Crusader Arming Sword
The Crusades According to Strongblade
It was a time of darkness, violence, politics and religion. The spiritual and political leader of the world called for a crusade against the East, to exact revenge for wrongs supposedly committed against the West. Tens of thousands died and, in the end, nothing was really accomplished.
We're talking of course, about the Iraq War and our current commander in chief, who actually did call for a crusade just beore the war began. Okay, so all this could apply to the original Crusades too, but it just goes to show how little things change in a thousand years.
Back in the 11th century, Pope Urban II heard about some non-christians being unruly in what is now Eastern Europe and Parts of the Middle East. Apparently, these non-believers were killing pilgrims, Christian pilgrims no less, who were on their way to Jerusalem to pray and break bread and drink wine and whatever else pilgrims do. Pope Urban II, a crafty man, saw this as a chance to unify Europe against a common enemy and called for a "Crusade" against the evil-doers. This led to the first of many Crusades, and, in addition to unifying christians in Europe, gave a purpose to the many mischievous soldiers-turned-mercenaries who were wandering Europe with no battles to fight. These soldiers were establishing roving bands of marauders and generally making things uncomfortable for Civilizations everywhere.
In the year 1096, the crusades began. Before long, the Europeans had captured much of the lands in question and Haliburton moved in and immediately began overcharging the knights for food (okay, so there really was no Haliburton back then. Big Deal.). Years later, the muslims recalimed much of their lands, including the Holy City of Jerusalem. Not to be outdone, the Europeans recalimed it again, and lost it again. This trend went on for hundreds of years, until, in the late 13th century, a pivitol rock, paper, scissors" match was held for the lands, winner take all (after the Europeans lost, there was a great dispute about whether it had been 2 out of 3 or not, and the war began again for another few months).
The rest of the story can be seen inaccurately in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom. It is a little misleading, but entertaining and captures a bit of the flavor of the true Crusades.
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