Essay Topic: The Crusades
Essay Question: What were the leading causes of the Crusades and what is their legacy on the world?
What were the leading causes of the Crusades and what is their legacy on the world?
From the moment the first crusade was called in 1095, the European continent; it’s beliefs, it’s people, and it’s way of life, would be changed forever, whilst those in the Middle East were not anywhere near as greatly affected by the fighting that spanned for centuries. The factors that led to such a monumental event grew over time and coupled with one another soon snowballed into what would become the calling of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II in 1095. Factors such as the desire to expand the influence of the Vatican into the Eastern Roman Empire and to strengthen the papal control in Western Europe, and also the desire to recapture the ‘Holy Land’ from the Muslims contributed to Pope Urban II to call for the first Crusade. Whilst the individuals whom fought in the crusades were motivated by many differing factors, including “deep piety, military adventurism, the lure of absolution and desire to appease the church […] [however] as the crusades passed, the intent of many crusaders became more secular and less pious and this culminated into the disastrous fourth crusade.”1 The effects that the crusades had on the world once they were over were profound; “The effects of the crusading movement were almost limitless. Few aspects of the contemporary western world […] were not affected or influenced in some way, directly or indirectly.”2 Amongst other things; they weakened the church whilst strengthening the power of nobles, brought a degree of internal peace to European nations, began the rise in mercantilism, created a united European identity and allowed the Turks to control the Middle East. It is these military campaigns that occurred throughout the 11th-13th centuries that changed the way the of European life and contributed to the...