Предпоставки за кръстоносните походи [Preconditions for the Crusades]
История, 1992, кн. 2, с. 53-60.
In the present paper, on the basis of competent research works on the Crusades, the preconditions for their commencement are elucidated, as well as the reasons, which made thousands of people leave their homes in the name of a distant and hardly attainable aim. An analysis is made of the social, economic, spiritual, and political life in West Europe and the East in the 11th century in order to reveal the mechanisms, which, in a certain historical moment, set in motion the whole of the European society.
The author has reached the following conclusions: the preconditions for the commencement of the Crusades had their roots in the complicated social, economic, political, and socio-psychological processes, which passed in the West-European society on the eve of the Crusades. In the 11th century, the medieval towns came into being in West Europe, permanent trade relations between town and country, East and West were established. The material needs of the ruling top grew while peasants were ready to search for a way out of feudal oppression in the Promised Land.
The participation of lots of people in the Crusades is easy to explain having in mind the religious view of life of the medieval European cultivated by the Catholic Church, the natural calamities, the epidemics, starvation, and the constant armed conflicts between members of the feudal class, which tormented the population of West Europe, as well as pilgrimage, which acquainted the Europeans with the countries of the East.
The Catholic Church cleverly availed itself of the situation in the person of the Papacy, which aimed at establishing its influence over the Christians in the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern Mediterranean and became an inspirer and organizer of the Crusades.
The plans of Rome were based on the information about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, which was propitious for conducting military expeditions. During the second half of the 11th century, in Southwest Asia the conquests of the Seljuk Turks started threatening the Byzantine Empire and forcing it to appeal for help to the Papacy and Western rulers.
Meanwhile there were no indications neither in Asia Minor, nor in the Eastern Mediterranean for the coming up of a political power capable of uniting the numerous Moslem states that were at constant enmity with each other. Thus towards the end of the 11th century, in West Europe the idea of Crusades to the East gradually matured.
the Crusades, majorat, the Catholic Church, pilgrimage, holy wars, Seljuk Turks.