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Europe: The First Crusade - The People's Crusade - Extra History - #1

In the process he brings across the depth needed to Consulter l'avis complet. So old Pope Urban figured he would consolidate his power by preaching a crusade against the Muslims in order to solidify his position as Pope which was on shakey grounds.

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Account Options Connexion. Thomas Asbridge. Simon and Schuster , 26 janv. Nine hundred years ago Pope Urban II initiated one of the most controversial episodes in Christian history by stating that, in spite of the apparently pacifist message of the New Testament, God actually wanted European knights to wage a fierce and bloody war against Islam and recapture Jerusalem.

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Nicholas Pratt. The First Crusade: A New History A review by Nicholas Pratt The First Crusade is unquestionably one of the most significant conflicts in the medieval period, and has long since been a staple topic in the study of medieval history.

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Reinvigorating historical interest in The First Crusade, the text is a sourced based, chronological recount of The Holy War. The undeniable strength in this work is that it develops theories after examining facts, rather than manipulating or omitting evidence to suit predetermined hypotheses. Doing so gives context to readers, and explains the actions of Urban II and the various aristocratic leaders who followed his lead.

Whilst examining primary sources, Asbridge treats them with the scepticism necessary to make informed conclusions. From this we see that his book is not just a lazy conflation of primary evidence, but a detailed analysis which allows Asbridge to make strong and assertive deductions about the evidence before him. Nonetheless, the lens through which Asbridge recounts the events of The First Crusade is inherently Western.


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While his later works would examine both Latin and Islamic interests in equal measure, this work primarily dissects the extent to which politics, violence, and religion throughout Europe were instigating factors for what we now know as The First Crusade. This point is one of the most important he makes.

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A scattering of violent and feuding bishoprics loyal to their local aristocracy, Clement III, and the interference of the Holy Roman Empire, posits Asbridge, were all reasons for Urban II wanting to unite Europe through concentrated, sanctified violence. He claims that rather than being revolutionary, sanctified violence had been implemented in instances prior, and Urban was simply using the precedent to his advantage.


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  • The violent nature of The Crusaders is stressed heavily. Again, this is Asbridge using evidence to lean away from a romanticised, wholly pious crusade in favour of the more violent reality.

    The First Crusade: A New History by Thomas Asbridge

    In this book we observe a strong focus on Antioch. His belief is quite simple: if The Crusaders failed to take Antioch, they would never have reached, let alone conquered, Jerusalem. The distance they had travelled, the supplies and men they had lost meant that leaving Antioch unconquered was not an option to achieve success or even survival. Describing the arrival and following siege of Jerusalem, the books goes into great detail about the battle and bloody aftermath.