Characteristics of the First Crusade

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Characteristics of the First Crusade
When the First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II at Clermont in 1095, he could not have envisaged the scale of religious fervor that his words stirred in the hearts of Christian Europe. The Gesta Francorum states “A great commotion arose through all the regions of France, so that if anyone earnestly wished to follow God with pure heart and mind, and wanted to bear the cross faithfully after him, he would hasten to take the road to the Holy Sepulchre…. When news of the sermon had spread throughout all the regions of France, the French, hearing such words, straightaway began to sew crosses over their right shoulders, saying that they would all as one follow in the footsteps of Christ, by whom they had been redeemed from the power of hell. And they left their homes straightaway” The First Crusade was unique in the sense that common people, including women and children, felt compelled to travel thousands of miles under horrendous conditions, in order to complete the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and return it to Christian hands. It could be due to the fact that many of the Crusaders felt so close to God that there were so many instances of “divine intervention” on the First Crusade. The first of which occurred in the march across Asia Minor. The crusaders had divided their forces into two columns as to make it easier to forage for food and water. On 29th June 1097, Bohemund and Robert of Normandy’s army set off, trailed by some distance by Godfrey of Bouillon and Robert of Flanders. On 1st of July the Seljuq Turks, commanded by Kilij Arslan, attacked Bohemund’s and Robert’s force near Dorylaeum. One member of Bohemund’s army recalled the horror of the moment as the Turks suddenly came into sight and “began all at once to howl and gabble and shout, saying with load voices in their own language some devilish word which I do not understand….screaming like demons”. One eyewitness in the thick of the fighting wrote: “The Turks were...
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