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The Legacy of Pope Urban II


What was the purpose of the council held by the pope in Bari?

The council held by the pope in Bari in October 1098 was convened with the primary objective of reconciling the Greeks and Latins on the issue of the filioque. The filioque is a Latin term that translates to "and the Son" and it has been a significant point of theological contention between the Eastern Orthodox Church (Greeks) and the Western Catholic Church (Latins). This term was added to the Nicene Creed in the West, asserting that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father "and the Son", which was not accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church.


The council was attended by one hundred and eighty bishops, including St. Anselm of Canterbury, who had fled to Urban to lay before him his complaints against the Red King. This indicates the gravity and importance of the council, as it attracted high-ranking church officials from various regions.


The pope's intention to reconcile the two factions shows his desire for unity within the Christian faith, which was particularly crucial during this period of the Crusades. The pope was a strong advocate for the Crusades, as evidenced by his eloquent appeals for support. The fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders in July 1099, although the pope did not live to hear the news, was a significant event that was likely influenced by the unity and cooperation fostered by councils such as the one in Bari.


In addition to the theological discussions, the council also served as a platform for individuals like St. Anselm to voice their grievances, demonstrating the multifaceted role of such gatherings in addressing both doctrinal and secular issues within the Church's purview.


In conclusion, the council at Bari was a significant event aimed at resolving theological disputes and fostering unity within the Christian faith during a critical period in history.


What was the subject of the most famous council summoned by Urban?

The most famous council summoned by Pope Urban II, as mentioned in the document, was the Council of Clermont, held in Auvergne, France, in November 1095. This council is renowned in history primarily for the momentous decision it made, which was the initiation of the First Crusade.


The council was attended by thirteen archbishops, two hundred and twenty-five bishops, and over ninety abbots, indicating the significance of the gathering. The council began by reiterating the Gregorian Decrees against simony (the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges), investiture (the practice of secular authorities appointing bishops or abbots), and clerical marriage. These were critical issues within the Church at the time, and their discussion set the stage for the more dramatic decisions to come.


The council then turned to the pressing issue of the East. The Eastern Emperor, Alexius I, had sent an embassy to the pope asking for help against the Seljuk Turks, who posed a serious threat to the Byzantine Empire. The council's response to this plea was the decision to launch the First Crusade. This decision was driven by Pope Urban II's desire to aid the Eastern Christians, reclaim the Holy Land, and redirect the violent energies of the European nobility away from internal conflicts and towards a common enemy.


The council's decision was met with great enthusiasm. Thousands of nobles and knights had gathered for the council, and the idea of a Crusade to rescue Jerusalem and the Churches of Asia from the Saracens (Muslims) was widely embraced. The council decided that an army of horse and foot should march to the East, and a plenary indulgence (a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven) was granted to those who took part in the Crusade.


In the aftermath of the council, preachers were sent all over Europe to arouse enthusiasm for the Crusade. Pope Urban II himself encouraged people to take up the cross, and he was reluctant to release those who had pledged to undertake the expedition from their obligations.


In conclusion, the Council of Clermont, summoned by Pope Urban II, is most famous for its decision to launch the First Crusade. This decision had far-reaching consequences, shaping the course of history in the ensuing centuries. The Crusades led to significant shifts in power, changes in the relationship between the Christian and Muslim worlds, and transformations in the cultural and economic landscapes of Europe and the Middle East.


What did Urban do to induce people to help Alexius?

Pope Urban II employed a variety of strategies to induce people to help Emperor Alexius I, who was seeking assistance against the Seljuk Turks threatening the Byzantine Empire. The document does not provide specific details about these strategies, but it does mention that Urban was successful in persuading many of those present at the council to promise to help Alexius.


One of the most significant actions Urban took was to summon the Council of Clermont in 1095. This council is renowned for its decision to launch the First Crusade, which was a direct response to Alexius' plea for help. The council was attended by a large number of high-ranking church officials, including thirteen archbishops, two hundred and twenty-five bishops, and over ninety abbots. This indicates the gravity of the situation and the importance Urban placed on rallying support for Alexius.


At the council, Urban made a powerful and passionate speech calling for a Crusade to the East. He presented the Crusade as a holy mission, a pilgrimage that would earn those who participated a plenary indulgence, which is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. This was a significant incentive for many Christians, as it offered them a way to secure their salvation.


Urban also portrayed the Crusade as a noble endeavor, a chance to rescue Jerusalem and the Churches of Asia from the Saracens. This appealed to the chivalric ideals of the knights and nobles present at the council, and many pledged to take up the cross and join the Crusade.


Following the council, Urban continued to promote the Crusade and encourage participation. He sent preachers all over Europe to spread the word and arouse enthusiasm for the cause. He also made it clear that he would not easily dispense those who had pledged to undertake the expedition from their obligations, reinforcing the seriousness of the commitment they had made.


In addition to these spiritual and ideological appeals, Urban likely also used more practical means to induce support for Alexius. He may have leveraged his authority as pope to persuade or pressure other church officials to back the Crusade. He may also have offered or arranged for material rewards or benefits for those who agreed to participate.

In conclusion, Pope Urban II used a combination of spiritual, ideological, and practical strategies to induce people to help Emperor Alexius I. His efforts culminated in the launch of the First Crusade, a major military expedition that had far-reaching consequences for both Europe and the Middle East.

 

Annotated Bibliography

  • Riley-Smith, J. (1991). The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading. University of Pennsylvania Press.

This book provides a detailed account of the First Crusade and the events leading up to it. It explores the motivations of the Crusaders and the impact of the Crusade on both the Christian and Muslim worlds. The author argues that the idea of crusading emerged from a combination of religious, political, and cultural factors, and that the Crusade was a significant turning point in European history.

  • Phillips, J. R. (2009). The Crusades, 1095-1197. Pearson Education Limited.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Crusades, focusing primarily on the period from 1095 to 1197. It covers the major events and personalities of the Crusades, as well as the broader historical context in which they occurred. The author also explores the impact of the Crusades on European society and culture.

  • Madden, T. F. (2005). The New Concise History of the Crusades. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

This book provides a concise but thorough history of the Crusades, including their origins, major events, and consequences. The author offers a balanced and nuanced perspective on the Crusades, highlighting both their positive and negative aspects. The book is accessible to general readers as well as scholars.

  • Asbridge, T. (2012). The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land. Simon and Schuster.

This book provides a detailed account of the Crusades, focusing on the period from the late eleventh to the early thirteenth century. The author explores the motivations of the Crusaders, the military tactics they employed, and the impact of the Crusades on both the Christian and Muslim worlds. The book is well-researched and engagingly written.

  • Tyerman, C. (2009). God's War: A New History of the Crusades. Harvard University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive and detailed history of the Crusades, covering the period from the late eleventh to the late thirteenth century. The author explores the religious, political, and cultural factors that led to the Crusades, and the impact of the Crusades on both Europe and the Middle East. The book is well-written and highly informative.

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