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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Medieval Wars

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The crusades were medieval wars that took place between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The European Christians were trying to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims. By the end of the thirteenth century there had been nine crusades including the Children’s crusade. “The term crusade was later used in reference to military expeditions, sanctioned by popes, against heretics and others. ” The crusades had a visible impact on western Europe.


There were three main causes of the crusades. The first cause was the advance of the Seljuk Turks. Al-Hakim had destroyed the church of Holy Sepulcher in 1010, and Christian pilgrims had free access to holy places. In 1070 the Turks took over Jerusalem, and the pilgrims no longer had freedom. The pilgrims also had home accounts of oppression and desecration. Peter the Hermit took letters to the pope in 1088 detailing the persecution of Christians


The second cause was the weakening of the Byzantine Empire. For seven centuries the Empire was between Europe and Asia. It was used to hold back armies of the enemies. Due to the isolation from the west by the Schism in 1054 the Empire was to weak to fulfill its task. The Bulgars, Patzinaks, Cumans, and the Russians assaulted the European gates. The gates dismembered its Asiatic provinces, and all of eastern Europe would be undone if the Constantinople had fallen


The third cause was the ambition of the Italian cities to extend their rising commercial power. The Normans captured Sicily from the Muslims, and the Christians reduced the Muslim rule in Spain in 1085. The western Mediterranean was now free for Christian trade. The Italian cities grew rich and strong from ports of domestic and transalpine products. The cities also planned on ending Muslim ascendancy in eastern Mediterranean and opening markets of European goods


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Several Europeans had a response to the beginning crusades. Gregory VII exclaimed, “I would rather expose my life in delivering the holy places than reign over the Universe ” Pope Urban made the final decision to rescue Jerusalem. He envisioned a Holy War to save Europe and the Byzantine Empire from Islam, and he dreamed of the Eastern Church and Christendom being united under the popes. He also wanted Rome to once again be the capital of the world. From March-October 105 Pope Urban toured northern Italy and southern France looking for leaders and support The historic council met and thousands of people came to hear Urban address to them the “most influential speech in Medieval history.” Urban spoke to the people saying,


A grievous report has gone forth that an accursed race,


wholly alienated from God, has violently invaded the lands of these Christians... On whom, then, rests the labor recovering this territory, if not upon you-you upon whom, above all others, God... Let hatred


therefore depart from among you, let your quarrels end.


Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher, and be assured of the reward of imperishable glory in the kingdom of Heaven


The principal was above feudal loyalty. Europe was made one like never before. All Christendom prepared for the Holy War. Someone in the crowd yelled, “Dieu li volt”- “God wills it.” Urban made this their battle cry . Urban wanted those who undertook the crusade to wear a cross upon their brow or breast. Urban traveled for nine months to preach the crusade to other cities. When he returned to Rome, after two years, he took authority and released crusaders and freed serfs and vassals for the duration of the war. Pope Urban established a new principle of obedience .


The first crusade began in 107. Peter the Hermit spread the news about the crusade, and he recruited peasants from France and Germany. While marching to the Byzantine Empire, the mob burned houses and stole from other people in the towns. The peasants reached the Empire, but they were over powered by Alexius Comnenus, the Emperor. They were sent back across the straits, and they were fought and murdered by other Christians. The peasants had no success over the Turks . Many lords were also recruited for the crusade. The lords were more equipped and disciplined than the peasants. Alexius was willing to allow the lords part of the Holy Land in return for an oath stating that he


regain power over the land in the future. In June 107 the Turks surrendered to the Byzantine forces, and in July 10 crusaders were able to conquer Jerusalem after the murdering of many Muslims and Jews . The first crusade set up the states for the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the principality of Antioch, and the counties of Edessa and Tripoli .


The third crusade occurred between 118 and 11. Pope


Gregory VIII preached the crusade and Roman Emperor Frederick led the crusade along with English King Richard and French King Phillip II. On the journey to Frederick died. Richard and Phillip


arrived at Acre in 111. The city was taken that July. Richard made a truce with Saladin, ruler of Jerusalem, in 11 for Christians to retain a small part of Jerusalem. The third crusade ended in October 11 .


The fourth crusade was called by Pope Innocent III, and it took place from 10 to 104 . Thousands of French barons and knights began their trip from Italy to the Byzantine Empire . The crusaders were willing to help the Byzantine Empire capture the city of Zara in exchange for a passage to the Holy Land (Wetterau 7). The crusaders were offered money and other goods that they found to difficult to resist. Due to the invasion, Baldwin of Flanders became the first ruler of the new Latin empire of Constantinople. No one gained from this crusade except the Venetians. They regained the Greek Islands and the city of Zara


The children’s crusade was also called the “ ill-fated crusade of 11.” The crusade consisted of unarmed children who were trying to free the Holy Land . There were two children’s crusades in 11. One was led by a ten year old boy named Nicholas, and the other one was led by a twelve year old boy named Stephen. Nicholas preached the crusade at Cologne and recruited over twenty thousand other children, and Stephen along with thirty thousand other children traveled to Alexandria by ship. Both crusades ended in tragedy. When Nicholas and the children arrived in Italy the girls were taken as servants and the boys were sold as slaves. Two thousand children from Stephen’s crusade drowned when their ship sunk in the Mediterranean, and the ones that survived were also eventually sold as slaves when they arrived in Alexandria (Kreis 4).


Feudalism was changed as a result of the crusades. After two centuries of war Jerusalem was still being ruled by the Islamics. The crusades had failed, and Europe had been shattered. In order to finance expeditions to the east, many knights had to sell their properties to a higher manner. They also had to resign their rights. Many peasants sold remission of future feudal dues, and serfs had used the crusades as an opportunity to leave the land and not return to their manors. The feudal wealth and arms were diverted to the east, and the French monarchy power and wealth rose as a result. The Roman Empires were weakened, and the western emperors lost prestige in the Holy Land. Eventually the eastern


Empire was rebuilt in 161, but the former power was never regained .


The culture was also changed as a result to the crusades. In the east the crusaders had learned to tolerate sexual perversions, and public baths and private latrines were also reintroduced in the west. Europeans returned to the old custom of Romans where they have to shave their beards. A new style of dress became known in Europe along with a thousand new arabic words. Oriental romances and secrets that led to improvement of stained glass used in Gothic Cathedrals were also some results. The development of compasses, gunpowder, and printing moved into Europe after the crusades. The biggest result in the culture was the discovery that followers of another faith could be civilized, humane, and trustworthy. This contributed to the weakening of the orthodox belief in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries .


The impact made by the crusades on western Europe had long lasting effects. The first crusade was the only one that showed success. The crusade reduced the number of quarrels and hostile knights in Europe (Kreis 4). However, many lives were lost during the crusades including thousands of children.





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