The Crusades were a series of wars fought between the Christian Europeans and the Muslim Turks, which occurred between the years of 1096 to 1272. In this Holy War the Christians goal was to obtain the Holy Land from the Turks, in which they did not succeed. Although the Christians did not meet their goal, many positives did come out of their attempt. Due to the reason that they did not meet their goal, yet numerous positives came out of their effort, many refer to this as a successful failure. A main cause of the Crusades was the treatment of Christian pilgrims.
They were robbed, beaten, and then sold. The main group of Turks, the Seljuk Turks, were threatening and growing in power. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexus I, began to become worried and sent out an urgent plea to Pope Urban II, in Rome. He requested for Christian knights to help him fight the Turks. Pope Urban II did agree to his appeal although Byzantine Emperors and Roman Popes were longtime rivals. He also did agree with Alexus I, in fearing that the Turks were expanding. Pope Urban encouraged French and German Bishops and Nobles to also take part in this.
An accused race has violently invaded the lands of those Christians and had depopulated them by pillage and fire. ” This is when Pope Urban II called for a crusade to free the Holy Land. Urban did agree to this having some of his own motives in mind. He was hoping his power would grow in Europe, while also trying to heal the rift between the Roman Catholic and Greek churches. The Roman Catholic church believed that the Pope had authority over all Christians, while in the Byzantine Empire, the emperor, who was not a priest, controlled much of the churches affairs and appointed the Patriarch, or highest church official, in Constantinople.
He also thought that the land in the Middle East would be an outlet for the overpopulation in Europe. Lastly, he agreed to send the knights away because it would keep them busy fighting Muslims instead of one another; in addition he kept the knights away form causing troubles in the towns. There were both positive and negative effects of The Crusades, although the positives did outweigh the negatives. The two major negative effects were anti-Semitism and the orchestrated attacks by Venice. Many Crusaders in Europe were so religiously fuming, that they turned their anger towards the Jews.
They would at times massacre a whole community as a result of their religious rage. During the fourth crusade, crusaders began fighting Christians instead of Muslims. After helping Venetian merchants defeat their Byzantine trade rivals in 1204, the crusaders captured and looted Constantinople. They actually ransacked the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the empire in which they began to fight for, not against. There also were many positive effects of The Crusades, one being the increase of trade. Even before the Crusades, merchants began to enjoy some of the luxury goods that were brought from the Byzantine Empire.
The crusaders that returned from the Middle East introduced fabrics, spices and rice to a superior market. Venice and other northern Italian cities built large fleets to bring crusaders to the Holy Land and used those same fleets to open up new markets for the crusader states. These routes stayed open while sugar, cotton, rice and muslin, just to name a few, were transported. Since trade has drastically increased, there will also be an increase in Cultural Diffusion. With all the crusaders coming back from their Crusade away from home, this also greatly impacted cultural Diffusion.
They brought back new ideas and customs. During this time, papal power reached its highest point because of the enthusiasm for the Crusades. It was also very short-lived as power soon declined. An extremely big positive was the decline in Feudalism. Many lords lost power or died while the Monarchs gained power. Rulers also won new rights to levy taxes in order to support the Crusades. Some rulers like the French king Louis IX, led Crusades, which added greatly to their reputation. The Crusades were a turning point in history. Thanks to the Crusades there was an increase of trade and cultural diffusion.
Europe began to grasp a wider worldview and discover new ideas and features of the world. Contacts with the Muslim world led Christians to realize that millions of people lived in regions they had never known existed. Soon, interested Europeans even began to visit places like India and China. A young Venetian named Marco Polo set out for china, in 1271, with his father and uncle. When he returned to Venice, he had plenty of stories. He told the Venetians about the black stones used to heat homes, and the government- run mail service.
The experiences of people like Marco Polo helped expand the European horizons. The Dark Ages are over for Europe as they soon begin to rise in power. The Crusades were a successful failure as they failed in their goal to attain the Holy Land from the Turks, but had many positive effects come out of their attempt. The Crusades brought an increased trade, cultural diffusion, and a decline in feudalism. All positive effects helped make the Crusades a turning point in medieval history. The Europeans now had embraced a new and wider worldview.