For God, Glory, and the Christian People: The First Crusades  

Published: 2021-09-12 06:00:10
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Category: History

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The crusades were a time of glory, faith, brotherhood, and hope. But with the good comes the bad. Those were also times of bloodshed, cruelty, greed and dominance. Like any story there are different people with different interpretations of that same story. This was an interesting time because the crusades did not start just because of religion, many political and economic aspects were involved as well. The crusades also happened because the European Christians wanted to take control away from the “Heathens”, they believed the crusades would cleanse them of their sins, help them expand and acquire new land in the east, and to possibly open trade routes between Europe and the east.
Although all of those factors were involved with the crusades the biggest concern for them was following their faith. Acquiring land is important however many of the people who were involved in the crusades were not noblemen or knights who could afford to buy new land. The crusades was almost a need for the people because times were hard, brother was killing brother but the crusades gave them a purpose and hope. The crusades was so successful because the mentality of the society at the time was very much into god and pleasing this higher power.
Clearly having been moved by Pope Urbans passion and effective rhetoric both authors have helped us imagine as if we were there in France listening to Pope Urbans speech ourselves. These interpretations help us to remember the events that happened during the crusades so that they may not be lost over time. Although both authors were interpreting the same topic both works were very different from the other. Although they were very different I found a good amount of similarities.
Both accounts tried to almost scare the people into joining the war, biblical text was used to support their claims, both authors showed support for religious war in the name of god. Fulcher and Robert believed the conquerors of the holy land sinned against god. Both works called upon the common folk to go to war. Both documents have the same purpose which was to persuade the people. The accounts also describe the oppression being done to the Christian people in the holy land. The authors believed the soldiers had to sacrifice for god, god would support those who participated in the war and guaranteed them a place in heaven. The works point out the enemies who are the Turks and it was gods will for the European Christians to reconquer the land.
Starting with Fulcher of Chartres the differences were very prominent. Fulcher’s interpretation was more subtle and more positive and less aggressive. His account cites more direct scriptures, speaks to the audience as “the servants of god”, and similar to the pope said that whoever is “unclean” can be cleansed by fighting in the war. He talks about how the Turks were cursed and all Christians should unite against the “Heathens”. Women, children, the elderly and feeble should not join the war. “Focuses on the actions of god toward the people if they do not purify the land of sins.”
Fulcher accounted a more religious based speech. He accounted Pope urban saying those who do not go to war will be punished by god. This account leans more toward convincing the people by emphasizing the rewards of praising and defending god. Fulcher’s version entices the people’s greed for everlasting riches. Since Robert the Monk’s account was written approximately twenty-five years after the speech was given it’s probably one of the reasons historians don’t find it as credible as Fulcher’s and why it greatly differs from Fulcher’s account. Robert the monk accounted Pope Urban’s speech more descriptive and threatening.
This work used more imagery to explain the events and atrocities that are occurring in Christian lands. Historians found this account exaggerated. This version of the speech speaks to the audience as a race “chosen and beloved by god.” He goes into detail about who should aid in the war. He believed you needed religious permission to go on such a religious expedition. Everyone poor and old should join the war efforts. Unlike Fulcher, Robert said that you should fight in the war because that’s just simply what good Christian people do. The people who do not fight are either unworthy or bad people.
Fulcher says his audience has been blessed by god so it is their time to repay their blessings and the dead will be rewarded greatly for what they left behind for the war. Robert the monks account entices the more aggressive side of the people. These accounts also influenced by personality, life experience and background. Two very different men but with very similar mentalities. Without these presumably accurate accounts the first crusades would be lost to us like so many ancient questions still puzzling historians today.

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