Essay Preview: The Crusades
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The Crusades were a tragic time in the history of the church. Controversy within the faith had sparked much bloodshed and tears. The era of the Crusades will live on as an embarrassing time in the history of the Christian church.
The church had originated in the East and spread to the West in an orthodoxy that bonded Christians for over a thousand years. In the year 1054, the church was divided into an Eastern and a Western church. This left a large hole, as the church also went through war.
Islam was a newly sprouted religion with its origins in the East. Muslims took over many provinces of the Eastern empire and eventually reached France and Spain. In the year 732 the Arabs lost power, and by 1070 Turks had taken the stage. Constantinople was eventually threatened by the Muslims. The emperor in the East asked Pope Gregory VII for help, and in exchange would heal the wound left by the split of the church. Gregory planned to march out with 50,000 soldiers to destroy the “enemies of God.” His plan never fell through, yet he was the first person to create the idea of a crusade.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land had become popular in Christianity. Christians were appalled that the Holy Land was possessed by Muslims, though Christian pilgrims had friendly relationships with the Arabs. Eventually, the Turks took control from the Arabs, and would not allow pilgrims to visit the holy places. These Christians told about their mistreatment and the church was soon boiling. In 1095, Pope Urban II spoke to a crowd in France. He convinced the multitude to war against the Turks, and promised heaven to all who should die while serving in the war. The first Crusade was at hand by the year 1096.
Jerusalem was regained by this crusade, and ruled by those who won the battle. The kingdom started by the first Crusade lasted 88 years. More Crusades were started to aid Jerusalem. In 1187, Jerusalem was taken over by Egypt, and a third Crusade was started by Philip of France, Richard I of England, and Frederick Barbarossa of Rome. The outcome of this Crusade only granted a treaty with Egypt allowing Christians to visit the Holy Land.
The fourth Crusade was sparked by Pope Innocent III. It was originally bound for Egypt, but the crusaders turned to Constantinople to return Alexius and Isaac Angelus to the throne of Byzantium. The crusaders looked to Venice for its supplies and means of sea travel. The Duke of Venice used the crusaders for his own political needs. Venice was arguing with Constantinople at the time, and the crusaders consented to attack their own fellow Christians. They attacked a Roman Catholic town