Monthly Archives: March 2014

Gossip at the Council of Piacenza

We remember the Council of Clermont, in 1095, as the launchpad of the First Crusade. But in order to understand why the Crusade was called, we need to look at the Council of Piacenza, held earlier in the same year. … Continue reading

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1085: Toledo and the proto-Crusade

Before the First Crusade to the Holy Land, the idea of religious war was tried out in Spain. The Christian kingdoms in the north were, from west to east (left to right): Galicia with two Atlantic borders; Castile and Leon, … Continue reading

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pre-Crusades: Church vs. State

We traced earlier how the rise of the Pope’s power was always tied into the military support of Charlemagne’s family. After the land of the Franks broke up for the last time in an inheritance distribution, separate branches of the … Continue reading

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Pilgrims to the Holy Land

In the century before the First Crusade, a number of regions had adopted Christianity: Norway, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria. During this same time, an abbey of Benedictine monks at Cluny, in Aquitaine, encouraged many people to go on pilgrimages. The … Continue reading

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Turkish Syria

Countdown to the First Crusade: In 1055, Seljuk Turks took over governance of Baghdad. The Abbasid Caliphate was utterly gone. Seljuk rulers spoke Persian and sometimes Arabic, and often they used Arabic names like Mohammed. However, the old Arabic titles … Continue reading

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Rome vs. Eastern Rome: 1054

Countdown to the First Crusade: Church schism By the beginning of the Middle Ages (6th cent.), Christians had a general understanding that all theological disputes should be solved by representatives of the five major Christian regions: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople … Continue reading

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