The Crusades - Research Paper Example

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Critical Analysis of the First Crusade as a Response to the Church Reform in the 11th Century Critical Analysis of the First Crusade as a Response to the Church Reform in the 11th Century Introduction The Crusades, primarily, can be considered as the European nations’ responses to the Christian authority’s call for expeditionary war against the Muslims…
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Download file to see previous pages Scholars commonly attempt to mark crusades as the Europeans’ military expeditions against the Muslims who were then occupying the holy places in Jerusalem. In this sense, there were about four major crusades which were led during this period. But the most successful one of all these crusades was the First one in which the Crusaders could successfully occupy Antioch and Jerusalem, two most important cities of the Muslims.1 But the First Crusade was important not only for its success but also for its historical, sociopolitical and cultural background. Indeed, though on the surface level, it was a response to Pope Urban’s (II) call, it was, in reality, the reflection of an age which had experienced heavy conflict between Monarchy and Church. During the 11th century, the conflict between the State and the Church began with the Investiture Controversy which was a “dispute between King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII concerning who would appoint bishops”2. Beside this state-church conflict, the whole religious system got divided into a number of groups and subgroups. But the most important religious schism was the East-West Schism. Scholars claim that along with other socioeconomic and cultural factors, the state-church conflict and the East-West Schism played a crucial role in preparing the plot of the First Crusade. Moreover, this was the only one successful whereas all of the following crusades ended in smoke. In this paper, I will discuss what factors work behind the materialization of the First Crusade and why it became successful whereas the Second Crusade failed. Though it is commonly believed that the first Crusade was mainly the result of Common Europeans’ spontaneous response to Pope Urban’s (II) call, it was basically the outcome of the reformist soul of the early 11th century as well as a reaction to other contemporary sociopolitical and religious events of that era.3 A close scrutiny of the historical contexts of the First Crusade will necessarily show that it was related to the sociopolitical and religious zeal and the state-church conflict in a number of ways. So, the First Crusade was more of a sociopolitical event than a pure spiritual response of the common people. In fact, Pope Urban’s religious stance tends to hide other sociopolitical aspects of the First Crusade. This religious trend of the crusade further tends to hide the fact that though Pope Urban could motivate common people by manipulating their religiosity, his call for the Crusade was not purely religious. Rather it was Pope Urban’s attempt to consolidate his power over the state.4 In fact, due to the lack of any primary document on Pope Urban’s intention behind the First Crusade, the event remains open to interpretation. Historians’ interpretations about the drives of the First Crusades are based mainly on three points: a. the 11th century religious reform movement, b. the Seldjuk’s or the Muslims’ threat which the Eastern Roman Orthodoxy was facing during those days, c. consolidation of Papacy’s hold on the state’s power as well as on entire European Christendom. A critical analysis of the factors behind the First Crusade will show that all of these three causes had played equal role in organizing the First Crusade. Seldjuk’s Threat in the East as a Primary Cause of First Crusade Some historians often attempt to underestimate the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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