The Crusades were Holy Wars declared by the papacy
in defence of Christendom. The First Crusade was preached by Pope
Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 and had as its objectives
the recovery of Jerusalem and the defence of Christians in the East
against the Muslims. The Second Crusade of 1146-8 was called by
Pope Eugene III (1145-53) upon the Fall of Edessa to resurgent Muslims.
It was supported by Bernard of Clairvaux
who embarked upon a fervent preaching campaign throughout Europe.
Bernards rousing sermons generated tremendous fervour, invoking
many to take up arms for the Church. Louis VII of France took up
the Cross in 1146, but despite high hopes of victory the Second
Crusade was a disaster. This failure changed the nature of subsequent
Crusades which were organised on a more strictly military basis.