John Braswell

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I write essay about Carl Erdmann, a Generalist, saw the Crusades as holy wars and that any war associated with furthering the cause of Christianity would fall under these holy wars. He included Pope Gregory VII’s call fort a militia Christi to come to the aid of the Byzantines after the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071 against the Seljuk Turks. Erdmann did not think that the reconquest of Jerusalem was central to Pope Urban II in the beginning of the First Crusade, but rather a taking of land and the unification of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, to fight under the banner of Christianity, and for other social and economic reasons. However, HEJ Cowdrey argued that Jerusalem was central to the First Crusade because without the desire to free Jerusalem from the Muslims, the crusade would not have taken place. Pluralists, Jonathan Riley-Smith and Norman Housley, suggest that the crusades were a phenomena that occurred over a long period of time and had farther reaching historical roots than the time of Pope Gregory VII and went beyond the Fourth Crusade, including many other similar campaigns such as the Spanish Reconquest. Christopher Tyreman, replacing Sir Steven Runciman’s hypothesis that the crusades had little to do with religious motives, rather economic gain through money and land, stated that the crusades did not exist before Pope Innocent III because he instituted the crusades. Most historians disagree with Tyreman, and it is a pretty good bet that the typical twelfth century Christian, whether from the West or the East, would have as well. Many Westerners went into debt and lost their lands in order to go on crusade. However, with the providing of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, Tyreman may not be entirely wrong, if one considers the receiving of indulgences on a status level rather than simply religious level.

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