Crusading Movement

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The Crusading movement

The Crusades were military expeditions undertaken by Christian Europe between the 11th and the 17th century to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. The main crusading movement took place between the 11th and 13th century. The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin "Crux" was adopted by crusaders who adorned themselves with the symbol of Christianity: the cross.1 Crusaders wore a red cross sewn on their tunics to indicate their status as soldiers of Christ.

The causes of the Crusades were many and complex, but prevailing religious beliefs were of major importance. The Crusaders 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, the nobility's hunger for land at a time of crop failures, population pressure in the West, and an alternative to warfare at home were major impulses. In my opinion, the Crusades were equally a result of economic circumstances. The fabulous riches of the East attracted many participants; a campaign abroad appealed as a means of escaping from the pressures of...
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