were a series of military campaigns during Medieval times against the
Muslims of the Middle East. |
Crusade comes from the Latin word
crux, meaning a ‘cross’. It referred to the cross on which Jesus Christ
was crucified and to go on a crusade meant going to fight for Christ. In
1100, it meant going to fight the Muslims in the Holy Land, around
Jerusalem, where Christ had lived.
The Muslims were the followers of
Muhammad. He was born in the city of Mecca in AD 570. He founded a great
religion and his followers were called Muslims. Some of his followers were
warlike and over the next few hundred years they had captured land around
the Mediterranean Sea.
|In 1076, the Muslims
captured Jerusalem - the most holy of holy places for Christians
because Christ had lived and died in that area. Jesus had been born
in nearby Bethlehem and Jesus had spent most of his life in
Jerusalem. He was crucified on Calvary Hill, also in Jerusalem.
There was no more important place on Earth than Jerusalem for a true
Christian which is why Christians called Jerusalem the "City of
God". Christians across Europe enjoyed making a pilgrimage or visit
to this Holy Land.
However, Jerusalem was also
extremely important for the Muslims as Muhammad, the founder of the
Muslim faith, had been there and there was great joy in the Muslim
world when they captured Jerusalem. A beautiful dome - called the
Dome of the Rock - was built on the rock where Muhammad was said to
have sat and prayed. It was so holy that no Muslim was allowed to
tread on the rock or touch it when visiting the Dome.
Therefore the Christian fought to get
Jerusalem back while the Muslims fought to keep Jerusalem. These
wars were to last nearly 200 years.
1. On a new page in your book or folder write the
heading: 'The Crusades.'
2. Open this interactive web site and watch the
journey taken by each of the different Crusades:
3. On your new page complete the following:
a) From the above text, pick out and write in your book three key points about Muhammad.
b) Explain why the Muslims wanted control of Jerusalem.
c) Explain why the Christians from Europe also wanted to be
able to visit Jerusalem.
Crusade was the Christian's attempt to re-capture Jerusalem. Any Christian who
wanted to pay a pilgrimage to the city faced a very hard time.
Muslim soldiers made life very difficult for the Christians and
trying to get to Jerusalem was filled with danger for a Christian.
This greatly angered all Christians.
One Christian - called Alexius I of
Constantinople - also feared that his country might also fall to the
Muslims as it was very close to the territory captured by the
Muslims. Constantinople is in modern day Turkey. Alexius called on
the Pope - Urban II - to give him help.
In 1095, Urban spoke to a great crown at
Clermont in France. He called for a war against the Muslims so that
Jerusalem was regained for the Christian faith. In his speech he
hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being
attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain
Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. |
If you are killed your
sins will be pardoned..."
Those who volunteered to go to fight
the Muslims cut out red crosses and sewed them on their tunics. The
French word "croix" also means cross, and the word changed to "croisades"
or crusades. The fight against the Muslims became a Holy
|Many people did volunteer to fight on the First Crusade.
There were true Christians who wanted to
reclaim Jerusalem for their belief and get the Muslims out of the
city. There were those who knew they had committed sin and that by
going on the Crusade they might be forgiven by God. They had also
been told by the pope that if they were killed, they would
automatically go to heaven as they were fighting for
There were those who thought that they might
get rich by taking the wealth that they thought existed in
Jerusalem. Any crusader could claim to be going
on a pilgrimage for God - pilgrims did not have to pay tax and they
were protected by the Church.
Pope - Urban II
at Clermont (Click to
The following sources will give you other
possible reasons or motives for why the Christians went on a Crusade.
|4. Print off this blank map and fill
it in with the information from Source E (the map) on the
next page. Remember to include cities and the Key. Also mark
on your map where the Byzantine Empire was (see the
interactive map site above for this information.)
5. List (or mind map) on your page, eight reasons for why the
European Christians went on Crusades to the Middle East.
6. Which two reasons do you think gave the men the
most motivation for taking these long and dangerous
journeys? Quote form the Sources in your answer. Blend two
or three quoted words from the sources into your own
(A.C. Morales, The Story of Man, 1991
B 'Many Christians joined the Crusades because they
thought that was what God wanted. Others joined for selfish
reasons. Many nobles were no longer rich, if hey joined the
Crusades, they did not have to pay taxes or their debts while they
were away. They hoped to get money, power and land in the Middle
East. Some crusaders were thieves and murderers.'
"For about 500 years, the Christians, led by the
Pope in Rome, had tried to bring themselves and the Orthodox
together. So when Alexius [the leader of the Orthodox
in Constantinople] asked for help [to
fight against the Muslims] in 1081, Pope Urban
II saw his chance. In 1093, at Clermont, he called all men to
promise to save the Holy Land before it was too late. "
"One of the problems in the 1090s was that good
land was in short supply – younger sons simply had no inheritance
and their ‘land hunger’ caused constant warfare among the warrior
For many, a crusade seemed an instant solution to a very pressing
problem. They could fight for the cross and for personal profit
Bartley and Hilary Bourdillon, 'Medieval Islam', 1993)
|| (Brian Catchpole. 'The Clash of Cultures'.