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"In the age of the crusades, the Christians, both of the East and West, were persuaded of their lawfulness and merit; their arguments are clouded by the perpetual abuse of Scripture and rhetoric; but they seem to insist on the right of natural and religious defence, their peculiar title to the Holy Land, and the impiety of their Pagan and Mohammedan foes."--The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–1789) by Edward Gibbon

“The Sack of Jerusalem [was] “the starting point of a millennial hostility between Islam and the West.” --The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1983), Amin Maalouf

"History in her solemn page informs us, that the crusaders were but ignorant and savage men, that their motives were those of bigotry unmitigated, and that their pathway was one of blood and tears. Romance, on the other hand, dilates upon their piety and heroism and portrays in her most glowing and impassioned hues their virtue and magnanimity, the imperishable honour they acquired for themselves, and the great services they rendered to Christianity. […] Now what was the grand result of all these struggles? Europe expended millions of her treasures, and the blood of two millions of her children; and a handful of quarrelsome knights retained possession of Palestine for about one hundred years!" --Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) by Charles Mackay

"It is an established maxim of modern criticism, that the fictions of Arabian imagination were communicated to the western world by means of the Crusades. Undoubtedly those expeditions greatly contributed to propagate this mode of fabling in Europe. But it is evident […] that these fancies were introduced at a much earlier period. The Saracens, or Arabians, having been for some time seated on the northern coasts of Africa, entered Spain about the beginning of the eighth century. Of this country they soon effected a complete conquest : and imposing their religion, language, and customs, upon the inhabitants, erected a royal seat in the capital city of Cordova."--The History of English Poetry (1774-1781) by Thomas Warton

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The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Christian Latin Church in the medieval period. The best known of these military expeditions are those to the Holy Land in the period between 1095 and 1291 that had the objective of reconquering Jerusalem and its surrounding area from Muslim rule after the region had been conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate centuries earlier. Beginning with the First Crusade, which resulted in the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, dozens of military campaigns were organised, providing a focal point of European history for centuries. Crusading declined rapidly after the 15th century.

In 1095, after a Byzantine request for aid, Pope Urban II proclaimed the first expedition at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for Byzantine emperor Alexios - I Komnenos and called for an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Across all social strata in Western Europe, there was an enthusiastic response. Participants came from all over Europe and had a variety of motivations. These included religious salvation, satisfying feudal obligations, opportunities for renown, and economic or political advantage. Later expeditions were conducted by generally more organised armies, sometimes led by a king. All were granted papal indulgences. Initial successes established four Crusader states: the County of Edessa; the Principality of Antioch; the Kingdom of Jerusalem; and the County of Tripoli. A European presence remained in the region in some form until the fall of Acre in 1291. After this, no further large military campaigns were organised.

Other church-sanctioned campaigns include crusades against Christians not obeying papal rulings and heretics, those against the Ottoman Empire, and ones for political reasons. The struggle against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula–the Reconquistaended in 1492 with the Fall of Granada.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Crusades" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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