Roman Catholic Church called several attempts of Crusades from 1095 to 1212 to recapture the Holy Lands from the Muslims’ expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate. From a military and historical perspective, the first of several crusades (1095-1099) was the most successful as it was a clear, religious-based, and organized military campaign. This crusade was called for by Pope Urban II in 1095 for a military expedition at the Council of Clermont to aid the Eastern Roman Empire and also to recapture the Holy Land. The Roman Empire had suffered the loss of territory due to many defeats against the Seljuk Turks (History 111 spring 2022 the Crusades with Narration). This essay evaluates the Crusading movement, its impacts throughout the Western European world, and the Crusade as the significant fight for recapturing Lands meant for Christendom for religious, political, and economic gains.
The First Crusade is known as the “Princes’ of Crusade” not only defeated the Turks in Anatolia but recaptured the Holy Land of Jerusalem in 1099. He went on through a well-organized military campaign to retake the Land that had fallen to Islamic expansion during the Caliphate of Umayyad. The Princes’ Crusade arrived at Constantinople in 1096, marched into Anatolia, and captured Nicaea and Antioch in 1097 and 1098 (First Crusade Part 1 of 2). Later, the crusading army repulsed Turks’ attempt to recapture the Holy City of Jerusalem by massacring the defenders at the Battle of Ascalon in 1099. Thus, First Crusade accomplished all the objectives including conquering the Holy Land as well as territorial gain, and proved to be an incredible success for the Christians. The reason why other crusades were failures is their outright inaptitude, violence, greed, and thievery not only resulted in their loss of sight of regaining Holy Lands but also resulted in damaging the worldwide reputation of the Catholic Church (First Crusade Part 2 of 2).
The main reason the Crusade failed in its 4th attempt was simply because of the division of Greek and Latin Christendom. Pope Innocent the III launched Fourth Crusade to recapture the Holy City of Jerusalem by invading Egypt. However, the series of events as Pope condemning the attack on Constantinople and division of Christendom hastened to the spectacular sacking of the Byzantine Empire and the fall of Constantinople. Furthermore, the Fourth Crusade through the Fall of Acre as an ambiguous crusade in 1921 disway other monarchs from gaining anything in the Holy Lands (Venice: A Short History). Building upon the beginning and continuing of the crusades for the two centuries, it is evident that political gains and religious convictions contributed to the crusades. I opine that religious motivation was the major factor that served as a catalyst as they believed that calling crusades for conquering Holy Lands was their duty as Christians in the first 3 Crusades along with economic benefit (First Crusade Part 2 of 2). However, later crusades were failed because of the lust for land hunger and political gains. Moreover, both Crusades and Pope Gelasius’s Two Swords theory share the same religious doctrine as one Sword Archangel granted to the Pope represents the man’s power on earth and the second Sword represents the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church over men. The same political-theological theory Crusades followed to capture the Holy City of Jerusalem and also the expansion of the lands.
The Crusading movement subsequently failed to create and capture the Holy Land that was part of Christendom. However, they created significant changes in the western European world. In terms of economic effects, Crusading movement brought trade in the western world which increased the trading of Asian goods to Europe. In terms of political gain, Crusading movement increased the authority of the Catholic Church in the politics of Europe as the authority of the king was restored throughout the western world (First Crusade Part 1 of 2). Although, the Crusades were a failure in the attempt to recapture the holy lands however the Roman Catholic Church experienced a significant increase in the reach of Christianity, improved transportation, elevation in the power of the Pope, and extended western civilization throughout the world. Roman Catholic Church also experienced an increase in wealth and trade that have paved the way for the Renaissance throughout Europe (History 111 Spring 2022 the Crusades with Narration).
In conclusion, the Crusading movement despite its failure had significant impacts on Western European nations and throughout the world for many years. The Crusaders propelled the status of European Christians as major players in the fight for recapturing Holy Lands that were part of Christendom in the Middle East.
First Crusade Part 1 of 2. YouTube, 13 Jan. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydVFqpbIIwA.
First Crusade Part 2 of 2. YouTube, 31 Mar. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_8NtmecHMA.
Venice: A Short History. Www.youtube.com, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQRWtkKrsnY.
History 111 Spring 2022 the Crusades with Narration. Www.youtube.com, www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfXGOpwJd_g. Accessed 23 Mar. 2022.