In The middle of the Eleventh Century The tranquillity of the eastern Mediterranean seemed assured for many years to come, but little did the people know what was ahead . This, thus embark us on a journey back into the First Crusade. In this paper I will be discussing the events that lead up to the first in a long line of crusades. I will also be mentioning the lives of some of the crusaders through letters that they wrote. The crusades were a time of confusion for most people, yet today we look back at them as a turning point.
The Crusades were Christian military expeditions undertaken between the 11th and the 14th century to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin crux ("cross") , is a reference to the biblical injunction that Christians carry their cross . Crusaders wore a red cloth cross sewn on their tunics to indicate that they had assumed the cross and were soldiers of Christ .
The causes of the Crusades were many and complex, but prevailing religious beliefs were clearly of major importance. The Crusaders continued an older tradition of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was often imposed as a penance . Now, however, they assumed a two roles as pilgrims and warriors. Such an armed pilgrimage was regarded as a justifiable war, because it was fought to recapture the places sacred to that of the Christians .
Jerusalem had been under Muslim rule since the 7th century, but pilgrimages were not cut off until the 11th century, when the Seljuk Turks began to interfere with Christian pilgrims. For Christians, the very name of Jerusalem evoked visions of the end of time and of the heavenly city. To help rescue the Holy Land fulfilled the ideal of the Christian knight. Papal encouragement, the hope of eternal merit, and the offer of indulgences motivated thousands to enroll in the cause .
Political considerations were also important. The Crusades were a response to appeals for help from the Byzantine Empire, threatened by the advance of the Seljuk Turks. The year 1071 had seen both the captures of Jerusalem and the decisive defeat of the Byzantine army at Miniskirt, creating fear of further Turkish victories . In addition, the hopes of the Papacy for the renunciation of East and West, the nobility's hunger for land at a time of crop failures, population pressure in the West, and an alternative to warfare at home were major impulses .
The Crusades were equally a result of economic circumstances. Many participants were lured by the fabulous riches of the East; a campaign abroad appealed as a mean of escaping from the pressures of feudal society, in which the younger sons in a family often lacked economic opportunities . On a larger scale, the major European powers and the rising Italian cities (Genoa, Pisa, and Venice) saw the Crusades as a mean of establishing and extending trade routes .
Late in the year of 1095 Pope Urban announced on Tuesday, November 27 that he would hold a public session to make a great announcement. This was the beginning of what was to be the First Crusade . After having painted a real grim or somber picture the Pope made his appeal. He thought that western Christendom should march to the rescue of the East. Rich and poor alike should go and they should leave off slaying each other and instead fight a great war. Supposedly they thought it was God will and that God would lead them and Take care of them. During his speech Cries of "Dues le wolt! -- "God wills it!" - Interrupted his speech. Just after the Pope ended his speech the bishop of Le Puy fell to his knees and asked permission to join the "Holy Expedition." Hundreds crowded up to later follow his example.
Each man involved with the expedition was to wear a cross in symbolization of his dedication. Anyone who took this cross vowed to go to Jerusalem . Everyone was to be ready to leave his home by August 15 the Feast of Assumption. The armies were to meet in Constantinople. When they were all together pope Urban wanted to make