The First Crusade


Motivation, a noun, it's a desire or willingness of someone to do something. We all have different types of motivations in our life, like finishing your homework quickly to go out with your friends or practicing dribbling a basketball so you’ll be the best player. In this article, we are going to look at the motivations for the Christians in the 1st Crusade and the motivations of the Muslims, who took Jerusalem away from the Christians.We are going to look at the Christians first, one of the biggest reasons they wanted to take back Jerusalem is because Pope Urban ll promised anyone who fought to take back Jerusalem from the Muslims would receive Salvation. “You should shudder,brethren, you should shudder at raising a violent hand at Christians; it is less wicked to brandish your sword against the Saracens [muslims].It is the only warfare that is righteous, for it is charity to risk your life for your life for your brothers.” In this quote Pope Urban ll is saying that it's not fine to kill Christians with your sword, but it is fine to kill Muslims with your sword. He also said it was the right thing to do and God would want them to do it. The Christians were also mad about the Muslims turning their churches into Mosques or destroying them, and now that their holy land was being held by unclean and unholy people. There was also the brutal way that the Muslims killed the Christians, that served as a motivation. As Pope Urban ll explained in his speech “Some they kill in a horrible way by cutting open the abdomen, taking out part of the entrails and tying them to a stake; then they beat them and compel them to walk until all their entrails are drawn out and they fall to the ground” and what the Muslims did to the Christian women was so bad that Pope Urban ll said that he would rather not mention their horrible treatment of women. Now we’ll look at the motivations for the Muslims to take over Jerusalem. The Muslims believe that God's gift of the holy land to Abraham was actually meant for them, A speech by Saladin said that “If God blesses us by enabling us to drive His enemies out of Jerusalem, how fortunate and happy we would be! For Jerusalem has been controlled by the enemy for ninety-one years, during which time God has received nothing from us in the way of adoration… Now God has reserved the merit of its recovery for one house, the house of the sons of Ayyub [Saladin’s family].” Saladin and the Muslims believed that God reserved Jerusalem for 1 house and that the house of the sons of Ayyub. Jerusalem was also where Mohammad ascended to heaven and they wanted to have it back, because the Christians has controlled Jerusalem for 91 years and the Muslims thought that it was time that they took it back. I hope this article helped you learn more about the motivations for the Christians and Muslims. If you want to learn more about the 1st crusade then look to our other articles Key battle/Events, Results, and Biography

Key battle/Events

The First Crusade was initiated when the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios Comnenus, requested help in reconquering the lost territory of Asia Minor from the Seljuk Turks. However, the most important event in this crusade was the Siege of Antioch. The Siege of Antioch took place between the 27th of October, 1097, and the third of June in 1098. The crusaders swore oaths of allegiance to Emperor Alexios, as well as promised to restore territory formerly owned by the Byzantine Empire. They then crossed over into Anatolia (which was ruled by Kilij Arslan), and laid siege to the city of Nicaea, the Seljuq capital, as well as defeated a relief army led by Kilij Arslan. After this, they were deprived of loot, as the city surrendered to Alexios. This, as expected, caused feud with the crusade leaders and the Byzantine. The crusaders ceded Nicaea to Alexios, as they swore to in their oaths, then moved onward southeast in two separate groups a mile apart. Due to that separation, Kilij Arslan's forces waylaid the army at Dorylaeum, however the crusaders managed to defeat them. Thus, they continued marching south through Anatolia with little interruptions. "Baldwin of Boulogne broke off from the main army to take control of the county of Edessa, while the main crusader army marched on to Antioch. The Siege of Antioch (20 Oct 1097-3 June 1098) proved a turning point." The siege lasted so long that it turned into what was essentially a starving competition, causing many hungry crusaders to, for lack of a better way to put it, abandon ship. The crusaders, however, took the city by treachery, after overcoming several attempts of relief coming from local Turkish rulers. However, they were not the only ones who wanted Antioch. Bohemond wanted Antioch for himself, so he contacted a disgruntled Armenian warden of one of the cities towers. Bohemond forced the other leaders to agree to give him Antioch, in infringement of their consensus with Alexios. He then told his confederate to allow the crusaders to enter the city of Antioch through the now unguarded tower. The crusaders, however, then found themselves starving within the walls of the city. Not only that, but they realized the were caught between the still untaken city citadel, and a large developing Turkish army, who were being commanded by the governor of Mosul, Kerbogha. Just before the city was taken, a man named Stephen of Blois had left the crusade, and was on his way back to his terrified wife named Adela. Stephen had tried to convince Alexios that the crusaders were in a situation that was absolutely helpless and hopeless, and there was no point in making an attempt at coming to their rescue. Well, Stephen succeeded. However, when all seemed lost and done, an unadorned soldier in Count Raymond’s southern French army, whose name was Peter Bartholomew, had a vision. Peter had visions in which St. Andrew told him where to find the Holy Lance. The Holy Lance is the lance that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross. At the discovery of the Holy Lance, Bohemond and Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy were quite skeptical. It did, however, raise morale in the ranks, and was an important factor in the victory of the crusaders over Kerbogha's relief army as well. Peter did, however, die a year later, in an ordeal by fire to prove the authenticity of the Lance. "The Fatimids of Egypt, enemies of the Seljuqs, entered into negotiations with the crusaders, whom they understood to be a Byzantine mercenary army, facilitating their capture of Turkish held towns in Syria and the Levant as they marched south toward Jerusalem."


After the Christians battled the Muslims for Jerusalem, they felt as if the Holy Land had been cleansed. The Christians reconquered Jerusalem, as this happened it increased tensions between them and the Muslims.”They killed anyone that wasn't in the crusade, they had no mercy towards the women and children. Everyone I knew was murdered by them, I was the only survivor out of my whole family that lived there.” Says a survivor of the first crusade attack in Jerusalem.As the Christians invaded Jerusalem the majority of the population in Jerusalem were killed. Men, women, and children(both Jewish and Muslim) were killed and some were kept as slaves or prisoners. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed when the 1st crusade invaded Jerusalem. Even though the 1st crusade completed their goal, which was to take back Jerusalem, some weren't happy because of the 150,000+ who died in battle or disease. After the Christians took back Jerusalem, there was a few people who stayed and established the crusader states of Edessa to rule Jerusalem. What are the crusader states? You may ask, well they were feudal states that were made up of four states Antioch, Jerusalem, Tripoli in Palestine, and Syria. The crusader states also helped ease the Seljuq pressure on the Byzantine empire. Jerusalem then became the kingdom of Jerusalem which lasted for about 200 years.

In Western Europe the soldiers who survived recapturing Jerusalem were treated as heroes. Robert of Flanders was named “Hierosolymitanus” which means relating to the city of Jerusalem. Even if the crusaders took back Jerusalem when people heard of their success, they mocked and scorned by their families and threaten with excommunication by the pope. Because of this many crusaders who made it to Jerusalem also went home, and according Fulcher of Chartres there was only a few hundred knights left in the newfound kingdom of Jerusalem. Only July 22, there was a council held in the Church of Holy Sepulture to divide who would be the king for the newly made kingdom of Jerusalem. First Raymond of Toulouse was chosen to be king, but he refused to be king. Raymond of Toulouse probably was hoping that the other nobles would probably choose him to be king any ways, but that not at all what happened. What happened was that, Godfrey was then chosen to be king and he accepted, but Godfrey only ruled for one year dying in July 1100.

As you probably have already read in the motivations article, Pope Urban ll presented a speech that gave the Christians in the first crusade motivation to reconquer Jerusalem, but Henry lV said “Erdmann argued that, in proclaiming the first crusade, Pope Urban ll was less interested in restoring the rights of Christians to make pilgrimages to the Holy Sepulchre than in unleashing, an ecclesiastical-Knightly war upon heathen… The conceptual change from armed pilgrim to soldier for the faith took place.” This quote is basically saying that the Pope had no interest in taking Jerusalem back, he only did this so when the first crusade did reconquer Jerusalem he might be able to rule it.

I hope you learned something from reading this article, and if you want to learn more about the first crusade then check out our other articles, map, comic strip, and audio interview


Alexios I Komnenos The third son of John Comnenus and a nephew of Isaac I was born in 1048 and died August 15th 1118 at the age of 70. He married a woman named Irene Doukaina, with whom he had 9 kids Anna Komnene, Maria Komnene, John II Komnenos, Andronikos Komnenos, Isaac Komnenos, Manuel Komnenos, and Zoe Komnene. Alexios’ parents were John Komnenos and Anna Palassena. When Alexios was just 24 he seized power from the elderly Nikephoros III. He also was a member of the military aristocracy,the highest class in certain societies, especially those holding hereditary titles or office, and despite his age was already a successful general under Michael VII and Nikephoros.Alexius was crowned on April 4, 1081. After more than 50 years of ineffective or short-lived the words of Anna Komnene, his daughter and biographer, found the empire “at its last gasp”. He ruled over the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1118(37 years). When he came into power the empire lost all of its asian provinces and was very week. He was responsible for the shape and character of the Byzantine Empire that the Crusaders encountered. He dealt with one group of crusaders, but they were led by Peter the Hermit who were sent to Asia Minor and massacred by the Turks in 1096. He went with the second group to Constantinople, took advantage of being around the crusade leaders, and made them say that they will turn any conquered land over to the Byzantine Empire. This was a huge success, in fact, Alexios got many new and important cities and islands for the Byzantine Empire. In return for the conquered land, he would give them provisions; supplies like houses and food. He also had his army go in and help the crusaders to take Nicaea from the Turks. In June 1097 the crusaders and the byzantines took Nicaea from the Turks. When his mother was still alive he crowned her as augusta (very important woman) instead of his wife. One of his last acts as king was to burn Basil, Bogomil leader, at the stake for their theological, religious argument. Alexios was for many years under the strong influence of an eminence grise,a person who exercises power or influence in a certain area without holding an official position.”first all,basileus, the foundation of your rule is established on injustice” John IV Oxeites, diatribe against Alexios. “When one saw the grim flash of his eyes as he sat on the imperial throne, he reminded of one fiery whirlwind, so overwhelming was the Racine that emanated from his bearing and his very presence” Anna Komene, said about her father

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