Crusades

Later Crusades Essay.

After the first Christian Crusade that begun in 1095 there were eight
classified crusades that generally aimed towards the area of Sirya and Palestne
that lasted untill the 1270’s. Yet after much humiliation and the repeated
defeat of the Crusaders in the Lavant, most of the Eropean powers understood the
fact that the Holy Land was unnatainable. Most the crusading efforts were aimed
at the enemies of Catholics such as the Turkish invaders who sought to destroy
Christianity and the doctrinal heretics in Bohemia. Two such crusades are The
Crusade agains the Ottoman turks which started around the mid 14th century and
the crusade agains the Hussite heretics which started in 1420. To further
understand the similarities and differences between these two crusades perhaps
it would be best to associate them to our definition of a crusade and see how
they compare and differ from each other as well as compare them to the first
crusade. The reason I chose to analize particularly these two crusades is
because they fall into the same time frame, have different objectives and
perhaps hinder the each other’s succes.

After the defeat of the Seljuk Turks by the Mongols in 1243 a Ghazi prince by
the name of Ertugrul had assimilated a small state by his death in 1280. This
state, later ruled by his son Osman had spread it’s rule over a large area in
north-west Asia Minor, as far as the Agean and the Black sea. This was the
beginning of the Ottoman Turks as well as the beginning of their wide spread
conquest of the region due to their state being well governed as well as having
a disciplined army. By 1331 the Ottoman Turks have taken Nicaea and Uskudar
(across the Bosporus from Constantinople) and by 1389 had singificant dominance
over the Balkans. In 1370 the new Catholic pope, Gregory XI was already raising
the threat of the Ottoman’s to the European lords. Yet a major unity of
European powers were wrecked by the self-interest of each country and it’s
benefit. For example the German princes did not want to have a major crusade for
the fear of rising imperial authority. During this time every ruler in Europe
“…acknowledged the need for a crusade, as the only practicable means of
pooling the resources required to combat this massive and hostile power; but in
practice nearly all of them blocked its organization” . Thus except a few
small naval victories such as the victory of a Christion colatiotion over a
Turkish fleet in 1359 , the Eropenas were drastically unsuccessfull at pushing
the turks back.

How does this compare with our definition of “crusade”. We define a
crusade as an holy war that is sanctioned by the pope where the aims and
objective are clearly laid out by the pope as well. Where a votum (oath) is
taken to carry out the crusade from beginning to end. In the crusades agains the
Ottoman turks the European royalty controlled all the military actions (however
unsucsessfull) and were not obligated to the pope. Perhaps It was more of a
direct threat of annialation by the destructive army’s of Ertugrul’s
descendants that threatened the Catholics then their belief in a different god.

Perhaps the lack of military success against the Ottoman’s can be
contibuted to the fact that between 1420 and 1431 a major crusade agains herecy
was launched agains the Hussites in Bohemia. Within the Bohemian lands a
preacher by the name of John Hus was responsible for radically reinterpreting
basic Catholic beliefs and thus creating a mass population of heretic followers,
the Hussites. The King of Hungary who had inherited the crown after 1419 had
very strong concerns about this problem and as a commander had diverted a large
Hungarian army to enter it’s own lands on a crusade to exterminate the
Hussites. This was a very foolish move as those same men were fighting the Turks
at hungary’s southern border.

This long term military conflict that lasted up to 1467 proved ultimatly
unsuccsessfull in wiping the Hussites out. In the primitive condition of 15th
sentury warfare the Hussites benefited from the military knowledge of John Ziska
who’s short lines of communication and supply proved victorious over the
crusader abilities to launch surprise multi-directional attacks.

This crusade also did not match up with the traditional crusade definition as
it was fought mainly in the interest of the Hungarian King’s dominance of his
own land. It was also not defined by the pope as to what the objectives would be
and the final solution resulted in negotiations rather then the