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Middle Ages
The First Crusade



The First Crusade
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.93

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    crusaders, indulgence, papal, persuasive, well-fortified, victorious, medieval, sins, wills, monk, bloody, unofficial, towers, series, supposedly, affected
     content words:    Holy Land, Middle Ages, First Crusade, Pope Urban II, Turkish Muslims, Byzantine Empire, European Christians, Mediterranean Sea, Middle East


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The First Crusade
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Palestine, sometimes called the Holy Land, has seen more than its share of troubles. It has been at the center of many fights over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, it was the scene of the First Crusade.
 
2     The First Crusade began in 1095 when Pope Urban II made a speech in France. In his speech, he described attacks by Turkish Muslims on Christians of the Byzantine Empire. He called on European Christians to rush to defend the Holy Land from the Turks.
 
3     The offer of a papal indulgence, or forgiveness of all of a person's sins, encouraged many people to join the Crusade. Serfs were allowed to leave the land they worked on to join the Crusade. Crusaders were also excused from paying taxes. People from all walks of life, and from several nations, joined for a variety of reasons. Some people joined because of religious enthusiasm. Some joined with the hope of gaining land, wealth, or power.
 
4     Soon, thousands of Crusaders had joined, each wearing the red Crusader's cross and shouting the battle cry, "God wills it!"
 
5     While the official armies were forming, an unofficial army of Crusaders was growing larger and larger too. This throng was led by Peter the Hermit, a monk who had the gift of persuasive speech that could stir up a crowd to follow him. His group of unofficial peasant Crusaders included men, women, and children. It became known as "The People's Crusade" and eventually grew to a force of more than 10,000.

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