Effects of Crusades on the West Research Paper

crusades on the west?

Effects of Crusades on the West

For centuries, the Muslims had been attacking and usurping Christian lands. With no real boundaries differentiating territories, it was impossible to fathom any measure of cordiality to exist between the two

The wars that then raged, The Crusades, as the western world sought to exact revenge have altered the present and the future so much that the effects are being felt even today. According to Edward Gibbon

, a chronicler belonging to the Enlightenment era, the effort would have been better utilized to seek and forge better and peaceful relations with the Muslims. This, according to him and others of his ilk, was highly improbable, because the warmongers would have instead indulged in infighting, instead. According to the eminent historians of the Enlightenment age, the crusaders were instigated by vested interests and were a rather gullible misdirected lot that were swayed away by the rhetoric of those that sought retribution and hence gains of questionable causes.

It can be only be left to imagination the wholesale changes that two the hundred years Crusade must have wrought as a direct consequence or as fallout; in the immediate present or as a long-term effect on the times to follow long after. In its wake, the crusades had accounted for millions of Christians’ lives (approximated to lie in the range of 2 million to 6 million

) as also accounting for unimaginable and irreparable losses to land and property. And the anarchy unleashed by the Crusades in the society in those barbaric times must have permeated the whole Christian and Muslim communities leaving behind deep scars that still make their marks felt.

It cannot however be said that the effects of any war of such gigantic proportions did not have any positive outcome. In fact many benefits were accrued as a result of this two-century long Crusade

. This paper discusses some of the key impact

Impact on the religious bureaucracy: The Catholic Church

The main beneficiary, as was obvious was the Catholic Church, the Pope there and all that was associated by its influence. Over and above the continuing flow of small time gifts and donations that the ordinary folk showered to the Church, the war began availing it of the more invaluable land and with it greater powers. As more and more territories began to fall under the crusading warriors, the church was gifted generously and wield and power of the church increased as a direct consequence.

The growing clout of the church had some far-reaching, detrimental impact, too. The discord between the two religions reached its nadir. All traces of cordiality that existed or could have possibly been fostered had been obliterated. The times that followed bore the ill-effects for centuries as a consequence. The structure of the society changed irreconcilably. The influence of the landlords and collective law of land diminished, giving way to a single head of state, or of Kings and monarchs. The indulgence of the Church with the feudal lords and their pre-occupation with them for the favors granted led to a widening rift between the powers that now came into being, the kings and the monarchs, and subsequently, the Church lost its place in the power structure

The ascent to the top of the power structure of the Church was, however not to last for long. The rapidly changing power equations were something that the Church was unable to comprehend and as a result, soon lost out to the kings and monarchy. In the society itself the first fissures started appearing. The sophisticated and mature Roman way of life and customs clashed with those of the more rudimentary and rather unrefined Catholic western Europeans

One of the major fallout of the long drawn crusade was that the casualties of the battles sought shelters and mental respite in the peaceful isolation of the Church and wished to distance themselves from the worldly cares and troubles. They had had enough of the physical and mental scars. Though these new entrants did not really affect the monetary health of the churches, it certainly took a toll in its’ personnel resources and took some time to adjust to the overwhelming numbers that came in droves.

The fanatic fervor with which the common folk of the western Christians engaged in the duty of war in the name of religion as dictated by the Church to regain hold of the Holy land from the Muslims and the Jews left behind in its wake a very debilitating society of morally, spiritually and hurt masses of human beings belonging to the latter. The Church had unleashed a frenzied Christian people that were casting a venomous atrocity on the Jews and Muslims for generations to come

The Church as, as consequence gained importance as it provided the much sought relief and shelter to all those who had become casualties of this sacrosanct crusade. The war-ravaged masses saw in the church its only salvage and many turned to it for succor and well-being. Thus, empowered, the church in turn gained in strength once again and began making its presence felt in the day-to-day social life. The number of those dependent on church for all its basic needs, physical as well as spiritual and moral increased in intensity and quantity rapidly. The Church thus started having more control over how people thought about everything in their lives. It had thus deeply entrenched itself into the minds of the people

Impact on Business and Commerce

One of the important ways in which crusade affected the lives of men and society at large was the constant exchange of man and material between the two radically different cultures of the East and the west. The finesse and sophistication of the highly developed eastern culture came to be much sought after by those in the west. The linen, the artistry in ornaments, the precious stones, finer culinary tastes of the east, and all such standards prevalent in the east found a ready market in the east who had till then never risen to these standards of living. The goods that started flowing with the growing industry of transportation from the east won it the sobriquet of “the gates to the heaven.” The east, then to the westerners was the beginning of paradise

The exchanges opened up the western world as never before. They suddenly became aware of the huge gap in the knowledge acquired by the eastern Roman, Muslim and Jewish ways of life and their far better standards. The rise of the kings that was associated with the power vacuum left behind by the warring feudal lords was also accompanied by this new-born desire to taste the finer standards that life in the east had to offer. The rise of the monarchy was no longer going to be satisfied with religious stronghold only

The first signs of modern society were sown in these times of turmoil and conflict. The times were pregnant with possibilities. The structures that were then built to ensure smooth commercial movement soon saw amongst the first forms of taxation that have shaped the trade and commerce that we see today. It is in these times that the emergence of a new “middle class” first took shape. The new commercial interactions also spawned the loaning of money activity whose many varieties we now see

Impact on Agriculture and Feudalism

The entire feudal system underwent a drastic metamorphosis. It was entirely reduced to a non-entity. The reasons were two-fold. One, the exodus of the lordships to the cause of religion left behind an open space for the monarchy to gain in power and strength. The warring, crusading lords met their ends in faraway lands, and heirless land ownership was open for grabs by the kings and the crown. Even in the local scenario, the infighting of the lords had not stopped completely, and eventual casualties resulted in the rise of a definite kingdom headed by the crown and monarchs. This phenomenon was best illustrated in the birthplace of the crusades, France

Impact on Politics and the state

The domination of the feudal lords fading saw the emergence of the first traces of people’s power along with the rise of the Crown. The crown became the natural inheritor of the lands that were left without their masters who had set out on the crusade to never come back. There were also a large number of the feudal lords who had squandered away their lands to acquire the means to wage vain, relentless, crusades

The ones who provided the liquid cash for the expeditions that the war-hungry lords so direly needed became the receivers of special privileges and soon rose in prominence in the social structure of the times. Power came naturally to them in no small measure

An important observation that has been pointed out is that the crusade stopped the invading Muslim Turks troops from taking Constantinople. Eventually, about more than three centuries after that, when the invasion on Europe by re-emergent Muslim invaders did take place, the Germans had used the intervening time to gain enough strength to stall and thwart the attempt decisively

Impact on the society’s social fabric

The social orientation, tastes of life and the idea of heroism and gallantry in the Western Europe were widely affected during the crusade. It brought about a revolution not only those directly involved in the religious wars but also affected those that found out about the finer tastes that were being enjoyed by the higher living standards of the eastern society

Impact on Education and Intellectual Growth

The cultural and overall sophistication the ravaging crusaders met with as a result of the continuous interaction with the astonishingly delightful lives being led by the eastern societies brought upon the western outlook of life a change of infinite measures, even as they were forced to reflect upon the comparatively appalling state of their own living standards. The fine etiquettes, the beautifully designed houses, the use of the shining marbles in the properly designed towns and cities left a lasting impact, which made them, learn life from a fresh new outlook. As if that was not enough, the scientific frontiers scaled in the east inspired and encouraged the knowledge seekers, especially in Italy, to begin with, and resulted in greater pursuits of realms of scientific endeavors. This period resulted in what is now called as the Renaissance, the period of time in western relevance whence learning was revitalized and reinvigorated

Impact on Trade and Development

The earliest effects of this period in the commercial and trading ventures were noticed in Italy. Genoa, Venice and Pisa flourished most prominently as the main suppliers of man and material to the crusaders. They also gained as the passageways of the now most sought after eastern goods to the western European society. Ports of Syria and Italy were now fast becoming trading centers. The merchant ships were crowding the Mediterranean. The invading crusaders carried the loot from vanquished towns and cities of the east to the west, proof of which can be seen in the modern museum houses. The most beautiful antiquity and artifacts that adorn museums are those that were spoils of the Crusading era

Impact on travel and Discovery

The discovery of the knowledge, beauty and refinement of the eastern world spurred the adventurous spirit in the western psyche and spawned the breed of voyagers and adventurers like, Marco Polo (Italy), Sir John Mandeville (England), Columbus, Magellan and Vasco de Gama (Dutch) and sought to supersede those in the east in their quest of riding the high seas and exploring unknown places

End Notes

Charles Mackay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841): 2,000,000 Europeans killed. http://www.bootlegbooks.com/NonFiction/Mackay/PopDelusions/chap09.html

Edward Gibbon (1788). The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire IV. Strahan and Cadell.

Thomas Madden, “Concise History of the Crusades.” Rowman & Littlefield. 1999. http://www.storialibera.it/epoca_medioevale/islam_e_cristianita/crociate/articolo_en.php?id=1820

Ibid Charles Mackay. Also read: Henry William Elson, Modern Times and the Living Past, (1921) p. 261: 5,000,000

Effects of the Crusades. December 5, 2011. http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/effects-of-crusades.htm

Hawkins, Y. The House of Yahweh. 2012. http://www.yahweh.com/htmls/9-2012-Newsletter.html

Phillips, J. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. (2005). New York: Penguin.

Ibid Hawkins

The Medieval Era. The Crusades – Long-Term Effects. The Political Effects of the Crusades on Europe. 2014. http://themedievalera.wikispaces.com/The+Crusades+-+Long-Term+Effects

Ibid The Medieval Era

Ibid The Medieval Era

Hutton, W. Early European History. (2014). http://early-european-history.t.ebooks2ebooks.com/251.html

Clark, A. And Media, D. How Did the Crusades Affect European Economy? (2014). http://classroom.synonym.com/did-crusades-affect-european-economy-5370.html

Ibid Clark and Media.

Hutton, W. Early European History. (2014). http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/hutton-webster/early-european-history-01s/page-39-early-european-history-01s.shtml

Myers, P.V.N. A General History for Colleges and High Schools. (2004). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. http://www.fullbooks.com/A-General-History-for-Colleges-and-High8.html

Ibid Myers

Ibid Myers

Effects of the Crusades. December 5, 2011. http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/effects-of-crusades.htm

Ibid Myers

Ibid Myers

Ibid Myers

Word Cited

“Effects of the Crusades.” December 5, 2011. http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/effects-of-crusades.htm

Clark, A. And Media, D. “How Did the Crusades Affect European Economy?” (2014). http://classroom.synonym.com/did-crusades-affect-european-economy-5370.html

Edward Gibbon. The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire IV. (1788). Strahan and Cadell Publications.

Elson, H.W. Modern Times and the Living Past. (1921) p. 261. http://necrometrics.com/pre1700a.htm

Hawkins, Y. “The House of Yahweh.” (2012). http://www.yahweh.com/htmls/9-2012-Newsletter.html

Hutton, W. Early European History. (2004). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. http://early-european-history.t.ebooks2ebooks.com/251.html

Mackay, C. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. (1841). http://www.bootlegbooks.com/NonFiction/Mackay/PopDelusions/chap09.html

Myers, P.V.N. A General History for Colleges and High Schools. (2004). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. http://www.fullbooks.com/A-General-History-for-Colleges-and-High8.html

Phillips, J. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. (2005). New York: Penguin.

The Medieval Era. “The Crusades – Long-Term Effects. The Political Effects of the Crusades on Europe.” (2014). http://themedievalera.wikispaces.com/The+Crusades+-+Long-Term+Effects

Thomas Madden, “Concise History of the Crusades.” Rowman & Littlefield. (1999). http://www.storialibera.it/epoca_medioevale/islam_e_cristianita/crociate/articolo_en.php?id=1820

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