The First Three Crusades Were Beneficial to Western European Countries Only

Topics: Middle Ages, Crusades, Europe Pages: 7 (2257 words) Published: September 6, 2013
The Crusades

That the crusading phenomenon, primarily the first three crusades (1096 C.E. – 1192 C.E.), was beneficial to Western Europe as it directly triggered Western expansionism.

The crusades were only three of a series of nine Holy Wars fought between the European Christians and the Middle Eastern Muslim forces for control over the universally religiously renowned Jerusalem (Tyerman, 2004, 14). The first three crusades (1096 C.E. – 1192 C.E.) brought both cultural benefits and economic expansion* to Western Europe by bringing peoples of many different nationalities together, causing an interchange of ideas, customs and resources (Munro, 1921, 225). Renowned secondary source historians Tyerman, Munro, Newhall, Myers and Dutch all agree that the intermingling of cultures instigated by the crusades brought cultural and economic benefits to Western Europe that had previously been unseen since the Roman Empire (Tyerman, 2004, 10; Munro, 1921, 109; Newhall, 1927, 45; Myers, 1889, 12; Dutch, 1998). These views are also supported by extant primary source Fulcher of Chartres, who implies that the intermixing of nations and religions, (both old and new) created a diverse range of opportunities for the European Christians. This included new methods of exploration and travel, innovative approaches to warfare, different trading partners and trading materials and an influx of demand for workers to meet the needs of the armies (Dutch, 1998; Fulcher of Chartres cited in Peters, 1998, 96). Furthermore, new educational opportunities arose, with the ancient Muslim and Byzantine empires sharing knowledge of medicine, architecture and even literature with the mostly illiterate Western Europeans (Myers, 1889, 225). As a result, the European Christians flourished due to these cultural and economic benefits initiated by the first three crusades.

Prior to the crusades, the majority of Western Europeans were illiterate, uneducated and immobile (Guisepi, 2009). Renowned secondary source historian Robert Guisepi, Doctor of History and Antiquities at Canterbury University, claims that any news travelled slowly and sporadically by word of mouth, especially since people lived in relative seclusion, only communing with family members, neighbours and passing travellers (Guisepi, 2009). From this it can be inferred that any ideas, inventions or practical innovations that were discovered remained localised. Western Europe severely lagged behind the Chinese, Indians and Arabs in almost every aspect of culture, with little resources, its Roman infrastructure in decay and its people impoverished (Duggan, 1963, 12). With the introduction of knowledge, new methods of building and means to travel, the crusades brought an influx of cultural and economic wealth into Western Europe, greatly benefiting the European Christians (Kostik, 2008, 38). This claim is corroborated by distinguished secondary source historian Richard Newhall, Doctor of Medieval History at Harvard University who states that ‘Three times during the Christian era have the peoples of Western Europe experienced a relatively rapid expansion of their knowledge of the world, which has greatly improved their manner of living and considerably changed their point of view. The first of these was during the period of the crusades’, thereby supporting the hypothesis that the crusading phenomenon was beneficial to Western Europe (Newhall, 1963, 99).

Preceding the Holy Wars there was no professional Christian merchant class that could devote itself exclusively to commerce and trade, however, ‘the crusades provided an immediate catalyst for long-distance trade that created the need for surplus production, thereby transitioning from subsistence agriculture and local trade to international trade’ (Asbridge, 2005, 104; Myers, 1889, 87). Eminent secondary source historian Phillip Van Ness Myers, a Professor of History and Political Economy as well as Dean of the Academic Faculty at the...

Bibliography: Armstrong, K., 2001. Holy War: The Crusdaes and Their Impact on Today 's World. 2nd ed. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Asbridge, T., 2005. The First Crusade: A New History. Illustrated ed. London: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Barber, M., 1992. Medieval Europe 1050-1320. 1st ed. England: Routledge Incorporated.
Brooke, C., 1964. Europe in the Central Middle Ages 962 - 1154. 1st ed. London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd.
Cohen, J., 2006. Sanctifying the Name of God: Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade. Illustrated ed. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Duggan, A., 1963. The Story of the Crusades. Reprinted ed. London: Faber and Faber Limited.
Dutch, S., 1998. The Crusades and Their Aftermath. [Online]
Available at: http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/WestTech/xcrusade.htm
Guisepi, R., 2009. The Middle Ages. [Online] Available at: http://www.world-history.edu/The Middle Ages [Accessed 18 March 2013].
Kostick, C., 2008. The Social Structure of the First Crusade. 1st ed. Netherlands: Brill.
Madden, T. & Naus, J. R. V., 2010. Crusades - Medieval Worlds in Conflict. 1st ed. London: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Munro, D., 1921, The Middle Ages 395-1272, New York: The Century Company
Myers, P., 1889
Newhall, R., 1927. The Crusades. 1st ed. Michigan: H. Holt and Company.
Newhall, R., 1963. The Crusades: Revised Edition. 2 ed. Hinsdale: Dryden Press.
Peters, E., 1998. The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chatres" and Other Source Materials. 2nd ed. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.
Phillips, J., 2005. The Fourth Crusade: And the Sack of Constantinople. Illustrated ed. London: Random House.
Purkis, W., 2008. Crusading Spirituality in the Holy Land and Iberia. 1st ed. Wiltshire: The Boydell Press.
Riley-Smith, J. & Riley-Smith Jonathan S, C., 2005. The Crusades (Second Edition): A History. 2nd ed. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Runciman, S., 1987. A History of the Crusades: Volume 1, The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. 3rd ed. London: Cambridge University Press.
Schaff, P., 1996. History of the Christian Church, Volume V: Middle Ages. A.D. 1049 - 1294. 1st ed. Washington D.C: CCEL.
Tyerman, C., 2004. Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades. Illustrated ed. London: Oxford University Press.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Why did the First Crusade erupt? Essay
  • Essay on First Crusade
  • The First Crusade Essay
  • Essay on The First Crusade
  • Essay about The first Crusade
  • Crusades: First Crusade and New Paragraph Essay
  • Were the Crusades Justified? Essay
  • Mistakes of The First Crusade Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free
Born Racer | #oldtimery | Price Highest