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The Crusades: The First Crusade

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Introduction

For nearly 200 years, Christians engaged in a series of holy wars with the Muslims in what is now known as the Crusades. The First Crusade is marked by a specific act on November 27, 1095. In an open field, outside the city of Clermont in Auvergne, Pope Urban II gave an impassioned speech to the people gathered. In this speech, Urban II urged his hearers to take part in a military expedition to the East. As a result, the mighty papal-sanctioned armies captured Edessa, Antioch and Jerusalem. The Second Crusade besieged Damascus yet failed to capture it. The Third Crusade was launched to retake Jerusalem from Muslim commander Salah al-Din but was unsuccessful. However, Salah al-Din was willing to make peace with the crusaders by guaranteeing the safety of
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The crusaders belief in God and that Jesus was mankind’s only hope for redemption was at the forefront of their motives during the Crusades. Many rallied behind the popes words as knights swore oaths to serve God, fight evil and protect the weak and if inescapable give their lives for the sake of the cross. Did the Crusades advance the cause of Christ? This is more difficult to discern due to the multiplicity of heart motives that involved hatred, greed and bloodlust. Although the cause of Christ is always advancing, as people have chosen death over life throughout history, nevertheless during the Crusades it does not seem to be effective. Efforts to evangelize the Muslims did arise however they often were performed under a heavy militant hand. Therefore, when the Holy Land was given back, Islam remained faithful to Muhammad. Additionally, the Fourth Crusade would reunite the East and West for a little more than fifty years. However, at the end of the Latin Empire in 1261, when Constantinople was retaken, enmity between the Greek East and the Latin West grew more intense. Thus, Christian unity would remain in
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