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The Crusades

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The term ‘crusade’ is a word that is exceptionally vivid in minds of many. The Crusade means the fight that Christians fought with Muslims to reclaim the holy land from them. This fight took place in the period from the 11th to the 13th century. The term also means a fight, in which people engage to protest against any inhumane crime happening to people. For a long time, many have understood the term in terms of war that is directed towards all infidels.

The usage of this word was rather widespread from the 11th century to about the 15th century. The Crusades were exercised under the direction of the Popes, who served for and ruled over people. This initiative was announced minutes after the Pope ended the preaching. The Pope offered the cross to each Christian and proclaimed them as soldiers and warriors, who would fight for Christianity. These wars dominated on the word ‘Christianity’ as they were undertaken as a measure of reclaiming this religion. However, these wars, as it was considered by the law and the courts, had minimal interruptions, when they took place. The abovementioned Crusade is classified to be the eighth in history. [1]

The Origin of Crusades

 These Crusades are reported to be continued until the 17th century. Furthermore, they were widespread in many areas. There are many rumors about the origin of the Crusades. However, the concept emanated from political and moral aspects of the Christians from the West at the 11th century. [2] During that time, Europe was divided into small states, whose leaders dwelt in territorial disputes amidst the threats of the emperor. The emperor, however, quarreled with another monarch from a different state.

Nonetheless, the Popes maintained the unity that was prevalent among all Christians as their interests were at stake, since the other tribes had more power over them. However, it had been set by those, who were in power before the Pope took the docket. This policy had a tremendous effect to Christians as they were able to stand strong, and this aspect was well taken by all Christians. Moreover, the policy stated that the Pope was the only legal person, who could inaugurate the movement that led to the Crusades. The Pope had less power over the other nation, but his command was more powerful. [3]

The Syrian then spread Christianity to different parts of the east, including Egypt and Palestine. The Christians, however, went to these states to visit the holy places. The barbarian invaded the holy places, but this did not make any difference to the Christians. Despite the fact that the Christians were constantly invaded by the Arabs over the time of 600 years, their spirit was not dampened. Nevertheless, this invasion made it difficult for the Christians to run the holy places.

In the 8th century, Anglo-Saxon went through hardships, while travelling to Jerusalem. They decided to streamline these conditions that the Latins went through. The Christians discovered that the alms were constantly taken to the Holy Land from the West. At that time, during the 10th century, Europe was troubled to a considerable degree. Their social and political prospects were dwindling, and it had caused a lot of mayhem amidst them. The leaders of Christianity opted to traverse the Holy Land to pray without any interruption from the Muslims. [4]

At that particular time, the leader of the Muslims in Egypt ordered the destruction of the Holy Land and buildings that were erected in Jerusalem. This was followed by the persecution of the Christians, who were tortured and killed by the Muslims. The leader, however, defeated the Frankish protectorate and managed to overthrow all those in power and take over the lands that the protectorate mandated.

These attacks did not have any impact on the faith of the Christians, who went to Jerusalem. This attack made their determination overflow as they still headed to Jerusalem to pray as it was identified in the 11th century. This determination made even the regular Christians travel to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. The leaders undertook the spirit and travelled with many pilgrims to Palestine. At the closure of the 11th century, many of the Christians undertook the journey from Germany to Palestine. This was driven by their urge to visit the Holy Land. [5]

However, the Turks rose to power, and this had implication for the pilgrims, who travelled to visit the Holy Land. The Greek empire was defeated, and its leaders were taken in as hostages. The whole empire became the possession of the Turks, but a few the states in the empire were still under the rule of the Christians. By the end of that year, the Pope had written different letters, urging people to reclaim their lost glory. The Pope recommended that they should reestablish their unity and rebuild the Holy Land.

One of the states that constituted the empire started the fight, which helped in instigating the Crusade. The Pope then issued a plan that would help them win the war against their enemies. The leaders of Christianity sought help from the West to defeat the Turks. This was not without fear that they could not defeat the Turks. The Pope preached to the Christians to stand up for their property, and it was after their preaching that they gave the cross and the vow, which gave Christians the power to fight[6]. In addition, the Pope wrote to all Christian dynasties and urged them to help in reclaiming the Holy Land. Many Christians headed to Egypt, where many Jews who resided in Germany were killed.

Three years before the end of the 11th century, the Christians managed to gain victory over the Turks. They immediately undertook a step of rebuilding the city to reclaim its lost glory. Their victory was however short-lived as famine affected them to a considerable degree, making many of them run away in search of something to eat. Their success was rejuvenated, when they were able to reclaim the Holy Land. This meant that they had captured back their possession as they won the war against the reclamation of Jerusalem[7].

At the beginning of the 12th century, fate caught up with the Christians as many of their leaders were killed by the Turks. The deaths of their leaders brought the Christians together and contributed towards forming a territory that became powerful. This territory was adjacent to the Egyptian empire. Then, people formed the Supreme Court, which overlooked the aspects of the law. This territory began to grow in terms of finances as it collected a lot of income from the Christian leaders. These leaders made formed military in order to overlook the security issues and take vows of fighting in any war that was against their enemies.

The territory was, however, attacked by the Muslims in the year 1146. The Christians retaliated and almost lost, but their army did a considerable job of fighting back. The Muslim leader was killed, but his children took over the war to fight back against the Christians. A different part of the army that traversed territories to fight Syria was ambushed and had to surrender, while frustrating those, who were left behind.  This ambush had significant lessons for the leaders of the Christians. This implied that the Greeks were absolutely the greatest obstacle for Christians in terms of achieving their success[8].

In the year 1186, Pope Gregory VIII accepted to give peace a chance as they came to terms with other nations of the West. This act favored the Christians as those nations decided to help them in conquering the Muslims’ cities. The Christians managed to arrest some of the Muslims, who under the orders of the leader were killed. However, the Christians managed to reclaim some of the cities captured by the Muslims. The Christian army in the 13th century decided to start their fight against Constantinople. In 1204, the Christians managed to capture Constantinople. This city was, however, divided to four imminent states.

The Christian army evolved to being an army, which was disorganized and irregular in its actions. This did not correspond well with those, who lived in Europe, and they subjected them to a considerable opposition. This opposition led to the thirteenth Crusades in the year 1249[9]. This Crusade managed to overpower a state that belonged to Egypt. This gave them the morale to fight and capture Cairo.

Causes of the Crusades

The emergence of these crusades revolved around two factors, which included the control of the European region and capturing of Jerusalem. These Crusades were between the Christians and the Muslims as each wanted to have control over the other. The Muslims wanted to have the full control of Jerusalem and make the Christians follow them. The Christians aspect of fighting for their ‘property’, which was the Holy Land, led to the fight between the two religions. This was attributed to the fact that Christians claimed Jerusalem was their Holy Land. The holy churches built in Jerusalem played host to thousands of pilgrims, who went there for prayers. This was not in line with the Muslims, which forced them to retaliate and fight back. The main aspect for the Christians was to particularly obtain the Holy Land and Jerusalem, which was a part of those lands occupied by the Muslims. This was because these places were redeemed by Christ. The Christians wanted to restore the glory of Jerusalem and enhance the Christian unity. [10]

However, many scholars, including Prof. Thomas F. Madden, stated that these Crusades were a defensive arm used by the Christians towards Muslim aggression. The reason for that was because Christianity was the dominant religion, which had much wealth and controlled many regions, and the Muslims wanted to fight these circumstances. Immediately after Mohammed passed away, the Muslims fought against the Christians with rejuvenated vigor and won over them. Many Christian cities were taken captive by the Muslims. In addition, a letter was sent to Christians, urging them to surrender as many of their cities had been captured. This message annoyed the Christians leading to the emergence of Crusades. This explains that the Crusades were meant for defense of their property as they feared that they would be engulfed by Islam.

Consequences of the Crusades

These Crusades were a podium for war, which was not without consequences that followed. Among the consequences experienced were deaths. Since Jews were not compatible with Christians, many were killed as they opposed to the Christian faith. The main aim of the war was not to terminate many Jews, but to reduce their opposition. Many of the Christian leaders and followers also perished in these wars. The Muslims were not lucky either as part of their people held as captives were killed. [11]

These Crusades also led to the growth of hatred between Christians and Muslims. This was attributed to each religion wanting to acquire a full control over the other. The success of any fuelled the hatred of the other, which instigated the war. These Crusades also had negative impacts on religion[12]. Many Christians came to a conclusion that religion should not use war to fight its enemies. This made many Christians retreat from this religion. The Crusades also made Muslims end their unity with the West as they claimed that the West was against Islam. Furthermore, these Crusades also slowed down the economic prospects of the West.

Conclusion

Crusades are regarded by many scholars as a process that incurred a loss to the West. Many lives were lost and many cities destroyed. This, however, did not slow the aspirations of the Christians. These Crusades, however, brought peace among many religions that were at war. Moreover, Crusades gave the Christians a chance to fight for their religion. However, these wars led the Christian religion to being in a position to beg for forgiveness for any wrong they did to the Muslims. Memories of the Crusades represent a dark side of the Christian culture that should be forgotten at all costs.

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