Taking the Cross: The Crusaders

715 Words3 Pages
The crusading movement had a resounding influence that promoted change within European Christendom’s sphere of influence. Interaction with Muslim and Byzantine culture proved to have a resounding effect on this changing Europe. In 1095, Crusader armies formed at the expense of personal feuds under the command of Pope Urban II, who declared, preached and called for a holy war against the infidel. In the scheme of things, Pope Urban hoped to achieve an end to constantly waged warfare in Europe, enforce papal authority over all Christians, and finally, to attack and end a Muslim menace who had raided the Southern Italian and French coastlines since the 7th Century. What Urban preached started a great movement in Europe, families, peasants, children, merchants, knights, lords, and kings all “took the cross” to find their own salvation, wealth, and glory found on pilgrimage to Outremer. Many critics chose to call these men and women religious fanatics, an aggressive campaign against a benevolently peaceable people, but this popular misconception gives Crusaders a bad name in our own time. Religious fanaticism was not what drove the European to attack the Saracen, instead the Church sought a controllable amount of peace for an inherently brutal land by sending the ever violent feudal warrior against a common enemy. Norman Cantor, Steven Runciman, and many other famous 20th century historians attacked the crusader; consequently, 20th century historiography has greatly impacted the
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