The First Crusade - 1096 - 1099
A brief description and outline of the Cause of the Crusades is as follows:
The massacre of 3000 Christian Pilgrims in Jerusalem prompted the first crusade
Religious Conviction of crusaders
The Instinct to Fight
The Preaching of Peter the Hermit
The Threat of the Turks
The Council of Clermont led by Pope Urban II - "It is the will of God"
Leaders of the First Crusade
The leaders of the First Crusade included some of the most distinguished representatives of European knighthood. Count Raymond of Toulouse headed a band of volunteers from Provence in southern France. Godfrey of Bouillon and his brother Baldwin commanded a force of French and Germans from the Rhinelands. Normandy sent Robert, William the Conqueror's eldest son. The Normans from Italy and Sicily were led by Bohemond, a son of Robert Guiscard, and his nephew Tancred.
The First Crusade - The People's Crusade
The months which followed the Council of Clermont were marked by an epidemic of religious excitement in western Europe. Popular preachers everywhere took up the cry "God wills it!" and urged their hearers to start for Jerusalem. A monk named Peter the Hermit aroused large parts of France with his passionate eloquence, as he rode from town to town, carrying a huge cross before him and preaching to vast crowds. Without waiting for the main body of nobles, which was to assemble at Constantinople in the summer of 1096 a horde of poor men, women, and children set out, unorganized and almost unarmed, on the road to the Holy Land. This was called the Peoples Crusade, it is also referred to as the Peasants Crusade. Dividing command of the mixed multitudes with a poor knight, called Walter the Penniless, and followed by a throng of about 80,000 persons, among whom were many women and children, Peter the Hermit set out for Constantinople leading the Peoples Crusade via an overland route through Germany and Hungary....