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The Crusades and Pilgrimages Reason for the Crusades Christians of Europe believed that all places associated with the life and death of Christ were to have divine powers of healing and of absolving penitents of sin People from all over Europe made pilgrimages to Jerusalem and other holy places Pilgrimages were groups of people known as pilgrims who came from all over to go and see the Holy Land They believed that by praying and just being where their Christ had lived preached was crucified and where Christianity began would give them a faster way to heaven Many gave up all their possessions to travel to the Holy Land In 1071 AD the Turks also known as Muslims captured Jerusalem The Turks began to persecute the Christians in the Holy Land Alexius Commenus the emperor or Eastern Roman Empire feared that the Turks would seize his capital - Constantinople He sent for help from Pope Urban II in Rome In 1095 AD the pope called a council at Clermont in France There from the middle of a field he urged thousands of people to rescue the Holy Land The First Crusade In March of 1096 AD thousands of people decided that they would not wait for the time set by the council to start the crusade and started out for the Holy Land themselves A knight named Walter the Penniless led several thousand through Germany and Hungary to Constantinople In addition a monk named Peter the Hermit led several thousand others from Germany Neither group took the time to gather provisions and had decided to live off the land More than half of Peters followers died or were seized as slaves when they passed through Bulgaria Most of Walters crusaders and himself included were massacred by the Turks east of Constantinople In August of 1096 AD armies of knights and princes began their crusading march unto Jerusalem On the breast
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