I need help with some history homework. How did the goals of the Crusades change over time and what impact did the crusades have over social, economic, and political forces which changed Medieval Europe?
One has only to mention the word ?Crusade,? and a mob of critics will pounce on this controversial era in history. History textbooks usually portray the Crusades as a misguided bloodbath fought by religious fanatics against comparatively peaceful Moslems. Although parts of the Crusades were sadly misguided, most Crusaders felt that they were saving their lands and the Christian religion from the Moslem infidels. As was common in the medieval era of warfare, cruelty exhibited itself on both sides, which led to intense hate by the Moslems for the Western world that is still felt today.
Some of the crusaders economically motivated to have their debts forgiven. However, the majority of the knights, nobles, and other people who joined the Crusade were not wealth-seeking, land-grabbing marauders. Records show that most of the people in organized Crusades were relatively wealthy, since enormous amounts of money were needed simply to provide their own armor, horse, supplies, and other necessities.Other than religious motivations such as the (theologically unsupported) promise to have sins wiped away, or the guarentee of salvation, many went for the love of adventure.
Two events became the primary driving force for the Crusade. First, Moslems were attacking and successfully conquering huge portions of Christian lands. Even Constantinople, considered the greatest Christian city at that time, was threatened. The Emperor of Byzantine, Alexius I, found that much of his kingdom was being conquered by the Turks and asked for assistance. Pope Urban II responded by calling for people to defend Europe from the Islamic religion. A second motivation came from Jerusalem, where Moslems were prohibiting Christian pilgrims from entering the Holy City. Because Jerusalem was the site of so many holy places where Christians regularly made pilgrimages, this added an emotional appeal to the grimmer one of basically saving Christianity from Islam.
The first Crusade obtained the objective of retaking Jeusalem. On the second Crusade, King Louis VII of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III sent the crusaders to conquer the land but they failed. The Turks captured the city of Odessa and threatened Jerusalem.
The Third Crusade was formed when the news reached Europe that the Muslims had recaptured Jerusalem. The kings of France, England, and the Holy Emperor united to take over the Holy Land with their combined armies. There was failure because the Holy Roman Emperor drowned, and the kings of England and France started fighting each other.
When the Crusaders marched into the Middle East, they were not so much invading as waging a defensive war against Muslims who were conquering Christian lands. Since the collapse of the western roman empire, two-thirds of the known Christian world had been captured by the Moslems and the Crusaders felt that their faith and culture was in danger of succumbing to Islam. Yet, acts of carnage against Jews and other Christians by certain undisciplined mobs of Crusaders, and especially the sack of Constantinople, were terribly wrong and placed a stain on the whole name of Crusade. Apart from this, the Crusaders were fighting a war. Like all warfare, the Crusades were a bloody affair for both the Turks and Christians with violence and sinfulness evident on both sides.
If the Crusaders had not fought in the Middle East, Islam may have spread unchecked through all of Europe. Christians who treasured God's word in their heart trusted that their religion would not be destroyed since Jesus said, ?Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away?(Matthew 24:35). It is, however, sobering to think of what might have happened if nothing was done to check agressive Islam.
The world still feels the long-term reverberations of the Crusades 800 years later. One of these consequences is the schism between the Catholic Church and Greek Orthodoxy. In 1204, the Crusaders, although provoked by a broken promise, inexcusably attacked and horrifically destroyed Constantinople. Although there were preexsiting theological differences, this destruction added greatly to the wall between the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox which still remains today.
A more positive affect of the Crusades is that the contact of the Crusaders with ancient cultures when in different lands sparked the fire that helped lead to the Renaissance. The Age of Enlightenment led to the Reformation, which led to the eventual settlement and rise of the United States.
What happened centuries ago is the rational that some Moslems use to justified their attacks upon the United States and Western Civilization in general. Islamic terrorists proved this when they again launched a jihad against Western civilization on September 11, 2001. Later, Osama bin Laden appeared on television, claiming that the American war against terrorism is a new Crusade against Islam.