Recruitment for the First Crusade 1095–96


Map Code: Ax00147

The call for the First Crusade was made at Clermont in France’s heartland by Pope Urban II, a French nobleman by birth. In a God-fearing age his message was compelling; liberate Jerusalem and attain salvation. Urban had other pragmatic motives, since Muslims still controlled most of Spain, and threatened Byzantium to the east. He was also locked in a relentless struggle with the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, who had already deposed a previous pope. The Crusade promised a belated counterstrike against an ascendant Islam, the possibility of rapprochement between the eastern and western branches of Christendom and insulation from a vengeful emperor. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the crusaders and their leadership came from France and Norman Sicily. There was also significant support from the states bordering Muslim Spain and Norman England. The Holy Roman Empire was beset by rebellions, and with their ruler ambivalent, provided far less support.

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