Conquests, Crusades, and Persecutions

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Rutgers University
History, European
Anthonydi Battista

Chapter 9: Conquests, Crusades, and Persecutions (c. 1100-1300) Conquests and Territorial Expansion • Europe’s transformation during the Central MiddleAges was marked by the conquest of a great internal frontier (clearing of forests, draining of swamps, reclamation of land from the sea) • This was complemented by an external expansion of Western Christendom • Western Europeans began to push against almost every frontier th th th • In the 11 , 12 , and 13 centuries, lots of aristocratic younger sons began to seek wealth and military glory on Western Christendom’s frontiers o Joined by peasants who provided a labor force for newly conquered lands o Encouraged by a Church that taught that a young warrior who carved out new estates for himself on the frontier was also storing up treasures in heaven by promoting Catholic Christianity among Muslims in Iberia Sicily, and Syria and among the Slavs of Eastern Europe • Land, gold, and eternal salvation—alluring reward of the medieval frontier! Iberia • Knights from all over Western Christendom, especially from France began to flock southwestward during the 11 century to aid in what they saw as a reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from Islam • Al-Andalus crumbled after the death of al-Mansur • Christian kingdom of Castile first took the lead o Captured the great Muslim city of Toledo in 1085 o Later, Toledo would become a contact point between Islamic and Christian cultures; place of learning and intellectuals • For decades after the capture of Toledo, Christian armies made only slow progress • In the northeast: Christian kingdom ofAragon grew in power, capturing the Muslim Saragossa in 1118 and uniting with the Christian county of Barcelona • Further progress was slowed by Muslim resistance • By the late 11 century, Spanish Muslims were getting help from NorthAfrica • Spanish Muslims were eventually overtaken by Berbers (Berbers were also against Christianity) • Christian states of northern Iberia constantly fought each other • It was not uncommon for Christians to ally with Muslims against other Christians; land and conquest mattered more than faith • 1212: Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade against Iberian Muslims o King of Castile was successful; won over the Muslims o Muslim power was permanently crippled! o Castile now dominated the center of the Iberian peninsula o Kings ofAragon were also successful o Portuguese pushed southward against Muslims settled along theAtlantic coast • 1264: Muslim power was confined to Granada; Christians controlled nearly all of the Iberian peninsula which was now reorganized into 3 main kingdoms  Castile,Aragon, and Portugal • Christian militancy fueled the rapid advances of Christian princes in the 13 century, and these princes sought to promote their faith by importing Christian peasants for massive resettlement • Conversion was not initially forced upon the Muslims, but happened because Muslims stayed on Christian territory when they were not supposed to • Initially Jews were treated well by Christians but then in the 14 century they were discriminated against and forced into conversion Sicily and the Southern Italian Peninsula • The warrior-aristocracy of Normandy was probably the most militant force in 11 century Europe • Viking in ancestry, French in tongue, Christian in faith • Population pressure, greed, adventure and the pressures of political centralization within Normandy drove its young warriors far and wide on distant enterprises • Tancred de Hauteville o Key figure of Norman conquest of the southern Italian peninsula o His sons also went to Italy for conquest Robert Guiscard (1025-1085) and Sichelgaita (c. 1040-1090) • Tancred de Hauteville’s son • “The Cunning” • Started out as bandit leader in Italy • Married Lombardo princess Sichelgaita, which bought Salerno under Guiscard’s influence o Sichelgaita was just as fierce as Guiscard • Treaty of Melfi (1059): The pope gave Guiscard the title of duke and received in return his homage as a papal vassal o From the Treaty of Melfi onward, the Normans were partners of the pope and their conquests were holy wars • Papacy began to depend on military support of Duke Robert • Guiscard invaded Muslim populations in Sicily o Conquest took more than 30 years • Conquered Palermo (leading urban center of Islamic world), Bari, and all of the southern Italian peninsula under his control  Guiscard was in position to dominate Mediterranean commerce • Attacked Byzantine empire and won! • After this victory, Guiscard and wife had to return to rescue Pope George VII from Henry IV in Rome, Henry fled • Normans plundered Rome! The Norman Kingdom of Sicily • Guiscard was a bandit and a warrior, but he established in Sicily and the southern Italian peninsula one of the most sophisticated states in medieval Europe • Pope sanctioned the coronation of Guiscard’s nephew, Roger the Great as king of Sicily • Sicilian capital- Palermo • Culture was a blend- Norman, Byzantine, Muslim • Church unified people • Roger was tolerant of all peoples in his realm- Normans, Byzantines, Muslims, Jews, Latins, Lombards • Palermo: rich, variety of faiths, customs languages. Commercial center. Site of translation of texts which would serve as foundations for the intellectual achievements of Western Christendom in the 13 century German Eastward Expansion • German expansion was led by local nobles and consolidated by peasant settlers o This boundary moved at the expense of the Slavs • Through settlement and assimilation, new territories were Christianized • Catholic Christianity competed with Orthodox Christianity o Divide through Eastern Europe Crusades • The crusades fused 3 characteristic medieval impulses: piety, pugnacity, and greed • Christian idealism was important in the crusades • Alexius Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor asked Pope Urban II for he
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