in Spain and the Saracen’s increasing presence near Constantinople and Southern Italy.This proximity began to cause the inevitable small skirmishes between Christian andIslamic forces. In 1016, Pope Benedict VIII is known to have asked the maritimerepublics of Pisa and Venice for aid in the retaking of Christian land in Corsica andSardinia.
For the first time war was taken to Muslim lands when Pisan and Venetianfleets attacked the Algerian City of Bone in 1034.
These battles were just the beginningin the lineage of what would become the First Crusade. While being the first of their kind in terms of Christian war against Islamic forces, they were not in very many wayswars based on religion, but instead more defensive battles between rival cities, as thesame papal support had been granted to the Venetians for a war against the ChristianCroats and Narantani.
The battles with the Muslims were meant mainly to deter futureincursions of Saracen armies and to solidify the presence of the cities merchant fleetstrading in the Mediterranean. The role of religion within these battles was yet to emergeas it was in need of the right kind of Church leaders to find a place for warfare within thetheology of the Western Church.The development of the first crusade and the role of the papacy within thatdevelopment can most easily be traced through the rise of the reform popes. Pope Leo IXwas the first of the reform popes and he was also one of the first to take advantage of themilitary capabilities of his position. Erdmann explains that while he was not the first pope to make war, “Leo IX was the first pope to derive the basis of his wars fromreligion, harmonizing them with the commands of the church and infusing religious
C Morris, pp. 147
A Jamieson, ‘Faith and Sword: A Short History of Christian-Muslim Conlfict’, Reaktion Books Ltd.,London, 2006, pp. 44
C Erdmann, The Origin of the Idea of Crusade, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1977 pp. 111