What split Rome and Byzantium? What took Western Europe to religious hysteria in the 10th Century? What changed in Palestine between the rise of Islam in the 7th Century and the 10th Century? What was the power of the Pope at this time? What were the forces at play on the Muslim sides? Pilgrims had been visiting the Christian Holy Places for probably 300 years before the Crusades, and for the earlier part of that period had been welcomed by the Muslim rulers. But a complex mixture of Christian faithful including the poor, those still believing in the end of the world, and everyday folk, as well as freebooter aristocrats in search of wealth and land, provided an amazing spectacle. A series of armies travelled on foot for over 3,000 km to Palestine, leading to a massive disruption in the Levant that echoed for centuries. This course looks at the factors at play on all sides: the European Catholics, the Byzantine Orthodox Empire and the varying Muslim states during the period. It also looks briefly at the crusades in Iberia.