Why Did Urban Call for a Crusade in 1095?

1529 Words Oct 9th, 2008 7 Pages
Why did Urban II call for a crusade in 1095?

In order to establish reasons for Urban’s call for a crusade in 1095, we need to look at many accounts of the time, and find out what was happening in the rest of the Christian world which influenced both what and when he said what he did to launch the first crusade. At the time, religion played a major role in almost everyone’s daily lives, and the belief system of the afterlife was extremely strong. It was true that every Christian had a very vivid sense of sin, and believed that if one committed an act of sin, their afterlife would be spent in hell. They all thought of this afterlife as a reality rather than an idea. It was this belief which would help Pope Urban II recruit more men.
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However he also warned that if anyone turned back once they had made a pledge they would automatically be excommunicated from the church. The crowd had been convinced that this journey would be one with an ultimate finishing point and marvellous rewards, and they responded by making crosses and attaching them to their clothes whilst shouting ‘God Wills It’.
The speech at the Council also addressed other issues which related to church discipline. For example the speech emphasised papal spiritual and temporal authority by granting anyone who went on the crusade full remission of his or her sins. It was Urban’s first declaration of the concept of a Holy War. At this time, ceremonies were a major way of capturing peoples’ imaginations, and in giving this speech with such a large audience, Urban was sure to win over many members of the public who would want to go on this journey for him. The numbers of men, women and children fired up by the idea of a crusade was possibly also increased by the fact that the Pope timed the speech to fall just at the start of the season of advent, and his subsequent visits through France to coincide with Lent, - both times when Christians were most open to the concept of penance.
Jerusalem had always been known to the Christians as an ideal city, or a holy city- the walls had been touched by Christ

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