Was the First crusade fought under the pretense of religion

Essay by Kendall93College, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Was the first crusade a war fought exclusively in the name of God?

The 'First Crusade' was a holly war that was fought in 1095. Not known as a crusade until much later they were known and seen to people as pilgrimages. The war was fought from most of the European countries, against the growing power of the Byzantine empire and Islamic religion which was spreading like wild fire across the middle east. Muslim armies had conquered Syria, Persia, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, Sicily, Southern Italy, Cyprus, Rhodes, Sardinia, Majorca, Crete, and Malta, which had been some of the most heavily Christian areas in the world. They attacked Rome and came within 100 miles of Paris before being pushed back. Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade at the council of Clermont to check the advance of the Muslims and regain control of the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Lands.

Peter the Hermit originally led the crusades then in the coming years thousands of Western Europeans would follow suit.

From the perspective that the first Crusade was a war for religious motivations, the first point that must be said is encapsulated by what Pope Urban's appeal is quoted as stating: "From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently… (a) race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire." Clearly, this emotive statement reinforces the idea that the first Crusades were established as a war liberating the Christian minority being overrun by the Muslims. His language is heavily loaded, portraying the Muslims as a Godless, violent...