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The Influence of Pope Urban II

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It is amazing how much political and military supremacy the papacy position gained when the Crusades began. The First Crusade (1096-1099) was a military expedition initiated by Pope Urban the II to regain the Holy Lands in Jerusalem from the Muslim conquest. The Pope gave a speech requesting military action against Muslim takeover to the French people of Clermont. The speech eventually propagated to other nations for further recruitment. Urban’s political and military involvement helped regain the Holy Lands and save the Christian Crusaders souls. His famous speech changed the course of history in part because its dissemination was overly successful, and assembled over 40,000 Crusaders to do the will of God. Why was Pope Urban II so victorious in recruiting people for the First Crusade, and why was his influence so important?

Pope Urban II was sought by Alexius Comnenus, a Byzantine Emperor who wanted the papacy to help his army hold off the advancing Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor. The reason for Alexius Comnenus contacting the pope rather than another emperor or monarch wasn’t just the fact they were secular, but because the pope would have more power to persuade the people. The Gregorian movement in 1050-80 was ultimately was responsible for the new instilled power of the papacy’s position over nonreligious rulers. The pope agreed to aid the Byzantine emperor, but he also had his own agenda when it came to the military advances and the new power of his position. The papacy did not intend to only help the Byzantine Empire but to further save all of Christendom from being overrun.

Urban’s decision to begin the Crusade was based on more than just the idea that he was doing the Lord’s will. The Christian idealism was mind over m...

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...how the power really did rest with religion and the figures that claimed leadership over Gods children. The first Crusade was a success and shows how the Pope had powers not even emperors or monarchs could have over nations. “The First Crusade enabled the papacy to put itself at the forefront of an immensely powerful movement and grasp the moral leadership of Europe” (Bennett).

Works Cited

Bennett, Judith M., C. Warren Hollister, and C. Warren Hollister. Medieval Europe: A Short

History. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.

Crusades." CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Web. 17 Mar. 2012. .

Rist, Rebecca. The Papacy and Crusading in Europe, 1198-1245. London: Continuum, 2009. Print.

"The First Crusade." Conquest Anglo-Norman Society www.angevin.org. Web. 16 Mar. 2012. .
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