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Launching of 1st Crusade

Reasons why the First Crusade
was launched
Stop Christian’s Fighting each
Papacy and Church’s aim to stop Christians fighting each other.
 Peace of God movement. (Clermont speech especially)
BUT Not the most important reason for the crusade because:
 the problem of feuding only existed in certain parts of Europe.
Peace in England for example.
 Also, the early Crusades into Spain had not stopped European
 Just stopping wars would not inevitably lead to a crusade out east.
 Also wars did NOT stop – kings, after all, did not crusade and
carried on their wars!
 Also, journey to Jerusalem was long and hazardous.
 Therefore there had to be a religious motive to make this journey
Socio-Economic problems in
 land hunger,
 problems caused by primogeniture etc.
BUT Not the most important reason for the crusade
this factor provided advantageous circumstance but not
People’s Crusade showed that most ordinary folk were
more interested in booty and looting Jewish wealth, and
threatening Constantinople, rather than fighting against
the Muslims for Jerusalem.
So again, a religious motive had to be provided to channel
the efforts of those whose economic situation was
making their life difficult.
Support of Christian afraid of
Muslim advances westwards
See notes!
BUT Not the most important reason for the crusade because:
 ordinary Christians and most nobility were ignorant of the
pressure on Byzantium, Alexius’s appeal for help, and the
suffering of eastern Christians.
 Only if people had experienced the situation by personally
trying to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem would they know a
little of the eastern situation, the threat to the Holy Places etc.
 They would again need a motive to travel east on crusade that
would be to their own benefit, rather than a benefit to people
they knew little about.
 Only the papacy and German emperor would know much of the
situation in the east.
Papal authority
A desire to assert strong papal leadership
to enhance papal primacy over the Christian Church amidst the Investiture
Part of Urban II’s aims was to assert primacy continuing Gregory VII’s
A successful crusade and the capture of Jerusalem undoubtedly would
(and did) raise the status of the pope in the west.
A united western Christian effort to aid the eastern Church, recapture the
Holy land from the Turks and regain the Holy Sepulchre was not just an
end in itself, but the means of increasing papal authority.
Thus Urban’s speech at Clermont (followed by missionaries spreading his
word around Europe) was the precondition to the successful launching of
the crusade.
His provision of the plenary indulgence and the chance to make a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem provided the impetus for knights and peasants to
join the crusade.
SO – he provided the motives for crusading and to enable the crusade to
be successfully launched, as well as the means to raise the status of the