This paper will talk about the first crusade. What empires were involved, who the leaders were and the reasons behind the bloody battles. People say these holy wars are terrible, and they were for everyone involved. Almost 1.7 million people died including warriors and civilians. The muslims and christians were persucationing each other and wanted control of these holy lands. This was not a pleasant time in history but we can not change that. To conclude, the First crusade was a holy war waged by Christians to regain control of the holy lands from the Muslims.
In the ancient world, the seljuk muslims took over the holy lands. They persecuted the christians living there and made pilgrimages hard for anyone to complete. Took over this land from the Byzantine empire. Alexious the emperor of the byzantines, didn’t like how close the seljuks were pushing towards constantinople. Alexious called for help from Pope Urban the second.
The main empires in the war were Byzantine and Seljuk turks, with Europeans and the pope from rome. Pope urban the 2nd called for the crusade after emperor Alexius asked for troops. The pope toured europe and found people willing to fight in the crusades. Godfrey, Baldwin, Raymond, Bohemond, and Hugh were all christian army leaders. There were 4 large armies that met up in constantinople.
The reasons behind the first crusade were simple. Pope Urban wanted to regain the holy land. Alexious wanted to regain control of the land that once was his. Certain crusaders wanted to find riches, while other went on the crusades for a spiritual war. Some people who were condemned, would be freed from their fate if they fought in this war. The pope told people if they died on the trip or in battle they would all have indulgences and go straight to heaven. Any empire would love to have the middle east, it is a very good trading route with access to the oceans and river. There are rich soils and very important places to certain religions.Emperor Alexios felt like his control of the empire was slipping to the turks, so he felt that he needed to regain his once lost land. The pope also wanted the holy lands back because he thought every christian should make a pilgrimage to the holy land. He thought they should go and see the places Jesus walked and preached.
The warriors that fought in the the crusades were called crusaders. These were the average foot soldier. Emperor alexios wanted knights from the european nations, but got a lot of peasants and untrained people. Pope Urban went across europe to recruit these soldiers. He offered them instant indulges, so that when they died they would go straight to heaven. Some people went on this trip for spiritual reason, and to proclaim their love to God. Some of the peasants would bring along their whole families, and they would help fight too. Most of the peasants that went were not looking for spiritual things, but they knew the middle east was full of riches and they wanted some. Women in battle would not run but fight with the men they were with.
The traveling conditions on the trip were terrible. Crusaders would have to steal if they ran out of money to eat. A Lot of people saved up 4 years of savings just to go and fight. On their trip they would have to buy food from peasants who would overcharge them. But emperor alexios had food and so when all the crusaders met up in constantinople, king alexios made the leaders pledge themselves to him and any land or riches won would be his.So in return king alexios would feed the crusaders. Plague also swept through the crusaders, and many suffered sickness. During the actual crusade sometimes they would have to take the long way around so the armies would not be ambushed. They would have to go through mountain ranges and though hot deserts were there was nothing.
Most of the crusade battle were fighting to get into a fortified city. So the crusaders would have to build a siege tower to get over the walls. The turks were more advanced and skilled, but the franks had more numbers and size. Sometimes the christians would use in side help to overthrow the city. Battles were won with cavalry and archers. The Turks would use archers on horseback and the Franks had never see this before.
Peter the hermit went through the Rhine valley attacks all non-christians. He was persecuted and tortured by the muslims when he went on a pilgrimage to the holy lands. Him and his army massacred many people and towns.
The Battle of Nicea. This was the first true battle of the crusades. It was a 6 week battle trying to break the muslims walls. King alexios go’s behind the crusaders backs and has the city surrendered to the byzantine empire. This hurt the relationship with the armies leaders and crusaders. Emperor alexios takes riches and people from city in the cover of night so the crusaders do not find out.
The Battle of Borland. Historians do not know where this battle took place. The turks ambushed the Franks. The Turks had archers on horseback and almost wiped out the crusaders. Until godfrey and baldwin armies advance and chase the muslims out of the valley. Due to this battle the crusaders would not travel the main route, but would travel over the anti-taurus mountains. The mountains then lead to the hottest and driest region in the middle east. There were many troops and horses that died.
Battle of Antioch. Right before this battle, Baldwin’s wife dies. She was very rich and had lots of land, but he would get none because it all goes back to the bloodline. During this battle the first carrier pigeon was used. The crusaders take over because of a trader named borland. He let them through his post and the crusaders got in and gained control of the city. But there was a huge muslim army on their way to get the city back. Peter hides a spearin the church floor, but tells the soldiers he had a vision from god telling him that the spear that punctured jesus side was buried there, if they found it the would win the war. The crusaders dug up the church floor and found it, this gave the crusaders hope and energy, the war has been going on for 3 years now.
Battle for Jerusalem. The crusaders marched to jerusalem and did not have enough wood to build siege towers to get over the walls. They would find just enough wood and start the battle. They built 3 towers but only one managed to get troops in the city. Then the crusaders took the city and celebrated. They wanted to claim godfrey as there king but he didn’t think it was just, when they offered it to baldwin he accepted and became the first king of jerusalem. A few weeks later a muslim army from egypt marched up and overthrew the city. Pope urban never knew of the victory because he died before the siege.
The holy wars affected life of almost everyone. All religious were being persecuted by each other. The muslims would eventually attack the christians. Many civilians caught up in the battles would be killed. It is estimated that 1.7 million people would die during the crusades.
In conclusion, the first crusade was a bloody war in which the christians would fulfill their goal of taking jerusalem. The crusaders would sacrifice life so that others could take pilgrimages to the holy lands. To conclude, the First crusade was a holy war waged by Christians to regain control of the holy lands from the Muslims.