Year 7

Pope Urban II's call to crusade

I can explain why Urban II encouraged Christians to go on crusade.

Year 7

Pope Urban II's call to crusade

I can explain why Urban II encouraged Christians to go on crusade.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Pope Urban II led the Roman Church in the late 11th century.
  2. Urban II faced a number of challenges whilst he was pope.
  3. Urban II called a Church council to Clermont in 1095, partly to discuss the Seljuk invasion into the Byzantine Empire.
  4. Urban II called upon Western European Christians to go on crusade against the Seljuk Empire.
  5. Many people were eager to go on crusade.

Common misconception

Records of speeches from previous time periods are accurate representations of what these people actually said.

Accurate recording of speeches was not a priority for many historians or record keepers up until fairly recently. It was seen as acceptable to put words into the mouths of past people based on what happened after or to reflect present sensibilities.


  • Pope - the pope is the head of the Catholic Church

  • Church - the Church is the organisation of the Christian religion

  • Crusade - a crusade is a military expedition against a group considered by the papacy to be an enemy of the Church

Give students different versions of Urban's speech and ask them to look for similarities and differences between them. Students can then assess what they think Urban might have actually said in his speech.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.
  • Contains conflict or violence.


Adult supervision suggested.


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).



6 Questions

Who was excommunicated after disagreeing with the Pope about who should appoint the next bishop of Milan?
Correct answer: Henry IV
Gregory VII
Leo IX
The action of officially excluding someone from participation in the sacraments and services of the Christian Church is known as ...
Correct Answer: excommunication, Excommunication
Which Roman emperor declared that Christianity was to be granted the status of an acceptable religion in the Roman Empire in 313 CE?
Correct answer: Constantine
What was the name of the kingdom carved out for the pope in central Italy in 754 CE?
Papal Area
Pope States
Correct answer: Papal States
This keyword is the organisation of the Christian religion.
Correct Answer: The Church, Church, church
Starting with the most important, sort the following in the order of hierarchy in the Catholic Church.
1 - The Pope
2 - archbishops
3 - bishops
4 - priests
5 - ordinary people

6 Questions

A military expedition against a group considered by the papacy to be an enemy of the Church is known as a .
Correct Answer: crusade, Crusade
Select the problems that Pope Urban II had to deal with when he became pope.
The Italian kingdoms were at war with each other and the Papal States.
Correct answer: The Holy Roman Empire was in a constant state of rebellion.
Correct answer: Another pope had been installed by the Holy Roman Emperor.
Floods in Spain had washed away many churches along the coast.
Who did the Byzantine Empire ask Pope Urban II for help fighting against in 1095?
the Abbasids
the Fatimids
Correct answer: the Seljuks
In which of the following areas did Pope Urban II called for a crusade?
Correct answer: Spain
What happened on the final day of the council in Clermont in November 1095?
Correct answer: Urban spoke to thousands calling for them to go on a crusade.
They discussed various minor Church matters.
They sorted out arguments between nobles.
How did thousands of people in Western Europe respond to the pope's call for crusade in 1095?
They took up arms in Rome and waited for the enemies to arrive.
They travelled to Jerusalem.
Correct answer: They journeyed en masse to Muslim-controlled lands in the east.

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