The Crusades were a series of military campaigns against the Islamic world, which was led by European Christians during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. The outcome of the Crusades was a mixed bag; some of the campaigns were successful but many were not. Like a lot of historical events the Crusades have had their fair share of misconceptions. So here are the common misconceptions or myths about the crusades.
The Misconceptions or Myths
The Crusades were an unprovoked aggression against Islam: to begin with the Islamic world during that time had taken two thirds of the Christian, these areas included Spain, the middle east, etc. Also a major Christian power at the time the Byzantine empire basically begged for help as the empire’s capital Constantinople was being threatened by the Muslims. So clearly the situation was the opposite of the misconception above.
The Crusaders were obsessed with gaining wealth: this misconception is rather absurd. Crusades required a lot of money, and were very expensive for the Crusaders. A lot of these Crusaders were rather wealthy before going on the Crusade, but after some of them were impoverished, due to all costs of Crusading. Also individuals who went on Crusades treated it as a Penance(basically self punishment for their sins). So gaining wealth was not the idea of Crusading. Also is it logical for a person to travel a great distance, basically bankrupt themselves, to gain a little more wealth?
The Crusaders wanted to forcefully convert Muslims: first Muslims in crusader states were never forced to give up Islam. Also Muslims really outnumbered the Catholic Crusaders in Jerusalem. Also to truly believe in Christianity or any religion you have to believe in it yourself to be truly connected to the religion. Even though there may have been some exceptions this overall is a myth.
There was a “Children’s Crusade:” this is completely false. There were events that led to this misconception.These events were caused by a young man named Nicholas, who basically started a movement to go to Jerusalem; a lot of other young people joined him. But this ended up not working due to the boundary of the Mediterranean sea, also the Pope at the time said this situation was not a Crusade.
The Crusades led to festering resentment among Muslims, culminating in 20th and 21st century terrorism: this is definitely a misconception. In the Muslim perspective the Crusades were minor events, barely worth mentioning. Also the campaigns of the Muslims conquering the Christian world were definitely more successful than the Crusades.
Throughout history many historic events have misconceptions or myths surrounding them, the Crusades were no different. Some of the misconceptions on the Crusades are still believed today, but through the historic evidence we have today these myths are proven as false or incorrect.