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Crusades

by ansmiths
Last updated 8 years ago

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How did the Crusade affect politics, religions, societies, and economies?After the last Crusade thousands of broken and beaten Christian knights returned home bringing with them new policies, doubts, changes, and trade. The holy war was often fought by several noble families and their servants, and as such whenever a noble was killed his plot of land was often available for noble nearest to that land. This caused the group of nobles in Europe to become smaller but more powerful individually. Also, many of the nobles who survived the Crusades often returned with a greater prestige giving them more power. While many of the crusades were successful in one way or the other, none of them entirely succeeded and were all failures. All the while thousands of knights were dying. Many of the surviving knights turned their aggression towards the Church demanding why the Crusades would not succeed. They then blamed the Church for their poor planning of the Crusade and the deaths of many nobles. The Church lost the faith of many of the knights and face with most of Europe weakening their power. While a power shift was occurring between the two major powers of the Church and nobles, a change in the society was occurring as well. Many of the peasants were using a form of currency instead of using grain or work to pay for rent. This caused serfdom to fade away allowing a middle class to appear. Plus, when the Crusaders returned they returned with ideas and materials from the East bringing and a newfound trade. With a new trade system in the East the trade flourished bringing additional wealth to Europe’s economy. The Crusades greatly affected Europe in the ways of politics, religions, societies, and economics.

What were the short and long term consequences of the Crusades? The Crusades left their mark on the world causing many short and long term consequences. When the last Crusade was over thousands of Christian knights were dead and thousands more of Jews and Muslims were massacred from the religious fury of the war depopulating several noble families as well as their serfs. This caused several of the European monarchs to regain newfound power and expanding their area of control, further centralizing each individual noble’s estate reverting Europe more to its medieval days. Also, during the 4th Crusade several of the Christian knights sacked the city of Constantinople the capital of the Byzantine Empire. When the knights sacked and looted the city it caused unrest between the Byzantine and Catholic Churches further breaking apart the two churches. While many of these consequences could have lasted a hundred years none of them have lasted as long as the growing hatred between many of the Muslims and the Catholics because of all the savagery committed throughout the several holy wars.

What were the motives for the Crusades?When the Seljuk Turkish moved into the Middle East they soon sought to expand their control. They invaded the holy place of Jerusalem and prevented many Catholics from going on pilgrimages. However, the Seljuk didn’t stop at Jerusalem they invaded the Byzantine Empire, causing the emperor to call for help. While the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I and Pope Urban II were not on the best of terms. Urban II hoped that by assisting Alexius it could heal the schism between the two churches making the Catholic Church stronger. Upon declaring war against the Seljuk Turks thousands of Christian knights departed for Holy Land to fight in the war. While some wanted to fight in the war to free the Holy Land, others had mixed reasons for going. Some wanted land to give themselves more power and some wanted to escape the troubles of Europe.

The Crusades were a Catholic Church inspired campaign to reclaim the Holy Land and allow Christian Pilgrims to go to Jerusalem. The Catholic Church hoped this campaign would increase the power of the Pope in Europe and heal the break between the Roman and Byzantine churches. Crusading spirit swept through Western Europe and involved the peasants, knights, and nobles. The First Crusade was the most successful and recaptured Jerusalem. This caused a reunification of the Muslim states which then attacked the new Christian Crusader states in Palestine. These attacks triggered further less successful Crusades over the next 200 years. Ultimately, the Muslims recaptured all the lost territories, but their ruler Saladin agreed to allow pilgrims to visit the Holy Lands. The failure of the Crusades caused the Catholic Church to lose face with European Catholics, increased the rift between the Roman and Byzantine Churches, and allowed the Monarchs to gain power.

The Crusades


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