The Crusades

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Throughout the middle Ages, the Catholic Church widely influenced both religion and politics. In 1095, Pope Urban II began a campaign in order to spread Christianity and take back Jerusalem (Knight 102). These campaigns, known as the Crusades, lasted until 1291 and affected many aspects of European and Muslim life including religion, education, and politics (Knight 126-127).

The crusading movement spanned over a period of 200 years and was initiated in the name of religion. Among all of the crusades fought, seven of them were major (United Methodist Church "The Christian Crusades"). The goal was to recapture Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and was headed by the leader of the Christian church, Pope Urban II.

At the beginning, the main intent of the crusaders was the safe passageway of European Christians into Jerusalem to worship at holy places. From around 200 A.D. to 900 A.D. the Holy Lands, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, etc.

were occupied by Christians. The Muslims invaded these lands in 900 A.D. and oppressed the Christians who inhabited those areas. The main focus after the Holy Lands were taken over was to establish Christian kingdoms rather than reclaim the land (All About God "Crusades").

After the Roman Empire fell, the Roman church was split into two. The Eastern Church established its base in Constantinople. Masses were performed in Greek. The Western church, based in Rome, led its masses in Latin. Once Europe witnessed recovery after the 12th century the Catholic Church hoped for a reunification of the two churches. They believed that if the two came together the church would become wealthier and would gain a wider range on influence (Cothran 59).

The word "crusade" comes from the phrase "cruce signati" which means "those signed by the cross" (Madden 1). Along with the capture of the Holy Land, crusaders...