The First Crusade Essay Research Paper The

The First Crusade Essay, Research Paper The Start of the First Crusade The First Crusade was fought because of the change from Arab to Turkish control over Jerusalem. This change had an

The First Crusade Essay, Research Paper

The Start of the First Crusade

The First Crusade was fought because of the change from

Arab to Turkish control over Jerusalem. This change had an

effect on the people that were allowed to live there, and

the beliefs that they could have. Since the city was

important to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, this change

affected very many people. When the change in power

occurred, Jews and Christians were no longer allowed to live

in Jerusalem. Pope Urban II gave a speech to encourage

to volunteer to fight to regain Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is integral to the history of Judaism. David

conquered the city from the Jebusites in the 11th century

BC, and made it the political capital of the Jewish state.

Solomon, his son, made it the religious capital by building

the Temple there in the 10th century BC. The Temple was the

center of religious activity for all Jews until Solomon’s

death, when the kingdom split into Judah and Israel. (Pernoud

114) The Jews in Judah continued with the Temple

as their religious center, while the Jews in Israel to the

north attempted to build new religious centers that could

never quite replace Jerusalem’s Temple. The Temple was

destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian ruler,

who razed the city and exiled most of the Jewish population

from Jerusalem. In 536 BC, the Persian Empire, which

conquered the Babylonians, allowed the Jews to return and

construction began on a new Temple. About 500 years later,

under the leadership of Herod the Great, Jerusalem rose to

prominence in the Roman Empire, with a lavish new Temple and

a cosmopolitan nature. After Herod’s death, the Jews

rebelled and the Temple was burned by invading Roman armies

in 70 AD. In 135 AD, the Jews revolted again and the Roman

Emperor Hadrian exiled them from the city. This time, they

were gone for 500 years, until the Muslim capture of the

city in 638 AD finally introduced a regime in Jerusalem that

would allow them to return.

While the Temple existed, pilgrimage to Jerusalem was a

duty to Jews. (Jerusalem) They visited on Passover, Pentecost

and Tabernacles. Following its final destruction and their exile,

pilgrimage became impossible. Muslim rule opened the

doors to Jews wishing to live in and visit the Holy City.

Following the Crusaders’ conquer of Jerusalem, the city was

closed to them for nearly 10 years. But for a people who had

lived in this city for more than 2000 years, a decade was

not a long time to wait.

In the Christian mind, Jerusalem exists both in the

physical and spiritual world. It is an actual city, with

human inhabitants, but it is also a spiritual place where

Christ was crucified and resurrected. (Phillips 104) Almost

all of the Christian holy sites in the city are places where

Christ spent the last days of his life, or where he was killed,

buried or resurrected. Those not directly related to Jesus’s

life are often connected to his family; Many shrines are

devoted to his mother Mary, and there is even one for his

grandparents. (Jerusalem)

Christianity arrived in Jerusalem along with Christ,

and after his death, it was where the movement spread from.

The Byzantine Empire brought a breath of new life to

Christianity in Jerusalem in 326 AD. The emperor of the

Byzantine Empire, Constantine, was a Christian convert and a

strong supporter of holy sites in Jerusalem. (Lamb 208) His

mother, the Empress Helena, is traditionally believed to have

discovered the cave which contained the True Cross and the nails

which held Christ to it. In honor of this discovery, Constantine

ordered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be built on the

spot. Later Byzantine emperors more or less continued the

tradition of Christianity and support for Jerusalem’s holy

sites. Numerous churches were constructed during the 300

years that the Byzantine Empire had control of Jerusalem,

and the city took on a distinctively Christian feel.

Christianity was the dominant religion in Jerusalem until

the arrival of the Muslims in 638 AD. It would be over 450

years until the city was ruled by Christians again. (Muslim

Jerusalem) The Crusaders’ arrival was the beginning of a new

period of Christian dominance in the Holy City.

Jerusalem holds an honored place in Islam too. It is a

place rich in ideological, mythic, and historical importance.

From an ideological standpoint, the city’s importance is

unparalleled.

The most important of these virtues attributed to Jerusalem

is was the one asserting that Bayt al-Maqdis (Arabic for

Jerusalem) is the place of the second and final hijira (the

first hijira being to Medina). Jerusalem is the place of the

Resurrection, where, on the eve of the Day of Judgment, God

will send his best creatures and most faithful to be saved.

The Rock at Jerusalem will be the bastion, the refuge, of

Muslims from al-Dajjal (the anti-Christ). To all Islamic

groups, Jerusalem is the place to which the Mahdi (the

Messiah) will come to triumph over evil (Muslim Jerusalem).

Because of the esteem in which the city is held, Muhammad the

Prophet, founder of Islam, initially made Jerusalem the qibla.

This is the place to which Muslims turn and direct their prayers.

For political reasons, he stripped it of this honor when

difficulties arose with the Jewish community there, and

designated Mecca to be the new qibla.

Though it suffered a fall from grace in Islamic eyes,

Jerusalem remains at the heart of an enduring tradition

known as Muhammad’s Night Journey (Phillips 42). According

to tradition, the Angel Gabriel took Muhammad to Jerusalem

on the back of a winged half mule/half donkey. There, he

ascended from the rock on the Temple Mount to heaven to

stand with other prophets of God, including Jesus and Moses,

and led their prayers.

Because of its enormous ideological and traditional

importance, it is not surprising that Jerusalem was quickly

conquered by the Muslim armies. In 638 AD, about six years

after Muhammad’s death, the city was taken, and the Muslims

moved quickly to make their mark upon this mostly-Christian

city. They found the rock where Muhammad is said to have

ascended into heaven, and built the magnificent structure of

the Dome of the Rock on it (Muslim Jerusalem)

In the 600s A.D., Jerusalem was taken over by Arab invaders.

They were mostly Muslims. These Arabs did tolerate other

religions besides Islam. Therefore, both Christians and Jews

were still allowed to live there. This way all of the three

religions had a place in the city. Though they were not in

control of the city, Christians and Jews were happy because they

were allowed to stay in the city that meant so much to them.

The Arabs that were in charge of Jerusalem for so long

tolerated other religions. This meant that Christians

and Jews could live there; not just Muslims. Of course this made

everyone happy because they all got to live in the city that was

sacred to them in their own ways. Jews and Christians that

lived in Jerusalem had to pay taxes and follow certain

regulations, but that was a small sacrifice for living in the

holiest place on Earth. (Joinville and Villehardouin 15)

This land was part of their religious heritage, so Christians,

Jews, and Muslims obviously would all want to live in Jerusalem.

This would change though, and would prove to cause a lot of

trouble.

In the late 1000s A.D., the Seljuk Turks, a Muslim people

from central Asia, conquered the Arabs and took over Jerusalem.

This changed everything that was happening, and created a very

dangerous situation. (Grousset 98). The Seljuks Turks were,

like the Arabs, a Muslim people, but they ran Jerusalem much,

much differently. The Seljuk Turks did not allow Christians and

Jews to stay in Jerusalem. This posed a huge problem for the

future of Jerusalem. (Pernoud 123)

It was a problem for Christians and Jews not to be allowed

to live in Jerusalem because of all of these events that happened

there. The city was a part of their heritage, and without it,

their lives would not be the same. They could not have the

same customs that had roots in Jerusalem, they could not worship

in places that were sacred to their religion, and they were

unable to see, but only hear legends about the place that meant

so much to them. Therefore, they would have to try to regain the

territory somehow.

The First Crusade began on November 27, 1095, with a

proclamation from Pope Urban II delivered to clergy and lay

folk who had gathered in a field in Clermont, central

France. His topic: an appeal for help that he had received

from the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus. (The First

Crusade, an Overview) There are no records of exactly what pope

Urban said, but it seems he began with a general denouncement of

the continual warfare which plagued the Europe of his day. He

then described in lurid detail the attacks of the Turks upon the

Christian Byzantine Empire, and begged the soldiers present to

travel to the east to attack the Muslims, rather than their

fellow Christians.

As a further encouragement Urban offered them a Papal

indulgence, which promised the immediate remission of all

sins of any who participated in the expedition. (Lamb 74). The

speech motivated the people very much, and most of them agreed to

go and fight. The crowd responded with the chant the was to

become the war cry of the first crusade – Dieu li Volt. (Smail

67). Of course the people would not be cleansed of their sins,

but they did not know that. Also, they feared what might happen

if they did not agree to go on the crusade.

So Jerusalem was a very important city in the starting of

the First Crusade. It was an important city to Muslims,

Jews, and Christians, and this caused problems when certain

religions were not allowed to live there. Before the Seljuk

Turks, people of three religions were all able to live

peacefully in Jerusalem. But when then when the Seljuks

took over, everything changed, and the Jews and Christians

were no longer allowed to live there. This is what sparked

the flame that was the First Crusade