Hello Students! Welcome back to Anime High School 🙂
Today, class, we’ll be going back… in time. *insert mysterious music*
Student (Susila): “Oooh, similar to Steins Gate?”
I meant that as a figure of speech, not literally… Moving on!
If you are literate and can read what is written on the whiteboard, indeed we’ll be discussing The First Crusade today.
In all honesty, I had absolutely no knowledge of this before today, for I’m not a Christian. I know it doesn’t take one to be a Christian to have general knowledge but history’s not really one of my passions.
The First Crusade, in 1096 – 1099, played a very important part in Medieval England. It was an attempt to re-capture Jerusalem, which was taken in the Muslim conquests during 632-661.
According to the New Testament, Jerusalem was the city to which Jesus was brought as a child, to be presented at the Temple and to attend festivals.
Furthermore, under the rule of the Muslims, any Christian who wanted to pay a pilgrimage to the city faced a very hard time. Muslim soldiers made life very difficult for the Christians and trying to get to Jerusalem was filled with danger for a Christian. This greatly angered all Christians.
A Christian, called Alexius I of Constantinople, feared that his country might also fall to the Muslims as it was very close to their territory. Thus, he called on the pope – Urban II – to provide him with assistance.
In 1095, Pope Urban II spoke to a large crowd at Clermont in France. He called for a war against the Muslims so that Jerusalem was regained for the Christian faith. In his speech he said: “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed, your sins will be pardoned.”
The First Crusade had an arduous journey getting to Jerusalem:
Without control over the Mediterranean Sea, they had no choice but to cross by land. In the course of their expedition, they covered hundreds of miles, through scorching heat and deep snow.
The Crusaders had also ran out of fresh water, and were forced to drinking their own urine, animal blood or water that had been in sewage.
Food was bought from local people but at very expensive prices. Some men were reduced to pillaging and plunder in order to get food.
Disease was common especially as men were weakened by the journey and drinking dirty water. Dysentery was common. Heat stroke also weakened many Crusaders. Disease and fatigue affected rich and poor alike.
More than half of the entire army had died, by the time they reached Jerusalem.
Student (Teresa): “Why did they not ensure that there was adequate preparations beforehand?”
I admit, I admire the crusaders’ unyielding strength and desire for the sake of their religion. Despite all the obstacles, they persevered and managed to achieve their intended objectives.
But at what cost?
Similar to what Teresa had said, the reason why the crusaders faces so many challenges was due to poor foresight and planning. In life, we need to think thoroughly first and then, prepare ample resources and materials, before carrying out the particular action.
Forgive me for saying this, but it is quite an extreme view to say that the First Crusade was a success.
In my opinion, the satisfaction in terms of the recapturing of Jerusalem, is unable to outweigh the significant loss of lives throughout the crusade, plus the grief inflicted on the victims’ families. Therefore, if we were to measure the overall benefits and drawbacks, the First Crusade should not have been organised at that point in time.
But students, this has solely been about the Christians. What about the Muslims and their welfare?
Indeed the Muslims were the ones who perpetrated this war with Christians, by attacking the city of Jerusalem in the past. But was it right to massacre all of them, after the recapturing of Jerusalem?
In Christianity, the second Greatest Commandment is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“.
I believe that Jesus also said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you“.
Considering these aspects, how is the massacre different from the recent actions of ISIS right now? There is absolutely no form of justification behind the ruthless killing of Muslims by the Christian crusaders, other than pure vengeance, which is what Jesus does not advocate.
All in all, the First Crusade may be an event of the past, but I hope everyone of you learn from the important takeaways history provides you with. Do not let history repeat itself. Violence and war can NEVER be justified as a panacea to problems, unless it is self-defense. There are many other alternative methods that will prove to be beneficial for everyone.
If the recent extreme actions of ISIS are not enough to ingrain this notion, I don’t know what will.
Have a good day, yall! Class is dismissed 🙂