Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The First Crusaders and Jerusalem the Holy Land

After a long, dangerous and hard journey, the First Crusaders finally reached Jerusalem in the summer of 1099 and took it. The final result of the First Crusade was the establishment of four Latin "states" or "kingdoms" in the Middle East: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. These first crusaders took on the symbol of the cross Oberammergau Passion Play 2010.

"The Art of the Crusaders in the Holy Land, 1098-1187" examines the art and architecture produced for the Crusaders in Syria-Palestine during the first century of their quest to recapture Jerusalem. It was the innovation of Pope Urban 11 to provide penitential warfare with the charismatic penance of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to Fulcher of Chartres, Pope Urban promised the first crusaders that 'all who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. The canons of the council summarized the offer made by Urban II as he launched the First Crusade. Whoever, for devotion alone, not to gain honor or money, goes to Jerusalem to liberate the Church of God can substitute this journey for all penance. Thus, apparently they were making an expedition to Jerusalem; in reality, however, they wanted to divest the Emperor of his kingdom and take Constantinople.

Serious problems faced the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem catholic pilgrimages after the First Crusade and before Saladin's victory at Hattin. A good concise account of the First Crusade from Pope Urban II's call at the "Council of Clermont" in 1095 to the Crusaders' capture of Jerusalem in 1099. But the Crusaders cause, to capture and hold Jerusalem for Christendom, was always a dubious one, and the century (almost) of Frankish rule in that city was initiated by a massacre and punctuated by various acts of perfidy, war crimes, and wanton aggression. What distinguishes the Crusades is that they were not fighting for the particular interests of their fatherland or their family, but for a cause, Jerusalem, the True Cross, salvation, with universal significance. The same year, the second crusaders started off and captured Antioch in 1098 and Jerusalem in 1099.

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