History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary discussion

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Crusades > First Crusade 1096-1099




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message 5: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "I think the question of motivation is a difficult one; it's possible for people to have more than one motive. And since I wasn't there, to say that the Crusaders were more motivated by loot than G..."

Hey Alex, as Chief Curmudgeon it is my duty to see people's motivation through a skeptical and cynical prism. I have no quibble with your linguistic clarification. (Grin)


message 4: by Alex (last edited May 21, 2010 07:25AM) (new)

Alex I think the question of motivation is a difficult one; it's possible for people to have more than one motive. And since I wasn't there, to say that the Crusaders were more motivated by loot than God seems...well, it seems like speculation.

I mean, as you say, to pretend the sole motivation was to nobly convert the infidels is ridiculous; but then, to claim that the motivation was solely ignoble is equally baseless.

The best I can do is say that there was some combination of religious and material motivation for most Crusaders, and the balance probably differed for each of them.

And as a liberal pansy Massachusetts resident, I'll add this: whatever a person thinks at the time, aggression is never just.

I'm quibbling only with a small detail of your post, of course; we're in agreement here. The only objection I have is that I'd replace "the main reason" with "another reason".


message 3: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited May 20, 2010 08:10PM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "What I was most surprised to learn from Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades is that they were (largely) failures. Nobody told me that in school. Sure, this first one di..."

While, I believe that there was a small amount of religious motivation, the main reason men went on the crusade was to acquire loot and property.

Many of the knights were second and third sons who had no prospects at home. Many of the foot soldiers were also people who had little opportunity in their homeland.

After the capture of Jerusalem, Crusaders went through the city claiming buildings that had previously belonged to Muslims.

The idea, we were all exposed to in school and the movies, that the Crusades were noble enterprises, just does not align with historic fact and reality.


message 2: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2010 07:50AM) (new)

Alex What I was most surprised to learn from Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades is that they were (largely) failures. Nobody told me that in school. Sure, this first one did okay - largely because of luck and infighting amongst Islam - but even still, Saladin took Jerusalem back within 100 years or so.

I was reminded of what I was taught about Vietnam as a young kid. Adults told me we'd done terrible things there, and I had this vague vision of a charred wasteland, like we'd razed the entire country. No one ever mentioned that we'd lost. I had no idea.

Re. motivations: obviously land was a big one. Reza Aslan argues (briefly) in No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam that Europe wanted control over the Silk Road. I found it interesting that Phillips never even mentioned that as a motive.


message 1: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Some discussion points to consider.

1. What were it's causes?

2. Why was this the only successful crusade?

3. What was Peter the Hermit's contribution?

4. Why did the siege of Antioch last so long?

5. Why did Jerusalem fall so quickly?

6. What were the motivations of the crusaders other than religion?

7. What was The Eastern Roman Empire's role in this crusade?

8. Was this crusade a positive or negative development in the growth of Western Civilization?


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History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary

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Books mentioned in this topic

Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (other topics)
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam (other topics)