Christian Crusades

By John Halas 

The Christian Crusades’ history has been highly influential in Europe and throughout the world. It managed to eradicate many Christians for about two centuries and directly affected the lives of the surviving Christians. The Christian Crusades’ history had eradicated an estimated 6,000,000 Christians during their reign. The estimates actually range from 2,000,000 to 6,000,000 based on various estimates and references in history. The Christian Crusades’ history had been quite a disorderly and horrifying experience for the Christians. The Christians suffered much from the hands of the Crusaders, not to mention the loss of wealth and the traumatic suffering that they experienced. The elements of war such as tumultuous scenes, crime, disturbance in people’s way of living, taking hostages, and other traumatic events often accompanied the holy war between nations and regions. However, most holy wars would result in something good that could last forever. The lessons and the pain that they left behind became the most popular lessons to remember in the history of any nation, sect, or related religion. The Christian Crusades’ military campaigns and sanctions highly influenced the following

·       Role of the Catholic church
·       Power of the Catholic church
·       Progress or economy of affected civilization
·       Impact on the politics of the nation
·       Impede social improvement
·       Intellectual development
·       Commerce and feudalism structure
·       Material development including voyages relating to discovery

The Christian Crusades greatly supported the power of the Papacy as well as highly contributed to the wealth of the Catholic Church. The Popes, therefore, gained more power and influence over the people and the land including the economy when the Crusaders transferred the resources and the armies to their hands. The people eventually adapted the system endorsed by the Crusaders and the Papacy being their new leaders. The wealth of the Church increased immensely because the norm for sale of properties is usually a fraction or a small percentage out of its actual market value. People usually sell properties before they go for expeditions. Most people give lands or properties as a token or a gift in return for the blessings and prayers that they asked from the Popes. The people highly valued the pious benedictions of the Popes done for their behalf.

Across time, crusaders who had failed in their explorations and wars sought for asylum on cloistral retreats. The crusaders who sought the help of cloistered retreat houses brought and offered goods and other wealth. The crusaders appreciated the peace they found in cloistered retreat houses because most of them returned home with problems in health and carried or were mending broken spirits. However, the religious enthusiasts or the fanatics endowed the church with amass wealth and gifts. The gifts of piety significantly augmented the wealth of the church while the religious fervour of the people largely increased the power of the Popes. The wealth of the church and the Popes increased enormously across time.

The Impact of the Christian Crusades History on the Trade and Commerce 

The most significant contribution of the Christian Crusades on the people and of the places that they had conquered was trading and commerce. The Christian Crusades themselves created demand on supplies for war and food, transportation for their men, the building of ships for their numerous voyages, and trading of the eastern wares and goods across the continent of Europe. During their numerous voyages, the Crusaders brought the goods and other products of the cities of Mosul, Cairo, Damascus, and other known cities across the seas of the Mediterranean. Most of these goods landed on the seaports near Italy where traders transported them to other parts of Europe for trading. The Oriental art and beauty of their tapestries and silks enchanted the Crusaders. The elegance of the Oriental precious stones, ivory, and pearls as well as the spices and scents or perfumes truly enchanted the Crusaders. Their beauty and art captured the hearts of the Crusaders that they called the place the vestibule of paradise.

The Crusaders and their Impact on the Land’s Feudalism Practices 

The Crusaders affected the lives of many Europeans. Western Europe improved their feudalism practices with the help and support of the Crusaders. Several knights, barons, and other royalties contributed to their crusading expedition. They even sold their lands to support the expedition. In Syria, the commoners experienced failures and difficulties that they reverted to the old practice of royalty. Private warfare and feud between clans eventually died out when the feudal lords departed from the Holy Land. The departures and the increased of the power and authority of the royalties were more evident in France history of commerce, which was the old home of the Christian Crusades movement.

The influence of the Christian Crusades Movement on the Nation’s Politics 

During the Crusaders era, most nations adapted the feudal aristocracy. This made the life of the commoners a bit difficult. The Crusaders affected the politics of a certain nation when they help break the feudalism structure. The nobles who participated in the Crusader’s expedition were not able to return to their homes, thus, leaving their wealth under the responsibility of their heirs. However, their heirs were not able to keep the properties. The properties and a big part of the noble Crusaders wealth were escheated back to the King for payment of taxes and other liabilities. Most of the crusaders lost their wealth because they sometimes used their own funds to meet the cost of the expedition.

The cities that the Christian Crusaders visited during their expedition greatly benefited from the expeditions of the noble princes as well as the barons. They gained many political advantages from the activities of the Crusaders that, in a way, supported them in increasing their political power. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the burgher or middle social class mostly had the privilege for access to the ready money. This special privilege is given by the landlords or the suzerains to the burgher class in return for the borrowings as well as the contributions that they had given to them. The Christian Crusades’ history had delayed the fall of Constantinople as well as the conquering activities of the Turks for about three centuries or maybe more. The delay of more than three centuries was enough to make the Germans prepare for the anticipated invasion of the Mohammedan group. The Mohammedan group invaded Europe in the 15th century. The Christian Crusades’ history had a wide influence on the social lives of the people.  The Christian Crusades showed the Western people an opportunity for a romantic adventure. This became their major influence on Chivalry. The Crusaders’ knowledge of and exposure to the Eastern culture provided the West with a great deal of influence. This is the greatest refining influence of the Crusaders to the West.

Intellectual progress and the Crusades – History

The Christian Crusaders learned a lot from the culture and knowledge of other people from the different lands that they had visited during their expedition, which serve to liberalize their minds. The nobles and princes went out of their homeland, far from their families, and far from the familiar scenes of their cities so they can explore and complete the mission of their expeditions. The other objective was to see strange lands, unfamiliar faces, experience the way of living of other people, look at the architecture of their homes and palaces, and see their dress codes or dress styles. The Crusaders enjoyed the elegant manners and customs of the East. During those times, the East had surpassed the civilization of the West and the experience of the Crusaders with the East greatly influenced Europe’s intellectual development. The Crusaders returned with new perceptions and broader ideas on a lot of things about life, people, and commerce. They also developed wider sympathies on people.

The Crusaders brought with them new materials, new ideas, and carried new perceptions about other people. This opened a new dimension of life for them. The Latin scholars were greatly motivated with the knowledge that the Crusaders shared. The expeditions of the Crusaders and the knowledge that they brought with them back home awakened Western Europe’s mental activities. The shared knowledge finally triggered the period of the Renaissance and initiated the Revival of Learning in Western Europe.

Material development and the Christian Crusades – History 

The Holy Wars triggered the material and economic growth in Europe. This paved way for the growth of the business enterprises in the continent. The economic development was very evident among the Italian cities. Most of these cities benefited from trading with the Crusaders needs for their expedition. Genoa, Venice, and Pisa economy significantly grew during the expedition, which included opening up some trade with the East. The Crusaders often sailed across the Mediterranean, Syrian coast, and several ports in Europe. In addition, the Crusader’s new knowledge opened up another way of thinking towards artworks, inventions, and other manufacturing activities in Europe. The rich culture and arts of the East influenced the material development of the European people. The influenced were obviously evident in the artifacts showcased by the modern museums in Europe.

Voyages, Discovery, Impact of the Christian Crusades History on Civilization 

The interesting news that the Crusaders brought back home after their expedition ignited the interest of some known voyage discoverers such as Sir John Mandeville and Marco Polo. The Italian, Marco Polo, and the Englishman, Sir John Mandeville, travelled to Asia’s remote areas and explored the islands. This includes the expeditions of Columbus and Magellan, which the Crusaders interesting news about the Eastern arts and trades awakened. The interesting expedition of the voyager Vasco de Gama could be ignited by the interesting knowledge on geographical matters shared by the Crusaders.

The Influence of the Expeditions 

The various sections of the middle ages history contained interesting topics and information about the great travels of the known voyagers in the world. In addition, there were important events in the medieval times that any reader would really appreciate learning. This included the impact of the expeditions made by the noble princes and barons during the era of the Christian Crusades history. The sitemap history could provide all the needed navigation in locating crucial facts and information during the middle ages.

Catholic Church, Wealth, and Power – History 

The power of the Popes and the wealth specifically properties of the Catholic Church experienced a remarkable growth during the Christian Crusades’ history. The Popes role as well as authority extended to trading and commerce involvement, resources for the spread and sustenance of Christendom, and authority over the armies. In addition, the Pope’s involvement with the people’s social public sphere and public life as well as their intellectual development increased their influence and authority over the commoners. The community regarded them as powerful guides and brilliant leaders. The Crusaders also sold a big part of their land to the church when they were about to start their expedition. This increased the wealth of the Catholic Church tremendously.

The society in the middle ages perceived the church as a place where they can regain their confidence, heal their broken spirits, and restore physical health conditions. The belief of the people that the Popes prayers could help them gain more wealth and good health remarkably strengthened the position of the Popes as leaders and authority on most matters of their lives. This amplified the Church authority over the people even before the start of the Christian Crusades’ long history.

Europe’s Intellectual Growth – Crusades History 

Although the Christian Crusades History expedition and shared knowledge influenced most of the intellectual growth in Europe, other cultures also contributed to its development. Europe became liberalized when it opened its world through trading and travel with other cultures. This enlightened and improved their civilization. The Crusaders experienced different cultures, noted strange lands, and met new people during their expedition. This made them perceive other cultures in a different way. Their understanding of other people’s way of living became broader, which made them more patient and flexible with the practices and ways of other cultures. The Crusader’s voyages stimulated a group of Latin intellectuals. This led to an intellectual explosion with lots of translations on Arab texts, Roman literature, and classical Greek. This intellectual explosion was popularly known as the period of the Italian Renaissance or the Revival of Learning.

The influence of the other culture in terms of art, geography, and astronomy initiated the intellectual growth of Western Europe. Europe also gained much knowledge from other cultures about sugar refining, math, alcohol refining, and papermaking. Although the Crusaders failed the European armies during the Muslim invasion, the Arabs paid by psychologically suffering from their own warring activities. This seems to be more than the material and human loses that the people and the lands they invaded suffered.
Life before the Christian Crusade – History

The Turks and Mongolian army reigned in the Middle East before the Crusaders came to influence their power. The invasions made the Arabic countries realized to keep and preserve their culture. When Europe was in the process of developing its civilization, the Arabs resisted the change. This resistance put them in a disadvantaged position with the modern times. This problem still existed even today. The Arab still finds it difficult to adapt and accept the concept and benefits of modernization.

The Impact of the Expeditions – History 

The influenced of the Crusaders over the people weakened the forces of the Byzantine Empire. Although the noble princes and barons failed to recover Anatolia from the hands of the Turk army, they had successfully defeated the Byzantine power in 1204 along with the fall of Constantinople. The state only serves as a buffer state for the convenience of the Turk army. The Byzantines initiated the idea of putting a buffer to inhibit and protect the empire from the Europeans in 1300. The Turks found their relationship with the Byzantine Empire useful because they serve as the Turks’ point of contact for the West. However, when the empire’s usefulness was fully exploited and consummated, they overtook the Byzantine Empire in 1453. The most significant contribution of the Crusaders in Europe was the shared culture, knowledge, and trade that they gathered from their various expeditions. Most Europeans who joined the Crusade had either known or seen some of the Crusaders marches or gone during the expeditions.

The nation of Palestine became a place that most people go for refuge. The Bible reflected Palestine as a quasi-mythical place. The Crusader set up their forces in the land of the Palestinians and contacted their families in Europe for importing and exporting of goods. The trading system initiated the development of banks and creation of accounting techniques. This stimulated the trade and commerce between the Mediterranean, East, and Europe. Most of the merchants or intermediaries came from the northern part of Italy if the Crusaders were originally from Germany, France, or England. The Crusaders greatly influenced the economy in the main cities of Europe such as Venice or Genoa. However, the cost of the expeditions, as well as their desires to trade through importation and exportation of goods, weakened the forces of the Crusaders. The need for more funding that could help finance their expeditions and their commercial activities weakened the noble princes and barons but made the merchant classes stronger, which paved way for their independence.

The Christian Crusades’ history greatly influenced the development of the cultural institutions during the medieval times. The Knights of the Christian Crusades used emblems and many geometric designs as their identity symbols because they cannot read and write. Most of the knights were illiterate and the designs greatly aided their forms of communication and means of identification. The symbols evolved later into coats of arms or heraldic emblems. The romantic literature also developed during the Christian Crusades’ history. Most of the skills and knowledge of Europe about masonry and construction of churches and castles with heavy stones came from the Middle East. The transfer of knowledge includes related activities of tunnelling, siege, and sapping technologies.

The tunnelling technology served to build sappers for warfare. Sappers refer to sap enemy fortifications. The technology was later used for mining. The Churches also used steeples that were inspired by the minarets during the Christian Crusades. The trend of the technological development ultimately came from the East and transferred to the West by the Crusaders. This included cultural development. During this time, Europe was not able to give much in return for the technological as well as the cultural development that they gained from the East because their civilization was still underdeveloped. However, the Muslims perceived the expeditions and the activities of the Christian Crusades negatively. The Muslims lost their appreciation and deep regard on the army of Europe that they influenced the Turks to become hostile with the Balkans. The Moslems were known as very conservative when it comes to religion or theology. The Crusaders were flexible enough to tolerate the conservative culture of the Moslems but slowly avoided any confrontations by travelling back to the West. It was then that the Mongols invaded the Moslems.

The Muslims had complete control over their Holy Land before the expedition. The Holy Land, known as Israel, is the core of their monotheistic type of religion. The believers of Islam, Christianity, and the Judaism regarded the Holy Land as a very important place that captured most of the important events of their religion’s history. The other name of the Holy Land is Palestine. The Muslims controlled other religious sites before the expedition such as Bethlehem and Nazareth. The strong control over the known religious places happened during the Caliphate of Omar. The Caliph refers to a very strong political but also religious leader in Islam.

Various Expeditions of the Crusaders – History

The biggest and most essential forms of expeditions happened during the 11th until the 13th century. There were nine Crusades recorded by the Crusaders as numbers 1 to 9 under this category. The smaller crusades happened within the European continent such as Austria and Germany, which continued until the Renaissance in the 16th century. The definition and context of the Christian Crusades is the holy war of the Christians. The term came from the word cross. The holy war of the Muslims is called Jihad. Members of the Jews, Christians, or Muslims were all firm believers of their respective religions. This strong belief in religion and the differences in some of their teachings made most people unable to understand and accept other people’s practices. The differences triggered several holy wars between the members that were sometimes incorporated with political agenda. The missions of the Jihads and Christian Crusades’ history resulted in illogical loses in terms of human lives, properties, and economy. The conflict that is happening today between the big religions partly came from the old conflict between the Jihads and the Christian Crusades. The Christian Crusades expeditions expended many lives, which influenced the perceptions of the world.

Cultural and Political Influence of the Christian Crusades – History 

The influence of the Christian Crusades on Europe’s cultural and political development during the Middle Ages was enormous. Most of Europe was united by the Pope during the 14th century. Centralized bureaucracies also developed and spread throughout Europe during this time, specifically on the nations of Burgundy, France, Spain, England, and Portugal. The Crusaders partly influenced the spread of the centralized bureaucracies through their various expeditions across the continent, which became the modern state’s foundation for the government and politics.

The Crusaders transferred knowledge from the Islamic to the West especially medicine, architecture, and science. However, Europe’s exposure to the culture of the Islamic was also influenced by their Sicilian and Iberian contacts. The designs of the castles in Europe were also influenced by the Crusader’s experiences specifically their military activities. A good model of their military influence was the Caernarfon Castle located in Wales. The fortresses portrayed the styles that Edward I noted during their expedition and fights. The Christian Crusades’ history introduced the culture of the Europeans as they travelled the world, especially in Asia. The most important achievement of the Christian Crusades’ history was the establishment of the traffic from the East to the West. The traffic between the two continents triggered respective developments in their civilizations, economy, art, and politics. The sharing of the trade, technology, and other scientific discoveries were made possible because of the traffic. The sharing of knowledge included the refinement of their engineering methods and equipment, optics, and algebra.

The Polabian Slavs lost many lives during the Northern Christian Crusades. However, they did not totally oppose the colonization of the Germans. However, the German invasions stopped the spread of the Lithuanian state that could possibly organize all of the tribes of the Baltic nations. Lithuania was a small nation pressured and forced by the problems of the war with their German Crusaders to expand and look for resources to other probable places like the East. The Germans eventually assimilated the Polabian Slavs except for the Sorbs. The initial expedition created a long organized war and violence against the Jewish people in Europe.

Trading and Commerce – Christian Crusades History

The needs of the expeditions such as transportation, food, gas, and other supplies needed to support a large army triggered the trading and commercial activities to anywhere the Crusaders would land. The unused roads gained significant traffic when the traders began to travel and expand their trading activities. The reason for the bustling commercial activities was not only for supporting the needs of the Crusaders but also because most merchants would want to travel to the Middle East after they had seen their interesting products. This started the Italian Renaissance. Europe gained much from the activities. Goods were brought to Europe for trading, such as spices, diamonds, jade, and ivory. They also gained from the shared knowledge of glass manufacturing technology, making gunpowders, and growing crops such as oranges and apples. These things were considered as rare and very expensive among the Europeans.

The Christian Crusades, for the naval and maritime historians like Archibald Lewis, was considered as the macrohistorical event that enhanced the spheres of the European and Eastern civilizations. Europe slowly recovered its civilization from the boundaries of the Dark Ages in 700 to 1000 AD. The Italian city was able to drive away the Islamic pirates at the Adriatic Sea with the help of the Byzantine Empire. The joined forces reduced the Islamic forces at the Mediterranean Sea as reflected in the Byzantine and Muslim war from 1030 to 1035. The Italian cities of Pisa and Genoa helped the Normans in taking over Sicily. They overpowered the Muslims in Sicily during the period 1061 to 1091. This weakened the forces of the Muslims over the Mediterranean. This led to the growth of the Western European trading over the Mediterranean. This also led to the rise of the naval power of the Italian cities of Genoa, Venice, and Pisa including the Sicilian Normans.

The main regions for trading by Western Europe were the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The Europeans enjoyed the trading and commerce at the core regions during the 11th century. However, during the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire of the Turks invaded the core regions. The Western Europeans contested and the Maritime Republics of the cities of Pisa, Venice, and Genoa allowed the Western Europeans to trade again. The control of the Maritime Republics on the Black Sea and of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea led to the return of the Greeks as well as the Romans ancient knowledge including the East Asian products. Western Europe and the Mongol Empire successfully traded with the Eastern Asian Merchants. The extensive trading distributed the products to some controlled ports, such as the Kaffa, Acre, and the Antioch.

The 5th, as well as the 7th Crusade during the periods of 1248 to 1254, were made to secure the control of the Western Europeans over the Red Sea region trading centre. The attempts were directed against the armies of Egypt, which was the main support of the Mameluke and Ayyubid. During the 14th century, the Mamelukes ended the trading activities of the Europeans with the Asian merchants. The Mamelukes successfully invaded the states of the Middle Eastern crusaders. The Mongolian empire trading with Asia also ended during the 14th century.

The Caucasus – History 

The Khevsurs, believed to be the descendants of the crusaders lived in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. This is a remote place located in Khevsureti. Many believed that the Khevsurs got separated from the large crusaders’ army. They stayed isolated in the highland region and kept some of the cultures of the crusaders. The Khevsurs passed down to their generations the weaponry and armour relics including the chain mail technique. The knowledge and the weapons were still used by the communities even in the 20th century.

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