The Lone Success of the First Crusade
The First Crusade was the pinnacle of the entire Crusade campaign. Its lone success in the long line of Crusades proves its uniqueness among the six others that were mostly ineffective. Certain fortunate circumstances definitely contributed to the Christian success in taking the Holy Land on their first try. Similarly, many other circumstances were responsible for why the following crusades were less successful and in some cases disastrous. From the first crusade being a holy pilgrimage for military and religious reasons, the following crusades were for personal gain, power, and wealth. Also, the distance between Europe and the Holy Land gradually took a toll on the Christians in the later crusades. The success of the First Crusade and the failures of the following ones occurred because the motives behind them slowly changed for the worse.
The idea of Jerusalem being under Western rule was a dream for all Christians from serfs to the pope. In 1095, Emperor Alexius of Byzantium sent a group of Byzantines to the Vatican asking for Western help against the surging Turks. The Seljuk Turks had begun to expand their territory and as a result they began taking neighboring land belonging to the Byzantine Empire. Stretching across Palestine to Anatolia, the Turks’ empire was growing rapidly closer to the capital city of Constantinople itself. Upon hearing the request for help, Pope Urban II intended to help the Byzantines to mend the broken relationship between Eastern and Western Christianity. Forty years prior, the Great Schism divided the Eastern and Western churches so aiding the Byzantine Empire in their time of need would only strengthen the relationship between Constantinople and the Vatican (Great Schism). More importantly, the pope recognized the close proximity between Constantinople and the Holy Land and saw an opportunity to reclaim that area from Islamic rule.
The common dislike of Islam among the West was...