Medieval Times: The Crusades

        The medieval times witnessed a major clash of religions. The clash of religions, this “holy” war, was called the Crusades. In discussing and learning about what the Crusades were, let us look at the Five W’s: Who, what when, why, where, and how. In this article, propaganda of the Crusades will also be discussed. Propaganda is exaggerating or twisting the truth to persuade someone to do something, essentially giving false information. Throughout this article, there will be a very striking picture on the board. The picture symbolizes this holy war known as the Crusades and I want you to think about the picture and how it represents the Crusades. I want you to think about each “face” and the stereotype of the two sides. At the end of your notes, you will be asked to explain how and why the picture symbolizes the Crusades. Let us begin.

        First of all, lets get something straight: the crusades were a series of wars fought between two religions that began around 1076 AD. It was Muslims vs. Christians. Muslims believe in the religion of Islam, which was started by Muhammad. Christians believe in the religion of Christianity, which was started by Jesus. Though both religions worship the same God, they have very different views and beliefs, thus causing them to run into major conflicts. Plus, both religions wanted the same piece of land.

        What are the Crusades, you ask? The crusades were a series of wars initiated by the Christians, known as the crusaders. Yes, the Christians started this long, brutal war. The Christians, led by the King and the Pop, wanted to win back the Holy Land. This holy land that I speak of is Jerusalem and it was very sacred to both religions which will be discussed later. At the beginning, it was the Christians who initiated the Crusades because at the time, the Holy land was controlled by the Muslims. The Muslims had something the Christians wanted and instead of diplomatically trying to get Jerusalem, the Christians went to war with the Muslims. Now, diplomacy, which is non-violent methods, perhaps was not possible between these two religions.   If you haven’t already figured this out, the “where” is Jerusalem. All this is taking place in the holy land known as Jerusalem.

        A key question to ask when learning about any new topic, especially wars, is the “why?” question. Both religions felt very strongly about the holy land. They both wanted it badly, for their own reasons. Jerusalem was very important to both Christians and Muslims. Jerusalem was considered to be the holy land for both, as has been pointed out already. On the Christian side, Jerusalem was very important because of three main factors. First, Jesus was born nearby in Bethlehem. Second, Jesus lived most of his life there and third, Jesus was crucified there. Essentially, Jesus, the founder of this religion, spent the vast majority of his life there and that made Jerusalem very sacred to the Christians. For the Muslims, Jerusalem was very important to them because their founder, Muhammad, spent most of his life there as well. So, essentially, both religions were fighting over the same land because of how sacred it was to them.

        Now, let’s take a look at how this all came about. First, it is important to point out that the Christians fighters, mostly knights, were called Crusaders. Being that the Muslims already had control of the Holy Land, it was the Christian crusaders that had to make the long journey from England to Jerusalem to fight the Muslims. The king sent these Crusaders to fight the Muslims. One other factor that played into the decision to fight for the Christian crusaders was propaganda and the chance at glory. Pop Urban told people the Muslims were robbing and torturing Christians making a pilgrimage, or trip, to the Holy land to worship. This may or may not have been true, but the Pope used it because he knew that when the Knights heard this, they would be enraged and go off to fight. For the knights, the Crusades offered a chance for glory and wealth if they were able to fight bravely and survive. In all, seven crusades were waged between the Christians and the Muslims. The possession of the Holy land went back and forth, until finally, the Muslims gained control for good, thus winning the Crusades.

        Now, back to the picture on the board. I would like you to discuss what the picture is showing, how it symbolizes the Crusades and how it describes each side. Think about it. Write about it.