Were The Crusades Political Or Religious?

1276 words - 6 pages

Were the Crusades Political or Religious?The Middle Ages was a religious age that was dominated by papacy. The Crusades show the religiousness of the Europeans in the Middle Ages, though we question ourselves if that was their only motive: Religion. People fought the Muslims, Seljuk Turks, to regain the Middle East in the name of "crusaders" which means "marked with the cross". This was the beginning of the Europe's waking up to use their growing power to look outside Europe and dominate more lands for religious, economic and political reasons. As many as 600,000 crusaders left Europe and marched overland to Jerusalem to "save" the Holy Land of Christianity despite its many difficulties and ...view middle of the document...

However the popes did succeed, which shows how strong religion was at that time. "The promised land offered no certainty but danger, yet they deserted their own possessions in a greedy struggle for those of others." -said the German historian, Ekkehard who had visited Jerusalem in 1101. Not only were the crusaders promised of land, but also all their sins would be remitted, and they were guaranteed entrance to heaven. At that time, even Kings were afraid of God, and that's basically how the Church gained so much power and wealth. The intentions of joining the crusades of various men differed. Some were too poor that they went to fight not only against the Muslims but even their fellow Christians as well in any chance of relieving their poverty. Some needed freedom from their debts, and some were waiting for punishment that they deserved by their sins. The Crusades were merely for peoples' wealth and salvation, which included some religious aspects.Here is a line from a letter from a crusader in 1098 to a family member: "You may know for certain, my beloved, that of gold, silver, and many other kinds of riches, I now have twice as much as you, my love, supposed me to have when I left you..."When in 1073, the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII of Constantine requested Pope Gregory VII to send an army to help him regain the lost territories of Asia Minor, Pope Gregory thought it was a great chance and an excuse to create an army of his own to conquer the East. Even the popes, such as Gregory VII, one of the most influential popes in history's motive was power and wealth. And since the peasants were urged by strong preaching, they believed in the popes that the Crusades was for a religious cost, and hoping for freedom, started off in mobs to Jerusalem.The fundamental contradiction implicit in the Crusades was murdering because Christ disapproved in killing and it was a sin to kill. The people were still scared of God, and they had to do something about it to continue their killing in the Crusades. The people were scared that they'd get punished when they were crusaders for God. This shows that the Crusades were called "religious" but contained many more reasons beyond that. The crusaders deviated Christ's words so that it wouldn't be a sin by saying that Christ only said it was a sin to kill Christians. The Europeans murdered their enemies -the Muslims who were gradually gaining power for...

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