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The crusades were military expeditions launched against the Muslims by the Christians in an attempt to regain the Holy Land They took place between 1095 AD and 1270 AD It was one of the most violent periods in the history of mankind The starting point of the crusades was on November 18 1095 AD when Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont On November 27 outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand the Pope made an important speech He called upon everyone to help the Christians in the east to restore peace The crowds response was very positive Garments were cut into crosses which were attached to peoples shoulders in an imitation of Christ Matthew 10381 The original object of the First Crusade was to help Christian churches in the east The new goal became to free the Holy Land from Muslim control especially Jerusalem Pope Urban II stayed in France until September 1096 to provide leadership and guidance for the members of the First Crusade He urged churchmen to preach the cross in France Urban wanted the crusading army to be mostly made up of knights and other military personnel Since the news of his speech at Clermont spread through the west people from all social classes and occupations joined the Crusade As a result of Urban losing control of personnel violence was launched against the Jews of northern France This violence was mostly instigated by bands of the urban and rural poor led by men like Peter the Hermit and Walter Sans-Avoir These groups lacked supplies and discipline They attempted to reach Constantinople but most of them never got that far The leaders in lands which they passed through were frightened and killed many of the crusading bands Some did get to Constantinople and traveled across the Bosphorus in August 1096 There they split into two groups One tried to overtake Nicaea and was unsuccessful The other was ambushed and slaughtered near
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