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The Crusades

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 04:09 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.1 
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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 restriction that Christians carry their cross.”1 Crusaders wore a red cloth, cross sewn on their tunics to indicate that they had assumed the cross and were soldiers of Christ. What were the real causes of the crusades and how did all of it finally came to an end? To answer these questions this paper will examine the following areas: The beginning of the crusades, how did it came to an end and what were the factors that encouraged so many people to participate in it.

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 penalty; however, they assumed a dual role as pilgrims and warriors. Such an armed pilgrimage was regarded as an acceptable war, because it was fought to recapture the places sacred to 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 made them had 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 motivated thousands to enrol 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 capture of Jerusalem and a significant defeat of the Byzantine army at Manzikert, creating fear of further Turkish victories. In addition, the hopes of the papacy for the reuniting of East and West,...

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