The First Crusade

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The First Crusade

Post  Waqar Daniel on Mon 06 Oct 2008, 5:52 pm

In 1076 muslims captured Jerusalem and made it difficult for all the Christians who wanted to pay pilgrimage. Even getting to Jerusalem was filled with dangers due to hatred of muslim soldiers towards Christians.

This attitude of muslims motivated Alexius I of Constantinople - because he feared that his country might also fall to the Muslims as it was very close to the territory captured by the Muslims. Constantinople is in modern day Turkey. Alexius called on the pope - Urban II - to give him help.

In 1095, Urban spoke to a great crown at Clermont in France. He called for a war against the Muslims so that Jerusalem was regained for the Christian faith. In his speech he said:

"Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned."

Those who volunteered to go to fight the Muslims cut out red crosses and sewed them on their tunics. The French word "croix" means cross and the word changed to "croisades" or crusades. The fight against the Muslims became a Holy War.

The First Crusade had a very difficult journey getting to the Middle East. They could not use the Mediterranean Sea as the Crusaders did not control the ports on the coast of the Middle East. Therefore, they had to cross land. They traveled from France through Italy, then Eastern Europe and then through what is now Turkey. They covered hundreds of miles, through scorching heat and also deep snow in the mountain passes. The Crusaders ran out of fresh water and according to a survivor of the First Crusade who wrote about his experiences after his return, some were reduced to drinking their own urine, drinking animal blood or water that had been in sewage. Food was bought from local people but at very expensive prices. Odo of Deuil claims that these men who were fighting for God were reduced to pillaging and plunder in order to get food.

Disease was common especially as men were weakened by the journey and drinking dirty water. Dysentery was common. Heat stroke also weakened many Crusaders. Disease and fatigue affected rich and poor alike.

The first target of the Crusaders was the important fortress city of Nicea. This city was taken by the Crusaders without too much trouble as the man in charge of it was away fighting!

The next target for the Crusaders was Antioch - a strongly protected Turkish city. It took a seven month siege before the city fell. The next target was Jerusalem.

The attack and capture of Jerusalem started in the summer of 1099. Jerusalem was well defended with high walls around it. The first attacks on the city were not successful as the Crusaders were short of materials for building siege machines. Once logs had arrived, two siege machines were built.

After the success of the Crusaders, the Kingdom of Jerusalem was created and its first king was Godfrey of Bouillon who was elected by other crusaders. He died in 1100 and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin of
Boulogne.

Sources:
The First Crusade
The Crusades

_________________


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)


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Re: The First Crusade

Post  lovingdove on Mon 06 Oct 2008, 6:11 pm

Thank you Daniel for putting up "History Section" and I enjoy it a lot.

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