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the Crusades (Original)

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« Reply #60 on: December 31, 2007, 12:52:30 am »

Rachel Dearth

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   posted 11-25-2005 02:43 AM                       
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VIII. THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY CRUSADE AND THE OTTOMAN INVASION
The loss of Saint-Jean d'Acre did not lead the princes of Europe to organize a new crusade. Men's minds were indeed, as usual, directed towards the East, but in the first years of the fourteenth century the idea of a crusade inspired principally the works of theorists who saw in it the best means of reforming Christendom. The treatise by Pierre Dubois, law-officer of the crown at Coutances, "De Recuperatione Terræ Sanctæ" (Langlois, ed., Paris, 1891), seems like the work of a dreamer, yet some of its views are truly modern. The establishment of peace between Christian princes by means of a tribunal of arbitration, the idea of making a French prince hereditary emperor, the secularization of the Patrimony of St. Peter, the consolidation of the Orders of the Hospitallers and Templars, the creation of a disciplined army the different corps of which were to have a special uniform, the creation of schools for the study of Oriental languages, and the intermarriage of Christian maidens with Saracens were the principal ideas it propounded (1307). On the other hand the writings of men of greater activity and wider experience suggested more practical methods for effecting the conquest of the East. Persuaded that Christian defeat in the Orient was largely due to the mercantile relations which the Italian cities Venice and Genoa continued to hold with the Mohammedans, these authors sought the establishment of a commercial blockade which, within a few years, would prove the ruin of Egypt and cause it to fall under Christian control. For this purpose it was recommended that a large fleet be fitted out at the expense of Christian princes and made to do police duty on the Mediterranean so as to prevent smuggling. These were the projects set forth in the memoirs of Fidentius of Padua, a Franciscan (about 1291, Bibliothèque Nationale, Latin MSS., 7247); in those of King Charles II of Naples (1293, Bib. Nat., Frankish MSS., 6049); Jacques de Molay (1307, Baluze, ed., Vitæ paparum Avenion., II, 176-185); Henry II, King of Cyprus (Mas-Latrie, ed., Histoire de Chypre, II, 118); Guillaume d'Adam, Archbishop of Sultanieh (1310, Kohler, ed., Collect. Hist. of the Crusades, Armenian Documents, II); and Marino Sanudo, the Venetian (Bongars, ed., Secreta fidelium Crucis, II). The consolidation of the military orders was also urged by Charles II. Many other memoirs, especially that of Hayton, King of Armenia (1307, ed. Armenian Documents, I), considered an alliance between the Christians and the Mongols of Persia indispensable to success. In fact, from the end of the thirteenth century many missionaries had penetrated into the Mongolian Empire; in Persia, as well as in China, their propaganda flourished. St. Francis of Assisi, and Raymond Lully had hoped to substitute for the warlike crusade a peaceable conversion of the Mohammedans to Christianity. Raymond Lully, born at Palma, on the Island of Majorca, in 1235, began (1275) his "Great Art", which, by means of a universal method for the study of Oriental languages, would equip missionaries to enter into controversies with the Mohammedan doctors. In the same year he prevailed upon the King of Majorca to found the College of the Blessed Trinity at Miramar, where the Friars Minor could learn the Oriental languages. He himself translated catechetical treatises into Arabic and, after spending his life travelling in Europe trying to win over to his ideas popes and kings, suffered martyrdom at Bougie, where he had begun his work of evangelization (1314). Among the Mohammedans this propaganda encountered insurmountable difficulties, whereas the Mongols, some of whom were still members of the Nestorian Church, received it willingly. During the pontificate of John XXII (1316-34) permanent Dominican and Franciscan missions were established in Persia, China, Tatary and Turkestan, and in 1318 the Archbishopric of Sultanieh was created in Persia. In China Giovanni de Monte Corvino, created Archbishop of Cambaluc (Peking), organized the religious hierarchy, founded monasteries, and converted to Christianity men of note, possibly the great khan himself. The account of the journey of Blessed Orderic de Pordenone (Cordier, ed.) across Asia, between 1304 and 1330, shows us that Christianity had gained a foothold in Persia, India, Central Asia, and Southern China.

By thus leading up to an alliance between Mongols and Christians against the Mohammedans, the crusade had produced the desired effect; early in the fourteenth century the future development of Christianity in the East seemed assured. Unfortunately, however, the internal changes which occurred in the West, the weakening of the political influence of the popes, the indifference of temporal princes to what did not directly affect their territorial interests rendered unavailing all efforts towards the re-establishment of Christian power in the East. The popes endeavoured to insure the blockade of Egypt by prohibiting commercial intercourse with the infidels and by organizing a squadron for the prevention of smuggling, but the Venetians and Genoese defiantly sent their vessels to Alexandria and sold slaves and military stores to the Mamelukes. Moreover, the consolidation of the military orders could not be effected. By causing the suppression of the Templars at the Council of Vienne in 1311, King Philip the Fair dealt a cruel blow to the crusade; instead of giving to the Hospitallers the immense wealth of the Templars, he confiscated it. The Teutonic Order having established itself in Prussia in 1228, there remained in the East only the Hospitallers. After the capture of Saint-Jean d'Acre, Henry II, King of Cyprus, had offered them shelter at Limasol, but there they found themselves in very straitened circumstances. In 1310 they seized the Island of Rhodes, which had become a den of pirates, and took it as their permanent abode. Finally, the contemplated alliance with the Mongols was never fully realized. It was in vain that Argoun, Khan of Persia, sent the Nestorian monk, Raban Sauma, as ambassador to the pope and the princes of the West (1285-88); his offers elicited but vague replies. On 23 December, 1299, Cazan, successor to Argoun, inflicted a defeat upon the Christians at Hims, and captured Damascus, but he could not hold his conquests, and died in 1304 just as he was preparing for a new expedition. The princes of the West assumed the cross in order to appropriate to their own use the tithes which, for the defrayal of crusade expenses, they had levied upon the property of the clergy. For these sovereigns the crusade had no longer any but a fiscal interest. In 1336 King Philip VI of France, whom the pope had appointed leader of the crusade, collected a fleet at Marseilles and was preparing to go to the East when the news of the projects of Edward III caused him to return to Paris. War then broke out between France and England, and proved an insurmountable obstacle to the success of any crusade just when the combined forces of all Christendom would have been none too powerful to resist the new storm gathering in the East. From the close of the thirteenth century a band of Ottoman Turks, driven out of Central Asia by Mongol invasions, had founded a military state in Asia Minor and now threatened to invade Europe. They captured Ephesus in 1308, and in 1326 Othman, their sultan, established his residence at Broussa (Prusa) in Bithynia under Ourkhan, moreover, they organized the regular foot-guards of janizaries against whom the undisciplined troops of Western knights could not hold out. The Turks entered Nicomedia in 1328 and Nicæa in 1330; when they threatened the Emperors of Constantinople, the latter renewed negotiations with the popes with a view towards the reconciliation of the Greek and Roman Churches, for which purpose Barlaam was sent as ambassador to Avignon, in 1339. At the same time the Egyptian Mamelukes destroyed the port of Lajazzo, commercial centre of the Kingdom of Armenia Minor, where the remnants of the Christian colonies had sought refuge after the taking of Saint-Jean d'Acre (1337). The commercial welfare of the Venetians themselves was threatened; with their support Pope Clement VI in 1344 succeeded in reorganizing the maritime league whose operations had been prevented by the war between France and England. Genoa, the Hospitallers, and the King of Cyprus all sent their contingents, and, on 28 October, 1344, the crusaders seized Smyrna, which was confided to the care of the Hospitallers. In 1345 reinforcements under Humbert, Dauphin of Viennois, appeared in the Archipelago, but the new leader of the crusade was utterly disqualified for the work assigned him; unable to withstand the piracy of the Turkish ameers, the Christians concluded a truce with them in 1348. In 1356 the Ottomans captured Gallipoli and intercepted the route to Constantinople.

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« Reply #61 on: December 31, 2007, 12:53:04 am »

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IX. THE CRUSADE IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
An unlooked-for event, the invasion by Timur and the Mongols, saved Constantinople for the time being. They annihilated Bajazet's army at Ancyra, 20 July, 1402, and, dividing the Ottoman Empire among several princes, reduced it to a state of vassalage. The Western rulers, Henry III, King of Castile, and Charles VI, King of France, sent ambassadors to Timur (see the account by Ruy Gonçales de Clavijo, Madrid, 1779), but the circumstances were not favourable, as they had been in the thirteenth century. The national revolt of the Chinese that overthrew the Mongol dynasty in 1368 had resulted in the destruction of the Christian missions in Farther Asia; in Central Asia the Mongols had been converted to Mohammedanism, and Timur showed his hostility to the Christians by taking Smyrna from the Hospitallers. Marshal Boucicault took advantage of the dejection into which the Mongol invasion had thrown the Mohammedan powers to sack the ports of Syria, Tripoli, Beirut, and Sidon in 1403, but he was unable to retain his conquests; while Timur, on the other hand, thought only of obtaining possession of China and returned to Samarkand, where he died in 1405. The civil wars that broke out among the Ottoman princes gave the Byzantine emperors a few years' respite, but Murad II, having re-established the Turkish power, besieged Constantinople from June to September in 1422, and John VIII, Palæologus, was compelled to pay him tribute. In 1430 Murad took Thessalonica from the Venetians, forced the wall of the Hexamilion, which had been erected by Manuel to protect the Peloponnesus, and subdued Servia. The idea of the crusade was always popular in the West, and, on his death-bed, Henry V of England regretted that he had not taken Jerusalem. In her letters to Bedford, the regent, and to the Duke of Burgundy, Joan of Arc alluded to the union of Christendom against the Saracens, and the popular belief expressed in the poetry of Christine de Pisan was that, after having delivered France, the Maid of Orleans would lead Charles VII to the Holy Land. But this was only a dream, and the civil wars in France, the crusade against the Hussites, and the Council of Constance, prevented any action from being taken against the Turks. However, in 1421 Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, sent Gilbert de Lannoy, and in 1432, Bertrand de la Brocquière, to the East as secret emissaries to gather information that might be of value for a future crusade. At the same time negotiations for the religious union which would facilitate the crusade were resumed between the Byzantine emperors and the popes. Emperor John VIII came in person to attend the council convoked by Pope Eugene IV at Ferrara, in 1438. Thanks to the good will of Bessarion and of Isidore of Kiev, the two Greek prelates whom the pope had elevated to the cardinalate, the council, which was transferred to Florence, established harmony on all points, and on 6 July, 1439, the reconciliation was solemnly proclaimed. The reunion was received in bad part by the Greeks and did not induce the Western princes to take the cross. Adventurers of all nationalities enrolled themselves under the command of Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini and went to Hungary to join the armies of János Hunyady, Waywode of Transylvania, who had just repulsed the Turks at Hermanstadt, of Wladislaus Jagello, King of Poland, and of George Brankovitch, Prince of Servia. Having defeated the Turks at Nish, 3 November, 1443, the allies were enabled to conquer Servia, owing to the defection of the Albanians under George Castriota (Scanderbeg), their national commander. Murad signed a ten years' truce and abdicated the throne, 15 July, 1444, but Giuliano Cesarini, the papal legate, did not favour peace and wished to push forward to Constantinople. At his instigation the crusaders broke the truce and invaded Bulgaria, whereupon Murad again took command, crossed the Bosporus on Genoese galleys, and destroyed the Christian army at Varna, 10 November, 1444. This defeat left Constantinople defenceless. In 1446 Murad succeeded in conquering Morea, and when, two years later, János Hunyady tried to go to the assistance of Constantinople he was beaten at Kosovo. Scanderbeg alone managed to maintain his independence in Epirus and, in 1449, repelled a Turkish invasion. Mohammed II, who succeeded Murad in 1451, was preparing to besiege Constantinople when, 12 December, 1452, Emperor Constantine XII decided to proclaim the union of the Churches in the presence of the papal legates. The expected crusade, however, did not take place; and when, in March, 1453, the armed forces of Mohammed II, numbering 160,000, completely surrounded Constantinople, the Greeks had only 5000 soldiers and 2000 Western knights, commanded by Giustiniani of Genoa. Notwithstanding this serious disadvantage, the city held out against the enemy for two months, but on the night of 28 May, 1453, Mohammed II ordered a general assault, and after a desperate conflict, in which Emperor Constantine XII perished, the Turks entered the city from all sides and perpetrated a frightful slaughter. Mohammed II rode over heaps of corpses to the church of St. Sophia, entered it on horseback, and turned it into a mosque.

The capture of "New Rome" was the most appalling calamity sustained by Christendom since the taking of Saint-Jean d'Acre. However, the agitation which the news of this event caused in Europe was more apparent than genuine. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, gave an allegorical entertainment at Lille in which Holy Church solicited the help of knights who pronounced the most extravagant vows before God and a pheasant (sur le faisan). Æneas Sylvius, Bishop of Siena, and St. John Capistran, the Franciscan, preached the crusade in Germany and Hungary; the Diets of Ratisbon and Frankfort promised assistance, and a league was formed between Venice, Florence, and the Duke of Milan, but nothing came of it. Pope Callistus III succeeded in collecting a fleet of sixteen galleys, which, under the command of the Patriarch of Aquileia, guarded the Archipelago. However, the defeat of the Turks before Belgrade in 1457, due to the bravery of János Hunyady, and the bloody conquest of the Peloponnesus in 1460 seemed finally to revive Christendom from its torpor. Æneas Sylvius, now pope under the name of Pius II, multiplied his exhortations, declaring that he himself would conduct the crusade, and towards the close of 1463 bands of crusaders began to assemble at Ancona. The Doge of Venice had yielded to the pope's entreaties, whereas the Duke of Burgundy was satisfied with sending 2000 men. But when, in June, 1464, the pope went to Ancona to assume command of the expedition, he fell sick and died, whereupon most of the crusaders, being unarmed, destitute of ammunition, and threatened with starvation, returned to their own countries. The Venetians were the only ones who invaded the Peloponnesus and sacked Athens, but they looked upon the crusade merely as a means of advancing their commercial interests. Under Sixtus IV they had the presumption to utilize the papal fleet for the seizure of merchandise stored at Smyrna and Adalia; they likewise purchased the claims of Catherine Cornaro to the Kingdom of Cyprus. Finally, in 1480, Mohammed II directed a triple attack against Europe. In Hungary Matthias Corvinus withstood the Turkish invasion, and the Knights of Rhodes, conducted by Pierre d'Aubusson, defended themselves victoriously, but the Turks succeeded in gaining possession of Otranto and threatened Italy with conquest. At an assembly held at Rome and presided over by Sixtus IV, ambassadors from the Christian princes again promised help; but the condition of Christendom would have been critical indeed had not the death of Mohammed II occasioned the evacuation of Otranto, while the power of the Turks was impaired for several years by civil wars among Mohammed's sons. At the time of Charles VIII's expedition into Italy (1492) there was again talk of a crusade; according to the plans of the King of France, the conquest of Naples was to be followed by that of Constantinople and the East. For this reason Pope Alexander VI delivered to him Prince Djem, son of Mohammed II and pretender to the throne, who had taken refuge with the Hospitallers. When Alexander VI joined Venice and Maximilian in a league against Charles VIII, the official object of the alliance was the crusade, but it had become impossible to take such projects as seriously meant. The leagues for the crusade were no longer anything but political combinations, and the preaching of the Holy War seemed to the people nothing but a means of raising money. Before his death, Emperor Maximilian took the cross at Metz with due solemnity, but these demonstrations could lead to no satisfactory results. The new conditions that now controlled Christendom rendered a crusade impossible.

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« Reply #62 on: December 31, 2007, 12:53:34 am »

Rachel Dearth

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X. MODIFICATIONS AND SURVIVAL OF THE IDEA OF THE CRUSADE
From the sixteenth century European policy was swayed exclusively by state interests; hence to statesmen the idea of a crusade seemed antiquated. Egypt and Jerusalem having been conquered by Sultan Selim, in 1517, Pope Leo X made a supreme effort to re-establish the peace essential to the organization of a crusade. The King of France and Emperor Charles V promised their co-operation; the King of Portugal was to besiege Constantinople with 300 ships, and the pope himself was to conduct the expedition. Just at this time trouble broke out between Francis I and Charles V; these plans therefore failed completely. The leaders of the Reformation were unfavourable to the crusade, and Luther declared that it was a sin to make war upon the Turks because God had made them His instruments in punishing the sins of His people. Therefore, although the idea of the crusade was not wholly lost sight of, it took a new form and adapted itself to the new conditions. The Conquistadores, who ever since the fifteenth century had been going forth to discover new lands, considered themselves the auxiliaries of the crusade. The Infante Don Henrique, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, and Albuquerque wore the cross on their breast and, when seeking the means of doubling Africa or of reaching Asia by routes from the East, thought of attacking the Mohammedans in the rear; besides, they calculated on the alliance of a fabulous sovereign said to be a Christian, Prester John. The popes, moreover, strongly encouraged these expeditions. On the other hand, among the Powers of Europe the House of Austria, which was mistress of Hungary, where it was directly threatened by the Turks, and which had supreme control of the Mediterranean, realized that it would be to its advantage to maintain a certain interest in the crusade. Until the end of the seventeenth century, when a diet of the German princes was held at Ratisbon, the question of war against the Turks was frequently agitated, and Luther himself, modifying his first opinion, exhorted the German nobility to defend Christendom (1528-29). The war in Hungary always partook of the character of a crusade and, on different occasions, the French nobles enlisted under the imperial banner. Thus the Duke of Mercoeur was authorized by Henry IV to enter the Hungarian service. In 1664 Louis XIV, eager to extend his influence in Europe, sent the emperor a contingent which, under the command of the Count of Coligny, repulsed the Turks in the battle of St. Gothard. But such demonstrations were of no importance because, from the time of Francis I, the kings of France, to maintain the balance of power in Europe against the House of Austria, had not hesitated to enter into treaties of alliance with the Turks. When, in 1683, Kara Mustapha advanced on Vienna with 30,000 Turks or Tatars, Louis XIV made no move, and it was to John Sobieski, King of Poland, that the emperor owed his safety. This was the supreme effort made by the Turks in the West. Overwhelmed by the victories of Prince Eugene at the close of the seventeenth century, they became thenceforth a passive power.

On the Mediterranean, Genoa and Venice beheld their commercial monopoly destroyed in the sixteenth century by the discovery of new continents and of new water-routes to the Indies, while their political power was absorbed by the House of Austria. Without allowing the crusaders to deter them from their continental enterprises, the Hapsburgs dreamed of gaining control of the Mediterranean by checking the Barbary pirates and arresting the progress of the Turks. When, in 1571, the Island of Cyprus was threatened by the Ottomans, who cruelly massacred the garrisons of Famagusta and Nicosia, these towns having surrendered on stipulated terms, Pope Pius V succeeded in forming a league of maritime powers against Sultan Selim, and secured the co-operation of Philip II by granting him the right to tithes for the crusade, while he himself equipped some galleys. On 7 October, 1571, a Christian fleet of 200 galleys, carrying 50,000 men under the command of Don Juan of Austria, met the Ottoman fleet in the Straits of Lepanto, destroyed it completely, and liberated thousands of Christians. This expedition was in the nature of a crusade. The pope, considering that the victory had saved Christendom, by way of commemorating it instituted the feast of the Holy Rosary, which is celebrated on the first Sunday of October. But the allies pushed their advantages no further. When, in the seventeenth century, France superseded Spain as the great Mediterranean power, she strove, despite the treaties that bound her to the Turks, to defend the last remnants of Christian power in the East. In 1669 Louis XIV sent the Duke of Beaufort with a fleet of 7000 men to the defence of Candia, a Venetian province, but, notwithstanding some brilliant sallies, he succeeded in putting off its capture for a few weeks only. However, the diplomatic action of the kings of France in regard to Eastern Christians who were Turkish subjects was more efficacious. The regime of "Capitulations", established under Francis I in 1536, renewed under Louis XIV in 1673, and Louis XV in 1740, ensured Catholics religious freedom and the jurisdiction of the French ambassador at Constantinople; all Western pilgrims were allowed access to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, which was confided to the care of the Friars Minor. Such was the modus vivendi finally established between Christendom and the Mohammedan world.

Notwithstanding these changes it may be said that, until the seventeenth century, the imagination of Western Christendom was still haunted by the idea of the Crusades. Even the least chimerical of statesmen, such as Père Joseph de Tremblay, the confidential friend of Richelieu, at times cherished such hopes, while the plan set forth in the memorial which Leibniz addressed (1672) to Louis XIV on the conquest of Egypt was that of a regular crusade. Lastly, there remained as the respectable relic of a glorious past the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, which was founded in the eleventh century and continued to exist until the French Revolution. Despite the valiant efforts of their grand master, Villiers de l'Isle Adam, the Turks had driven them from Rhodes in 1522, and they had taken refuge in Italy. In 1530 Charles V presented them with the Isle of Malta, admirably situated from a strategic point of view, whence they might exercise surveillance over the Mediterranean. They were obliged to promise to give up Malta on the recovery of Rhodes, and also to make war upon the Barbary pirates. In 1565 the Knights of Malta withstood a furious attack by the Turks. They also maintained a squadron able to put to flight the Barbary pirates. Recruited from among the younger sons of the noblest families of Europe, they owned immense estates in France as well as in Italy, and when the French Revolution broke out, the order quickly lost ground. The property it held in France was confiscated in 1790, and when, in 1798, the Directory undertook an expedition to Egypt, Bonaparte, in passing, seized the Isle of Malta, whose knights had themselves under the protection of the Czar, Paul I. The city of Valetta surrendered at the first summons, and the order disbanded; however, in 1826 it was reorganized in Rome as a charitable association.

The history of the Crusades is therefore intimately connected with that of the popes and the Church. These Holy Wars were essentially a papal enterprise. The idea of quelling all dissensions among Christians, of uniting them under the same standard and sending them forth against the Mohammedans, was conceived in the eleventh century, that is to say, at a time when there were as yet no organized states in Europe, and when the pope was the only potentate in a position to know and understand the common interests of Christendom. At this time the Turks threatened to invade Europe, and the Byzantine Empire seemed unable to withstand the enemies by whom it was surrounded. Urban II then took advantage of the veneration in which the holy places were held by the Christians of the West and entreated the latter to direct their combined forces against the Mohammedans and, by a bold attack, check their progress. The result of this effort was the establishment of the Christian states in Syria. While the authority of the popes remained undisputed in Europe, they were in a position to furnish these Christian colonies the help they required; but when this authority was shaken by dissensions between the priesthood and the empire, the crusading army lost the unity of command so essential to success. The maritime powers of Italy, whose assistance was indispensable to the Christian armies, thought only of using the Crusades for political and economic ends. Other princes, first the Hohenstaufen and afterwards Charles of Anjou, followed this precedent, the crusade of 1204 being the first open rebellion against the pontifical will. Finally, when, at the close of the Middle Ages, all idea of the Christian monarchy had been definitively cast aside, when state policy was the sole influence that actuated the Powers of Europe, the crusade seemed a respectable but troublesome survival. In the fifteenth century Europe permitted the Turks to seize Constantinople, and princes were far less concerned about their departure for the East than about finding a way out of the fulfilment of their vow as crusaders without losing the good opinion of the public. Thereafter all attempts at a crusade partook of the nature of political schemes.

Notwithstanding their final overthrow, the Crusades hold a very important place in the history of the world. Essentially the work of the popes, these Holy Wars first of all helped to strengthen pontifical authority; they afforded the popes an opportunity to interfere in the wars between Christian princes, while the temporal and spiritual privileges which they conferred upon crusaders virtually made the latter their subjects. At the same time this was the principal reason why so many civil rulers refused to join the Crusades. It must be said that the advantages thus acquired by the popes were for the common safety of Christendom. From the outset the Crusades were defensive wars and checked the advance of the Mohammedans who, for two centuries, concentrated their forces in a struggle against the Christian settlements in Syria; hence Europe is largely indebted to the Crusades for the maintenance of its independence. Besides, 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; they were instrumental in extending the commerce of the Indies, of which the Italian cities long held the monopoly, and the products of which transformed the material life of the West. Moreover, as early as the end of the twelfth century, the development of general culture in the West was the direct result of these Holy Wars. Finally, it is with the Crusades that we must couple the origin of the geographical explorations made by Marco Polo and Orderic of Pordenone, the Italians who brought to Europe the knowledge of continental Asia and China. At a still later date, it was the spirit of the true crusader that animated Christopher Columbus when he undertook his perilous voyage to the then unknown America, and Vasco de Gama when he set out in quest of India. 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.

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« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2007, 12:53:54 am »

Rachel Dearth

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The Real History of the Crusades
By Thomas F. Madden

With the possible exception of Umberto Eco, medieval scholars are not used to getting much media attention. We tend to be a quiet lot (except during the annual bacchanalia we call the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, of all places), poring over musty chronicles and writing dull yet meticulous studies that few will read. Imagine, then, my surprise when within days of the September 11 attacks, the Middle Ages suddenly became relevant.

As a Crusade historian, I found the tranquil solitude of the ivory tower shattered by journalists, editors, and talk-show hosts on tight deadlines eager to get the real scoop. What were the Crusades?, they asked. When were they? Just how insensitive was President George W. Bush for using the word "crusade" in his remarks? With a few of my callers I had the distinct impression that they already knew the answers to their questions, or at least thought they did. What they really wanted was an expert to say it all back to them. For example, I was frequently asked to comment on the fact that the Islamic world has a just grievance against the West. Doesn’t the present violence, they persisted, have its roots in the Crusades’ brutal and unprovoked attacks against a sophisticated and tolerant Muslim world? In other words, aren’t the Crusades really to blame?

Osama bin Laden certainly thinks so. In his various video performances, he never fails to describe the American war against terrorism as a new Crusade against Islam. Ex-president Bill Clinton has also fingered the Crusades as the root cause of the present conflict. In a speech at Georgetown University, he recounted (and embellished) a massacre of Jews after the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 and informed his audience that the episode was still bitterly remembered in the Middle East. (Why Islamist terrorists should be upset about the killing of Jews was not explained.) Clinton took a beating on the nation’s editorial pages for wanting so much to blame the United States that he was willing to reach back to the Middle Ages. Yet no one disputed the ex-president’s fundamental premise.

Well, almost no one. Many historians had been trying to set the record straight on the Crusades long before Clinton discovered them. They are not revisionists, like the American historians who manufactured the Enola Gay exhibit, but mainstream scholars offering the fruit of several decades of very careful, very serious scholarship. For them, this is a "teaching moment," an opportunity to explain the Crusades while people are actually listening. It won’t last long, so here goes.

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman’s famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity—and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion—has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt—once the most heavily Christian areas in the world—quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders’ expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.

During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.

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« Reply #64 on: December 31, 2007, 12:54:24 am »

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* * *

Urban II gave the Crusaders two goals, both of which would remain central to the eastern Crusades for centuries. The first was to rescue the Christians of the East. As his successor, Pope Innocent III, later wrote:

How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? ...Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?

"Crusading," Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as an "an act of love"—in this case, the love of one’s neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, "You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, ‘Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.’"

The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ. The word crusade is modern. Medieval Crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims, performing acts of righteousness on their way to the Holy Sepulcher. The Crusade indulgence they received was canonically related to the pilgrimage indulgence. This goal was frequently described in feudal terms. When calling the Fifth Crusade in 1215, Innocent III wrote:

Consider most dear sons, consider carefully that if any temporal king was thrown out of his domain and perhaps captured, would he not, when he was restored to his pristine liberty and the time had come for dispensing justice look on his vassals as unfaithful and traitors...unless they had committed not only their property but also their persons to the task of freeing him? ...And similarly will not Jesus Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords, whose servant you cannot deny being, who joined your soul to your body, who redeemed you with the Precious Blood...condemn you for the vice of ingratitude and the crime of infidelity if you neglect to help Him?

The reconquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was not colonialism but an act of restoration and an open declaration of one’s love of God. Medieval men knew, of course, that God had the power to restore Jerusalem Himself—indeed, He had the power to restore the whole world to His rule. Yet as St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached, His refusal to do so was a blessing to His people:

Again I say, consider the Almighty’s goodness and pay heed to His plans of mercy. He puts Himself under obligation to you, or rather feigns to do so, that He can help you to satisfy your obligations toward Himself.... I call blessed the generation that can seize an opportunity of such rich indulgence as this.

It is often assumed that the central goal of the Crusades was forced conversion of the Muslim world. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the perspective of medieval Christians, Muslims were the enemies of Christ and His Church. It was the Crusaders’ task to defeat and defend against them. That was all. Muslims who lived in Crusader-won territories were generally allowed to retain their property and livelihood, and always their religion. Indeed, throughout the history of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Muslim inhabitants far outnumbered the Catholics. It was not until the 13th century that the Franciscans began conversion efforts among Muslims. But these were mostly unsuccessful and finally abandoned. In any case, such efforts were by peaceful persuasion, not the threat of violence.

The Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today. During the early days of the First Crusade in 1095, a ragtag band of Crusaders led by Count Emicho of Leiningen made its way down the Rhine, robbing and murdering all the Jews they could find. Without success, the local bishops attempted to stop the carnage. In the eyes of these warriors, the Jews, like the Muslims, were the enemies of Christ. Plundering and killing them, then, was no vice. Indeed, they believed it was a righteous deed, since the Jews’ money could be used to fund the Crusade to Jerusalem. But they were wrong, and the Church strongly condemned the anti-Jewish attacks.

Fifty years later, when the Second Crusade was gearing up, St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted:

Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray," it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered.... Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but "they only wait for the time of their deliverance."

Nevertheless, a fellow Cistercian monk named Radulf stirred up people against the Rhineland Jews, despite numerous letters from Bernard demanding that he stop. At last Bernard was forced to travel to Germany himself, where he caught up with Radulf, sent him back to his convent, and ended the massacres.

It is often said that the roots of the Holocaust can be seen in these medieval pogroms. That may be. But if so, those roots are far deeper and more widespread than the Crusades. Jews perished during the Crusades, but the purpose of the Crusades was not to kill Jews. Quite the contrary: Popes, bishops, and preachers made it clear that the Jews of Europe were to be left unmolested. In a modern war, we call tragic deaths like these "collateral damage." Even with smart technologies, the United States has killed far more innocents in our wars than the Crusaders ever could. But no one would seriously argue that the purpose of American wars is to kill women and children.

By any reckoning, the First Crusade was a long shot. There was no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines, no detailed strategy. It was simply thousands of warriors marching deep into enemy territory, committed to a common cause. Many of them died, either in battle or through disease or starvation. It was a rough campaign, one that seemed always on the brink of disaster. Yet it was miraculously successful. By 1098, the Crusaders had restored Nicaea and Antioch to Christian rule. In July 1099, they conquered Jerusalem and began to build a Christian state in Palestine. The joy in Europe was unbridled. It seemed that the tide of history, which had lifted the Muslims to such heights, was now turning.

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« Reply #65 on: December 31, 2007, 12:54:44 am »

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* *

But it was not. When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there.

When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East.

Crusading in the late twelfth century, therefore, became a total war effort. Every person, no matter how weak or poor, was called to help. Warriors were asked to sacrifice their wealth and, if need be, their lives for the defense of the Christian East. On the home front, all Christians were called to support the Crusades through prayer, fasting, and alms. Yet still the Muslims grew in strength. Saladin, the great unifier, had forged the Muslim Near East into a single entity, all the while preaching jihad against the Christians. In 1187 at the Battle of Hattin, his forces wiped out the combined armies of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem and captured the precious relic of the True Cross. Defenseless, the Christian cities began surrendering one by one, culminating in the surrender of Jerusalem on October 2. Only a tiny handful of ports held out.

The response was the Third Crusade. It was led by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the German Empire, King Philip II Augustus of France, and King Richard I Lionheart of England. By any measure it was a grand affair, although not quite as grand as the Christians had hoped. The aged Frederick drowned while crossing a river on horseback, so his army returned home before reaching the Holy Land. Philip and Richard came by boat, but their incessant bickering only added to an already divisive situation on the ground in Palestine. After recapturing Acre, the king of France went home, where he busied himself carving up Richard’s French holdings. The Crusade, therefore, fell into Richard’s lap. A skilled warrior, gifted leader, and superb tactician, Richard led the Christian forces to victory after victory, eventually reconquering the entire coast. But Jerusalem was not on the coast, and after two abortive attempts to secure supply lines to the Holy City, Richard at last gave up. Promising to return one day, he struck a truce with Saladin that ensured peace in the region and free access to Jerusalem for unarmed pilgrims. But it was a bitter pill to swallow. The desire to restore Jerusalem to Christian rule and regain the True Cross remained intense throughout Europe.

The Crusades of the 13th century were larger, better funded, and better organized. But they too failed. The Fourth Crusade (1201-1204) ran aground when it was seduced into a web of Byzantine politics, which the Westerners never fully understood. They had made a detour to Constantinople to support an imperial claimant who promised great rewards and support for the Holy Land. Yet once he was on the throne of the Caesars, their benefactor found that he could not pay what he had promised. Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world. Pope Innocent III, who had previously excommunicated the entire Crusade, strongly denounced the Crusaders. But there was little else he could do. The tragic events of 1204 closed an iron door between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, a door that even today Pope John Paul II has been unable to reopen. It is a terrible irony that the Crusades, which were a direct result of the Catholic desire to rescue the Orthodox people, drove the two further—and perhaps irrevocably—apart.

The remainder of the 13th century’s Crusades did little better. The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) managed briefly to capture Damietta in Egypt, but the Muslims eventually defeated the army and reoccupied the city. St. Louis IX of France led two Crusades in his life. The first also captured Damietta, but Louis was quickly outwitted by the Egyptians and forced to abandon the city. Although Louis was in the Holy Land for several years, spending freely on defensive works, he never achieved his fondest wish: to free Jerusalem. He was a much older man in 1270 when he led another Crusade to Tunis, where he died of a disease that ravaged the camp. After St. Louis’s death, the ruthless Muslim leaders, Baybars and Kalavun, waged a brutal jihad against the Christians in Palestine. By 1291, the Muslim forces had succeeded in killing or ejecting the last of the Crusaders, thus erasing the Crusader kingdom from the map. Despite numerous attempts and many more plans, Christian forces were never again able to gain a foothold in the region until the 19th century.


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« Reply #66 on: December 31, 2007, 12:55:07 am »

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One might think that three centuries of Christian defeats would have soured Europeans on the idea of Crusade. Not at all. In one sense, they had little alternative. Muslim kingdoms were becoming more, not less, powerful in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The Ottoman Turks conquered not only their fellow Muslims, thus further unifying Islam, but also continued to press westward, capturing Constantinople and plunging deep into Europe itself. By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world. One of the great best-sellers of the time, Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools, gave voice to this sentiment in a chapter titled "Of the Decline of the Faith":

Our faith was strong in th’ Orient,

It ruled in all of Asia,

In Moorish lands and Africa.

But now for us these lands are gone

’Twould even grieve the hardest stone....

Four sisters of our Church you find,

They’re of the patriarchic kind:

Constantinople, Alexandria,

Jerusalem, Antiochia.

But they’ve been forfeited and sacked

And soon the head will be attacked.

Of course, that is not what happened. But it very nearly did. In 1480, Sultan Mehmed II captured Otranto as a beachhead for his invasion of Italy. Rome was evacuated. Yet the sultan died shortly thereafter, and his plan died with him. In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. If not for a run of freak rainstorms that delayed his progress and forced him to leave behind much of his artillery, it is virtually certain that the Turks would have taken the city. Germany, then, would have been at their mercy.

Yet, even while these close shaves were taking place, something else was brewing in Europe—something unprecedented in human history. The Renaissance, born from a strange mixture of Roman values, medieval piety, and a unique respect for commerce and entrepreneurialism, had led to other movements like humanism, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. Even while fighting for its life, Europe was preparing to expand on a global scale. The Protestant Reformation, which rejected the papacy and the doctrine of indulgence, made Crusades unthinkable for many Europeans, thus leaving the fighting to the Catholics. In 1571, a Holy League, which was itself a Crusade, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. Yet military victories like that remained rare. The Muslim threat was neutralized economically. As Europe grew in wealth and power, the once awesome and sophisticated Turks began to seem backward and pathetic—no longer worth a Crusade. The "Sick Man of Europe" limped along until the 20th century, when he finally expired, leaving behind the present mess of the modern Middle East.

From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam’s rivals, into extinction.

Thomas F. Madden is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. He is the author of numerous works, including A Concise History of the Crusades, and co-author, with Donald Queller, of The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople.

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« Reply #67 on: December 31, 2007, 12:55:33 am »

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The Crusades

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Western Europe's most ambitious common enterprise and its most conspicuous failure was the attempt to bring together all mankind in Christian unity under the leadership of the bishop of Rome, St. Peter's successor, the pope. The most intense part of this enterprise and the one that enlisted the most widespread support in Europe from all levels of society was the Crusades.

The Crusades in the narrow sense of the expeditions to conquer and hold the Holy Land for the West began at the end of the eleventh century and lasted throughout the remainder of the medieval period. In a more inclusive sense, the Crusades include several other important contributing factors:The reconquest of Spain and Sicily from he Moslems;


The extension of the Christian frontier in the Baltic region to take in Lithuanians, Estonians, Prussians and Finns;

Christian missions to convert the Mongols and other Eastern peoples;

Concurrent with the Crusades was the effort to convert or eliminate the Jews within Europe that led ultimately to their expulsion from many parts of the West.



The Crusades inspired the most dedicated valor, the most bloodthirsty cruelty, and the greediest vandalism of medieval men. They offered the fullest opportunity for combined fulfillment of Germanic heroic aspirations and Christian ideals of brotherhood and self-sacrifice.

Early relations with the Muslims were relatively simple. They were mainly military. When the Muslims moved westward along the north African coast after the death of Mohammed, western European Christians were too absorbed in their own internal conflicts to be greatly disturbed. When they defeated the Visigothic rulers of Spain in 711 and pushed the Christians up into the mountains in the north, they became a more immediate problem.

When they began to raid the Mediterranean coast of the Frankish kingdom and to extend their power north of the Pyrenees, Charles Martel, the Frankish ruler, collected his forces south of the Loire and in 732 defeated a Muslim band so decisively that they retreated. Nonetheless, Muslims continued to raid the Frankish seacoast on the Mediterranean. To stop these raids and to protect his frontier, Charlemagne carried the war beyond the Pyrenees to the south.

From Charlemagne's time to the beginning of the 11th century, relations between the Muslims and European Christians were mainly commercial and intellectual. There developed a flourishing trade in slaves and northern products such as honey, amber and furs. Muslims wanted slaves. Christian teaching forbade Christians to enslave other Christians, but there were always Finns, Slavs, and other pagan peoples to be captured, and commerce with Islam was profitable. Some of this traffic went down through central Europe to the Muslim world through the channels of Byzantine trade. Some of it went through Spain.

A great center of pilgrimage for Christians was St. James of Compostella in Muslim Spanish Galicia. Commercial contacts and pilgrimage led to awareness of Muslim learning, not to mention Muslim wealth and luxury. The Muslims had absorbed Greek learning as well as lore from Persia and India. They had produced a rich synthesis of their own. Some northerners, like Gerbert of Aurillac, who died Pope Sylvester II in 1103, did try to gain some knowledge from the Muslims, particularly of science. Cordoba and Toledo in Spain in the tenth century and Sicily in the 11th century could have been centers for transmission of Muslim culture to the West.

But Western Christians did not take advantage of these offerings, and they remained ignorant and indifferent with respect to Islam, the Muslim religion, and Muslim culture in general. In the "Song of Roland," for example, the Muslims are credited with a trinity of pagan deities -- Tervagan, Mahomet, and Apollo -- "gods of stone," whose idols they carry with them to war. Christians preferred not to know of a rival and more vigorous monotheism. Muslims could be credited with chivalry, as they often are in the literature of the 12th and 13th centuries, but they could not be credited with acceptable religious ideas.

For their part, the Muslims, before the Crusades, generally extended courteous hospitality to Christian pilgrims visiting the holy places in their realm. To them the Europeans from the West seemed crude and barbaric compared to themselves. They did not, any more than Greek Christians, think that Latin Christians held the future in their hands.

The causes of the long war between Western Christians and the Muslims are many and difficult to assess. In Spain the intensive phase of the Reconquista, which began in the eleventh century, was mainly a matter of seizing opportunity. The caliphate of Cordoba, which had included all of Muslim Spain since the 8th century, began to break up into small states warring with one another. In Sicily and southern Italy Norman adventurers who had passed through on pilgrimage to the Holy Land saw an opportunity to create a unified Christian state from the remnants of Byzantine power there and from Muslim Sicily. The main factor in bringing about the Crusades was the weakness of the eastern section of the Empire in relation to the Seljuk Turks.

The Byzantines had just endured a "time of troubles" in which the succession had been in dispute and the state system had collapsed. Alexius' appeal tot he West acknowledged the weakness. Ecclesiastical leaders in eastern Europe had long been troubled about internecine war among Christian nobles and knights. Gregory VII had wanted to divert this energy to war against the "infidel," but he had neither the time nor the resources to spare for the task. Alexius' appeal in 1095 seemed to offer a great opportunity.

Pope Urban II met with leaders among the French nobility at Clermont and delivered a rousing call. This is in part what he said:

"Frenchmen! You who come from across the Alps; You who have been singled out by God and who are loved by Him -- as is shown by your many accomplishments; you who are set apart from all other peoples by the location of your country, by your Catholic faith, and by the honor of the Holy Church; we address these words, this sermon to you!....Distressing news has come to us (as has often happened) from the region in Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople; news that the people of the Persian kingdom, an alien people, a race completely foreign to God...has invade Christian territory and has invaded this territory with pillage, fire and the sword.

The Persians have taken some of these Christians as captives to their own country; they have destroyed others with cruel tortures. They have completely destroyed some of God's churches and have converted others to the uses of their own cult. They ruin the altars with filth and defilement. They circumcise Christians and smear the blood from the circumcision over the altars or throw it in the baptismal fonts. They are pleased to kill others by cutting open their bellies, extracting the ends of their intestines, and tying it to a stake....

And so the pope continues, with more atrocities listed, including the "shocking **** of women." No doubt atrocities did occur. They do constantly in human affairs, especially in the midst of wars. Urban II was less concerned to establish the truth about the Seljuks (Persians, he calls them) than to rouse the Franks. A skilled propagandist, he told them that they fought each other because their land was poor. Let them just put aside their local hatreds and conflicts and go to the Holy Land (as the Scriptures said, the land flowed with milk and honey) to put down the infidels who threatened their brethren and the holy places of Christendom. Thus, war to seize the land from the infidel became a "good thing."

The Crusaders surprised themselves and others by winning, by medieval standards, a quick initial victory. Despite the disastrous failure of a People's Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, the diversion of a number of German bands to the more immediate rewards of Jew-killing in Germany, and the difficulties the Frankish lords encountered in their relations with Byzantine Emperor Alexius, a western Army entered Jerusalem on July 15, 1099. A bloodbath ensued with the Crusaders cutting down all before them. A few Muslims escaped by buying their safe exit from the city.

The Jews took refuge in their chief synagogue and were all burnt within it. Muslims were killed as long as the blood lust lasted. In the words of a Christian witness:

"Our men followed [the city's defenders], killing and beheading them all the way to the Temple of Solomon. There was such slaughter there that our men waded in blood up to their ankles....Soon our men were running all around the city, seizing gold and silver, horses and mules, and houses filled with all kinds of goods. Rejoicing and weeping for joy, our people came to the sepulcher of Jesus our Savior to worship and pay our debt....Our men then took counsel and decided that everyone should pray and give alms so that God might choose for them whomever the pleased to rule over the others and govern the city....The living Saracens dragged the dead outside the gates and made heaps of them as large as houses. No one ever saw or heard of such a slaughter of pagan peoples, for funeral pyres were formed of them like pyramids and no one knows their number save God alone."

The massacre impressed the world. Many even among the Christians who participated were sickened and shamed by the brutality. When more humane and sane counsels did prevail in Christian circles, the Muslims remained justifiably distrustful and suspicious. Having destroyed Muslim power, the Crusaders had to set up a state. They took counsel as to who should be chosen to rule in the Holy Land. After much intrigue, Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, was offered the title of king. He chose instead to be called the Defender of the Holy Sepulcher, saying that he could not wear a crown of gold in the city where his Savior had worn a crown of thorns.

This was the catastrophic beginning of the long series of wars that marked the Crusade period. It does not much matter that the families of the permanent settlers in the Holy Land learned of necessity a great deal about Islamic material culture. The Holy Land did not flow with milk and honey and could not be made to support the Latin principalities there without commerce. Westerners had to learn from the Muslims how to live in a climate different form that of England and northern France.

Commerce with the enemies and adoption of Islamic foods, clothes, sanitary precautions as well as marriage with Muslim wives brought on the Latin Christians charges of betraying the Christian cause. Individual friendships between Muslims and Christians did develop, but these had no effect on the precarious nature of Christian rule in the land. Rivalries existed among the rulers of the Crusader states, and distrust between them and new arrivals was commonplace. Thus unity against the enemy was difficult to maintain.

In 1187 Saladin, who had overthrown the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt, expanded his power into Palestine and seized Jerusalem. The Crusaders were left holding only a narrow strip of coastal plain from Acre to Antioch. This remnant of the Latin kingdom they lost in the course of the next century. In 1291, when Acre fell, Christian rule in the Holy Land ceased to be a matter of practical politics. There were Crusades after 1300, but having no secure base from which to operate, they had no chance of success.

In 1144 St. Bernard of Clairvaux advocated a more military policy in dealing with the Muslim menace. So he organized the Second Crusade, a bigger and better organized expedition than the first. Two kings led this Crusade: Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Eleanor of Acquitaine (wife of Louis VII, who later divorce her) went along for the "ride." She and her attendant ladies dressed in the costume of Amazon princesses. The result was a fiasco of the first magnitude, one from which the Muslims derived the encouragement to go forward to throw the the Westerners out. There was also a Third, Fourth, and Fifth Crusade, ending with equally disastrous consequences.


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« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2007, 12:56:07 am »

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The Holy Crusades
From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears: namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation, forsooth, which has neither directed its heart nor entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by sword, pillage, and fire. . . .

---Pope Urban II, Proclamation at Clermont, 1095

The Crusades, like so much of the modern conflict, were not wholly rational movements that could be explained away by purely economic or territorial ambition or by the clash of rights and interests. They were fueled, on all sides, by myths and passions that were far more effective in getting people to act than any purely political motivation. The medieval holy wars in the Middle East could not be solved by rational treatises or neat territorial solutions. Fundamental passions were involved which touched the identity of Christians, Muslims and Jews and which were sacred to the identity of each. They have not changed very much in the holy wars of today.

---Karen Armstrong, Holy War, 1988

Beginning in the 11th century, the people of western Europe launched a series of armed expeditions, or Crusades, to the East and Constantinople. The reason for the Crusades is relatively clear: the West wanted to free the Holy Lands from Islamic influence. The first of early Crusades were part of a religious revivalism. The initiative was taken by popes and supported by religious enthusiasm and therefore the Crusades demonstrated papal leadership as well as popular religious beliefs. They were also an indication of the growing self-awareness and self-confidence of Europe in general.

Europe no longer waited anxiously for an attack from outside enemies. Now and for the first time, Europeans took the initiative and sent their armies into the Holy Lands. It took courage to undertake such an adventure, a courage based on the conviction that the Crusades were ultimately the will of God. An unintended consequence of the Crusades was that the West became more fully acquainted with the ideas and technology of a civilization far more advanced than their own. The Crusades also highlight the initial phase of western expansion into new lands, a movement of the peoples of Europe that has influenced the course of western civilization ever since.

From the third century on, Christians had visited the scenes of Christ's life. In Jerusalem, St. Helena had discovered what was believed to be the True Cross and her son, CONSTANTINE (c.274-337), built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher there. Before the Muslim conquest of the 7th century, pilgrims came from Byzantium and the West in search of sacred relics for their churches. Pilgrimages were a dangerous business and could only be taken amidst hardship. But by the reign of Charlemagne, conditions had improved for western pilgrims: Caliph Harun al-Rashid (763-809) allowed Charlemagne to endow a hostel in Jerusalem for the use by pilgrim traffic.

Stability in both the Muslim and Byzantine worlds was essential for the easy and safe continuance of pilgrim traffic. But in the early 11th century this stability broke down as the Egyptian ruler of Palestine, Hakim (c.996-1021), abandoned the tolerant practices of his predecessors, and began to persecute Christians and Jews and to make travel to the Holy Lands difficult once again. Hakim destroyed Constantine's Church of the Holy Sepulchre and declared himself to be God incarnate.

By 1050 the Seljuk Turks had created a state in Persia. In 1055 they entered Baghdad on the invitation of the Abbasid caliph and became the champions of Sunnite Islam against the Shi'ite rulers of Egypt. In the 1050s Seljuk forces raided deep into Anatolia, almost to the Aegean. Their advance culminated in the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071, followed by the occupation of most of Asia Minor and the establishment of a new sultanate at Nicaea. Jerusalem fell in 1071 and became part of the new Seljuk state of Syria.

In 1081, and amid disorder, palace intrigue and the capital in danger, the general Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118) came to the Byzantine throne. He held off a Norman attack on the Dalmatian coast through an alliance with Venice, and he played one Turkish potentate off against another, slowly reestablishing a Byzantine foothold in Asia Minor. Civil wars among the Turks and the increase of brigands made pilgrim traffic exceedingly difficult.

The schism between Eastern and Western churches provided the papacy with an additional incentive to intervene in the east. In 1073 Pope Gregory VII (c.1020-1085) sent an ambassador to Constantinople, who reported that the emperor was anxious for reconciliation. Gregory VII planned to reunite the churches by extending the holy war from Spain to Asia. He would send the Byzantines an army of western knights, which he would lead himself.

Pope Urban II (c.1042-1099) carried on the tradition of Gregory VII. To his Council of Piacenza (1095) came envoys from Alexius, who asked for military help against the Turks. Since Turkish power was declining, perhaps it was a good time to strike. Historians have never understood why Pope Urban II promulgated the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Perhaps we can glean some purpose by looking at the speech itself.

Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by God, as shines forth in very many of your works, set apart from all nations by the situation of your country, as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor of the Holy Church! To you our discourse is addressed, and for you our exhortation is intended. We wish you to know what a grievous cause has led us to your country, what peril, threatening you and all the faithful, has brought us.

From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears: namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation, forsooth, which has neither directed its heart nor entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by sword, pillage, and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel torture; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision their either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and, dragging forth the end of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until his viscera have gushed forth, and he falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks, and then, attacking them with naked swords, they attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable **** of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent. The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them, and deprived of territory so vast in extent that it can not be traversed in a march of two months. On whom, therefore, is the task of avenging those wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you? You, upon whom above other nations God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily energy, and the strength to humble the hairy scalp of those who resist you. . . .

What are we saying? Listen and learn! You, girt about with the badge of knighthood, are arrogant with great pride; you rage against your brothers and cut each other in pieces. This is not the soldiery of Christ, which rends asunder the sheep-fold of the Redeemer. The Holy Church has reserved a soldiery for herself to help her people, but you debase her wickedly to her hurt. Let us confess the truth, whose heralds we ought to be; truly, you are not holding to the way which leads to life. You, the oppressors of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another's rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood; as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! If, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defense of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joy of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels. We say this, brethren, that you may restrain your murderous hands from the destruction of your brothers, and in behalf of your relatives in faith oppose yourself to the Gentiles. Under Jesus Christ, our Leader, may you struggle for your Jerusalem. . . . But if it befall you to die this side of it, be sure that to have died on the way is of equal value, if Christ shall find you in His army. God pays with the same coin, whether at the first or the eleventh hour. You should shudder, brethren, you should shudder at raising a violent hand against Christians; it is less wicked to brandish your sword against Saracens. It is the only warfare that is righteous, for it is charity to risk your life for your brothers.

Pope Urban II emphasized the appeal received from the Eastern Christians and painted the hardships that now faced pilgrims to Jerusalem. He summoned his listeners to form themselves, rich and poor alike, into an army, which God would assist. Killing each other at home would give way to fighting a holy war. Poverty at home would be relieved by riches obtained from the East. If a man were killed doing the work of God, he would automatically be absolved of his sins and assured of salvation. The audience greeted the oration with cries of "God wills it," and the First Crusade had been launched.

On the more popular level, it was Peter the Hermit (c.1050-1115), an unkempt old man who lived on fish and wine, who proved to be the most effective preacher of the Crusade. In France and Germany he recruited an undisciplined mob of peasants, including women and children. They believed Peter was leading them to the New Jerusalem, flowing with milk and honey. The followers of Peter came up the Rhine, across Hungary, where 4000 Hungarians were killed in a riot over the sale of a pair of shoes, and into Byzantine territory at Belgrade. The Byzantines, who had hoped for a well-trained army, were appalled by Peter's mob. They proceeded to arrange military escorts and to take all precautions against trouble. Despite their efforts, the undisciplined crusaders burned houses and stole everything, including the lead from the roofs of churches. Once in Constantinople, the crusaders were graciously received by Alexius Comnenus, who shipped them across the Straits as quickly as possible. In Asia Minor, they quarreled among themselves, murdered the Christian inhabitants and scored no success against the Turks. They were eventually massacred.

At the upper levels of European society no kings had enlisted in the Crusades, but a number of great lords had been recruited including Godrey of Bouillon (c.1061-1100) and his brother Baldwin (1058-1118), Count Raymond of Toulouse, Count Stephen of Blois (c.1097-1154), and Bohemond (c.1057-1111), a Norman prince from southern Italy. Better-equipped and disciplined, the armies led by these lords converged on Constantinople by different routes.

Emperor Alexius found himself in a difficult position. He was willing to allow the crusaders from Europe to carve out principalities for themselves from Turkish occupied land. At the same time, however, he wanted to assure himself that Byzantine lands would be returned to his control and that any new states created would be his dominions. He understood the practice of European vassalage and the importance attached to an oath taken to an lord. So, he decided to require each European lord to take an oath of liege homage to him upon their arrival. Alexius had to resort to bribery in order to obtain such oaths.

The armies were ferried across the Straits. There was no one in command but the armies did act as a unit, following the orders of the leaders assembled in council. In June 1097 at Nicaea, the Seljuk capital, the Turks surrendered at the last minute to Byzantine forces rather than suffer an assault from the Crusader armies. Crossing Asia Minor, the crusaders defeated the Turks at Dorylaeum, captured the Seljuk sultan's tent and treasure, and opened the road to further advance. Godfrey's brother Baldwin, marched to Edessa, an ancient imperial city near the Eurphrates, strategically situated for the defense of Syria from attacks coming from the east. Baldwin became count of Edessa, lord of the first crusader state to be established (1098).

Meanwhile, the main body of the army was besieging the great city of Antioch which was finally conquered after seven months. Antioch became the second crusader state under Bohemond. The other crusaders then took Jerusalem by assault in July 1099, followed by the wholesale slaughter of Muslims and Jews, men, women, and children, an event recorded by FULCHER OF CHARTRES. Godfrey of Bouillon was chosen as "defender of the Holy Sepulcher," and the third crusader state had been founded. When Godfrey died not long afterward, his brother Baldwin of Edessa became the first king of Jerusalem in 1100. Venetian, Genoese and Pisan fleets assisted in the gradual conquest of coastal cities ensuring the flow of communications, supplied and reinforcements between the East and the West. In 1109 the son of Raymond of Toulouse founded the fourth and last crusader state near the seaport of Tripoli.

Early in their occupation of the eastern Mediterranean the crusaders founded the military orders of knighthood. The first of these were the Templars, created around 1119 by a Burgundian knight who sympathized with the hardships of Christian pilgrims. The Templars banded together to protect the helpless on their pilgrimage. The Templars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and were given headquarters near the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) inspired their rule, based on the rules for his own Cistercians and confirmed by the pope in 1128. A second order, the Hospitalers, was founded soon after the Templars, and was attached to the ancient Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

Composed of knights, chaplains, and brothers under the command of a grand master, with branches both in the East and in Europe, the two military orders were the most effective fighting forces in the Holy Land. Each had a special uniform: the Templars wore red crosses on white, the Hospitalers white crosses on black. Later, a third, purely German group became the order of the Teutonic Knights with headquarters at Acre (they word black crosses on white).

The orders grew very wealthy. They had fortresses and churches of their own in the Holy Land as well as villages from which they obtained necessary supplies. Western monarchs endowed the knights richly with lands in Europe. Over time, the original intent of these military orders became lost in personal conflicts. The knights were, after all, a quarrelsome lot. They often allied themselves with Muslims, and so completely lost sight of their original vows of poverty that they engaged in banking and large-scale financial operations. In the early 14th century the Templars were destroyed by Philip IV (1268-1314) of France. The Hospitalers moved first to Cyprus and then to Rhodes in the early 14th century. They were driven to Malta by the Turks in 1522 and continued there until Napoleon's seizure of the island in 1798.

It is a wonder that the crusader states lasted as long as they did. It was neither their castles nor the existence of military orders that made their success possible but the disunity of the Muslims. When the Muslims did achieve unity, crusader states fell. So, in the late 1120s, Zangi, governor of Mosul on the Tigris, succeeded in unifying the local Muslim rulers, In 1144 he took Edessa. Two years later Zangi was assassinated, but the Muslim reconquest had begun.

In response to the conquest of Edessa, St. Bernard preached the so-called Second Crusade. Thanks to the enormous enthusiasm he unleashed, King Louis VII (1120-1180) of France and King Conrad III (1093-1152) of Germany came to the East. But the Second Crusade proved to be a failure. Relations with the Byzantines were worse than ever. The western armies were almost wiped out in Asia Minor. When the remnants of this army reached the Holy land, they found themselves in conflict with the local lords who feared that these newcomers would take over their kingdom. The crusader's failure to take Damascus in 1149 brought its own punishment. In 1154 Zangi's son took Damascus. "Because of my preaching, towns and castles are empty of inhabitants. Seven women can scarcely find one man," St. Bernard once boasted. Now he could only lament that:

we have fallen on evil days, in which the Lord, provoked by our sins, has judged the world, with justice, indeed, but not with his wonted mercy. . . . The sons of the Church have been overthrown in the desert, slain with the sword, or destroyed by famine. . . . The judgments of the Lord are righteous, but this one is an abyss so deep that I must call him blessed who is not scandalized therein.

The next act of Muslim reconquest was carried out in Egypt by a general who was sent to assist one of the quarreling factions in Cairo. This general became vizier of Egypt and died in 1169, leaving his office to his nephew Saladin (1137-1193), a chivalrous and humane man who became the greatest Muslim leader during the period of the Crusades. Saladin brought the Muslims cities of Syria and Mesopotamia under his control and distributed them to faithful members of his own family. By 1183 his brother ruled Egypt and his sons ruled Damascus and Aleppo. In 1187 Jerusalem fell and soon there was nothing left to the Christians except the port of Tyre and a few castles.

These events made a Third Crusade (1189-1192) necessary. The Holy Roman emperor, Frederick Barbarossa (c.1123-1190) led a German force through Byzantium, only to be drowned (1190) before reaching the Holy Land. Some of his troops, however, continued on to Palestine. There they were joined by Philip Augustus of France and Richard the Lionhearted (1157-1199) of England, former rivals in the West. The main thrust of the Third Crusade was the siege of Acre, which was finally captured in 1191. Jerusalem could not be taken but Saladin signed a treaty with Richard allowing Christians to visit the city freely.

Innocent III (1160-1216) came to the papal throne in 1198 and called for the Fourth Crusade. A number of powerful lords answered the call and decided to proceed by sea. The Venetians agreed to furnish transportation and food and also contributed fifty warships on condition that they would share equally in all future conquests. Enrico Dandolo (c.1108-1205) agreed to forgive the debt temporarily if the crusaders would help him conquer Zara, a town on the eastern side of the Adriatic that had revolted against Venetian domination. So the Fourth Crusade began with the sack and destruction of a Roman Catholic town in 1202! The pope excommunicated the crusaders.

The crusaders then turned their sights on a new goal: Constantinople. The German king, Philip of Swabia proposed that the massed armies escort Alexius, a prince with a strong claim to the throne, to Constantinople and enthrone him. If successful, Alexius would finance the subsequent expedition, the goal of which was Egypt. In the spring of 1203, the fortified crusaders attacked Constantinople. Despite advanced warning, the usurper Alexius III, had done little to prepare the city. In the initial assault, the crusaders won a complete naval victory though the city held its ground. A second attack by both land and sea broke through the defenses and Alexius III fled the city. The young Alexius was then crowned Alexius IV. The city was eventually damaged when a group of Franks set fire to a mosque in the Saracen quarter and Alexius IV refused to make the promised payment. Convinced that Alexius IV could not make peace with the crusaders, a faction of senators, clergy and the populace deposed Alexius, who was later murdered in prison by yet another usurper.

In March 1204 the crusaders and Venetians agreed to seize the city a second time and to elect a Latin emperor. This siege ended in a second capture and a three-day sack of Constantinople. The pope criticized the outrage. Whole libraries and collections of art were destroyed but the Venetians managed to salvage what they could and sent it all back to Venice. Of particular importance were sacred relics including a fragment identified as the True Cross and part of the head of John the Baptist.

Faith at its purest and most innocent was perhaps inherent in one of the most horrifying and disastrous episodes, the so-called CHILDREN'S CRUSADE of 1212. For these children, faith, love and hope could destroy the infidels where force alone had failed. Their motivation was more simple, more primitive and naive. Their faith and love was part of that general trend toward regeneration and spiritual awakening that we mentioned at the start of this lecture.

There were two Children's Crusades which started simultaneously in 1212, one from the Rhineland, the other in the Loire valley. A ten year old boy, Nicholas, preached the Children's Crusade at Cologne and is said to have recruited more than 20,000 children to his cause. When the pilgrims reached Italy, many of the girls were taken into brothels and others were taken as servants. Those boys who eventually carried on to the east were sold as slaves.

In May 1212, there appeared at Saint-Denis, a twelve year old boy by the name of Stephen. He was alleged to have gathered 30,000 children but at Marseilles they fell into the hands of thieves and were sold as slaves at Alexandria. Over 2000 alone perished when their ships sank in the Mediterranean. The Children's Crusades were not merely a brief episode but rather part of that deeply rooted unrest which had disturbed the conscience of the masses. Above all, the miracles associated with Stephen (it's said that animals, birds, fish and butterflies joined him) point forward to two other figures -- St. Francis of Assisi and Joan of Arc.

In the Fifth Crusade (1218-1221) the Christians attempted the conquest of Egypt on the notion that this was the center of Muslim strength. That Crusade was a miserable failure. Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) personally led the Sixth Crusade (1228-1229). No fighting was involved. Speaking Arabic and long familiar with the Muslims from his experience in Sicily, Frederick secured more for the Christians by negotiation than any crusader had secured by force since the First Crusade. In 1229 he signed a treaty with Saladin's nephew that restored Jerusalem to the Latin world. Bethlehem and Nazareth were also handed over and a ten year truce was signed.

The last two major crusades were organized by the saintly king of France, Louis IX (1215-1270). In 1248, Louis attacked Egypt with the idea of then regaining Palestine. A horrible strategist, Louis' and his army were defeated, taken prisoner, and made to pay an enormous ransom to obtain their freedom. Louis tried again in 1270, leading his troops on an expedition to Tunis in North Africa. There was no success here either as Louis and much of his army died from plague.

Slowly, the Christian possessions in the Holy Lands were retaken. Acre, the last stronghold of the crusaders, surrendered in 1291.

The ultimate effect of the Crusades on European history is certainly debatable. What is certain is that the crusaders made very little direct impact on the east where the only visible remnants of their conquests were their castles. There may have been some broadening of perspective that comes from the exchange and the clash between two cultures, but the interaction between Muslim and Christian was more meaningful in Spain and Sicily than it was in the Holy Lands.

The Crusades did manage to reduce the number of quarrelsome and contentious knights in Europe. The Crusades provided an outlet for their penchant for fighting and it has been argued that European monarchs were able to consolidate their control much more easily now that the warrior class had been reduced in number.

The Crusades also contributed to the economic growth of the Italian port cities of Genoa, Pisa and Venice. Of course, the great wealth and growing population of 11th century Europe had made the Crusades possible in the first place. The Crusades may have enhanced trade but they certainly were not the cause of the revival of trade. Italian merchants would have pursued their trade with the east regardless of whether or not the Crusades took place.

In general, it can be said that the almost incredible success of the First Crusade helped raise the self-confidence of the medieval west. For centuries Europe had been on the defensive against Islam -- now a western army could march into a center of Islamic power and take their coveted prize. With this in mind, the 12th century became an age of optimism and rebirth (see Lecture 26). To the Christians of the west it must have seemed as if God was on their side and that they could accomplish anything. But there was a negative side to the crusading balance sheet. There is no escaping the fact of the Crusader's savage butchery -- of Jews at home and of Muslims abroad. The Crusades certainly accelerated the deterioration of western relations with the Byzantine Empire and contributed to the destruction of that realm, with the disastrous consequences that followed. And western colonialism in the Holy Land was only the beginning of a long history of colonialism that has continued into the 20th century.


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE CRUSADES

While by no means complete, this list of significant dates can serve those who start a quest for understanding the crusades.

Nov, 1095: Pope Urban II presided over the Council of Clermont and called the First Crusade into being

Spring, 1096: Peasants' Crusade set out from Europe

Aug, 1096: Emperor Alexius of Constantinople shipped the Peasants' Crusade over the Bosporus

Late Summer, 1096: First Crusade leaders were departing Europe

Oct 1096: Peasants' Crusade annihilated in Anatolia by the Turks

Spring, 1097: First Crusade contingents assembling in Constantinople

End of Apr, 1097: First Crusade began the march in Anatolia to Nicaea

Late May, 1097: Nicaea surrendered to Alexius

Late June, 1097: First Crusaders marched overland from Nicaea toward Dorylaeum

Oct 21, 1097: Crusaders arrived before Antioch; long, bitter siege ensued

Early Feb 1098: Emperor Alexius' General Tacitius left the siege of Antioch

Mar 10, 1098: Citizens of Edessa gave Baldwin control of the city

Jun 1, 1098: Stephen of Blois & a large group of French left the siege of Antioch

Jun 3, 1098: Firuz opened Antioch to Bohemond and the First Crusaders

Jun 5-9, 1098: Kerbogha arrived before Antioch & besieged the besiegers


Jun 14, 1098: Peter Bartholomew found the Lance

Jun 28, 1098: Crusaders beat back Kerbogha's siege of Crusader Antioch

Nov 27-Dec 11, 1098: Crusaders captured M'arrat-an-Numan; army restless for Jerusalem

Jan 13, 1099: Raymond of Toulouse led the first contingent away from Antioch and toward Jerusalem

Feb 14, 1099: Raymond began the desultory siege of Arqah, near Tripoli

Late Mar, 1099: Godfrey and Robert of Flanders joined the siege of Arqah

Mid-May, 1099: Raymond finally gave up on Arqah; all present marched to Jerusalem

Jun 6, 1099: Citizens of Bethlehem invited Tancred to protect them

Jun 7, 1099: Godfrey et al. arrived before Jerusalem

Jun 13, 1099: Crusaders failed to take Jerusalem by storm

Jul 15, 1099: Godfrey breached the walls of Jerusalem near Herod's Gate and soon was elected the "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre"

Aug 12, 1099: Crusaders beat back the Fatimids at Ascalon

1100-18: Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem

1113: Hospitallers of Jerusalem recognized by the papacy as an independent group

1118-31: Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem

1118-9: Hugh of Payns created the Order of the Temple

1124: Fall of Tyre to Crusaders; now most of the coast in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

1131-43: Fulk of Anjou, King of Jerusalem

Dec, 1144: Zengi took Edessa, sparked the Second Crusade

Dec, 1145: Pope Eugenius III issued Quantum praedecessores to initiate the Second Crusade

1146: Bernard of Clairvaux active in preaching the crusade

Oct, 1147: Lisbon fell to crusaders and Portuguese; Almeria fell to Spanish

Jul 1148: Louis VII of France, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emperor Conrad III in the East on the Second Crusade

Sep, 1144: Zengi was assassinated; Nur ad-Din acceeded to Aleppo

1143-63: Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem

Jul 15, 1149: Dedication of the Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Apr, 1154: Nur ad-Din took Damascus, united Muslim Syria

1160s: Series of invasions by Crusaders into Egypt

1163-74: Amaury, King of Jerusalem

1169: Shirkuh became vizier in Egypt and accepted Nur ad-Din's leadership

1174-85: Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem

May 1174: Nur ad-Din died

Oct, 1174: Saladin took Damascus

Nov, 1177: Crusader army defeated Saladin at Mont Gisard

1183: Saladin took Aleppo

1185-6: Baldwin V, King of Jerusalem

1186-94: Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem

Jul 4, 1187: Saladin won the Battle of Hattin, and took most of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

May, 1189: Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) left Europe on the Third Crusade

Jun 10, 1190: Frederick I drowned in Anatolia

Jul 1190: Kings Philip of France and Richard of England set out on the Third Crusade

Winter 1190-1: French and English stayed in Sicily

Jul 12, 1191: Acre surrendered to Kings Philip, Richard and Guy; Philip departed the Holy Land for France shortly afterward

Sep 7, 1191: Richard met Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf

Nov-Dec 1191: Richard's Crusaders marched toward Jerusalem but turned back to the coast

Jun 1192: Richard's Crusaders marched again toward Jerusalem but turned back again

Oct 9, 1192: Richard Lionheart departed the Holy Land

Mar 4, 1193: Saladin died

1197: Abortive Crusade of Emperor Henry VI

1198-1224: Albert of Buxtehude expanded the Baltic Crusades

Aug 1198: Pope Innocent III called the Fourth Crusade

1199: Political Crusade against Markward of Anweiler

Nov 1202: Venetians and Crusaders sacked Zara, a Christian port on the Dalmatian Coast

Apr, 1204: Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople

1208: Pope Innocent III called the Albigensian Crusade

Jul 1212: King Alfonso VIII of Castile expanded the Reconquista; King Sancho VII of Navarre won the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

Dec 1215: Pope Innocent III issued Ad liberandam calling the Fifth Crusade during the Fourth Lateran Council

Dec 1217: Fifth Crusaders attacked Mount Tabor

May 1218: Fifth Crusaders began the siege of Damietta

Aug 1221: Fifth Crusade, in the Nile Delta, surrendered

Jun 1228: Emperor Frederick II, King of Jerusalem through marriage to Isabell (Yolanda), sailed East on the Sixth Crusade

Feb 1229: Al-Kamil surrendered Jerusalem to Emperor Frederick II

1240s: Popes Gregory IX and Innocent IV called Political Crusades against Emperor Frederick II

1248: King Louis IX departed for the Holy Land on the Seventh Crusade

Jun, 1249: Louis reached Damietta

Apr, 1254: Louis departed the Holy Land

Jul, 1270: Louis IX's Last Crusade; Louis died in North Africa

1291: The Fall of Acre

Oct 1307: King Philip IV surpessed the Templars in France

1330-1523: Hospitallers continued crusade action from Rhodes

1334: Crusader navy defeated Turkish pirates in the Gulf of Edremit

1334-1402: Crusaders held the port of Smyrna

1365: Crusaders under Peter I of Cyprus sacked Alexandria

1396: Crusade of Nicopolis

1426: Egyptians gained control over Cyprus

1798: Fall of Hospitallers on Malta to Napoleon

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Ted Thornton

History of the Middle East Database


Christians were furious when the Muslim Fatimid caliph al-Hakim destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Jesus' tomb) in 1009. Moreover, the Roman Catholic Pope Urban II had received an appeal from the Eastern emperor, Alexius I Comenus, to come to his aid in defending against the Seljuk Turks who were threatening from the east. Urban saw a crusade as an opportunity to reunite the eastern and western branches of Christianity and to bolster his own extremely weak authority within Europe itself, torn apart by the struggle between popes and emperors over who had the right to make religious appointments (the "Investiture Controversies"). Urban promised all who joined the crusade "plenary indulgence," full absolution of their sins. Throughout the Crusades, the European invaders benefited often from the disunity of the Arabs.

1096 - 1099 Large numbers of peasants with some knights among them formed three armies, the vanguard led by Walter the Penniless, and made their way toward Jerusalem massacring Jews in the Rhineland as they went. Eight hundred Jews were murdered in Worms. More than a thousand Jews died in Mainz and were buried in mass graves. In all, five thousand Jews were killed in the Rhineland. Walter's army was stopped by Muslim forces in Dorylaeum in Asia Minor. The second and third armies moved on toward Jerusalem.

1098 A Christian state was established in Edessa by the Crusader king, Baldwin I. In December of this year, Crusader forces led by Raymond de Saint Gilles, Count of Toulousse, and Bohemond, the Frankish governor of Antioch massacred the entire population of the Syrian town of Ma'arra al-Numan (10,000 people). The starving Crusaders cannibalized some of their victims. The Frankish chronicler Radulph of Caen reported, In Ma'arra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled. (in Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, trans. Jon Rothschild (News York: Schocken Books, 1984), 39). A line from another Crusader chronicler and soldier who fought at Ma'arra, Albert of Aix, convinced many Arabs from those times to the present that the Franks cannibalized not out of hunger but out of dogmatic fanaticism: Not only did our troops not shrink from eating dead Turks and Saracens (Muslims); they also ate dogs! (Maalouf, 40). Reports circulated of Frankish Crusaders roaming the countryside around the town boasting of having chewed the flesh of Saracens.

1099 The Crusaders reached Jerusalem. Philip Hitti describes what happened next:

On June 7th, 1099, some forty thousand Crusaders, of whom about twenty thousand were effective troops, stood before the gates of Jerusalem. The Egyptian garrison may be estimated roundly at about one thousand. Hoping the walls would fall as those of Jericho had done, the Crusaders first marched barefoot around the city, blowing their horns. A month's siege proved more effective (Philip Hitti, History of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present, 10th edition (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1970), 639.

On July 15, the walls were breached. Some Jews were burned alive in their synagogues. The historian Ibn al-Athir wrote, Heaps of heads and hands and feet were to be seen throughout the streets and squares of the city (ibid).

Seventy thousand reportedly were slaughtered at the al-Aqsa Mosque. Surviving Jews and Muslims were expelled from the city. The Crusaders converted the Dome of the Rock into a church, and the al-Aqsa Mosque into a palace for the Crusaders kings which they called the "Temple of Solomon."

1147 - 1148 The Second Crusade, in response to the Muslim resurgence in Asia Minor, culminated in disastrous defeat. This crusade had been organized by St. Bernard of Clairvaux at the instigation of Pope Eugenius III and King Louis VII.

1187 Salah al-Din (Saladin) recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders. On July 4, he defeated the Crusaders at the Horns of Hittin in the Galilee. The Crusaders, in full armor at the height of a ferocious Middle Eastern summer, were perhaps beaten as much by heat and thirst as by the army that opposed them.

1189 - 1192 The Third Crusade: Three armies led by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, King Philip Augustus of France, and King Richard I "The Lionhearted" ("Coer de Lion ") of England set out for the holy land. Frederick accidentally drowned in Cilicia, and quarrels between Philip and Richard crippled the expedition. Akko was recovered but not Jerusalem. Unlike Salah al-Din, who demonstrated compassion for the conquered, Richard after accepting the surrender of the inhabitants of Akko and after pledging that he would not harm them, proceeded to massacre them all, including women and children.

1202 - 1204 The Fourth Crusade: The army, mostly French, was diverted from its mission into plundering expeditions in Hungary and Asia Minor culminating in the capture and looting of Constantinople.

1212 The Fifth Crusade: The so-called "Children's Crusade" included thousands of children who straggled their way as far as Italy before being captured and sold into slavery.

1228 - 1229 The Sixth Crusade: Emperor Frederick II secured a treaty whereby Christians were allowed to rule Jerusalem and Christian holy places in Bethlehem and Nazareth for ten years. The treaty included safe passage to the coast guaranteed by the sultan of Egypt.

1244 Jerusalem was retaken from the Crusaders by the Mamluks.

1248 - 1254 The Seventh Crusade, directed against Egypt, was repelled by the Mamluks. On their way to Egypt, the Crusaders recaptured Seville from the Muslims (Moors).

1270 The Eighth Crusade began, led by Louis IX of France. Louis died of plague in Carthage and his army succumbed to disease and heat.

1291 An army of 1,600 European peasant Crusaders sent by Pope Nicholas IV landed at Akko and began massacring the inhabitants, Christians as well as Muslims and Jews. In the same year, the Mamluks took Akko, expelled the Crusaders, and reestablished Muslim control. This was the end of the Crusades.



Footnote to the Crusades:

Did the Crusades really end in the thirteenth century? Arabs didn't think so. Arab historian of the crusades Amin Malouf writes, "...The political and religious leaders of the Arab world constantly refer to Saladin, to the fall of Jerusalem and its recapture. In the popular mind, and in some official discourse too, Israel is regarded as a new Crusader state." (Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, trans. by Jon Rothschild (New York: Schocken Books, 1984), 265.) When Yasser Arafat returned from the failed Camp David II talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton in July, 2000, he was given a hero's welcome in Gaza and dubbed the new "Salah al-Din" (Saladin) because he had made no concessions to Israel, a country many Arabs considered the new "crusading" power in the region. The al-Aqsa intifada ("uprising") broke out just weeks later.

Islamist writer Fahmy Huweidi noted that Israel itself seemed to recognize, at least in a tacit way, that it fit the role of crusading power. He was responding to Israeli attempts to soften its image and discourage the formation of negative attitudes toward Israel especially in the minds of young Arabs by pressing for changes in history curricula in some parts of the Arab world. Huweidi charged that this was tantamount to an Israeli attempt to rewrite history. Israelis had advocated deletions of Quranic passages dealing with Israel, passages on jihad against infidel aggressors, and wanted pivotal events like Saladin's defeat of the Crusaders at Hittin downplayed. Writing in an Arabic weekly news magazine, Huweidi said, "With such a strong resemblance between what Christians did to Arabs in the Crusades and Israel’s own behavior in Palestine now, it is not strange to find Israel attempting to alter and rewrite the history of the Crusades in order to drive a wedge in the minds of the new generation of Arabs between Israel’s own current practices and those of the Christian Crusaders and thus to prevent comparisons from being drawn." (Fahmy Huweidi, "al-Hurub al-Salibiyya fi-l ‘eyoon al-Israeliyya," al-Majalla, July 1-6, 2000, translation by Ted Thornton).

Finally, Israeli novelist Amos Oz came as close as any Israeli in acknowledging Israel's role as a crusading power. Writing on the New York Times Op-Ed page (July 28, 2000) he commented on the adulation Arafat had received as the "new Saladin": "I can't help reminding myself that the original Saladin promised the Arab people that he would not make pacts with the infidels."

Revised December 18, 2004


http://www.nmhschool.org/tthornton/mehistorydatabase/crusades.htm
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« Reply #71 on: December 31, 2007, 12:58:09 am »

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King Richard I - The Lionheart
A King Is Born
While Richard Plantagenet is revered as one of the great warrior kings of England, he is perhaps best known as "the absent king." This is due to the fact that during his reign from 1189-1199, he spent a total of six months in England. This aside Richard I was well known for his bravery which earned him the nickname "The Lionheart". A name that has reached epic and mythological proportions, best seen in literary works such as Robin Hood and Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe.

Richard Plantagenet came into the world September 8th in the year 1157 AD Although born in Oxfordshire England, Richard was a child of Aquitaine a part of Southern France. His native language was not English and throughout his life he spoke little of it.


He had four brothers and three sisters, the first of which died at a young age. Of the remainder; Henry was named heir to the English throne, Richard was to succeed his mother's Aquitaine and Geoffrey was to inherit Brittany. John was the poorest to fair out receiving nothing from his father. It is this action that gave him the name John Lackland.

At a young age of twelve, Richard pledged homage to the king of France for lands of his. At the age of fourteen, Richard was named the Duke of Aquitane in the church of St. Hillaire at Poitiers which was one of the lands made homage to the French King. Henry's sons, who had been given lands but no real power revolted against their King father aided by their mother. In retaliation King Henry had Eleanor jailed. She remained there for many years.

Off To The Crusades
In 1183 the younger Henry died leaving Richard as the heir to the English throne. Another family dispute occurred when Richard received the lands of his brother. Henry was expected to give his Aquitaine to his brother John. Richard refused to give up the homeland of his mother. While this dispute over family land raged on, Richard learned of the tragic loss at Hattin, where the Crusaders had lost Jerusalem to the Saracen leader Saladin. Richard soon took up the cross of the crusades, much against his father's approval.


In 1189, upon the death of Henry II, Richard was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey London. One of his first actions was to free his mother from prison. His second was to begin to raise funds for his crusade known to history as the Third Crusade. He imposed a tax on the English people called a Saladin tithe as a means of aiding his war effort.

A King Imprisoned
After the Third Crusade, Richard began his homeward journey to England. Put ashore by bad weather he found himself in Austria home of Leopold, whom Richard had angered by actions during the crusade. Leopold captured King Richard and imprisoned him in his castle. Eager for a piece of the action the Emperor of Germany offered Leopold 75,000 marks for Richard taking him into custody in Germany.

Rumors ran rampant throughout England over the missing king. There is a legend that the troubadour Blondel heard his king singing in a castle and responded with a song that the both of them were sure to know. Whether true or not the fact remains that two Abbots were soon dispatched to journey for him through the network of the church. Even Eleanor, Richard's mother wrote to the Pope for assistance in the matter. Richard was found and soon a ransom was set for his return to England. The sum was 150,000 marks an amount equal to three years of annual income and weighing at three tons in silver.

Return Of The King
Richard returned to England receiving a hero's welcome. He forgave his brother John, by saying he was manipulated by cunning people and vowed to punish them and not his brother. Unfortunately for the King he returned to a land in financial troubles. The cost of the Crusade and his large ransom had tapped out the finances of the land. This monetary trouble was to plague him for his remaining five-year reign. He created a new great seal as a means to raise funds and made void all documents signed with the old.

Death Of A King
For such a brave and noble man, King Richard's death came about in a rather strange way. In Chalus, Aquitaine, a peasant plowing his fields came upon a treasure. This treasure consisted of some gold statues and coins. The feudal lord claimed the treasure from his vassal, Richard in turn claimed the treasure from the lord, who refused. This prompted Richard to siege the village.

During the siege Richard was riding close to the castle without the protection of full armor. He spotted an archer with bow in hand on the wall aiming a shot at him. It is said Richard paused to applaud the Bowman. He was struck in the shoulder with the arrow and refused treatment for his wound. Infection set in and Richard the Lionheart died on April the 6th 1199. He was buried in the Fontvraud Abbey in Anjou France.

http://www.templarhistory.com/richard.html
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« Reply #72 on: December 31, 2007, 01:05:34 am »

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Raynald of Chatillon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Raynald of Châtillon (also Reynald or Reginald of Chastillon) (c.1125-July 4, 1187) was a knight who served in the Second Crusade and remained in the Holy Land after its defeat. There he ruled as Prince of Antioch from 1153 to 1160.
He was a younger son of Henry, lord of Châtillon, from the middle-ranking noble family of Champagne that had produced Eudes of Châtillon, Pope Urban II. Raynald had joined the Second Crusade in 1147 to seek his fortune. He entered the service of Constance of Antioch, whose first husband had died in 1149. She married Raynald in secret in 1153, without consulting her liege lord, Baldwin III of Jerusalem. Neither King Baldwin nor Aimery of Limoges, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch, approved of Constance's choice of a husband of such lower birth.
In 1156 Raynald claimed that the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus had reneged on his promise to pay Raynald a sum of money, and vowed to attack the island of Cyprus in revenge. When the Latin Patriarch of Antioch refused to finance this expedition, Raynald had the Patriarch seized, stripped naked, covered in honey, and left to suffer in the burning sun. When the Patriarch was released, he collapsed in exhaustion and agreed to finance Raynald's expedition against Cyprus. Raynald's forces attacked Cyprus, ravaging the island, and raping and pillaging the inhabitants.
The Emperor Manuel I Comnenus raised an army and began a march into Syria. Faced with a much larger and more powerful force, Raynald was forced to grovel, barefoot and shabby, before the emperor's throne for forgiveness. In 1159 Raynald was forced to pay homage to Manuel as punishment for his attack, promising to accept a Greek Patriarch in Antioch. When Manuel came to Antioch later that year to meet with Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem, Raynald was forced to lead Manuel's horse into the city.
Soon after this, in 1160, Raynald was captured by the Muslims during a plundering raid against the Syrian and Armenian peasants of the neighbourhood of Marash. He was confined at Aleppo for the next seventeen years. He was ransomed for the extraordinary sum of 120,000 gold dinars in 1176, emerging from his long captivity more bloodthirsty and ambitious than ever. Because his wife Constance had died in 1163, Raynald married another wealthy widow, Stephanie, the widow of both Humphrey III of Toron and Miles of Plancy, and the heiress of the lordship of Oultrejordain, including the castles Kerak and Montreal to the southeast of the Dead Sea. These fortresses controlled the trade routes between Egypt and Damascus and gave Raynald access to the Red Sea. He became notorious for his wanton cruelty at Kerak, often having his enemies and hostages flung from the walls of castle to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
In November 1177, at the head of the army of the kingdom, he defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard; Saladin narrowly escaped. In 1181 the temptation of the caravans which passed by Kerak proved too strong, and, in spite of a truce between Saladin and Baldwin IV, Raynald began to plunder. Saladin demanded reparations from Baldwin IV, but Baldwin could only reply that he was unable to coerce his unruly vassal. The result was a new outbreak of war between Saladin and the Latin kingdom in 1182. In the course of the hostilities Raynald launched ships on the Red Sea, partly for piracy, but partly as a threat against Mecca and Medina, challenging Islam in its own holy places. His pirates ravaged villages up and down the Red Sea, before being captured by the army of Al-Adil I only a few miles from Medina. Although Raynald's pirates were taken to Cairo and beheaded, Raynald himself escaped to the Moab. Saladin vowed to behead Raynald himself, and at the end of the year Saladin attacked Kerak, during the marriage of Raynald's stepson Humphrey IV of Toron to Isabella of Jerusalem. The siege was raised by Count Raymond III of Tripoli, and Raynald was quiet until 1186.
That year he allied with Sibylla and Guy of Lusignan against Count Raymond, and his influence contributed to the recognition of Guy as king of Jerusalem, although Raymond was the better candidate. Later in 1186 Raynald attacked a caravan in which Saladin's sister was travelling, breaking the truce between Saladin and the Crusaders. King Guy chastised Raynald in an attempt to appease Saladin, but Raynald replied that he was lord of his own lands and that he had made no peace with Saladin. Saladin swore that Raynald would be executed if he was ever taken prisoner.
In 1187 Saladin invaded the kingdom, defeating the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin. The battle left Saladin with many prisoners. Most prominent among these prisoners were Raynald and King Guy, both of whom Saladin ordered brought to his tent. The chronicler Imad al-Din, who was present at the scene, relates:
Saladin invited the king [Guy] to sit beside him, and when Arnat [Raynald] entered in his turn, he seated him next to his king and reminded him of his misdeeds. 'How many times have you sworn an oath and violated it? How many times have you signed agreements you have never respected?' Raynald answered through a translator: 'Kings have always acted thus. I did nothing more.' During this time King Guy was gasping with thirst, his head dangling as though drunk, his face betraying great fright. Saladin spoke reassuring words to him, had cold water brought, and offered it to him. The king drank, then handed what remained to Raynald, who slaked his thirst in turn. The sultan then said to Guy: 'You did not ask permission before giving him water. I am therefore not obliged to grant him mercy.' After pronouncing these words, the sultan smiled, mounted his horse, and rode off, leaving the captives in terror. He supervised the return of the troops, and then came back to his tent. He ordered Raynald brought there, then advanced before him, sword in hand, and struck him between the neck and the shoulder-blade. When Raynald fell, he cut off his head and dragged the body by its feet to the king, who began to tremble. Seeing him thus upset, Saladin said to him in a reassuring tone: 'This man was killed only because of his maleficence and perfidy'.
King Guy was spared and was taken to Damascus for a time, then allowed to go free.
Many of the Crusaders considered Raynald a martyr, although all evidence shows him to have been a plunderer and a pirate who had little concern for the welfare of the Kingdom. The successes of the Kingdom were almost singlehandedly undone by Raynald's recklessness and selfishness.
Raynald and Constance had two daughters: Agnes, who married king Bela III of Hungary; and Alix, who married Azzo V d'Este.
A largely fictionalized version of Raynald is played by Brendan Gleeson in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven.
[edit]
Sources
• Maalouf, Amin. Crusades Through Arab Eyes, 1985
• Reston, James. Warriors of God: Richard the Lion-Heart and Saladin in the Third Crusade, 2001.
Preceded by:
Raymond and Constance
Prince of Antioch
with Constance
Succeeded by:
Constance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynald_of_Chatillon
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« Reply #73 on: December 31, 2007, 01:06:31 am »

Danielle Gorree

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Guy of Lusignan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Guy of Lusignan (c. 1150-1194) was a French knight who, through marriage, became king-consort of Jerusalem, and led the kingdom to disaster at the Battle of Hattin in 1187.
Contents

Arrival in Jerusalem
Guy was a son of Count Hugh VIII of Lusignan, in Poitou, France, at that time under Queen Eleanor, her third son Richard Lionheart, and her husband the English king Henry II. In 1168 Guy and his brothers ambushed and killed Patrick of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who was returning from a pilgrimage. They were banished from Poitou by their overlord, Richard, then (acting) Duke of Aquitaine. Along with his brother, Amalric, Guy went to Jerusalem in the 1170s, where he became a client of Agnes of Courtenay, the divorced mother of King Baldwin IV, who held the county of Jaffa and Ascalon. Amalric became soon Agnes's constable in Jaffa, and, as rumors alleged, also her lover. Agnes was concerned that her political rivals, headed by the regent Raymond III of Tripoli, were determined to exercise more control by forcing Agnes' daughter, the princess Sibylla, to marry someone of their choosing. Agnes foiled these plans by advising her son to have Sibylla married to Guy. To this he agreed, and Guy and Sibylla were hastily married at Eastertide 1180. By his marriage he also became count of Jaffa and Ascalon and bailiff of Jerusalem. The young Sibylla already had one child, a son from her first marriage.
An ambitious man, Guy convinced Baldwin IV to name him regent in early 1182, much to the displeasure of the Haute Cour. However, Guy's behavior as regent soon outraged the court. Many native born Frankish settlers (the descendants of the original crusaders), wanted to make peace with Saladin, sultan of Egypt, having become weary of the constant warfare and threats on their borders. But Guy and Raynald of Chatillon, and other newly-arrived crusaders, were there to fight. Guy's continuous provocations against Saladin threatened any peace between Jerusalem and Egypt.
Agnes herself was displeased at Guy's disgrace, and refused to come to his defense. Throughout late 1182 and early 1183 Baldwin IV tried to have his sister's marriage to Guy annulled, showing that Baldwin still held his sister with some favour. Baldwin IV had wanted a loyal brother-in-law, and was frustrated in Guy's hard-headedness and disobedience. Sibylla was held up in Ascalon, though perhaps not against her will. Unsuccessful in prying his sister and close heir away from Guy, the king and the Haute Cour altered the succession, placing Baldwin V, Sibylla's son from her first marriage to William of Montferrat, in precedence over Sibylla, and decreeing a process to choose the monarch afterwards between Sibylla and Isabella (whom Baldwin and the Haute Cour thus recognized as at least equally entitled to succession as Sibylla), though she was not herself excluded from the succession. Guy kept a low profile from 1183 until his wife became queen in 1186.

King-Consort of Jerusalem
When Baldwin IV finally succumbed to his leprosy in 1185, Baldwin V became king, but he was a sickly child and died within a year. Guy went with Sibylla to Jerusalem for his step-son's funeral in 1186, along with an armed escort, with which he garrisoned the city. Raymond III, who was jealous to protect his own influence and his new political ally, the dowager queen Maria Comnena, was making arrangements to summon the Haute Cour when Sibylla was crowned queen by Patriarch Heraclius. Raynald of Chatillon gained popular support for Sibylla by affirming that she was "li plus apareissanz et plus dreis heis dou rouame". With the clear support of the church Sibylla was undisputed sovereign.
However, before she was crowned she agreed with oppositional court members that she would annul her marriage with Guy to please them, as long as she would be given free choice in her next husband. The leaders of the Haute Cour agreed, and Sibylla was crowned thereafter. Taking her choice as husband, to the astonishment of the rival court faction, she remarried Guy. The queen removed the crown from her head and handed it to Guy, permitting him to crown himself. Humphrey IV of Toron, husband of Sibylla's half-sister Isabella, was Raymond III and the Ibelins' choice for the kingship. As Sibylla's parents marriage had been annulled and both she and Baldwin had been legitimized by the church, Isabella was seen by many as the legal heiress. However, Humphrey would not assert his claim, and he disassociated himself from them, swearing fealty instead to Sibylla. Humphrey would become one of Guy's closest allies in the kingdom.
Sibylla was crowned alone, as sole queen. As Bernard Hamilton writes, "there could be no doubt after the ceremony that Guy only held the crown matrimonial."

Fall of Jerusalem
Immediately the chief concern in the kingdom was checking Saladin's advance. In 1187 Guy attempted to relieve Saladin's siege of Tiberias, against the advice of Raymond III; Guy's army was surrounded and cut off from a supply of water, and on July 4 the army of Jerusalem was completely destroyed at the Battle of Hattin. Guy was one of the very few captives spared by the Saracens after the battle, along with his brother Geoffrey, Raynald, and Humphrey.
The exhausted captives were brought to Saladin's tent, where Guy was given a goblet of water as a sign of Saladin's generosity. When Guy offered the goblet to his fellow captive Raynald, Saladin knocked the goblet away, saying that since Guy did not ask permission to offer Raynald the water, that Saladin was not obliged to show them mercy. When Saladin accused Raynald of being an oath-breaker, Raynald replied that "kings have always acted thus". Saladin then executed Raynald himself, beheading him with his sword. When Guy was brought in, he fell to his knees at the sight of Raynald's corpse. Saladin bade him to rise, saying, "Real kings do not kill each other."
Guy was imprisoned in Damascus, while Sibylla remained behind to defend Jerusalem, which was handed over to Saladin on October 2. Sibylla wrote Saladin and begged for her husband's release, and Guy was finally granted release in 1188 and allowed to rejoin his wife. Guy and Sibylla sought refuge in Tyre, the only city remaining in Christian hands, thanks to the defense of Conrad of Montferrat.
Conrad denied sanctuary to Sibylla and Guy, who camped outside the city walls for months. Guy soon joined a vanguard of the newly arrived Third Crusade. The queen followed him but soon died of an epidemic, along with the daughters she had borne him. According to the surviving members of the Haute Cour, with Sibylla's death Guy lost the authority he held as king-consort, and the crown passed to Isabella. However, Guy continued to demand recognition as king, and only in 1192 dropped his claim after being recognized in Cyprus.

Lord of Cyprus
In 1191, Guy left Acre with a small fleet and landed at Limassol. He was seeking support from Richard Lionheart, whose vassal he had previously been in France. He swore fealty to King Richard, and attended the marriage ceremony of Richard and Berengaria of Navarre. He participated in the campaign against Isaac Comnenus of Cyprus, and so impressed Richard that Guy became Richard's candidate for King of Jerusalem.
King Philip II of France supported instead Conrad of Montferrat, who was chosen king of Jerusalem in 1192 by right of his wife Isabella; Conrad had had Isabella and Humphrey's marriage annulled and married her himself. Conrad was soon assassinated and Isabella married Henry II of Champagne; when he died in 1197, Isabella married Guy's brother Amalric. Meanwhile, Guy was compensated for the loss of his kingdom by purchasing Cyprus from the Templars, who had themselves purchased it from Richard, who had conquered it en route to Palestine. Technically Guy was Lord of Cyprus, it not yet being a kingdom, and used the royal title (if used at all) as a remnant from Jerusalem, which was not necessarily held fully legally. Guy died in 1194 without surviving issue and was succeeded by his brother Amalric, who received the royal crown from Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Descendants of the Lusignans continued to rule the Kingdom of Cyprus until 1474. Guy was buried at the Church of the Templars in Nicosia.
A highly fictionalized version of Guy is played by Marton Csokas in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven.

Sources
• Bernard Hamilton, "Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem", in Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker. Ecclesiatical History Society, 1978
• Guida Jackson, Women Who Ruled, 1998
• Robert Payne, The Dream and the Tomb, 1984
• Reston, James. Warriors of God: Richard
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Lusignanhttp:

//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Lusignanons
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« Reply #74 on: December 31, 2007, 01:06:52 am »

 
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The crusaders were reacting to over four centuries of relentless Islamic Jihad, which had wiped out over 50% of all the Christians in the world and conquered over 60% of all the Christian lands on earth – before the crusades even began. Many of the towns liberated by the crusaders were still over 90% Christian when the crusaders arrived. The Middle East was the birthplace of the Christian Church. It was the Christians who had been conquered and oppressed by the Seljuk Turks. So many of the towns in the Middle East welcomed the crusaders as liberators.

Far from the crusaders being the aggressors, it was the Muslim armies which had spread Islam from Saudi Arabia across the whole of Christian North Africa into Spain and even France within the first century after the death of Muhammad. Muslim armies sacked and slaughtered their way across some of the greatest Christian cities in the world, including Alexandria, Carthage, Antioch and Constantinople. These Muslim invaders destroyed over 3,200 Christian churches just in the first 100 years of Islam.

DEFENSIVE WARS
As Professor Thomas Madden in The Real History of the Crusades points out: “The crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression – an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands. Christians in the 11 th Century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them…Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Muhammad, the means of Muslim expansion was always by the sword…Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth…The Christian world therefore was a prime target for the earliest Caliphs and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years…The crusades…were but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslim had already captured over two thirds of the Christian world.”

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“Ad initio, alea iacta est.”
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
it's Later Than You Think
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