Urban II

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Urban II (Otho/Otto de Lagery) was Pope in Rome between 1088 and 1099. He was the pope who preached the First Crusade; he also created the Curia, the equivalent, within the Catholic Church, of a royal court.

He was a supporter of the reforms of Pope Gregory VII, who indicated, during his life, that Otto was one of those he considered fit to succeed him. In the event it was Desiderus, abbot of Monte Cassino who became pope Victor III, but his reign was short and Otto succeeded him on St. Peter's Throne.

He faced an anti-pope in Clement III, and an antagonist in Clement's patron, Emperor Henry IV. He also excommunicated a French king, Philip I, for entering into an adulterous marriage.

In 1095 Urban received an ambassador from the Byzanine Emperor Alexios I, who sought assistance in clearing his dominions of Muslim Turks. Urban called a council at Piacenza to discuss the request and at a second council, in November, he launched the Crusades.

In 1099 the Western forces freed Jerusalem from the Turks, but Urban died before the news reached him.