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Assess the significance of the role of individuals in bringing about a change to the nature and purpose of crusading in the years 1095-1204
The significance of the roles of individuals in bringing about a change to the nature and purpose of crusading is very important as without them the chain of events within the crusades would have been very different for both the crusaders and the Saracens. Key spiritual leaders like Peter the Hermit who encouraged thousands of ordinary people to take part in the crusade making it a crusade for the people. For example without Imad ad-Din Zengi and Nur-ed-Din the Muslim forces would not have been unified, and therefore not powerful enough to take Edessa. Without strong leaders like King Richard I who brought a key tactical mind to the Third Crusade and helped capture Acre in1191. If it wasn’t for individuals I believe that the events of the crusades such as the sack of Constantinople would never have happened.
The reason why Pope Urban II is such an important individual is simple, he was the person who decided to create a crusade, he was the person who set the ball rolling so is therefore one of the most important individuals involved in the crusades. Urban II's movement for a crusade took its first public shape at Piacenza, where in March 1095, Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos asking for help against Muslim Seljuk Turks who had taken over most of formerly Byzantine Empire in Anatolia.  At Clermont, Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Muslims, promising those who took part in the endeavour would receive immediate remission of their sins.  Christians from all over Europe jumped at this opportunity to smite the Muslims and cleanse their souls (whilst of course taking a bit of money and wealth from the lands that they ‘freed’ from the Muslims). Urban is the man who started a conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East that lasted...
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