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 A.D. and 1270 A.D. It was one of the most violent periods in the history of mankind. .
The starting point of the crusades was on November 18, 1095 A.D., 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 crowd's response was very positive. .
Garments were cut into crosses, which were attached to people's shoulders in an imitation of Christ. This symbolized God's protection as well as protection of his possessions by the government. 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 Christianity in France. Urban wanted the crusading army to be mostly made up of knights and other military personnel; but 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 that they passed through were frightened and killed many of the crusading bands. Some did get to Constantinople and traveled across the Bosporus in August 1096.