The First Christian Crusade: Four Accounts

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Christopher Roe
Dr. Jennifer Davis
Medieval History
October 11th, 2013 The Crusades: Motivation behind the Movement. Patrick Geary’s “Readings in Medieval History” contains four accounts of the invasion of the Middle East by the Europeans in 1095 A.D. These accounts all cite different motives for the first crusade, and all the accounts are from the perspective of different sides of the war. The accounts all serve to widen our perspective, we hear from the Christian and Middle Eastern side of the conflict. Fulcher of Chartres claims, Pope Urban the Second urged all Christians to intervene in the “East” at the council of Claremont, saying it was a sign of “Strength of good will”. (Readings in Medieval History, Geary, page 396).
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Solomon is so distraught by this, he believes God himself turned his head and abandoned his chosen people “Himself in a cloud through which their prayers could not pass, and he abhorred their tent, and he removed them out of his sight- all this having been decreed by him to take place” (Readings in Medieval History, Geary, page 407) This text is written through pure emotion it seems like, Solomon blames his own God for the massacre. Solomon exemplifies his idea that the crusaders were in it for their own gain, “The elders of the Jewish community approached their bishop, Ruthard, and bribed him with three hundred zekukim of silver” (Readings in Medieval History, Geary, page 410) He writes for fellow Jews, hoping to incite anger for the wrong done to them, maybe even a sense of vengeance. I can see where Solomon Bar Simson is coming from, he says part of the reason for the massacre was revenge for Christ being crucified by Jews, “Look now, we are going a long way to seek out the profane shrine and to avenge ourselves on the Ishamelites, when here, in our very midst, are the Jews- they whose forefathers murdered and crucified him for no reason” (Readings in Medieval History, Geary, page 407) Anna Comnena was the daughter of emperor Alexius, who ruled Byzantine and participated in the crusade, albeit it may have been with reluctance. Well the crusaders were traveling to the East many had to go through
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