The Justification of the Crusades


#1

Introduction
The Crusades…perhaps the most earth shaking wars in world history. Many do not care about them. Many think that they were evil. And seemingly few think that they were okay. I write this today to justify not the wrongs of the Crusades, but the Crusades themselves. Many Jews think that the Crusades were evil, along with Moslems, and Christians. The world has been torn apart by the wrongs of the Crusaders. There is no way around that fact. Nevertheless, the Crusades were a reaction to the rise and destructiveness of Islam.

The Beginning and Rise of Islam

Around 570A.D. the “prophet” Mohammed was born in the city of Mecca. Later in life he met Jews and Christians in the great religious metropolis of Mecca. He heard their teachings. It was then that he occasionally withdrew into a cave. Then one time while in a cave what he supposed to be the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and declared him a prophet. Now this spiritual being was either a figment of his imagination or a demon in disguise, or maybe just a lie altogether. It was from here that Islam began and the world would change forever. 

Later after proclaiming “the Truth” he was forced to flee to the city of Medina, the second holiest city in Islam, where he gained great political power. It was after he gained political power that he decided to wage war against Mecca.

Muhammad’s strategy in the developing conflict with Mecca was to attack Meccan trade caravans returning from Syria and thus economically weaken the city. In 624, the first major battle occurred, in which the Muslims, despite their inferiority in numbers and weapons, soundly defeated the Meccans. In the next major battle, the following year, the Meccans had the advantage but were unable to achieve a decisive victory. A Meccan army of 10,000 besieged Medina in 627 but failed to take the city. Muhammad meanwhile eliminated his enemies within Medina. After each of the first two battles he expelled a Jewish tribe, and after the third major battle he had the males of the remaining tribe massacred for collaborating with his opponents.

Finally the Moslems won against Mecca. Delegates of the city pleaded with Mohammed to spare the city from destruction. He gave them the option of converting, so that their city might be spared. In other words, convert or die. It was the beginning of a pattern that would shape the world today.

After the death of Mohammed in 632 A.D. four people succeeded after him. The first was Abu Bakr. He conquered the rest of Arabia. His successor was Omar in 634 A.D. He conquered Egypt, Syria, Iraq, the northern part of Mesopotamia, and Jerusalem. When he died in 644 A.D. Uthman succeeded him and he was soon murded in 656 A.D. Ali succeeded him and died in 661 A.D. Here is a chart below that shows the rapid spread of the Islamic Empire.

http://history.binghamton.edu/hist130/images/h130maps/islam.jpg

The gray and lined areas were Moslem conquered lands. The black was the Byzantine Empire. The mini chart is the Byzantine Empire before Islam came. The fact is that the Moslems conquered almost half of the Christian world of that day. During this time Christians were not persecuted severely. Though they had to pay a tax to even be Christian and some rather than pay the tax converted. Such is a total outrage. Then after the Abbasid Caliphate came to power Christians were persecuted greatly. Pilgrims were lucky if they could make it to Jerusalem and live to tell about it. If that is not a reason for war then what gives a war a just cause?

To be continued…

God speed.

Vigis


#2

Part 2:

The Conditions of the Christian World

Article form the Web

Popular perceptions paint the Crusades as an act of Christian aggression toward as alien Eastern culture. Although the desire to enrich Europe with captured plunder and lands, and the desire to spread the faith of Christianity were two important catalysts to the declaration of the Crusades, they were not the actual reasons that motivated these wars. Pope Urban II officially declared the First Crusade on Tuesday, November 27, 1095, with the goal of liberating the land formerly held by the Christians; and the liberation of oppressed Christians in the Middle East. Urban’s declaration shows that the Crusades were not an aggressive venture by the Europeans, but rather a defensive move to count what they perceived as a looming threat to their lands and their faith.

Eastern aggression indirectly led to Pope Urban’s declaration. After the death of Mohammed, Arab armies began successfully invading other nations. The Koran condemns aggressive acts of warfare, however, and a justification for these violations of Mohammed’s principles was needed. Muslim jurists formed the concept of the jihad, or holy struggle, as the sought-after justification. The jihad’s objective was to conquer the rest of the non-Muslim world “so that the world could reflect the divine unity [of God]” (Holy War, p. 40).

Under jihad, Arabs “conquered Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt” (Infopedia, Byzantium). Constantinople survived two sieges, one in the 670s and another in 717-718. After the decline of the influential Abassids, the more belligerent Seljuk dynasty dominated in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Seljuks converted to Islam in the 10th century and controlled most of Iran and Iraq under Togrul Beg (c. 990-1063). Togrul’s successors, Alp Arslan (c. 1029-1072) and Malik Shah (1055-1092) extended the Seljuk Empire into Syria and Palestine. In 1071, Arslan conducted a campaign that resulted in the battle of Manzikert, where he routed the Byzantines. The battle of Manzikert “was the indirect cause of the Crusades” (The First Crusade, p. 28), heralding Byzantium’s loss of control in Asia Minor. This loss of control “lay behind the appeal to the West in 1095” (The Crusades, p. 2). For the next ten years, Byzantium was in chaos and unable to counter the Turks. Then Emperor Alexius I of Byzantium ascended to the throne and waited for a suitable time to launch a counter-offensive against the Turks. By 1095, Alexius was ready to attack the Turks, but he desperately needed soldiers for his army. Alexius decided to send envoys to Urban’s Council at Piacenza, who appealed to the assembled bishops and to the Pope to “send members of their flocks eastward to fight for their faith” (The First Crusade, p. 40). It is said that Urban told his audience that “a grave report has come from the lands around Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople” (The Cross and the Crescent, p. 18), referring to Alexius’ request for aid. Urban also stated that

‘. . . a people from the kingdom of the Persians, a foreign race, a race absolutely alien to God . . . has invaded the land of those Christians, has reduced the people with sword, rapine and flame. . .’ (The Cross and the Crescent, p. 18)
Clearly, Muslim aggression acted as a catalyst to Urban’s declaration.

The rapid spread of Islam was another impetus to the Crusades. As fellow monotheists, Christians were considered a “People of the Book”. Christians remained unharmed during the Muslim expansion, but occasionally were restricted by prohibitive taxes and laws. Many Christians eventually converted to Islam, due to the advantages of being a member of the ruling religions. These Christians were also attracted to a religion whose “theology was far simpler” (Holy War, p. 44), and one that nurtured “a new culture of great power and beauty” (Holy War, p. 45). Within a century of their conquest, Syria and Palestine were mostly Islamic nations. These conversions acted as the justification for the concept of jihad, feeding the need for Arab expansionism. In time, Muslims dropped the doctrine of jihad and developed trading and diplomatic contacts with non-Muslim nations. By then, the rapid spread of Islam was viewed with anxiety by the Christians.

This Article will be continued in the next post…

God bless.

Vigis


#3

Part 3

To the Christians, Islam was absorbing Christianity with an alarming speed, “conquering countries which had been strongly Christians with ease” (Holy War, p. 42). A paranoia arose, with the jihad becoming “a bogey in the West for centuries” (Holy War, p. 42). This paranoia is exemplified best by Edward Gibbon’s account of Sultan Abd al-Rahman’s defeat at the “Battle of Poitiers” by Charles Martel in 732:

. . . the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or the Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet. From such calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of one man [Martel]. (Holy War, p. 42)
Gibbon seemed to have been under the belief the al-Rahman’s intention was a continuation of the jihad, which was false. The Sultan “had been invited into Christendom by Eudo, Duke of Aquitaine” (Holy War, p. 42), and had no intention of continuing the jihad or conquering Europe. Muslim historians only refer to the “Battle of Poitiers” in passing, referring “to it as an unfortunate but unimportant little raid” (Holy War, p. 42). The disparity between the two sides show that the Christians were wary of the burgeoning success of Islam. Urban himself denounced the conversions at Clermont, saying how the Muslims “enslaved them [Christian churches/people] to the practice of its own rites” (The Cross and the Crescent, p.18). The spread of Islam was another catalyst that prompted Urban to declare the First Crusade.

Paired with the defense of the faith was the defense of the people themselves. Christians in Muslim-dominated areas were restricted by taxes and regulatory laws. There were occasionally skirmishes between Muslims and their Christian subjects, and lurid reports would inevitably make their way to Europe. Urban coupled the defense of the people with the defense of Jerusalem itself, and proceeded to bolster the First Crusade with it. Urban appealed to the people at Clermont, detailing how

‘. . . [the Muslim] has invaded the land of those Christians, has reduced the people with sword, rapine, and flame and has carried off some as captives to its own land, has cut down others by pitiable murder. . .’(The Cross and the Crescent, p. 18)

The Crusades were fostered in a climate of concern over the loss of Christian lands and people. The insurgencies upon Byzantium stirred the call to arms, the rapid rise of Islamic converts roused the indignation of Christian Europe, and the tales of persecution of Christians shocked the Christians. These were the reasons Pope Urban II used when he declared the First Crusade. Thus, the Crusades were a defensive counter to Eastern expansion, rather than an aggressive expansion.

End of Article.

To be continued…

God bless.

Vigis


#4

A Call To Arms And The First Crusade

Early in 1095 A.D. Pope Urban II summoned all of the representatives of the West to the first council of his reign as pope. There ambassadors from Emperor Alexius of the Byzantine Empire attended. It was then that they pleaded with the council to have troops sent to the East to help fight the aggressors against the Christian World. Pope Urban II was convinced. On November 27, 1095 A.D. in Clermont, France, Pope Urban II issued a call for the First Crusade. Robert the Monk reports the event:

Pope Urban’s Call to Crusade at Clermont

Reported by Robert the Monk

1095

In the year of our Lord’s Incarnation one thousand and ninety-five, a great council was celebrated within the bounds of Gaul, in Auvergne, in the city which is called Clermont. Over this Pope Urban II presided, with the Roman bishops and cardinals. This council was a famous one on account of the concourse of both French and German bishops, and of princes as well. Having arranged the matters relating to the Church, the lord pope went forth into a certain spacious plain, for no building was large enough to hold all the people. The pope then, with sweet and persuasive eloquence, addressed those present in words some thing like the following, saying:

“Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race beloved and chosen by God,—as is clear from many of your works,—set apart from all other nations by the situation of your country as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor which you render to the holy Church: to you our discourse is addressed, and for you our exhortations are intended. We wish you to know what a grievous cause has led us to your country, for it is the imminent peril threatening you and all the faithful which has brought us hither.

To be continued…

God speed.

Vigis


#5

Part 4:

A continuation of the pope’s speach:

“From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth and has repeatedly been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race wholly alienated from God, ‘a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God,’ has violently invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire. They have led away a part of the captives into their own country, and a part they have killed by cruel tortures. They have either destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of their own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness.… The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and has been deprived of territory so vast in extent that it could not be traversed in two months’ time.

“On whom, therefore, is the labor of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you,—you, upon whom, above all other nations, God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength to humble the heads of those who resist you? Let the deeds of your ancestors encourage you and incite your minds to manly achievements:—the glory and greatness of King Charlemagne, and of his son Louis, and of your other monarchs, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the Turks and have extended the sway of the holy Church over lands previously pagan. Let the holy Sepulcher of our Lord and Saviour, which is possessed by the unclean nations, especially arouse you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with the filth of the unclean. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, do not degenerate, but recall the valor of your progenitors.

“But if you are hindered by love of children, parents, or wife, remember what the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.’ ‘Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.’ Let none of your possessions retain you, nor solicitude for your family affairs. For this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough for its cultivators. Hence it is that you murder and devour one another, that you wage war, and that very many among you perish in intestine strife.

“Let hatred therefore depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves. That land which, as the Scripture says, ‘floweth with milk and honey’ was given by God into the power of the children of Israel. Jerusalem is the center of the earth; the land is fruitful above all others, like another paradise of delights. This spot the Redeemer of mankind has made illustrious by his advent, has beautified by his sojourn, has consecrated by his passion, has redeemed by his death, has glorified by his burial.

God speed.

Vigis


#6

Part 5:

Pope’s speach continued:

“This royal city, however, situated at the center of the earth, is now held captive by the enemies of Christ and is subjected, by those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathen. She seeks, therefore, and desires to be liberated and ceases not to implore you to come to her aid. From you especially she asks succor, because, as we have already said, God has conferred upon you above all other nations great glory in arms. Accordingly, undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the reward of imperishable glory in the kingdom of heaven.”
When Pope Urban had urbanely said these and very many similar things, he so centered in one purpose the desires of all who were present that all cried out, “It is the will of God! It is the will of God!” When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, with eyes uplifted to heaven, he gave thanks to God and, commanding silence with his hand, said:

“Most beloved brethren, to-day is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’; for unless God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry; since, although the cry issued from numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry was one. Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let that then be your war cry in combats, because it is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: ‘It is the will of God! It is the will of God!’

“And we neither command nor advise that the old or feeble, or those incapable of bearing arms, undertake this journey. Nor ought women to set out at all without their husbands, or brothers, or legal guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a burden than an advantage. Let the rich aid the needy; and according to their wealth let them take with them experienced soldiers. The priests and other clerks, whether secular or regular, are not to go without the consent of their bishop; for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without permission. Also, it is not fitting that laymen should enter upon the pilgrimage without the blessing of their priests.
“Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage, and shall make his vow to God to that effect, and shall offer himself to him for sacrifice, as a living victim, holy and acceptable to God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead or on his breast. When, indeed, he shall return from his journey, having fulfilled his vow, let him place the cross on his back between his shoulders. Thus shall ye, indeed, by this twofold action, fulfill the precept of the Lord, as he commands in the Gospel, ‘He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.’”

End of Pope’s speach.

To be continued…

God bless.


#7

Part 6:

Now whether or not the Pope was right or not to guarantee salvation for those who took up the Cross is another issue; however, it was right of him to ask people to help their breatheren in the East. It was then that the First Crusade began. By 1099 the Crusaders broke into Jerusalem and slaughtered Christians, Jews, and Moslems alike. It was a sad day for all. It would be a stain upon the Crusaders forever. The wrong doings they did though do not deter the fact that the war was justified, and fought for a righteous cause.

After the end of the First Crusade the Levant was divided into four states. They were the County of Edessa, County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Here is a chart of them:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2d/Near_East_1135.svg/300px-Near_East_1135.svg.png

To be continued…

God speed.

Vigis


#8

Part 7:

The Second Crusade

In the year 1144 A.D. Zengi, the first of the Moslem rulers to rise up against the Crusader states in the Levant, conquered the Edessa. The Christian world was shocked. Zengi had to be stopped. On December 1, 1145 A.D. Pope Eugenius III called for the Second Crusade to recapture the city of Edessa, and extend the borders of the Christian states. The King of France, King Louis VII, lead the Crusade along with Emperor Conrad III of the Holy Roman Empire. This was amazing. In the First Crusade knights, and other vassals lead the Crusade (Emperor Alexius lead it as well, but only as far as Nicaea). Now kings and emperors were leading it as well. Emperor Conrad III’s forces were utterly destroyed in Asia Minor. He and a handful of his men barely made it to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Meanwhile King Louis VII managed to march part way through Asia Minor and then go by sea the rest of the way. Most of his forces remained intact. When the Crusaders arrived in Jerusalem it was decided to attack Damascus to begin with. It was a disaster. The incompetence of King Louis VII on the battle field proved decisive in fall of the Second Crusade. It was then that Nur ed-Din, the son and successor of Zengi, came and was handed over power by the people of Damascus the city of Damascus. The Second Crusade had done the opposite of what it was supposed to achieve. Instead of reconquering Edessa, and extending the borders even further, it strenghtned the shattered Islamic World. 

To be cont…

Go with God.

Vigis


#9

Part 8:

The Fall of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade

By the twelfth century A.D. the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was in decline. King Baldwin IV was the incarnation of the great people who were there, yet plagued by circumstances. He was the king of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. He was a leper. He sought to secure safety for his kingdom so he led a campaign south towards Egypt where he defeated Saladin, a man who was to become the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. After Saladin had usurped the throne from the son of Nur ed-Din and conquered Egypt King Baldwin IV struggled to keep the peace between Moslems and Christians. In fact Moslems, Jews, and Christians lived together and got along greatly within his kingdom. However because he was a leper he was forced to rule through regents. Perhaps one of his most loyal regents was Count Raymond III of Tripoli. In March of 1185 A.D. King Baldwin IV died, and with him the hope for peace between the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Moslems. Baldwin IV’s sister, Sibylla, was then made queen of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. She then crowned her husband, Guy of Lusignan, as king of the kingdom. The royal court was outraged that Guy was made king. Thus Guy had much trouble maintaining control of the actions of his vassals.

The first one was Raymond, the former king’s regent, who was supposed to rule and govern the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem after King Baldwin IV’s death until the pope and the kings of Europe decided who shall be the royal heir. This agreement was betrayed as soon as he left Jerusalem by Joscelin III of Courtenay. Thus when Guy was made king Raymond withdrew his forces to Tiberias where he made alliances with Saladin, who in turn gave him troops and supplies to wage a war against Jerusalem.

The next rebellious vassal was Reynald of Chatillon. He held pure hatred against all Moslems. When he was younger he was defeated in battle and made a captive among Moslems until he was ransomed. It was then that he set out to use any means necessary to kill Moslems. His actions greatly disturbed the peace between Saladin and Jerusalem. Reynald grew furious with Guy and withdrew to the Transjordan and declared his lands independent from royal control. He then raided trade caravans in Saladin’s land. Guy ordered Reynald to make restitution to Saladin, but Reynald declared that he was not under royal control and thus he refused.

To be continued…

God bless.

Vigis


#10

Part 9:

In 1187 A.D. Saladin declared war on the Christians and invaded the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. When Saladin declared war Raymond saw the threat to all to what the Crusades had strove so hard to achieve. He immediately ended his alliance with Saladin and offered his services to Guy. With Guy and Raymond’s forces combined the crusaders’ army number around 20,000 men. Saladin’s forces numbered around 30,000 men. The two armies camped outside Nazareth. Guy decided to take on a defensive strategy against Saladin knowing full well that Saladin’s army could not stay there forever. He employed this strategy many years before when he encountered Saladin, but it cost him a political defeat which made the royal court think of him as a coward. Saladin, in a desperate move, moved onward and attacked the city of Tiberias. Saladin took the city, but the citadel under the command of Raymond’s wife, Eschiva, held out against the Moslems. Now there was great motive to move the army forward to attack Saladin. Raymond objected to the idea of moving the army. He warned Guy not to allow chivalric zeal to dictate military strategy. At the end of the day Guy agreed with Raymond. That night; however, Gerald, the Master of the Knight’s Templar, sought him in his tent. Gerald was not only for the decision of moving the army, but he hated Raymond. He hated Raymond because while Raymond and Saladin had an alliance he lost men in battle to Saladin because Raymond allowed them to pass through his lands without a fight. Guy was fully convinced. In the morning Guy ordered the army to march. In order for the army to get to Tiberias they had to travel through the desert. It was a mistake that would change the world. On July 3, 1187 the Moslems attacked the Christian army. Already dying of thirst the crusaders had to endure roaring flames and smoke set by Saladin’s men. The crusaders by the next day were forced to flee to an abandoned volcano known as the Horns of Hattin. There they fought until they could not fight any longer. Guy, Gerald, and Reynald were captured. The remaining Christian forces were forced to pay for their freedom or be sold into slavery. Reynald was beheaded by Saladin himself along with the Knights Templars. Raymond of Tripoli managed to escape though. All of the Levant had now lost its ability to wage war against the Moslems. All of that remained were garrisons. Jerusalem was there for the taking.

Saladin then marched on to Jerusalem. The only defenders left there was Balian of Ibelin. He had sworn earlier to Saladin that he would never take up arms against him again after being captured in battle. Now he commanded the defenses of Jerusalem. He was a man of honor. He sought council with Saladin and asked him to release him of his oath. Saladin did so, for he was not overly concerned with the defenses of Jerusalem. IT was a decision that he would come to regret. He defended the city well. He held off Saladin’s forces for days. Finally the walls of Jerusalem were breached, but the crusaders beat back Saladin’s forces. Balian, seeing that all was lost, immediately sent an emissary to Saladin for peace talks.

When Saladin heard this he replied, “My wise men say that Jerusalem can only be cleansed with Christian blood”’ He then reminded them 88 years before. “My council tells me to take revenge for those Moslems whom Godfrey (leader of the first Crusaders) slew in the streets and even in the Temple.”

The emissary grew afraid, but Saladin promised to consult once more with his men. It was not until Balian threatened to tear down every Moslem holy sight, including the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem if he did not agree to the terms of allowing all of the citizens in Jerusalem buy their freedom for a low price, and the ones who could not buy their freedom be Saladin’s slaves. Jerusalem escaped the revenge of Islam. The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem existed only in name form then on out.

To be cont…

Go with God.

Vigis


#11

Part 10:

When Pope Urban III heard about the fall of Jerusalem he died of grief. His successor, Pope Gregory VIII called for the Third Crusade. Three men decided to take up the Third Crusade. King Richard I of England, King Phillip II Augustus of France, and Emperor Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire went on this major Crusade. Phillip and Richard traveled by sea while Barbarossa traveled by land. Phillip and Richard had bout 20,000 to 25,000 men combined. Frederick Barbarossa had around 100,000 men. When Saladin heard about the size of the Holy Roman Emperor’s army he began to fear. It was a fear that did not last long. While traveling through Asia Minor the emperor was thrown from his horse while crossing a river and fell into it. The quick change in temperature of his hot blazing armor to cold gave him a heart attacked and he died. The rest of the German army either returned home or was destroyed by the Moslem Turks. Richard and Phillip made it to the city of Acre. The Crusaders besieged the city for months, but to no avail. Finally Richard was able to break through the walls and take the city. Afterwards Phillip and Richard argued over the amount of plunder each of them got. Richard won the argument and Phillip II out of rage returned to France with most of his men. Richard was left about 17,000 men to continue the crusade. Richard and Saladin eventually made a truce. Saladin agreed to leave the coastal Christian strongholds alone for many years. While Richard failed to reconquer the city of Jerusalem, which he could have taken, but never held, he made it able for others to have a friendly beachhead to land on for future Crusades. Only 1 out of every 11 men of Richard’s army saw the sea where they would journey home on. Richard said that he would return and Saladin said that if Jerusalem were to fall he would rather it be to him than to any other man. Six weeks after Richard left the Levant Saladin died in Damascus and his empire fell apart. The Third Crusade was over.

End of Third Crusade.

God bless.

Vigis


#12

Part 11:

The Fourth Crusade

In 1198 A.D. Pope Innocent III called for a Fourth Crusade. Many nobles responded to the call, but no kings or emperors. The leading nobles decided to travel by sea rather than by land in order not to make the same mistake as Crusaders before. Thus they went to Venice and negotiated with the city to have them transported, but not without a fee. The Crusaders estimated that there would be about 30,000 of them. So the Republic of Venice halted all trade for one year and built more ships to transport an army of 30,000. Well in the end only around 15,000 showed up. The Venetians were furious. It was then that the Crusaders decided to invade Egypt rather than to wage war in the Levant. This made sense because Egypt was a great and rich base for the Moslem world. The Venetians agreed to transport them, but only if they were to take a city called Zara which was once a possession of the Byzantine Empire. Pope Innocent III warned the Crusaders not to wage war against them under the threat of excommunication. The crusaders were at a dilemma. They made an oath to fight on a Crusade, and to honor the agreement with the Venetians. If they were to honor these oaths then they would be excommunicated. The crusaders attacked Zara anyways. They were then excommunicated, and they had betrayed the ideals of the Crusade. There the met an exiled price of the Byzantine Empire who promised the Crusaders total payment for there Crusade if they were to help him regain his rule. The Crusaders agreed. The pope pleaded with them no to wage war against Constantinople because he sought to heal the rift between the West and East that had existed for almost 200 years. The crusaders ignored his pleas. The Crusaders against all odds took the city of Constantinople. The prince who made the deal with the crusaders was soon deposed due to not being able to pay the Crusaders. The Crusaders murdered, raped, stole, and even enjoyed the pleasures of have prostitutes dance on the altar of the Hagia Sophia, the great Christian Cathedral in Constantinople, which still stands today as a museum. It was then that the Latin Empire was established. The Fourth Crusade ended there. The “crusaders” got their gold and riches, but were deterred by managing their new founded empire. The Fourth Crusade ended in 1204 A.D. This event has left a scar in Catholic and Orthodox relationships ever since then.

To be cont…


Crusades, Inquisition, Jews
#13

Part 12:

The Fifth Crusade

The Firth Crusade began with Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire. For almost six years he swore an oath that he would go on a Crusade. Instead he sent troops and did not attend. The Crusaders landed in Egypt and failed. Europe pointed its finger at Frederick II. Had he been there the Crusade would have succeeded and Jerusalem would be in Christian hands again. Finally on June 24, 1225 ten years, after his vow, he departed. There was little fighting in the Fifth Crusade. Jerusalem however was once again in Christian hands. Frederick II made a deal with Egypt that he would get Jerusalem as long as he tore down its walls and stationed no troops there. Also, there was to be a ten year truce between the Christians and Moslems. Frederick II agreed and returned home. After the ten years were up Jerusalem was taken with ease by the Moslems. The whole of Europe was outraged that Frederick II did not take the city by force and build a more firm grip around it. The Fifth Crusade ended without true success because of laziness and cowardice. 

The Sixth and Seventh Crusades

King Louis IX of France led both the Sixth and the Seventh Crusade. Though he did not accomplish much save for leaving a sum of his men to garrison the few remaining Christian strongholds in the Levant, he nevertheless led a major Crusade. It was on his last crusade in 1270 that he died of illness. He had fought against the tyranny of Islam, aided the Crusader states, and ministered to lepers in the East and in Africa. King Louis IX of France was one of the last European rulers who looked upon a Crusade for what it was really about. After him European rulers would look upon it only as a political tool that they could use when it served its own interests. 

The Rise of Terror

Between 1254 and 1291 A.D. the last of the Christian states in the Levant fell to Moslem control. The Moslems in Egypt repulsed the Mongols from Syria and then waged war against the few remaining Christian states. Army after army were destroyed by the Moslems. Finally in July 1291 A.D. the city of Acre fell to the Moslems. The last city of the Christian states in the Levant established during the First Crusade ceased to exist. And with it the name of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem ceased to exist. The Christians in the East were once again under Islamic tyranny.

Other Crusades

A few more Crusades were waged after the fall of Acre, but none of them succeeded.

To be cont…


#14

Part 13:

The Fall of Constantinople and the End of the Byzantine Empire

In March of 1452 Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire marched on Constantinople. Emperor Constantine XII of the Byzantine Empire had only 5,000 men and 2,000 Crusader knights. Sultan Mehmet II had 160,000 men. The Ottomans besieged the city for two months. On May 28, 1453 A.D. the Ottomans took the city of Constantinople. Emperor Constantine XII fought until he was killed in battle. The Byzantine Empire from its foundations by Constantine the Great on May 11, 330 A.D. to its end on May 28, 1453 A.D. lasted a total of 1,123 years and 17 days. It is the longest Christian empire ever to have existed.  Thousands within the city were slaughtered. Sultan Mehmet II then entered the Hagia Sophia on horseback and had the great church converted into a mosque to which it remained as such until the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I when it was made into a museum. 

When news of the fall of Constantinople reached Western Europe the West was in shock. The pope then called on for another Crusade to retake the city. It failed because of the lack of men and support. The conditions of Europe at that time had made a Crusade nearly impossible. It was the last Crusade.

To be cont…


#15

Part 14:

Conclusion

Were the Crusades wrong? No, they were not. Were there wrongs committed during the Crusades? Yes. The Crusades were a defensive measure taken by all of Christian Europe to counter the aggression and tyranny of Islam. If it were not for the Crusades the Byzantine Empire would have collapsed much sooner and the broken Medieval World of Western Europe would have stood no chance against it. More than likely us Christians would not be here today if it were not for those men a thousand years ago who left their lands and riches behind and gave their lives to fight for the defense of their Christian brothers in the East who were in desperate need, and against the tyranny of Islam. 

Many wish to say that the Crusades were wrong because of the wrongs committed by the Crusaders during them. Indeed these wrongs have stained the Crusades forever, but that does not make the wars themselves wrong. If that were so then World War I, World War II, American Civil War, American Revolutionary War, Vietnam War, Korean War, and many if not all wars would be wrong because war crimes have been committed big and small in almost every war if not all wars. That has happened because wars are led by humans. The Crusades were just like any other war; save only that it was a united effort of all of Christianity for the survival of Christianity. War crimes were committed during them as well. 

Also, many say that the Crusades were wrong because Churches are not to wage war. Not true. Christians have been grafted into the roots of Jessie. Thus we are Israel along with the Jews. If the Jews of the Old Testament had the right to fight for their right to be Jewish and their survival against pagan tyranny then by all means the Israel of 1095 A.D. had the right fight for the right to believe in Christ and for their very survival. A church is not an organization, maybe it is in the denominational sense, but a church is a people who are believers of Jesus Christ. 

Who else was to organize the Crusades? The emperor of the Byzantine Empire had no influence in the West. Western Europe was not even ruled by kings. They may have had kings, but it was very rare that a king ruled over his vassals with any kind of power. Thus that left only the Catholic Church to organize the Crusades because the Catholic Church had succeeded in spreading Catholicism over all of Western Europe. It had the influence, the power, and the means to organize the Crusades. Why condemn it for doing what no other could have done? What the Catholic Church had done had to be done and they were the only one’s who could do it at the time. 

Yes, the Crusades have given us Christians a bad reputation. But if I had to choose between either being a Moslem today or a Christian with a bad reputation today then I would most certainly choose the latter. I would rather be thought bad of than to betray my loyalty to my Lord, Jesus Christ. I will stand my ground in giving the Crusaders tremendous respect for all that they did for me. The Crusades saved Christianity from total obliteration. That far outweighs the negative reputation of Christians today. I do not condone the evils that the Crusaders wrecked upon other people, but I do support their decision to go to war because in all senses they were justified.

I certainly hope to God Almighty that their will never be another Crusade, but I know this is a false hope. For the Book of Revelations says otherwise. In the end all of the nations of the world will rise against Israel. Christians will be persecuted and will be forced to fight once again against tyranny and for the right to be a Christian. This I would say would be the last Crusade, yet to come. 

THE END.

God speed.

Vigis


#16

I originally typed this because my father screamed at me that the Crusades were against the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is the result of that. I have posted it here to share with others. Please tell me what you think about my posts and the Crusades. I am open to all opinions (that does not mean I won’t disagree; :D)

God speed.

Vigis


#17

#18

Excellent posts.

Very factual. Modernists try to tar the Crusades as brutal aggression - when in fact they were a long-delayed defensive response.


#19

Thank you for replying. It is nice to get comments on this. I hope some more commnts appear, but then again it is a lot to read.

Go with God.

Vigis


#20

The Crusades were justified because they defended the most basics of rights that people have a freedom in both terms of slavery and religion, it protected these rights and many people died for this in the Crusades. It was very necessary, could you imagine Europe being under the control of islamic government, even today those of today? let us thank God that such brave Catholics died for us and generations to come.

If you are interested in joining a new online Catholic Crusade of the spreading of the Gospel and sharing of faith, then please click on the link below or PM me, it is for any Catholic with a basic knowledge of the faith

The Catholic Crusade of Jesus Christ wants you!

God bless you all


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