Crusades Motivation

Decent Essays
What caused the crusades is a long debated and multifaceted issue, with much contention among scholars. The cause for the crusades is not an easy or simple answer, with various explanations being offered by historians from monetary to colonial motivations (Riley-Smith, ETEP p.18-19). Although it is certain there was more than one motivation for the crusades and not every crusader went for the exact same reasons, religion is brought up as a motivation in overwhelming frequency in the contemporary writings. Religion, or more specifically the crusades as a way to fulfil one’s duty as a Christian and protect the faith, was the primary motivator for the crusaders, as shown by their own writings and words. Even from the onset of the crusades, religion…show more content…
Urban II established this at the end of his speech, telling westerners that they gain “remission of their sins” in return for going on crusade (ETEP p. 5). Abbot Martin of Paris too reiterates that all who go on crusade would be compensated through the cleansing of their sins (ETEP p. 6). This promise of personal salvation for the crusaders was very persuasive, and also led to the crusaders seeing the recapture of the Holy Land as their own personal duty to God. Pope Innocent III appeals to this feeling of personal responsibility, but in the opposite way, that if one did not go on crusade they were not fulfilling their responsibilities to God as proper Christians (ETEP p. 8). This motivation, that to go on crusade was for religious salvation and personal duty, is certainly reflected in the writings of the crusaders themselves. One crusader, Ingelbald, in his will mentions his motivations for going on crusade out right, he was doing it to secure his place in heaven (ETEP p. 8). Ingelbald as well as other crusaders like Gaufred refer to crusading as a pilgrimage, which is illustrative of the use of crusading as a way of personal penance (ETEP p.9). Stephen of Neublens too speaks of going on crusade as a way to fulfill a debt to God, and a way to expunge his sins (ETEP p. 9). When looking at the contemporary sources, especially the words of the crusaders themselves, it is apparent that they went on crusade for their own personal religious
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