The First Crusade

  • Created by: tatsuya
  • Created on: 06-10-13 13:30

The First Crusade


The Rise of the Seljuk Turks


·       Turks exploded into Asia Minor in the middle of the 11th century

·       Romanos IV Diogenes, Byzantine Emperor, led an attack against the Turks but his army was massacred at the battle of Manzikert in 1071

·       Turks now occupied all of Asia Minor

·       Alexius Comnenus manages to regain some of that territory by the 1090s but still hoped to reclaim more

·       Byzantium had always used mercenaries: Muslim or pagan; but Alexius appealing to the West for help was new. For the first time, the East were appealing to them for military aid


Religion in the 11th Century


·       European society was marked by intense, virtuous devotion: popularity of pilgrimage; veneration of saints (cult of saints); ever-present reality of Hell and Purgatory


Reasons for Calling


·       Papal Reform Movement – wanted to restore Papal authority after the terrible state of the 10th and 11th centuries

·       Gregory VII had already promised Alexius help before Urban but had been distracted by the Investiture Contest (1075) with Henry IV (Holy Roman Emperor), leading to the appointment of Antipope, Clermont III – divisions between Catholic Church and Holy Roman Empire

·       Crusade would demonstrate moral and spiritual power of the Papacy which would be seen as the liberator of Christendom in the East and of Jerusalem, reuniting the Eastern Orthodox Church with the Western Church

·       Alexius’s letter – asked for Western assistance with recently lost Byzantine land: probably planned as the response was so quick with people like Raymond IV of Toulouse appearing to have had advance warning


Referenced in his speech (probably)…

·       Wished for peace from knightly violence and their restless fighting amongst themselves – church newly decreed Christians could kill non-Christians meaning these bloodthirsty knights could now kill Muslims in the East – church was newly involved in warfare: ‘milites sancti Petri’

·       Wanted liberation for Christians in the East who were allegedly being persecuted by Turks who were taking over more and more land since Jerusalem (7th century)

·       Wanted liberation of Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks


Enthusiastic Response


·       Remission of sin targeted the prominent factor governing people’s lives in this deeply spiritual age where sins were present in daily life especially with the late 11th century violence which meant they needed atonement

·       Urban called together religious zeal, the increased popularity of pilgrimage and concern of the afterlife especially with knightly violence to form the core idea of the crusade

·       Urban accented the crusade as a Penitential Act (copied in calls for the second and third crusade), leading to the cries of “God wills it!”

·       Material gain – clear come leaders have materialistic motives e.g. Bohemund of Taranto and nephew, Tancrad (Normans with colonizing instincts and younger sons) who never


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