Thus, the crusade indulgence initially was identical to that ensured by the pilgrimage to the Holy places. The Crusades, which meant fighting for the defence of Christians, came to be considered as a work of piety. Political and military success was of little importance.
Pope Urban II solemnly proclaimed the first crusade at the council of Clermont on 27th Nov. 1095 with a double objective, namely to relieve the pressure of the Seljuk Turks on the Eastern Empire and to secure free access to Jerusalem for pilgrims since the latter were abused and robbed by the Moslems and Arabs. He promised full remission of sins to all joining in the expedition. This call was in response to Alexius I call for help (Alexius Byzantine emperor – Byzantine Empire under attack from the Turks).
This crusade was the most successful from the military point from the military point. The historian Raymond Agiles describing the capture of Jerusalem by the crusaders in 1099 wrote ”that some of our men cut off the heads of their enemies. others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers. others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses. However, these were small matters compared to what happened at the temple of Solomon, a place where religious services were ordinarily chanted. What happened there If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much at least, that in the temple and portico of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.”1
The Crusades took on a new meaning later on. It became a military expedition and no longer a pilgrimage of unarmed pilgrims. The Church moved away from the sole aim of the crusades which was the liberation of the Holy Land from the invasion of the Turks and it began using the Crusades to serve the church’s own interest. Preaching of crusades became a device used by the church against the enemy states of the church. Personal enemies of the churches high-powered officials were sent on pilgrimages with the hope that you do not come back however, the means by which your death is brought about.
The crusades increased the powers of European kings in that a number of barons who had given them trouble were sent to the east.
Holy wars were authorised by the Popes in defence of the Christendom and the church. The crusades were used to defend the church against the infidels in the East, Germany and Spain, against heretics (Albigenses) and schematics who threatened catholic unity and against Christian lay powers who opposed the papacy. They were also used to defend the Papal States.
The crusades started with a religious reason but it deteriorated to selfish reasons. These could be attributed to many reasons. The Papal States had to protect its territories from invasion by other states so it used the crusades as a papal military defence operation to defend these territories and the