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The stated goal of the Crusades was to recapture the Holy Land from Muslim forces, but there were also many unstated goals which European lords and clergy strove to achieve.
Originally, the pope had called for a crusade to capture important Christian holy sites, such as Jerusalem, from the forces of Muslim rulers. These military operations were launched in response to calls for support from the Byzantine Empire who had been under attack by Muslim forces for many years.
The rulers of the Holy Roman Empire had their own agenda as well. Centuries of fighting between feudal lords had produced a surplus of warriors that rampaged across Western Europe. The Crusades provided rulers with a novel way of emptying their realms of their more violent element while increasing their own virtue, prestige and riches. The more pious rulers saw it as an opportunity to win forgiveness or absolution while the less pious saw the potential wealth that could be gleaned from controlling part of the holy land.
Later, the aims of crusades changed. Some targeted heretics such as the Cathars. Others targeted pagans or excommunicated Catholics.
Goal of crusades were to kill the Muslims, recapture the Holy Land and produce a secular state.
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