Pope Urban II Research Paper

This sample Pope Urban II Research Paper is published for educational and informational purposes only. Free research papers are not written by our writers, they are contributed by users, so we are not responsible for the content of this free sample paper. If you want to buy a high quality research paper on history topics at affordable price please use custom research paper writing services.

Pope Urban II was a French-born church reformer and summoner of the First Crusade that recaptured Jerusalem in 1099. He is considered to be one of the most influential popes—in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and in European history as well.

Otho of Lagery (also known as Otto, Odo, or Eudes), who would later become Pope Urban II, was born in France in 1035. He studied at Reims under Bruno of Hartenfaust, who would later found the Carthusian Order and be canonized as St. Bruno. After retirement at Cluny, Otho was sent to Rome to aid Pope Gregory VII in his efforts to reform the church and eventually became the pope’s chief adviser. During his years in various church positions, Otho filled numerous vacant church offices with clerics faithful to Pope Gregory VII and removed those whom the pontiff had condemned. Otho became one of the most prominent and active supporters of the Gregorian reforms, especially during his term as legate in Germany. Otho was also among the select few whom Gregory VII had previously nominated as possible successors.

At a conference of Gregorian bishops at Terracina in 1088, Otho was elected pope to replace the recently deceased Victor III. After his election, Otho chose the papal name of Urban II. From the outset of his papacy, Urban II adhered to the reform efforts of Gregory VII and publicly declared his intention of following the policies set forth by his predecessor. In the same manner as his mentor, Gregory VII, Urban II was met with a storm of opposition. He was opposed not only by laymen but by the clergy, especially by the bishops. The pope would also have been distracted by battles against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and his imperial pope Clement III over whether the imperial or the papal power was to be supreme in Christian Europe. Still in the midst of the Investiture Controversy, Urban II was unable to enter Rome until 1093 due to the presence of the antipope Clement III (Guibert of Ravenna) and the actions of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV.

Urban II utilized the conciliar method of church leadership, holding significant councils at Piacenza (1095), Clermont (1095), Rome (1097), Bari (1098), and Rome (1099). At Piacenza the pope approached the subject of the Crusades, after receiving a request for assistance from the Eastern Emperor, Alexius I. The more important council was that at Clermont, where Urban II began by reiterating the decrees of Gregory VII against simony, investiture, and clerical marriage. The matter of Constantinople and Jerusalem was also discussed, and a decision was made to send an army to rescue Jerusalem and the Catholic churches in the East from the Muslim Turks. In his sermon at Clermont, Urban II concluded his remarks with the phrase “Deus vult!” (God wills it!). This slogan would later become the battle cry of the crusader.

Urban II’s initiation of the crusade movement is significant in world history. The various crusades provided the mechanisms for reopening the trade routes that united the civilizations of Europe and the East. Through these routes many things flowed: paper, the compass, medicines, spices, crops, cultural advances, and gunpowder. The First Crusade was successful in that Jerusalem fell to the crusaders in 1099. Urban II died on 29 July 1099, fourteen days after the recapture of Jerusalem by the Christian crusaders. Ironically, the pope’s death occurred before news of the event had reached Italy.

Although the First Crusade was a military success, some of the consequences were not anticipated by the Byzantine emperor, Alexus I. Instead of restoring Byzantine territories to eastern Catholic rule, the Roman Catholic conquerors established four independent Latin kingdoms. In addition, the Hospitallers, Templars, and Teutonic Knights came into power as religious military orders, with the stated purpose of protecting the pilgrims and holy sites.

The remains of Urban II were interred in the crypt of St. Peter’s, close to the tomb of Adrian I. Clearly, without the efforts of Urban II, most of the Gregorian reforms would not have succeeded. Urban II was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.


  1. Coppa, F. J. (1999). Encyclopedia of the Vatican and papacy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  2. Cowdrey, H. E. J. (2000). Popes and church reform in the 11th century. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
  3. Levillain, P. (2002). The papacy: An encyclopedia. New York: Routledge.
  4. Somerville, R. (1972). The councils of Urban II. Amsterdam: Hakkert.

See also:

Free research papers are not written to satisfy your specific instructions. You can use our professional writing services to order a custom research paper on political science and get your high quality paper at affordable price.


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality
Special offer! Get discount 10% for the first order. Promo code: cd1a428655