Assess the Reasons Why People Joined the First Crusade

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The First Crusade began in 1095 after the speech of Pope Urban at the Council of Clermont. There were many reasons as to why people joined the First Crusade, including religious, economic and social factors. I believe that the most important reason is the religious factor. This is because since religion was so important and present at this time, people were constantly reminded of the fact that it was their right as Christians to kill the infidel and claim their ‘rightful’ holy place in Jerusalem. Pope Urban, in 1095, gave a speech which called people to crusade. There, he made an appeal on Alexius Comnenus, the Byzantine Emperor’s behalf for knights to go to the aid of Jerusalem and Christians in the east. People responded enthusiastically; it led to thousands of people, knights and peasants alike, to march on an ‘armed pilgrimage’ towards Jerusalem. Accounts show that Pope Urban spoke that responding to the call to crusade would be effective as a penance for sin; that they needed to help the Greeks who had asked for assistance and to uphold the peace of God. There may also have been the idea of taking revenge on those (the Muslims) who had desecrated Christ’s Holy City, and his people, the Christians. Reclaiming Jerusalem was a main religious factor that encouraged people to Crusade. In 1076, it had been captured by the Seljuk Turks, which was a big problem for Christians. Jerusalem was a Holy place of worship for many religions, most especially Christians. At this time, Jerusalem was shown to be the navel of the world: in most medieval maps, Jerusalem is placed at the very centre, the place where there was a connection between god and man. Since the Seljuk Turks were in control, this meant that there was limited access to Jerusalem, and pilgrimages became much more difficult to achieve. Without a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Christians believed that this

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