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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:21 AM   #1
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Real reason for the crusades?


This aint no big ass discussion thread or anything
But i,m just wondering, what were the REAL reason for the crusades? mainly the first one.
was it Emperor Alexios' plead to pope Urban for help agains the "heathens"
Or was it because Urban just wanted a reason to see the muslims dead?
Please inform me of this, as i have little knowledge of what happened after the 1st crusade, and what the reasons for them were.

thanks
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:35 AM   #2

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For a start the Crusades cannot be looked in an unidirectional way. The concept of Holy War and Jihad already existed in the Muslim Empire in fact they had been declaring Jihads against Christians before the Crusades. This doesn't mean the Muslims were fanatics either. Christians and Jews coexisted under their banner, at least in th Al Andalus empire, as free citizens paying an extra tax for their religious option. So the entire issue is a bit confusing. This idea of Holy War on one side or the other seemed mostly as an argument to motivate people against a common enemy.
Neither Christians nor Muslims among themselves were bounded by a common culture or common nationality but rather by a common religion. So if you wanted wrap this people up for war it could not be for Constantinople, or France or Leon it had to be for Christianity.

Last edited by Yōḥānān; November 22nd, 2012 at 11:41 AM.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:14 PM   #3
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Unsolicited beforehand apologies couldn't be any more eloquent...

Anyhow, as Holy as both kinds of War may be, AFAIK there is no relevant hard evidence on any direct relationship between the original Muslim Jihad and the Crusade spirit; e.g. their declared missions were entirely different and the former appeared several centuries before the later.

In any case, the Crusade Spirit was not characteristic of Chritianity per se; it was entirely absent of the Orthodox Eastern Empire.
In fact, the Crusade Spirit was the main pragmatic reason behind the schism between both Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Back to the OP, in Polybian terms the excuses for the First Crusade (ergo for the Crusade spirit in general) were fundamentally two:
- the nominal help for the Roman Emperor Alexios I after the later requested some mercenaries to fight against the Seljuq Turks in Anatolia, more specifically at the Council of Piacenza (1095), and
- the harassment of the Christian pilgrims by some local Muslims, especially after the conquest of Jerusalem (1071) by the Sunni Seljuq Turks from the relatively tolerant Shiite Fatimide Egyptians.

Regarding the real causes behind this bizarre decision, AFAIK there is still no consensus on what exactly was in the mind of Otho de Lagery aka Pope Urban II when he convoked for the Holy War in 27 November 1095.

To begin with, there are several (no less than five) often contradictory versions on the historical Papal speech of that cataclismic day.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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Here is a sober summary on some of the most likely relevant causes of the First Crusade:
Quote:
In a spell-binding speech before a crowd of French knights, Urban exhorted his adherents to win back "the land of milk and honey" and avenge the Turkish atrocities allegedly perpetrated against their fellow Christians.
He cited several of the gory details sent him by Alexius Comnenus and ended by bidding them fight "for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of imperishable glory."
Whether or not he meant it, "Kill Moslems indiscriminately!" is what the crowd understood him to say and chanted back Deus le vult! Deus le vult!" ("God wills it! God wills it!")

From the perspective of history, however, it's clear that there was much more than religious frenzy at work here.
The Crusades reflect other aspects of life in Europe at that time, in particular, its burgeoning population during the High Middle Ages.
That is, around the turn of the millennium (ca. 1000 CE), destructive invasions like those of the Vikings had abated and, amidst the relative calm which followed, the continent had quickly repopulated.
It's hard not to suppose, then, that the Crusades, a century later, are tied to the rapidly changing demographics within Europe, since the first three come every forty years or so, in other words, at intervals of about a generation and a half.
If so, they are, in one respect, a means of bleeding off the ever-replenishing supply of young warriors, especially sons without inheritances or livelihoods and, in general, people seeking some purpose and direction in life.

There were political forces at work as well, since the Crusades were also tied to the Investiture Controversy, the struggle for power between the rising authority of the Pope and the ruling political system in the day.
From the papal perspective, the kings of Europe had long intruded upon the sacred right of the Pope to run his own business—that is, to choose the men who constituted the Church's administration—and in calling the First Crusade, Urban II shifted the theatre of action in this political conflict to an arena where medieval kings had traditionally reigned supreme, the battlefield.
In doing so, Urban usurped the prerogative most secular rulers had claimed traditionally to declare an enemy and muster troops for battle.

Worse yet, by reinterpreting the Truce of God as a warrant for Europeans to kill Moslems and not each other, he also sought to embarrass secular leaders for all their intra-European wars which now looked positively "un-Christian," in spite of that fact that the Church had for centuries up until then sanctioned European-upon-European carnage.
Nevertheless, popes briefly owned the momentum and set the spin.
That is, the Crusades gave them, if only for a minute by historical standards, the opportunity to make the rules of the game.

But for all these underlying causes, the major motivation driving the Crusades —both on the surface and well beneath it—was religious sentiment, something bordering on hysteria.
There can be no doubt that a majority of Christian Europeans saw Urban's call-to-arms as a means of salvation and a way of ridding the world of infidels.
That, to them, referred not only to the Moslems but also the Jews in Europe, many of whom were slaughtered before the knights of the First Crusade rolled out in search of the Holy Lands.
After all, good Christians couldn't send their men off to fight one infidel and abandon the homeland to another.
With this benighted stab at genocide pitched as protecting the loved ones they left behind, the crusaders surged out of Europe on a tidal bore of blood, only to wash up on the shores of the Near East soon to be bathed in the same.
(Prof. Mark L Damen, Utah State University, op. cit.)

(Yup, emphasis is mine)

Hope this illustrative passage might be useful here.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 06:44 PM   #5
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The Peace and Truce of God.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Here is a sober summary on some of the most likely relevant causes of the First Crusade: (Prof. Mark L Damen, Utah State University, op. cit.)

(Yup, emphasis is mine)

Hope this illustrative passage might be useful here.
Thanks!
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike McClure View Post
The Peace and Truce of God.
Only ?
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 07:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Atrahasis View Post
Only ?
I like the approach taken by the show Connections, all these seemingly unconnected events coming together to cause something. The Peace and Truce of God were one of those connections that isn't usually mentioned as causing the Crusades. The Peace and Truce of God discouraged Christians fighting Christians so the military industrial complex of the day needed a new enemy.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 07:55 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wowi132 View Post
This aint no big ass discussion thread or anything
But i,m just wondering, what were the REAL reason for the crusades? mainly the first one.
was it Emperor Alexios' plead to pope Urban for help agains the "heathens"
Or was it because Urban just wanted a reason to see the muslims dead?
Please inform me of this, as i have little knowledge of what happened after the 1st crusade, and what the reasons for them were.

thanks
I think it was the same ol' reason it always is, GREED.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Mods, close this thread. Close it.
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