November 18, 2015
Historically, the first crusade commenced in 1095. This happened when Christian armies from Western Europe heed to the plea from the pope to battle Islamic forces based in the Holy Land. Essentially, there have been many debates concerning whether crusades were justifiable in bringing a certain order into the world. At first, the objective of the crusade that begun in 1095 achieved its objective following the Jerusalem capture. Christian invaders set up many Latin Christian States; while Muslim in the region swore to wage war against these Christian invaders. The proponents of these crusades emphasized that the princes saw the great need pertaining to the great services and expenses form their attendants which led to careful and slow preparations to wage war hence a justification viable justification for war. Therefore, many historical justifications and arguments have emerged from these crusades; however, this paper will elaborate the significance of these crusades as well as the harmful consequences.
One of the main historical justifications is based on the fact that the crusades were founded upon religious and spiritual inclinations. The papacy being a powerful force during the middle ages controlled many of the events that led to the rise of the crusades. Bishops and prelates from the papal hierarchies had their place in the preparation of crusades. Foremost among the bishops that were very instrumental in the first crusade was Urban. He wrote a letter to the whole world (through the permission of God) to pass a warning that if there was, among the rulers and kings of the world, anyone who did crookedness and deformity he would remove him without any hesitation. Arguably, Urban was right since he was speaking with the authority of the church. For obvious reasons, his motivations to write to the whole world were not selfish and individualistic, but stemmed from a desire to put things in order according to God’s edicts. As a result, this proves to be one of the sensible justifications of the crusades which were solely based on religious grounds.
Moreover, bishops urged the congregations to remain true to the word of God-the Holy life. Vehemently, they urged all to be awake and not to slumber so as to keep the society and the whole world from sinking into crookedness. Therefore, one other historical justification that led to the emergence of crusades is that invaders wanted to eliminate many evils that had gone unpunished across the world. The condemned those who sold or bought church offices and urged all to scourge such that practiced those evils. The clergy and all church officials were required to be excluded from secular powers lest many unwarranted evils crept into the church. Such evils were thought to bring confusion and destruction upon the world. The evils were so bad in certain provinces and administration of justice went downhill to the extent that people could be robbed in broad daylight. These and others were matters that which were addressed before Christian invaders agreed to the pope’s proposition to launch the first crusade so as to bring order into a chaotic world.
An innumerable and a large number of Christians assembled, during the same year that both Gottschalk and Peter had assembled an army from various lands and kingdoms such as Flanders, England, France, and Lorraine. As a result, whether, by the error of mind or judgment of the Lord, they set out against the Jewish people who were scattered in many parts of these cities. In a spirit of cruelty, they slaughtered the Jewish people without mercy. This was more evident in Lorraine. That day saw many Jewish people going down in numbers. Lorraine was especially attacked because it was decided that it was foremost amongst the great enemies of the Christians, so the assertion went forth that their duty and expedition against the enemies was to start at Lorraine in a bid to preserve the Christian faith. This crusade was against Jews was initially done by the Cologne citizens. The citizens fell upon some Jews and severed injured and wounded them. They destroyed synagogues and houses of the Jews and took confiscated huge amounts of money, which were divided amongst the citizens of Cologne. Many years later after the slaughter of the Jewish people, the papacy has been bitterly condemned for launching such heinous acts.
Based on human rights, the debates against crusades in the middle Ages are still advanced by those opposed to all activities pertaining to the crusades. The regions within and beyond Syria were among the targets of Christian invaders. The Jihad fought hard against the crusades to preserve their land and possessions. The Muslims were sluggish and reluctant in getting into battle against the Christian Invaders. This explains why they were affected more as evidenced by the number of their people that were slaughtered by the Christian Invaders. The advantages of crusades included: advancement of education, development of technology, spreading of religion, decreased prices, the increase of trade, and the introduction of new writings art and literature. On the other hand, its disadvantages include: the black death that went on for a span of over 100 years, the increase in corruption, wastage of time, and slaughtering of many innocent people.
In a broader perspective, writers have tried to justify the crusades begun by the papacy as righteous wars given that they were religiously launched. Writers came to see these crusades as a way that was appointed to rescue Christians form persecution and invasion. In addition, history chronicles down these events that led to the various crusades as a way of dispossessing land that belonged to Christians. One other justification concerning the crusades involved fulfilling spiritual vows to go to a crusade. Well, any war can only be justified as the only last resort for defense when it is clearly demanded of God (When God speaks directly to an individual or people). Therefore, after the war there different opinions were propagated by writers as whether the crusades could be justified or not. Some consider the rescuing of Christians from persecution and invasion as a just cause for war. Nevertheless, crusaders primarily focused on dispossessing or retaking land Muslims.
Therefore, crusades had their mark on the books history, and many historians have attempted to justify why they could or could not be justified. However, many historians have a consensus that crusades represent a very dark chapter in the history of Christians containing many evils that were carried out in the name of Christ. The crusades represent some of the worst episodes in the history of Christians: Christian soldiers slaughtering people in the face of all people. It is estimated that about 3 million people died in the crusades that were carried out by Christians.
Annales Herbipolenses, s.a. 1147, in MGH, SS, XVI, 3, translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 115-121
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 53-54
Christie, Niall. “A Translation of Extracts from the Kitab al-Yihad of´ Ali ibn Tahir Al-Sulami (d. 1106).” fecha de consulta 20 (2004).
Dana C. Munro, “Urban and the Crusaders”, Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, Vol 1:2, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1895), 20
De Consideratione Libri Quinque, II, 1., in Patrologia Latina 182,: 741-45, translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 115-121
Halsall, Paul. “Medieval Sourcebook: Urban II: Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, According to Fulcher of Chartres.” FORDHAM. EDU (1996).
James Harvey Robinson, ed., Readings in European History: Vol. I: (Boston:: Ginn and co., 1904), pp. 320-321
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