The Crusades Research Paper

Crusades are said to be the series of military campaigns that had a religious character, held by Christian Europe against internal and external enemies. Crusades were directed predominantly against Muslims, even though battles were also fought against pagan Slavs, Hussites, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Cathars, Jews, Mongols, Waldensians, Old Prussians and political popes enemies. Crusade participants, Crusaders, took professions and were given an indulgence for sins in the past. The Crusades primarily had the objective of Jerusalem and the Holy Land recapturing from Muslim governance and were started as the reaction to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for assistance against the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia expansion. This notion is also involved in the description of subsequent and contemporaneous campaigns held up to the 16th century at the area outside the Levant usually against heretics, pagans, and peoples under the prohibition of anathema for a combination of economic, religious, and political reasons. Competition between Christian and Muslim powers also became the result of the alliances between religious groups against their enemies, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade. The Crusades had long-term economic, political, and social influences, some of which have reached even present times. Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political forces, some of the crusade expeditions were rerouted from their primary objectives, such as the Fourth Crusade, the result of which was in the loot of Christian Constantinople and the division of the Byzantine Empire between the Crusaders and Venice. The Sixth Crusade was the first one to establish sail without getting the official Pope blessing. The Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Crusades ended with Hafsid and Mamluk victories, as the Ninth Crusade indicated the end of the Crusades in the Middle East (Shaw, 1963).

2. Historical Background
The Holy Land Muslim presence began with the original Arab conquest of Palestine in the seventh century. Successes of Muslim armies put raising pressure on the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. Another contributing factor to the alteration in Western standpoint towards the East came in the year 1009 when the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah decided to destruct of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1039 the rebuilt was permitted by his successor. Pilgrimages to the Holy Lands were permitted before and after the Sepulchre was reconstructed, but one time pilgrims were captured, and some of the priests were even murdered. The Muslim conquerors finally realized that the Jerusalem wealth came from the pilgrims; with this understanding, the pilgrims’ persecution ended. Nevertheless, the harm was already made, and the Seljuk Turks’ violence became part of the interest that spread the passion for the Crusades.

The beginning of the Crusades lies in Western Europe developments in the early Middle Ages, as well as the worsening Byzantine Empire situation in the east influenced by new series of Turkish Muslim attacks. The Carolingian Empire decay in the late ninth century, along with the relative stabilization of local European boundaries after the Christianization of the Slavs, Vikings, and Magyars, had created a substantial class of armed warriors whose energy was misplaced fighting one another and rioting the local population. The Church made attempts to stop this, violence with the Peace and Truce of God movements, which had succeeded to some extent, but warriors always were looking for the way out for their skills, and possibilities for territorial expansion were becoming not very attractive for nobility. But the exception was the Reconquista in Portugal and Spain, which from time to time occupied Iberian knights and some mercenaries from somewhere in Europe in the struggle against the Islamic Moors, who had luckily brimmed over the most of the Iberian Peninsula over the preceding two centuries(Qureshi & Sells, 2003).

In 1063 Pope Alexander II gave his blessing to Iberian Christians in their wars against the Muslims, by this granting the papal standard (the vexillum Sancti Petri), as well as an absolution of past sins to those killed in battle. Invocation from the Byzantine Emperors, now very scared because of the Seljuks, thus fell on ready ears. That happened in 1074 and 1095. One origin identifies Michael VII in Chinese records as the governor of Byzantium who sent the missionary to Song Dynasty China in 1081. A Chinese scholar presumes that this and later Byzantine ministers in 1091 were appeals for China to help in the struggle against the Turks.

The Crusades were, partially, the way out for dramatic religious devotion which was increasing up in the late 11th century among the people. After saying the solemn oath, the crusader was supposed to get across from the hands of the pope or one of his legates, and was from that moment considered a “soldier of, the Church.” This was to some degree because of the Investiture Controversy, which had launched around 1075 and was continuing during the First Crusade. As both sides of the Investiture Controversy attempted to build up public opinion in their favor, people became engaged in the intense religious conflict. The outcome was the realization of great Christian devotion and public interest in religious affairs. Later on, it was intensified by religious propaganda, supporting Just War to reoccupy the Holy Land—that contained Jerusalem (where all essential things happened to Jesus Christ) and Antioch (that is said to be the first Christian city)— and take it away from the Muslims. Next, the sin remission appeared to be a driving factor. This granted any man that feared God and who has done something sinful with an irresistible exit of the eternal curse in Hell. It was the ardently argued topic throughout the Crusades as what truly “remission of sin” signified. Most people believed that by reoccupying Jerusalem, they would get directly to heaven after their death. Nevertheless, much dispute surrounds just what was promised by the popes of that time. One theory claims that one had to die struggling for Jerusalem for the forgiveness to apply, which would relate more tightly to what Pope Urban II proclaimed in his speeches. This implied that if the crusaders were successful, and recapture Jerusalem, those who would survive would not be given forgiveness. Another theory claimed that if crusader got to Jerusalem, he would be forgiven of the sins he had committed before the Crusade. Thus crusader could still be taken to Hell for crimes committed later.
All these factors were brought forth in the overwhelming accessible foundation for the First Crusade and the religious viability of the twelfth century.

3. Religious Violence
The Crusades were an extremely cruel undertaking, even if judged by medieval standards. The Crusades have usually been thought of romantically, but maybe nothing has deserved it less extent. Scarcely a noble quest in foreign territories, the Crusades represented the worst things in religion in general and especially in Christianity.

Two systems which appeared in the church are worth particular attention has had significantly contributed: indulgences and penance. Penance was a type of punishment with a word, and a general form was the Holy Lands pilgrimage. Pilgrims resented the idea that Christians did not control places holy to Christianity and they were merely getting into a status of hatred and agitation towards Muslims. After that, crusades became more likely to be not well-organized movements of peoples than organized movements of armies of more traditional manner. Moreover, the leaders were chosen upon the basis of their claims. For instance, a significant amount of people followed Peter the Hermit who showed the letter that was claimed to be written by God and delivered to him by Jesus- seems like a real fairy-tale. This message was said to be his verification as a Christian leader, and maybe he was indeed qualified —in many ways.

Finally, the mass murders by amateur crusaders were taken over by professional soldiers — not so that less innocent people would be murders, but so that they would be murdered in a more structured way (Housley, 1992).

Chronicler Raymond of Aguilers wrote regarding conquests of Jerusalem in his reports: “It was a just and marvelous judgment of God, which this place [the temple of Solomon] should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers.” St. Bernard announced before the Second Crusade that “The Christian glories in the death of a pagan because thereby Christ himself is glorified.

4. Conclusion
Crusades are referred to as military campaigns that had the religious character and were strived against opponents of Christian Europe. The primary objective of crusaders was to reoccupy Jerusalem and the Holy Land, but after some time they transformed into simple, cruel murders of innocent people for so-called higher goals of getting forgiveness for sins. There were nine crusades in total, and some of them were not fought against heretics or Christian church opponents and were just aiming to capture territories.

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