The Crusades were caused by many factors, one was the remarkable success of Islam, which exploded in the Middle East. Another was the Turkish attacks on Byzantium and the emperor's cry for help to the pope. A third was the popes' plan to 'kill two birds with one stone': they called for armies to save the Holy places from the infidels. The popes saw that the migration of large numbers of European warriors would ease fighting by bored young men in Europe. The popes also saw that by calling for Christian armies they would gain power over the European kings since the kings would be acting in obedience to the popes. (The popes used their new political power in appointing bishops within the kings' areas.) The popes ordered the armies and the kings paid the bills: the popes exported their problem with violence.[1]

The crusades proved to be largely unmanageable as motives changed amongst leaders and followers.


1          See Fulcher of Chartres' chronicle, adapted by Thatcher at Fulcher of Chartres,

home · introduction · genealogy · background · maps · bibliography · search · contact