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John Sloan

General considerations

The name for a series of campaigns by west European Christians from 1096 to 1291 to regain the Holy Land from the Moslems and retain it. There were numerous other crusades, for instance in Spain, along the Baltic coast, in Hungary, as well as many operations involving European knights in the Holy Land between the eight named Crusades, and we will discuss these in another article.

The Crusades were an expression of the revival of religious feeling and missionary zeal which had begun in Europe in the 10th century. However the individual participants also acted from a variety of secular personal and group motives including personal, political, and economic expansionism. Contemporaries regarded them in the former aspect, as "holy wars" towards Christ's Sepulchre. Considered as holy wars the crusades must be interpreted by the ideas of an age which was dominated by the spirit of other worldliness, and accordingly ruled by the priestly power that represented the other world. They were part of the secular policy of the papacy as well as of its ongoing efforts at internal reform. The popes had a number of reasons for desiring to direct the faithful to a great war of Christianity against the infidel.

For many of the faithful they were a new avenue to gain salvation through a pilgrimage. Such pilgrimages had been taking place throughout the previous 4 centuries, as had continuous fighting between Christians and Moslems in those theaters in which they shared a common frontier including Spain, Sicily, Italy, Asia Minor, and at sea. In Spain, especially, the two aspects had been closely linked as pilgrims journeyed to Santiago de Compostella and warriors fought to recover the peninsula from the Moors. Pilgrimages had been made to Jerusalem as well, often by groups under arms organized for mutual protection.

For the papacy the Crusades were an opportunity to divert and channel the warlike energies of their most troublesome subjects away from the destructive violence endemic within Christendom. In this respect they were a development from the efforts to enforce "God's Truce" and "God's Peace" and an outgrowth of chivalry itself.

One can readily understand the popularity of the crusades, when one reflect that they permitted men to get to the other world by fighting hard on earth, and allowed them to gain the fruits of asceticism by the way of obedience to natural instinct. Nor was the Church merely able, through the crusades, to direct the martial instinct of a feudal society; it was also able to pursue the object of its own immediate policy, and to attempt the universal spread of Christianity, even at the edge of the sword, over the whole of the known world.

The struggle between Christian Europe and Moslem Near East and North Africa was continuous from the birth of Islam in 622 at least until the defeat of the Turks at Vienna in 1683. And after that it was continued by the Orthodox East European Christians right up to World War I. In this context the Crusades represent one of the periods in which the relative military, political, and economic power of the Europeans versus their opponents enabled them for a time to return to the offensive, at least in a limited theater of operations.

Here is a quotation from The Atlas of the Crusades, by Jonathan Riley-Smith. "Very large numbers of men and women were involved directly and indirectly in expeditions in many different theaters of war, thousands of miles apart, but the experiences of the crusaders were in the whole unplesant and expensive: there was litle compensation to be gained in financial terms, and their long absences from home in campaigns threatened disruption to their estates and families, quite apart from the discomfort and danger they endured. Many historians are convinced that most crusaders must have been so strongly motivated that they were prepared to make great sacrifices for what was, in spite of the violence and cruelty associated with it, a genuinely popular movement, and a religious one at that."

Immediate causes for the Crusades:

Although Jerusalem was captured by Moslems in 637 A.D., their policy of religious toleration allowed for continuous communication between the Christian churches in the Holy Land and their co-religionists in Europe. Charlemagne, Alfred of England, and Louis of Germany all contributed to institutions in Jerusalem. However, in the early 11th century the situation changed when the Caliph, Hakim, began to interfere and relations between the Latin and Byzantine churches were rent by the schism of 1054. The situation became even worse, when the Seljuk Turks captured Jerusalem from the Egyptians in 1071, the same year they destroyed a Byzantine army at Manzikert and seized Asia Minor up to the Hellespont. The Turks supported the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad in their wars with the Fatimites of Cairo increasing the intensity of warfare throughout Syria (including Palestine). This too interfered with the pilgrimages of the faithful.

During the later 10th century and first half of the 11th the west Europeans took the offensive from Spain to Greece. The naval powers such as Pisa, Genoa, and Venice were regaining vital control of the Mediterranean. The Normans were particularly active, not only in conquering Sicily and southern Italy and in assisting Christians in Spain, but also in efforts to wrest territory from the Byzantines. Thus, when the Byzantines were severely pressed by the Seljuk Turks, it was only natural that the Emperor Michael VII would appeal in 1073 to Pope Gregory VII, whom the Normans nominally supported, in hopes of transferring their attentions from taking his domains in Greece to helping him recover others in Asia Minor. Pope Gregory was interested in sponsoring an expedition to recover Asia Minor in hopes of also restoring the Church unity that had recently been broken. He assembled an army in 1074 but subsequently was embroiled in war with the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV; involved in disagreements with Robert Guiscard, the Norman ruler; and finally driven into the Norman "protection" at Salerno.

The appeals for assistance were repeated by Emperor Alexius Commenus to Pope Urban II and other western leaders. Thus the stage was amply set for the Pope's initiative. The confluence of factors thus can be listed as follows:

unprecedented difficulty for Christians to fulfill their desires for pilgrimage directly to Jerusalem;

extraordinary weakness in Byzantine empire and losses to Turks;

increased military power of western Europeans, especially Normans and French; and restless eagerness on the part of military leaders to put it to their own use;

increased Christian naval strength throughout the Mediterranean, and heightened desire by the naval cities to exploit this for their commercial advantage;

Papal interest in an expedition to Asia Minor and Palestine as well as in asserting more control over the internal affairs of western Europe;

popular ideological and cultural interest linking religious fervor to concept of crusade;

a period of increased local famine and disease which encouraged the masses to consider undertaking dangerous treks in search of a better life.

The primary force, which thus transformed an appeal for reinforcements into a holy war for the conquest of Palestine, was the Church. The creative thought of the middle ages is clerical thought. It is the Church which creates the Carolingian empire, because the clergy think in terms of empire. It is the Church which creates the First Crusade, because the clergy believe in penitentiary pilgrimages, and the war against the Seljuks can be turned into a pilgrimage to the Sepulchre; because, again, it wishes to direct the fighting instinct of the laity, and the consecrating name of Jerusalem provides an unimpeachable channel. Above all, because the Papacy desires a perfect and universal church, and perfect and universal church must rule in the Holy Land. But it would be a mistake to regard the crusades as a pure creation of the church or as merely due to the policy of a theocracy directing men to the holy war, which is the only war possible for a theocracy. It would be almost truer, though only half the truth, to say that the clergy gave the name of the crusade to sanctify interests and ambitions which, while set on ends other than those of the Church, happened to coincide in their choice of means. There was, for instance, the ambition of the adventurer prince, the younger son, eager to carve a principality in the far East, of whom Bohemund is the type; there was the interest of Italian towns, anxious to acquire the products of the East more directly and cheaply, by erecting their own outposts in the eastern Mediterranean.

These motivations were latent and ready when Pope Urban convened a church synod at Piacenza in March of 1095, at which the Emperor's appeals were again presented, and then went on to Clermont to deliver his powerful speech on November 26th. In his speech the Pope appealed to most of these motives all wrapped together. He mentioned the urgent need of the Byzantine people and the general danger to Christianity, but stressed the penitential value of the expedition and the religious benefit of observing the truce of God at home, while dedicating one's martial valor to the conquest of Jerusalem.

The crusade movement resulted in an almost continuous flow of individuals and groups, armed and unarmed, from western Europe to the Levant. Hardly a year passed without several nobles arriving with their retainers. Moreover, once the Kingdom of Jerusalam and Counties of Tripoli and Antioch were established the main burden of fighting was born by the permanent settlement of crusaders and their descendants. Nevertheless, the period between 1096 and 1291 witnessed eight specific campaigns, which have been considered sufficiently discrete to be numbered as named Crusades. Another complication that must be understood in order to make sense of the complex nature of the political and military events is that not only were the Christians fighting the Moslems nearly continuously, but also both the Christian and Moslem sides were engaged in considerable internal fighting amongst themselves; to the extent that occasionally one Christian or Moslem prince would ally himself with one group of the opposite side against others of his coreligionists.

First Crusade 1097-1099


First Wave:

Peter the Hermit and various low ranking knights;

Second Wave:

Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine (1061-1100)

Baldwin of Bouillon, of Flanders, (1068-1118) his brother

Eustice of Flanders (another brother)

Raymund of St Giles, Count of Toulouse, Marquis of Provence (1041-1105)

Bishop Adhemar of Puy, Papal Legate, Provencals

Bohemund of Otranto, Count of Apulia (1050-1111) Normans of Italy-Sicily

Tancred de Hauteville (1076-1112) of Otranto, Normans of Italy

Hugh of Vermandois - brother of King Philip I of France

Robert Duke of Normandy - brother of King William II of England

Stephen, Count of Blois, Duke Robert's brother-in-law

Robert II, Count of Flanders;

Third Wave:

Stephen, Count of Blois (again)

Hugh of Vermandois (again)

Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse (again)

Stephen, Count of Burgundy

Hugh of Broyes'

Hugh of Pierrefonds, Bishop of Soissons

William II, Count of Nevers

William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

Conrad, Constable to HRE Henry IV (German units)

Welf, Duke of Bavaria

Thiemo, Archbishop of Salzburg

Anselm of Buis, Archbishop of Milan (Lombards)

Albert, Count of Biandrate (Lombards)

Guibert, Count of Parma (Lombards)

Hugh of Montebello

Independent crusades:

Guymemer of Boulogne (by sea 1097)

Edgar Atheling (by sea 1098)

Sigurd, King of Norway (1107-1140)

Bohemund of Otranto (again 110708 against Byzantium)

Alfonso I of Castile (in Spain)


Seljuk Sultan Kilij Arslan

Vizier of Antioch, Yagi-sian

Emir of Mosul, Kerbogha

Malik Ghazi, Danshmend Emir

Redwan, emir of Aleppo

Strength - 150,000 (counting non-combatants in all three waves)

The immediate outcome of Pope Urban II's appeal was the generation of a religious fervor which swept warrior and civil classes alike. The result was something different from what either pope or Byzantine emperor had in mind. The first to turn desire into action were the common people, whose lack of either property to look after or military understanding to counsel preparation enabled them to take up the cross on the spot. Already within two months of the speech, which was transmitted throughout Europe by wandering preachers, five large bodies of common folk had coalesced under various self-appointed leaders and were moving from the Rhine across Bavaria, down the Danube to Constantinople. Three of these mobs were destroyed in Hungary due to their own wild excesses. Two reached Constantinople and crossed into Asia Minor, only to be completely destroyed by the Seljuks.

The real military forces took longer to assemble and organize. Beginning in March 1096, as individual knights and members of medieval hosts, they marched and sailed from throughout France and the Low Countries toward Constantinople, arriving there between December 1096 and May 1097. Others crossed from southern Italy and marched through Thrace.

The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius, had a problem with the arrival of such a host of foreign troops. He had two alternatives. He could have agreed to their being independent and allies. In this case they might have been offered the chance to conquer lands beyond his empire for themselves. But instead he demanded that they swear to be his vassals and consider that all the lands they crossed be former territories regained for the Empire. This unrealistic policy had adverse results for both the Empire and the Crusaders.

The situation in Asia Minor and Syria in 1097 was favorable to the crusaders. After the death of the great Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah his sons and principle vassals engaged in civil war. The Moslem rulers were even more disunited among themselves than the Christians were. In addition there was the continual struggle between the Sunni Abbasid Caliphate at Baghdad and the Shii Fatimid Caliphate at Cairo.

The Seljuk sultans had only recently completed the military occupation of the area. There were Seljuk garrisons in larger towns like Nicaea and Antioch, and there were some scattered Seljuk armies in the countryside. However the population was mostly hostile to their conquerors. Over wide areas there were no armed forces in being. Therefore, when the crusaders captured a town such as Nicaea and defeated the Seljuk field army at Dorylaeum, their way was clear through Asia Minor. They could count on the neutrality or assistance of the population (an important matter for logistics). They could also count on assistance from the remaining Christian country, Armenia, located in south east Asia Minor. Also, the various Seljuk commanders were more or less autonomous, without strong centralized control, and ambitious and independent-minded.

The last great Seljuk emperor, Malik Shah, died in 1092 leaving a disunited domain. The new sultan, Barkiarok, ruled in Baghdad from 1094 to 1104. But in Asia Minor Kilij Arslan ruled independently as Sultan of Iconium, while the whole of Syria was also independent. Syria was also divided by dissensions within and assailed by the Fatimite caliph of Egypt. In 1095 two brothers, Ridwan and Dekaa, ruled in Aleppo and Damascus, but they were at war with each other and the ruler of Antioch, Yagisian, was also involved. Ridwan and Yagisian were only stopped in an attack on Damascus by news of the approach of the crusaders.

Meanwhile, the Fatimites were taking advantage of the divisions. The Fatimite Caliph of Cairo was head of the Shiite sect, while the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad was head of the Sunnites. The Fatimites took advantage of the disruptions and the advance of the crusaders to conquer Jerusalem in August 1098. The disunion of the Syrian emirs and the division between Abbasids and Fatimites, helped make possible the conquest of the Holy City and the foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When a power arose in Mosul about 1130, which was able to unify Syria; and the unified Syria was in turn united to Egypt under Saladin, then the Christian kingdom was doomed.

Siege of Antioch

By May 1097 the crusaders crossed the Bosporus and entered the area of Kilij Arslan. Their first operation was the siege of Nicaea, defended by a small Seljuk garrison, while their ruler was far to the east dealing with Danshmend armies. With Byzantine aid they captured it in June. Alexius took possession of the town and rewarded the crusading princes. After taking Nicaea, the crusaders had to deal with the Turkish field army. In a long and obstinate encounter it was defeated at Dorylaeum on June 1st. After that, the Crusaders marched unmolested in a southeasterly direction to Heraclea. Here Tancred, followed by Baldwin, turned into Cilicia and began to take possession of the Cilician towns, especially Tarsus. The main army turned to the north east toward Caesarea in order to get into contact with the Armenian princes. Then the crusaders marched southward again to Antioch. At Marash, half way between Caesarea and Antioch, Baldwin, who had meanwhile taken Tarsus from Tancred, rejoined the forces. He soon left again and struck eastward towards Edessa to found a principality there. All this independent action presaged future trouble among the crusader leaders. At the end of October the crusaders came to Antioch, held by Yagi-sian, and began the siege of the city. This lasted from October 21, 1097 to June 3, 1098. The great leader of the siege was naturally Bohemund. He repelled attempts at relief made by Dekak on December 31, 1097 and Ridwan on February 9, 1098. He put the besiegers in touch with the Genoese ships at St. Simeon, the port of Antioch. This brought much needed supplies. The city was finally taken by treachery from the garrison. Meanwhile, a relief army under Kerbogha of Mosul was only three-days away. The crusaders were no sooner in the city than they were besieged by Kerbogha for 25 days. The crusaders believed they found the Holy Lance and with this omen they went forth from the city to defeat Kerbogha in battle on June 28.

After this success, largely brought by Count Raymund of Toulouse, the crusader army moved south along the coast.

Bohemund remained in Antioch and Raymund besieged Arca from February to May of 1099 and attempted to capture Tripoli. With Raymund and Bohemund feuding, Godfrey of Bouillon took the leadership and pressed on to Jerusalem. The army arrived there in June; and, after a relatively brief siege, took the Holy City on 15 July, bringing the formal crusade to an end. Godfrey refused the title of 'King" but was declared protector of the Holy Sepulchre. Although most of the crusaders returned home or went north with Raymund, Godfrey had to defeat a large Egyptian counter-attack near Ascalon on 12 August.

Fall of Edessa - 1144


Joscelin II

Imad ad -Din Zengi, governor of Mosul and Aleppo
Between 1129 and 1144 Zengi gradually expanded his power as governor of Mosul for the Seljuk Sultan to include Aleppo and many smaller towns. He attempted to take Damascus several times but the Crusaders under King Fulk came to help defend it. Zengi captured fortresses on the Antioch frontier. Then while the Christian ruler, Joscelin II was away, Zengi struck quickly and seized Edessa. The shock of this loss generated renewed Papal interest and the preaching of a Second Crusade.

Second Crusade 1145-1148


King Conrad III of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor (1138-1152)

Frederick, Duke of Swabia (Conrad's son)

Vladislav, King of Bohemia

Boleslav IV, King of Poland

Bishop Ottof Freising (1/2 brother of Conrad)

King Louis VII of France (1137-1180)

King Baldwin III of Jerusalem (1143-1163)

Count of Auvergne

Count of Savoy

Marquis of Montferrat

Alphonso Jordan, Count of Toulouse (Raymond IV's heir)

Henry Glanville, Constable of Suffolk (leading English by sea)

English, Flemings, Rhinelanders, Frisians, Normans by sea via Portugal

Saxons and Poles in Baltic crusade against Wends

Alfonso VII of Castile

Count of Barcelona

King of Portugal

Spanish and Portuguese against Almoravid rulers on Iberian Penn.

Genoese navy


Vizier of Damascus, Muin-eddin-Anar

in background, Amir of Aleppo, Nu-ed-din (son of Zengi)

The Emir of Mosul captured Edessa on Christmas Day, 1144. This signaled the beginning of the destruction of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. The news reached Pope Eugenius III early in 1145 and he immediately launched an appeal for a new crusade. The call went especially to France, the most promising and fertile field for recruitment. Immediately King Louis VII took the vow on Christmas Day of 1145. St. Bernard carried the appeal into Germany, where the king, Conrad III, likewise swore his oath for crusade at Christmas of 1146. With the leadership in the hands of two great kings, the prospects for success seemed greater than for the First Crusade. However such was not to be the case. First off, the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel Commenus, asserted again the empire's right to possession of all regained territories. Moreover, he was engaged in a struggle with Count Roger of Sicily, which prevented effective aid from being given to the crusader forces. The knights from England and the Low countries sailed down the Iberian coast and stopped to help the Portuguese to capture Lisbon, the only positive result of the campaign. They then continued on to Antioch. Meanwhile, Conrad marched overland on the well-worn road through Hungary to Constantinople, while Louis arrived later by sea. By then the German army had attempted to raid into the Sultanate of Iconium and had been defeated by Kilij Arslan's son at Dorylaeum in October 1147. At this Louis decided to march by the long, round-about coastal route. But the French lost most of their infantry in Cilicia. The result was that by the time the French and German forces reached the Holy Land in 1148 both had lost most of their troops. Here Conrad and Louis joined the Frankish, King Baldwin III, to plan some action. Foolishly, instead of choosing a worthwhile objective they decided on besieging Damascus, the one Moslem ally they had to block the advance of the more powerful amir Nur-ed-din from Allepo and Mosul. The vizier of Damascus, Muin-ed din Anar, bought off some of the attackers. The siege failed after 4 days, July 28th 1148, but helped reunite the Moslems.

Conrad returned to Constantinople and Louis returned to France. The effect of this great movement was detrimental to the Frankish position in the Holy Land. In addition, the fiasco so discredited the whole crusading idea that further efforts to recruit a new force in 1150 failed.

The result of the failure of the second crusade was that Nur-ed-din was able to renew his attacks. He took the rest of the County of Edessa in 1150 and defeated Raymund of Antioch in 1149. In 1153 Baldwin III managed to capture Ascalon, but in 1154 Nur ed Din finally was welcomed into Damascus. For the next 20 years Baldwin III and his brother Amalric I attempted to maintain the kingdom through alliance with Manuel Commenus, whose relatives they both married, while Manuel married Mary of Antioch, Raymund's daughter. Meanwhile, Nur-ed-din gradually tightened the noose, and pushing his power into Egypt via his lieutenant, Shiguh and then Saladin. When Nur-al-Din died, Saladin began his campaigns to unite the entire Moslem world from Egypt to Mosul. Once he had accomplished this he was able to turn the entire military force of Egypt and Syria against the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem

Third Crusade 1189-1192


King Richard I of England (1157-1199)

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1123-1190)

Leopold, Duke of Austria (later captured Richard)

King Philip II Augustus of France (1165-1223)

Marquis Conrad of Montferrat (cousin of King Philip)

King Guy de Lusignan of Jerusalem (1186-1190)

Henry of Champagne (elected King)


Saladin, Emir of Egypt and Damascus etc.

The loss of Jerusalem on October 2, 1187 and practically the entire Holy Land to Saladin after the battle of Hattin in July 1187 generated another papal appeal throughout Europe for a crusade. This time the state powers took up the call. The German national Diet swore the crusade and their great Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who had participated in the Second Crusade, organized a fine army. The kings of England and France laid aside their conflicts (temporarily) to join together for the expedition. But this crusade was little more successful than the second. The German army marched across the Balkans, crossed the Bosphorus, and passed through Asia Minor practically unscathed only to fall apart immediately on the accidental drowning of their emperor in a river in Armenia. Only 1,000 men reached Acre in October 1190 under the emperor's son, Frederick of Swabia.

The French and English sailed from southern France, stopped over the winter of 1190-1191 in Sicily, then reached Acre in midyear. Richard went by way of a stop to conquer Cyprus.

The initial rout of the Franks after Hattin had been checked at Tyre, their last remaining stronghold in the south by the last minute arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. He was immediately engaged in feuding with Guy de Lusignan over rights and privileges, and who would be king. Both had their local political parties and could claim the throne by marriage. However, they did manage to advance with the remanent of crusader forces to the siege of Acre, the key seaport for Jerusalem. Here they were in turn besieged by Saladin with the combined Moslem hosts of Egypt and much of Syria. The arrival of the French and English enabled the crusaders finally to take the city and then a little more of the sea coast, but they were unable even to consider an attempt on Jerusalem with Saladin's army so near. Philip returned to France quickly. Richard actually accomplished more by diplomatic negotiations with Saladin than by force of arms. He left also, with his nephew, Henry of Champagne, in charge as King of Jerusalem.

The crusade failed in its objective, but at least did buy some time by saving Antioch, Tripoli, and some of the coastal cities. Its main results lay in Europe itself, where it represented the shift in control of crusades from the religious power of the papacy to the secular power of the lay governments. It also raised the internal endemic rivalries that beset all crusading forces from those of individual feudal adventurers to the budding national level.

Fourth Crusade 1202-1204


Theobald of Champagne (died 1201) (brother of King Henry who died in 1197)

Baldwin IX Count of Flanders (became Emperor Baldwin I)

Count of Blois

Boniface of Montferrat (brother of Conrad, killed in 1192)

Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice (1192-1205) in background with Venician navy


Alexius III, usurper as Byzantine Emperor

Alexius IV Murzuphlus second usurper in 1204

Pope Innocent III raised a crusade in France with the objective of attacking the center of Moslem power in Egypt. However the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor, Philip of Swabia, who was engaged in the age-old Gulph versus Ghibelline struggle between empire and papacy, managed with the aid of Venice to divert the French crusaders to Constantinople with the aim of restoring the dethroned emperor, Isaac Angelus. The Venetians supplied the sea power and transports. However, after they accomplished this, Isaac and his son, Alexius, reneged on their promises, so the crusaders captured the city and placed Baldwin on the throne as the first Latin emperor of Constantinople.

The result of this excursion was the further diversion of crusades from spiritual motivation and papal control to secular (political and economic) motivations and secular state control. The results for the efforts to save the Holy Land were counter-productive in the extreme in that they not only diverted a major amount of fighting strength from Jerusalem for years to come, but also failed to enlist even as much Byzantine support for the enterprise as had been forthcoming until then.

Fifth Crusade 1218-1221


Pelagius, cardinal legate of Pope Innocent III

John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem, husband of Marie of Montferrat

Andrew, King of Hungary -1213

Leopold VI, Duke of Austria (1217-19)

Louis I, Duke of Bavaria 1221

Hugh, King of Cyprus


Sultan Malik-al-Adil - died 1218

Sultan Malik-al-Kamil

Undaunted by the disastrous miscarriage of his plans for the Fourth Crusade, Pope Innocent urged yet another at the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. The initial reception was auspicious. The great Emperor Frederick II (Stupor Mundi) took the cross in Germany, where a considerable force was gathered. In 1217 the Duke of Austria and the King of Hungary went to the Holy Land. In 1218 another army from northwest Europe joined them. By this time it was clear to the crusaders that the real locus of Moslem power was Egypt. Moreover, with Syria under strong Moslem control the overland route through Asia Minor seemed too difficult. This was just fine for the maritime commercial cities, which wanted to establish trade routes through Egypt to India. Finally, there was an existing truce in force in the Holy Land. Consequently, Innocent decided that the purpose of the crusade would be to capture the Egyptian strong hold at Damietta and then seek to take Cairo as well. The crusaders took Damietta by the end of 1219, but spent all of 1220 waiting there for the arrival of Emperor Frederick II, the nominal leader, who found excuses not to participate. The sultan offered very favorable terms, which were rejected. In 1221 Hermann of Salza, Master of the Teutonic Order, and the Duke of Bavaria arrived, so Pelagius ordered an advance on Cairo, despite the protests of King John.

The crusader army reached the new Mameluke fortress at Mansura in July. The sultan again offered terms that were again rejected. The crusaders were then driven back to Damietta. At this the cardinal agreed to a treaty (Aug 1221) to gain freedom to withdraw. The crusader evacuation of Egypt ended the crusade.

The failure was due in part to the failure of Frederick II to come when his presence would have greatly strengthened the crusader cause and in part to the intransigence of Pelagius, who refused to listen to the advice of the experienced King John.

The Sixth Crusade 1228-1229


Frederich II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily and King of Jerusalem


Sultan of Egypt, Malik

The Sixth Crusade succeeded technically, but under circumstances which made its success even more disastrous than the failure of the preceding crusade. Considering that Richard I was the main controller of the Third Crusade and the Hohenstaufen and Venetians controlled the Fourth, then it was the papal legate who was in control of the Fifth. At last, on the Sixth Crusade the Emperor Frederick II took his turn in a strictly lay-controlled enterprise. It was unique in that instead of receiving a papal blessing it was actually cursed. It was also peculiar in that it alone included no hostile acts against the Moslems. By virtue of marriage to Isabella, heiress to the kingdom of Jerusalem, Frederick undertook the crusade as king, despite being under excommunication by Pope Gregory IX. Without striking a blow he managed to obtain a treaty of 10 years duration under which he regained the city plus other territories connecting it to the coast. He was soon enmeshed in the traditional feudal politics of the kingdom and finally lost out to the barons. The struggle weakened the kingdom still further. Even the pope, being Frederick's staunch enemy, sought to prevent aid from reaching the Holy Land as long as Frederick was even nominally the King! But it was again due to the noble's stupidity that they lost the city for the last time. In 1244 they decided to become ally of the ruler of Damascus against the Sultan of Egypt. In the resulting battle of Gaza they were deserted by their erstwhile ally and defeated by the great Mameluke general and future Sultan, Bibars.

Seventh Crusade 1248-1254


St. Louis IX, King of France


Malik-al-Salih Najm al-din Ayyub, Sultan of Egypt and Damascus

The loss of Jerusalem in 1244 produced a new crusade, after it was urged at the council of Lyons in 1245. The nature of medieval politics is revealed in the promise of Pope Innocent IV to grant crusader status to all who would take up his cause, not only in the Holy Land, but more especially against Emperor Frederick II himself. Thus, it was the papacy that turned the concept of crusade to its own secular objectives. Meanwhile the King of France, St. Louis IX, took up the cross and organized a French army. He moved to Cyprus in 1248 and in the spring of 1249 landed in Egypt. Again, the crusaders succeeded in capturing Damietta and in marching as far as Mansura, where they were again defeated. This time the king was captured as well. After paying ransom and surrendering Damietta, he moved to Acre in 1250, where he remained for four years vainly seeking to enlist aid from Europe and to capture Jerusalem. Finally the death of his mother forced St. Louis to return to France in 1254.

Eighth Crusade 1270-1272


St. Louis IX, King of France

Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis and King of Sicily

Prince Edward, afterward King Edward I of England


Bey of Tunis

Bibars, Sultan of Egypt

The successes of Bibars in capturing Caesarea in 1265 and Antioch in 1268 led St. Louis to consider another crusade. His brother, Charles of Anjou, meanwhile had supplanted the Hohenstaufen as King of Sicily and was planning crusades himself, to Constantinople as well as Jerusalem. St. Louis, however, had got the notion that the Bey of Tunis might be converted and decided to begin his crusade at that location before moving east. Charles certainly did not like this idea, but was forced to forgo his own plans in order to support his brother. Prince Edward of England was also enlisted in the enterprise. No sooner had St. Louis landed in Africa than he fell sick and died. Charles successfully negotiated a favorable treaty from the bey for his own Sicilian kingdom. When Prince Edward arrived, the war was over. He then proceeded to Acre, where he entered into negotiations unsuccessfully with the Mongols in Persia in hopes of finding a military force capable of ousting the Mamlukes. He returned home in 1272 the last of the western crusaders.


Brundage, James A. 1964. The Crusades Motives and Achievements, D.C. Heath and Company, Boston.

Contamine, Philippe, 1984. War in the Middle Ages, trans by Michael Jones, Basil Blackwell, London, England.

Finucane, Ronald C. 1983. Soldiers of the Faith, St. Martin's Press, New York.

Grousset, Rene, 1970. The Epic of the Crusades, trans. Noel Lindsay, Orion Press, New York.

Heath, Ian, 1978. Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291, Wargames Research Group, Sussex, England.

Lamb, Harold, 1930. The Crusades, Doubleday, Doran & Co., New York.

Runciman, Steven, 1964. A History of the Crusades, 3 vols., Harper Torchbooks, New York,

Wise, Terrence, 1978. The Wars of The Crusades 1096-1291, Osprey, London, England


1095 -Council of Piacenza - Byzantine empire appeals to the West for help
1095 - 27 Nov. - Council of Clermont - Pope Urban preaches at Clermont.
1095 - Dec - July 1096 - Persecution of Jews despite bishops' and rulers' efforts to stop
1096 - March - knights begin to assembly.
1096 - June - August Three first wave pilgrims destroyed in Hungary
1096 - Sept. Oct. - Peter the Hermit's crusade defeated in Asia Minor
1096 - Pope Urban II expands crusade into Spain
1096 - Dec - Godfrey reaches Constantinople.
1097 - April - Raymund reaches Constantinople.
1097 - May - crusaders cross Bosporus.
1097 - 19 June - Capture Nicaea from Seljuk. Return it to Byzantines
1097 - 1 July - Defeat Kilij Arslan at Dorylaeum.
1097 - 21 Oct. - begin siege of Antioch (Yagi-sian).
1097 - 31 Dec. - Bohemund defeats relief by Dekak.
1098 - 9 Feb. - Bohemund defeats relief by Ridwan.
1098 - 10 March - Baldwin of Boulogne captures Edessa and becomes count
1098 - 3 June - Bohemund leads capture of the city.
1098 - 6 June - Kerbogha, atabeg of Mosul, begins to besiege crusaders in Antioch.
1098 - 28 June - Crusaders defeat Kerbogha in open battle outside Antioch.
1099 - Feb to May - Raymund besiege Arce. 1099 -
June - Godfrey leads crusaders to Jerusalem.
1099 - 15 July - Godfrey takes city, held for Fatimite Egypt by Iftikhar ad-Daula.
1099 - 22 July - Godfrey elected ruler of Jerusalem, refuses title of king
1099 - 12 Aug. - Godfrey repels Egyptian attack at Ascalon.
1100 - 18 July - Godfrey of Bouillon dies. Dec. - Baldwin comes from Edessa to be first king
1100 - Sept. - New Crusade begins in west, led by Hugh and Stephen, who had left crusade at Antioch
1100 - William IX, count of Poitiers on crusade.
1100 - Bohemund captured in battle. - later ransomed
1100 - Venetian fleet at Jaffa.
1101 - Aug - Sept. - Great new crusading army destroyed in Asia Minor at Sivas, Aleppo and Harran.
1101 - Genoese alliance with Baldwin I.
1101 - Large northern crusader group arrives by sea.
1101 - Baldwin captures Arsuf and Caesarea.
1104 - Baldwin captures Acre with naval assistance.
1104 - Raymund captures Byblus.
1104 - Normans defeated at Harran.
1104 - Byzantines capture Cilician towns.
1104-1112 - Tancred rules Antioch.
1106 - Bohemund recruiting new army throughout Europe, married Constance of France
1107 - King Sigurd of Norway sails on crusade
1108 - Bohemund defeated by Byzantines at Durazzo.
1109 - Raymund's successor, William, captures Tripoli.
1110 - 4 Dec. - Baldwin captures Sidon with aid of Sigurd of Norway.
1110 - Beirut captured.
1110 - Krak des Chevaliers begun.
1110 - Expansion of crusader kingdom complete - Maudud at Mosul starts Moslem reaction - Edessa attacked in 1110, 1111, 1112, 1114, 1115.
1112-1119 - Roger rules Antioch.
1113 - Pope Paschal II recognizes Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
1116 - Baldwin I builds Monreal between Aila and Dead sea.
1118 - Baldwin I dies, succeeded Baldwin II (to 1131) - annual Egyptian attacks.
1118 - Knights Templar founded
1119 - Roger of Antioch defeated at Balat.
1122 - Pope Calixtus II proclaims crusade in both East and Spain
1123 - Venetian crusade fleet of 120 repulse Egyptian attack.
1123 - First Lateran Council issues privileges for crusaders
1123 - Baldwin II captured by Balak.
1124 - 7 July - Venetian fleet helps crusaders and Jerusalem army to capture Tyre.
1126-1130 - Bohemund II rules Antioch - married Baldwin's daughter.
1128 - Hugh of Payns, Grand Master of Templars preaching new crusade
1129 - Zengi begins rule as atabeg of Aleppo and Mosul raises Moslem power.
1129 - Jerusalem army and new crusaders attack Damascus
1130 - Alice, widow of Bohemund II, seeks alliance with Zengi who attacks Damascus - She favors marriage of her daughter, Constance, to Manuel Comnenus, but Constance marries Raymund of Potiers as lord of Antioch and then Raynald of Chatillon.
1130-1154 Emirate of Damascus helps against Zengi under vizer, Muin eddin Anar.
1131 - Fulk V of Anjou, husband of Melisende, new king till 1143.
1133 - Alliance between Damascus and Jerusalem. 1135 -
Zengi captures fortresses on Antioch frontier.
1136 - Bethgibelin Castle given to Hospitallers, March of Amanujs mountains given to Templars
1137 - Zengi defeates Fulk at Barim - takes Montferrand Castle.
1137 - Byzantine Emperor John Comnenus receives hommage of Antioch and Tripoli.
1138 - Joint Byzantine - Frank campaign against Moslems planned and conducted against Aleppo. At siege of Shaizar Robert of Antioch did not support John so latter raised siege. Collapse of Byzantine - Frank alliance.
1139 - Zengi besieges Damascus.
1140 - Fulk of Jerusalem brings relief army and Zengi retires - alliance of Damascus and Jerusalem.
1140 - Krak of desert (Moab) built in reign of Fulk of Jerusalem.
1142 - Emperor John Comnenus returns but dies in 1143 along with Fulk, killed in hunting accident.
1143 - first native king, son of Fulk, Baldwin III.
1144 - Zengi reconquers Edessa on Christmas day, thanks to incompetence of Joscelin II and refusal of Raymond (Poitiers) of Antioch to come to rescue - major turning point for Franks.
1145 - 1 Dec. Eugenius III urges new crusade - Louis VII agrees.
1146 - St Bernard of Clairvaux preaching crusade
1146 - Conrad III also agrees to crusade.
1146 - Another persecution of Jews in Rhineland.
1146 - Zengi assassinated - his son, Nur al Din, takes over Aleppo and son, Ghazi, takes Mosul.
1146 - Nur al Din repels crusader attempt to retake Edessa.
1147 - Pope extends crusade to Spain and authorizes Saxon crusade against Wends
1147 - May - Conrad leads first contingent down Danube; Louis VII follows
1147 - Oct. Conrad III army defeated at Dorylaeum, claims Byzantine treachery. - Conrad retreats to Byzantium
1147 - Roger King of Sicily at war with Manuel, Byzantine Emperor.
1148 - Jan - King Louis VII reaches Antalya and sails with part of army to Palestine
1148 - Louis VII (with wife, Eleanor of Acquitaine, niece of Raymond) and Conrad reach Holy Land at Antioch. Byzantines have caused loss of much of both armies. Louis refuses to help Raymond against Aleppo, goes to Jerusalem.
1148 - Franks break alliance with Damascus (mistake).
1148 - 28 July - Louis and Conrad decide with Baldwin III to attack Damascus (mistake) vizier, Muin-eddin-Anar holds city.
1149 - June 29 - Raymond of Antioch killed in battle at Murad by Nur al Din, Antioch looses frontier forts, city saved by Baldwin III.
1150 - Nur al Ddin renews attacks, takes Tell-bashir, Baldwin wins renown by successful evacuation of Armenian population to Antioch.
1151 - Last fortress of Edessa surrenders to Nur al-Din.
1153 - 22 Aug. - Baldwin III takes Ascalon.
1154 - Nur al Din takes Damascus, removes potential Frankish ally.
1163-1174 - Amalric becomes king of Jerusalem
1163 - Sept. - Almaric first attempt toward Egypt.
1164 - Aug-Oct. - Almaric's second expedition to Egypt
1167 - Jan- Aug - Amalric's third expedition to Egypt
1168 - Oct - Jan 1169 - Almaric's fourth expedition to Egypt
1169 - Oct. Dec. - Amalric's fifth expedition to Egypt
1169 - Nur al Din's lieutenant, Shirguh becomes vizier of Egypt and then his nephew, Saladin succeeds in March.
1171 - Saladin becomes ruler of Egypt.
1172 - Henry the Lion comes on crusade.
1174 - Nur al Din dies with only child as heir at Aleppo, who is supported by Raymund, count of Tripoli against Saladin.
1174 - Almaric also dies - Baldwin IV is king (The Leper king) (to 1186).
1174 - Saladin takes Damascus thus uniting Syria and Egypt.
1177 - Philip of Flanders goes on crusade
1177 - Crusaders defeat Saladin at Mount Gisard
1183 - Raynald of Chatillon launches foolish campaign against Mecca
1183 - Saladin takes Aleppo, completing unification of Moslem states.
1184-85 - Latin kingdom sends for assistance.
1185-1186 - Baldwin V, child king of Jerusalem
1186 - Guy of Lusignan becomes king as husband of Sibylla, Almaric's daughter.
1186 - Raynald of Chatillon attacks caravan with Saladin's sister - Saladin begins jihad.
1187 - Saladin attacks, destroys crusader detachment at Tiberias in May and at Hattin on 4 July - the Christian levy en masse of 20,000 is destroyed.
1187 - 2 Oct - Saladin captures Jerusalem
1187 - 29 Oct. Pope Gergory VIII proclaims Third Crusade - Nov. Richard of England takes cross
1188 - Jan. - King Henry of England and King Philip of France take up cross - Saladin tithe imposed. March - Emperor Frederick I takes Cross.
1189 - only Tyre remains to Christians plus Antioch and Tripoli and Margat.
1189-1192 - Third Crusade begins when Frederick I leaves Regensburg in May
1189-1229 - continuous crusading of every kind.
1189 - 27 Aug. King Guy de Lusignan begins siege of Acre .
1190 - 10 June- German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowns in Cilicia.
1190 - July - Kings Richard and Philip depart on crusade from Vezelay, France.
1190 - Oct - remnant of German army reaches Acre.
1190-91 - Richard I and Philip Augustus at Sicily.
1191, March - Philip reaches Acre.
1191 - Richard I conquers Cyprus
1191 - June - Richard reaches Acre.
1191 - 12 July - Acre falls to Richard and Philip.
1191 - 7 Sept. - Richard wins battle of Arsuf
1192 - 2 Sept - Richard makes treaty with Saladin after marching close to Jerusalem.
1193 - Saladin dies, sons dispute and divide territories.
1194 - 1205 - Amalric of Lusignan ruler of Cyprus
1195 - Amalric, king of Cyprus, does homage to Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry eager to start new crusade & takes cross.
1195 - Isaac Angelus, Byzantine Emperor dethroned by brother, Alexius III; Isaac's daughter marries Henry's brother, Philip of Swabia; Henry prepares crusade to Constantinople;
1197 - Henry VI dies in Sicily - crusade collapses; German crusaders however support Amalric as new King of Jerusalem; Germans recover Beirut and other towns.
1198 - King Amalric II makes 5 year truce with Malik-al-Adil.
1198 - Cilician Armenia becomes a kingdom
1198 - Innocent III, the new Pope. - Aug. He proclaims 4th Crusade
1199 - Many French nobles take cross - first direct taxation by Church for crusades
1200 - Malik-al-Adil, succeeds Saladin, grants truces for 1198-1203, 1204-1210, 1211-1217;
1200 - Innocent pushing new crusade in France with objective Egypt.
1201 - Theobald of Champagne, Baldwin of Flanders, Count of Blois prepare for crusade - send envoys to Venice to obtain transport. Venice agrees to transport crusaders for a high price.
1202 - 24 Nov. - Crusaders capture Zara on Adriatic coast for Venice despite Pope Innocent prohibition..
1203, 17 July - Crusaders reach Constantinople and install Isaac II Angelus back as emperor.
1204, April - Crusaders take Constantinople, May - Baldwin of Flanders become first Latin emperor of Constantinople.
1204 - 1205 - Geoffrey of Villehardouin and William of Champlitte conquer the Morea
1210 - 1225 - John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem
1212 - Children's Crusade from Cologne and France .
1213 - Pope Innocent proclaims Fifth Crusade
1215 - Nov. Dec. - Innocent urges crusade at Fourth Lateran council.
1215-1217 - German troops assemble, Frederick II takes cross, Duke of Austria and King of Hungary go to Holy Land in 1217.
1218 - another German army joins at Acre.
1218 - 27 May, crusaders arrive in Egypt. Pelagius, papal legate in command at Damietta in Egypt; Malik-al-Kamil succeedes Malik-al-Adil.
1218 - 1253 - Henry I, King of Cyprus
1219 - 5 Nov. - Crusaders capture Damietta on Nile river.
1220 - Crusaders waiting for Frederick II.
1221 - 17 July Pelagius marches on Cairo, 30 Aug. defeated at Mansura.
1225 - Frederick II marries Isabella II (Yolande) , daughter of John of Brienne and heiress of Jerusalem.
1227 - Frederick II begins crusade.
1229- 1233 - Civil war in Cyprus between Frederick II supporters and Ibelin barons
1229, Feb 18 - Frederick makes treaty with Sultan for Jerusalem and territories on coast.
1229 - 14 July - Battle of Nicosia on Cyprus
1229-1233 - Frederick struggles with barons in Holy Land.
1235 - John of Brienne saves Frankish empire at Constantinople, defeats Byzantines and Bulgarians.
1239 - Theobald of Champagne goes on crusade to Jerusalem.
1240-41 - Richard of Cornwall, brother of King Henry III of England sails to Holy Land.
1243 - 1254 - Conrad, titular King of Jerusalem (son of Frederick II)
1244 - 11 July - 23 Aug. - Jerusalem lost to Khwarismian Turks brought in by the Egyptians.
1244 - Crusaders ally with Damascus and are destroyed by Turks and Mamlukes at battle of Gaza.
1245 - Innocent IV preaches crusade at Council of Lyons, sends envoy to Mongols
1247 - Ascalon lost to Bibars
1248 - St Louis goes to Cyprus
1249 - St. Louis arrives in Egypt
1249, Dec - French army lost battle at Mansura on Nile River, St. Louis captured.
1250 - St Louis reaches Acre, stays 4 years
1252 - St. Louis sends envoy to Mongols
1253-67 - Hugh II, King of Cyprus
1254 - 68 - Conradin, titular King of Jerusalem
1256 - Hulagu Khan destroys Assassin fortress headquarters at Almut in Persia
1258 - Hulagu Khan captures Baghdad - Cilician Armenia and Antioch ally with Mongols
1260 - Hulagu Khan with Mongol army takes Damascus. Hulagu retires to Mongolia
1260 - Christian Mongol general, Kitboga, attacks toward Egypt, defeated by Bibars at Ayn Jalut in Palestine on 3 Sept, who then captures Damascus.
1260 - Bibars becomes Sultan of Egypt
1261 - Latins lose Constantinople
1263 - Bibars destroys Nazareth.
1265 - Bibars takes Caesarea and Arsuf.
1265 - Charles of Anjou leaves France on new crusade into Italy
1266 - Bibars takes Saphet.
1267 - St. Louis decides on a new crusade.
1268 - Bibars takes Antioch, Jaffa and Belfort
1268 - June - Prince Edward of England takes cross.
1269 - James the Conqueror King of Aragon comes on crusade in Dec, but retires in storm, his army reaches Acre but leaves in 1270.
1269 - Hugh III of Cyprus recognized as King of Jerusalem.
1270 - St. Louis and Charles of Anjou land at Tunis on 18 July, Louis dies and Charles signs favorable treaty with bey of Tunis - Prince Edward of England departs England in August and arrives at Tunis and then continues on to Acre in 1271. He starts campaign against Cairo in 1271.
1271-72 - Edward negotiates with Mongols and conducts battles with Mamlukes.
1271 - Krak des Chevaliers lost to Bibars who also captures Chastel Blanc and Montfort..
1272 - Bibars grants 10 year truce.
1274 - Pope Gregory X preaches crusade at Council of Lyons, many princes agree to serve.
1276 - Gregory dies and crusade plans collapse. King Hugh II leaves Acre for Cyprus.
1277 - Mary of Antioch sells claims to Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily, who establishes himself at Acre, local lords split into pro and anti Anjou camps.
1278 - Charles takes Achaea and prepares new crusade against Constantinople but Sicilian Vespers blocks his plans.
1285 - Kala'un takes Margat
1286 - 4 June - Kingdom of Jerusalem reunited under Henry of Cyprus
1287 - 18 June - Crusade of Alice of Blois arrives at Acre
1288 - John of Grailly leads crusade
1289 - 16 April - Kala'un, successor of Bibar's son, takes Tripoli.
1290 - Odo of Grandson and northern Italians arrive on crusade
1290 - Kala'un dies while preparing to take Acre.
1291 - 5 April - 18 May - al - Ashraf Khalil, his son, takes Acre - end of Kingdom of Jerusalem. July - Sidon and Beirut fall - Aug. - Crusaders evacuate Tortosa and Chateau Pelerin
1300 - rumors of new Mongol advance create revived Christian crusade hopes.
1303 - Knights Templar lose Arwad, island off Syria.
1303 - 23 June - Hospitallers begin invasion of Rhodes
1309 - Hospitallers move their headquarters to Rhodes - large groups of crusaders forming in western Europe.
1313 - June - King Philip IV of France and his sons and King Edward II of England take cross.
1320 - Shepherds' Crusade
1344 - Crusade League of Venice, Cyprus, and Knights of Hospital conduct crusade to take Smyrna.
1345 - Humbert, Dauphin of Vienne, leads crusade to failure.
1363 - Ottoman Turks capture Philippopolis.
1365 - Ottoman Turks capture Adrianople.
1359-1369 - Peter I king of Cyprus attempts to recover Holy Land.
1365 - Peter sacks Alexandria.
1367 - Peter attacks coast of Syria.
1396 - Attempt for crusade against Turks, defeated decisively at battle of Nicopolis.
1402 - Tamerlane destroys Ottoman power at Angora.
1422 - Murad begins restoration of Ottoman power.
1443 - New crusade of adventurers, led by cardinal Caesarini joined forces with Wladislaus of Poland and John Hunyadi of Transylvania and forced Murad II into a truce at Szegedin in 1444.
1444 - Crusaders break truce and are defeated at Varna.
1453 - Mohammed II takes Constantinople.


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Wise, Terrance, 1978, Armies of the Crusades, Osprey, London, England

For a summary of the 8 crusades please see summary

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