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The Crusades: Really a Holy War?

The Crusades were one of the most prominent events in Western European history; they were not discrete and unimportant pilgrimages, but a continuous stream of marching Western armies (Crusaders) into the Muslim world, terminating in the creation and eventually the fall of the Islamic Kingdoms. The Crusades were a Holy War of Roman Christianity against Islam, but was it really a “holy war” or was it Western Europe fighting for more land and power? Through Pope Urban II and the Roman Catholic Church’s actions, their proposed motivations seem unclear, and even unchristian. Prior to the Crusades, Urban encouraged that Western Europe fight for their religion but throughout the crusades the real motivations shone though; the Crusaders were power hungry, land coveting people who fought with non Christian ideals and Morales.

Both the Crusaders and the Muslims wanted power. In contradiction the church wanted to reunite Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire with the Roman Catholic Empire giving the Church extra power. Baldwin of Boulogne is a key example in portraying the Crusader’s quest for power; splitting off from the rest of the army and traveling east until he reached Armenian where he would establish himself as ruler. Like Boulogne, Bohemond of Taranto also abandoned the majority to better his own personal status—he took over as Prince of Antioch. Through these two prominent figures we see that power was a necessity to the leaders of this era; and unfortunately the people look up to their leaders and do likewise. However, if these Crusaders were fighting for “religious factors” then they would recognize that God holds the ultimate power and they are nothing without him. But these power hungry individuals obviously lacked humility...

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... is a sin in and of itself. If the Crusaders really were fighting for religious purposes then they would not have needed to change the Bible around because they would’ve already been living a Christian life. This just goes to show that it clearly was not religious reasons that backed the Crusader’s reasoning as to why they started the attack it was socioeconomic factors that led them to the Middle East.

Throughout the duration of the crusades real motivations shone though on behalf of the Crusaders. Not only did they lack a religious purpose for fighting, but they made the Muslim’s lives complicated and valueless. They were power hungry, land coveting people who fought with non Christian ideals and Morales. It should be clear to anyone and everyone that the prime motivation behind the Crusader’s fighting was power and land which would eventually lead to wealth.

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