To complete the picture, although the Byzantine Christians and Roman Catholics continued to be at odds, the Byzantine emperor Alexios I called on the Catholic pope to send mercenaries to help defend the remains of the Byzantine Empire from a new wave of attacks from the Muslim Seljuk Turks. Thus, the Crusades were conceived of and instigated as liberation movements and an expression of the Christian faith, along with re installation of its power; in the Christian rhetoric, participation was promoted as a penitential pilgrimage.
The first crusaders set off from France and Italy in , arrived at Jerusalem in , conquered the city, massacred the majority of the inhabitants, and subsequently established four crusader states. The retaking of Edessa, one of the four crusader states, by Muslims in led to a call for the Second Crusade, which began in From here, historians debate the number of subsequent Crusades, ranging from a total of seven to nine, with several other military campaigns with religious goals taking place in between.
Traditionally, the fall of Acre in marks the end of the Crusades, but some historians extend them to , when Napoleon expelled the Knights Hospitaller from Malta.
The New Crusades
Whether the Crusades were the most important events of the Middle Ages, as some historians would contend, there is no dispute that they contributed greatly to changes in Europe and indeed the world. Although the Crusades did not succeed in winning back the Holy Land, they did strengthen pontifical authority and fostered a view of Christendom as a united entity.
In addition, papal intervention had the effect of channeling the violent energies of warring knights toward a common enemy and succeeded in reducing war within Europe. The Crusades also had a positive impact on economies and trade, particularly in western Europe. The massive preparations for foreign war stimulated production. Trade in new types of goods opened up, especially once the Crusader states in the East were established. Many historians also point to the impact of the Crusades on culture. Crusaders coming from the farthest reaches of Europe came into contact with new cultures and brought back with them novel ideas.
These cultural transfers are manifested in western Europe through literature, for example Dante's Commedia , art, and architecture, such as the crusader castles. Some even attribute the origins of geographic explorations such as those of Marco Polo to the crusaders returning to Europe with knowledge of Asia.
In modern usage, a crusade refers to an effort or a campaign with a specific goal. In its positive connotation, crusades are launched against diseases or poverty.
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But today, crusades have also been linked to expansionary and colonizing activities, among them the Second Gulf War or the World Trade Organization's initiatives. Furthermore, the Crusades won renewed interest following the September 11, , terrorist attacks in the United States. Many of the commonly held beliefs about the causes and impacts of the Crusades were revisited, especially in light of Osama bin Laden's purported criticism of the U. Clearly, the Crusades have had and will continue to have an influence on East-West and Muslim-Christian relations.
Archer T A. The Crusades were military expeditions launched by various popes during the Middle Ages and beyond to achieve what was seen in the Christian West A series of Christian campaigns from Europe to the Holy Land lasting from to about , also known as Holy Wars.
Aftermath and Legacy Whether the Crusades were the most important events of the Middle Ages, as some historians would contend, there is no dispute that they contributed greatly to changes in Europe and indeed the world. Modern Views In modern usage, a crusade refers to an effort or a campaign with a specific goal. Further Readings Asbridge, T. In the opening chapter, Fatema Mernissi challenges the notion that the West and Islam are two distinct entities read more.
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ISBN : pbk. ISBN : alk. ISBN : Includes bibliographical references and index. Browse by Subject. Explore Syndetics Unbound. Summary Not since the Crusades of the Middle Ages has Islam evoked the degree of fear, hostility, and ethnic and religious stereotyping that is evident throughout Western culture today.
As conflicts continue to proliferate around the globe, the perception of a colossal, unyielding, and unavoidable struggle between Islam and the West has intensified. These numerous conflicts, both actual and ideological, have revived fears of an ongoing "clash of civilizations"--an intractable and irreconcilable conflict of values between Western cultures and an Islam that is portrayed as hostile and alien.