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The Crusades
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  Home >> The Crusades

The Crusades ~ Two centuries of Holy Wars

  • 1095 - 1096  People's Crusade

  • 1096 - 1099  First Crusade

  • 1147 - 1149  Second Crusade

  • 1189 - 1192  Third Crusade

  • 1202 - 1204  Fourth Crusade

  • 1202 - 1202 Children's Crusade

  • 1218 - 1221 Fifth Crusade

  • 1228 - 1229 Sixth Crusade

  • 1248 - 1254 Seventh Crusade

  • 1270 - 1272 Eighth Crusade

  • 1291 End of the Crusades

From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears: namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation, forsooth, which has neither directed its heart nor entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by sword, pillage, and fire. . . .

---Pope Urban II, Proclamation at Clermont, 1095

Western Europe's most ambitious common enterprise and its most conspicuous failure was the attempt to bring together all mankind in Christian unity under the leadership of the bishop of Rome, St. Peter's successor, the pope. The most intense part of this enterprise and the one that enlisted the most widespread support in Europe from all levels of society was the Crusades.

The Crusades, in the narrow sense of the expeditions to conquer and hold the Holy Land for the West, began at the end of the eleventh century and lasted throughout the remainder of the medieval period. In a more inclusive sense, the Crusades include several other important contributing factors:

The re-conquest of Spain and Sicily from the Moslems.
The extension of the Christian frontier in the Baltic region to take in Lithuanians, Estonians, Prussians and Finns.
Christian missions to convert the Mongols and other Eastern peoples.
Concurrent with the Crusades was the effort to convert or eliminate the Jews within Europe that led ultimately to their expulsion from many parts of the West.

The Crusades inspired the most dedicated valor, the most bloodthirsty cruelty, and the greediest vandalism of medieval men. They offered the fullest opportunity for combined fulfillment of Germanic heroic aspirations and Christian ideals of brotherhood and self-sacrifice.

 

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