The history of the crusades emanates from the Middle Ages Western developments coupled by the deteriorating situation of the then Byzantine Empire. This culminated from the rise of an entire class of warriors who in most cases fought amongst themselves and terrorized the peasant population. These warriors were as a result of the breakdown of the Carolingian Empire which precipitated in the later 19th century and fermented by the relative stability that was enjoyed at the time within Europe’s local borders whose precedence had been the Christianization of the Slavs, Magyars and the Vikings. In attempts to restore order, the Church formed Peace and Truce of God movements. These movements forbade violence being meted against certain classes of the people during certain times of the year. The trained warriors were however not fully restrained from their violence and when the then Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I sought help from the attacking Muslims, these warriors willingly sought to help. The effects and aftermath of the crusades were massive, felt in various regions and the crusades in themselves effected in numerous faces, with the traditional numbering totalling to nine major crusades.
It is from the above excerpt that the article The Near East in the Age of the Crusade is premised from. The article gives a rather precise history of the crusaders, who were referred by the participants as Sancti Petri or milites Christi (the faithful of St. Peter and knights of Christ respectively). He describes how they justified the crusades as they claimed to be undertaking an iter, or a peregrinatio (same as pilgrimage) even though pilgrims are forbidden from carrying arms. More precisely, Holt describes the experience in the Near East during the age of the crusades. Holt goes on to describe how the Eastern Orthodox Christian viewed the Crusades as being barbaric attacks emanating from the West. This was the view that was shared with the Muslims. However in contrast to the Muslim opinion, Holt writes that the Eastern Orthodox Christian centred the barbaric attacks on the sack of Constantinople in 1204.