Saturday, November 27, 2010
This Day in History: The Beginning of the Crusades
"Deus volt!" or "God wills it!" he declared.
Seljuk Turks had conquered Jerusalem and barred Christians from the city. Urban exaggerated stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for those who died in the "service of Christ".
Between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to the call to march on Jerusalem. Many died in the process. Eventually the Christians "won".
"Victory" is hardly a word I'd use to describe this sad piece of history. And "Christian" isn't either. "Righteous war" just feels like an oxymoron.
Urban's crusade was the first of seven against Muslims over the next two centuries. Today the entire world feels the repercussions.
Read more on the First Holy War here.