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The Great Crusades. Essay

2148 words - 9 pages

The crusades were military expeditions launched against theMuslims by the Christians in an attempt to regain the Holy Land. Theytook place between 1095 A.D. and 1270 A.D. It was one of the mostviolent periods in the history of mankind.The starting point of the crusades was on November 18, 1095A.D. when Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont. On November27, outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, the Pope made animportant speech . He called upon everyone to help the Christians inthe east to restore peace. The crowd's response was very positive.Garments were cut into crosses which were attached to people'sshoulders in an imitation of Christ (Matthew 10:38).(1) The originalobject of the First Crusade was to help Christian churches in theeast. The new goal became to free the Holy Land from Muslim control,especially Jerusalem.Pope Urban II stayed in France until September 1096 to provideleadership and guidance for the members of the First Crusade. Heurged churchmen to preach the cross in France. Urban wanted thecrusading army to be mostly made up of knights and other militarypersonnel. Since the news of his speech at Clermont spread throughthe west, people from all social classes and occupations joined theCrusade. As a result of Urban losing control of personnel, violencewas launched against the Jews of northern France. This violence wasmostly instigated by bands of the urban and rural poor led by men likePeter the Hermit and Walter Sans-Avoir.These groups lacked supplies and discipline. They attemptedto reach Constantinople but most of them never got that far. Theleaders in lands which they passed through were frightened and killedmany of the crusading bands. Some did get to Constantinople andtraveled across the Bosphorus in August 1096. There they split intotwo groups. One tried to overtake Nicaea and was unsuccessful. Theother was ambushed and slaughtered near Civetot in October. Theremaining crusaders retreated to Constantinople and joined the secondwave of the Crusade.The crusaders were eager to start the journey to Jerusalem butthey needed to capture the Anatolian Turkish capital of Nicaea firstbecause it blocked the road that would be their main supply route. Itwas held by Seljuk Turks. In May 1097, the crusaders attacked Nicaea.The Turks realized that they were defeated and agreed to give the cityto the Byzantines in exchange for the lives of their men. TheByzantines agreed to this and on June 18, Nicaea was under Byzantinecontrol. The leaders of the crusade disagreed and wanted to slaughterthe Turks because they were enemies of Christ.(2) On June 30, 1097,the crusaders were ambushed at the city of Dorylaeum by Seljuk Turksled by Kilij Arslam the Seljuk Sultan. The fight continued until July1. The crusaders won a big victory and nearly wiped out the Turkishforce. This victory opened up the way to Anatolia.The crusaders attacked Anitoch in northern Syria on October21, 1097. "This was the main obstacle on the road to Jerusalem."(3)In...

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