Nowhere was the call responded to with greater zeal than in the Netherlands, and nowhere had the spirit of adventure and the stimulus to enterprise, which was one of the chief fruits of the crusades, more permanent effects for good.
To the Netherlands, as to the rest of western Europe, the result of the crusades was in the main advantageous.
The Crusades had a favourable influence on the intellectual state of the Western nations.
Though crusades had not yet been preached, the strife with the Mussulman at once brought in the crusading element; to the Christian people of the island they were in many cases real deliverers; still, the actual process by which Sicily was won was not so very different from that by which Apulia had been won.
They first entered Poland from Germany during the era of the crusades, and soon spread through Lithuania, Courland, the Ukraine, and, in the 18th century, Bessarabia.
The author designates the story of the later empire at Constantinople (after Heraclius) as " a uniform tale of weakness and misery," a judgment which is entirely false; and in accordance with this doctrine, he makes the empire, which is his proper subject, merely a string for connecting great movements which affected it, such as the Saracen conquests, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, the Turkish conquests.
Economically and socially the crusades had disastrous effects upon the Jews.
" Before the crusades the Jews had practically a monopoly of trade in Eastern products, but the closer connexion between Europe and the East brought about by the crusades raised up a class of merchant traders among the Christians, and from this time onwards restrictions on the sale of goods by Jews became frequent " (op. cit.).
Somewhat later the Crusades kept up communication with the Levant, and established there the power of the Roman Church, somewhat to the detriment of oriental Christianity, but intercourse with farther Asia was limited to the voyages of a few travellers.
She now commanded the route to the Holy Land and could supply the necessary transport, and from the Crusades her growing aristocracy reaped large profits.
CRUSADES, the name given to the series of wars for delivering the Holy Land from the Mahommedans, so-called from the cross worn as a badge by the crusaders.
- The Crusades may be regarded partly as the decumanus fluctus in the surge of religious revival, which had begun in western Europe during the loth, and had mounted high during the 11th century; partly as a chapter, and a most important chapter, in the history of the interaction of East and West.
Considered as holy wars the Crusades must be interpreted by the ideas of an age which was dominated by the spirit of otherworldliness, and accordingly ruled by the clerical power which represented the other world.
As such a novum salutis genus, the Crusades connect themselves with the history of the penitentiary system; as the foreign policy of the Church they belong to that clerical purification and direction of feudal society and its instincts, which appears in the institution of "God's Truce" and in chivalry itself.
In the same way the Crusades themselves may be regarded as a stage in the clerical reformation of the fighting laymen.
As chivalry directed the layman to defend what was right, so the preaching of the Crusades directed him to attack what was wrong - the possession by "infidels" of the Sepulchre of Christ.
The Crusades are the offensive side of chivalry: chivalry is their parent - as it is also their child.
The knight who joined the Crusades might thus still indulge the bellicose side of his genius - under the aegis and at the bidding of the Church; and in so doing he would also attain what the spiritual side of his nature ardently sought - a perfect salvation and remission of sins.
One can readily understand the popularity of the Crusades, when one reflects that they permitted men to get to the other world by fighting hard on earth, and allowed them to gain the fruits of asceticism by the ways of hedonism.
From this point of view, the Crusades appear as a reaction of the West against the pressure of the East - a reaction which carried the West into the East, and founded a Latin and Christian kingdom on the shores of Asia.
But the relation of East and West during the Crusades was not merely hostile or negative.
The culture developed in the West during the 13th century was not only permitted to develop by the protection of the Crusades, it grew upon materials which the Crusades enabled it to import from the East.
Yet the debt of Europe to the Crusades in this last respect has perhaps been unduly emphasized.
Nor, indeed, must it be forgotten that the search for new and more direct connexions with the routes of Oriental trade is one of the motives underlying the Crusades themselves, and leading to what may be called the 13th-century discovery of Asia.
The Norman conquest of Sicily may with justice be called a crusade before the Crusades; and it cannot but have given some impulse to that later attempt to wrest Syria from the Mahommedans, in which the virtual leader was Bohemund, a scion of the same house which had conquered Sicily.
Is the movement of the peoples at the time of the Crusades explained by the life and activity of the Godfreys and the Louis-es and their ladies?
But in the Crusades we already see an event occupying its definite place in history and without which we cannot imagine the modern history of Europe, though to the chroniclers of the Crusades that event appeared as merely due to the will of certain people.