Born Otho de Lagery circa 1035 in Champagne, France, Pope Urban II managed to fill his eleven year papacy with an unprecedented amount of war-mongering.
Urban II initiated the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century with a rousing recruitment campaign. In March 1095 Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) asking for help against Muslim Turks, who had taken over most of formerly Byzantine Anatolia.
The Pope promised the crusading hordes eternal salvation as their reward for taking the Holy land form the infidel. When the First Crusade reached Jerusalem in 1099 one the greatest of massacres in history was undertaken, an act for which the papacy only apologised in the late 1990s.
Tens of thousands of Muslims and Jews - man, woman and child - were slain in cold blood. Urban himself died just fourteen days after the crusade had come to it's conclusion, however not in time for the news of Christian victory to reach Italian shores.
Heralded as a Catholic legend, Urban was known for his diplomatic finesse and searing ambition. His role in one of the most gruesome chapters in world history - the man who can be credited as the founder of inter-religious war on a mass scale as we know it today - Urban cannot be left out of the top three most controversial Christian figures.
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