Initial causes of the Crusades?

The first proximate cause of the Crusades was the advance of the New East. The Christian nations of Europe were definitely not the aggressors. The Moslems had been aggressors against the Christians since the seventh century. Caliph Al-Hakim went half mad with wealth and power. He persecuted Christians and ordered the demolition of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The second proximate cause of the Crusades was the dangerous weakening of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, the Turks attacked and virtually annihilated the Byzantine army at Manzikert. It was the defeat that led the Byzantine Emperor to appeal to the Pope for aid against the Moslems. The Christian countries of Europe were justified in defending themselves against Moslem attacks and also in going on the offensive in order to prevent future attacks. At no point did the Crusaders attack the Moslem homeland, Arabia, but only those originally Christian territories that the Moslems had conquered. For more information, the following are fantastic sources: What Were the Crusades? by. Jonathan Riley Christ the Lord King of History by. Anne Carroll The Age of Faith by Will Durant