The First Crusades: A Thematic Analysis

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Religion is often understood as a vehicle to support our spiritual development to further create a better and more harmonious world, however, it has often been attained and used immorally with the intent of reaching complete political control. Throughout human history, powerful regimes have acquired and implemented religious prejudice as a strategic weapon in order to achieve political gain and control. By analysing specific historical events it is clear that each uniquely manipulates the power of religious prejudice in an attempt to gain total control. The middle ages consisted of countless acts of religious prejudice most predominately during the era of the Crusades. To effectively analyse and interpret these forms of religious prejudice…show more content…
A major trigger to the first Crusade was a preacher named Peter the Hermit. During the middle ages there was mass corruption and chaos throughout the world and society was questioning why this anarchy was on such a substantial scale. Peter believed that these global issues were due to the fact that the Holy Land (Jerusalem) was under the territorial and political control of non-believers, the Muslims (Wein, 2013). To support this belief, Pope Urban II stated “Anyone who goes on the Crusades is granted forgiveness for his sins.” This act of indulgence attracted sinners such as criminals, sadists, ect, who believed they had no way of ascending to heaven after death (Wein, 2013). As authority figures sought to finance their expedition they agreed the method of robbing Jews of their money would achieve the most success (Bibliotecapleyades, 2014). The sixty thousand crusaders began their trek to Jerusalem with the intent of reclaiming their holy land and killing the non-believers on their quest for territorial and political control. Jews were massacred along on the journey, sometimes given the option to either convert to Catholicism or die a martyr, (Graetz, 2008) others were simply executed. Although there was such an undeniable atmosphere of anti-Semitism, there have been records of cases where the Jews were somewhat…show more content…
Madden states, ‘the Crusades were a series of brutal wars of intolerance in which the cynical, voracious, superstitious, and gullible waged insensible war against a peaceful, sophisticated Muslim world…’ (Madden, 2005). This bias, inaccurate portrayal of the Crusades is attempting to argue that the Crusades were simply a group of uneducated, superstitious individuals that attacked and invaded their enemy for no particular reason other than to fuel their hunger for blood. The poorly drawn argument can be easily brought to reality by understanding the professor of Crusading History, Jonathan Philips’ statement about the purpose of the first crusade. The argument states the real reason for religious prejudice and massacres that took place was ‘to journey to the Holy Land and liberate the city of Jerusalem.’ (Phillips J. , 2009). The fundamental reasoning for the first crusade was not to seek bloodshed and initiate mass killings of Jewish communities but to simple reconquer the Holy Land of Jerusalem in which the Christians once

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