Europe: The First Crusade – The People’s Crusade – Extra History – #1

Europe: The First Crusade – The People’s Crusade – Extra History – #1


The year is 1095 CE. We stand at the
Council of Clermont. In the audience are
all the great names of Europe, both secular and ecclesiastical. For a moment there’s a hush. The last words of Pope Urban II’s
fiery speech, extolling nations of Christendom to retake the holy land from
Muslim invaders, hangs in the air. Then someone in the crowd shouts “Deus vult”, “God wills it”. The chant is picked up by man after
man until the council rings with deafening shouts of “Deus vult”. Then, out of the crowd, a bishop named Adhemar rushes up and falls to his knees
before the Pope, claiming that he will lead any willing Christian to reclaim
the holy land for Christ. And thus,
the First Crusade began. There’s just a few problems. You see, by this point
Muslims had actually occupied the Holy Land for nearly 400 years and there was little evidence
of the various atrocities Urban invoked in his speech
to incite Europe to crusade. In fact, the church had never seemed very concerned about the occupation before now and pilgrimages to the holy land had
continued practically uninterrupted since Jerusalem fell
into Muslim hands in 637. So what was really going on ? Well, earlier that year, Alexius Comnenus, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, an empire that had fallen a long way since the days of
Justinian, had sent envoys to the Pope asking for help from the West against
the Seljuq Turks. These Turkish Muslims coming out of the East had practically pushed the Empire to its limits, forcing them out of nearly
all of Anatolia, the traditional heartland
of his empire. Alexius Comnenus had hoped
for supplies, arms, and a few thousand well-trained men so that Byzantium could
continue to serve as the bulwark of Christian Europe
against the Muslim east or really so he could
just win this war retake his territory and strengthen
the Empire he was the head of. But you know,
it’s all in how you sell it. Well, Pope Urban
had a slightly different idea. You see, the Pope
wasn’t in the most secure position. The church was basically
at war with the Holy Roman Emperor. Another pope named Clement III had been installed in Ravenna and claimed to be the rightful Pope. In fact Urban couldn’t
even enter Rome. Hence why he was kicking around in
France : because the Holy Roman Emperor and the antipope
held it against him. So Urban thought: “Maybe let’s unite all of Christendom
to fight somebody else” Of course he never really asked for
Alexius Comnenus’ opinion on the this plan but we’ll deal with that more
later. And thus the First Crusade began. But Urban was a smart guy, he knew how to motivate people. He knew how to gather a force larger and more cohesive
than any nation in Europe could muster. He would offer to those who have spent
their life fighting, those who had spent their lives committing mortal sins, one chance, one opportunity for absolution. And he would offer that opportunity
for doing the thing they did best: going to war. This is the first time
a pope had ever done this. Never before had a plenary indulgence
been offered for Marshall action, and this innovation drew a lot of people. And truth is: though
I may have my suspicions about some of the motivations of the
leaders of this movement, In a world as motivated
by faith as medieval Europe I think that faith and a hope
for absolution was the reason that so many people bankrupt themselves
just so they could join the crusade. But unfortunately, this offer was so good
that a lot of people who signed up weren’t quite the people the Pope meant to get. You see, the Pope had set
a date of August 1096 for the Crusaders to leave from Europe so
that nights and barons could get their affairs in order and so that they could
prepare what in the Middle Ages counted as supply and logistics. But that wasn’t
fast enough for some people. In France, there was a fellow
by the name of Peter the Hermit who began whipping up the peasantry he talked of the atrocities
he’d witnessed in the Holy Land. (Although there’s a fair amount of evidence to say that he never actually went there) And he told tales of his divine appointment by Christ to lead the spiritually pure who would be protected by heaven to
Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people
left their farms to join Peter, although they had no money for the
journey and didn’t even know how far it was from their homes
in Western Europe to the levant. Few of them where soldiers, and fewer still even owned weapons. But as Peter preached, word of this
peasants crusade began. And while Peter was still gathering his
tide of peasants at Cologne, Other groups decided that they were just going to set
out on their own. And this is where the people’s crusade becomes one of the most unmitigated messes in the history of History. First there’s the group from France
under a fellow named Walter Sans-Avoir. They left ahead of Peter and made it
through Hungary all right, but when they showed up at Belgrade, The doorstep of the Byzantine Empire,
the local governor was very confused. He’d been told that the Crusaders
weren’t supposed to show up for another half a year at least. And weren’t they supposed
to be soldiers? This was just a mob led by a few impoverished knights. So he didn’t let them in. He told them he was gonna send a letter back to Constantinople and could
they please just wait patiently until he got his instructions in order ? How do they respond? By pillaging the countryside! In all fairness to the Crusaders,
they were probably starving. They hadn’t thought to bring many
supplies with them, and you’ve got to remember : this is spring
in medieval Europe, it’s not like they had refrigeration and
rapid transport. The bulk of the food for the year comes in during the fall
harvest which is exactly why Urban scheduled his crusade to start in the middle of august, so it could be easy to resupply as they went. But by springtime there’s just not very much food around So it’s unlikely the Crusaders had been able to really stock up on spare provisions on their trek through Hungary So the Crusaders went on a pillaging
spree. They destroyed homes and farms they even came to blows with the local byzantine garrison. Some of them even went back to Hungary, which they’ve managed to cross through before without doing any harm, and tried to loot a local market. They tried… but the town’s folk kick them out and the local byzantine garrison beat them down too and soon cowed, these first Crusaders were brought under escort to Constantinople we’ll catch up with them in a bit when
Peter gets there. But first we should talk about the second splinter group of the people’s crusade : a group from Germany led by count Emicho of Leiningen. This count had heard of Peters preachings, and had gathered his own group to go crusade. They were to head off to the Holy Land
from Germany but – well they only got a few miles before they seem to decide that : “you know, the local Jews are a lot closer and less well-armed !” And so they went from town to town through Germany sacking their own cities slaughtering
the jewish population and stealing any money they might find. Now this was
opposed almost unilaterally by the Catholic Church this wasn’t at all what urban had called for. Even if you argue he didn’t care about Jews there’s no question he wanted the
fighting out of Christendom at the very least not only did priests and monks preach
against this sort of violence but there are actually heroic stories of Bishops
opposing these marauding Crusaders and trying to protect their local Jewish
communities. The Bishop of Speyer gave them his
protection. The Bishop of worms brought the local Jews to take refuge in his home and even tried to fortify the place but the Christian Crusaders attack and
stormed the bishops house slaughtering some 800 Jews hiding there.
The Bishop of Menz did the same and even ordered the town bar against the
Crusaders. In fact, there the local Jewish population even raised a great deal of
gold to give Emicho if you would just go away. But Emicho took the bribe and
then attach the city anyway. When word of the attack reached him the bishop raised his personal guard and
rushed to join forces with the governor’s militia and the force of
local purchases who had come out armed to defend the local jewish population.
After fierce fighting, the locals drove the Crusaders off. But the Crusaders
gathered more men recruited some sympathetic or bribable town’s folk, and attacked again. This time the defenders broke and fled. In the aftermath thousands of Jews were slaughtered. Emicho’s band massacred their way through Germany until at last they ended up at the Hungarian border. By this time Peter
and his crusade had already passed through Hungary (we’ll talk about how their trip went
next time). But when the king of Hungary saw Emicho’s marauding band he decided
that : Nope, he was having none of this. And refuse to let them into his country. The Crusaders decided to force their way in anyway and promptly laid siege to the Hungarian, Christian, city of Moson,
where they were promptly defeated by the city garrison and slaughtered almost to a man. And thus the First Crusade began. Join us next time to find out what
happens to Peter’s band of itinerant peasants find out what the Pope and the
nobles were doing all this time and watch the First Crusade begin in earnest

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    Super Cartoon Universe

    Wow this is impressive, They gave the full picture of why the Holy War happened,
    Not the simple answer as " Christians want to invade" . but rather a series of events that led to the war especially the muslim invading the Byzantines.

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    Catholic Conservative

    No evidence of the attrocities…
    So denying Muslim violence in the name of tolerance is not just a modern thing.

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    A Channel

    Pope Urban: Okay guys, I’ve got a plan for this. We can pull this off, but you need to follow the carefully put together plan.
    Way Too Many People: Nah fam, we got this.
    Pope Urban: No. No you don’t.

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    Vinny Johncox

    Great video, but I don't like how The Crusades were portrayed purely as just a piece in some Byzantine agenda… I'm sure that most of the Europeans involved really did so out of zeal.

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    Arius Krieg

    About the "atrocities" claimed by Pope Urban II, there is actually a grain of truth to that, like most myths. The Seljuk Turks had not only overrun Byzantine Asia, but pretty much the entire Levant, and they were total noobs at ruling over settled, sedentary, agrarian civilizations. Seljuk rule was inept at best, and at worst just local chieftains shaking down the population for tribute while doing no actual governing. In this state of overall decay of civilization, banditry was rife, that being the source of the abuses and "atrocities", not religious persecution. Chances are that Urban II didn't deliberately falsify events as much as tales told by abused pilgrims growing in the telling and getting taken at face value in European society.

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    The Goodly Dragon

    I had never understood the sacking of Constantinople by the Crusaders until now. When I first heard of it I was like, "uhhhh wasn't the Christian Byzantine Empire supposed to be your ally against the heathens?"

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    Sosa's Steel Strings

    I thought that the crusades were a response of the prior centuries of the Muslim Arab conquering all of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and spain. Christian Europeans decided to stop any further advances

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    darrendelong

    Christians were terrorist then. The Abrahamic religiously inspired radicals were terrorists at different times in history.

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    tauhid ershad

    Well I guess in a way, europe hasn't changed. They are still as Muslim hating as today. Where they are the ones who are actually dangerous.

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    Tommy Fox

    Looks like history really does repeat it self, a grand mob of people who have no idea what their doing attacking a fortified place. First peasants for The Holy Land, then millennials for Area 51; and now it's just a flud of weird a*s memes in the internet. =|

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    Open Eyes

    Imagine if India comes out of expansion isolation and starts claiming the land where Aryans(hindus) once lived.
    Half of Asia will be India

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    MrDp2u

    Wouldn't it be considered a false crusade as the government of Belgrade had concluded? Yeah, i guess it's all about how you sell it.

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    Adyrian05

    And he missed that the chosen leader of the Crusade was 'I. Nagy Laszló' hungarian king who died before the Crusade began so the pope assigned an another person, Bohemond.

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    specialunit 042

    Basically…

    A friendly clan of Muslims took control of Jerusalem and still allowed pilgrims to travel there.
    SURPRISE! The Rashidan Caliphate took over and began stopping pilgrims.
    Urban II began the first crusade, and the French Bishop told the French Crusaders to kill everyone, Christian, Jewish, Islamic etc as he claimed that "God knows his own".
    Anyway, a couple of hundred years later, Richard The Lionheart makes a truce with Saladin, the Sultan of the Caliphate.

    After that, the original crusading club (except for England and parts of France) try to do it another 7 times for the sake of money.

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    specialunit 042

    My ancestor was an Irish lord and led a large group of knight crusaders. He believed the power of God was with him and he was invincible. He killed many…MANY Muslims and Jews alike and was truly dedicated to the cause.

    My family nicknames him "The Zealot".

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    Genalation

    You have to remember that this Muslim nation were isis like militants, doing the will of Mohammed. They also invaded Europe by invading Spain

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    noah

    If I was the byzantines I would have killed all of the stupid crusaders. Useless bastards. That pope was one of the most evil men ever to live. Most popes are. The catholics have only given christianity a bad look. With their crusaders and little boy molesters.

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