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Crusade, The Second (1146-8)

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. Bernard’s 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.