In calling the first crusade, Urban 2nd was primarily motivated by a desire to extend the power of the papacy. Discuss

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“In calling the first crusade, Urban 2nd was primarily motivated by a desire to extend the power of the papacy”.

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In the troubled times of the late eleventh century, there was likely many reason why the pope felt the need to launch a crusade. One of which may have been due to his wish to enhance papal authority in the West as part of the investiture contest with the German Emperor and the anti-pope Clermont 3rd. However smaller reasons may have also come into play such to ensure easier access for pilgrims to the Holy places. Another major reason may have been motivated by a desire to aid Byzantium thus reuniting the Latin and Greek churches of Rome and Constantinople, which were the only major religious places not taken over by the rule of Islam.

Pope Urban 2nd was handed the papacy at a very difficult time. The former glory of the papacy had fallen on dark times and the church was fragmented with barely a fraction of the power it had beforehand. However Urban wanted better than this and the Crusade was his cunning plan to once again extend the power of the papacy. The fragmentation of the church was due to a series of events before his time.  As Pope Gregory the 7th had a major degeneration in relation with Henry 4th, Emperor of Germany. This was because Gregory was a very pious man and did not agree with many of the appointments which were sold in what amounted to little better than organised corruption. This arguing went to such extent that eventually Gregory excommunicated the Emperor. As of this causation Henry, still with many followers, decided to install his own pope, the anti-pope, Clermont 3rd.  After the short stay of Victor the 3rd, Pope Urban the 2nd came into play. He found himself quickly inundated with problems, so much so that he could not even enter the holy city of Rome for a given amount of time. It seemed that the only way to reengage the power of the papacy was to unite behind a common enemy, Islam.

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Another reason that the pope may have launched the crusades is due to the feudal anarchy caused by knightly violence –Urban may have hoped to enhance the Peace of God movement and export such violence elsewhere. The eleventh century was a very morally corrupt time, where men both of high and low status had no choice but to go against the Ten Commandments and fight for many reasons. This made many heavy with guilt and fear of eternal damnation in Hell. However it was the Popes job to lift as many people to the divine land as possible, thus by ...

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