The Crusades

Essay by RyankirklandHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2004

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The crusades were military expeditions launched against the

Muslims by the Christians in an attempt to regain the Holy Land. They

took place between 1095 A.D. and 1270 A.D. It was one of the most

violent periods in the history of mankind.

The starting point of the crusades was on November 18, 1095

A.D. when Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont. On November

27, outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, the Pope made an

important speech . He called upon everyone to help the Christians in

the east to restore peace. The crowd's response was very positive.

Garments were cut into crosses which were attached to people's

shoulders in an imitation of Christ (Matthew 10:38).(1) The original

object of the First Crusade was to help Christian churches in the

east. The new goal became to free the Holy Land from Muslim control,

especially Jerusalem.

Pope Urban II stayed in France until September 1096 to provide

leadership and guidance for the members of the First Crusade.


urged churchmen to preach the cross in France. Urban wanted the

crusading army to be mostly made up of knights and other military

personnel. Since the news of his speech at Clermont spread through

the west, people from all social classes and occupations joined the

Crusade. As a result of Urban losing control of personnel, violence

was launched against the Jews of northern France. This violence was

mostly instigated by bands of the urban and rural poor led by men like

Peter the Hermit and Walter Sans-Avoir.

These groups lacked supplies and discipline. They attempted

to reach Coneztinople but most of them never got that far. The

leaders in lands which they passed through were frightened and killed

many of the crusading bands. Some did get to Coneztinople and

traveled across the...