The holy wars of the Middle Ages

Setting the stage: At the turn of the second millennium, in medieval Europe, the papal throne was the most powerful position on the continent.

Unity within the Church: While some infighting between Western European and Eastern European powers had weakened the overall sway of the Catholic Church.

In the hands of the enemy: By this time, the city of Jerusalem, the most important city in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, had been under Muslim control for nearly 500 years.

Alexios I Komnenos: Alexios I Komnenos, the Byzantine emperor between 1081 and 1118.

Pope Urban II: Pope Urban II, leader of the Catholic world, enthusiastically expressed his support for Alexios’ request.

The First Crusade: Pope Urban II’s rallying cry was heard across the continent, and armies began to take shape and move eastward.

The People’s Crusade: The first group to set out and reach the Byzantine Empire was a massive group of peasants who are now referred to as the People’s Crusade.

The first battle of the First Crusade: Peter and his army arrived at the Bosporus Strait, the frontier between the Christian and Muslim worlds.

The four armies progress into Anatolia: The four principal Christian armies of the First Crusade, led by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Godfrey of Bouillon.

The fall of Jerusalem: The Crusader armies swiftly moved through the rest of Anatolia towards Jerusalem. 

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