To what extent could the Crusades be described as failure within the years 1095-1195?

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"To what extent could the crusades be described as failures within the years 1095-1195?"

Crusades – religious military expeditions carried out by European Christians with a goal of “saving” the Holy Land from the Muslim control. The Crusades were one of the most important events in the Medieval. The Crusaders not only included the kings, feudal aristocracy and knights but also other parts of the society such as clergy, servants and ordinary people.

People taking the Crusade vow had different reasons to do so: some wanted to get richer, others were looking for adventures and some were following their religious feelings.

Thanks to legends, the Crusades were surrounded by halo of romance and grandeur, chivalry and courage. However the stories about brave and gallant knights are exaggerated to a great extent. Moreover, they “forget” about the fact that although knights had shown the courage and heroism, heard calls from Pope and believed in God’s help they still failed to “save” the Holy Land. By the end of 1195 the Palestine was under Muslim control. The reasons why this happened to be looked upon in this coursework.

                        The Reasons for the Crusades

The Crusades were launched by Popes, who were seen as a legitimate authority who could declare a “Holy War” and promise God’s forgiveness. Pope and other masterminds of the movement promised the celestial and earthly rewards to those who expose their life in jeopardy for the sake of a sacred cause. Volunteer campaign has been particularly successful, thanks to the religious fervor that reigned in Europe. Whatever the personal reasons to participate (and in many cases, they have played a significant role) warriors had, the soldiers of Christ were convinced they are fighting for a cause.

The main cause of the Crusades was the growth of the power of Seljuk empire and the conquest by them in 1070-ies the Middle East and Asia Minor. Coming from Central Asia, Seljuks at the beginning of the century entered into Arab controlled regions, where they were first used as mercenaries. Gradually,

however, they became increasingly self-sufficient, having won in 1040-ies Iran

and in 1055 Baghdad. Then the Seljuks began to expand the boundaries of their empire to the west, leading attack mainly on the Byzantine Empire. Decisive defeat of Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071 gave Seljuks the entrance to the coast of

Aegean Sea, helped to conquer Syria and Palestine in 1078 and to take Jerusalem. The threat from Muslims forced the Byzantine Empire, which had Orthodox Church, to ask for help from the European Catholic Church. The fall of Jerusalem has been a great worry for Christendom.

        Conquests of the Seljuk Turks coincided with the general religious

revival in Western Europe in the X-XI centuries. Which was largely initiated by the activities of Benedictine monastery of Cluny in Burgundy founded in 910 by Duke of Aquitaine Guillaume Pious. Due to efforts of a number of priors, persistently calling for clarification of the church and spiritual transformation of the Christian world, the abbey has been a very influential force in the spiritual life of Europe.

        Simultaneously in XI century the number of pilgrimages to the Holy Land had increased. " Infidel Turk "was portrayed as a barbarian, whose presence in the Holy Land is intolerable to God and man. In addition, the Seljuks created immediate threat to the Christian Byzantine Empire.

For many kings and barons Middle East had been the world of the broad opportunities. Land, wealth, power and prestige - all of this, they thought, will be a reward for the release of the Holy Land. Due to expansion of practice of inheritance on the basis of primogeniture, many younger sons of lords, especially in the north of France, could not expect to participate in the division of father's land. By taking part in the crusade, they could hope for lands and status in society, which had their oldest, more fortunate brothers.

For peasants, the Crusades were a great opportunity to get rid of lifetime serfdom. As the servants and cooks peasants formed a wagon train troops of the crusaders.

European cities were also interested in Crusades, from purely economic reasons. For several centuries the Italian cities Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice fought Muslims for control of western and central Mediterranean. By 1087 the Italians ousted Muslims from southern Italy and Sicily, founded settlement in North Africa and took control of the western Mediterranean Sea. They have made the sea and ground incursions into Muslim territories in North Africa, and got their trading privileges by force. For these Italian cities Crusades meant only the transfer of military action from the West Mediterranean to East.

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                The Beginning of Crusades

Pope Urbant 2 gave the Start of Crusade on November 26 in Clermont 1095.

Urban addressed a huge audience, consisting of several thousand representatives of aristocracy and clergymen, and called to go into war against the infidel Muslims, in order to liberate the Holy Land. In his speech, Pope stressed the sanctity of Jerusalem and Christian relics of Palestine, spoke about the looting and shame that they are subjected by the Turks, and sketched a picture of many attacks on pilgrims, and also mentioned the danger to fellow Christians in Byzantium. Then Urban II called ...

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