Encyclopedia | Library | Reference | Teaching | General | Links | About ORB | HOME

ORB Online Encyclopedia



Paul Crawford

"The Crusades were the long-term result of the rise of Islam."

Elizabeth Hallam, Chronicles of the Crusades

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II gave an important speech at the end of a church council in Clermont, France. In it he called upon the nobility of Western Europe, the Franks, to go to the East and assist their Christian brothers, the Byzantines, against the attacks of the Muslim Turks. He also apparently encouraged them to liberate Jerusalem, the most sacred and beloved city in Christendom, from the domination of Muslims who had ruled it since taking it from the Christian Byzantines in A.D. 638. Several versions of this speech have survived, and although we cannot be sure of the exact words the Pope used, the general outlines of his speech are fairly clear.

The Speech of Urban II at Clermont, Nov. 27, 1095:

The response to Urban's speech must have startled even the Pope. Large numbers of Franks, both noble and common, answered his call with great enthusiasm, and streamed eastwards in several waves. Beyond all reasonable expectations, they retook Jerusalem on July 15, 1099, establishing several Crusader states which would last for almost two centuries. They left their mark on the Western imagination, both then and now. They created an enduring legacy for the cultures of both the Christian and Islamic worlds. As with most great historical events, some of the legacy was positive and some negative. And they began a movement which lasted, according to many historians, beyond the Middle Ages and well into modern times.

What were the Crusades? Who participated in them? Why did they occur?

  1. Introduction
  2. Military and Political Background
  3. The First Crusade
  4. Crusades and the Counter-Crusades
  5. The Later Crusades
  6. Additional Background
  7. Crusading Vows & Privileges
  8. Legacy

Copyright (C) 1997, Paul Crawford. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

Encyclopedia | Library | Reference | Teaching | General | Links | About ORB | HOME