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The Crusades: Salvation or Exploitation

18 September 2014 By In Blogs

The origin of the Crusades traces back to the 11th Century. Many states in Europe were constantly fighting over territories and boundaries (Bréhier, 1908). On the other hand, the head of Christendom embroiled himself in disputes over investitures. At that time, the church was united because of the Popes influence. Faced with the menace and threats from the Byzantine Empire and the Mohammedan tribes, the church came under great pressure to suppress the persecution of Muslims by the Christians in the East. As highlighted by Bréhier (1908), at that time, the Pope was the only person who could establish such a conquering. Withal, his eminent authority was limited and not enough to convince the Western Nations to go up in arms, conquer the Holy Land and take back the Holy Sepulchre (“The Crusades,” 2013). However, the poor relations between the Western Nations and Syria favoured the Popes intentions.

 As highlighted in “The Crusades (1905-1292)” many historians attribute the inception of the crusades to Pope Urban II sermon preached in November 1095. Christian faithful’s treated the waves of campaigns as divine sanctions and so they performed them with extreme vehemence. As viewed by many scholars, the crusades are still subject to controversy (Madden, 2007). Such controversy arises from the participants of the crusades as well as the actual events subsequent to the crusades. The 11th Century attested feudal primogeniture, an increase in population and poor harvests. All these led to many youthful unemployed warriors (Madden, 2007).

In agreement with what Madden (2007) termed as “ The Myth of the Greedy Young Son,” the condition of unemployment made Pope Urban II encourage the youth to annex their own territories in the East. In this light, many conclude that the Pope called for the crusades in order to exploit the labourers in the European Nations. However, Madden (2007) brushes off the myth terming it a colonial proposition of the 19th Century. Madden notes that most of the young warriors in the crusades were privileged first sons and wealthy pious. Crusades were expensive and any warrior wishing to participate in them had to part with a great deal of wealth (“The first Crusade,” 2013).

Many historians assert that the crusades were an attempt along a peaceful and harmonious Muslim world. This view has become quite common especially in presentations and movies (Laious & Mottaheden, 2001). In a conference to commemorate the first summons of crusade held in 1995, the organizers urged the Pope to denounce the war that happened during the crusades and the killing of the pagans. The historians at the conference concluded that the crusades happened because of the greed of the Europeans as well as religion fanaticism (Laiou & Mottaheden, 2011). The Muslims became victims of Europe in their quest to conquer the East and expand into Asia. At the same time, historians discredit the claim of the protectionist that the crusades were a form of retaliation by the Christians against Jihad warriors who had initially persecuted Christians in some of the Asian territories (Madden, 2007).

To conclude, it is evident that the crusades were both a blend of salvation and exploitation. According to accounts, the Pope facilitated the passage of the peasants to Europe in order to participate in the crusades with the intent of conquering new territories (Madden, 2007). Christians, on the other hand concluded that the crusades were a pursuit to control the Holy Land after Jihad Muslims took most regions under their control (Bréhier, 1908).

Read 1595 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 September 2014 10:02
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You are here: Home Blog The Crusades: Salvation or Exploitation