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To what extent did the ideals of crusading in the fourteenth century differ from the previous centuries?

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To what extent did the ideals of crusading in the fourteenth century differ from the previous centuries? During the course of the fourteenth century I would suggest that many of the original ideals linked with crusading had been lost when compared with the campaign of the First Crusade in the late eleventh century. However, although many of the ideals associated with crusading had changed by the fourteenth century, there were still a number of ideals that remained consistent. In order to be able to establish the extent to which ideals did change, it is necessary to investigate the aspects of the crusading movement that not only changed but also those that remained. The morality of the Crusades had been brought into question and there was strong criticism over the validity of such brutality in the name of God. The deterioration of enthusiasm and of the recruitment process was significant, the success of future expeditions suffering as a consequence. The personal interests of those who took part and of those who were in charge of the Crusades were unavoidably different to what they had been in previous centuries and as a result the Crusading movement had to adapt to fit the changing attitudes. ...read more.


Many were disillusioned with the materialistic purposes of the movement and were unconvinced by the promises of spiritual repentance. The involvement of ecclesiastical and lay politics with the Crusades was not received well by the population. Little interest in the Holy War was aroused in England at this time and there was the circulation of a lot of criticism of the papacy. John Wyclif was one who launched an attack on the papacy, accusing the Flanders Crusade of abusing Papal power. Similarly, the poet John Gower complained about "the decline of chivalry and the absence of crusading zeal amongst members of the knightly class."4 It was believed that "the immorality and vicious behaviour of the crusaders further demoralised an already demoralised army."5 As a result of the diminishing morality those on the crusades began to lose sight of what they were fighting for and to an extent lost their sense of purpose. This idea that the differing ideals were reflected in the success of the crusades is illustrated in the fighting at Nicopolis and Antioch. During the First Crusade the Christians had the stern belief that they had God on their side and that he would see them defeat the infidel and this motivation encouraged them to victory. ...read more.


The crusades had lost sight of what they were intended for and instead of being a spiritual quest they had simply become an opportunity for self-gain and non-Christian activities. During the course of the fourteenth century people began to change their ideals and lose faith in a Holy War largely due to events such as the Black Death which had people questioning religion. People questioning the support of the papacy, lack of funding and tense relations between leaders all contributed to the development and in turn the change of crusading ideals. All this was combined with the fact that taking Jerusalem, which had been the drive and motivation behind the earlier crusades, had become seemingly militarily impossible therefore making the original motivation behind the crusade all but disappear. There were, largely due to propaganda, still a few crusading campaigns during the fourteenth century but these were small in size and lacked the drive and direction that had been present in the earlier campaigns. Although the practice of crusading remained therefore during the fourteenth century to an extent, the ideals attached to crusading were somewhat different. The Crusades pre-occupied medieval man for almost 200 years, from the end of the 11th century to close of the 13th. ...read more.

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