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Frontline Life: The Crusades

The Crusades were allegedly a series of armed expeditions by Christian countries against Muslim forces to take control of what was considered sacred by both parties – AKA, the "Holy Land". The struggles spanned several centuries and led to some of the bloodiest battles in military history motivated by both heavenly salvation and earthly sacking.

From the late 11th century, soldiers would face countless difficulties during this long period. often treacherous trips. These church-sanctioned escapades would eventually come to an end, but the bitter east-west divide continues across much of the Middle East, with the chance of peace roughly as likely as the Yankees and Red Sox play nice.

8. The Pope's Speech

On November 27, 1095 Pope Urban II spoke to the Clermont Council in France, where several hundred clergymen and nobles had gathered. He passionately denied the suffering of Christians in the Byzantine Empire by the powerful Seljuk Turks. The Pope then pleaded with all Christians to go on a mission to regain Jerusalem from Muslim forces.

The spirited address of the Pope promised absolution and forgiveness of sins to anyone who died while the Lord was working and who cried "Deus vult!" ("God wants it!") The recruitment campaign proved successful – and consolidated his legacy of having instigated the Holy Wars. Although the exact numbers vary, up to 100,000 people would take part in the first mission to save the ancient city.

During this time Urban took the opportunity to strengthen the power of the papacy. European nobles would also benefit from the acquisition of land and looting, capturing and killing anyone who is seen as opposed to their cause.

7. Sign of the Cross

The name of the Holy War is derived from the medieval French word for crois and means "cross". Combatants, consisting of nobles, knights and peasants, took a public, binding church vow to join a crusade in which a red cross had to be sewn onto their robes as a sign of promise. The cross could only be removed after the pilgrimage ended.

Although soldiers were not paid for fighting in the service of Christ, they received certain privileges from the Church. Soldiers received protection for their family and property, hospitality while traveling, toll and tax relief, and immunity from arrest.

Upon returning home, soldiers who had failed to be killed or captured were pampered in the plenary to complete the pilgrimage. Any booty acquired would have been considered well-deserved spoils of war – not to mention the pride of rolling up your sleeves to reveal battle scars at the local watering hole.

6. Lonnnnnnng Street

The first crusade began in France in 1096 with an army of soldiers from all over Europe. Despite the multinational coalition, the troops would be called "Franks" by their Muslim enemies . The round trip often took years and spanned up to 2,500 miles each way – or about the same distance as walking from LA to Pittsburgh.

Crusades took on many different forms with each expedition, for various reasons, with several years between the separation of the campaigns. In addition to the longer trips against the Muslim armed forces, pagan tribes and heretics were also involved on the European continent.

The Pope's enemies were also often targeted. Even the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (a pious Christian monarch) was not given a passport and was excommunicated three times and by Pope Gregory XI. Branded as an Antichrist.

5. Strategy and Tactics

The holy wars ended almost early in the catastrophe for the Christian armed forces. Under the leadership of a coalition of European knights, the crusaders under the Turkish commander Kilij Arslan in Anatolia were surrounded by the enemy. In short, they needed a miracle, which fortunately came in the form of a quick-thinking Italian prince named Bohemond of Taranto .

After waging several minor battles, the Battle of Dorylaeum introduced the first major confrontation between Western armies and Muslim forces. The crusaders faced not only a steady stream of arrows from mounted archers, but also the effects of the scorching, dry weather on unfamiliar ground.

Bohemond quickly realized that conventional infantry and cavalry attacks against a more mobile army based on hit-and-run tactics were ineffective. Then he ordered his heavily armored knights to dismount and form a protective shield around the foot soldiers, horses and supplies. The shift in military structure allowed Bohemond's line to hold until mass reinforcements arrived when the Turks finally exhausted their resources.

In the end, the Crusaders achieved an impressive victory with a new strategy that would affect future battles on the way to Jerusalem. The triumph also helped maintain a myth of divine intervention and serve as a recruiting tool by declaring that crusaders were under God's protection.

4. Fall on your knees and repent if you want

In the song " Exciter " by heavy metal gods Judas Priest the theme of redemption is conveyed through screeching singing and thundering duals -Leading electric guitars. However, the Crusaders took a more physical approach by requiring all sinners to convert to Christianity or face just execution in the name of God. So much for the teachings of Christ about tolerance and brotherly love.

The Pope's punishers also received the go-ahead for rape, looting and looting at will – along with the desecration of religious monuments only to a good extent. Although the conflicts typically concerned the submission of Muslims, other beliefs have also been attacked.

As a forerunner of the First Crusade, a movement known as People's Crusade led by a fiery monk named Peter the Hermit led to a murderous rampage against the Jewish population along the Rhine in France and Germany. Although they did not have the official blessing of the Church, it did not stop them from wantonly killing on their way to the Holy Land.

Finally, the Ragtag army, consisting mostly of poorly equipped farmers, was slaughtered by well-organized Turkish armed forces at the Battle of Civetot in northwestern Anatolia. Suffice it to say that most biblical scholars would call this "harvest what you sow".

3. Crusader Estates

There were no glossy real estate brochures in the Middle Ages. But if they did, they might sound something like this: Imagine a closed community in which westerners live in nonexistent tranquility on sun-drenched, stolen land and wake up every day to threats from the original residents who are struggling they want to beat to death. Welcome to the not so friendly Crusader Estates.

The Crusaders were spurred on by various motivations and rewards, including grabbing grass that they could call home. The majority were usually landless nobles or peasants looking for a better future by taking land from their Muslim enemies. Thus crusader states were born.

After the founding of the Kingdom of Jerusalem other developments emerged as the concept of class distinction and feudalism was introduced throughout the Middle East. The larger settlements included the county of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch and the county of Tripoli.

2. Revenge of the Kurds

He is simply known among contemporary Muslims as "Al Nassar" ("The Victorious"). For European crusaders, however, the name Saladin became known as a fearsome military leader who founded the Ayyubid dynasty and sought nothing less than to unite his people against a common enemy.

Born in a Kurdish Saladin, a Sunni Muslim family in what is now Iraq, he spent his formative years in Damascus, where he studied Greek philosophy, mathematics, poetry, astronomy and law. He would also become a passionate student of the Quran while delving into all aspects of warfare.

He later became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, patron of Mecca and Medina and Lord of Arabia. After declaring jihad against the Crusader states, he defeated the invaders at the Battle of Hattin in 1187. The victory also enabled him to retake Jerusalem later, along with a large number of territories – conquests that did so would inspire the start of the third crusade.

1. Looting over piety

Among the terrible, brutal conquests in history, the sack of Constantinople is a category in itself. Before 1204, the rich, vibrant city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. But an evil dispute fueled by greed, corruption, nepotism and poor leadership (sounds familiar?) During the fourth crusade, the bloody bloodshed and systematic pillage of the largest city in Christendom culminated.

The deep rotting in Constantinople had celebrated for years and finally reached a boiling point when Byzantine Prince Alexius, who was in exile, bribed the Crusaders to put him on the throne in July 1203. However, six months later he was murdered by a rival faction. Of course, the Crusaders sensed a (literally) golden opportunity to plunge and besieged the city while accidentally massacring thousands of their citizens.

The total ruin and instability of the Crusaders would later pave the way for the Mongol invasion in the mid-13th century, creating further fragmentation and chaos in the region. The indulgence of the papal looters later helped to establish the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation of the 15th century .

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