The Crusades Essay

2030 words - 9 pages

The crusades were a series of military expeditions undergone by the Christian armies of the eleventh and twelfth centuries directed against Muslim controlled areas of the eastern Mediterranean (Cowper 40). Although there were many reasons for the start of the crusades, the main cause was that the Muslim control of the holy land was a disgrace, and considered a threat to Christianity’s livelihood (Toler 140). With the holy cities of Jerusalem and Palestine being in Muslim control Christianity as a whole saw its influence in the world begin to weaken, so the leaders of the Christian religion came together as a entirety and determined it was time to regain their beloved holy land through means of force (Daniels 152).
While the followers of the Christian Religion had never been called to bear arms, or cause violence for their beliefs, it was finally time to break that seal and take back Jerusalem (Toler 141). But seeing as most of the supporters of the religion were common men, a fighting force of warriors was defiantly in need in order to be successful in their conquest. Luckily the crusades came at an era in time when knighthood had reached its full expression in Europe (Daniels 153). The system of Knighthood had produced a band of gentlemen warriors whose code and manner of conduct became one of glory, chivalry, piety, and romantic ordeal (Daniels 153). Preparation for knighthood began at the age of twelve for most young men, where they started out with the title of page, and proceeded to advance in rank becoming a knight’s apprentice at the age of fourteen, as well as eventually becoming a squire after his apprenticeship (Daniels 153). Training for knighthood included many physical activities such as horsemanship, archery, and most importantly the use of a sword, shield, and lance. Their education emphasized Christian piety, honor, respect for women, and protection and compassion for the helpless (Daniels 153). At the age of twenty-one if found worthy the young man could be dubbed a knight and receive his own land, wife, and title of Knight. The aura of chivalry and honor that knights protruded made them perfect candidates for the campaign to regain the holy lands.
In 1095 Pope Urban II called a massive Christian meeting in southern France which was to be known as the council of Clermont (Daniels 152), At this meeting the pope called for European Christians to take up arms in order to aid the Byzantine Empire and recapture the holy land from Muslim control. Pope Urban’s request was aided by the help of the thought that god wanted the holy land in Christian control and that it was worth fighting for. This thought provided much reason and willpower to fuel the crusades, resulting in the creation of a famous quote that was used at the Council of Clermont “God wills it” (Toler 141). Thousands of people responded to Pope Urban’s plea and thus the first crusade was launched. The people’s crusade as it would be come to be called, was nothing but a...

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