Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The First Crusade

The holy wars
The Crusades were some pretty famous wars between Christians and Muslims. These battles started during the medieval era when Christians traveled to Jerusalem for holidays. At the time the area was governed by the Byzantine Empire, but the empire was losing land to the Turks and Arabs. These two groups were Islamic and when they gained Jerusalem the Muslims did not want the Christians going to the city. So basically the Muslims didn’t want their religion destroyed by Christians. To stop the Christians from going to Jerusalem the Muslims stated persecuting them.
            The Christians did not want this because Jerusalem contained Christ’s tomb and pieces of the true cross, the one he was crucified on. The Christians also did not like the fact that they were being persecuted. So a man named Alexius wrote a letter to the pope at the time. The pope’s name was Urban II and the letter was asking for help in capturing Jerusalem back and stopping the persecution of Christians. Urban II said he would help and he’d bring help.
The byzantine people were glad. One, the pope would bring help and large groups of soldiers. Two, they would get Jerusalem back. But the crusade did not go as planned because the army was ill prepared and didn't have much organization. This army was quickly defeated by the Seljuk, a Muslim group in Anatolia. The next attack on the Muslims was more planned and prepared. The army was divided among the leaders, for example Raymond of Saint Gillies led the Provencal knights. The army went to Constantinople where they were soon sent to Anatolia. The crusaders soon captured the city of Dorylaeum giving the Byzantine Empire control of western Anatolia. Then the army conquered Antioch in Anatolia. Finally the army marched to Jerusalem where they regained the city in July 1099.

Who Was Involved

The crusades were between Christians and Muslims. They both were based their own religions, even though the both believe in God. Christianity is based off of the life and teachings of Christ. They believe that God came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus and that he died for their sin and rose again. Muslims believe in Islam, another religion that formed at the time of Christianity. They believe God or Allah reveled himself to a man named Muhammad and told him to start and spread a religion. The Muslims follow the five pillars as a guide whereas Christians use the Holy Bible. These are the two religions that were involved in the crusades.
            The two sides had different reasons for fighting. The Christians wanted the Holy Land or Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been lost from the Byzantine Empire because of the invading Turks. Jerusalem was important to the Christians because it held Jesus' tomb. At first the Turks and Arabs wanted more land so they took the land of Jerusalem. Since the Turks and Arabs were Muslims they did not like Christians in the city. So they persecuted them in Jerusalem and anywhere else they could find them. This led to the first crusade. Then when the Christians regained Jerusalem the Muslims didn't want the Christians there at all, so they basically kept fighting back until this led to the second crusade.
            The fighting continued throughout the years. The crusades lasted about 200 years and the Christians just didn't fight the Muslims. They fought with Egypt, non-Christians, the Muslims in Spain and more. Sadly all the land won in the first crusade fell under Muslim control. It looks like the Christians really didn't like any other religion to interfere with their way of life. These were the people involved in the crusades.      

The Second and Third Crusade

The crusades lasted many years almost 200. The Christians also had crusades with other lands like Egypt. The one thing that each had in common is that they were against Muslim countries and territories. So apparently the Christians did not give up on crushing the Muslims. The second and third crusades are the ones I will talk about.
The second crusade was the most devastating for the Christians. One, they lost against the Muslims. Two, they lost the city of Jerusalem. In the Crusader States reinforcements were constantly needed because of the constant Muslim attacks. At this point the Muslims did not want Jerusalem but instead to remove all Christians from their land. They also wanted to unite all land under Muslim control. Then the Muslims conquered Edessa, leaving the Europeans to defend three remaining Crusader States. The second crusade started in 1147. The Christians had to retreat in this crusade from the Muslims. Disagreements between the Byzantine Empire and the crusaders may have brought on their defeat. Another reason might have been the poorly trained reinforcements that they got. Either way the second crusade ended in 1149. So the Crusade lasted two years.
The third crusade was better for the crusaders. This crusade was led by Richard of England and Phillip II of France. The Emperor of Germany came but died before reaching the Holy Land so his forces broke up and headed back to Germany. Phillip later returned back to France because he and Richard did not get along back in England and France. Richard alone regained a lot of land back from the Muslims, but sadly he could not get Jerusalem back.

Knights and Weapons

The time of the crusades was in the medieval era so they had knights and used the feudal system. The feudal system is the kind of government that has a king, being the most powerful, then priests or nobles, knights and finally peasants. Each of the pieces in the feudal system rely on one another to work. The king, queen, and nobles all rely on peasants to provide food and taxes. Nobles and peasants rely on the knights for protection of the land and people. This system was used for a while in medieval Europe.
    The weapons were a little more advanced than the weapons in the Roman Empire well at least I think so. Swords were used a lot in medieval Europe there were different kinds too. There was the Norman sword which was straight and double bladed another sword was the cross-guard this sword was shorter and curved. The one thing that was not common was suits of armor mostly they were leather and mail. The Germans didn't use swords instead they fought on foot and with spears. Roman ways influenced things like this to. King Arthur used the late roman style of mounted warfare. Romans also influenced weapons.
    The French had a unique way of warfare. They used a weapon called Francisca; it was an ax that could be thrown. The French used common weapons to such as swords, shields and javelin. As you can see the styles of weapons were the same in most territories. These were some of the weapons used in medieval Europe.

Who Won The Crusades

The Crusades lasted about 200 years as I've mentioned before. There were nine crusades but some went into the 12th and 13th centuries. So there could very well be more crusades that we haven't discovered. There were other crusades with other countries as mentioned before like Egypt, now these were for different reasons of course but the Christians were still against them. Now I am going to tell you about the final crusades.
     Acre is a city that was gained at the very end of the third crusade. This city played an important role in the fourth and fifth crusade. In the third crusade Acre was on the island of Cyprus, this was taken over by the crusaders and became a crusade state. This state was threatened at the time, so the pope Innocent III led a crusade, made of Venetians, to overthrow the Byzantine Empire and set up a new one. The fifth crusade was again led by Innocent III but this time he wanted to gain new states. Some groups stayed in Jerusalem and fought to expand it, while one king of Brienne of Jerusalem went to Egypt and was defeated.                       
     The sixth and seventh crusades were not good ones for the remaining crusaders. The two really big groups of remaining crusaders were the French and English. The sixth crusade is sometimes referred to as the emperor Frederick II crusade because it mostly involved him. This crusade wasn't a battle it was a diplomatic negotiation between Frederick and the courts of Egypt and Sicily. What they were negotiating about was access to Jerusalem and they got the access they wanted. After Frederick got the access he decided to make himself the king of Jerusalem. This didn't fly very well with the Christians and people who lived there. As a result the city went to civil war. Crusades from Thibault IV of Champagne-Navarre and king Henry III of England straighten things out. The seventh crusade was mostly king Louis IX fight against Egypt. He failed to conquer Egypt because he was defeated and imprisoned. After his release he went to Acre where he died.

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