The First Crusade Essay

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The First Crusade

As the year 1000A.D. was approaching the strength of Christianity in
Western Europe was growing along with its population. The newly reformed and organized Church began to gain great power. A new Europe was being born with the Catholic Church as a force in every area of life.
In Christian beliefs, the savior, Jesus Christ was to return to earth and bring judgment on its people. Many clergy members along with lay people believed this would take place in the year 1000A.D. . Knowing this, the people of Europe awaited the return of Christ and feared the Wrath of God. Religious people wanted to make up for their sins and avoid the horrors of eternal
damnation.
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The large crowd listening to the Pope's speech was saddened and outraged. The Pope called on Christian knights to set out to the Holy Land and free it from the claws of the pagan Seljuk Turks. He promised any knight who set out to the Holy Land " the remission of sins and be sure of the incorruptible glory of the kingdom of heaven" (Spielvogel,p345).
The crowd immediately supported it by crying out " It is the will of
God"(Spielvogel,p345). This can be seen as the starting point of the period of the Crusades.
A Crusade immediately followed known as the Peasant's Crusade. This
Crusade was not organized by the papacy. They were mostly poor or peasants and were inadequately prepared. On their way to the East they terrorized the
Balkans by looting and persecuting the Jews. Eventually, they reached
Constantinople and were sent by the Emperor Alexius I to Asia Minor where they were slaughtered by the Seljuk Turks.
A papal supported Crusade was soon to follow. The soldiers for the first true Crusade were recruited from the warrior class of knights. By 1096, " an international military force, with a large nucleus of knights from central and southern France, Normandy, and Norman Sicily, made its way across the
Balkans and assembled in Constantinople" (Hollister,p.189). The warriors of the
First Crusade numbered around 25,000 or

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