The Background of the Crusades

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The Crusades were multiple series of military missions, which were planned and organized by the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. The time period for most of the Crusades was through 11 to 13 A.D. Muslims had taken over Christian lands and the whole mission of the Pope to send out the Crusades were to take back their Christian land. The Christian cross was the symbol of the Crusaders. They believed that the cross would make them unstoppable again the Muslim Army. The loth cross is the Latin term for the word crusade to share the journey to the Holy Land from Europe. The Pope wanted them to wear the cross as a vow of commitment to the Crusades and show their true commitment to the Lord. Everyone that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting' (Matthew 19: 29) and If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me' (Matthew 16: 24 or Luke 14: 27)

 From Syria, the crusade leaders wrote to him as You who by your sermons made us all leave our lands and whatever was in them and ordered us to follow Christ by taking up our crosses'. Crusader armies consisted of a core of heavy cavalries such as chainmail swords and lances. Much of the infantry were armed with a bow and arrow. The knights were sometimes joined by mounted squires who were less armed. The horsemen would be in the rear as the volley of arrows led way into war. They kept to a close marching formation and were harassed by the horse archers while using surprise attacks. The armor was heavier meaning the armor could take on more powerful hits. The hit and run tactics were often protected by the shield wall used by the Crusaders. They were also a strong band of soldiers who were very determined.The first crusade was sent out by Pope Urban II in 1095 A.D. Pope Urban II received a letter from The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople asking the Pope for some assistance again the Muslim invaders. Pope Urban then called the Christian to take back over the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem from the Muslims.

The crusaders departed in 1096 and then recaptured the Holy Land in 1099. Throughout the journey to recapture, the crusaders established kingdoms for themselves in scattered cities in Europe. The goal of the first Crusade was to halt the spread of Muslim rule. The Crusades increased Muslims distrust of the Europeans. The second crusade was a failure. The Muslims counter attacked them and capture the city of Odessa in 1144 A.D. St. Bernard of Clairvaux traveled throughout Europe and wanted people to bring back the cross and take the Muslims back to where they're supposed to be and take back what they had taken away. There was a lot of miscommunication which caused some bad leadership and which ended in a failed mission. It was rumored that King Louis VII of France took the cross because of his loss of life at the church when it was burned down during his assault in Vitry in 1144. The third crusade was shot off in 1189 A.D. Saladin, the Muslim leader of the Army reconquered Jerusalem. The third crusade was an ultimate unsuccessful trip. The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, drowned, under uncertain circumstances, on the way to the Holy Land. Richard the Lionheart of England was able to recapture several coastal cities but did not attempt to retake Jerusalem due to lack of resources.

There then became a peace treaty allowing for Christian pilgrims to enter Jerusalem without danger between Lionheart and Saladin. The compromise continued Muslim rule but allowed Christian pilgrims free access to the city. The Fourth Crusade began in 1202 A.D and still couldn't be held to the standard of leadership and accountability. Then the Catholic and the Orthodox Christians began a battle which then the Christians would conquer Constantinople. After the conflict, any alliance between the Catholic and Orthodox was now destroyed. Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI of Austria led the Fifth Crusade in 1217 A.D. This Crusade was a successful one because they captured the city of Damietta, in the end, they could not hold it for long since they lost at the Battle of Al-Mansura. Leopold and Andrew were given Jerusalem and other cities in exchange for Damietta so the Muslims could control the city. Pelagius refused the offer which then turned into a huge defeat. In 1228 The Sixth Crusade was launched and was led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. The Sixth Crusade ended with a peace treaty that gave Christians the right to Jerusalem and other sites. The Seventh and Eighth Crusade were both led by King Louis IX of France. They both were very bad tragedies and disasters. In the Seventh Crusade, Louis recaptured Damietta. By the time the Eighth Crusade was reached King Louis died. The Ninth Crusade was led by King Edward I of England. In 1271 A.D there was an attempt at defeating the Mamluk sultan of Baibers. This Crusade ended up failing and King Edward came back home to a dead Father.

The idea of confirmation from the victory of the battlefield had its seed in the Roman Empire. They thought that victory was used as a sacred victory and the gods were shining down upon them. In order for the Crusades to occur they had to be sanctioned by the pope, and they were officially used to conduct battle on groups deemed to be enemies. These series of events weren't because of religious issues, they were taken place for political and economic reasons, which where is to extend their imperial reach, and the knights had to spread their superiority along the outside of Western Europe. Salvation is a big testimonial word to describe a Crusade, they were thought to be given purgatory in the afterlife and fought as landless peasants who were in search of a future by taking land from other cities. The Crusades had some unique outcomes socially, economically, religiously, and militarily. For the social aspect of the Crusades, there was a very strong prejudice against the military. Crusaders were also not granted acceptance from the people in their region.

They were also introduced to new ways of living such as farming and doing things on their own. Among the churchmen had the biggest problem because they believed Jesus didn't like warfare. The idea of shedding blood was told by St. Martin,  I am a soldier of Christ. I must not fight. The growth of military had big political issues to because they didn't survive the end of the Crusades. The Knights were made big targets because of how wealthy they were which is why the Templars were eventually destroyed. The economic outcome was a tremendous disaster. They also helped with new developments in banking, commerce, and taxation. Many nobles gave their money to the church, moneylenders, and merchants. The issue of so much money being lost is that the travel was long and the weaponry made during this time was too much in order for them to lose. If they won more missions then they could be more prideful and more taken on a better note if they gained more power through land and money. While there were bad outcomes for the Crusades there were many good things that came out of them. Serfs were given freedom for participating in the Crusades, no matter what happened to them they didn't have to worry about the nobles land they had to be tied to. The rise of commerce and mercantilism was spread because those that died were replaced by new ancestors who had to take over as farmers and possibly hasten to urbanization.

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The Background Of The Crusades. (2019, Dec 11). Retrieved December 2, 2023 , from

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