Crusades In Europe And How It Effected Everyone During Their Time.

2549 words - 10 pages

After the death of Charlemagne, king of the Franks, in 814 and the following collapse of his empire, Christian Europe was under attack and on the defensive." The Magyars, nomadic people from Asia, ravaged eastern and central Europe until the 10th century". Around 800, several centuries of Viking raids disrupted life in northern Europe and even threatened Mediterranean cities. Nevertheless, the greatest threat came from the forces of Islam, very militant and victorious in the centuries following the death of their leader, Muhammad, in 632. By the eighth century Islamic forces had conquered North Africa, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, and most of Spain. Islamic armies established bases in Italy, greatly reduced the size of the Byzantine Empire, and besieged the capital, Constantinople. In the 11th century the balance of power began to swing toward the West. For the first time in many years, the popes were able to effectively unite European popular support behind them, a factor that contributed greatly to the popular appeal to the first Crusades. Moreover, Europe's population was growing, its urban life was beginning to revive, and both long distance and local trade were gradually increasing. European human and economic resources could now support new ventures on the scale of the Crusades. The crusades were military expeditions launched against the Muslims by the Christians in an attempt to regain the Holy Land. They took place between 1095 A.D. and 1270 A.D. It was one of the most violent periods in the history of mankind.The starting point of the crusades was on November 18, 1095 A.D. when Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont. On November 27, outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, the Pope made an important speech . "He called upon everyone to help the Christians in the east to restore peace". The crowd's response was very positive. Garments were cut into crosses which were attached to people's shoulders in an imitation of Christ (Matthew 10:38).(1) The original object of the First Crusade was to help Christian churches in the east. The new goal became to free the Holy Land from Muslim control, especially Jerusalem.Pope Urban II stayed in France until September 1096 to provide leadership and guidance for the members of the First Crusade. He urged churchmen to preach the cross in France. Urban wanted the crusading army to be mostly made up of knights and other military personnel. Since the news of his speech at Clermont spread through the west, people from all social classes and occupations joined the Crusade. As a result of Urban losing control of personnel, violence was launched against the Jews of northern France. This violence was mostly instigated by bands of the urban and rural poor led by men like Peter the Hermit and Walter Sans-Avoir.These groups lacked supplies and discipline. They attempted to reach Constantinople but most of them never got that far. The leaders in lands which they passed through were frightened...

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