Bishop of OstiaUrban, baptized Eudes (Odo), was born to a family of Châtillon-sur-Marne. He was prior of the Cluny Abbey, abbey of Cluny, later Pope Gregory VII named him cardinal-bishop of Ostia . He was one of the most prominent and active supporters of the Gregorian reforms, especially as papal legate, legate in the Holy Roman Empire in 1084. He was among the three whom Gregory VII nominated as ''papabile'' (possible successors). Pope Victor III, Desiderius, the abbot of Monte Cassino, was chosen to follow Gregory in 1085 but, after his short reign as Victor III, Odo was Papal election, 1088, elected by acclamation at a small meeting of cardinals and other prelates held in Terracina in March 1088.
Struggle for authorityFrom the outset, Urban had to reckon with the presence of Antipope Clement III, Guibert, the former bishop of Ravenna who held Rome as the antipope "Clement III". Gregory had repeatedly clashed with the Holy Roman Emperor, emperor Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV over papal authority. Despite the Walk to Canossa, Gregory had backed the rebel Rudolf of Rheinfelden, Duke of Swabia and again excommunicated the emperor. Henry finally took Rome in 1084 and installed Clement III in his place. Urban took up the policies of Pope Gregory VII and, while pursuing them with determination, showed greater flexibility and diplomatic finesse. Usually kept away from Rome, Urban toured northern Italy and France. A series of well-attended synods held in Rome, Amalfi, Benevento, and Troia, Italy, Troia supported him in renewed declarations against simony, Investiture Controversy, lay investitures, clerical celibacy, clerical marriages (partly via the ''cullagium'' tax), and the emperor and his antipope. He facilitated the marriage of Matilda of Tuscany, Matilda, countess of Tuscany, with Welf II, Duke of Bavaria, Welf II, duke of Bavaria. He supported the rebellion of Conrad of Italy, Prince Conrad against his father and bestowed the office of groom on Conrad at Cremona in 1095.. While there, he helped arrange the marriage between Conrad and Maximilla of Sicily, Maximilla, the daughter of Roger I of Sicily, Count Roger of County of Sicily, Sicily, which occurred later that year at Republic of Pisa, Pisa; her large dowry helped finance Conrad's continued campaigns. The Eupraxia of Kiev, Empress Adelaide was encouraged in her charges of sexual coercion against her husband, Henry IV. He supported the theological and ecclesiastical work of Anselm of Canterbury, Anselm, negotiating a solution to the cleric's impasse with William II of England, King William II of Kingdom of England, England and finally receiving England's support against the Imperial pope in Rome. Urban maintained vigorous support for his predecessors' reforms, however, and did not shy from supporting Anselm when the new archbishop of Canterbury fled England. Likewise, despite the importance of French support for his cause, he upheld his legate Hugh of Die's excommunication of Philip I of France, King Philip over his doubly bigamous marriage with Bertrade de Montfort, wife of the Fulk IV, Count of Anjou, Count of Anjou. (The ban was repeatedly lifted and reimposed as the king promised to forswear her and then repeatedly returned to her. A public penance in 1104 ended the controversy, although Bertrade remained active in attempting to see her sons succeed Philip instead of Louis VI of France, Louis.)
First CrusadeUrban II's movement took its first public shape at the Council of Piacenza, where, in March 1095, Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos asking for help against the Muslim Seljuk Empire, Seljuk Turks who had taken over most of formerly Byzantine Anatolia. The Council of Clermont met, attended by numerous Italian, Kingdom of Burgundy, Burgundian, and French Bishop (Catholic Church), bishops. All of the sessions except the final one took place either in the Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral, cathedral of Clermont or in the suburban church of Notre-Dame-du- Port. Though the Council was primarily focused on reforms within the church hierarchy, Urban II gave a speech on 27 November 1095 at the conclusion of the Council to a broader audience. The speech was made outside in the open air to accommodate the vast crowd that had come to hear him. Urban II's sermon proved highly effective, as he summoned the attending nobility and the people to wrest the Holy Land, and the eastern churches generally, from the control of the Seljuk Turks. This was the speech that triggered the Crusades. There exists no exact transcription of the speech that Urban delivered at the Council of Clermont. The five extant versions of the speech were written down some time later, and they differ widely from one another. All versions of the speech except that by Fulcher of Chartres were probably influenced by the chronicle account of the First Crusade called the ''Gesta Francorum'' (written c. 1101), which includes a version of it. Fulcher of Chartres was present at the Council, though he did not start writing his history of the crusade, including a version of the speech until c. 1101. Robert the Monk may have been present, but his version dates from about 1106. The five versions of Urban's speech likely reflect much more clearly what later authors thought Urban II should have said to launch the First Crusade than what Urban II actually did say. As a better means of evaluating Urban's true motives in calling for a crusade to the Holy Lands, there are four extant letters written by Pope Urban himself: one to the Flanders, Flemish (dated December 1095); one to the Bologna, Bolognese (dated September 1096); one to Vallombrosa (dated October 1096); and one to the counts of Catalonia (dated either 1089 or 1096–1099). However, whereas the three former letters were concerned with rallying popular support for the Crusades, and establishing the objectives, his letters to the Catalonian lords instead beseech them to continue the fight against the Moors, assuring them that doing so would offer the same divine rewards as a conflict against the Seljuks. It is Urban II's own letters, rather than the paraphrased versions of his speech at Clermont, that reveal his actual thinking about crusading. Nevertheless, the versions of the speech have had a great influence on popular conceptions and misconceptions about the Crusades, so it is worth comparing the five composed speeches to Urban's actual words. Fulcher of Chartres has Urban saying that the Lord and Christ beseech and command the christians to fight and reclaim their land. Fulcher of Chartres' account of Urban's speech
... this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough for its cultivators. Hence it is that you murder one another, that you wage war, and that frequently you perish by mutual wounds. Let therefore hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves ... God has conferred upon you above all nations great glory in arms. Accordingly undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven.Robert continued:
When Pope Urban had said these ... things in his urbane discourse, he so influenced to one purpose the desires of all who were present, that they cried out "It is the will of God! It is the will of God!". When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, [he] said: "Most beloved brethren, today is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.' Unless the Lord God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry. For, although the cry issued from numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry was one. Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let this then be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! It is the will of God!"Within Fulcher of Chartres account of pope Urban’s speech there was a promise of remission of sins for whoever took part in the crusade.
All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.It is disputed whether the famous slogan deus vult, "God wills it" or "It is the will of God" (''deus vult'' in Latin, ''Dieu le veut'' in French) in fact was established as a rallying cry during the Council. While Robert the Monk says so, it is also possible that the slogan was created as a catchy propaganda motto afterwards. Urban II's own letter to the Flemish confirms that he granted "remission of all their sins" to those undertaking the enterprise to liberate the eastern churches. One notable contrast with the speeches recorded by Robert the Monk, Guibert of Nogent, and Baldric of Dol is the lesser emphasis on Jerusalem itself, which Urban only once mentions as his own focus of concern. In the letter to the Flemish he writes, "they [the Turks] have seized the Holy City of Christ, embellished by his passion and resurrection, and blasphemy to say—have sold her and her churches into abominable slavery." In the letters to Bologna and Vallombrosa he refers to the crusaders' desire to set out for Jerusalem rather than to his own desire that Jerusalem be freed from Muslim rule. It was believed that originally that Urban wanted to send a relatively small force to aid the Byzantines, however after meeting with two prominent members of the crusades Adhemar of Puy and Raymond of Saint-Guilles, Urban decided to rally a much larger force to retake Jerusalem. Urban II refers to liberating the church as a whole or the eastern churches generally rather than to reconquering Jerusalem itself. The phrases used are "churches of God in the eastern region" and "the eastern churches" (to the Flemish), "liberation of the Church" (to Bologna), "liberating Christianity [Lat. Christianitatis]" (to Vallombrosa), and "the Asian church" (to the Catalan counts). Coincidentally or not, Fulcher of Chartres's version of Urban's speech makes no explicit reference to Jerusalem. Rather it more generally refers to aiding the crusaders' Christian "brothers of the eastern shore," and to their loss of Asia Minor to the Turks. It is still disputed what Pope Urban's motives were as evidenced by the different speeches that were recorded, all of which differ from each other. Some historians believe that Urban wished for the reunification of the eastern and western churches, a rift that was caused by the Great Schism of 1054. Others believe that Urban saw this as an opportunity to gain legitimacy as the pope as at the time he was contending with the antipope Clement III. A third theory is that Urban felt threatened by the Muslim incursions into Europe and saw the crusades as a way to unite the christian world into a unified defense against them. The most important effect of the First Crusade for Urban himself was the removal of Antipope Clement III, Clement III from Rome in 1097 by one of the French armies. His restoration there was supported by Matilda of Tuscany. Urban II died on 29 July 1099, fourteen days after the Siege of Jerusalem (1099), fall of Jerusalem to the Crusaders, but before news of the event had reached Italy; his successor was Pope Paschal II.
SpainUrban also gave support to the Reconquista, crusades in Spain against the Moors there. Pope Urban was concerned that the focus on the east and Jerusalem would neglect the fight in Spain. He saw the fight in the east and in Spain as part of the same crusade so he would offer the same remission of sin for those that fought in Spain and discouraged those that wished to travel east from Spain.
SicilyUrban received vital support in his conflict with the Byzantine Empire, Romans and the Holy Roman Empire from the Italo-Normans, Norman of Campania and Sicily. In return he granted Roger I of Sicily, Roger I the freedom to appoint bishops as a right of (Investiture#Ecclesiastical usage, "lay investiture"), to collect Church revenues before forwarding to the papacy, and the right to sit in judgment on ecclesiastical questions. Roger I virtually became a Papal legate, legate of the Pope within Sicily. In 1098 these were extraordinary prerogatives that Popes were withholding from temporal sovereigns elsewhere in Europe and that later led to bitter confrontations with Roger's Hohenstaufen heirs.
VenerationPope Urban was beatified in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII with his feast day on 29 July.
See also* House of Châtillon * House of Natoli * Beauvais Cathedral * Milo of Nanteuil * Concordat of Worms * Gregorian Reforms * Investiture Controversy * Cardinals created by Urban II
Bibliography* * *Crozet, R. (1937). "Le voyage d'Urbain II et ses arrangements avec le clergé de France (1095-1096)" : ''Revue historique'' 179 (1937) 271-310. *Gossman, Francis Joseph (1960. ''Pope Urban II and Canon Law'' (The Catholic University of America Canon Law Studies 403) Washington 1960. * * * * * * *Somerville, Robert (1970). "The French Councils of Pope Urban II: Some Basic Considérations," ''Annuarium historiae conciliorum'' 2 (1970) 56-65. * *