THE FOURTH CRUSADE
The Crusades in the middle ages helped define religious and political life during this era. Life in the middle ages revolved around what was happening with the Pope and his anticipations for the next Crusade. The focuses of the crusades were ideally to unite the churches to bring back Christian leadership and control in the Holy Land, that is, Jerusalem. One of the most impacting crusades is known as the fourth Crusade when Innocent III was pope. The fourth crusade became terribly diverted from its original plans and became one of the most tragic and barbaric of all the crusades.
When Innocent III was elected Pope in 1198 he wanted to ensure his superiority over the state. The Papacy was at its strongest when Innocent reigned as Pope from 1198 – 1216. He believed that the line of Peter’s bishops should control the church and help rule over all domestic affairs. Despite all of Innocent’s lofty views of himself he still maintained a pious and clear mind.
Innocent also believed that the Pope should have ultimate control over the crusades and did not want state governments or the Kings to get too much involved in the crusades. Hans Eberhard Mayer tells of Innocent III and his involvement (or un-involvement, as we later find out) in his book The Crusades. He tells how Innocent sent letters to the clergy instead of kings and governors to help rally support for the crusades. This prompted the clergy to preach that the crusades were for the poor and lowly and no longer for just anybody. The upper class and aristocrats were too attached and dependent on the way the state ran, and were therefore not encouraged as much to enter into the crusades. One French preacher was especially good at rallying support for the fourth crusade, Fulk of Neuilly. His preaching emphasized a Christ that was poor and suffered one the cross naked. This style of preaching helped stir the hearts of the French creating a desire for the Popes Crusade to...
Cited: Froehlich, Karlfried. “Crusades: Christian Perspective.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Second Edition. Lindsay Jones Ed. 1987. Print.
Mayer, Hans Eberhard. “The Crusades.” 2nd Edition. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
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