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The Three Greatest Battles Of The Middle Ages

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What makes a battle great? First and foremost it has to be huge, meaning between two superpowers with both sides having a substantial amount of troops. But, it also has to be for a glorious cause or must be led by a great general; and it must be a battle that changes the course of history. With all this in mind, the battles of antiquity were truly the greatest battles. But because there were so many, I have only enough space to describe the three greatest land battles between 1000AD and 1500 AD; The Battle of Hastings, The First Crusade and The Reconquest of Granada.

The Battle of Hastings, 1066

The battle of Hastings was one of the most culturally significant battles in the history of England, Europe and the World. From 1042 until his death in 1066, King St. Edward the Confessor held the throne of England as a Saxon Monarch. After King St. Edward's death, Harold Godwinson, assumed the throne in a very presumptuous manner. It was soon, however, to blow up in his face as it being he wasn't named King of England, William the Duke of Normandy was. According to legend, in 1051 King St. Edward named William heir to the throne and Harold swore on the relics of St. Valin to respect these wishes. Therefore, Harold's claim to the throne was not only wrong, but also blasphemous in the eyes of William. However, Harold was very stubborn and refused to hand over the kingdom, so the only effort left was war. On September 28th 1066, William landed in Pevensey Bay and after much fighting and thousands dead (including the deposed King Harold), the battle of Hastings ended on Sunday October 15th. William, now called the Conqueror, was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066.

The battle of Hastings was an immense battle for its time. With both armies gearing with around 8,000 men, there was defiantly a lot of bloodshed. But this battle was not made great by its armies nor, to a certain extent, even by its generals. This battle was immortalized because of the colossal effect it had on history. With the change over of the Saxon rulers to the Monarchy of the Norman invaders, England's culture changed and with this change came great cultural expansion. First of all, the Normans introduced feudal society too England, and with feudal society came a more organic monarchy than that of Saxon England. It also introduced castles to England soil. William was Duke of Normandy along with being the newly crowned King of England, which was probably a fact that changed history for the worse. Because Normandy was a regent of Fr4ance, and because William was now King of England, English monarchs throughout the centuries have had to pay homage to French kings in exchange for English possessions of French lands such as Normandy. The English, however, weren't always keen to bowing before others and this led to a great and bloody rivalry between the English and the French. A substantial and unfortunate number of battles and wars, such as the Hundred Years War, stemmed from this problem. Between the sheer size of the armies and the great effect it had on History, the Battle of Hastings can definitely be called one of the greatest battles of Medieval Times.

The First Crusade, 1095-1099

The Middle Ages was a time of extreme religious devotion and zeal for the Catholic faith. However, with the onset of the Islam during the 7th century and its 'spread by the sword' apostolate, Medieval Europe had its fair share of problems. All of their problems, more or less, accumulated during the period surrounding the First Crusade. With the Muslim armies closing in upon the seat of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, the kingdoms in the west had to act fast since the Byzantine city was the gateway from the Middle East to the Western World. Blessed Pope Urban II, in a desperate call for help, gave his famous speech at Clermont in 1095 calling all Christian men to, "Guard on all sides the flock committed to you," against the Muslim invaders. His call was heeded and in 1096 an immense army of 30,000-40,000 men, some accompanied by their wives, was formed and the First Crusade was underway. Once in Constantinople, the crusaders marched on Nicea, only to be betrayed by the Byzantine Emperor, hence breaking the pact with the Byzantines. After Nicea, the crusaders marched on the valley of Doryleaum and then on Armenia and Antioch, all of which were originally Christian regions, but were overthrown by the Muslims. In 1099, the crusaders finally made it to Jerusalem. After a few attacks, the crusaders finally besieged the city and on Friday, July 15, 1099, conquered Jerusalem.

The First Crusade was probably the most decisive battle in the history of Christian Europe. With roughly 30,000-40,000men on the Christian side and more than 50,000 on the Muslim side, this was a battle of biblical proportions. Unfortunately, many people think these warriors were ruthless scoundrels only concerned with land and money, but in reality the story was quite different. The crusaders saw this front by the Muslims as a direct attack on their faith, and to not stand up for the Catholic Church was simply unacceptable to them. Therefore, when the Pope called out to all of the Christian countries,



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