The Siege of Antioch during the First Crusade, miniature by Jean Colombe. (c. 1490)
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The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. The Crusades were originally launched in response to a call from the leaders of the Byzantine Empire for help to fight Muslim Seljuk Turks expansion into Anatolia; these Turks had cut off access to Jerusalem.[1] The crusaders comprised military units from all over western Europe, and were not under unified command. The main series of Crusades occurred between 1095 and 1291; historians have given them numbers, later unnumbered crusades were also taken up for a variety of reasons. The Crusades were fought by Roman Catholics primarily against Muslims. After some early successes, the later crusades failed and the crusaders were defeated and forced to return home.

Several hundred thousand soldiers became Crusaders by taking vows[2]; the Pope granted them plenary indulgence.[3] Their emblem was the cross--"crusade" is derived from the French term for taking up the cross. Many were from France and called themselves "Franks," which became the common term used by Muslims.[4]

The term "crusade" is also used to describe religiously motivated campaigns conducted between 1100 and 1600 in territories outside the Levant[5] usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication[6] for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons.[7] 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 major far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts on western Europe, and as well ruined the Byzantine Empire.

The Reconquista, a long period of wars in Spain (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. 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.[8][9] Churches commemorating various events in the life of Jesus had been erected at key sites.

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. 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) as their territory – this included eventual incursions by the Seljuk Turks.

Jerusalem also holds historical and religious importance for Jews as both the ancient capital of their ancestral home and the site of the Western Wall, the last standing part of the Second Temple, the most sacred site in Judaism. Jews consider Jerusalem as their ancestral homeland, and had been visiting the city since its destruction in 70 CE[10] and its occupation in AD 136.

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.[11] 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. 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.[12]

Western European situation

The origins of the Crusades were the Christian response to the Islamic invasion of Gaul (France) earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the deterioration of the Byzantine Empire caused by a new wave of Turkish Muslim attacks. 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. In 1074, Emperor Michael VII to Pope Gregory VII and in 1095, from Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to Pope Urban II blessed Christian armies who fought to reclaim lands lost to Muslim invaders in previous centuries.

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

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. 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.

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. 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.

Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula

Map of the Iberian Peninsula at the time of the Almoravid arrival in the 11th century– Christian Kingdoms included Aragón, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Portugal

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 and Asturias, the Basque Country and Navarre, with increasing success, for about a hundred years. 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.[13]

While the Reconquista was the most prominent example of European reactions against Muslim conquests, it is not the only such example. The Norman adventurer 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. 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.

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. 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.

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. 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 the Levant would provide leverage in resolving the Papacy's claims of supremacy over the Patriarch of Constantinople, 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 stinging defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, which reduced the Empire's Asian territory to a region in western Anatolia and around Constantinople. The Empire was on the verge of collapse, with its treasury bankrupt, its armies poorly deployed, and its aged emperor ineffective.[14] 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.

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.

15th century illumination of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached an impassioned sermon to take back the Holy Land.

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. 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. 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. 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 caused outrage by vividly describing attacks upon the Christian pilgrims. He also noted the military threat to the fellow Christians of Byzantium. 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.[15]

Then Urban raised secular motives, talking of the feudal love of tournaments and warfare. 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. 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.[16] 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. 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.[17]

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.

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.

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.


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.[18] The Knights 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.

First Crusade 1095–1099

Route of the First Crusade through Asia

Byzantine Emperor Alexius I in 1095 sent ambassadors to plead for military help from western Europeans at the Council of Piacenza. His empire was threatened by 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, promising those who died in the endeavour would receive immediate remission of their sins.[19]

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. Pledging to restore lost territories to the empire, the main army, mostly French and Norman knights under baronial leadership—Godfrey of Bouillon (1060–1100),[20] Baldwin of Flanders, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond of Taranto, marched south through Anatolia. 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.[21]


The Crusader armies fought the Turks. The lengthy Siege of Antioch began in October 1097 and endured until June of 1098. Once inside the city, as was standard military practice when an enemy had refused to surrender,[22] the Crusaders massacred the Muslim inhabitants, destroyed mosques and pillaged the city.[23] However, a large Muslim relief army under Kerbogha immediately besieged the victorious Crusaders within Antioch. 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.[24]

Siege of Jerusalem

Godfrey of Bouillon, a French knight, leader of the First Crusade and founder of the Kingdom 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.[23] They proceeded to massacre the remaining Jewish and Muslim civilians and pillaged or destroyed mosques and the city itself.[25] One historian has written that the "isolation, alienation and fear"[3] 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.[26] As a result of the First Crusade, several small Crusader states were created, notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem. 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.[27]

The Crusaders also tried to gain control of the city of Tyre, but were defeated by the Muslims. 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, not out of desire for wealth and kingdom.”[28]

After gaining control of Jerusalem the Crusaders created four Crusader states: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli.[25] Initially, Muslims did very little about the Crusader states due to internal conflicts.[29] 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.

Crusaders' perspectives

The crusader states after the First Crusade

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;[30] 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. 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." 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.[31]

Scholarly debates

A medieval image of Peter the Hermit, leading knights, soldiers and women toward Jerusalem during the First Crusade

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.[32] 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, 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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.[33]

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.[34] 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. 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. 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.[35]

Harris (2003) rejects the "clash of civilizations" model. He argues that trouble arose because the West misunderstood Byzantine foreign policy. 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, 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, 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.[36]

Crusade of 1101

Following this crusade there was a second, less successful wave of crusaders, in which Turks led by Kilij Arslan defeated the Crusaders in three separate battles in a well-managed response to the First Crusade.[37] This is known as the Crusade of 1101 and may be considered an adjunct of the First Crusade.

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.

Second Crusade 1147–1149

Europe and the Christian States in the East in 1142

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. French and South German armies, under the Kings Louis VII and Conrad III respectively, 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.[38] 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.[38] A detachment from this group of crusaders helped Count Raymond Berenguer IV of Barcelona conquer the city of Tortosa the following year.[39] 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, 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.[6] North Germans and Danes attacked the Wends during the 1147 Wendish Crusade, which was unsuccessful as well.

Third Crusade 1187–1192

A statue of king Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart), outside the Palace of Westminster in London.

The Muslims had long fought among themselves, but they were finally united by Saladin, who created a single powerful state.[40] 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. 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; 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.[38] Cyprus served as a Crusader base for centuries to come, and remained in European hands until 1571.[38] 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). 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.[38] 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.[38] 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's exploits gave rise to the legends of the Lion-Hearted, and, through them, 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. 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 Bible.[41][42]

The Latin Empire and the Partition of the Byzantine Empire after the Fourth Crusade. (c. 1204)

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 Dandolo enlisted the crusaders to restore the Christian city of Zara (Zadar) to obedience. At this point, they lost the support of the pope who considered them excommunicated.[43] 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. 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 other Crusader 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. 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

Pope Innocentius III excommunicating the Albigensians (left), Massacre against the Albigensians by the crusaders (right)

The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars of Occitania (the south of modern-day France).[44] 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.[45]

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). 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. A band of several thousand youths 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. The sources are scattered and unclear and historians are still not sure exactly what happened.[46]

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. 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. 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.

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. 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.

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 in Saint-Jean d'Acre. 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. 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.[47] The peace lasted for about ten years. Many of the Muslims though were not happy with Al-Kamil for giving up control of Jerusalem. In 1244, following the siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims regained control of the city.[29]

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. 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.

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.[48]

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.[49] 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.

Ninth Crusade 1271–1272

Christian states in the Levant

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.[50]

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.[51] 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. 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.[52][53]


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. 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. 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. By this time the Knights of St John had moved to Malta – even further from the Holy Land – which they ruled until 1798.[54]

Northern Crusades

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.[55] 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. 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. In a series of campaigns, the Teutonic Knights gained control over the whole Baltic coast, founding numerous towns and fortresses and establishing Christianity.[56]

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. 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.

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


Wendish Crusade

Contemporaneous with the Second Crusade, Saxons and Danes fought against Polabian Slavs in the 1147 Wendish Crusade.

Stedinger Crusade

Between 1232 and 1234, there was a crusade against the Stedingers. This crusade was special, because the Stedingers were not heathens or heretics, but fellow Roman Catholics. They were free Frisian farmers who resented attempts of the count of Oldenburg and the archbishop Bremen-Hamburg to make an end to their freedoms. The archbishop excommunicated them, and Pope Gregory IX declared a crusade in 1232. The Stedingers were defeated in 1234.

Aragonese Crusade

The Aragonese Crusade, or Crusade of Aragón, was declared by Pope Martin IV against the King of Aragón, Peter III the Great, in 1284 and 1285.

Alexandrian Crusade

The Alexandrian Crusade of October 1365 was a minor seaborne crusade against Muslim Alexandria led by Peter I of Cyprus. His motivation was at least as commercial as religious.

Norwich Crusade

See Norwich Crusade.

Mahdian Crusade

The Mahdian Crusade of Summer 1390 was a French-Genoese enterprise against Muslim pirates in North Africa and their main base at Mahdia led by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon.

The Siege of Belgrade in 1456

Crusades in the Balkans

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

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).

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. 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. When Tokhtamysh asked Vytautas 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. 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.

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[citation needed]), and the victorious Tatars besieged Kiev. "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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.[57]

Even though most women showed their support for the crusades at home, some women took the cross themselves to go on the crusade. 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.[58] 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. 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. 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.[59]

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.

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. 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. In these cases women are seen as more feminine while behaving like ‘proper women’.[60] 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. 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."[61] In spite of such criticism, the movement was widely supported in Europe long after the fall of Acre in 1291.[citation needed]

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.[clarification needed]

From the fall of Acre forward, the Crusades to recover Jerusalem and the Christian East were largely lost. 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:

"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".[61]

Ibn Jubayr's described the Muslims living under the Christian crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem:

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. 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, whereas they can have nothing but praise for the conduct of the Franks, whose justice they can always rely on.[62]

One aspect of the crusades that shocked some easterners was the formation in the west of military religious orders.[63] This went against canon law.[64]

Another criticism was raised that the crusaders had sworn to uphold the emperor's claims to the holy land, but upon taking Jerusalem the crusaders established "Latin" states there.

"After several confrontations and some stand offs Godfrey agreed to swear fealty and recognition of Alexius over all the lands that he conquered."[65]

Further criticisms have been leveled; the misdirection of the crusading movement being one. This is especially evident in the Fourth Crusade which instead of attacking Islam attacked another Christian power - the (Eastern) Roman Empire, viewed as a change in direction,[66] not just literally, but in the ethos behind the movement where material considerations became more pronounced.[67]

Historical perspective

Western and Eastern historiography present variously different views on the crusades, 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. 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.

19th century depiction of a victorious Saladin

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.

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.[68]

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:

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; 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, the Christian civilization of Europe has become universal culture, in the highest sense, the glory redounds, in no small measure, to the Crusades."[6]

Along with trade, new scientific discoveries and inventions made their way east or west. Arab and classical Greek advances (including the development of algebra, 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. Lithuania was destined to become a small country and forced to expand to the East looking for resources to combat the crusaders.[69] 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, with the exception of Sorbs.[70]

The First Crusade ignited a long tradition of organized violence against Jews in European culture.[71][citation needed]

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 to Catalonia. The Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition.[72]


The need to raise, transport and supply large armies led to a flourishing of trade throughout Europe. 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. 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 the Holy Land and later in captured Byzantine territory.

Increased trade brought many things to Europeans that were once unknown or extremely rare and costly. 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, 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.[38] Recovering from the Dark Ages of AD 700–1000, throughout the 11th century Western Europe began to push the boundaries of its civilization.[38] 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).[38] The Normans, with the assistance of the Italian city-states of Genoa and Pisa, had retaken Sicily from the Muslims from 1061–1091.[38] 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.[38]

During the Middle Ages, the key trading region of Western Europe was the Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea-Red Sea.[38] 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, 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.[38] 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.[38] 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.[38]

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.[38] 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.[38] 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.[38]


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. 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.[73] American traveler Richard Halliburton saw and recorded the customs of the tribe in 1935.[74]

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

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. 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)[75] developed from this.

See also

Some results of the crusades
Background to crusades
Events named "crusade" but not included in historical crusades
Media and culture
Knightly Orders


  1. ^ Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The First Crusaders, 1095–1131 Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0521646030.
  2. ^ Asbridge (2011) p 1
  3. ^ a b Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Oxford History of the Crusades New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0192853643.
  4. ^ Asbridge (2011) p 6
  5. ^ Such as Muslim territories in Al-Andalus, Ifriqiya, and Egypt, as well as in Eastern Europe
  6. ^ a b c Crusades in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1966, Vol. IV, p. 508.[1]
  7. ^ e.g. the Albigensian Crusade, the Aragonese Crusade, the Reconquista, and the Northern Crusades.
  8. ^ Shaye I.D. Cohen. "Legitimization Under Constantine". PBS. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  9. ^ "HISTORY: Foreign Domination"
  10. ^ Gonen, Rivka, Contested holiness: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian perspectives on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, KTAV Publishing House, 2003, p.77
  11. ^ Denys Pringle, "Architecture in Latin East" in The Oxford History of the Crusades ed. Jonathan Riley-Smith (New York: Oxford University Press,1999) 157
  12. ^ Thomas F. Madden, The New Concise History of the Crusades (2005) p. 8
  13. ^ Joseph F. O'Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain (2004)
  14. ^ Thomas S. Asbridge, The first crusade: a new history (2005) p 97
  15. ^ Early crusading popes used gendered language that excluded women's military participation, but after the loss of Jerusalem, popes used neutral and even inclusive language, thus inviting women's participation. In any case women "camp followers" accompanied the armies, usually to handle cooking and cleaning chores. Susan B. Edgington and Sarah Lambert, eds. Gendering the Crusades. (2002)
  16. ^ Spanish Christians were exempt because they were busy expelling the Moors from Spain.
  17. ^ Dana Carleton Munro, "The Speech of Pope Urban II at Clermont, 1095," The American Historical Review, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jan., 1906), pp. 231-242 in JSTOR
  18. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Crusades" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
  19. ^ Fulcher of Chartres, Medieval Sourcebook.
  20. ^ See Catholic Encyclopedia
  21. ^ Christopher Tyerman, God's War: A New History of the Crusades (2006) pp. 106–124
  22. ^ Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978) p 279
  23. ^ a b Arab Historians of the Crusades, trans. F. Gabrieli, trans. E. J. Costello. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.
  24. ^ Tyerman, pp. 146–153
  25. ^ a b Trumpbour, John. “Crusades.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. , edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed February 17, 2008).
  26. ^ "Les Croisades, origines et consequences", p.62, Claude Lebedel, ISBN 2737341361
  27. ^ Benjamin Z. Kedar, "The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant", in The Crusades: The Essential Readings, ed. Thomas F. Madden, Blackwell, 2002, pg. 244. Originally published in Muslims Under Latin Rule, 1100–1300, ed. James M. Powell, Princeton University Press, 1990. Kedar quotes his numbers from Joshua Prawer, Histoire du royaume latin de Jérusalem, tr. G. Nahon, Paris, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 498, 568–72.
  28. ^ The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades, Extracted and translated from the chronicle of Ibn Al-Qalanisi, translated by H.A.R. Gibb (London: Luzac & Co., 1932).
  29. ^ a b “Crusades” In The Islamic World: past and Present. , edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed February 17, 2008).
  30. ^ Jeremy Cohen, Sanctifying the Name of God: Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade. (2004) examines Hebrew accounts of how crusader bands in 1096 forced Jews in Mainz, Speyer, and other towns to convert and murdered or drive to suicide many who refused summary baptism, and how some Jewish leaders killed their followers and mothers killed their children.
  31. ^ Thomas Asbridge, First Crusade: A New History (2004)
  32. ^ John M. Riddle, A history of the Middle Ages, 300-1500 (2008) p. 315
  33. ^ Steven Runciman, A history of the Crusades (Volume 1, 1951)
  34. ^ R-J. Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 1095-1204 (1993); Paul Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos 1143-1180 (1993), pp. 66-108.
  35. ^ Jonathan Shepard, "Cross-purposes: Alexius Comnenus and the First Crusade," in The First Crusade Origins and Impact, ed. Jonathan Phillips (1997), pp. 107-29, and Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek: Alexius Comnenus and Bohemond in 1097-98", Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 12 (1988), 185-277.
  36. ^ Jonathan, Harris, Byzantium and the Crusades. (2003)
  37. ^ Contesting the Crusades By Norman Housley, pg. 42
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Lewis, Archibald (January 1988). Nomads and Crusaders: AD 1000–1368.. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253206527. 
  39. ^ Villegas-Aristizábal, L. (2009), "Anglo-Norman involvement in the conquest of Tortosa and Settlement of Tortosa, 1148–1180", Crusades 8, pp. 63–129
  40. ^ P. M. Holt, "Saladin and His Admirers: A Biographical Reassessment," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 46, No. 2 (1983), pp. 235-239 in JSTOR
  41. ^ Charles M. Brand, "The Byzantines and Saladin, 1185-1192: Opponents of the Third Crusade," Speculum, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Apr., 1962), pp. 167-181 in JSTOR
  42. ^ A recent popular account is James Reston, Jr., Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade (2005)
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Massacre of the Pure." Time. 28 April 1961.
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  46. ^ Dana C. Munro, "The Children's Crusade," The American Historical Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Apr., 1914), pp. 516-524 in JSTOR; and Norman P. Zacour, "The Children's Crusade," in R. L. Wolff, and H. W. Hazard, eds., The later Crusades, 1189-1311 (1969) pp. 325-342, esp. 330-37 online edition
  47. ^ Ernest Kantorowicz, Frederick the 2nd: 1194-1250 (1957)
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  50. ^ Dore's Illustrations of the Crusades By Gustave Dore, Dore
  51. ^ David Nicolle, Crusader Warfare Volume II: Muslims, Mongols and the Struggle against the Crusades (2007)
  52. ^ Hetoum II (1289‑1297)
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  55. ^ Charles Moeller, "Teutonic Order," Catholic Encyclopedia (1912) vol 14 online
  56. ^ Edgar N. Johnson, "The German Crusade on the Baltic," in H. W. Hazard, ed. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (1975) pp 545-85
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  58. ^ Roy Douglas Davis Owen. Eleanor of Aquitaine : queen and legend, Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell Publishing 1993, 22.
  59. ^ Susan B. Edington and Sarah Lambert ed. Gendering the Crusades, New York: Columbia University Press 2002, 98.
  60. ^ Helen Nicholson. “Women on the Third Crusade. Journal of Medieval History (23) no.4 (1997) pp. 337.”
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  66. ^ Vasiliev, A. A., (1952) History of the Byzantine Empire. 2, Volume 2,(University of Wisconsin Press), p457
  67. ^ Ibid., p450
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  69. ^ (Lithuanian) Tomas Baranauskas. Prūsų sukilimas—prarasta galimybė sukurti kitokią Lietuvą (Prussian rebellion—the lost chance of creating different Lithuania). 20 September 2006
  70. ^ Wend (people). Britannica Online Encyclopedia.
  71. ^ Crusades (Christian Warfare with Islam in Palestine).
  72. ^ Joseph Reese Strayer (1992). "The Albigensian Crusades". University of Michigan Press. p.143. ISBN 0472064762
  73. ^ Images from the Georgia–Chechnya Border, 1970–1980, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
  74. ^ Sword and Buckler Fighting among the Lost Crusaders. Excerpts of Halliburton's observations
  75. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009

Further reading


  • Andrea, Alfred J. Encyclopedia of the Crusades. (2003).
  • Asbridge, Thomas. The First Crusade: A New History: The Roots of Conflict between Christianity and Islam (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Asbridge, Thomas. The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land (2011) excerpt and text search
  • France, John. Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300 (1999) online edition
  • Hillenbrand, Carole. The Crusades, Islamic Perspectives. (2000). excerpt and text search
  • Holt, P.M. The Age of the Crusades: The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517. (1986).
  • Madden, Thomas F. The New Concise History of the Crusades. (2005).
  • Phillips, Jonathan. Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (2010)
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan, ed. The Oxford History of the Crusades. (1995). online edition; excerpt and text search
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan, ed. The Atlas of the Crusades (1991)
  • Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The First Crusade and the Foundations of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.; Volume II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East 1100-1187. and Volume III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades (1951–53), the classic narrative history; hostile toward the crusaders
  • Tyerman, Christopher. God's War: A New History of the Crusades (2006)

Specialized studies

  • Abulafia, David. Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor (1988)
  • Baldin, M. W., ed. The first hundred years (A History of the Crusades, volume, I) 1969 online
  • Boas, Adrian J. Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusades: Society, Landscape, and Art in the Holy City under Frankish Rule (2001) online edition
  • Bréhier, Louis. "Crusades," Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) vol 4. online
  • Bréhier, Louis. "Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099-1291)," Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) vol 8. online
  • Bull, Marcus, and Norman Housley, eds. The Experience of Crusading Volume 1, Western Approaches. (2003) 323pp)
  • Butler, R. Urban. "Urban II," Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) online
  • Constable, Giles. "The Historiography of the Crusades" in Angeliki E. Laiou, ed. The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World (2001); major overview of scholarship online
  • Edbury, Peter, and Jonathan Phillips, eds. The Experience of Crusading Volume 2, Defining the Crusader Kingdom. (2003) 326pp; specialized articles by scholars
  • Edgington, Susan B., and Sarah Lambert, eds. Gendering the Crusades. (2002) 232pp essays by scholars.
  • Florean, Dana. "East Meets West: Cultural Confrontation and Exchange after the First Crusade." Language & Intercultural Communication, 2007, Vol. 7 Issue 2, pp144–151 in EBSCO
  • Folda, Jaroslav. Crusader Art in the Holy Land, From the Third Crusade to the Fall of Acre (2005) excerpt and text search
  • France, John. Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade (1996)
  • Harris, Jonathan. Byzantium and the Crusades. (2003). Pp. 276pp
  • Hillenbrand, Car. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (1999) excerpt and text search
  • Housley, Norman. The Later Crusades, 1274-1580: From Lyons to Alcazar (1992) online edition
  • James, Douglas. "Christians and the First Crusade." History Review (Dec 2005), Issue 53; online at EBSCO
  • Kagay, Donald J., and L. J. Andrew Villalon, eds. Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon: Medieval Warfare in Societies around the Mediterranean. (2003) online edition
  • Lane-Poole, Stanley. Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1898) full text online
  • Maalouf, Amin. Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1989) excerpt and text search
  • Madden, Thomas F. ed. The Crusades: The Essential Readings (2002) ISBN 0-631-23023-8 284pp, articles by scholars
  • Madden, Thomas F. et al., eds. Crusades Medieval Worlds in Conflict (2010), essays by specialists
  • Munro, Dana Carleton. "War and History,' American Historical Review 32:2 (January 1927): 219–31. On medieval histories of the crusades. online edition
  • Munro, Dana Carleton. The Kingdom of the Crusaders (1936) online edition
  • Peters, Edward. Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229 (1971) online edition
  • Powell, James M. Anatomy of a Crusade, 1213-1221, (1986) online edition
  • Queller, Donald E., and Thomas F. Madden. The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople (2nd ed. 1999) excerpt and text search
  • Richard, Jean. Saint Louis: Crusader King of France (1992)
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan.The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading. (1986).
  • Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The First Crusade and the Foundations of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.; Volume II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East 1100-1187. and Volume III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades (1951-53), the classic history; very hostile toward the crusaders
  • Setton, Kenneth ed., A History of the Crusades. (1969-1989), the standard scholarly history in six volumes, published by the University of Wisconsin Press complete text online.
  • Smail, R. C. "Crusaders' Castles of the Twelfth Century" Cambridge Historical Journal Vol. 10, No. 2. (1951), pp. 133–149. in JSTOR
  • Stark, Rodney. God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (2010) excerpt and text search
  • Tyerman, Christopher. England and the Crusades, 1095-1588. (1988). 492 pp.

Primary sources

  • Barber, Malcolm, Bate, Keith (2010). Letters from the East: Crusaders, Pilgrims and Settlers in the 12th-13th Centuries (Crusade Texts in Translation Volume 18, Ashgate Publishing Ltd). ISBN 9780754663560
  • Housley, Norman, ed. Documents on the Later Crusades, 1274-1580 (1996)
  • Krey, August C. The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye-Witnesses and Participants (1958).
  • Shaw, M. R. B. ed.Chronicles of the Crusades (1963) online edition
  • Villehardouin, Geoffrey, and Jean de Joinville. Chronicles of the Crusades ed. by Sir Frank Marzials (2007) excerpt and text search
Villehardouin's Conquest of Constantinople is a standard reference work on the Fourth Crusade; it is the first work in medieval French prose. Joinville's life of St. Louis is a classic description of the life and times of King Louis IX; it is written in Old French and is considered perhaps the best biography written in the Middle Ages.

External links

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