What were the motives of the crusaders during the first crusade?

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The crusaders' motives were mixed. Many of them genuinely believed that they were doing God's work by wresting the Holy Land back from the Saracens. Others were less idealistic, seeing the crusades as a golden opportunity for wealth and plunder. Pope Urban II, who launched the First Crusade, was motivated...

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The crusaders' motives were mixed. Many of them genuinely believed that they were doing God's work by wresting the Holy Land back from the Saracens. Others were less idealistic, seeing the crusades as a golden opportunity for wealth and plunder. Pope Urban II, who launched the First Crusade, was motivated primarily by political considerations. He saw in the First Crusade an opportunity to enhance the power and prestige of the papacy. If the Saracens could be expelled from the Holy Land, there was a real chance that the warring halves of Christendom—East and West—could be reconciled under Urban's pontificate.

From the moment he became pope, Urban was forced to deal with numerous challenges to his papal authority, from renegade clerics and nobles alike. Launching the First Crusade was a way for Urban to reestablish and consolidate his personal authority as well as that of the institution of the papacy itself. As the prime spiritual and political mover behind the First Crusade, Urban was well-placed to take the credit for what he envisaged would be its overwhelming success.

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The First Crusade was an effort to liberate the city of Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks. Western European Christians came to the aid of Eastern European Christians after Pope Urban II appealed to them for help in regaining the Holy Land from Muslim control. In 1099, Jerusalem was returned to Christian control after heavy fighting.

Pope Urban's call was a response to a plea from Alexios I of the Byzantine (Eastern Christian) Empire, who offered the consolidation of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches in return for Western assistance. Sixty thousand men were dispatched. In defending the Byzantine Empire, the troops won back Nicaea and Antioch on the way to Jerusalem. These "crusader states" stayed in Christian control for approximately another two centuries.

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The first crusade was mounted to specifically rescue the Holy Land, Jerusalem from the Muslims and return it to the Christian faith.  Urged by Pope Urban II in 1095, who made an inspiration speech at Clermont in Southern France, even children, women and old men wanted to join the fight.

 "According to Urban, the streets of Jerusalem ran with the blood of Christians, and Christianity’s holy places were being desecrated. Urban continued his speech with a call to the knights of Christendom to go and recapture Jerusalem for Christ."

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