World History: The Crusades

1524 Words7 Pages
“Historians have viewed the Crusades as a mixture of benefits and horrors” (History World). From 1095 to the 1500 's, crusading littered Eastern Europe. Muslim forces had occupied over two-thirds of the ancient Christian holy land, and the Christians of Western Europe were ready to fight to take it back (Britannica). Everyone, from the poorest serf to the richest noble, wanted to take a piece of the fame and fortune that crusading brought. Mix that desire with widespread religious zealotry, and one has a recipe for four centuries of total war. The Crusades were a savage period of time, but their results changed the outcome of our world. To understand why the crusades happened, one must first look at the origins of it. After Charlemagne, king…show more content…
However, at the end of the eleventh century, the balance of power began to shift. Western Europe emerged as a prominent power, although they were still not quite as strong as the Islamic empires in the Middle East. Alexius Comnenus also emerged as the new ruler of the decrepit Byzantine Empire. With the threat of complete annihilation by the Seljuk Turks growing even closer, Alexius decided to send out a cry of help to Pope Urban II, the leader of Western Christianity. At the Council of Clermont in November of 1095, Urban responded to this plea by calling on all Western Christians to aid the Byzantines and wrest control of the holy land from the Muslims. Thus the First Crusade was born…show more content…
Forty years later, the flames of the Third Crusade would take root. A Muslim leader by the name of Saladin led his forces against the Crusaders once more. Saladin was extremely successful, taking over 50 Crusader castles and capturing several cities, including Jerusalem. The news of Jerusalem’s loss infuriated the West. Pope Urban III died of shock when he heard the news, and his successor, Gregory VIII, issued a new call to arms to the Western Christians. This call would be met by several rulers, including Richard of Poitou, Henry II of England, Philip II of France, William II of Sicily, and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Although infighting and the death of Henry delayed England and France from leaving until 1190, other fleets from Northern Europe and England left in 1189. They all headed towards Acre, where Guy of Lusignan, who was the king of Jerusalem before it fell, was already laying siege to the city. The combined Crusaders took Acre in July 1191. Many rulers left back for the West or continued on their own little crusades, but not Richard of Poitou. Richard set his sites on a major fortified city of Saladin 's: the town of Jaffa. Richard, although under constant attack from Saladin 's forces, successfully laid siege and captured the city on the tenth of September in 1191. Saladin, seeing that he could possibly lose everything he had worked for, arranged a treaty with Richard. The treaty demolished the defenses of Ascalon, allowed Christians to keep
Open Document