Crusade The Crusades began on Tuesday, November 27, 1095, in a field just outside the walls of the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. On that day Pope Urban II preached a sermon to crowds of ordinary people and clergy going a church council at Clermont. In his sermon, the pope told a plan for a Crusade and called on his listeners to join it. The response was very positive. Pope Urban then told the bishops at the council to go back to their homes and to enlist others in the Crusade. He also told a basic strategy: Individual groups of Crusaders would start the journey in August 1096. Each group would make money and be responsible for its own leader. The groups would take their own ways to the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, where they would meet. From there they would join with the Byzantine emperor and his army, they would launch a attack against the Seljuks of Anatolia. Once that area was under Christian control, the Crusaders would go against the Muslims in Syria and Palestine, with Jerusalem as their main goal. The Crusading Armies In the First Crusade the pope used the same idea. Getting people to join went forward during the remainder of 1095 and the early months of 1096. Five armies of noblemen finally assembled in late summer, 1096, to set out on the Crusade. The majority were from France, but others also came from Lorraine, Burgundy, Flanders, and southern Italy. The pope had not thought that the crusade would be very popular among nonnoble townspeople and peasants. Alongside the Crusade of the nobility a popular one became among the common people. The largest and most important group of the Crusaders were recruited and headed by a Picard preacher called Peter the Hermit. Although the participants in the Crusade were numerous, only a tiny amount of them ever succeeded in reaching the Middle East ;even fewer survived to see the triumph of the Crusade at Jerusalem. The Capture of Jerusalem Resting at Antioch for the remainder of the summer and early fall, the Crusaders set out on the final part of their journey in late November 1098. Now they didn't attack cities and fortified positions. In May 1099 the Crusaders reached the northern borders of Palestine ;on the evening of June 7 they camped within sight of Jerusalem's walls. The city was under Egyptian control, their were many men guarding the city. The Crusaders attacked speedily. With the help of reinforcements from Genoa and newly invented siege machines, they took Jerusalem by storm on July 15 ;they then massacred virtually every inhabitant. In the Crusaders' view, they purified the city by washing it in the blood of the defeated infidels. A week later the army elected one of its leaders, Godfrey of Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorraine, to rule the city. Under his leadership the army then fought its last campaign, defeating an Egyptian army at Ascalon (now Ashqelon, Israel) on August 12. Soon afterward the most of the Crusaders returned to Europe, leaving Godfrey and a small remainder of the original force to make a government and to establish Latin (Western European) control over the territories. The Later Crusades No subsequent Crusade achieved anything like the military success of the Third Crusade. The fourth one (1202-04) was plagued by financial difficulties. In an effort to alleviate these, the leaders agreed to a plan to attack Constantinople in concert with the Venetians and a pretender to the Byzantine throne. The Crusaders succeeded in taking Constantinople, which they then plundered shamelessly. The Latin Empire of Constantinople, created by this Crusade, survived for less than 60 years and contributed nothing to the defense of the Holy Land. In 1208, Pope Innocent III proclaimed a Crusade against the Albigenses, a religious sect in southern France. The ensuing Crusade (1209-29) was the first to be fought in Western Europe. The Fifth Crusade (1217-21) had a promising beginning with the taking of the Egyptian seaport of Damietta in 1219. The strategy, sensible as far as it went, called for an attack on Egypt, the capture of Cairo, and then a campaign to secure control of the Sinai, seen as a link between Egypt and the Latin Kingdom that would cut off the remaining Muslim powers from the wealth and grain supplies of Egypt. Implementation of this strategy, however, fell short of the goal. The attack on Cairo was abortive, and promised reinforcements failed to materialize. In August 1221 the Crusaders were forced to surrender Damietta to the Egyptians, and the expedition broke up. Frederick II The Crusade of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II was totally different from all the others. Frederick pledged to lead a Crusade in 1215 and took his pledge again in 1220, but for political reasons kept delaying his departure. Under demands from Pope Gregory IX, Frederick and his army finally sailed from Italy in August 1227, but returned to port within a few days because Frederick became sick. The pope, mad at the delay, promptly excommunicated the emperor. Unaffected Frederick embarked for the Holy Land in June 1228. There he conducted his unreasonable Crusade almost entirely by diplomatic negotiations with the Egyptian king Al-Kamil (1218-38). These talks produced a treaty by which the Egyptians gave Jerusalem to the Crusaders and gave a 10-year respite from war. Even with this achievement, Frederick was shunned as an excommunicate by both the clergy and the leaders of the Latin states. At the same time, the pope had made a Crusade against Frederick, made an army, and attacked the emperor's Italian states. Frederick returned to the West to deal with this threat in May 1229. Results of the Crusades The loss of the Latins from the Holy Land did not end Crusades, but the response of European kings and nobles to try the crusades again were useless calls for further crusades accomplished little. The effects of the Crusades were felt in Europe, not in the Middle East. The Crusades had grown the trading of the Italian cities, and had generated interest in discovering of the Orient, and had made trade markets an importance. The Crusades were very important to the European community and to the rest of the world.

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