Expansion through the crusades

A phase of the life of Europe which loomed large through at least half of the four hundred years from 950 to 1350 was the Crusades. In spite of their name, they were not entirely religious movements. Indeed, they were a phase of the beginning of the expansion of Europe which, after a pause, was to be of major importance for the world and for Christianity in the ensuing generations and not least in the twentieth century. Ostensibly they had a Christian motive, they were with the authorization and in no small degree at the initiative of the Roman branch of the Catholic Church, they were permeated by religious, if not purely Christian, devotion, and they had marked effect upon the Christian communities, both in the West and in the East. However, important though they were, this is not the place for more than a brief summary of them. Our interest in them is primarily in their bearing upon our subject, the history of Christianity. From that standpoint they are significant partly because through them Western Christianity was projected into the Eastern Mediterranean, partly because of the effects, largely disastrous, on relations between the Western and Eastern wings of the Catholic Church, and partly because of the repercussions on Latin Christianity.

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