Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Essay on the Crusades: Salvation or Exploitation

What do you know about the Crusades? Why did people struggle for their religious views in such a furious way? Was it actually salvation or exploitation? The Crusades are known as a number of military campaigns supported by various Popes from the 11th to the 15th century. The participants of these campaigns were called crusaders. They took part in military campaigns in order to convert pagans and non-believers into Christianity, though their primary goal was to provide their pilgrims with the free access to the Holy Land. Everybody knows about the Dark Ages, knights and various religious superstitions and prejudices. The value of religion was enormous at that time. People were ready to kill one another for their faith. I will try to analyze this scrupulous and controversial issue attentively.

It does not worth mentioning that the Crusades were extremely important for the further development of the human civilization. They had their historical, cultural, religious and economic effect. Doubtless, it was very expensive to gather a big army and send it to convert Saracens into Christianity. Saracen was a common definition for Muslims. At that time, no one used such words as ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’. The term ‘Saracen’ substituted these two terms. Crusaders were supposed to spread Christianity all over the world with the help of the brute force. When they conquered a territory, their priests and spiritual teachers worked with the local people propagating the norms and benefits of Christianity. Naturally, many people opposed to this act and were severely punished and killed. Crusaders were at war constantly, because the local people gathered strong armies and opposed this foreign invasion.

These military campaigns were extremely devastating for both crusaders and Muslims. The Crusades were very expensive. The kings of nearly every Western-European state organized their own armies, which took the active part in the campaigns in the union with other Christian troops. It was hard to provide every knight with the quality equipment, weapon and horse. No wonder, the pressure on the common peasants increased seriously. Of course, the worst price for the Crusades was human life. 

Europe lost thousands of its powerful warriors and noblemen during these religious wars. Thousands of families lost their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

The impact of crusaders on Muslims was even worse. Aside from numerous victims, people often lost their property and material values. Everybody knows that crusaders took part in these campaigns to earn gold. They knew that they could bring home expensive clothes and items. Of course, many people returned home without any trophies. When crusaders settled on the new territories, they exploited the local people for their own advantage. Many unfaithful crusaders returned home and made money in the unfair way. They claimed that they brought the real holy water or blessed items from the Holy Land and sold them to the gullible believers. On the other hand, crusaders brought salvation to these lands. They managed to spread Christianity on the vast areas and converted many people into their religion with the help of the convincing sermons. They not just killed non-believers but educated them. Many people learnt to read and write. People learnt about Western culture, its traditions, customs and lifestyle. Although crusaders had to leave the Holy Land in the 15th century, their effect on the culture of the local area cannot be overestimated.

In conclusion, I should say that the Crusades were very controversial. On the one hand, they brought salvation to the Christians who lived on the territories occupied by Muslims. On the other hand, these military campaigns were very devastative and expensive. Europe lost much money and many human lives for these practically meaningless wars. Moreover, crusaders robbed the local people and took a great number of expensive items, gold and pieces of art. In my opinion, every Crusade was a tool of making money than the source of salvation. 

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