Term Paper: Crusaders and Legacy of the Crusades

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[. . .] We can see that Christians understood the crusades as their path to salvation for those who took part in them. The French monk Gilbert of Nogent stated in his twelfth chronicle of crusades that God had instituted in their time holy wars in order for the order of Knights and crowd to run in its wake hence they might find a new way of getting salvation. This meansthat they are not forced to completely abandon their secular affairs completely so as to choose the monastic life or even any other religious profession as it used to be in the custom but instead gain some measure of the Grace of God while fulfilling their careers. Those who were part of the crusade received earthly and spiritual rewards. The spiritual reward included the indulgence or forgiveness of sins. The early reward on the other hand was forgiveness of debts, conquest and freedom from taxes as well as political power and fame. The crusaders not only fought to gain control of the holy land they also worked to ensure that they secured the power of the Church in Europe. Just like the wars against Muslims, these conflicts were promoted by Christian leaders in the name of Christ and led by crusaders that had taken oaths and they received special privileges and indulgences. They considered the enemies of the church in Europe as those people who were not Christians. Christians who were labeled as heretics were also termed as enemies since they challenged the official teachings of the church or those who were questioning the power and authority of the pope (Bush, 2009)

Millions of people, soldiers, Christians, non-Christians and noncombatants lost their lives during these crusades. Besides the numerous loss of lives, there were debts that were incurred as well as other economic costs that were linked to the multiple excursions to the Middle East had an impact on all society levels from individuals, to the families and villages and even building of the nation states. The wars resulted to cities and towns which lay in these crusaders awake being destroyed. Edward Gibbon referred to these crusades as an event in which labors and lives of millions, buried in the East could have been employed more profitable in improving heir native country (Rooney, & Miller, 2012).

Conclusion

There is no debate as to whether or not the crusades were successful since historians agree that after the first crusade was triumphant, the success of battles that followed declined to a dismal failure. Some historians however see crusades as part of a defensive war to prevent the expansion of Islam in near east. Some see crusades as part of a long running conflict at Europe's frontiers and finally others see them as aggressive, confident, pap-led attempts to expand by WesternChristendom.To say that crusades advanced the cause of Christ is to imply that the body of Christ grew in quantity or that Christianity reached new levels due to crusades either directly or indirectly. The church felt as though they had a reason to ignite holy wars on behalf of God in order to further Christianity and defend the church against infidel. Even though the intentions andefforts of crusades seemed noble, the papacy ended up twisting these motivesaround their mission with every crusade that advanced and this resulted to an indirect advancement of the cause of Christendom.

The topic of crusades of middle ages is common among those who are not necessarily Christians and would like to use the fact that these crusades led to violence and the loss of lives. Most question whether this is what Christianity is all about a scapegoat for denying the faith. With this in mind I also have some mixed reservations regarding the effectiveness of the crusades as a tool for advancing the course of Christ. I can not deny the fact that commercially or externally the crusades of the Middle Ages were quite instrumental in spreading of the Christian faith. Whether the correct approach was taken or not for spreading the faith, this will remain an argument that has gone on for centuries and will still go on for days to come.

References

Rooney, R., & Miller, A. (2012). The crusades: Motivations, Administration and cultural influence. Retrieved August 6, 2014 from http://dcc.newberry.org/collections/the-crusades-motivations-administration-and-cultural-influence

Bush, B. (2009). The Crusades. Retrieved August 6, 2014 from http://www.giveyourwitness.com/the-crusades/

Hammond, P. (2010). What were the crusades… [END OF PREVIEW]

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