The Crusades Term Paper

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The Crusades were just a war waged over power, fear, and interest. The purpose of the Crusades was to recapture the Christian "Holy Land" from the Muslims, Arabs, and even the Turks. The Crusades were stirred up and sponsored by the papacy. "It is the will of G-d", claimed Pope Urban II. His statement was not the only reason as to why the majority of the Christian population decided to engage in war against the nonbelievers. Pope Urban II’s statement seems more like an excuse to make the war seem "just" and rightful in the name of G-d.

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken in fulfillment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Land from Muhammedan tyranny. By the late 11th century, the leaders of the Byzantine Empire the West for help, particularly to Pope Gregory VII. After hearing this, he planned to make an expedition to the east in support of the Byzantine Emperor, but was preoccupied by investiture controversy with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Finally, Pope Urban II gave his sanction to those nobles who were inclined to respond. In Clermont, he gave a speech, which caught the attention of the west. In his speech, he included all the motivations needed for the people to participate in the Crusades, and most of these reasons were not because it was ‘God’s will’, but promises of secular things such as more land, wealth, and power.

"It is the will of God", is what Pope Urban II said himself, but he definitely had other things in mind. Since the Greek Church of Byzantium and the Roman Church of the West were split by a theological disagreement, Urban believed that the Crusades would lead to a strong Roman influence in Greek territories, and would eventually lead to the reunion of both churches. Urban also hoped that if he called for an expedition to the East, carried out under papal leadership and his noblemen supporters, this would boost his position in the ongoing Investiture Controversy with the Holy Roman Empire. Pope Urban II was not the only person in mind; thinking that this so called "holy war" would bring him power and leadership. Many knights thought that they could achieve more power when fighting for the Holy Land, while conquering more land. In this way, the knights would become more superior because land meant power.

Everybody, especially during the Crusades, had a specific goal that they wanted to achieve, which opened up many doors and opportunities for the people. It was not purely a fight for God, and many problems coexisted within the minds of the individual Crusaders and their interests. For the curious and adventurous people, this was an opportunity for foreign travel and excitement. However, many people died, and often their estates that they left back were passed on to the Middle Class creditors. The kings benefited from the Crusades, because in order for them to build a strong state, this gave them the chance to get rid of the troublesome knights.

The main, original purpose of the Crusades was to recapture Jerusalem, the "Holy Land" from the Christian enemies, but the result of the Crusades, became everything but the original purpose. After the Crusades, traffic between the East and the West was re-established. A money currency developed for trade, and larger cities were established. The Crusades were the origin of geographical explorations made by Marco Polo, who brought the culture of Asia and China to Europe. At a still later date, it was the same spirit of the many Crusaders that spirited great explorers such as Christopher Columbus, when he took his dangerous voyage to the unknown world. The Christian civilization of Europe became an international culture that had set the highest peak of explorations, in no small measure to the Crusades.

The Crusades wasn’t in fact at all "just" because even though they said that they would fight in the name of the Lord, that didn’t give them the right to set out and kill thousands of people, including the non-combatants. The Crusades is just called the "Holy War" because the Papal Church incurred it. It was just like any other war that had occurred along the course of history, because of secular and worldly reasons.

Word Count: 709

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