On June 3, 1098, Christian Crusaders of the First Crusade seized Antioch, Turkey. They had been urged into battle by Pope Urban II. His Call to Crusade was a sermon delivered to a large audience at the end of a church council at Clermont, in the Auvergne in France, in 1095. Urban’s visit marked the first time a pope had visited France in nearly fifty years. In Urban’s Call to Crusade, he called on the faithful to aid the Christians of the East against the Turks and to liberate Jerusalem from Turkish rule. To those who took up the challenge, Urban offered a spiritual reward: forgiveness of all the sins they had committed to date. Although Urban’s words would transform the course of world history, no official record of what he said is extant. Historians have to rely instead on later accounts, all of which were written after 1099, when the campaign he inspired resulted in the conquest of Jerusalem.
Read our complete coverage of Urban II’s Call to Crusade, including in-depth analysis by the historian Michael Lower of the University of Minnesota.