Through bloodshed, battle, and war, Christianity was able to climb its way to the top and convert most of the world. During the Middle Ages, the Christian religious group sought out to regain the Holy Land, Jerusalem. Through a series of military expeditions called the Crusades, they conquered the Muslims and many others to obtain their goal. The First Crusade, also called the Nobles’ or Baron’s Crusade, began the year 1096 and ended three years later in 1099. Throughout those three years, rigorous journeys and battles occurred in Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Antioch, Nicaea, Constantinople, and many more locations.
Those that participated in the First Crusade aided in paving a pathway to the many other Crusades that were bound to follow. The most significant man during the Crusades was the one that came up with the idea himself, Pope Urban II. Pope Urban II gathered the Christian people together and proposed his intentions. To persuade the people to support his cause, he spoke of terrible atrocities and hostility that Christians have faced by Muslims.
He announced that because the Holy Land was under the Muslim ruling, the Christian holy places were being violated and disrespected. Pope Urban II ruled from 1088 to 1099 CE and called for the First Crusade. The first to respond to Pope Urban II’s ideas was Adhemar of Le Puy, a French bishop. He was appointed commander in chief of the First Crusade and almost immediately gained many followers.
Peter the Hermit was the leader of the Christian army of the Rhineland and took part in slaughtering Jewish people.
The leader of the first and the smallest French army was Hugh of Vermandois. Another leader was Robert Flanders, a commander that led troops to Italy and sailed from Bari to Jerusalem. Raymond of Toulouse was the leader of the largest group that consisted of approximately ten thousand men. He led his army on a march from Lyon to the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Godfrey of Bouillon led an army and traveled through Hungary to help aid in attacks. Bohemond of Taranto led the last army during the First Crusade. Another key participant during this Crusade was the Byzantine Empire. Also threatened by the Muslims, the Byzantine Empire called for help from the Christians. Together, they aided each other in taking down the Seljuk Turks.
During the First Crusade, the Christian army captured and conquered Antioch in battle. The painstaking siege lasted six months until a man named Peter Bartholomew had a vision. In the vision, he claimed to have seen the location of the holy lance used to pierce the side of Christ while he was on the cross. When the location was searched, the lance was found. The news of a miracle, raised the hopes of the struggling Christian army and encouraged them to fight with even more strength. The army entered the city, slaughtering all enemy soldiers and citizens finally taking control. After the siege, the Turkish army attempted to regain Antioch but failed.
The Christians refocused on their main goal, secured the city of Antioch, and marched to Jerusalem. When they arrived at the gates of Jerusalem, they found the city heavily protected. To their judgment, an immediate attack seemed best fitting; however, the attack failed due to their lack of food, water, and other crucial supplies. To breach the walls, the Christian army built tall wooden siege towers and attempted to get them close enough to the walls. They bared many assaults, including flaming arrows and a bombardment of stones, but they were able to endure them and managed to get a tower to the walls. The soldiers that reached the top of the walls fought their way to the gates of Jerusalem and forced them open, allowing the remaining Christian army to enter the Holy Land. Once inside the walls, the Christians massacred the Muslim forces and ultimately took control of the city.
The First Crusade occurred because of the rise of the Seljuk Turks. The Christians wanted to regain the Holy Land to protect their historic sights such as the tomb of Jesus. They also wanted to protect the Christians visitors and the Christians that already inhabit Jerusalem. They’ve been facing disrespect in Jerusalem and the purpose of the Crusades was to put an end to it. Others helped to regain the Holy Land as a sign pleading for forgiveness from Jesus in order to make it to heaven. The Byzantine Empire was also facing threats from the Seljuk Turks after losing a city to them during the First Crusade. They wanted to regain their conquered cities and have vengeance upon the Muslims. Pope Urban II called for help from the Christians to aid the Byzantine Empire in taking down the Muslims. From the Muslim point of view, they believed the crusaders only wanted money and riches. It was said that they offered to share the Holy Land, but the Christians wanted the land for themselves.
The result of the First Crusade was a Christian Army victory. Although they succeeded in regaining the Holy Land, they didn’t succeed because of the Christian army’s strength. They succeeded because of the Muslim army’s weakness. Throughout the First Crusade, the Muslim forces were separated. They were split up because they were also at war with other people such as the Fatimids of Egypt. The main point that determined the victory of the First Crusade was the Battle of Jerusalem. At the beginning of the battle, the circumstances favored the Muslims; however, the Christians were able to pull through after building the siege towers and breaching the walls.
The Nobles’ Crusade was the first official and successful crusade. It was the most conquering crusade and the first step in Christianity’s attempt to become the dominant religion. Christians now controlled Jerusalem and also gained control of many other cities such as Antioch. After the crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon was elected as king; however, he refused the position. His morals told him that he could not be a king with a gold crown in the same city where Jesus suffered and wore a crown of thorns. Instead, he accepted the responsibility of protecting the Holy Land. Other kingdoms were also established such as the principality of Antioch, the county of Tripoli, and the county of Edessa. The four kingdoms would participate in trading, communication, and adopting customs. Overall, the First Crusade was just the beginning of the violent, history, influencing quarrels between the Muslims, Byzantine Empire, Jews, and Christians.