Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns

The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns, called by the Pope and with the main goal of restoring Christian control of the Holy Land. The crusaders came from all over western Europe. The main series of Crusades occurred between 1095 and 1291;Sony VAIO VGN-TZ121 Battery

historians have given them numbers, later unnumbered crusades were also taken up for a variety of reasons.

The Crusades were fought mainly by Roman Catholics against Muslims, though some campaigns were diverted to fight Greek Orthodox Christians in Byzantium. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ13 Battery

Later campaigns were waged against pagan Slavs, pagan Balts, Mongols, and Christian heretics. Orthodox Christians also took part in fighting against Islamic forces in some Crusades. Crusaders took vows and were granted a plenary indulgence by the pope. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ130N/B Battery

The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and their campaigns were launched in response to a call from the leaders of the Byzantine Empire for help to fight the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ131 Battery

The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted through to the 16th century in territories outside the Levant usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132/N Battery

Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rûm during the Fifth Crusade.

The Crusades had some temporary successes, but the Crusaders were eventually forced out of the Holy Land. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132N Battery

Nevertheless the Crusades had major far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts on Europe. Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions were diverted from their original aim, such as the Fourth Crusade, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/B Battery

which resulted in the sack of Christian Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders. The Sixth Crusade was the first crusade to set sail without the official blessing of the Pope. The Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Crusades resulted in Mamluk and Hafsid victories, as the Ninth Crusade marked the end of the Crusades in the Middle East.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/N Battery

The Reconquista, a long period of wars in Iberia where Christian forces reconquered the peninsula from Muslims, is closely tied to the Crusades.

Middle Eastern situation

The Holy Land is significant in Christianity because of the land's association as the place of nativity, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, whom Christians regard as the Saviour or Messiah.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160CB Battery

By the end of the 4th century, following the Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity (313) and later the founding of the Byzantine Empire after the partition of the Roman Empire, the Holy Land had become a predominantly Christian region.Churches commemorating various events in the life of Jesus had been erected at key sites.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160N/B Battery

Jerusalem in particular holds a significance in Islam as it holds it to be the site of the ascension into heaven of the prophet Muhammad whom Muslims believe to be the foremost prophet of Allah and Jerusalem is often regarded as the third most sacred site in Islam. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16GN/B Battery

The Muslim presence in the Holy Land began with the initial Muslim conquest of Syria in the 7th century under the Rashidun Caliphs. The Muslim armies' successes put increasing pressure on the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire which had originally claimed the region (part of the Eastern Roman Empire which the Byzantines inherited)Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N Battery

as their territory – this included eventual incursions by the Seljuk Turks. Jerusalem also holds historical and religious importance for Jews as it is the site of the Western Wall, the last remaining piece of the Second Temple. Jews consider Jerusalem as their ancestral homeland, and had been visiting the city since its destruction in 70 CE and its occupation in AD 136. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N/B Battery

Another factor that contributed to the change in Western attitudes towards the East came in the year 1009, when the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1039 his successor, after requiring large sums be paid for the right, permitted the Byzantine Empire to rebuild it.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17/N Battery

Pilgrimages were allowed to the Holy Lands before and after the Sepulchre was rebuilt. The Muslims eventually realized that much of the wealth of Jerusalem came from the pilgrims; for this reason and others, the persecution of pilgrims eventually stopped. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/B Battery

However, the damage was already done, and the violence of the Seljuk Turks became part of the concern that spread support for the Crusades across the Christian world.

Western European situation

The origins of the Crusades lie in developments in Western Europe earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the deteriorating situation of the Byzantine Empire in the east caused by a new wave of Turkish Muslim attacks.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/N Battery

In 1063, Pope Alexander II had given his blessing to Iberian Christians in their wars against the Muslims, granting both a papal standard (the vexillum sancti Petri) and an indulgence to those who were killed in battle. Pleas from the Byzantine Emperors, now threatened by the Seljuks, thus fell on ready ears. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/B Battery

These occurred in 1074, from Emperor Michael VII to Pope Gregory VII and in 1095, from Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to Pope Urban II.

The Crusades were, in part, an outlet for an intense religious piety which rose up in the late 11th century among the lay public. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17N Battery

A crusader would, after pronouncing a solemn vow, receive a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a "soldier of the Church". This was partly because of the Investiture Controversy, which had started around 1075 and was still on-going during the First Crusade.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18/N Battery

As both sides of the Investiture Controversy tried to marshal public opinion in their favor, people became personally engaged in a dramatic religious controversy. The result was an awakening of intense Christian piety and public interest in religious affairs, and was further strengthened by religious propaganda, which advocated Just War in order to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ180N/RC Battery

The Holy Land included Jerusalem (where the death and resurrection of Jesus had taken place according to Christian history and the Bible) and Antioch (the first Christian city). Further, the remission of sin was a driving factor and provided any God-fearing man who had committed sins with an irresistible way out of eternal damnation in hell.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ185N/WC Battery

It was a hotly debated issue throughout the Crusades as what exactly "remission of sin" meant. Most believed that by retaking Jerusalem they would go straight to heaven after death. However, much controversy surrounds exactly what was promised by the popes of the time. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18GN/X Battery

One theory was that one had to die fighting for Jerusalem for the remission to apply, which would hew more closely to what Pope Urban II said in his speeches. This meant that if the crusaders were successful, and retook Jerusalem, the survivors would not be given remission.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18N Battery

Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula

When the First Crusade was preached in 1095, the Christian princes of northern Iberia had been fighting their way out of the mountains of Galicia andAsturias, the Basque Country and Navarre, with increasing success, for about a hundred years. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/B Battery

The fall of Moorish Toledo to the Kingdom of León in 1085 was a major victory, but the turning points of the Reconquista still lay in the future. The disunity of Muslim emirs was an essential factor.

While the Reconquista was the most prominent example of European reactions against Muslim conquests, it is not the only such example. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/BC Battery

The Normanadventurer Robert Guiscard had conquered Calabria in 1057 and was holding what had traditionally been Byzantine territory against the Muslims of Sicily. The maritime states of Pisa, Genoa and Catalonia were all actively fighting Islamic strongholds in Majorca, freeing the coasts of Italy and Catalonia from Muslim raids. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ191N/XC Battery

Much earlier, the Christian homelands of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, and so on had been conquered by Muslim armies. This long history of losing territories to a religious enemy created a powerful motive to respond to Byzantine Emperor Alexius I's call for holy war to defend Christendom, and to recapture the lost lands starting with Jerusalem.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ195N/XC Battery

Just war doctrine

The papacy of Pope Gregory VII had struggled with reservations about the doctrinal validity of a holy war and the shedding of blood for the Lord and had, with difficulty, resolved the question in favour of justified violence. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ198N/RC Battery

More importantly to the Pope, the Christians who made pilgrimages to the Holy Land were being persecuted. Saint Augustine of Hippo, Gregory's intellectual model, had justified the use of force in the service of Christ in The City of God, and a Christian "Just War" might enhance the wider standing of an aggressively ambitious leader of Europe, as Gregory saw himself.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/B Battery

The northerners would be cemented to Rome, and their troublesome knights could see the only kind of action that suited them. Previous attempts by the church to stem such violence, such as the concept of the "Peace of God", were not as successful as hoped.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/N Battery

To the south of Rome, Normans were showing how such energies might be unleashed against both Arabs (in Sicily) and Byzantines (on the mainland). A Latin hegemony in theLevant would provide leverage in resolving the Papacy's claims of supremacy over the Patriarch of Constantinople,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/P Battery

which had resulted in the Great Schism of 1054, a rift that might yet be resolved through the force of Frankish arms.

Byzantine weakness

In the Byzantine homelands, the Eastern Emperor's weakness was revealed by the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, which reduced the Empire's Asian territory to a region in western Anatolia and around Constantinople.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27/N Battery

A sure sign of Byzantine desperation was the appeal of Alexios I to his enemy, the Pope, for aid. But Gregory was occupied with the Investiture Controversy and could not call on the German emperor, so a crusade never took shape.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ270N/B Battery

For Gregory's more moderate successor, Pope Urban II, a crusade would serve to reunite Christendom, bolster the Papacy, and perhaps bring the East under his control. The disaffected Germans and the Normans were not to be counted on, but the heart and backbone of a crusade could be found in Urban's own homeland among the northern French.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27N Battery

Pope Urban II

The immediate cause of the First Crusade was the Byzantine emperor Alexios I's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Byzantine Empire was defeated, which led to the loss of all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) save the coastlands. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28/N Battery

Although attempts at reconciliation after the East–West Schism between the Catholic Church in western Europe and the Eastern Orthodox Church had failed, Alexius I hoped for a positive response from Urban II.

Pope Urban II defined and launched the crusades at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ285N/RC Battery

He was a reformer worried about the evils which had hindered the spiritual success of the church and its clergy and the need for a revival of religiosity. He was moved by the urgent appeal for help from Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. Urban's solution was announced on the last day of the council when the pope suddenly proclaimed the Crusade against the infidel Muslims. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28N Battery

He called for Christian princes across Europe to launch a holy war in the Holy Land. He contrasted the sanctity of Jerusalem and the holy places with the plunder and desecration by the infidel Turks. He exited outrage by vividly describing attacks upon the Christian pilgrims. He also noted the military threat to the fellow Christians of Byzantium. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAB Battery

He charged Christians to take up the holy cause, promising to all those who went remission of sins and to all who died in the expedition immediate entry into heaven.

Then Urban raised secular motives, talking of the feudal love of tournaments and warfare. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAN Battery

He urged the barons to give up their fratricidal and unrighteous wars in the West for the holy war in the East. He also suggested material rewards, regarding feudal fiefdoms, land ownership, wealth, power, and prestige, all at the expense of the Arabs and Turks. He said they could be defeated very easily by the Christian forces. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAP Battery

When he finished, his listeners shouted "Deus volt" (God wills it). This became the battle cry of the crusaders. Urban put the bishop of Le Puy in charge of encouraging prelates and priests to join the cause. Word spread rapidly that war against unbelief would be fused with the practice of pilgrimage to holy sites, and the pilgrims' reward would be great on earth, as in heaven.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ295N/XC Battery

Immediately thousands pledged themselves to go on the first crusade.Pope Urban's speech ranks as one of the most influential speeches ever made: it launched the holy wars which occupied the minds and forces of western Europe for two hundred years.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ298N/XC Battery

After the First Crusade

On a popular level, the first crusades unleashed a wave of impassioned, personally felt pious Christian fury that was expressed in the massacres of Jews that accompanied the movement of the Crusader mobs through Europe, as well as the violent treatment of "schismatic" Orthodox Christians of the east.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/B Battery

In the 13th century, Crusades never expressed such a popular fever, and after Acre fell for the last time in 1291 and the Occitan Cathars were exterminated during the Albigensian Crusade, the crusading ideal became devalued by Papal justifications of political and territorial aggressions within Catholic Europe.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/N Battery

The last crusading order of knights to hold territory were the Knights Hospitaller. After the final fall of Acre, they took control of the island of Rhodes, and in the 16th century, were driven to Malta, before being finally unseated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/W Battery


A traditional numbering scheme for the crusades totals nine during the 11th to 13th centuries. This division is arbitrary and excludes many important expeditions, among them those of the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. In reality, the crusades continued until the end of the 17th century, the Battle of Lepanto occurring in 1571, that of Hungary in 1664, and the crusade to Candia in 1669.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/B Battery

TheKnights Hospitaller continued to crusade in the Mediterranean Sea around Malta until their defeat by Napoleon in 1798. There were frequent "minor" Crusades throughout this period, not only in the area the crusaders called Outremer but also in the Iberian Peninsula and central Europe, against Muslims and also Christian heretics and personal enemies of the Papacy or other powerful monarchs.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/N Battery

First Crusade 1095–1099

In March 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, ambassadors sent by Byzantine Emperor Alexius I called for help with defending his empire against the Seljuk Turks. Later that year, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Turks,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/P Battery

promising those who died in the endeavour would receive immediate remission of their sins.

The official crusader armies set off from France and Italy on the papally ordained date of 15 August 1096. The armies journeyed eastward by land toward Constantinople, where they received a wary welcome from the Byzantine Emperor.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ370N/B Battery

Pledging to restore lost territories to the empire, the main army, mostly French and Norman knights under baronial leadership—Godfrey of Bouillon (1060–1100), Baldwin of Flanders, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond of Taranto, marched south through Anatolia.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/G Battery

They captured Antioch (June 3, 1098) and finally Jerusalem (July 15, 1099) in savage battles. They created four crusader states along the Syrian and Palestinian coast.


The Crusader armies fought the Turks. The lengthy Siege of Antioch began in October 1097 and endured until June of 1098. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/P Battery

Once inside the city, as was standard military practice when an enemy had refused to surrender,the Crusaders massacred the Muslim inhabitants, destroyed mosques and pillaged the city.However, a large Muslim relief army under Kerbogha immediately besieged the victorious Crusaders within Antioch.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/R Battery

Bohemund of Taranto led a successful break-out and defeat of Kerbogha's army on 28 June. The starving crusader army marched south, moving from town to town along the coast, finally reaching the walls of Jerusalem on 7 June 1099 with only a fraction of their original forces.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/X Battery

Siege of Jerusalem

The Jews and Muslims fought together to defend Jerusalem against the invading Franks. They were unsuccessful though and on 15 July 1099 the crusaders entered the city. They proceeded to massacre the remaining Jewish and Muslim civilians and pillaged or destroyed mosques and the city itself.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ38N/X Battery

One historian has written that the "isolation, alienation and fear" felt by the Franks so far from home helps to explain the atrocities they committed, including the cannibalism which was recorded after the Siege of Ma'arra in 1098.[25] As a result of the First Crusade, several small Crusader states were created, notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ398U/XC Battery

In the Kingdom of Jerusalem at most 120,000 Franks (predominantly French-speaking Western Christians) ruled over 350,000 Muslims, Jews, and native Eastern Christians who had remained since the Arab occupation began in 638 AD.

The Crusaders also tried to gain control of the city of Tyre, but were defeated by the Muslims. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ50B Battery

The people of Tyre asked Zahir al-Din Atabek, the leader of Damascus, for help defending their city from the Franks with the promise to surrender Tyre to him. When the Franks were defeated the people of Tyre did not surrender the city, but Zahir al-Din simply said “What I have done I have done only for the sake of God and the Muslims, nor out of desire for wealth and kingdom.”Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90HS Battery

After gaining control of Jerusalem the Crusaders created four Crusader states: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch and theCounty of Tripoli. Initially, Muslims did very little about the Crusader states due to internal conflicts.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90NS Battery

Eventually, the Muslims began to reunite under the leadership of Imad ad-Din Zengi. He began by re-taking Edessa in 1144. It was the first city to fall to the Crusaders, and became the first to be recaptured by the Muslims. This led the Pope to call for a second Crusade.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90S Battery

Crusaders' perspectives

The story of the first crusade from the crusaders' perspective recounts the struggles of the first wave of crusaders to reach the hinterlands of Byzantium, of Islamic Syria, and then of Jerusalem; of the terrible slaughters of Jewish populations committed by a second wave as it marched through the Rhineland;Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

of finding food and facing starvation; of the "miracles" associated with the alleged finding of the Holy Lance in Antioch; of the competition between European princes for leadership; and of the eventual taking of Jerusalem itself. It was an achievement to coordinate crusaders with sharply different languages, styles of leadership, and modes of fighting. Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

That such a band even made it to Jerusalem is remarkable, and was possible, first, because of divisions within the realm of Islam, and second, because Muslims in the various provinces misinterpreted the presence of the crusading army. They seem to have regarded the Christian forces as renegades, escapees from the poverty and oppression of the "territory of war."Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

This interpretation led to a low estimate of the threat posed to Muslim security by an army that, despite weaknesses, was motivated by a profound religious fervor.

Scholarly debates

According to the interpretation of historian Steven Runciman (1951), the First Crusade was like a barbarian invasion of the civilized and sophisticated Byzantine empire and ultimately brought about the ruin of Byzantine civilization.Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

The crusade was unwittingly triggered by the Byzantine emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, when he had sent ambassadors to the pope in 1095 to ask for mercenary soldiers to enroll in his armies. The emotive appeal made in response by Pope Urban II, however, had the effect of sending thousands of Frankish knights to Constantinople under their own leaders,Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

quite a different outcome from what Alexius had expected. There had been long-distance intellectual disputes between Byzantium and the West in the past, but since contact between the two societies was sporadic, there was little open hostility. Now that the westerners arrived in the center of the empire in large numbers, those differences became a serious matter.Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

Especially important, Runciman argues, was tension between the Byzantine patriarch and the pope, and the more tolerant attitude of the Byzantines towards Muslim powers. Although Runciman lays some of the blame at the door of the Byzantine emperors who reigned after 1143,Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in April 1204 was the culmination of the mounting dislike and suspicion that all western Christendom now felt towards the Byzantines.

Ever since Runciman published his interpretation in 1951, it has been under challenge by scholars. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery

They say he was too uncritical in accepting the main Byzantine source, the narrative by Anna Comnena (the daughter of Emperor Alexius I), which presents Alexius I’s actions as motivated solely by superhuman charity and places the blame entirely on the crusaders, particularly on the Norman, Bohemond of Taranto. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

Critics say Runciman takes at face value Anna Comnena’s descriptions of some of the crusaders as uncouth louts and this is largely the basis for belief that the two peoples were mutually estranged from the start. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

Scholars argue that the classicising literary genre in which Comnena wrote dictated that foreign peoples be presented as ‘barbarians’ and that this did not necessarily mean that the entire populations of the two halves of Christendom were in a constantly increasing state of mutual antipathy. Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

Among recent scholars, Paul Magdalino’s and Ralph-Johannes Lilie’s close studies of Byzantine policies towards the crusader states of Syria show not steadily mounting tension, but periods of animosity interspersed with co-operation and alliance.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

Jonathan Shepard re-examines the whole question of Byzantine involvement with the genesis of the First Crusade in two influential articles. Adopting a more critical stance towards Anna Comnena, Shepard argues that there was far more to the episode than an innocent Byzantine emperor taken aback by the turn of events and that Alexius was cleverly exploiting the situation for his own ends.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery

While Runciman denounces Bohemond, the Norman leader, as a "villain" whose greed soured relations with the Byzantines, Shepard argues that this picture depends on an uncritical reading of Anna Comnena, who glorified her own family and vilified Bohemond mercilessly. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

In reality in 1096-7, Alexius viewed Bohemond as a potential tool, ally and recruit, a kind of imperial agent to oversee the re-conquest of Asia Minor.

Harris (2003) rejects the "clash of civilizations" model. He argues that trouble arose because the West misunderstood Byzantine foreign policy.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

That policy was narrowly focused on three goals which the West did not accept: acceptance of the theory that the Roman inheritance had shifted from Rome to Constantinople (called translatio imperii), that the suzerainty of Byzantine emperors ought to be recognized by the West, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

and commitment to the security of the Oikumene (that is, the civilized, Christian world centered around Constantinople). Although the Byzantines employed many high-ranking Latins in their government, Harris finds repeated instances of Byzantine hostility toward Latins, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

based on deep-rooted and long-standing antipathy that was rooted in a conviction of Byzantine cultural and religious superiority, and perhaps heightened by a growing fear of Byzantium's military inferiority and political weakness.

Crusade of 1101

Following this crusade there was a second, less successful wave of crusaders, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

in which Turks led by Kilij Arslan defeated the Crusaders in three separate battles in a well-managed response to theFirst Crusade.[36] This is known as the Crusade of 1101 and may be considered an adjunct of the First Crusade.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

Norwegian Crusade 1107–1110

Sigurd I of Norway was the first European king who went on a crusade and his crusader armies defeated Muslims in Al-Andalus, the Baleares, and in The Holy Land where they joined the king of Jerusalem in the Siege of Sidon.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

Second Crusade 1147–1149

After a period of relative peace in which Christians and Muslims co-existed in the Holy Land, Muslims conquered the town of Edessa. A new crusade was called for by various preachers, most notably by Bernard of Clairvaux. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

French and South German armies, under the Kings Louis VII and Conrad IIIrespectively, marched to Jerusalem in 1147 but failed to win any major victories, launching a failed pre-emptive siege of Damascus, an independent city that would soon fall into the hands of Nur ad-Din Zangi, the main enemy of the Crusaders.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

On the other side of the Mediterranean, however, the Second Crusade met with great success as a group of Northern European Crusaders stopped in Portugal, allied with the Portuguese King, Afonso I of Portugal, and retook Lisbon from the Muslims in 1147.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

A detachment from this group of crusaders helped Count Raymond Berenguer IV of Barcelona conquer the city of Tortosa the following year. In the Holy Land by 1150, both the kings of France and Germany had returned to their countries without any result. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

who in his preachings had encouraged the Second Crusade, was upset with the amount of misdirected violence and slaughter of the Jewish population of the Rhineland. North Germans and Danes attacked the Wends during the 1147Wendish Crusade, which was unsuccessful as well.Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

Third Crusade 1187–1192

The Muslims had long fought among themselves, but they were finally united by Saladin, who created a single powerful state.Following his victory at the Battle of Hattin he easily overwhelmed the disunited crusaders in 1187 and all of the crusader holdings except a few coastal cities. Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

The Byzantines, fearful of the crusaders, made an alliance with Saladin.

Saladin's victories shocked Europe. To reverse this disaster Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (r. 1152-1190) of Germany, King Philip II Augustus of France, (r. 1180-1223), and King Richard the Lion-Hearted (r. 1189-1199) of England established a crusade; Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

the pope's role was minor. Frederick died en route and few of his men reached the Holy Land. The other two armies arrived but were beset by political quarrels. King Philip feigned illness and returned to France, there scheming to win back the duchy of Normandy from Richard's control. Richard captured the island of Cyprus from the Byzantines in 1191.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

Cyprus served as a Crusader base for centuries to come, and remained European hands until 1571. After a long siege, Richard the Lionheart recaptured the city of Acre and placed the entire Muslim garrison under captivity (they were executed after a series of failed negotiations). Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

The Crusader army headed south along the Mediterranean coast. They defeated the Muslims near Arsuf, recaptured the port city of Jaffa, and were in sight of Jerusalem. However, Richard did not believe he would be able to hold Jerusalem once it was captured, as the majority of Crusaders would then return to Europe, and the crusade ended without the taking of Jerusalem.Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

Richard left the following year after negotiating a treaty with Saladin. The treaty allowed trade for merchants and unarmed Christian pilgrims to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land (Jerusalem), while it remained under Muslim control.

Richard the Lion-Hearted exploits gave rise to the legends of the Lion-Hearted, and, through them, Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

Richard acquired a greatly exaggerated posthumous prestige. More showman than statesman, a brave knight but a bad king, his stature was measured by Winston Churchill" "His life was one magnificent parade which, when ended, left only an empty plain." Richard did regain Acre and Jaffa for the Christians, but that was all. Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

The agreement he finally reached with Saladin gave pilgrims free access to Jerusalem and little else. The city itself and the adjoining kingdom, except for some coastal cities, were still subject to the same law—that of the Koran, not the Holy Bible. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

Fourth Crusade 1202–1204

The Fourth Crusade was initiated in 1202 by Pope Innocent III, with the intention of invading the Holy Land through Egypt. Because the Crusaders lacked the funds to pay for the fleet and provisions that they had contracted from the Venetians, Doge Enrico Dandoloenlisted the crusaders to restore the Christian city of Zara (Zadar) to obedience.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

At this point, they lost the support of the pope who considered them excommunicated. Because they subsequently lacked provisions and time on their vessel lease, the leaders decided to go to Constantinople, where they attempted to place a Byzantine exile on the throne. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

After a series of misunderstandings and outbreaks of violence, the Crusaders sacked the city in 1204, and established the so-called Latin Empire and a series of otherCrusader states throughout the territories of the Greek Byzantine Empire. While deploring the means, the pope finally supported this apparent forced reunion between the Eastern and Western churches. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

This is often seen as the final breaking point of the Great Schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and (Western) Roman Catholic Church.

Albigensian Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars of Occitania (the south of modern-day France).Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

It was a decade-long struggle that had as much to do with the concerns of northern France to extend its control southwards as it did with heresy. In the end, both the Cathars and the independence of southern France were exterminated.

Children's Crusade

A spontaneous youth movement in France and Germany in 1212 attracted large numbers of peasant teenagers and young people (few were under age 15). Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/W Battery

They were convinced they could succeed where older and more sinful crusaders had failed: the miraculous power of their faith would triumph where the force of arms had not. Many parish priests and parents encouraged such religious fervor and urged them on. The pope and bishops opposed the attempt but failed to stop it entirely. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

A band of several thousand youth and young men led by a German named Nicholas set out for Italy. About a third survived the march over the Alps and got as far as Genoa; another group came to Marseilles. The luckier ones eventually managed to get safely home, but many others were sold as lifetime slaves on the auction blocks of Marseilles slave dealers.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

The sources are scattered and unclear and historians are still not sure exactly what happened.

Fifth Crusade 1217–1221

By processions, prayers, and preaching, the Church attempted to set another crusade afoot, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) formulated a plan for the recovery of the Holy Land. Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

In the first phase, a crusading force from Austria and Hungary joined the forces of the king of Jerusalem and the prince of Antioch to take back Jerusalem. In the second phase, crusader forces achieved a remarkable feat in the capture of Damietta in Egypt in 1219, but under the urgent insistence of the papal legate, Pelagius, they then launched a foolhardy attack on Cairo in July of 1221. Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

The crusaders were turned back after their dwindling supplies led to a forced retreat. A night-time attack by the ruler of Egypt, the powerful Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamil, resulted in a great number of crusader losses and eventually in the surrender of the army. Al-Kamil agreed to an eight-year peace agreement with Europe.Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

Al-Kamil had put a bounty of a Byzantine gold piece for every Christian head brought to him during the war. During 1219, St. Francis of Assisi crossed the battle lines at Damietta in order to speak with Al-Kamil. He and his companion Illuminatus were captured and beaten and brought before the Sultan.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

St. Bonaventure, in his Major Life of St. Francis, says that the Sultan was impressed by Francis and spent some time with him. Francis was given safe passage and although he was offered many gifts, all he accepted was a horn for calling the faithful to prayer. This act eventually led to the establishment of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

Sixth Crusade 1228–1229

Emperor Frederick II had repeatedly vowed a crusade but failed to live up to his words, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. He nonetheless set sail from Brindisi, landed inSaint-Jean d'Acre. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

There were no battles as Frederick made a peace treaty with Al-Kamil, the ruler of Egypt. This treaty allowed Christians to rule over most of Jerusalem and a strip of territory from Acre to Jerusalem, while the Muslims were given control of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

Thus he achieved unexpected success. In 1225 he married Yolanda, the young heiress to the kingdom of Jerusalem; upon her death in 1228, Frederick crowned himself king of Jerusalem. The peace lasted for about ten years. Many of the Muslims though were not happy with Al-Kamil for giving up control of Jerusalem. Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

In 1244, following the siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims regained control of the city.

Seventh Crusade 1248–1254

The papal interests represented by the Templars brought on a conflict with Egypt in 1243, and in the following year a Khwarezmian force summoned by the latter stormed Jerusalem. Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

The crusaders were drawn into battle at La Forbie in Gaza. The crusader army and its Bedouin mercenaries were completely defeated within forty-eight hours by Baibars' force of Khwarezmian tribesmen. This battle is considered by many historians to have been the death knell to the Kingdom of Outremer.Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

Louis IX of France organized a crusade against Egypt from 1248 to 1254, leaving from the newly constructed port of Aigues-Mortes in southern France. The crusaders were decisively defeated en-route to Cairo and King Louis was captured; the Arabs demanded and received a huge ransom for the release of the hapless king. Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

Eighth Crusade 1270

Ignoring his advisers, in 1270 King Louis IX again attacked the Arabs in Tunis in North Africa. He picked the hottest season of the year for campaigning and his army was devastated by disease. The king himself died, ending the last major attempt to free the Holy Land.Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

The numbering of crusades is problematical. The Eighth Crusade is sometimes counted as the Seventh, if the Fifth and Sixth Crusades are counted as a single crusade. The Ninth Crusade is sometimes also counted as part of the Eighth.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

Ninth Crusade 1271–1272

The future Edward I of England undertook another expedition against Baibars in 1271, after having accompanied Louis on the Eighth Crusade. Louis died in Tunisia. The Ninth Crusade was deemed a failure and ended the Crusades in the Middle East.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

In their later years, faced with the threat of the Egyptian Mamluks, the Crusaders' hopes rested with a Franco-Mongol alliance. The Ilkhanate's Mongols were thought to be sympathetic to Christianity, and the Frankish princes were most effective in gathering their help, engineering their invasions of the Middle East on several occasions.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

Although the Mongols successfully attacked as far south as Damascus on these campaigns, the ability to effectively coordinate with Crusades from the west was repeatedly frustrated most notably at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. The Mamluks, led by Baibars, eventually made good their pledge to cleanse the entire Middle East of the Franks. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

With the fall of Antioch (1268), Tripoli (1289), and Acre (1291), those Christians unable to leave the cities were massacred or enslaved and the last traces of Christian rule in the Levant disappeared.


The island of Ruad, three kilometers from the Syrian shore, was occupied for several years by the Knights Templar but was ultimately lost to the Mamluks in the Siege of Ruad on September 26, 1302. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which was not itself a crusader state, and was not Latin Christian, but was closely associated with the crusader states and was ruled by the Latin Christian Lusignan dynasty for its last 34 years, survived until 1375. Other echoes of the crusader states survived for longer, but well away from the Holy Land itself. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

The Knights of St John carved out a new territory based on the Aegean island of Rhodes, which they ruled until 1522. Cyprus remained under the rule of the House of Lusignan until 1474/89 (the precise date depends on how Venice's highly unusual takeover is interpreted – see Caterina Cornaro) and subsequently that of Venice until 1570.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

By this time the Knights of St John had moved to Malta – even further from the Holy Land – which they ruled until 1798.

Crusades of the Teutonic Order

A German religious and military order originally founded during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade and modeled after the Knights Templar and Hospitalers, the Teutonic Knights moved to eastern Europe early in the 13th century.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

There, under their grand master, Hermann von Salza, they became powerful and prominent. In 1198, the Teutonic Order started the Livonian Crusade. Despite numerous setbacks and rebellions, by 1290, Livonians, Latgalians, Selonians,Estonians (including Oeselians), Curonians and Semigallians had been all gradually subjugated. Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

Denmark and Sweden also participated in fight against Estonians.

In 1229, responding to an appeal from the Duke of Poland, they began a crusade against the pagan Slavs of Prussia. They became sovereigns over lands they conquered over the next century. Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

In a series of campaigns, the Teutonic Knights gained control over the whole Baltic coast, founding numerous towns and fortresses and establishing Christianity.

The Teutonic Order's attempts to conquer Orthodox Russia (particularly the Republics of Pskov and Novgorod), an enterprise endorsed by Pope Gregory IX, can also be considered as a part of the Northern Crusades.Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

One of the major blows for the idea of the conquest of Russia was the Battle of the Ice in 1242. With or without the Pope's blessing, Sweden also undertook several crusades against Orthodox Novgorod.

Swedish Crusades

The Swedish conquest of Finland in the Middle Ages has traditionally been divided into three "crusades": the First Swedish Crusade around 1155 AD, the Second Swedish Crusade about 1249 AD and the Third Swedish Crusade in 1293 AD.Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery

The First Swedish Crusade is considered legendary by some historians. No historical record has also survived describing the second one, but it probably did take place and ended up in the concrete conquest of southwestern Finland. The third one was against Novgorod, and is properly documented by both parties of the conflict.Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

According to archaeological finds, Finland was largely Christian already before the said crusades. Thus the "crusades" can rather be seen as ordinary expeditions of conquest whose main target was territorial gain. The expeditions were dubbed as actual crusades only in the 19th century by the national-romanticist Swedish and Finnish historians.Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

Crusades in the Balkans

To counter the expanding Ottoman Empire, several crusades were launched in the 15th century. The most notable are:

  • the Crusade of Nicopolis (1396) organized by Sigismund of Luxemburg, king of Hungary, culminated in the Battle of Nicopolis Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery
  • the Crusade of Varna (1444) led by the Polish-Hungarian king, W?adys?aw Warne?czyk, ended in the Battle of Varna
  • and the Crusade of 1456 organized to lift the Siege of Belgrade led by John Hunyadi and Giovanni da Capistrano Sony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

Crusade against the Tatars

In 1259, Mongols led by Burundai and Nogai Khan ravaged the principality of Halych-Volynia, Lithuania and Poland. After that Pope Alexander IV tried without success to create a crusade against the Blue Horde (see Mongol invasion of Poland).Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

In the 14th century, Khan Tokhtamysh combined the Blue and White Hordes forming the Golden Horde. It seemed that the power of the Golden Horde had begun to rise, but in 1389, Tokhtamysh made the disastrous decision of waging war on his former master, the great Tamerlane.Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

Tamerlane's hordes rampaged through southern Russia, crippling the Golden Horde's economy and practically wiping out its defenses in those lands.

After losing the war, Tokhtamysh was then dethroned by the party of Khan Temur Kutlugh and Emir Edigu, supported by Tamerlane.Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

When Tokhtamysh askedVytautas the Great for assistance in retaking the Horde, the latter readily gathered a huge army which included Lithuanians, Ruthenians, Russians, Mongols,Moldavians, Poles, Romanians and Teutonic Knights.

In 1398, the huge army moved from Moldavia and conquered the southern steppe all the way to the Dnieper River and northern Crimea.Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

Inspired by their great successes, Vytautas declared a 'Crusade against the Tatars' with Papal backing. Thus, in 1399, the army of Vytautas once again moved on the Horde. His army met the Horde's at the Vorskla River, slightly inside Lithuanian territory.Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

Although the Lithuanian army was well equipped with cannon, it could not resist a rear attack from Edigu's reserve units. Vytautas hardly escaped alive. Many princes of his kin—possibly as many as 20—were killed (for example, Stefan Musat, Prince of Moldavia and two of his brothers, while a fourth was badly injured ), and the victorious Tatars besieged Kiev. Sony VAIO VPCS11J7E/B Battery

"And the Christian blood flowed like water, up to the Kievan walls," as one chronicler put it. Meanwhile, Temur Kutlugh died from the wounds received in the battle, and Tokhtamysh was killed by one of his own men.

Hussite Crusade

The Hussite Crusade(s), also known as the "Hussite Wars," or the "Bohemian Wars," involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1420 to circa 1434.Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

The Hussite Wars were arguably the first European war in which hand-held gunpowder weapons such as muskets made a decisive contribution. The Taborite faction of the Hussite warriors were basically infantry, and their many defeats of larger armies with heavily armoured knights helped affect the infantry revolution. In the end, it was an inconclusive war.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E Battery

Role of women

Most writings stress the crusades as a masculine movement symbolic of honour and male courage. But women were also involved behind the scenes, and as direct victims.

Women at home were intricately connected whether aware of it or not in the recruitment of crusading men. Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

Their encouragement and familial ties would present men friendly connections which made the prospect of taking the cross more appealing for those risking their lives. Arguably the most significant role that women played in the West during the crusades was their preservation of the home.Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E/B Battery

The best known example is of Adela of Blois, wife of Stephen of Blois whose correspondence with her husband while he was on Crusade and she was at home managing his fief has survived in part. It appears she was rather more keen on his crusading than he was. Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

Men could journey to The Holy Land without having to worry about their home because their wives were in charge of their estates and families.

Even though most women showed their support for the crusades at home, some women took the cross themselves to go on the crusade. Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

Aristocratic women who joined the movement often found that they had new positions of authority they did not have in the West. Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wealthy queen of France and the wife of king Louis VII, took the cross from St. Bernard of Clairvaux on Easter Sunday 1145 to join her husband.Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

Another woman who had ultimate political power in the East was Melisende of Jerusalem, who under law gained hereditary rights to the crown upon her husband’s death. Like Eleanor, Melisende never led troops into battle, but she did participate in acts of political diplomacy. Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

Less successful was her granddaughter Sibylla of Jerusalem, whose choice of husband had been a crucial political issue since her childhood. Her second marriage to Guy of Lusignan made him the king-consort on the death of Baldwin IV, with disastrous results.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

While most women were there to help and care for the crusading men by bringing them water or raising their spirits by offering emotional support, there were women who had specific tasks which defined their feminine characteristics like the washerwoman.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery

The permanent residents of the Crusader kingdoms, if born in Europe, had usually come unmarried. Very many married women from Apulia in Southern Italy, where living conditions were often harsh, encouraged young women to take ship for Palestine in the knowledge that many men there were looking for wives.Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery

The most controversial role that women had in the crusades was of course the role which threatened their femininity, actual militancy. When analyzing the primary documentation of female militancy, one must be cautious.Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

The accounts of women fighting come mostly from Muslim historians whose aim was to portray Christian women as barbaric and ungodly because of their acts of killing. The contrasting view from Christian accounts portray women fighting only in emergency situations for the preservation of the camps and their own lives.Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

In these cases women are seen as more feminine while behaving like ‘proper women’. Virtually all crusade writings came from men, and women would have been interpreted subjectively no matter what roles they played.


Elements of the Crusades were criticized by some from the time of their inception in 1095.Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

For example, Roger Bacon felt the Crusades were not effective because, "those who survive, together with their children, are more and more embittered against the Christian faith." In spite of such criticism, the movement was widely supported in Europe long after the fall of Acre in 1291.Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery

Historians agree that St. Francis of Assisi crossed enemy lines to meet the Sultan of Egypt. Hoeberichts cast doubt on the intentions most Christian historians assign to Francis.

From the fall of Acre forward, the Crusades to recover Jerusalem and the Christian East were largely lost. Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

Later, 18th century Enlightenment thinkers judged the Crusaders harshly. Likewise, some modern historians in the West expressed moral outrage. In the 1950s, Sir Steven Runciman wrote a resounding condemnation:Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

"High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed ... the Holy War was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God".

Ibn Jubayr's described the Muslims living under the Christian crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem:Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

We left Tibnin by a road running past farms where Muslims live who do very well under the Franks-may Allah preserve us from such a temptation! ... The Muslims own their own houses and rule themselves in their own way. This is the way the farms and big villages are organized in Frankish territory. Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

Many Muslims are sorely tempted to settle here when they see the far from comfortable conditions in which their brethren live in the districts under Muslim rule. Unfortunately for the Muslims, they have always reason for complaint about the injustices of their chiefs in the lands governed by their coreligionists,Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

whereas they can have nothing but praise for the conduct of the Franks, whose justice they can always rely on.

Historical perspective

Western and Eastern historiography present variously different views on the crusades, Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

in large part because "crusade" invokes dramatically opposed sets of associations—"crusade" as a valiant struggle for a supreme cause, and "crusade" as a byword for barbarism and aggression.

Politics and culture

The Crusades had an enormous influence on the European Middle Ages. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

At times, much of the continent was united under a powerful Papacy, but by the 14th century, the development of centralized bureaucracies (the foundation of the modern nation state) was well on its way in France, England, Spain, Burgundy, and Portugal, and partly because of the dominance of the church at the beginning of the crusading era.Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

Although Europe had been exposed to Islamic culture for centuries through contacts in Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, much knowledge in areas such as science, medicine, and architecture was transferred from the Islamic to the western world during the crusade era.Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

The military experiences of the crusades also had a limited degree of influence on European castle design; for example, Caernarfon Castle, in Wales, begun in 1283, directly reflects the style of fortresses Edward I had observed while fighting in the Crusades.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery

Crusader society in the Kingdom of Jerusalem was also characterized by a culture of innovation, including in economic and social structures, governance and taxation, social mobility, and agricultural technology.

In addition, the Crusades are seen as having opened up European culture for the world, especially Asia:Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

The Crusades brought about results of which the popes had never dreamed, and which were perhaps the most, important of all. They re-established traffic between the East and West, which, after having been suspended for several centuries, was then resumed with even greater energy;Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

they were the means of bringing from the depths of their respective provinces and introducing into the most civilized Asiatic countries Western knights, to whom a new world was thus revealed, and who returned to their native land filled with novel ideas... If, indeed, Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/P Battery

the Christian civilization of Europe has become universal culture, in the highest sense, the glory redounds, in no small measure, to the Crusades."

Along with trade, new scientific discoveries and inventions made their way east or west. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

Arab and classical Greek advances (including the development ofalgebra, optics, and refinement of engineering) made their way west and sped the course of advancement in European universities that led to the Renaissance in later centuries

The invasions of German crusaders prevented formation of the large Lithuanian state incorporating all Baltic nations and tribes.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

Lithuania was destined to become a small country and forced to expand to the East looking for resources to combat the crusaders.The Northern Crusades caused great loss of life among the pagan Polabian Slavs, and they consequently offered little opposition to German colonization (known as Ostsiedlung) of the Elbe-Oder region and were gradually assimilated by the Germans,Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery with the exception of Sorbs.

The First Crusade ignited a long tradition of organized violence against Jews in European culture.

The Albigensian Crusade was initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate the Cathar heresy in Languedoc. The violence led to France's acquisition of lands with closer cultural and linguistic ties toCatalonia. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

The Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition.


The need to raise, transport and supply large armies led to a flourishing of trade throughout Europe. Sony VAIO VPCEA20 Battery

Roads largely unused since the days of Rome saw significant increases in traffic as local merchants began to expand their horizons. This was not only because the Crusades prepared Europe for travel, but also because many wanted to travel after being reacquainted with the products of the Middle East. Sony VAIO VPCEB10 Battery

This also aided in the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, as various Italian city-states from the very beginning had important and profitable trading colonies in the crusader states, both in theHoly Land and later in captured Byzantine territory.

Increased trade brought many things to Europeans that were once unknown or extremely rare and costly. Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM Battery

These goods included a variety of spices, ivory, jade, diamonds, improved glass-manufacturing techniques, early forms of gun powder, oranges, apples, and other Asian crops, and many other products.

From a larger perspective, and certainly from that of noted naval/maritime historian Archibald Lewis, Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/BI Battery

the Crusades must be viewed as part of a massive macrohistorical event during which Western Europe, primarily by its ability in naval warfare, amphibious siege, and maritime trade, was able to advance in all spheres of civilization. Recovering from the Dark Ages of AD 700–1000, throughout the 11th century Western Europe began to push the boundaries of its civilization.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/T Battery

Prior to the First Crusade the Italian city-state of Venice, along with the Byzantine Empire, had cleared the Adriatic Sea of Islamic pirates, and loosened the Islamic hold on the Mediterranean Sea (Byzantine-Muslim War of 1030–1035). The Normans, with the assistance of the Italian city-states of Genoa andPisa, had retaken Sicily from the Muslims from 1061–1091.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/WI Battery

These conflicts prior to the First Crusade had both retaken Western European territory and weakened the Islamic hold on the Mediterranean, allowing for the rise of Western European Mediterranean trading and naval powers such as the Sicilian Normans and the Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX Battery

During the Middle Ages, the key trading region of Western Europe was the Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea-Red Sea. It was the aforementioned pre-First Crusade actions, along with the Crusades themselves, which allowed Western Europe to contest the trade of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea,Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/BI Battery

for a period which began in the 11th century and would only be ended by the Turkish Ottoman Empire beginning in the mid-to-late 15th century. This Western European contestation of vital sea lanes allowed the economy of Western Europe to advance to previously unknown degrees, most obviously as regards the Maritime Republics of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/T Battery

Indeed, it is no coincidence that the Renaissance began in Italy, as the Maritime Republics, through their control of the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas, were able to return to Italy the ancient knowledge of the Greeks and Romans, as well as the products of distant East Asia.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/WI Battery

Combined with the Mongol Empire, Western Europe traded extensively with East Asia, the security of the Mongol Empire allowing the products of Asia to be brought to such Western European controlled ports as Acre, Antioch, Kaffa (on the Black Sea) and even, for a time, Constantinople itself.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX Battery

The Fifth Crusade of 1217–1221 and the Seventh Crusade of 1248–1254 were largely attempts to secure Western European control of the Red Sea trade region, as both Crusades were directed against Egypt, the power base of the Ayyubid, and then Mameluke, Sultanates.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/BI Battery

It was only in the 14th century, as the stability of trade with Asia collapsed with the Mongol Empire, the Mamelukes destroyed the Middle Eastern Crusader States, and the rising Ottoman Empire impeded further Western European trade with Asia, that Western Europeans sought alternate trade routes to Asia, ultimately leading to Columbus's voyage of 1492.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/T Battery


In the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, in the remote highland region of Khevsureti, a tribe called the Khevsurs are thought to possibly be direct descendants of a party of crusaders who got separated from a larger army and have remained in isolation with some of the crusader culture intact. Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/WI Battery

Into the 20th century, relics of armor, weaponry and chain mail were still being used and passed down in such communities. Russian serviceman and ethnographer Arnold Zisserman who spent 25 years (1842–1867) in the Caucasus, believed the exotic group of Georgian highlanders were descendants of the last Crusaders based on their customs, language, art and other evidence.Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX Battery

American traveler Richard Halliburton saw and recorded the customs of the tribe in 1935.

Etymology and usage

The crusades were never referred to as such by their participants. The original crusaders were known by various terms, including fideles Sancti Petri (the faithful of Saint Peter) or milites Christi (knights of Christ). Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/BI Battery

They saw themselves as undertaking an iter, a journey, or a peregrinatio, a pilgrimage, though pilgrims were usually forbidden from carrying arms.

Like pilgrims, each crusader swore a vow (a votus), to be fulfilled on successfully reaching Jerusalem, and they were granted a cloth cross (crux) to be sewn into their clothes.Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/BIC Battery

This "taking of the cross", the crux, eventually became associated with the entire journey; the word "crusade" (coming into English from the Medieval French croisade and Spanish cruzada)[69] developed from this.

Defending in the Holy Land

The Jews almost single-handedly defended Haifa against the crusaders, holding out in the besieged town for a whole month (June–July 1099) in fierce battles. Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/T Battery

At this time, a full thousand years after the fall of the Jewish state, there were Jewish communities all over the country. Fifty of them are known and include Jerusalem, Tiberias, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza.

Massacre of Jerusalem

Jews fought side-by-side with Muslim soldiers to defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX Battery

Saint Louis University Professor Thomas Madden, author of A Concise History of the Crusades, claims the "Jewish Defenders" of the city knew the rules of warfare and retreated to their synagogue to "prepare for death" since the Crusaders had breached the outer walls.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/BI Battery

According to the Muslim chronicle ofIbn al-Qalanisi, "The Jews assembled in their synagogue, and the Franks burned it over their heads." One modern day source even claims the Crusaders "[circled] the screaming, flame-tortured humanity singing 'Christ We Adore Thee!' with their Crusader crosses held high."Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/T Battery

On the contrary, a late 11th century Jewish communication does not corroborate the report that Jews were actually inside of the Synagogue when it was set on fire. This letter was discovered among the Cairo Geniza collection in 1975 by historian Shelomo Dov Goitein.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/WI Battery

Historians believe that it was written just two weeks after the siege, making it "the earliest account on the conquest in any language."However, all sources agree that a synagogue was indeed burned during the siege.


Following the siege, Jews captured from the dome of the rock, along with native Christians, were made to clean the city of the slain.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM Battery

Tancred took some Jews as prisoners of war and deported them to Apuleia in southern Italy. Several of these Jews did not make it to their final destination as “Many of them were […] thrown into the sea or beheaded on the way.” Numerous Jews and their holy books (including the Aleppo Codex) were held ransom by Raymond of Toulouse.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/BI Battery

The Karaite Jewish community of Ashkelon (Ascalon) reached out to their coreligionists in Alexandria to first pay for the holy books and then rescued pockets of Jews over several months. All that could be ransomed were liberated by the summer of 1100. The few who could not be rescued were either converted to Christianity or killed.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/T Battery

Jewish crusade literature

The end of the crusades brought with it many narratives coming from both Jewish and Christian sources. Among the better known Jewish narratives are the chronicles of Solomon Bar Simson and RabbiEliezer bar Nathan, The Narrative of the Old Persecutions by Mainz Anonymous, and Sefer Zekhirah, or The Book of Remembrance, by Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/WI Battery

The Chronicle of Solomon Bar Simson (1140) is mostly a record of what happened during the period of the First Crusade. There is a definite personal bias seen within the writing, as he discusses the martyrdom of resistant communities far more than the conversion of others.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX Battery

It is not yet proven that Bar Simson really existed, and therefore it is hard to be sure who wrote this and for what purpose.

The Chronicle of Rabbi Eliezer bar Nathan (mid 12th century), as Robert Chazan proves, is known to be written by a person named Rabbi Eliezer bar Nathan, who was very popular in his time due to his writings. Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/BI Battery

He is thought to have borrowed much of his information from Bar Simson, since much of the information is the same. His writing here is extremely emotional, taking on a more apocalyptic tone in a sense. There is a definite sense of personal experience coming out of this chronicle, experience with death and suffering within his community and others. Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/T Battery

This chronicle was extremely popular at the time, as several manuscripts were written about it in a myriad of places.

The Narrative of the Old Persecutions (14th century), as the lack of the author's name implies, is from an unknown author. Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/WI Battery

The main focus of this narrative is on Mainz, and takes a very realistic stance on the crusades. It tells of the complacency of Rhenish Jews, of the reactions that Mainz Jews had to news of other communities falling to the crusaders, and of their turn towards the Church to protect them, only to be find more despair there. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX Battery

It also brings in some information coming from the late Middle Ages, of Jews being associated with well poisoning.

Sefer Zekhirah (late 1160s, early to mid 1170s) has a very well known writer, Rabbi Ephraim, who was a well-known liturgist of his time. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/B Battery

He was 13 during the Second Crusade, and is considered to be an eyewitness to many of the events that occurred during that time. This writing was rather popular itself, and consists of a series of poems, all expressing grief over the suffering of the Jews through metaphors and references to fables. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/G Battery

His accounts, despite their very emotional appeal, are corroborated by other writings from the time and tend not to be so skewed as the two chronicles.

The details behind these narratives can all be found in several secondary historical sources, including Robert Chazan's God,Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/L Battery

Humanity, and History and Shlomo Eidelberg's The Jews and the Crusades, each of which gives background to the narratives and discusses their effects on European Jewry and Christianity.

Robert Chazan's In the Year 1096: The First Crusade and the Jews provides details as to the changes made in Jewish/Christian relations as a result of the First Crusade. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/P Battery

He focuses on whether or not the crusades really had a salient impact on the Jews of the time and in the future, pointing out that persecution was nothing new to them, yet also talking about the importance of their being made extremely distinct within the European community by the crusades. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/W Battery

They were no longer part of it to any great extent, but rather were made out to be part of the “others” as many in Europe already had been, such as atheists and pagans.

Christian sources for information on general feelings after the First Crusade all focus on their acquisition of Jerusalem. Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX Battery

William of Tyre, Fulcher of Chartres, the Venetian Treaty, the Travels of Saewulf, and John of Wurzburg's Pilgrim Guide all detail Jerusalem but have little, if anything, to say of Europe and the Jews. However, in the midst of the First Crusade there were several Christian documents on the crusaders' attacks of Jewish communities and the basis of those attacks.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/B Battery

One such document is Albert of Aachen on the Peasant's Crusade, which focuses on the disorganized peasant crusades that occurred along with the organized crusades that went on to take Jerusalem. It provides the personal experiences of Aachen, who was in one of these peasant crusades, and provides accounts of the slaughter of several groups of Jews.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/G Battery

He describes it as being either “judgement of the Lord” or “some error of mind,” and the killings as not only being indiscriminatory, but also with no exception. His account also shows the Church being able to achieve little in its attempts to prevent these massacres.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/L Battery

Much of the focus of Christian writings of the time, however, was on the efforts to get to Jerusalem, though some accounts talk of the crusaders' distrust of the Byzantine Empire, accounts that show some of the reasoning for the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/P Battery

The Deeds of the Franks, which has an unknown author, is such an account, and has a clear bias against the Byzantines. Many of the writings on later crusades continue to focus on Jerusalem as well, until near the end of the crusades when Jerusalem stops being their focus and the return to stability in Europe does.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/W Battery

Many of the secondary sources on this time period question how important the impact of the crusades was on both the Jewish and Christian communities. Robert Chazan's belief is that the effect was minimal in the end – both cultures were, in many ways, used to the persecution that was being enacted, and that this was just another step. Sony VAIO VPCEB190X Battery

R. I. Moore, within his novel The Formation of a Persecuting Society, argues that the effect on Christians was huge, with their entire society gaining feelings of the need for separation from their Jewish neighbors, which allowed them to persecute further in the future.Sony VAIO VPCEB19FX Battery

Ivan G. Marcus in his article The Culture of the Early Ashkenaz argues that the Jews pulled away from the Christian community physically, mentally, and spiritually due to the sheer ferocity and shocking nature of the crusades. Sony VAIO VPCEB19GX Battery

All of these and more provide differing opinions on the results of the crusades, but all agree that the crusades caused a separation to occur between the two religions.Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX/B Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX/BI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX/BI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX/BI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX Battery,Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX/BI Battery

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