The seeds of what became known as the Wendish Crusade of 1147, had been planted some five-hundred years earlier. In the latter years of the 11thcentury, Byzantium lay to the south and east of Wendish lands, and came under aggressive attacks from the Turks, who seized large areas of lands, following Byzantine’s army’s defeat at Manzikert, in Asia Minor in 1071. In 1081 Emperor Alexius I Comneus, became Constantinople’s leader holding off the Turks. Alexius needed help and sent a letter to Pope Urban II… His simple letter of help, led to numerous of Crusades and thousands of European warriors coming to their aid…
Pope Urban II, received a plea for help from Constantinople, he saw it as a way of turning pagan’s to Christians, and bringing them all under the authority of the papacy. He called for a Holy War, a Crusade against Muslims in the Holy Land and Pagans in the Baltic Crusade of Europe. Its aim to free Jerusalem and the infidels.
Pope Urban II had to offer something, to these warriors who would put their lives on the line, with little chance of returning. (He proclaimed that any man who went to free the Holy Land would be absolved of all sins on earth and guaranteed a heavenly reward in the afterlife).
An ongoing battle took place between European crusaders and Muslim forces between the years (1096-1099), with Jerusalem as the prize. In 1099 Jerusalem fell into Christian hands, and a military state was set up by the Crusaders, they being the new protectors of the Holy City.
In 1144 Islamic leader one Imad al Din Zangi unified the Arabic world, which witnessed attacks upon Palestine and the European strongholds.
In 1146, Edessa fell to Zangi’s forces as panic spread across Europe. A cry went up, calling for a Second Crusade for the capture of Jerusalem, and freeing the Holy Land from an oppressive Muslim regime.
The First Crusade was ordained by the Pope, the new call came from “St. Bernard Abbot of Clairvaux,” the Pope’s representative, who tore his habit, making crosses for his warriors.