The Secular Motivations of the First Crusade
Vicari,George Jr., Major, USAF
Research Report, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, April (2002)
The 11th Century Roman Catholic Church claimed that its motives for the First Crusade were sacred, based solely on religious principles. This research project is an attempt to reveal or uncover any potential secular motivations behind the First Crusade to the Holy Land. The importance of such research is to not only glean a better understanding of the events of the 11th Century, but to also offer some assistance to Western foreign policy makers of the 21st Century.
A comprehensive document review of primary and secondary sources is the methodology followed in conducting this research. The challenge of discovering the motivations behind events that are over 900 years old is divided into two separate investigations: examining the motivations of the papacy and examining the motivations of the Crusaders themselves.
After analyzing the pope’s religious and political environments in 1095, as well as his actual sermon, this research found that there is a strong possibility that Pope Urban II had alternative, secular motives for calling the First Crusade.