The Crusades Essay

1058 words - 4 pages

One of the most important events to take place during the high Middle Ages was the issuing of the Crusades by Pope Urban II. This momentum event which would last from 1095 to 1291 (unofficial ending) one could say had a particular effect on the middle east, as the western world tried to gain control over the area. The meaning of the word crusade comes from the word cross.
The crusades themselves inspired a tremendous amount of writing in the subject area that it is impossible to read everything on it. There were many reasons people went on the crusades, and therefore a simple cut and dry answer will not do. Some of the people that went on the crusades actually felt like they were doing God’s will. However, one might ask what makes a war justified? The concept of the just war was evident in the belief system of the day. This concept was invented as an excuse for the knights to fight in battle. Despite the fact that there were people going on crusades for moral reasons, others went on these crusades not for any particular religious sense, but for excitement and battle. Thousands of people would end up going on the first crusades. The impact that the crusades had on the Middle East, would change the relationship up to the current modern day. Housley’s main thesis on his book on the crusades suggests that historians should look at the subject matter thru a pluralistic point of view. By looking at this subject matter thru a multiple point of view, one can see that this subject matter is a complex issue and therefore should be treated as such.
The book itself is divided into multiple chapters dealing with the history and context of the subject matter. Chapter one of Housley’s book deals with the origins of the first crusades and the potential reasoning behind it. Some suggest that Pope Urban II called for the crusade due to experiencing a divine revolution in which one can earn salvation in Christ thru acts of violence.# Another particular calling of the crusades by Pope Urban II may have had to do with the investure controversy, or perhaps the reason for the crusades was that the western church was responding to the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I call for help to defend the Christians living in his kingdom. This all speculation of course however, what is known is that the origins of the first crusade occurred at the council of Clermont. Carl Erdmann in 1935 would write the first scholarly article on the religious aspect of the crusades.# Jerusalem which is considered to be a holy city to Christians, Jews, and Muslims was instrumental in the role it played during the First Crusade. Erdmann suggests that the capturing of Jerusalem was a minor goal in Pope Urban II eyes as his main goal was to have an war upon the heathens.# Historians themselves have a hard time figuring out what a crusade actually is. One particular example is that the crusades were an attempt for European Christians to capture land which was controlled by the Muslims in the holy...

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