Causes of the 1st crusade

  • Created by: mrevv
  • Created on: 01-11-19 07:21


  • The vast majority were Catholics and worried about avoiding hell and purgatory.
  • The Cluniac reform (Hugh of Cluny) encouraged nobles to atone for thier sins and encouraged the truce and peace of God movements.Both were ignored (1066 was on one of the 80 days.)
  • Crusaders often had multiple motivations at a time- contemporaries were aware of this.
  • Motivations often changed during the journey and between crusades. 
  • The Pope gained his authority from St Peter, and saw himself as the most important patriarch.
  • The Byzantines saw the patriarch of Constantinople as equal in Christendom.
  • After the split of the Roman Empire, the Eastern capital became Constantinople. The Byznatiums still saw themselves as Romans. They began to be invaded by the Muslims. 
  • The Pope wanted to use the crusades to gain control of Europe politically. 
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  • There was an increase in piety in the 10th and 11th centuries.
  • Life was short and hell was a very real threat- pilgramage was a form of penance which led to remission of sins. The more ardous the journey, the more spiritual rewards were claimed.
  • Further rewards were claimed from touching relics and visiting sites. 
  • They took a vow and the church protected thier property and gave them an indulgence.
  • 1051, Swein Godwineson travelled to Jerusalem to atone for murder- died on the way.
  • 1064, Bishop Gunther of Bamberg led 7000 pilgrims to Jerusalem. 
  • Riley-Smith says pilgramage was a blueprint for the crusade- both had a vow and reward. 
  • Tyreman says the cruasdes were holy wars instead of armed pilgramages. 
  • The knight's diolemma caused many to recruit..
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The importance of Jerusalem

  • Jerusalem was the centre of the world, the holiest place in the world.
  • They believed its streets were paved with gold and gates of sapphire. 
  • They were horrified by tales of Muslim violence (not the case)
  • Crusading to protect the holy city seemed natural to knights. 
  • At Antioch and Ma'arrat the ordinary knights persuaded thier leaders to press on to Jerusalem when they were stalling, pulling down the walls at Ma'arrat to make Raymond continue. 
  • Liberating Jerusalem was important in Urban's speech.
  • However, Jerusalem had been in Christian hands for 400 years before its liberation?
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Indulgences and popular piety

  • Urban offered remission of sins, constructing holy war from popular existing ideas of pilgramage, prayer and fasting.
  • A charter from Cluny in 1096 says knights were roused by saving thier souls by fighting.
  • This was crucial in creating the level of response from both upper and lower classes.
  • Popular piety increased (holy lance at Antioch, visions, penintential march.)
  • Raymond of Toulouse was old and rich- he had nothing earthly to gain by pilgramage.
  • Godfrey of Bouillon mortgaged his lands before going at great economic risk.
  • If it weren't for popular piety and the promise of indulgence, the crusade would not have attracted followers.
  • 11th centuary Christians were accustomed to performing penance to cancel out sin. 
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Holy War

  • Warfare went against Jesus' teachings, especially in the Roman Empire.
  • Augustine of Hippo created Just War theory in AD400, saying war was not always evil.
  • This allowed secular wars for self-defense and recovery of territory.
  • Mathildine scholars developed Just War theory in the 11th centuary, saying the church and the Pope could summon soldiers and death fighting heathens was marytrdom.
  • Gregory VII preached penitential warfare, saying war for God was virtous. 
  • Urban brought together holy war and pilgramage for the first time.
  • Knights wanted power and Papal approval.
  • They were trained from birth to kill and win glory in battle- Thou shalt not kill.
  • Ranulf of Caen mentions Tancred de Hautville worrying about this.
  • The Pope offered a pleanary indulgence for full sin remission- however the details of this were not clear. War was now penetential. 
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Socio-economic factors

  • Improvements in agriculture led to an unsustainable population growth.
  • This led to famines and civil unrest.
  • Primogeniture left younger brothers without lands- they had to enter the church or fight.
  • Hugh of France, Godfrey and Baldwin of Boulogne and Bohemond of Taranto were younger brothers. Runciman beleived they all wanted wealth and land.
  • Riley-Smith and Marcus Bull say this was impractical (4 years income to go)
  • Christendom had a vaccum of power due to the decline of the HRE, unauthorised French castles and warlords who terrorised pesants and clergy. The Papacy had to restore order.
  • Kinship ties from leading noble families and feudal ties meant that lords brought friends and peasents- Raymond of Toulouse brought 20,000 levies with him.
  • Saracens split open in Jerusalem, Bohemond- Today, please God, you will all agin much booty.
  • Multiple motivation more likely- Gesta Francorum praying in the Sepulchre after pillaging. 
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Church reform- overview

  • Cluniac reforms placed the Pope in charge and tried to make the world more pious. 
  • The church had to be more important than secular rulers and create order.
  • Many popes, such as Gregory VII, were cluniac monks.
  • They tried to make the church more pious by improving priest education, banning simony (buying favours) and making priests celibate.
  • The Popes wanted to have authority over Kings and Princes in church and secular matters.
  • This built the idea of papal monarchy- the Pope wanted to expand Christendom.
  • The crusades deterred knights from fighting each other to fighting for the church. 
  • The Gregorian reform also planned an invasion with Gregory to the holy land.
  • Urban especially wanted control over Henry and his anti-Pope due to the investure contest of 1076, and King Philip of France had abandoned his wife to marry Bertrada of Montfort, who was married to Fulk of Anjou, leading to Philip's excommunication. 
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Church reform- features

  • HRE Henry IV argued with Gregory over appointing bhsops- HRE excommunicated and forced to walk in the snow for penance. This shows the Papacy taking control.
  • The Peace and Truce of God movements were unsuccessful- too many innocent lives were lost in petty disputes and the feudal 3-way protection of knights, peasents and clergy was disrupted. 
  • Knights ignored the 80 days where they could fight (1066) and the League of Peace was defeated. The church needed a way to reassert its authority. 
  • 1054, the Great Schism occured since the Byzantines saw the 5 patriarchs as equal. 
  • The Pope also wanted to challenge Clement III, the Antipope. 
  • They had a genuine desire to save people's souls by expanding Christendom.
  • Riley Smith calls the crusades 'a new means of salvation.'
  • The papal reform promoted penance and remission of sins through piety. 
  • By calling a crusade, Urban could show his authority to Philip I and Henry IV. 
  • He also wanted to unify the church after the Great schism. 
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  • Attacked on two fronts by the Normans and the Seljuk Turks.
  • Led by Kilij Arslan, they defeated the Byzantiums at Manzikert in 1071 killing the Emperor-regent. When Arslan's hier, Malik Shah died, Alexius Commenus seized the throne. 
  • He expelled the Normans and asked for Western mercinaries to kill the Turks.
  • The Muslims started to expand into Christian territory, threating Alexius.
  • 1095, letter to the Pope, not expecing a crusade!
  • Urban planned a Christian offensive- this was his oppertunity to lead.
  • November, Clermont council with 300 clerics, 6 sources record this. 
  • Unlikely crusade would have happened if the Pope was less enthusaistic.
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Urban's preaching

  • Unique fusion of war and pilgrmage, theological justification.
  • 1095-6 preaching tour of France, public appearences, over Advent and Lent. 
  • He came from a French arms-bearing background and understood knights.
  • Crosses were given out- there was a riot for them at Rouen.
  • He also sent letters explainng indulgences and how sinfulness was cancelled out through crusades, which made rational sense.
  • The countess of Flanders recorded how her husband became enflamed with the Holy Spirit. 
  • Raymond hoped to die in the Holy Land and go to heaven. 
  • Urban used pre-existing religious fervour to recruit- however, there was no papal bull.
  • Peter the Hermit also recruited 15k crusaders in 6 months.
  • Urban showed the first crusade to be the ultimate penance, to suffer like Christ. 
  • The crusades were 'just wars' since they were reclaiming territory, had good intentions and an official leader (Urban, and God).
  • Remissio peccatorum was part of the Gregorian reform movement which sent crusaders to heaven.
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