The Crusades

May 22, 2012 | In: Medieval Battles

The Crusades began in the late 1100’s and lasted for several hundreds of years.

The first crusade began when the fierce nomadic warriors from Istanbul, recently converted to Islam, manage to capture the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Not long from then they started to mistreat Christians and Arabs alike. The Turks were very atrocious and all of Europe was put in front of a very hard decision: if the Byzantine civilization was to exist anymore, something must be done with the Turks.

The Roman Emperor Alexius Comnenus was fully aware of the fact that his armies were no match for the newly expanding nomadic tribes and asked the pope for help. You’d ask why the Pope would interfere in such matters. Well, it’s quite simple: the Byzantium was a place full of people with the fear of God, a center for Christian freedom. Keeping it alive, the Pope would do no more than his duty. And so, after a letter from the Emperor came in 1095, Pope Urban the Second agreed to send troops in order to drive out the Turks from Eastern Rome.

Urban II gained a lot of power in Europe mainly by uniting the vast majority of churches and priests under the same roof, courtesy of Pope Gregory VII. Pope Urban II followed him and continued his policy of gathering all Christians around him. It was this measure that made the church a very important force in Europe, not only in religious matters, but in secular ones, too.

In November 1095, pope Urban II made a speech that changed the world, stating that the Turks, regardless of invading Christian territory, also committed many atrocities against Christian people. In this stage I need to tell you that all that was an immense exaggeration, but by it, he ultimately reached his goals.

In order to get as many people alongside him, he promised total remission of sins for anyone who was to be killed on Holy Land, or on the way to it.

If you’re a Christian you’ll surely not agree with these facts; moreover, you’re right to call them blasphemy. But sadly, many wars began or ended because of men with no honor that only searched personal benefits.

No other man in history spoke as Urban II did. And by saying that, I’m not referring to his communication skills, but to the repercussions his speeches had. Unfortunately, many of them have a lot to say even nowadays.

Not only did he give the spark for the First Crusade, but also had a word to say for the next 7.

The violence went on and on and the crusaders didn’t stop at punishing and killing Turks or Muslims; they showed no mercy to anyone not clearly a Christian. One hundred years later, even the Constantinopole was attacked by members of the Fourth Crusade.

Even though many say the actions of Pope Urban II were headed towards building a Christian empire in the East, no God or man can say his actions were entitled by any means.

And if his actions were entitled, too bad that before the First Crusade was over, Pope Urban II was long dead.

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