The Principal Crusades

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The Crusades were a series of Holy Wars launched by the Christian states of Europe against the Saracens and the rescuing of holy places of Palestine from the hands of the Mohammedans. (Alchin 1) There were eight Crusades in number; the first four were sometimes called the Principal Crusades, and the remaining four were the called the Minor Crusades. (Alchin 1) The Principal Crusades, however, were considered to be the most important. (Alchin 1) The Principal Crusades started because of key people or key events, which led to affect history. Every crusade contained key people, which helped spark the crusades, or contained key leaders that were important in conquering them. The first impulse to the Crusade came from an appeal of the eastern emperor, Michael VII to Pope Gregory VII for aid against the Seljuks. (Walker 2) Alexius I, a stronger ruler tan him immediate predecessors in Constantinople, saw the divisive squabbles among the Seljuk chieftain as an opportunity to take the offensive. (Walker 2) He, therefore, appealed to Pope Urban II for assistance in raising a body of western knights to help him recover his lost Asiatic provinces. (Walker 2) Urban called on all Christendom to take part in the work, promising a complete remission of sins to those who would take the arduous journey. (Walker 2) The leaders of the first Crusade included some of the most distinguished representatives of European knighthood. (Alchin 2) Count Raymond of Toulouse headed a band of volunteers from a Province in southern France. (Alchin 2) Godfrey of Bouillon and his brother Baldwin commanded a force of French and Germans from the Rhinelands. (Alchin 2) Normandy sent Robert, William the Conqueror's eldest son. (Waring 167) The Normans from Italy and Sicily were led by Bohemond, a son of Robert Guiscard, and his nephew Tancred. (Alchin 2) All of these men were key leaders in the first Crusade.

In 1145, Pope Eugenius III proclaimed a new crusade and in 1147 the second crusade set forth, but it showed little of the fiery enthusiasm which the first crusade possessed. (Walker 4) The contagion of the holy enthusiasm seized not only barons, knights, and the common people, but kings and emperors were now infected with the sacred frenzy. (Alchin 11) The key leaders of the second crusade were two monarchs, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. (Alchin 11) Conrad III, emperor of Germany, was persuaded to leave the affairs of his distracted empire in the hands of God, and consecrate himself to the defense of the sepulcher of Christ. (Buddy 11) Louis VII., king of France, was led to undertake the crusade through remorse for an act of great cruelty that he had perpetrated upon some of his revolted subjects. (Alchin 11)

The key men of the third crusade were both distinct leaders. King Richard I of England, who was later given the title the “Lion-hearted”, was the central figure among the Christians knights of this crusade. (Alchin 16) The other was Saladin, chief of the Mohammedans, who was not lacking in any of those knightly virtues with which the writers of the time invested the character of the English hero. (Alchin 20) At one time, when Richard was sick with a fever, Saladin, knowing that he was poorly supplied with delicacies, sent him a gift of the choicest fruits of the land. (Alchin 20) On another occasion, Richard's horse having been killed in battle, the sultan caused a fine Arabian steed to be led to the Christian camp as a present for his rival. (Alchin 20) For two years Richard the Lion-hearted vainly contended in almost daily combat with his generous antagonist for the possession of the tomb of Christ. (Alchin 20) Both of these men contributed to the third crusade.

The fourth Crusade was authored by only one person, and that person only had one goal. The young, enthusiastic and ambitious Pope Innocent III sought once more to unite the force of Christendom against...
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