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The Crusades and the Investiture Controversy Case Study


The Crusades are usually discussed in terms of key religious events in the Middle Ages because of their significance in politics, dynamism, and impact on the development of European countries during the period under discussion. In comparing the Crusades to the Investiture Controversy, it is possible to state that the similarities between these two historical phenomena are found in their relationship with both the religious and political development of European nations. Discussing the relationship between religion and politics that was “sometimes harmonious and sometimes stormy,” Crone has stated that “religious and political leaders were both concerned with the organization and management of people in the here and now, they could not ignore each other for long” (132).

From this viewpoint, religion could influence the authorities’ military decisions. According to Crone, “God may tell you to conquer, kill and loot, or in other words to practice holy war” (132). This practice was followed by popes and monarchs to promote their power outside their countries. Thus, the Crusades were initiated with reference to religious goals similar to many other political events of that time. The pilgrimage to “sacred lands” or the “holy site,” as it was described by the religious leaders, was considered important to protect the Christians’ faith and interest in the region (lecture). As a result, religious events reflected prevailing tendencies in politics and accentuated the necessity of developing relations with other countries. The First Crusade was aimed at providing support to the Byzantine Empire, and it opened new prospects for the Roman Catholic Church to develop trade and establish political contacts in the Eastern Mediterranean.

However, it is important to note that the Crusades and the Investiture Controversy represented different phenomena that should be discussed in detail. Although both events are associated with religious conflicts and wars, the Crusades were oriented toward the war against Islamic invaders in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Investiture Controversy represented the conflict between popes and monarchs in European countries. From this point of view, the purposes and effects of these events were different. Thus, the Crusades emphasized the opposition between Christianity and Islam in the global arena, and the decisions of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the Crusades significantly affected politics in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The Christians should have accepted the call to war in order to protect their faith and sacred lands. Speaking to the public, Robert the Monk claimed: “Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher, wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves” (Robert the Monk, Urban II’s Speech at Clermont in 1095). In contrast, during the Investiture Controversy, religious and political leaders were more interested in resolving their domestic power issues. Thus, Pope Gregory VII declared: “That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet” (Pope Gregory VII, The Dictates of the Pope), while the goal of monarchs was to prevent this monocracy in Catholic countries. From this perspective, the Crusades can be discussed as a more complex historical phenomenon than the Investiture Controversy because this holy war determined the course of development of politics and international relations in the world for many years to follow. Therefore, it is possible to agree with Student A’s ideas regarding important trade relationships associated with the Crusades’ outcomes and Student B’s ideas regarding the role of religion in the discussed political events.

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"The Crusades and the Investiture Controversy." IvyPanda, 13 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-crusades-and-the-investiture-controversy/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Crusades and the Investiture Controversy." November 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-crusades-and-the-investiture-controversy/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Crusades and the Investiture Controversy." November 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-crusades-and-the-investiture-controversy/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Crusades and the Investiture Controversy'. 13 November.

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