Explain why Pope Urban II called the First crusade.
1 When Pope Urban II preached at Clermont in
November 1095, reports suggest he raised
1.1 In a speech full of emotional
rhetoric he called up the image of
Jerusalem and called for a war of
1.1.1 Because all known reports of Clermont were written
after the capture of Jerusalem, they may have been
coloured by that achievement, making his precise
motives difficult to ascertain.
2.1 the spark for Clermont was provided at the
council of Piacenza in march 1095 when the
Byzantine Emperor Alexius I requested military
aid from the west.
2.1.1 Long-term Pope Urban’s own
programme may have been to
reunite the Greek and Roman
churches after the schism of 1054.
126.96.36.199 This would fufill the aim of Leo IX
and bringing the eastern Orthodox
Church to the one fold and the one
shepherd – in other words Papal
supremacy throughout Christendom.
3 Western Europe
3.1 Urban may have wished to
enhance papal authority in
the west as part of the
investiture contest with the
3.1.1 By harnessing Europe's military energy
for Church purposes he would show
himself supreme in the west –
especially in comparison to Clement III,
the anti-pope created by the German
emperor Henry IV.
188.8.131.52 In some reports the Pope
spoke of the feudal anarchy
caused by knightly violence
and Urban may have hoped
to enhance the Peace of God
movement and export such
4.1 His speeches stressed the
need to aid Eastern
Christians; above all, the
liberation of Jerusalem may
have been uppermost in his
4.1.1 He may have wished to ensure easier access
for pilgrims to the holy places.
184.108.40.206 He spoke also of the
suffering of the Christians in
220.127.116.11.1 So the crusade was to be a war of Liberation, of
fellow-Christians and of a place- Jerusalem, a site sanctified by
Christ, the focal point of the Christian faith, site of the Holy
Sepulchre, Christ’s burial place.
18.104.22.168.1.1 The Crusade then, would also be a pilgrimage, a spiritual penance for participants.
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 However, was Jerusalem really of primary importance, or just a means to an end?
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Carl Erdmann suggested Jerusalem was only a secondary goal, the real
reason was to answer the request for help sent by the Byzantine emperor
Alexius Comnenus, to exert Urban’s own power and so reunite the churches
under papal primacy.
5.1 Above all, in his preaching at Clermont, Pope
Urban II sought a war of liberation; liberation
of a place, Jerusalem, but also liberation of
men’s souls, a Holy war to provide
participants with salvation from sin.