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The History of the Church 84 The First Crusade The mounting dominance in the Muslim world of the Seldjuk Turks shook society well into the West. Almost all of Asia Minor was seized from Byzantine control, and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, which until then had remained accessible under the caliphs, now became impossible. In 1095, Pope Urban II officiall launched the Crusades at the Council of Clermont-Ferrand, kindling immediate and widespread enthusiasm for the enterprise. The first mobilization effort occurred under Peter the Hermit, a monk, and Walter the Penniless, who led thousands of inexperienced peasants in their march toward the east. Sowing pillages and pogroms in their wake, they reached the Bosporus strait, only to be soundly defeated by the Turks. Meanwhile, the great lords of Europe organized four armies, commanded by Bohemond of Taranto; Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Count of Toulouse; Hugh of Vermandois; and the Duke of Lower Lorraine, Godfrey of Bouillon. Once in Asia Minor, these grand knights, behaving like good feudal lords, preferred establishing principalities for themselves above proceeding on to the Holy Sepulcher: Bohemond of Taranto became Prince of Antioch, while Baldwin of Boulogne seized the town of Edessa. French Illumination (“Passage Overseas by the French,” 1490) Bohemond’s Army before the Turks, on the Vardar River Bibliotèque Nationale, Paris ...


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