The Crusades 2 Essay Research Paper The

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The Crusades 2 Essay, Research Paper The crusades, a series of campaigns that were initially launched by Pope Urban II in 1096 were one of the bloodiest and most ineffective militaristic missions in history. The death toll can not be accurately counted but it is estimated in the millions. It started simply as a plea for help by the emperor of Byzantium to the Roman Catholic Church, but turned into a huge migration. Officially there were seven crusades within a period of two or three centuries, but historical evidence reveals that there was a constant stream of armies, soldiers, and commoners eastward through-out the time period, with slight ebbs and flows. (Heer, Friedrich. The Medieval World p128) When the Seljuk Turks of the Middle East converted to Islam and took control

of Jerusalem and began to attack the Byzantine borders, the emperor in Constantinople, Alexus, asked the western world for help. The church in the west had attempted to help Byzantium, but to not much effect. That was, until 1096 when Pope Urban II delivered a sermon in the French town of Clermont. In the sermon he spoke of redemption in the form of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to regain the Holy Land in the name of Christ. (Duggan, Alfred. The Story of the Crusades p20) This differed from regular pilgrimages in the fact that the destination lied in enemy hands. Therefore it would be necessary to fight for it. All those who left their homes for Jerusalem would be promised entrance to heaven in the afterlife as well as protection of their estates while they were gone. Pope

Urban II’s sermon was widely received all over Europe by peasants and noblemen alike. Crusaders were supposed to mark themselves by wearing a small red cross on their clothing, usually the chest or shoulder. All of Europe soon talked of the crusades and there was a lot of excitement surrounding the whole event. Many prepared to journey to Jerusalem. This was despite the fact that many did not know the way to Jerusalem, let alone its geographic location. The first army was supposed to meet in August of 1096 however the lords and knights of Europe were slow to answer Urban II’s summons. It was then that a hermit by the name of Peter organized around 15,000 peasants and poor knights to begin what would be known as the People’s Crusade. (Knox, Dr. Ellis L. The Crusades crusades/00.htm) At this same time, similar bands of fighting men formed, but were unruly and lacked leadership. They resorted to plundering and raiding but were finally stopped by a Hungarian army. Peter marched his troops to Byzantium, but the presence of his crude army was unwelcome. They were soon ambushed by Turks and the bulk of the army was destroyed. The People’s crusade was over The First crusade truly began when the feudal lords finally began their march to the Holy Land. Some sold their estates while others entrusted theirs to heirs or others to hold for them. This first wave was large in number, well experienced, and very well armed. They too stayed in Byzantium for a period, but were met with almost equal distaste as those of the

People’s crusade. Their first victory came in 1097 when they finally crossed into Asia Minor and took the city of Nicea. (Finucane, Ronald C. The Soldiers of Faith. p23) At this point, they choose to reach Jerusalem by an in-land route, despite the Byzantines’ call for a coastal route. The rift between the Byzantines and the crusaders was now too large and the crusaders continued on their way to defeat the Turks at Dorylaeum with no more help from the Byzantines. After that successful battle, both sides had a better idea of what they were truly fighting. At the point, the crusaders split. Lord Baldwin on Boulogne brought his troops to free the Christian City of Edessa from the hands of the Turks. The remaining crusaders went on to fight at Antioch where a monk dreamt of the