Roman Catholic church

Although it is true that some claim that the Crusades were initially launched to help seal the rift between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, there were essential differences between Christianity in Byzantium and Roman Catholicism that was developing independently. In fact, there were also strained tensions because of a history of the Roman Catholic church claiming wide swaths of territory from the other side through forged documents (Riley-Smith) which purported to claim a lot of Byzantium’s land for the Pope.

Political, religious and cultural-economic conditions in the Arab world of the European Middle Ages were superior to those of Europe. The Moors had a history of expansionism into Europe at this point, and the culture of the Islamic world was much more advanced, especially in terms of mathematics, astronomy, and architecture (Allen and Amt).

This is also exemplified in the historical clashes between Christianity and Islam, which are portrayed by the author as working within different paradigms of involvement in acquired territories throughout the history of the medieval Crusades, the rise of European imperialism, and the present state of affairs. When Urban put out the call to the Crusade, many people signed up. Some signed from a sense of religious duty. At the time, there was a great deal of stagnancy in the social system of feudal Europe too, without a lot of social mobility.

The Crusades were an opportunity for some who signed up to improve their social status, political status, and even religious status. There was a lot of diversity among those who responded to Urban’s rousing call.  When interacting with the native populations of the Islamic world of the time, the Christian crusaders acted in different means and capacities, forming alliances with some, and utterly destroying and ransacking others. One interesting interaction was that of the rise of bartering between the Christians and native populations.

During this time there was a sort of cultural bartering when the Europeans gave elements of their culture to more Eastern cultures and took some of the elements of the Eastern cultures and made them their own. One of these elements that the Europeans took was the concept of mercantile trading (Madden). Mercantile trading, as opposed to local trading, was more lucrative. There was a lot of anti-Semitism, fear and persecution in the era of the Crusades. Western Christians viewed Jews as another race, not quite human.

Jews became aware of the Christians in many cases through persecution, and reacted accordingly. Perspectives of the Crusades varied between those involved in different capacities. Some undoubtedly felt cheated. Arabs generally felt surprised that Jerusalem fell and shocked at the invaders’ manners. Jews felt persecuted and threatened. There was a lot of stereotyping involved on all sides. The new Frankish territories of Outremer reflected their origins in the West in many ways, perhaps the most obvious of which were cultural and architectural.

Of course, with culture being transplanted to another area, there are also elements of hybrid nature to consider, with the Crusaders wanting to approximate new societies distinct from the communities from which they came, but in many cases succeeded in creating a sort of fusion culture based on elements taken from Western impetus and useful other elements in the new environment. REFERENCE Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades a History (second edition) J. Allen & Emilie Amt, The Crusades: A Reader Thomas F. Madden, The Crusades: The Essential Readings

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