Essay Questions On The Crusades

To accept blame humbly when one is at fault is always good, of course, but in this case the apologizers were only showing that they did not comprehend the Muslim view of the crusades (which made their conciliatory gesture empty) and did not understand history (which made their act of contrition pointless).Crusades were war-pilgrimages proclaimed by the Popes on Christ’s behalf and waged for the recovery of Christian territory or people, or in their defense.The movement lasted a very long time, from the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095 to the fall of the last order-state, Hospitaller Malta, to Napoleon in 1798.

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Three thousand men and women is still a lot of people, of course, but it is low enough to make one wonder why the Western eyewitnesses, who gloried in generalized descriptions of slaughter, felt the need to portray a bloodbath.

If, on the other hand, the behavior of the crusaders in the East cannot be considered to have been quantitatively worse than that of those fighting in any ideological war, the behavior of the crusaders in Europe could sometimes be abominable, even by the standards of the time.

We also know that the figure for the Muslim dead, which used to range from ten to seventy thousand on the basis of accounts written long after the event, ought to be revised downward.

A contemporary Muslim source has been discovered that puts the number at three thousand.

That they could be undisciplined and capable of acts of great cruelty cannot be denied.

The question, however, is whether the form of war in which they were engaged was a peculiarly horrible one.

Before heading off to the Jerusalem crusades in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, some Europeans “prepared themselves” through violent outbreaks of anti-Judaism in France, Germany, and England.

During the crusades launched against fellow Christians or heretics, the most unpleasant examples of loss of discipline and control took place (the sacks of Constantinople in 1204 and of Béziers in 1209 spring to mind).

Each crusader made a vow, signified by the wearing of a cloth cross, and he (or she) was rewarded with the grant of an indulgence and certain temporal privileges.

A distinguishing feature of crusading was that the cross was enjoined on men and women not as a service, but as a penance, the association of which with war had been made about a decade before the First Crusade.


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