An Emissary Of The Byzantine Emperor Alexius Essay

An Emissary Of The Byzantine Emperor Alexius Essay

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In 1095 an emissary of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I delivered a plea for help to Pope Urban II. In this plea Emperor Alexius I asked for a small contingent of elite knights to help take Jerusalem back from the Seljuk Turks. At the Council of Clermont Pope Urban II, seeing an opportunity for increased papal power and leadership over the Christian people, instead began calling for the bravest of knights and descendants of unconquered ancestors to liberate the Holy Land of the Islamic Infidels. He promised remission of sins: "All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested" (Spielvogel 291) The people of the 11th century were violent people and in constant fear of their sins, but this ability to receive remission of their sins intrigued more than just the leaders, but the common masses. An example of this is Peter the Hermit who was a self appointed leader which was able to build a large army, perhaps as many as 20,000 people, through his preaching. This "Peasants ' Crusade" or "Crusade of the Poor" pillaged its way across Europe terrorizing locals and persecuting Jews. Upon approaching Nicaea they were massacred by the well trained and equipped Turk army.
The official crusader armies set off from France and Italy toward Constantinople between August and September 1096. In all, the western forces may have totaled as many as 100,000 people, counting both combatants and non-combatants. (Hindley 30) The people of these armies were not only driven by religious purpose. They were also driven by greed, searching for wealth, territory, status, possibly a title, and adventure. (Spielvog...

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...end, and no other Pope called for a Crusade.
Were these Crusades pre-emptive or a reactionary response to Islam? I believe the first crusade wasn 't either, but an opportunity for the increase of papal authority and power over the monarchs. The attempted attack on Damascus was pre-emptive and well warranted judging by Saladin 's capture of Jerusalem soon after, but all Crusades after this were reactive of the loss of the Holy Land. Though during the entire period of the Crusades the war in the name of God allowed political and religious leaders pursue their own agendas more freely. I believe the Crusades will always be of relevance as people feel the belonging to both state and religion. If a Crusade was called today there would still be those who answer the call. Whether this be for religious belief or for political opportunities leaders will answer the call.

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