Crusades Essay, Research Paper
The military expeditions planned and fought by western European Christians that began
around 1095 are known today as the Crusades. The soul purpose of these expeditions
was to overtake and gain control of the Holy Land, Jerusalem, from the Muslims. ?Deus
vult! (God wills it!)? was the battle cry of the thousands of Christians who participated in
the event of the Crusades. It was Christian belief that fate was to gain control of the Holy
Land for the glory of God. The origin of the Crusades was a result of the Turkish
expansion in the middle east; the Turks invaded the Christian empire, Byzantium, and thus
the crusaders were sent out to recover the land which was rightfully theirs.
The first crusade was initiated by Pope Urban II. On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban
preached to his followers outside the city of Clermont-Ferrand about the action which
needed to take place. Preaching words about how God would lead the way because they
would be doing his work, Pope Urban urged action to take place. In response to his
speech, the people cheered and planned their crusade to regain control of the lost city.
Urban brought all the bishops and urged them to encourage their friends and fellow
villagers to take part in the expedition. Small self-directing groups began to form, each
planning their own path to Constantinople; that was where they would meet and form
unity. Their plan was to attack the Turkish forces in Constantinople and regain control of
The Christian armies conversed with the Byzantium emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, and
agreed to return any of the old land that was recaptured. The armies were unsure about
this agreement, however, they agreed to the treaty anyhow. The first attack by the
crusaders was on the Turkish capital, Anatolian. During the same time frame, the
Byzantians were also making an attempt to regain the city of Anatolian. The Byzantians
used the crusades to their advantage to achieve their goal in capturing the city. Later in
the year, Anatolian surrendered the city to the Byzantians, not the crusaders. The
crusaders then met once again and together defeated the Turkish army, scoring a great
victory and boosting their ego by far. Afterwards, the crusaders went and captured the
city of Antioch, and then moved on to their primary goal–Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was under heavy guard by the Egyptians at the time period when the crusaders
were about to make their attack. The crusaders set up siege machines and called for
reinforcements, and eventually, the Egyptians surrendered to them. All who dwelled in
the city were massacred in belief that the blood of former possessors purified the city.
For the next generation or so, the crusaders kept control over the Holy Land and invited
their people to come inhabit the city. They began to colonize and set up states; the four
major states which were set up consisted of: Tripoli, Antioch, Edessa, and Jerusalem.
The crusaders used the strategy of isolating and cutting off supplies that could lead to
strengthening to the Muslims and Egyptians. However, as the next generation came
about, the children of the original crusaders were not quite as motivated and determined as
the original fleet, so the Muslims escaped the isolation and regained power. The Muslims,
under the leadership of the radical leader, Zangi, found victory in attacking Edessa. The
Muslims destroyed churches, homes, building, and murdered many crusaders, and
regained control of the city.
The Pope, seeing the events that were taking place, declared yet a second crusade to
recapture the lost territory once again. Armies from France and Germany set out to meet
once again in Jerusalem and join forces. However, the German crusaders were ambushed
during their voyage depleting their supplies and cavalry. The few remaining joined the
French fleet in Jerusalem, and together attempted an attack on Damascus. Being badly
defeated, the French army returned home, while the Germans remained with the colonies
of the former crusaders. The states established by the crusaders were slowly being
destroyed, and thus, the failure of the second crusade led into a third.
Nur ad-Din, the new Muslim leader, motivated the Muslims into believing that they should
take back what was thought to be theirs. However, the newfound leader died a few years
proceeding, and yet another leader, Saladin, came to power. With the newly revived
army, Saladin led his army in an attack to recapture Jerusalem in 1187. In early October,
Saladin defeated the crusaders and gained control of Jerusalem.
Pope Gregory VIII then called for a third crusade. Frederick I, Roman Emperor, Philip II,
French king, Richard I of England, all joined together to assemble one of the most
powerful armies during the time of the middle ages. However, due to the many
misfortunes the crusaders faced, they were not able to recapture control of Jerusalem.
Returning home, the Roman, French, and English armies accomplished none of the goals
which they had set.
Almost immediately upon being elected pope, Innocent III assumed the leadership of the
Fourth Crusade. He organized a crusade to attack the Muslims in Egypt. However,
almost immediately, Innocent lost control over the Crusade. The original plan if the
Fourth Crusade to meet in Venice and ship hosts to the Holy Land, however, financial
problems formed because of the expenses involve in shipping so many. The Venetians
agreed to give up the ships if the crusaders would help them capture the city of Zara.
After capturing Zara, the Venetians urged to take control over the city of Constantinople.
Innocent forbade this expedition, however, most of the crusaders went anyhow; in July
1203, the crusaders took control over Constantinople. The Fourth Crusade was not a
crusade that was bound for the Holy Land, but only an event of political and commercial
Following the Fourth Crusade was the Children?s Crusades. Singing and shouting, French
children marched out across the countryside to the edges of the Mediterranean Sea, where
old, rotted merchant ships provided free transport across to the Holy Land. However, the
ships were sunk by a storm, and all aboard the vessels drowned in the icy waters of the
Mediterranean. Meanwhile, children in Germany began a march to convert the atheists to
Christianity. However, these children also faced tragedy and death, for they were not
equipped for the hardships of the Alps to Rome.
As a result of the Crusades, life in Europe changed a great deal. Trade with the East
increased and feudalism became scarce. The crusaders failed to regain the Holy Land, but
the Eastern connections opened Europe to a brighter understanding of optimistic ways of
living and thinking. This began the formation of modern Europe.
Biel, Timothy Levi. The Crusades. San Diego: Lucent, 1995.
-This reference was used as a primary source containing various poems and writings
during the time of the Crusades; it was used to better understand the time period and was
a reference in the essay. It was also used as a source of illustrations for our presentation
?Crusades.? Compton?s Interactive Encyclopedia. 1996 ed.
-This reference was used as a secondary source to research background information and
factual references on the Crusades. It was also used as a resource of illustrations for our
?Crusades.? Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 1997 ed.
-This reference was used to find maps of the routes taken by the crusaders during the
Crusades and as a secondary source of factual information.
?Crusades.? Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1993 Microsoft Corporation.
Copyright (c) 1993 Funk & Wagnall?s Corporation.
-This reference was used as a secondary source of factual information in our essay.
Ereira, Alan, Jones, Terry. Crusades. New York: B B C Enterprises, 1995.
-This reference was used in order to find illustrations and pictures for our presentation
board; it was also used as a secondary source of research and material.
Hallam, E.M. Chronicles of the Crusades: Eyewitness Accounts of the War between
Christianity and Islam. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1984.
-This reference was used as a primary source to better understand the events of the
Crusades with the eyewitness accounts of the crusades.
?Pope Innocent III.? Online. http://www.altavista.com/the crusades/documentaries/ 16
-This reference was used as a secondary source to better understand the role of Pope
Innocent III during the Fourth Crusade.
?Urban II: Speech at Clermont 1095 (Robert the Monk Version).? Medieval
Sourcebook. 1996 ed.
-This reference was used as a primary reference to better understand Urban?s speech at
?Urban II: Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, according to Fulcher or Chartres.?
Medieval Sourcebook. 1996 ed.
-This reference was used as a primary source to research one of Urban?s speeches given.
?Urban?s Speech.? Online. http://www.altavista.com/the crusades/documentaries/ 16
-This reference was used as a primary source to view Urban?s speech to the people in
initiation of the First Crusade.