Reasons given for beginning the Crusades?
The first Crusades began toward the end of the eleventh century and began as a way for Christian Europe to attack Muslims and assert political and religious dominance. Originally, the Crusades were seen as a way to reclaim the Holy Land of Palestine from the infidel and after warriors made their way down the coast, in 1099 they reached Jerusalem. A five week long massacre took place and the city was taken by the Europeans. The massacre was brutal and, “After further conquest of Palestinian lands, the crusaders ignored the wishes of the Byzantine emperor and organized four Latin crusader states.” (Spielvogel & Duiker, 2013)
The Crusades had an important impact on European society and set an awful precedent for holy wars. The Crusades are considered by many to have been the Christian holy war that may still have roots in the current hostile relationship between the Western World and Muslim culture. At the time, Italian cities benefitted greatly from the Crusades because they were the only friendly non-Muslim cities in the area that would trade with Christian crusaders. Although Italian merchants may have benefitted from the Crusades, their growth was inevitable and not caused solely by the Crusades. One of the incredibly negative effects of the Crusades was the beginning of the massacre of Jews in medieval European life.
The two stories that are told in Chapter 7 in “The Siege of Jerusalem: Christian and Muslim Perspectives” both tell horrific accounts of the brutality and violence that occurred in the Crusades. Although both writers have recorded their accounts of what happened as members of opposing parties, they are both incredulous at the lack of compassion of the Christian knights. In regard to the significance of the Crusades, these accounts paint a picture of possibly a darker war than imagined previously. It was perhaps the most gruesome and unforgiving war of its time.
Spielvogel, J. J., & Duiker, W. J. (2013). The Essential World History. Cengage Learning.
Vincent Triola. Sat, Mar 13, 2021. The First Crusades & Their Impact on History Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/the-first-crusades-their-impact-on-history