The First Crusade Cause And Effect

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The First Crusade: Cause and Effect

Michael Cantwell

Religion In The World
Professor Hernandez
Date Due: 5/5/15

War and religion seem to go hand in hand. When people don’t agree on fundamental things, they fight over it, and religion is no exception. Through out all of time and across many ages people have fought over what they believe to be the correct religion. They fight so that the religion that they believe in comes out on top, and is the one that people believe is correct. The Crusades of the High Middle ages are a prime example of the conflict and death that can arise from differing religions. These particular holy wars were fought between the Christians and the Muslims, and focused predominantly over control of the holy land. The Muslims had control of the holy land and the Christians wanted it, and they fought bitterly for two decades to gain control. This holy war cast a shadow over all of the High Middle ages, and its effects can be felt even still today. The most prominent of the crusades is the first crusade, the one that set this two century struggle into motion. This struggle was all motivated by religion and the governing religious bodies of the time, and just like many other religious conflict, resulted in countless years of unnecessary death and destruction throughout the world at the time.

Who was responsible for the first Crusade? The first crusade was launched by Pope Urban II in 1095. Pope Urban was the leader of the Catholic faith and residing in Rome at the time of the command. He was the one who started the 200 year long ordeal that is known collectively as the crusades. The holy land, the supposed birthplace of Jesus Christ and where he did all of his teach, was under Muslim rule at the time. The city that was of most interest to the Catholics was the holy city of Jerusalem, the town in which Christ centered much of his preaching and his eventual place of crucifixion. The Catholics wanted control of the Holy Land and Jerusalem from the Muslims, and had to find a way to gain it. The emperor of the Byzantine Empire at the time, Alexios I Komnenos, had appealed to Pope Urban II for help in repelling the Seljuq Turks from invading his empire. While this was the initial primary purpose of the conflict, the focus soon shifted to gaining control of the Holy land and Jerusalem. The Suljuq Sultanate that was invading The Byzantine Empire also had control over the Holy Land. This sultanate was composed of Turkish Sunni Muslims and were the primary aggressors against the crusaders. Those who fought in the crusade, whether it be for the crusaders themselves or the sultanate, came from all walks of life. Some were Serfs and peasants, some were knights or noblemen. Almost all who fought for the crusaders being inspired by the words and the cause of Pope Urban II and feeling compelled to take action against the Islamic “Invaders” on their ally and holy land. Those who were not were members of the Byzantine empire who wanted to fend off the Sultanate and defend their lands. Those who fought for the Suljuq were from a variety of different muslim sects and tribes all over the middle east. They had felt the need to rise up and defend the land they had control of against the Catholic and Byzantine “invaders” Do to the events that led up to the crusades, including the Muslim conquests, there is no clear attacker and defender in this first crusade. Both sides had claims to the land, and neither wanted to give it up. The true aggressors are lost to history, but the fact remains that both sides wages significant battles to defend what they believed was theirs.

Why was the First Crusade fought? A crusade is defined as an energetic and organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue. So what was this crusade specifically about? From a neutral standpoint it was a battle over control of land in the modern day middle east. From which standpoint you view it...
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