View Full Version : This is very interesting web sie on the Crusades.

06-12-2007, 11:02 AM

The reason for the Crusades:

By the end of the 10th century, the spread of Islam had all but stopped and a comparatively stable state of affairs existed between Muslims, Jews and Christians with the latter able to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, which was at that stage under Muslim rule.

This state of affairs came to an end however, with the aggressive expansion of the Turks who were ambushing parties of Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The various routes to Jerusalem had been relatively safe and these sudden attacks alarmed the European Christians for whom pilgrimages were very important.

With the Byzantine Empire under threat from the Turks, the Emperor Alexius swallowed his pride and sent a request to Pope Urban II in Rome for help.

This cry for help was a perfect opportunity for Pope Urban to regain some influence over Constantinople and also fulfil his obligation to protect the rights of Christendom.

On 27 November 1095, thousands gathered outside the cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand in France to hear Pope Urban II's message. At this great gathering he called Western Christendom to take up arms and liberate the Holy Land. With the Pope's message stirring them to fever pitch, they shouted, "God wills it!" and began to sew the sign of the cross on their tunics. Within months, thousands had started the long trek eastwards, anxious to bear the sword in the name of Jesus Christ and to free Jerusalem from the Muslim infidel.

Jerusalem was taken from the Muslims on the third Crusade, by Philip II King of France, and Richard I (Coeur-de-Lion) King of England.

The Crusaders had to set up a state. They took counsel as to who should be chosen to rule in the Holy Land. After much intrigue, Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, was offered the title of king. He chose instead to be called the Defender of the Holy Sepulcher, saying that he could not wear a crown of gold in the city where his Savior had worn a crown of thorns.

In 1187 Saladin, who had overthrown the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt, expanded his power into Palestine and seized Jerusalem.

In 1291, when Acre fell, Christian rule in the Holy Land ceased to be a matter of practical politics.

During the many battles of the Crusades there were many atrocities, both by the Christians and by the Muslims. The Muslims won more battles and eventually the War, seizing Palestine and Jerusalem for hundreds of years... so, they had more opportunities to commit atrocities, and indeed they did!... though many historians don't even mention one of them!.

Some historians believe that the starting of the Crusades was a Just War, I believe so too.

Other historians believe that the initial spirit of the Crusades was changed into Western Europe's most ambitious common enterprise and its most conspicuous failure was the attempt to bring together all mankind in Christian unity under the leadership of the bishop of Rome, St. Peter's successor, the pope. The most intense part of this enterprise and the one that enlisted the most widespread support in Europe from all levels of society was the Crusades.

http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/link.asp?ref=11822 Crusades: Truth and Black Legend
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm Catholic Encyclopedia, the Crusades