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The Crusaders and the Church - Research Paper Example

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The Crusaders and the Church Just as centuries before, the tales about the crusading heroes inspire hose who hear them for battles. However, this time, the battles are about the historical and moral significance of crusades, which is quite a debatable topic nowadays…
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The Crusaders and the Church
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Download file to see previous pages Neither can the writings of apostles and church fathers (prosecuted by Romans) be the departure point for analysis2. It is evident by now, that there are differences in three aforementioned texts and moral approaches, and the task of researcher is to clarify the motives behind different rhetorical strategies rather than search for positive models of behavior. The Main Controversy It was no secret for medieval church leaders that peaceful message of the New Testament was not appropriate for preaching in their violent world3. Moreover, there has always been an opposition to calls for the butchery of infidels: for example, Charlemagne was opposed y such influential figures as Alcuin of York and John Scot Erigena4. It was not until the 11th century AC that violent practices actually won full legitimacy in the church writings5. Moreover, those who came to battles fully realized what a demanding task it was, often spiritual rather than physical. For many knights, especially the participants of the first crusades, the march was a form of religious initiation and repentance performed with prayers, fasts, and vows6. The difference is striking: one group of people, the clergy, was legally prohibited to take part in the crusades7; the spiritual leaders were against the murders or at least saw the controversy. Another group, the knights and the people of lower social classes helping them, did not feel that wars for the cross were controversial. That is how with the advent of the new influential social strata new morality code appeared in the already multifaceted Christian worldview. This new morality deserves more detailed examination. The Knighthood Phillips observes that the pope Urban II (who inspired the First Crusade) was sensitive to the needs of the new social class of war aristocracy, as the pope himself came from the like circles: He linked several ingredients familiar to medieval society, such as pilgrimage and the idea of a holy war against the enemies of God, with an unprecedented offer of salvation, a combination almost guaranteed to enthuse the warriors of western Europe8. Another accepted practice of this class was vengeance, which ideally corresponded the mission of the crusaders and echoed the Old Testament9. Many knights were pious and perceived their war service as a kind of spiritual mission. The examples was the knight Matthew described by Guibert of Nogent10. The customs like throwing away weapons after the crusade, fasting before serious military missions, temporary celibate and making testaments before departure was widespread throughout the whole history of crusades11. The very idea of abandoning home and family for the unknown future, the voluntary exile was in line with the practices of self-humiliation more appropriate for monks12. Still, even those monastic practices were not ‘innocent’ in class terms: they testified that the knighthood takes part in the crusades voluntarily and autonomously, unlike the participants of most holy wars around the world (this is the reason why Riley-Smith distinguishes the ‘holy war’ aspect of crusades from the ‘penitential’ aspect)13. However, not all the knights were pious in this monastic sense. There is plenty of evidence of their greed, hedonism, and cruelty. A notorious example was Hugh, count of Avranches (11th century AC), a glutton, a butcher, and a typical representative of “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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