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The Crusader - Essay Example

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The church had extreme powers at that time and they were influencing the minds of common people. They wanted to capture the lands back and motivated the…
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What are the crusades? By addressing what the historical medieval crusades were and how current scholarship reflects on the relevance of the crusadesfor today’s world. ”
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14th January, 2012.
Crusades were “Holy Wars” against getting the “Holy Lands” or to be particular Jerusalem back from the Muslims1. The church had extreme powers at that time and they were influencing the minds of common people. They wanted to capture the lands back and motivated the Christians to do so by forming armies. The crusades were used by the pope and the Christian kings for massive destruction for their own political gain. The basic objective of the crusade was to free the holy land by the Muslim invasion which was taken as a religious duty by many Christians but as the time passed, popes and Christian kings used it for their own political benefit2 and this benefit was based on blood shedding of thousands of Christians and Muslims.
Modern exploration of crusades is commenced by Erdmann’s work, Die Entstehung des Kreuzzugsgedankens3 in the year 1935. According to him crusades were the product of the eleventh century. They were a means of transmitting the active military towards another place. They can be regarded as products of the reform movement which were used to purify the church and the Christian society as a whole. In Erdmann’s opinion the apparent aim of the crusades was Jerusalem.
The rescue of the Holy City was the motivation that made Pope call the First Crusade or it was according to Erdmann’s view, in the defense of Eastern Christians. The actual words of Urban II are still unknown but according to Cowdrey, the pope was worried about the holy city i.e. Jerusalem and that was when the first crusade was given birth.
­­­­­­­­­1 Madden, Thomas. The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
2 Cowdrey, H.E.J. Pope Urban II’s preaching of the First Crusade, The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
3 Madden, Thomas. The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
There is little criticism received to Erdmann’s work but Cowdrey criticized it. In his opinion, the crusades are linked to the Cluniac reform4. George VII (1073-85), Victor III (1086-7) and Urban II (1088-99) are examples in this context.
Historians also believed that the medieval men could not take up the religious words uttered by them. They believed that the post Enlightenment era was full of people who talked about profiting the world hereafter but actually they were into profiting the existing world for themselves. The modern investigations led by Jonathan Riley Smith have proved it to the world that the number of men and women who participated in the crusades is larger than known to history. The crusade army was a mix of rich, poor, saints, sinners and all of them had some kind of motivation to do so.
Pope Urban’s preaching motivated the people for the First Crusade which was successful for them as well because the drive for it was “spiritual”5. Muslims were not prepared for the attack and hence it was easy for The First Crusade to become successful. It was believed by the historians that the crusades were something related to the “Europe’s cast offs” like aristocrats, highway men and greedy monks. In the 10th century the Europe’s population increased and there was a demand of more land. Therefore, the crusades were used by the Europeans for the colonial wars over the Muslims. Hence, it can be concluded that the wars were not for the religious gains or pious attainment of the holy lands rather than it was to get more colonial empire and land.
4 Cowdrey, H.E.J. Pope Urban II’s preaching of the First Crusade, The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
5 Madden, Thomas. The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
If we observe the modern world today we observe that there are different wars going around in the world. Are they only for religion, or for some other political benefits, like attainment of land and getting hold of the oil reserves? The crusades should be seen from all perspectives and in my opinion; they were a means of destruction as wars are in today’s world.
Madden, Thomas. The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002).
Cowdrey, H.E.J. Pope Urban II’s preaching of the First Crusade, The Crusades. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2002). Read More
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