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Urban_Call_for_Crusade_Essay - Hist 259 Professor Hyams...

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Hist 259 Professor Hyams 9/23/08 Church Policies as Influential Factors on Urban’s Call for Crusade On the 27 th of august in 1095, Pope Urban II spoke before a crowd of clergy and laymen alike in a field outside of Clermont and uttered a series of words which historians have designated as a call for the first Crusade. In part of this speech, as conveyed to us by Fulcher of Chartres, Urban was said to have stated that “Although, O sons of God, you have promised more firmly than ever to keep the peace among yourselves and to preserve the rights of the church, there remains still an important work for you to do.” 1 In saying this, Urban was trying to equate an important church project of the time, the Peace of God, with the Crusades. The situation of the Church from the time that Pope Urban II was coroneted to the Council of Clermont provided him with explicit reasons for, along with the implicit abilities to, call for a Crusade against the Muslims. The political gains, military security, and religious devotion to the Church that the Pope sought to acquire in his proposition of Crusade stemmed from three major conflicts the Church faced during Urban’s rule: the Investiture Controversy, Gregorian Reform, and the Peace of God. Furthermore, Urban’s partaking in these endeavors provided him with a sort of legitimacy that allowed him to call on the lords of Western Europe to undertake this great campaign. Probably the most volatile problem that the Church faced as Urban came into power also happened to be one of the most apparent for the new Pope. The simple fact that the papal reign of Urban II did not begin in Rome greatly exemplifies the magnitude of the Investiture Controversy during the late eleventh century. The causes of this conflict can be found in the reforms made by Urban’s predecessor Pope Gregory VII (The short reign of Victor III being discounted). Gregory greatly disliked the notion of lay investiture in which lay rulers could give out church positions or regions as if they were political entities. In the eyes of Gregory, the most 1 1 Paul Halsall, “Urban II: Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, according to Fulcher of Chartres,” Medieval Sourcebook, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-fulcher.html
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heinous example of this was the influence of The Holy Roman Empire over Papal elections, a process known as Caesaropapism. 2 Gregory’s direct opposition to the Holy Roman Empire led to a series of military contests between the two in which the Papacy lost control of its seat in Rome. 3 The Church fought back with military support from its Norman allies to the south along with its own forces which were dubbed Knights of the Pope (Milites Sancti). 4 This move of the Church from being solely a religions entity to its incorporation of military mobilization in the name of god was a major step in the changing of the Church’s role in European politics. 5 Under the rule of Urban II the Church and its allies were able to re-take Rome and establish the political entity known as the Papal States in order to defend the Church from further invasions.
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