Much has been written about the plight of eastern Christians prior to the calling of the First Crusade, and the way in which their extensive lobbying efforts for military aid from the West contributed to the birth of the crusading movement.
See, for example, the following:
Peter Frankopan on the Byzantine Recruitment of Western Warriors before the First Crusade.
Peter Frankopan and Jonathan Phillips on The Situation for Eastern Christians in the 1090s prior to the First Crusade.
Pope Gregory VII on the Plight of Eastern Christians Prior to the First Crusade.
Jonathan Riley-Smith on the Motivations of the First Crusaders.
In making such a case, the focus is usually on Byzantine Christians and their letters and embassies to popes and western nobility, as well as their attendance at ecclesiastical councils like Piacenza and Clermont, all in an effort to win military support through sympathetic descriptions of their suffering in the east as a result of Turkish invasions of Asia-Minor and surrounding regions.
Recently, I have been rereading Oxford scholar Jacob G. Ghazarian’s book The Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia During the Crusades (Routledge, 2000), and was intrigued to note his description of Armenian Christians who also participated in such efforts in the years leading up to the calling of the First Crusade. Continue reading