Crusade is a term that originates from the Christian world which relates for a violent aggression of a people towards a certain system. In the early years prior to the birth of the religion, there were crusades that were done for many causes. These were both religious and secular events. However, the term crusade came to have its roots in the ninth through to the sixteenth century when the western community used various crusades to help the Christians in the land of Jerusalem to regain some of their privileges that they had been denied by the Muslim who conquered the land (Ali, 78). A series of crusades that are reefed to First, second, third, fourth, and other crusades were meant to create a kind of respect between Christians and Muslims in the land of Jerusalem. The crusades have also been used as political and economical tools in Europe in contexts other than the Christian Islam conflicts (David, 67). In this paper, the issue of crusades (and how they have been instrumental in the European Aristocracy) is analyzed. A great reference is given to the series of crusades to regain Christian dominance in Jerusalem.
In the first crusade, a multitude of peasants who were from the west gave heed to the call by the pope to regain the holy places of Christian in Jerusalem. One of the great figures in this crusade was Peter the Hermit, who claimed that god talked to Him in a vision that he would lead the people to regain the holy places (Ali, 56). The crusade involved a physical march towards the holy places and this saw the pilgrims face resistance and war where many people lost their lives. However, determination was necessary for the war that took two years. The first crusade ended in 1099. At the end of the crusade, some of the westerners did not return to their homes but settled in their cities in Syrian to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This saw a lot of diversion of their family members’ wealth to them (David, 29).
The crusade was so paramount in the western politics. First, the pilgrimage was undertaken by the peasants who were considered to be minors. Secondly the peasant won and settled in Syria. This meant that they were now free from the oppression of the nobles in Europe (Norman, 45). Thirdly, Europe was able to stamp its authority in the world having involved itself in the conflicts in Asia; the Europeans could now show the extent of their international dominance. The effect of the pope was also felt in the crusade. This meant that the Italian administration which was largely under the rule of pope was felt in the crusade (Ali, 28).
The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland is one of the oldest literatures that are not dated. The poem which was arguably written to call on the people to push out the Muslim in Spain, gives a tale of a grandfather who dislikes his grandson and wants him dead. He thus appoints him to dead a delegation on the rear battle (David, 36). The grandson and his men are killed in the course of the fight however; the army that comes after them is unable to defeat all the muslins and pagans who are fighting against the Christians. This literature is said to have motivated a lot of the peasant who joined the first crusades (Ali, 27). The literature shows the power of counter attack and how a small army can be able to defeat the large army. In the poem, the Muslim outnumbers the Christians but they eventually defeat therm. Reading of the poem always motivated the armies that had given heed to the pope’s call (David, 94).
After the victory that was seen in the first crusade, the Muslims retuned to dominate the holy places in Jerusalem. This led for other crusades that were even more powerful and more violent. In the subsequent crusades, the aristocrats saw the need for participation (Norman, 45). This was largely due to the fact that, they wanted to retain their supremacy in Europe. They knew that if they left the peasant to continue with the crusades on their own they would soon become powerful and dethrone them (Ali, 126). This is what led to the involvement of Emperor Conrad III of Germany and King Louis VII of France in the second crusade. The fact that the peasants and the aristocrats were involved in the same war bridged - (albeit very narrow) the gap between these two classes in Europe (David, 157)
Muslim and Christian Mercenary cooperation
One of the most unique crusades was the Muslim and Christian Mercenary cooperation which saw the great rivals Muslims and Christians uniting to end the destruction that was being caused by war in Jerusalem. The war that had already started spilling to other areas and especially Egypt had to be tamed. Thus, the Muslim and the Christians who were involved in the war had a (termed as hypocritical) movement that called for ceasefire (Norman, 62). At this time the armies at both sides were so fierce on one another and thus could hear of cease fire. However, the unity that the leaders created an impression that there was hope for dialogue (Ali, 92). Both the Christians and Islam leaders referred to their holy books – Koran and bible on the essence of peace. This is one of the crusades that have beaten the test of time being carried all the way to the twenty first histories. The uniting factor in this crusade was peace and enhancement of trade since the warring countries needed one another for international trade. The crusade was unique in that it diverted from the topics of earlier crusades that were based on religion (David, 31).
Effects of crusades to the economy in Europe
The crusades had a great effect in the development of the European countries. One, the continent became united under the administration of papacy. This was due tio the influence of pope in the crusades. The history of the European dark ages (700 A.D.) had shown the disunity among the counties. This unity saw the European countries embrace the need for building of the roads (Ali, 57). The roads that were used to transport the soldiers and the medicine and food that they used had to be made to ensure that the armies who were fighting in Asia had sufficiency of the above.
The other impact that the crusades had in Europe was the change of culture and importation of valuable goods. The aristocrats that were involved in the crusades always brought to the European market items that had not been in Europe earlier on. This included the indigenous crops of Asia. This really changed the trade in Europe. Also the demand for ivory that was gotten from Asia was on rise. The aristocrats controlled the flow of these commodities in the market (David, 75).
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