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God wills it! The year is 1095. Thousands of men, including many of the leaders of the Christian world, have assembled in a meadow in France near Clermont. Pope Urban appeals for the liberation of Jerusalem and the people shout, Deus lo volt! The cry is taken up, echoes forth, is carried on. The crusades have begun. Wave upon wave of Christian pilgrims assault the growing power of the Muslims in the Holy Land—and will do so for the next two hundred years. Most able men become soldiers of the Cross, and many of their women fight alongside them. It is a time of great adventure-of great exploration and cultural change. Uniting Christian Europe in a common cause, the crusades defined forever the spirit of the West.