The first Crusade which took place in 1905 was about the reclaiming of the Holy Land, Jerusalem. Pope Urban II had been asked by Alexius I of Constantinople to help him start a war against Jerusalem because he was in fear of letting his country fall. Pope Urban II took his offer to begin a war and brought it to the public to try and recruit new members within the society; with ample speeches and objects to help him accomplish his task. During the Crusades the destructive nature of the Church is evident through the leader Pope Urban II, and the criminal offences committed by the followers of the Crusades.
Pope Urban II had been an influential figure throughout the Crusades; he had helped recruit many Christians from the church in order to fight in the war. His famous speech had greatly helped him affect the minds of those who had worshipped God to "broaden their minds" and see the war from a different perspective, one which made it seem as though killing had been for a good and religious cause. "Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned." (Trueman, 2000) This speech inspired people to join in this 'noble' cause in order to have their sins forgiven by the pope. For the people of a town to be given such an opportunity of course it would only seem logical to take such an offer, so most of society during the time had listened to the misleading words of Pope Urban II and decided to join in hopes of being forgiven and to be considered one of God's warriors.
The people who lived during the Crusades had been very loyal to the church; it had been the center of society in which laws and truths had stemmed from. The bible had been a very important document and with the status and power of the church, they governed what had been acceptable within society at any given time. The people of lower classes had regarded church as a sacred place and greatly placed their trust within the chaplaincy, they had confided in them for guidance as well as wisdom. The words of the church affected society and at times the people would follow the words of priests blindly, accepting the laws they had created for people. Having the advantage of commoners not being able to read the church took advantage of the people and changed their sermons, only those of noble families were able to differentiate as they had the money to be able to learn to read.
Although there were those people who blindly followed Pope Urban's there were some who had taken this opportunity to pillage and get rich by following the other Crusaders. Any person was able to say that they were on a pilgrimage for God's sake as everyone who had participated in the Crusades were protected by the church and did not have to pay any taxes. Many had been criminals from other towns who had joined in to steal and kill for their own personal pleasure. "Many crusaders returned home with their saddlebags laden with spices and rich cloths, which were sold for handsome profits." (Newman, 103) Despite all of the stolen goods brought back from the Crusades, it helped the economy as it led to a high demand for goods from the Middle and Far East.
The Crusades helped to show the destructive nature of the church from influential forces like Pope Urban II, and all of the Christian followers who had used this event to better their situations. Stealing, lies and the idea of fighting for God have misled the people in their battle over the Holy Lands with Jerusalem. Although the Crusades had managed to portray the church's behaviour during this time it also helped to better the economy, trade wise.
- Newman, Garfield. Legacy The West and the World. Toronto: Patty Pappas, 2002.
- Trueman, Chris . "The First Crusade". historylearningsite. 2000-2010 <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru2.htm>.