Humanities › History & Culture Who Was Pope Urban II? Share Flipboard Email Print Joaquin Ossorio-Castillo / Getty Images History & Culture Medieval & Renaissance History People & Events Daily Life American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Melissa Snell History Expert B.A., History, University of Texas at Austin Melissa Snell is a historical researcher and writer specializing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. She authored the forward for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades." our editorial process Melissa Snell Updated April 12, 2019 Pope Urban II was known for beginning the Crusade Movement, instigating with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont. Urban also continued and expanded on the reforms of Gregory VII, and helped the papacy become a stronger political unit. Urban studied at Soissons and then at Reims, where he became archdeacon, before becoming a monk and retiring to Cluny. There he became prior, and after only a few years was sent to Rome to assist Pope Gregory VII in his attempts at reform. He proved invaluable to the pope, and was made a Cardinal and served as a papal legate. Upon Gregory's death in 1085 he served his successor, Victor II until Victor died. He was then elected pope in March 1088, and influenced affairs throughout France, Italy, Europe, and the Holy Land. Also known as: Odo of Châtillon-sur-Marne, Odon of Châtillon-sur-Marne, Eudes of Châtillon-sur-Marne, Odo of Lagery, Otho of Lagery, Odo of Lagny Important Dates Born: c. 1035Elected Pope: March 12, 1088Speech at Council of Clermont: Nov. 27, 1095Died: July 29, 1099 The Pontificate of Urban II As pope, Urban had to deal with the antipope Clement III and the ongoing Investiture Controversy. He was successful in asserting his legitimacy as pope, but his reform policies did not take thorough hold throughout Europe. He did, however, establish a softer stance on the Investiture Controversy that would later make a resolution possible. Long aware of the difficulties pilgrims had been having in the Holy Land, Urban used Emperor Alexius Comnenos' call for help as the basis for calling Christian knights to arms in the First Crusade. Urban also called together several important church councils, including those at Piacenza, Clermont, Bari, and Rome, passing notable reform legislation. Sources Butler, Richard U. "Pope Bl. Urban II." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. Halsall, Paul. “Medieval Sourcebook: Urban II (1088-1099): Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, Five Versions of the Speech.” Internet History Sourcebooks Project, Fordham University, Dec. 1997.