- Politics and Social Issues
The Victory of the Crusades: Positive Effects to Political, Economic, and Socio-cultural Aspects of Society
How would you define success? To some, the Crusades may have been a failure; nevertheless, I beg to differ. The goal to conquer the Holy Land may not have been fulfilled but the indirect result of these Crusades is what to me made it a victory.
Do you think the positive effects of the Crusades outweigh the negatives?
First and foremost, the Crusades led to the eventual breakdown of feudalism because the feudal lords were busy fighting in Palestine. As a result, European kings increased their authority. I believe that this breakdown helped strengthen the government in Europe because feudalism was a system that discouraged the unified government. I think that in the past, under the system of feudalism, the people weren’t loyal to the king; rather, they were loyal to their landlord. The kings were in a tough position back then. The breakdown of the system, in my perspective, improved the political life in Europe because a sense of stability was restored in the government. Instead of the loyalty belonging to the land lords, the loyalty to the king was restored. This created a sense of unity among the followers, making it easier for the king to govern. This came as just one of the results of the Crusades.
On the other hand, the Crusades also boosted the economy. Trade flourished as Europeans demanded luxuries such as spices, sugar, lemons, rugs, tapestries, and silky woven cloth. I believe that the reason why the Europeans began to demand items such as spices that they don’t usually have is their exposure to the different resources available in Asia. We know that Asia is indeed known for its spices. I can confidently say that this improved the economy because it opened up new trade routes. New trade relations were formed. Thus, the Crusaders’ exposure to a new environment was a springboard to a bigger and better economy.
Speaking of exposure, wait! There’s more! As they were exposed to a different environment, they were able to witness differences in culture. They were also able to gain knowledge in fields of science and mathematics and create interesting discoveries. They were also able to acquire new knowledge, just like the knowledge in order for them to be able to construct an arch. This they later used in building graceful and beautiful cathedrals. They also expanded upon their current medical knowledge. In my view, the Crusades improved their socio-cultural life because it gave them a wider view of the world. This would have lead to having a broader perspective in different aspects of living, being restrained no longer by the the arts, culture, and knowledge present within the area. This would then have led to them adapting various ideas from other parts of the world so that they could improve their own. Since we could say that this affected their way of life, we could say that this affected their culture.
Conclusion and Real-Life Application
Looking back, how would you define success? Failure is inevitable. Before the Crusades have even started, they must have realized that there is always a chance of defeat. As for what they were fighting for, the Holy Land, they did lose. What they have not seen, however, is how they succeeded. The small changes in society, government, economy, and culture, including the ones aforementioned, is what have made the Crusades a success amidst failure. We can say that the Crusades are still a success because the contributions that came as a result of these we still use to this day. For instance, one of the mathematical developments they made is the number system we use today, which they then called “Arabic”, were developed through combining Greek and Indian knowledge. This replaced the rather tedious Roman number system. It is clear how this specific instance influenced the world today—we actually use these numerals in our day to day life! We use them in everywhere from counting to solving for x in the quadratic formula to looking for the percent composition for an element in a solution. With this, in times that we do fail, I’d say, failure does not define success. Look beyond failure. Look for the success behind it.