First Cruscade Essay

2308 words - 10 pages

The First Crusade was a military invasion with the idea of spirituality used to help guide and influence the crusaders. When examining the events that took place over the time period of the First Crusade, there is clear evidence of this being a military campaign. Evidence from when Alexius I, the Byzantine emperor, asked Pope Urban II for help, all the way through the conquering of Jerusalem. There are significant examples during these events that recognized that the majority of the actions that took place had a military influence behind them. Spirituality was just a thin cover that was used to encourage the crusaders. The actions of the leaders of the First Crusade show that their inspiration for going was based on a military campaign. They wanted to conquer, gain land, and prestige for themselves. To be able to accomplish their military campaign they had to use a thin veil of spirituality to gain support and have men follow them.
The events that led to Pope Urban II calling for the crusades indicate that he knew this was going to be a military invasion of the holy land. He wanted to bring power and control back to the papacy. There is evidence that many events that took place had a military or conquering aspect involved in them. During this time in European history the Pope was struggling to recover his supreme power. There had just been the Investiture Controversy and Pope Urban was trying to figure out how to reestablish the papacy’s power. “In Rome ruled Pope Urban II, a man distinguished in life and character, who always strove wisely and actively to raise the status of the Holy church above all things” (Peters, 49). Along with the pope trying to reestablish the power of the Holy Church there was also the issue with the violence between the knights. There was no central authority, so violence rose among the knights. Even though there was an increase in violence, the knights still wanted to be forgiven for these sins so they would find a place in heaven. “The church had attempted to reduce the violence with various initiatives, but none met with much success” (Madden, 6).
When Alexius I requested help from Urban II with the Selijuk Turks it only made sense for Urban to look at the entire situation and what the Holy Church could potentially gain out of this situation. The Pope Urban could provide Alexius I with help, and could also go all the way to Jerusalem to gain the city back for the Christians. What a perfect way to gain power for the church and stop violence in Europe by calling for the Crusades. The knights would now have a common enemy to fight, no longer fighting among themselves. At the council of Clermont Pope Urban issued this request in his speech, “Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves” (Peters 28). Here he is saying do what you can, go invade this area to reclaim the holy land, and it will become yours. The church would also issue a plenary...

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