I’m reminded of the beginning of Life of Brian, where people are gathered to hear someone, who is supposed to be Jesus speaking in a field.
Terry Jones, of Monty Python did a series about the Crusades. Can you imagine the same scene as in Life of Brian with the back of the crowd not really sure what Pope Urban was saying. What, we are going on a trip? To the Holy Land. All expenses paid? Tell me more.
The Pope talked about Muslim atrocities against Christians in the Holy Land and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Nothing new about this. In the early 20th Century Louisiana Governor Huey Long was a master of this sort of thing.
After watching Terry Jones’ series, I realized the Pope’s real reason. The Norman Knights were busy killing each other off. He realized he wasn’t going to get the Normans to stop killing people. So he did the next best thing. He figuratively killed two birds with one stone, gave the Norman Knights a cause and someone to kill that wasn’t other Western Christians. (They had a fine time killing Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but that’s next week’s episode).
They first began with batting practice killing Jews in the Rhineland. As a Jew, I tend to object.
I am only covering the First Crusade here. I can probably come up with stuff for the following centuries.