After hundreds of years of Muslim incursions into formerly
Christian territories, the West was finally aroused to
resist. Kings, nobles, prelates, priests, monks, and
commoners were almost always motivated by religious belief and
zeal (albeit, perhaps mixed with more than a little bit of
escapism and greed and self interest). But who were the
motivators? Ultimately it may have been the Turkic leaders
who were expanding Islamic suzerainty, but that alone didn't move
anyone into action until besieged Byzantine emperors and somewhat
threatened Catholic popes (the latter often working through
charismatic preachers) got into the act.
This unit will look at the more important folks involved in the
first four crusades along with a few maps and illustrations to
show where they were active..
First Crusade -- 1096-1099:
Despite the organizational and logistics problems involved, the
First Crusade succeeded -- but only because of disunity among its
- First Crusade 1095 - 1100
Launched by Pope
at the Council
t in 1095, the First Crusade was the most
successful. Urban gave a dramatic speech urging Christians to
swarm towards Jerusalem and make it safe for Christian pilgrims by
taking it away from the Muslims. The armies of the First Crusade
left in 1096 and captured Jerusalem in 1099. From these conquered
lands Crusaders carved out small kingdoms for themselves which
endured for some time, though not long enough to have a real
impact upon local culture.November 18, 1095 Pope
Urban II opens the Council of Clermont where ambassadors from the
Byzantine emperor Alexius
, asking help against the Muslims, were warmly
November 27, 1095 Pope Urban II
calls for a Crusade (in Arabic: al-Hurub al-Salibiyya, "Wars of
the Cross") in a famous speech at the Council of Clermont.
Although his actual words have been lost, tradition has it that
he was so persuasive that the crowd shouted out in response
"Deus vult! Deus vult!" ("God wills it"). Urban had earlier
arranged that Raymond,
Count of Toulouse (also of St. Giles), would volunteer to
take up the cross then and there and offered other participants
two important concession: protection for their estates at home
while they were gone and plenary indulgence for their sins. The
inducements for other Europeans were just as great: serfs were
allowed the leave the land they were bound to, citizens were
free from taxation, debtors were given a moratorium on interest,
prisoners were released, death sentences were commuted, and much
December 1095 Adhemar
de Monteil (also: Adémar, Aimar, or Aelarz), Bishop of Le
Puy, is chosen by Pope Urban II as the Papal Legate for the
First Crusade. Although various secular leaders would argue
amongst themselves over who led the Crusade, the pope always
regards Adhemar as its true leader, reflecting the primacy of
spiritual over political goals.
April 1096 The first of the four planned
Crusader armies arrives in Constantinople, at that time ruled by
Alexius I Comnenus.
April 20, 1096 Peter
the Hermit, a native of Amiens in France, leads 20,000
commoners out of Cologne on the Peasants' Crusade.
May 06, 1096 Rhineland
Massacres: Crusaders moving through the Rhine Valley
massacre Jews in Speyer. This is the first major slaughter of a
Jewish community by Crusaders marching to the Holy Land.
May 18, 1096 Crusaders massacre Jews in Worms,
Germany. The Jews in Worms had heard about the massacre in
Speyer and try to hide - some in their homes and some even in
the bishop's palace, but they are unsuccessful.
May 27, 1096 Crusaders massacre Jews in Mainz,
Germany. The bishop hides over 1,000 in his cellars but the
Crusaders learn of this and kill most of them. Men, women, and
children of all ages are slaughtered indiscriminately.
May 30, 1096 Crusaders attack Jews in Cologne,
Germany, but most are protected by local citizens who hide the
Jews in their own houses. Archbishop Hermann would later
send them to safety in neighboring villages, but the Crusaders
would follow and slaughter hundreds.
June 1096 Crusaders led by Peter the Hermit
sack Semin and Belgrade, forcing Byzantine troops to flee to
July 03, 1096 Peter the Hermit's Peasants'
Crusade meets Byzantine forces at Nish. Although Peter is
victorious and moves towards Constantinople, about a quarter of
his forces are lost.
July 12, 1096 Crusaders under the leadership
of Peter the Hermit reach Sofia, Hungary.
August 1096 Godfrey
De Bouillon, the Margrave of Antwerp and a direct
descendant of Charlemagne, sets off to join the First Crusade at
the head of an army of at least 40,000 soldiers. Godfrey is the
brother of Baldwin of Boulogne (the future Baldwin I of
August 01, 1096 The Peasants' Crusade, which
had departed from Europe that Spring, is shipped over the
Bosprous by Emperor Alexius I Comnenus of Constantinople.
Alexius I had welcomed these first Crusaders, but they are so
decimated by hunger and disease that they cause a great deal of
trouble, looting churches and houses around Constantinople.
Thus, Alexius has them taken to Anatolia as quickly as possible.
Made up of poorly organized groups led by Peter the Hermit and Walter
the Pennyless (Gautier sans-Avoir, who had led a separate
contingent from Peter, most of whom were killed by the
Bulgarians), the Peasants' Crusade would proceed to pillage Asia
Minor but meet with a very messy end.
September 1096 A group from the Peasants'
Crusade is besieged at Xerigordon
and forced to surrender. Everyone is given a choice of beheading
or conversion. Those who convert in order to avoid beheading are
sent into slavery and never heard from again.
October 1096 Bohemond
I (Bohemond Of Otranto, French Bohémond De Tarente),
prince of Otranto (1089–1111) and one of the leaders of the
First Crusade, leads his troops across the Adriatic Sea.
Bohemond would be largely responsible for the capture of Antioch
and he was able to secure the title Prince of Antioch
October 1096 The Peasants' Crusade is
massacred at Civeot, Anatolia, by Turkish archers from Nicaea.
Only small children are spared the sword so that they could be
sent into slavery. Around 3,000 manage to escape back to
Constantinople where Peter the Hermit had been in negotiations
with Emperor Alexius I Comnenus.
October 1096 Raymond, Count of Toulouse (also
of St. Giles), leaves for the Crusade in the company of Adhemar,
the bishop of Puy and Papal Legate.
December 1096 The last of the four planned
Crusader armies arrives at Constantinople, bringing the total
numbers to approximately 50,000 knights and 500,000
footmen. Curiously there isn't a single king among the
Crusade leaders, a sharp difference from later Crusades. At this
time Philip I of France, William II of England, and Henry IV of
Germany are all under excommunication by Pope Urban II.
December 25, 1096 Godfrey De Bouillon, the
Margrave of Antwerp and a direct descendant of Charlemagne,
arrives in Constantinople. Godfrey would be the primary leader
of the First Crusade, thus making it a largely French war in
practice and causing the inhabitants of the Holy Land to refer
to Europeans generally as "Franks."
January 1097 Normans led by Bohemond I destroy
a village on the way to Constantinople because it is inhabited
by heretic Paulicians.
March 1097 After relations between Byzantine
leaders and the European Crusaders deteriorates, Godfrey De
Bouillon leads an attack on the Byzantine Imperial Palace at Blachernae.
April 26, 1097 Bohemond I joins his Crusading
forces with the Lorrainers under Godfrey De Bouillon. Bohemond
is not especially welcome in Constantinople because his father,
Guiscard, had invaded the Byzantine Empire and captured
the cities of Dyrrhachium and Corfu. ("Guiscard" is most
properly translated as (Wise Guy".)
May 1097 With the arrival of Duke
Robert of Normandy, all of the major participants of the
Crusades are together and the large force crosses into Asia
Minor. Peter the Hermit and his few remaining followers join
them. How many were there? Estimates vary wildly: 600,000
according to Fulcher
of Chartres, 300,000 according to Ekkehard,
and 100,000 according to Raymond
of Aguilers. Modern scholars place their numbers at around
7,000 knights and 60,000 infantry.
May 21, 1097 Crusaders begin the siege of
Nicaea, a mostly Christian city guarded by several thousand
Turkish troops. Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus has a
strong interest in the capture of this heavily fortified city
because it lies just 50 miles from Constantinople itself. Nicaea
is at this time under the control of Kilij
Arslan (Dawud Kılıj Arslan ibn Süleyman ibn Kut al-Mish),
sultan of the Seljuk Turkish state of Rhüm (a reference to
Rome). Unfortunately for him Arslan and the bulk of his military
forces are at war with a neighboring Emir when the crusaders
arrive; although he quickly makes peace in order to lift the
siege, he would be unable to arrive in time.
June 19, 1097 Crusaders captured Antioch after
a long siege. This had delayed progress towards Jerusalem by a
June 19, 1097 The city of Nicaea surrenders to
the Crusaders. Emperor Alexius I Comnenus of Constantinople
makes a deal with the Turks that puts the city in his hands and
kicks the Crusaders out. In not allowing them to pillage Nicaea,
Emperor Alexius engenders a great deal of animosity towards the
July 01, 1097 Battle of Dorylaeum: While
travelling from Nicaea to Antioch, the Crusaders split their
forces into two groups and Kilij Arslan seizes the opportunity
to ambush some of them near Dorylaeum. In what would become
known as the Battle of Dorylaeum, Bohemond I is saved by Raymond
of Toulouse. This could have been a disaster for the Crusaders,
but the victory frees them of both supply problems and from
harassment by Turks for a while.
August 1097 Godfrey of Bouillon temporarily
occupies the Seljuk city of Iconium (Konya).
September 10, 1097 Splitting off from the main
Crusading force, Tancred
of Hauteville captures Tarsus. Tancred is a grandson of
Robert Guiscard and nephew of Bohemund of Taranto.
October 20, 1097 The first Crusaders arrived
October 21, 1097 The Crusaders' siege of the
strategically important city of Antioch begins. Located in the
mountainous region of Orontes, Antioch had never been captured
by any means other than treachery and is so large that the
Crusader army is unable to completely surround it. During this
siege Crusaders learn to chew on the reeds known to Arabs as sukkar
- this is their first experience with sugar and they come to
December 21, 1097 First Battle of Harenc:
Because of the size of their forces, Crusaders besieging Antioch
are constantly running short of food and conduct raids into the
neighboring regions despite the risk of Turkish ambushes. One of
the largest of these raids consists of a force of 20,000 men
under the command of Bohemond and Robert of Flanders. At this
same time, Duqaq of Damascus had been approaching Antioch with a
large relief army. Robert is quickly surrounded, but Bohemond
comes up quickly and relieves Robert. There are heavy casualties
on both sides and Duqaq is forced to withdraw, abandoning his
plan to relieve Antioch.
February 1098 Tancred and his forces rejoin
the main body of Crusaders, only to find Peter the Hermit
attempting to flee to Constantinople. Tancred makes sure that
Peter returns to continue the fight.
February 09, 1098 Second Battle of Harenc: Ridwan
of Aleppo, titular ruler of Antioch, raises an army to
relieve the besieged city of Antioch. The Crusaders learn of his
plans and launch a preemptive assault with their remaining 700
heavy cavalry. The Turks are forced into retreat to Aleppo, a
city in northern Syria, and the plan to relieve Antioch is
March 10, 1098 Christian citizens of Edessa, a
powerful Armenian kingdom that controls a region from the
coastal plain of Cilicia all the way to the Euphrates,
surrenders to Baldwin
of Boulogne. Possession of this region would provide a
secure flank to the Crusaders.
June 01, 1098 Stephen
of Blois takes a large contingent of Franks and abandons
the siege of Antioch after he hears that Emir Kerboga of Mosul
with an army of 75,000 is drawing near to relieve the besieged
June 03, 1098 The Crusaders under the command
of Bohemond I capture Antioch, despite their numbers having been
depleted by numerous defections during the previous months. The
reason is treachery: Bohemond conspires with Firouz, an
Aremenian convert to Islam and captain of the guard, to allow
the Crusaders access to the Tower of the Two Sisters. Bohemond
is named Prince of Antioch.
June 05, 1098 Emir Kerboga, Attabeg of Mosul,
finally arrives at Antioch with an army of 75,000 men and lays
siege to the Christians who had just captured the city
themselves (although they do not have full control of it - there
are still defenders barricaded in the citadel). In fact, the
positions which they had occupied a couple of days before are
now occupied by the Turkish forces. A relief army commanded by
the Byzantine Emperor turns back after Stephen of Blois
convinces them that the situation in Antioch is hopeless. For
this, Alexius is never forgiven by the Crusaders and many would
claim that Alexius' failure to help them released them from
their vows of fealty to him.
June 10, 1098 Peter
Bartholomew, a servant of a member of Count Raymond's
army, experiences a vision of the Holy Lance
being located at Antioch. Also known as the Spear of Destiny or
the Spear of Longinus, this artifact is alleged to be the spear
that pierced the side of Jesus Christ when he was on the cross.
June 14, 1098 The Holy Lance is "discovered"
by Peter Bartholomew subsequent to a vision from Jesus Christ
and St. Andrew that it is located in Antioch, recently captured
by the Crusaders. This dramatically improves the spirits of the
Crusaders now besieged in Antioch by Emir Kerboga, Attabeg of
June 28, 1098 Battle of Orontes: Following the
Holy Lance "discovery" in Antioch, the Crusaders drive back a
Turkish army under the command of Emir Kerboga, Attabeg of
Mosul, sent to recapture the city. This battle is generally
regarded as having been decided by morale because the Muslim
army, split by internal dissent, numbers 75,000 strong but is
defeated by a mere 15,000 tired and poorly equipped Crusaders.
August 01, 1098 Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy and
nominal leader of the First Crusade, dies during an epidemic.
With this, Rome's direct control over the Crusade effectively
December 11, 1098 Crusaders capture the city
a small city east of Antioch. According to reports, Crusaders
are observed eating the flesh of both adults and children; as a
consequence, the Franks would be labeled "cannibals" by Turkish
January 13, 1099 Raymond of Toulouse leads the
first contingents of Crusaders away from Antioch and towards
Jerusalem. Bohemund disagrees with Raymond's plans and remains
in Antioch with his own forces.
February, 1099 Raymond of Toulouse captures
des Chevaliers, but he is forced to abandon it in order to
continue his march to Jerusalem.
February 14, 1099 Raymond of Toulouse begins a
siege of Arqah, but he would be forced to give up in April.
April 08, 1099 Long criticized by doubters
that he had truly found the Holy Lance, Peter Bartholomew agrees
to the suggestion of priest Arnulf
Malecorne that he undergo a trial by fire in order to
prove the relic's authenticity. He dies of his injuries on April
20, but because he does not die immediately Malecorne declares
the trial a success and the Lance genuine.
June 06, 1099 Citizens of Bethlehem plead with
Tancred of Bouillon (nephew of Bohemond) to protect them from
the approaching Crusaders who had by this time acquired a
reputation for vicious looting of cities they capture.
June 07, 1099 The Crusaders reach the gates of
Jerusalem. then controlled by governor Iftikhar
ad-Daula. Although the Crusaders had originally marched
out of Europe to take Jerusalem back from the Turks, the
Fatimids had already expelled the Turks the year before. The
Fatimid caliph offers the Crusaders a generous peace agreement
that includes protection of Christian pilgrims and worshippers
in the city, but the Crusaders are uninterested in anything less
than full control of the Holy City - nothing short of
unconditional surrender would satisfy them.
July 08, 1099 The Crusaders attempt to take
Jerusalem by storm but fail. According to reports, they
originally attempt to march around the walls under the
leadership of priests in the hope that the walls would simply
crumble, as did the walls of Jericho in biblical stories. When
that fails, unorganized attacks are launched with no effect.
July 10, 1099 Death of Ruy Diaz de Vivar,
known as El Cid (= Siidi = Arabic for "lord").
July 13, 1099 Armies of the first Crusade
launch a final assault on Muslims in Jerusalem.
July 15, 1099 Crusaders breach the walls of
Jerusalem at two points: Godfrey of Bouillon and his brother
Baldwin at St. Stephen's Gate on the north wall and Count
Raymond at the Jaffa Gate on the west wall, thus allowing them
to capture the city. Estimates place the number of casualties as
high as 100,000. Tancred of Hauteville, a grandson of Robert
Guiscard and nephew of Bohemund of Taranto, is the first
Crusader through the walls. The day is Friday, Dies Veneris, the
anniversary of when Christians believe that Jesus redeemed the
world and is the first of two days of unprecedented slaughter.
July 16, 1099 Crusaders herd Jews of Jerusalem
into a synagogue and set it on fire.
July 22, 1099 Raymond IV of Toulouse is
offered the title King of Jerusalem but he turns it down and
leaves the region. Godfrey De Bouillon is offered the same title
and turns it down as well, but is willing to be named Advocatus
Sancti Seplchri (Advocate of the Holy Sepulcher), the first
Latin ruler of Jerusalem. This kingdom would endure in one form
or another for several hundred years but it would always be in a
precarious position. It is based upon a long, narrow strip of
land with no natural barriers and whose population is never
entirely conquered. Continual reinforcements from Europe are
required but not always forthcoming.
July 29, 1099 Pope Urban II dies. Urban had
followed the lead set by his predecessor, Gregory
VII, by working to enhance the power of the papacy against
the power of secular rulers. He also became known for having
initiated the first of the Crusades against Muslim powers in the
Middle East. Urban dies, though, without ever learning that the
First Crusade had taken Jerusalem and was a success. (Urban II
was succeeded by Pascal II,
who had to contend with three successive anti-popes.)
August 1099 Records indicate that Peter the
Hermit, principal leader of the failed Peasants' Crusade, serves
as leader of the supplicatory processions in Jerusalem which
occur prior to the battle of Ascalon.
August 12, 1099 Battle of Ascalon: Crusaders
successfully fight off an Egyptian army sent to relieve
Jerusalem. Prior to its capture by the Crusaders, Jerusalem had
been under the control of the Fatamid
Caliphate of Egypt, and the vizier of Egypt, al-Afdal,
raises an army of 50,000 men that outnumber the remaining
Crusaders five to one, but which is inferior in quality. This is
the final battle in the First Crusade.
September 13, 1099 Crusaders set fire to Mara,
First Crusade Aftermath 1100 - 1143
1100 Islamic rule is weakened because of power
struggles among Islamic leaders and the Christian crusades.
1100 Bohemund of Taranto is captured by the
Seljuks. His nephew, Tancred of Hauteville, becomes regent of
1100 With the support of Pisan merchants, Daimbert
(aka Dagobert), the Archbishop of Pisa forces Godfrey of
Bouillon to dismiss Arnulf and make Daimbert himself the first
official Patriarch of Jerusalem.
1100 Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus
launches new attacks on the Seljuk Turks.
June 1100 Godfrey De Bouillon attempts to
negotiate a deal with the Venetians: they could take a third of
any city they help capture plus trading rights throughout the
Kingdom of Jerusalem if they support him against his political
July 18, 1100 Godfrey De Bouillon dies while
attempting to conquer Egypt.
December 11, 1100 Baldwin of Boulogne (also
Baldwin of Edessa) is crowned King of Jerusalem (Baldwin I). The
position is grander in name than in practice. The "kingdom" is
divided into four feudal principalities over which Baldwin has
limited control. His power is further checked by an
ecclesiastical hierarchy which is subject only to the pope in
Rome. Finally, several port cities are controlled by Italian
city-states like Venice and Genoa as the price for the naval aid
and sea trade upon which the Latin Kingdom depends for survival.
December 25, 1100 Baldwin I is actually
crowned King of Jerusalem on Christmas Day.
1101 Raymond IV of Toulouse, count of Tripoli,
captures Ankara from the Seljuk Turks.
March 1101 Milan archbishop Anselm of Buis and
Count Albert of Biandrate arrive at Constantinople with a
Lombard army in order to launch attacks on Muslims in the Holy
April 1101 Baldwin I negotiates a deal with
Genoese merchant similar to that attempted by Godrey de Bouillon
with Venetians the previous year: they could take a third of any
city they help capture plus trading rights throughout the
Kingdom of Jerusalem if they support him against political
rivals. With the Genoese aid, Baldwin is able to capture the
cities of Arsulf and Caesarea.
May 1101 An Egyptian army marches towards
Ascalon in order to drive out the Crusading invaders from the
August 1101 Battle of Heraclia: Turks under
Kilij Arslan I are able to halt the advance of the final waves
of Crusading armies from Europe travelling to reinforce the new
Crusader States in Syria.
September 1101 First Battle of Ramleh: An
Egyptian army under emir Sa'ad ed-Daula al-Qawasi is defeated by
Baldwin I, though at the cost of nearly half his knights. The
two forces had spent the entire summer facing off against each
other, neither side willing to initiate action. Only after more
reinforcements arrived from Egypt did Baldwin decide to act.
With around 260 knights and fewer than 1000 infantry he charged
Muslim positions defended by around 10,000 soldiers. Gripped by
panic the Egyptians fled after they nearly won and Baldwin
chased them all the way back to Ascalon
1102 Valencia is captured by the Almoravids,
Berbers from the Sahara.
1102 Crusaders capture Caesarea Palaestina.
April 1102 Second Battle of Ramleh: Thinking
that they would face an Egyptian scouting party, Baldwin I rides
out with Stephen of Blois and Stephen of Burgundy. This time,
though, they faced an Egyptian army twice the size of the
previous. With a mere 500 knights or so, the Christian Crusaders
are unable to achieve victory a second time. Most are killed and
a few escape, including Baldwin who manages to reach Arsulf.
May 1102 Ships bearing English and German
Crusaders arrive at Jaffa. With these additional forces, Baldwin
I is once again able to mount effective cavalry charges against
the Muslims who had been besieging the city and, once again,
drove the Egyptians back as far as Ascalon.
1103 Bohemund I of Antioch is released from
imprisonment among the Turks.
1103 Baldwin I lays siege to Acre, but an
Egyptian fleet is able to rescue them.
1104 Battle of Harran: Baldwin II, count of
Edessa, is taken captive and Tancred of Hauteville assumes
control of the County of Edessa in his place. At the same time
King Baldwin I of Jerusalem is able to capture Acre with the aid
of a fleet from Genoa.
August 27, 1105 Third Battle of Ramleh: The
Egyptians try one more time to wrest control of Jerusalem from
the Crusaders but fail. This time Egyptian forces are better
able to stand up to the cavalry charges of mounted knights, but
an effective defense had not been perfected, allowing the
smaller numbers of Crusaders to defeat much larger Muslim
forces. After this, no more large invasions were launched from
Egypt - raids, yes, but no concerted attempts to conquer the
1107 Baldwin Le Bourg, later Baldwin II, is
released by the Turks and has to fight Tancred of Hauteville to
regain control of Edessa.
1107 Death of Pisa archbishop Daimbert in
Messina. Daimbert had been chosen by Pope Urban II to replace
Adhémar as spiritual leader of the Crusades.
September 1108 Bohemond of Taranto surrenders
to the Greeks.
December 04, 1108 The armies of the First
Crusade conquer Sidon.
May 05, 1109 Moors under the command of
Masdali re-capture Valencia and it would not return to Christian
hands for another 225 years.
July 01, 1109 Death of Alfonso VI of Castile.
Alfonso was known for his attempts to drive the Moors out of
July 12, 1109 Crusaders capture the harbor
city of Tripoli, located along the coast of Palestine.
July 25, 1109 Birth of Alfonso I Henriques of
Portugal at Guimarães. The first king of Portugal, Alfonso would
create the nation of Portugal by liberating it from Muslim
invaders and attempts at dominance from Castile in Spain.
1110 Tancred of Hauteville retakes the Krak
May 1110 The Franks overrun Muslim defenses in
February 17, 1111 The Sultan's Minbar in
Baghdad is destroyed by Ibn Al-Khashshab.
March 11, 1111 Death of Bohemond I (Bohemond
Of Otranto, French Bohémond De Tarente), prince of
Otranto (1089–1111) in Canossa, Apulia. One of the leaders of
the First Crusade, Bohemond had been largely responsible for the
capture of Antioch and he had secured the title Prince of
Antioch (1098–1101, 1103–04).
1112 Death of Tancred of Hauteville, a
grandson of Robert Guiscard and nephew of Bohemund of Taranto,
in Antioch while using the name Bohemund II.
February 15, 1113 The Knights Hospitaller
receive formal papal recognition as a separate and independent
monastic order. The Hospitallers would play an important role in
the security of the Crusader states in the Middle East.
1115 A Muslim army is dispatched by Sultan
Mohammed to fight European Crusaders in Syria.
1115 Baldwin I, Latin King of Jerusalem.
builds the Krak de Montreal in the Negev desert. This would
become one of the strongest and most heavily fortified of all
the Crusader castles.
July 08, 1115 Death of Peter the Hermit.
According to tradition, Peter was one of those primarily
responsible for spreading the fervor which helped launch the
1118 Baldwin I, Latin King of Jerusalem. leads
expedition against Muslim forces in Egypt. No Egyptian leader is
willing to challenge Baldwin, even though his force comprises of
around 200 knights and 600 soldiers. He is able to advances as
far as the Nile river until he is forced to turn back due to
1118 - 1143 John II Comnenos serves as Byzantine emperor.
Also known as Kalo Ioannes (John the Beautiful), John has a very
mild reign marked by personal piety and efforts to restore the
former extent of the Empire before the Turks captured so much
territory through Asia Minor.
April 02, 1118 Death of Baldwin I; Baldwin Le
Bourg is named his successor. King Baldwin II. Baldwin I had
been the real founder of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the
real force behind its expansion. Baldwin the second is his
cousin and the choice of the various barons.
April 14, 1118 Baldwin II is crowned King of
Jerusalem. Baldwin would support the religious military orders,
expands the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. and holds firm against
the attacks of Seljuk Turks.
August 15, 1118 Death of Alexius I Comnenus,
December 19, 1118 Sargossa in Spain falls to
1119 Hugues de Payens founds the Order of
Knights Templar in Jerusalem. The name came from the fact that
their headquarters was on the site of Solomon's Temple.
June 27, 1119 Battle of the Field of Blood
(Ager Sanguinis): Muslim forces defeat Roger of Antioch and a
Frankish army at Aleppo. Baldwin II comes to try to save as many
as he can.
July 1119 A Muslim army is assembled under the
command of Ilghazi, Turkish Emir of Mardin, and the Emir of
August 01, 1119 Forces of the First Crusade
are defeated in the battle of Sarmada.
August 14, 1119 Crusaders under Baldwin II are
able to stop the advances of Turks under Tel-Danith.
1122 Balak, nephew of Ilghazi, Turkish Emir of
Mardin, captures Joscelin, the cousin of King Baldwin II.
1123 Balak, nephew of Ilghazi, Turkish Emir of
Mardin, takes King Baldwin II prisoner.
May 1123 A Venetian fleet defeats an Egyptian
fleet at Ascalon.
February 14, 1124 Crusaders, mostly Franks and
Venetians, begin a siege of Tyre.
June 1124 After the death of Balak, nephew of
Ilghazi, Turkish Emir of Mardin, King Baldwin II is released by
Timurtash, son of Balak.
July 07, 1124 Tyre is starved into submission
with the aid of a Venetian sea blockade. This means that most of
the Mediterranean coast is now in the hands of the Crusaders and
under the control of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
October 1124 King Baldwin II reneges on the
conditions of his release, forms alliances with Arab enemies of
Timurtash, and attacks his positions around Aleppo. Baldwin is
only stopped when il-Bursuqi, atabeg of Mosul, intervenes.
1125 Assassins kill Ibn Al-Khashshsab.
June 11, 1125 Battle of Azaz: Crusaders under
Baldwin II, Joscelin I, and Pons of Tripoli defeat the
Seljuk Turks under il-Bursuqi, atabeg of Mosul. This battle
involves what might be the largest collection of Crusader
knights assembled: at least 1,100.
November 1126 Il-Bursuqi, atabeg of Mosul, is
1127 Imad ad-Din Zengi becomes the Seljuk
Atabeg (Governor) of Mosul. Founder of the Zengid Dynasty, Zengi
would play a key role in the launching of the Second Crusade.
January 13, 1128 At the Council of Troyes, the
Templars receive the formal rules of their order, originally
commissioned by St. Bernard, and are granted official
May 1129 Fulk V, Count of Anjou, marries
Melisende, daughter and heir of Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem.
November 1129 Crusaders launch attacks on
Damascus but Baldwin is unable to achieve his goal of capturing
1130 The Almohad (al-Muwahhidun) Dynasty rises
to power. Taking the name "the Unitarians," this group of Berber
Muslims would supplant the Almoravid (al-Murabitun) Dynasty and
is inspired by the teachings of reformist Berber scholar Ibn
Tumart who dies this same year.
August 21, 1131 Death of King Baldwin II of
Jerusalem. Count Fulk of Anjoy is named his successor. With
this, the first generation of Crusaders effectively ends.
September 1131 Count Fulk of Anjoy is crowned
the third king of Jerusalem.
March 05, 1133 Birth of Henry II Plantagenet.
As king of England Henry would answer the call to join the Third
Crusade but he would die before being able to do anything. His
son, Richard I Lionheart, would become one of the leaders of the
May 13, 1133 Honen, founder of the Jodo sect
of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, was born in Inaoka, Mimasaka
province of Japan.
1135 The Seljuk Turk domination of Baghdad
March 30, 1135 Medieval Jewish scholar Moses
Maimonides was born.
1137 John II Comnenus, successor to Alexius I
Comnenus as Byzantine Emperor, leads a military campaign against
Armenia and Antioch.
July 1137 An army under the command of Count
Fulk of Anjoy, King of Jerusalem. is ambushed by Muslim forces
commanded by Imad ad-Din Zengi. Count Raymond of Tripoli is
killed, but Count Fulk is able to escape to the Crusader castle
of Montferrand which Zengi had been besieging. Unable to get
help in time, Fulk surrenders Montferrand to Zengi in return for
the freedom of all the Crusaders there.
1138 Birth of Salah-al-Din Yusuf ib-Ayyub
(Salah al-Din, Saladin), one of the greatest heroes of Islamic
history because of his success in stopping the European
Crusaders and recapturing much of the land they had conquered
from Muslims. Saladin is a Kurd who acquires a strong reputation
in Europe both for his fighting skills and his honorable
March 1138 Conrad III (first German king of
the Hohenstaufen dynasty and uncle of Frederick I Barbarossa, an
early leader of the Third Crusade) is elected king of the Romans
and ruler of Germany. Conrad would help lead the Second Crusade.
1139 Imad ad-Din Zengi attacks Damascus which,
in turn, asks Count Fulk for aid. Fulk agrees and takes a
Crusader army north, forcing Zengi to withdraw. Christian
Crusaders arriving from Europe were unable to comprehend how or
why a Christian leader would ally himself in this fashion with a
Muslim leader. The fact of the matter was, keeping the Muslims
divided served the Christian cause; moreover, the Crusader
states were too weak to stand on their own and depended upon
July 26, 1139 Battle of Ourique: Afonso I
Henriques defeats a large Almoravid force and is crowned king of
Portugal. Alfonso creates the nation of Portugal by liberating
it from Muslim invaders and attempts at dominance from Castile
1140 - 1125 1125 Pope Callistus II launches a
Crusade against Spain and eastern regions controlled by Muslims.
1142 Raymond II, count of Tripoli, gives the
Krak des Chevalier to the Knights Hospitaller. Here they
establish their headquarters and make it the largest Crusader
fortress in the Holy Land. It would later prove to be a
significant problem for Saladin's efforts to reconquer the
1143 The eldest son of Fulk of Jerusalem
becomes Baldwin III, king of Jerusalem (under the regency of his
mother, which lasted until 1152). Baldwin III is the first king
of Jerusalem actually born in Palestine.
April 08, 1143 Death of John II Comnenus,
Byzantine emperor. John was evidently poisoned by accident by
one of his own arrows during a hunt.
November 04, 1143 While out riding, Count
Fulk's horse throws him and he strikes his head hard. The king
of Jerusalem would die three days later.
November 07, 1143 Count Fulk of Anjou, king of
Jerusalem and leader of the Christian Crusaders in the Holy
Land, dies after having been thrown from his horse three days
earlier. Fulk's wife, Melisende, becomes regent.
December 24, 1144 Muslim forces under the
command of Imad ad-Din Zengi re-capture Edessa, originally taken
by Crusaders under Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098. This event makes
Zengi a hero among Muslims and leads to a call for a Second
Crusade in Europe.
To expand images, click on the small images or on the links
immediately below small images.
Getting there -- Wherever they started, and whether or not their
route included a sea voyage, all the crusaders funneled through
Constantinople. In that city the leaders were flattered and
given gifts, and they and their armies were hustled through before
they could do too much damage to the city. (They had already
done enough damage before they got to Constantinople.) When
in Constantinople the Crusades leaders promised to return to the
Emperor cities and Byzantine territories that were recovered from
the Turks. They may even have been sincere when they made
their promises, but they found reasons not to honor their
The map is from http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/first_crusade.htm
which also has much more information on the Crusade.
Like most European late Medieval maps, the London Psalter Map
places Jerusalem at the center of the earth. For more
information, see http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/mapsviews/psalter/
Alexios i Komnenos was the grandson of a previous Byzantine
Emperor. His father had refused the succession and a member
of another family was crowned. Alexios had a fine military
career fighting Pechenegs, Normans, and Turks for the new Emperor,
and eventually used his family and military connections to oust
the Emperor and install himself. As Emperor, Alexios found
himself gradually losing territory to the Seljuk Turks -- to the
point that the Turks were posing a serious threat to his capital,
Constantinople. The threat eventually got serious enough that he
took the drastic step of asking the Pope of western Catholicism
for help. For his own reasons, Pope Urban I responded
Anna Komnene was the very well educated and competent daughter of
Emperor Alexios I. But she also had more than a touch of
hero worship concerning members of the Komnenoi family and
especially her father. Despite her clear exaggeration of his
exploits and abilities and despite occasional errors in chronology
her book, the Alexiad
, written thirty years after the
death of Alexios, is still the best available source of
information about the Byzantine court, its allies, and its
enemies. The book is also the first known history of any
kind written by a woman.
For more information on Alexios I, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexios_I_Komnenos
For more information on Anna Komnena, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Komnene
For the entire text of the Alexiad in English translation, see http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/AnnaComnena-Alexiad.asp
Pope Urban I responded positively to pleas for help from Alexios I
Komnenos, the Byzantine Emperor. It's not ours to gainsay
Urban's altruistic and religious motives, but it's also naive to
think that he wouldn't know that he would benefit in prestige and
power by being the person who got the First Crusade rolling.
For Information on Urban, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Urban_II
. For Urban's speech at Cleremont, see http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-fulcher.html
Adhemar was Bishop of Puy-en-Velay and, on hearing Urban's
Clermont speech in 1095 he became an enthusiastic proselytizer of
the idea of reconquering Jerusalem for Christianity. The
Pope named Adhemar as his Legate -- i.e., put him in charge of the
spiritual guidance of those who took the cross. By all
accounts he was a great organizer both in the planning and
carrying out of Crusade plans. His charismatic preaching is
what really convinced Europeans to participate and his mediation
abilities clearly kept the military leaders in harness -- that is
demonstrated by what the disunity after his death (probably of
typhus) on August 1, 1098. When he was gone, disputes among
the higher nobles went unsolved, and the march to Jerusalem was
delayed for months. The lower-class foot soldiers continued
to think of dead Adhemar as a leader; some of them claimed to have
been visited by his ghost during the siege of Jerusalem, and
reported that Adhemar instructed them to hold another procession
around the walls. When this was done, Jerusalem was taken by the
Crusaders in 1099.
If you have access to the JSTOR database (which Encore Learning
Members can arrange through George Mason U.) see the article at http://www.jstor.org/stable/2853164
Raymond IV of Toulouse was chosen by Adhemar to be the military
leader of the Crusade. He took part in several early
confrontations with Muslim forces but did not distinguish himself
until Antioch. He left Antioch to a rival, Bohemond, and led
the march towar Jerusalem. After taking Jerusalem (with well
known atrocities against the civilian population) he declined the
kingship and left the city in the hands of Geofrey de Bouillon,
who took the title "Princeps".
For more info on Raymond IV, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_IV,_Count_of_Toulouse
While Adhemar and Raymond were organizing the First Crusade,
another unofficial "People's Crusade" made a premature
start. It was led by another charismatic preacher, Peter the
Hermit, and Peter's military appointee Gautier sans Avoir
(incorrectly translated as Walter the Penniless). Some of
the People's crusades committed atrocities against Jews in Europe
even before crossing into Byzantine territory. The pogroms
were condemned by the Pope and the "official" First Crusade
leaders, but similar activities by members of later Crusades
further blackened the reputation of the Crusades and the Church
that sponsored them. Alexios expeditiously ushered the
"People's Crusade" through Constantinople and into Khilij Arslan's
Caliphate of Rum where Khilij easily massacred the whole
operation. It was so easy, in fact, that Khilij got the
false impression that the later and much better organized real
First Crusade would also be easy pickings. That
underestimation would later cost Khilij dearly.
Peter the Hermit is all over the Internet. (Enter "peter the
hermit" -- with the quotation marks and lower case letters into
your search engine unless you really want to know about Peter
Noone of Herman's Hermits.) Contemporary descriptions of
Peter the Hermit and his companions are available at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/peterhermit.asp
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_the_Hermit
Kilij Arslan I was the Sultan of Rum from 1092 until his death in
1107, and his territory included all the possible land routes for
armies of the First Crusade. Kilij easily wiped out two
columns of the People's Crusade (1096), which gave him a false
sense of security. When the real First Crusade arrived Kilij
lost his capita city Nicaea (he was away fighting Danishmends) and
the crusader army also defeated him at Dorylaeum. Kilij was
just a speed bump in the way of the First Crusade. He did,
however, regoup and won three battles against reinforcement armies
in a minor (i.e., unnumbered) crusade in 1101. Kilij died
while trying to escape from a battle he lost against a Turkish
rival in Syria in 1107.
For more information on Kilij I, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilij_Arslan_I
Two maps show who controlled what in the Middle East at the end of
the First Crusade. The caption of the second map explains
the meaning of the Arabic/Islamic titles: Caliph, Sultan,
Emir, and Shaykh (Sheik).
Not all of the crusaders were all that great -- even those called
Magnus or le Grand, which mean "the Great". Hugues I 'le
Grand' de Vermandois (Capet), Comte de Vermandois is the archetype
of the not so great. Anna Komnena's description of him in
the Alexiad (Book 10, Chapter 7 -- "Ubus") makes it clear that
Hugh was a pompous ass.
Read about 'Ubus" (Hugh/Hugues) in the Alexiad at (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/AnnaComnena-Alexiad10.asp
-- about half way down) or see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_I,_Count_of_Vermandois
Steven Runciman thought "Magnus" must have been a clerical error
for "Minor", which would have meant he was the younger brother of
King Phillip I Capet of France. The Magnus
sobriquet might also have been applied in confusion with an
earlier Hugues 'le Grand' de Paris (Capet), Comte de Paris who
lived from 898 to 956.
Cochran Stevenson RUNCIMAN,
CH, FBA (7 July
1903 – 1 November 2000) — known as Steven Runciman — was a British
historian known for his work on the Middle Ages. His best known
work is his three volume A History of the Crusades
Godfrey (or Geofrey) de Bouillon was the Duke of Lower Lorraine
and had a les than distinguished crusader career until he and a
few of his knights were the first over the wall in
Jerusalem. When Raymond of Toulouse turned down the chance
to be first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the kingship was
offered to Godfrey. Godfrey refused to be called King of
"God's City", but he did accept the title of Princeps (usually
translated as "first citizen" and from which comes the word
"prince"), Duke, or Advocatus (Protector) of the Holy
Sepulchre. Despite his own reticence, Godfrey is usually
called the "First King of Jerusalem". Later rulers
unabashedly called themselves Kings.
Whatever his title, Godfrey didn't hold it long:
"While he was besieging the city of Acre, Godfrey, the
ruler of Jerusalem, was struck by an arrow, which killed him",
reports the Arab chronicler Ibn al-Qalanisi. Christian
chronicles make no mention of this; instead, Albert of Aix and
Ekkehard of Aura report that Godfrey contracted an illness in
Caesarea in June, 1100. It was later believed that the
emir of Caesarea had poisoned him, but there seems to be no
basis for this rumour; William of Tyre does not mention
it. It is also said that he died after eating a poisoned
apple. In any event, he died in Jerusalem after suffering
from a prolonged illness.
Most participants of the First Crusades had good motives.
One of the few who were in it for themselves was, by all accounts,
Bohemond. He rook Antioch for himself and barely lost out as
he raced toward Jerusalem when Godfrey died. Unlike the
braggart Hugues I 'le Grand', Bohemond successfully promoted
himself as greatest of the crusaders. His story can be read
in the captions of the seven images above or at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemond_I_of_Antioch
The Pechenegs were a subgroup of the Turkic people who spoke
variants of the Oghuz Turkic language. All we really know
about them is that they were an early (i.e.. pre-Crusade) irritant
in the northern Byzantine border area. They were skilled
mounted warriors who fought on their own behalf or, at various
time fought for whoever would pay them the most. During the
First Crusadeand succeeding crusades, they appeared as mercenaries
on one or the other side (or both sides) of the battle lines.
Also see http://world.guns.ru/machine/rus/pecheneg-e.html
for the equally dangerous post-Cold War Russian light machine gun.
: After the First Crusade, the
newly formed crusader states were barely able to hold their own
core areas and definitely were not able to provide protection for
Christian pilgrims in the Muslim controlled hinterland through
which the pilgrims had to pass on their way to Jerusalem. In
late 1119 or early 1120, a few French knights led by Hugues de
Payens formed a military order to protect the travelers. Baldwin
II, the King in Jerusalem billeted knights in a palace wing or
outbuilding, which many experts now say was a space below the
Al-Agsa Mosque, in the precinct of the former Temple of
Solomon. It is from the Temple association that the Knights
derived their name. The Knights Templar lasted for several
centuries in the Middle East and reached their peak when their
headquarters was in the Krak des Chevaliers, now in Syria just a
few miles north of the Lebanese border. They were later
suppressed and its Grand Master, Jaques Demolay was burned at the
stake in 1314..
Masonic connections are unproven, and, in particular the Freemasonry
acknowledge that all they take from the
medieval order is their name and that "THERE IS NO PROOF OF DIRECT
CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ANCIENT ORDER AND THE MODERN ORDER KNOWN TO
DAY AS THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR". (From http://www.knightstemplar.org/faq1.html#member
-- scroll down.)
For information on the Templars, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14493a.htm
(for the Catholic side of the story) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar
The Wikipedia page is fairly straightforward, but follow-on links
have some more esoteric versions. Reader beware:
there's much misinformation about the Templars on the
Internet; seing it on the net or on TV does not make it