Liberty University There are events in history that ripples like waters through time. These events cause strife and hatred through out time. Today some of these events are central to people’s belief systems. The crusades are among these events that leave a bad taste in one’s month. A person could be hard pressed to found any one that will support the crusades today. This report will go beyond the myths and find the true cause and impact of the crusades. Would Jesus have endorsed the cause, and how did the Crusades hinder, or promote the cause of Christ. Even today there are non-believers that refuse to pass the doors of the church because of the crusades. It is time to look past the History Channel folklore about the crusades. These ripples in time need an honest discussion. Under the hand of Urban II the first crusade started in A.D. 1096. To truly understand this event a person must go back over the events of the past hundred years. The Byzantines and Catholics had a history of distress with everything but the opposition of the Muslims. Christians and Muslims had claims over some of the same “Holy Places”. This resulted in a strained relationship between the two religions. The Holy Places of the Christians that were under control of Muslims were to be destroyed. In areas controlled by Muslims Christians were treated badly. This is what the first crusade was to regain control and restore the Holy Places of the Christians.1
Most of the support for the crusade came from the poor. This was not the aim of the pope however. The pope wanted the involvement of the knights that he knew from his preaching circuits. Knights became involved by the nature they were people that lived for the fight. This brought about a new era of the militia of Christ. This allowed the church to spread the “Peace of God” while being set a part from the blood of others.2
The first crusade was important to both the west and east. One of the most influential people involved with gaining people to fight was Peter the Hermit. He was so central at gaining support for the crusade he was given the credit for starting the first crusade for years3. He did this be gaining support of the crusade from all walks of life. Peter the Hermit laid the crusade to the gates of Jerusalem4.
If measured by conquered land the first crusade was a success. The crusaders had taken Edessa and Antioch in A.D. 1098, and Jerusalem just a year later5. These win came with a great cost in life. If you measured success by how the crusaders treat the people of the land they took back, it failed miserably. The crusaders set up states known as Outremer6. The crusaders also known for extreme brutality like commenting massacres, eating of captives, and other barbaric behavior7.
The second crusade was not as successful as the first. Pope Eugene III ordered this crusade to take back Edessa after it fail to Muslims in A.D. 11448. This crusade was also different as it also tried to protect the Jews. At first this crusade appeared to succeed until the army was destroyed in Turkey9.
The Muslim leader Salah al-Din defeated the second crusade. For this he would he was well known. The third crusade was known as the King’s Crusade. King Philip II, King (The Lionheart) Richard I, and The Holy Roman emperor Barbarossa traveled with the crusaders. The aim of this crusade was to recapture Jerusalem from Salah al-Din. This crusade would tragically end in failure in A.D. 1192 after Barbarossa drowned.10
There were more crusades to follow. These later crusades though where private endeavors. It was one such crusade that captured Jerusalem in A.D. 1228. Frederick II launched this crusade. Some crusades would go and gain Spain from the Muslims. Some crusades were not for land. These crusades were to battle against heretical movements.11
As history reveals the only successful crusade was the first. Each crusade after the first