Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-25)



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The Crusader propaganda campaign
The speech of Urban II ushered in a new phase of great importance, namely the phase of Crusader propaganda. This was propaganda based on the movement of individuals to numerous locations, addressed to different sectors of society, and which played an effective role in the success of this enterprise. It may be noted that propaganda for the first Crusade, in particular, were made with the utmost brilliance and precision from the time this speech was given. To this end an army of preachers was mobilized whose aim was to expand the call to people of different mentalities so as to address all sectors of European society, each according to its mentality. After the Council of Clermont, Urban II travelled to the cities of Tours, Bordeaux and Nimes, and he spent nine months promoting this new enterprise.104 He also sent numerous letters to promote the Crusader cause, including those that he sent to all the Christian believers in Flanders, Bologna, Besalii, Sardinia, Roussillon, and Empurias. It may be noted that these letters cannot be separated from the role of the Pope in the Council of Clermont, as they were indeed a continuation of his role as propagator of the Crusades.105

The organised mentality of Urban II
It may be noted that the letters sent by the Pope to promote his Crusader enterprise offer us a number of details which do not appear in the speech of Clermont, including his approval of the role of the papal legate Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy, and the obligation to obey his commands as if they came from the Pope himself. It was also stated that monks and priests were not permitted to go to the East unless they had permission from their bishops, and the abbots of monasteries were also forbidden to go; this was aimed at avoiding rebellion and chaos. We should realize that the extant documentary sources show us the precise, organised mentality of Urban II. Hence we see that he had a comprehensive vision of the Crusader enterprise -” at that early stage at least ” and he was very keen to advise those who were going to take part in the journey to the east of the necessity of blind obedience to his commands and the commands of their direct supervisors. We also sense that the Pope insisted on the idea of uniting the Christian world. It is as if what was happening to the Christians in the east -”according to the biased claims of the Europeans -” was a matter of the utmost concern to the inhabitants of Western Europe, and that the help of the Franks and others for the eastern Christians was an important part of their duties as Christians.106 Whatever the case, the natural outcome of the organizing, planning and propaganda role played by the Pope and senior clergy was the commencement of the Crusades. What helped them with this enterprise was choosing the right time for war.

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