The objective of the 1st Crusade - the Nobels' point of view

"Notwithstanding the cooperation of both Churches, the Crusaders stationed in Antioch were tended by their own priests. The Latin clergy were free to serve their community as long as they acknowledged the authority of the Byzantine patriarch. Crusaders in the East were for the time militia who were there to serve a purpose. The question of restituting the churches of the East to Rome was not in the crusader’s plans.

This position changed drastically when Alexius abandoned the Crusaders in view of the impending Muslim backlash. When Antioch was captured, Crusaders sent notice for Alexius to come to the Levant and take official control of the city.

During this time the unfortunate death of Adhémar in the summer of 1098 created an important political and religious void for the Crusaders. Urban had sent Adhémar with the Crusaders to insure the stipulations agreed upon by the two Churches were maintained. When Crusaders learned that Alexius’ forces had turned back on their march to Antioch, the previous religious and political plans were discarded as void.

Alexius’ abandonment and the sudden death of Adhémar left the Crusaders in an unexpected and little prepared for position. Alone in the Levant and confident of their military might, Crusaders acted as an autonomous group which would carry out their own will irrespective of the Byzantines.

Crusaders interpreted Alexius’ actions as the submission of Antioch to the Latins,  and immediately sent a petition to Pope Urban. (...) The letter sent by the Crusaders demonstrates how they understood their own actions in the Levant. Their obedience to Adhémar and the restitution of territories back to the Byzantines was done to honor the Pope’s wishes. Without the papal legate and the Byzantine’s betrayal, the work Crusaders were doing took on an entirely new meaning."

Source: dissertation Sebastián Ernesto Salvadó, August 2011, Stanford University. Illustration: Portrait of Emperor Alexios I (1048-1118), from a Greek manuscript; source Wikipedia.

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