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
Second, Third, and Fourth crusades along with a few maps and
illustrations to show where they were active..
Chronology of the Second Crusade and its Aftermath
Second Crusade 1144 - 1150
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.
1145 - 1149 The Second Crusade is launched to
recapture territory recently lost to Muslim forces, but in the
end only a few Greek islands are actually taken.
December 01, 1145 In the Bull Quantum
Praedecessores, Pope Eugene III proclaims the Second Crusade in
an effort to retake territory once again coming under the
control of Muslim forces. This Bull was sent directly to the
French King, Louis VII, and although he had been contemplating a
Crusade on his own, he chose to ignore the pope's call to action
1146 The Allmohads drive the Almoravids out of
Andalusia. The descendants of the Amoravids can still be found
March 13, 1146 Saxon nobles meeting in
Frankfurt ask Bernard of Clairvaux for permission to launch a
Crusade on pagan Slavs in the east. Bernard would pass the
request along to Pope Eugene III who gives his authorization for
a Crusade against the Wends.
March 31, 1146 St. Bernard or Clairvaux
preaches the merits and necessity of the Second Crusade at
Vézelay. Bernard writes in a letter to the Templars: "The
Christian who slays the unbeliever in the Holy War is sure of
his reward, the more sure if he himself is slain.The Christian
glories in the death of the pagan, because Christ is thereby
glorified." King Louis VII of France is particularly taken by
Bernard's preaching and is among the first to agree to go, along
with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine.
May 01, 1146 Conrad III (first German king of
the Hohenstaufen dynasty and uncle of Frederick I Barbarossa, an
early leader of the Third Crusade) personally leads German
forces into the Second Crusade, but his army would be almost
completely destroyed during their crossing of the plains of
June 01, 1146 King Louis VII announces that
France will join in the Second Crusade.
September 15, 1146 Imad ad-Din Zengi, founder
of the Zengid Dynasty, is assassinated by a servant he had
threatened to punish. Zengi's capture of Edessa from the
Crusaders in 1144 had made him a hero among Muslims and led to
the launching of the Second Crusade.
December 1146 Conrad III arrives at
Constantinople with the remnants of his army of German
1147 The Almoravid (al-Murabitun) Dynasty
falls from power. Taking the name "those who line up in defense
of the faith," this group of fanatical Berber Muslims had ruled
North Africa and Spain since 1056.
April 13, 1147 In the bull Divina
dispensatione Pope Eugene III approves of the Crusading into
Spain and the beyond the northeastern frontier of Germany.
Bernard Clairvaux writes "We expressly forbid that for any
reason whatsoever they should make a truce with these people
[the Wends] ... until such time as ... either their religion or
their nation be destroyed."
June 1147 German Crusaders travel through
Hungary on their way to the Holy Land. On the way they would
raid and pillage widely, causing a great deal of resentment.
October 1147 Lisbon is captured by Crusaders
and Portuguese forces under the command of Don Afonso Henriques,
first king of Portugal, and Crusader Gilbert of Hastings, who
becomes the first Bishop of Lisbon. In the same year the city of
Almeria falls to the Spanish.
October 25, 1147 Second Battle of Dorylaeum:
German Crusaders under Conrad III stop at Dorylaeum to rest and
are destroyed by Saracens. So much treasure is capture that the
market price of precious metals throughout the Muslim world
1148 Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona,
with the aid of an English fleet, captures the Moor city of
February 1148 German Crusaders under Conrad
III who had survived the Second Battle of Dorylaeum the previous
year are massacred by the Turks.
March 1148 French forces are left in Attalia
by King Louis VII who purchases passage on ships for himself and
a few nobles to Antioch. Muslims quickly descend upon Attalia
and kill nearly every Frenchman there.
May 25, 1148 Crusaders set out to capture
Damascus. The army consists of forces under the command of
Baldwin III, survivors of Conrad III's trip across Anatolia, and
the cavalry of Louis VII which had sailed directly to Jerusalem
(his infantry was supposed to march to Palestine, but they were
all killed along the way).
July 28, 1148 Crusaders are forced to withdraw
from their siege of Damascus after only a week, partly as a
result of the three leaders (Baldwin III, Conrad III, and Louis
VII) being unable to agree on almost anything. The political
divisions among the Crusaders stand in sharp contrast to the
greater unity among the Muslims in the region - a unity that
would only increase later under the dynamic and successful
leadership of Saladin. With this, the Second Crusade is
1149 A Crusading army under Raymond of Antioch
is destroyed by Nur ad-Din Mahmud bin Zengi (son of Imad ad-Din
Zengi, founder of the Zengid Dynasty) near the Fountain of
Murad. Raymond is among those killed, reportedly fighting until
the very end. One of Nur ad-Din's lieutenants, Saladin (Kurdish
nephew of Nur al-Din's best general, Shirkuh), would rise to
prominence in the coming conflicts.
July 15, 1149 The Crusader Church of the Holy
Sepulcher is officially dedicated.
Aftermath of the Second Crusade
1150 Fatimid rulers fortify the Egyptian city
of Ascalon with 53 towers.
1152 Baldwin III is crowned king of Jerusalem.
1152 King Henry II of England marries Eleanor
of Aquitaine, thus gaining control of her lands in France.
Eleanor would give birth to Richard the Lionheart, one of the
leaders of the Third Crusade. She had previously been married to
King Louis of France and her involvement in the Second Crusade
was blamed by some for its failure.
March 04, 1152 Friedrich I Barbarossa, nephew
of Conrad III, is elected German King in Frankfurt. He would
later become Holy Roman Emperor.
1153 King Baldwin III of Jerusalem captures
Ascalon after a siege of several months, thus drawing Egypt into
an alliance with the Turks in Palestine. Reynald of Chantillon
is named Prince of Antioch.
August 20, 1153 St. Bernard of Clairvaux dies.
Bernard had founded the famous abbey at Clairvaux and was
largely responsible for inspiring many Europeans to set off on
the Second Crusade. The failures of the Second Crusade deeply
troubled Bernard and he had blamed them on the sins of the
April 25, 1154 Because European Crusaders had
laid siege to the city in 1148 despite the existence of a truce
with them, citizens of Damascus decide that the Crusaders could
no longer be trusted and hand control over to Nur ad-Din Mahmud
bin Zengi. In assuming control of this city, Nur ad-Din is able
to unite all of Muslim Syria. One of Nur ad-Din's lieutenants,
Saladin (Salah-al-Din Yusuf ib-Ayyub), would rise to prominence
in the coming conflicts.
1155 King Baldwin III enters into an alliance
with Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus in order to more
effectively counter the growing threat from Nur ad-Din.
1156 Baldwin III signs a peace treaty with Nur
ad-Din, but the following year he would break it and capture the
city of Narim.
1156 Reynald of Chantillon, Prince of Antioch,
launches an attack against Cyprus.
August 1157 A strong earthquake hits Syria.
Through the previous couple of years, numerous earthquakes had
been recorded all through the Levant.
September 08, 1157 Richard I Lionheart of
England is born. Richard would be one of the leaders of the
October 1157 Nur ad-Din is struck by a severe
illness, halting his steady campaign against the Crusaders.
1158 Baldwin III defeats Seljuk ruler Nur
1160 Birth of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of
Leicester and leader of the Crusade against the Cathars in
1160 Raymond of Chantillion is captured during
a Muslim ambush and is imprisoned for 14 years in Aleppo. Once
released, his hatred of Islam and Muslims would be even greater
than before and would be instrumental in the Third Crusade being
1161 Explosives were first used in China at
the Battle of Ts'ai-shih.
February 10, 1162 King Baldwin III dies at
Tripoli and control of Jerusalem passes to his brother, Amalric
I. Amalric's chief goal is the conquest of Egypt and, in fact,
his continual failure to capture Egypt may have been an
important cause of the decline in power of the Latin Kingdom of
1163 - 1169 Egypt and Jerusalem are in a
constant state of war. During this time one of Nur ad-Din's
lieutenants, Saladin (Salah al-Din), rises to prominence.
1163 Nur ad-Din lays siege the fortress of
Krak des Chevaliers (headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in
Syria) but fails to take it.
September 1163 Amalric I, king of Jerusalem.
launches his first invasion of Egypt. He manages to get as far
as the Nile, but is turned back by the flooding.
May 1164 Shawar is reinstated as Vizier of
Cairo with the help of Nur ad-Din Mahmud bin Zengi.
July 1164 A joint army of Egyptians and Franks
besiege Shirkun in Bilbeis.
1165 Cathars have become so numerous in
Languedoc that they are able to defy local prelates and meet at
Lombers (Lombez) where there heretical doctrines are proclaimed
August 21, 1165 Philip II Augustus of France
is born. Philip would be one of the leaders of the Third
1166 Saladin orders the construction of
fortifications in Cairo which become known as "The Citadel."
1167 Papa Nicetas, a Bogomil heretic from the
east, attends an assembly of Cathars leaders in Languedoc at
Saint-Felix-de-Caraman (near Toulouse).
1167 Amalric I launches his second of three
unsuccessful invasions of Egypt, although he briefly captures
the city of Cairo. This same year he marries Maria Comnena,
grand-niece of Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus.
1168 Arab forces recapture Cairo from the
1168 - 1250 The Ayyubid dynasty, founded by
Salah-al-Din Yusuf ib-Ayyub, rules Egypt.
October 10, 1168 Amalric I launches his third
of three unsuccessful invasions of Egypt. This is a joint
project with Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus Megas.
November 01, 1168 Amalric I, King of
Jerusalem. massacres the inhabitants of Bilbeis, a fortress city
on the eastern edge of the southern Nile delta in Egypt. The
harsh treatment of locals manges to turn most Egyptians against
the Crusaders, even the Coptic Christians who might have
otherwise provided valuable aid and intelligence.
1169 Christians complete the reconstruction of
the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.
January 02, 1169 Amalric I, King of Jerusalem.
leaves Egypt before Shirkuh and a Syrian army arrive.
January 08, 1169 Shirkuh, chief advisor and
general for Nur ad-Din and Saladin's uncle, enters Cairo.
January 17, 1169 Vizier Shawar of Cairo is
killed and Saladin takes control of both the city and Egypt.
November 1169 A Byzantine fleet and army
attack Damietta, but they are forced to withdraw without
1170 Saladin captures the Crusader-controlled
city of Eilat, located on the Red Sea.
1171 In the bull Non parum animus noster, Pope
Alexander III equates Crusades against pagan Estonians and Finns
in the north with Crusading in the Holy Land: "We therefore
grant to those who fight with might and courage against the
aforesaid pagans one year's remission for the sins they confess
and receive penance for, trusting in God's mercy and the merits
of the apostles Peter and Paul, just as we usually grant to
those who visit the Sepulcher of the Lord; and if those who
perish in the fight are doing their penance, to them we grant
remission of all their sins."
1171 Battle of Santarem: The last battle that
drives the Muslims out of Portugal.
March 12, 1171 For a time Byzantine emperor
Manuel ends Venetian commercial privileges in Constantinople, a
factor that would eventually play in Venice's decision to have
the armies of the Fourth Crusade conquer and loot the city.
Every Venetian in the empire is arrested and all of their
property is confiscated. In retaliation, Venetian ships sack the
Byzantine islands of Chios and Lesbos.
June 1171 Under orders from Nur ad-Din,
Saladin removes the last Fatimid Caliph from power. The Caliph
of Egypt would eventually die and the Caliph of Baghdad would be
recognized in Egypt.
September 10, 1171 Saladin announces the
formation of the Abbasid Caliphate in Egypt.
1173 Saladin launches an attack on the
Fortress of Kerak but fails.
1174 King Henry II of England is forced to
humble himself at the grave of Thomas Becket, canonized the year
before. As part of his penance for his complicity in Becket's
murder, Henry is required by Pope Alexander III to send twice a
year enough funds and supplies to support 200 Templar and
Hospitaller knights in the Holy Land. This support would end up
playing an important role in financing the Third Crusade.
January 81, 1174 Bernard of Clairvaux is
May 15, 1174 Nur ad-Din Mahmud bin Zengi dies.
Saladin would eventually take over for him, controlling a Muslim
empire that stretches from the Tigris river to the Libyan desert
and surrounding the Crusader states on three sides. First,
though, Saladin had to defeat ed-Din's son As-Salih Ismail.
July 11, 1174 Amalric I, king of Jerusalem.
dies and is succeeded by his son, Baldwin IV. Baldwin,
unfortunately, is only thirteen years old and had been showing
signs of leprosy since he was nine - so no one was very
confident that he would be able to truly take control of the
September 1174 Count Raymond of Tripoli is
named regent of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Raymond is not a
popular choice. Although supported by many barons, the
Hospitallers.htm">Hospitallers, and others, he is opposed by
the Templars and other influential families like the Lusignans.
These divisions would plague the Crusaders states and contribute
to their eventual downfall.
October 28, 1174 Saladin captures Damascus and
becomes the ruler of both Egypt and Damascus.
1175 Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus
fortifies the Anatolian city of Dorylaeum.
1175 Reynald of Châtillon and Joscelin
of Courtenay are released by the atabeg of Aleppo. The atabeg
was grateful to the Christian Crusaders because they had come to
his aid against Saladin. Opposition to Count Raymond of Tripoli
coalesces around Reynald and Joscelin.
1176 Battle of Myriocephalum: Muslims defeat
the Byzantines under Manuel I Comnenus Megas and capture the
city of Dorylaeum.
August 1176 Saladin besieges the city of
1177 Sibylla, sister of leper king Baldwin IV
and daughter of Amalric I, is married to William of Montferrat.
William, however, dies shortly thereafter due to malaria.
November 18, 1177 Saladin leaves Egypt in the
hope of quickly capturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders. A small
force of Knights Templar are kept pinned down so that the main
army can continue northward.
November 25, 1177 Battle of Ramleh
(Montgisard): Although a force of 500 led by King Baldwin IV
attempts to stop Saladin at Ascalon, the same site where an
Egyptian relief force was defeated almost one hundred years
before, the Egyptian army is able to bypass the Crusaders and
continue on towards the goal of Jerusalem. Baldwin is able to
join up with the Templars from Gaza, however, and surprise
Saladin from the rear. The Egyptian army is routed and Saladin
himself barely escapes. Luckily for Saladin, the Crusaders were
unable to seriously press their unexpected advantage and
threaten his holdings in Damascus or Egypt.
1179 Saladin defeats Crusader forces at Marj
Ayun (Valley of the Springs), capturing the Master of the
Knights Templar in the process.
1180 Meinhard, an Augustinian monk from
Holstein, leads the first attempt to convert Baltic pagans in
what most regard as the first steps of the Baltic Crusades.
March 1180 Sibylla, sister of King Baldwin IV,
marries Guy De Lusignan. King Baldwin also negotiates a peace
treaty with Saladin, bringing hostilities to a temporary end.
Reynald of Châtillon throws his support behind Guy for the
throne of Jerusalem and against Raymond of Tripoli, regent of
September 18, 1180 Death of French King Louis
VII, one of the leaders of the Second Crusade.
September 24, 1180 Death of Manuel I Comnenus
Megas, Byzantine Emperor. Manuel had let the armies of the
Second Crusade pass through his lands on their way to Palestine,
but during much of his reign he was at war with various European
powers like the Normans and Venice. Manuel is succeeded by his
son Alexius II, just eleven years old. Manuel's wife, Maria, is
Latin by birth and greatly resented among the people, leading to
an insurrection two years later.
1181 Al-Salih Ismail, heir of Nur ad-Din,
dies. This allows Saladin to complete his take-over of ad-Din's
1181 Reynald of Châtillon raids a large
caravan of pilgrims on their way to Mecca. The violates a peace
treaty which outrages Saladin.
1182 Andronicus Comnenus leads an insurrection
against empress Maria, killing many Italian merchants as well as
the young Alexius II, heir to the throne of the Byzantine
empire. Andronicus becomes a ruthless leader, killing large
numbers of alleged rivals and dissenters.
May 11, 1182 Saladin sets out from Cairo with
a large Muslim army. His intention is to link up with other
Muslim forces elsewhere, gathering enough soldiers under his
immediate command to put an end to the Crusader states once and
1183 Reynald of Chantillon, Prince of Antioch,
launches a military expedition down the Red Sea. His intention
is to invade Arabia and travel to Mecca where he would destroy
Muhammed's tomb and smash the Kaaba. He takes with him a small
force, lands at el-Haura, and is surprised by an Egyptian group
that had been marching to Mecca already. Only a few, including
Reynald, manage to escape.
1183 Saladin captures the city of Aleppo.
September 17, 1183 Saladin leaves Damascus
with a large Muslim army and heads for the Crusader states. He
meets the Crusader forces at the Pools of Goliath but the
Christians retreat to Jerusalem. Guy of Lusignan's decision to
withdraw here causes him to lose the confidence of other
Christian leaders who now come to believe that he is indecisive
at best, but more likely a coward.
1184 Meinhard oversees the building of the
Christian church built in the Baltic region: the village of
Uexküll (in modern-day Latvia).
1184 Saladin launches a second attack on the
Fortress of Kerak, but fails again.
1184 Isaac Comnenus takes control of Cyprus.
Isaac is a great-nephew of Manuel I and had launched a rebellion
against the harsh rule of Byzantine emperor Andronicus,
establishing an independent kingdom in Cyprus. Constantinople is
far too weak to crush this rebellion and Isaac would hold on to
power for 7 years.
1185 - 1195 Isaac II Angelus becomes Byzantine
emperor. Andronicus Comnenus had ordered him arrested and
killed, but his years of heavy-handed rule had taken their toll
and the people refused. Isaac is made emperor by popular
acclamation and Andronicus is forced to flee, but he is captured
and killed by a mob. Isaac would not be as ruthless as
Andronicus, but at the same time Isaac would be far more
March 1185 King Baldwin IV dies of leprosy and
King Baldwin V, still an infant, succeeds him as King of
Jerusalem. Raymond of Tripoli is named regent.
August 1185 Normans lay siege to and sack
Thessalonica, a Greek Christian city.
December 06, 1185 Death of Afonso I Henriques
of Portugal in Coimbra. The first king of Portugal, Alfonso had
created the nation of Portugal by
liberating it from Muslim invaders and attempts at dominance
from Castile in Spain.
1186 Meinhard is consecrated as the first
Bishop of Buxtehude (Uexküll).
1186 Reynald of Chantillon breaks a truce with
Saladin by attacking a Muslim caravan and taking several
prisoners, including a sister of Saladin. This infuriates the
Muslim leader who vows to kill Reynald with his own hands.
March 03, 1186 The city of Mosul, Iraq,
submits to Saladin.
August 1186 Baldwin V, young king of
Jerusalem. dies of an illness. His mother, Sibylla, sister of
King Baldwin IV, is crowned Queen of Jerusalem by Joscelin of
Courtenay and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, is crowned King.
This is contrary to the previous king's will. The forces of
Raymond of Tripoli are based in Nablus and Raymond himself is in
Tiberias; as a consequence, the entire kingdom is effectively
split in two and chaos reigns.
To expand images, click on the small images or on the links
immediately below small images.
Templars: 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 Knights Templar 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 true..
Second Crusade 1145 - 1149
The less complicated organization of the Crusader forces
and leadership of two kings should have worked in favor of
the Crusaders, but by the time of the Second Crusade, the
Turks had achieved a semblance of unity under Imad ad-Din
Zengi. The result of the unity of the Crusaders'
enemies was total failure of the Crusade.
The map is from http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/second_crusade.htm,
which also has much more information on the Crusade.
Imad ad-Din Zengi captured Edessa from the Crusaders on
Christmas Eve of 1144 setting in motion calls for the
Second Crusade. Islamic historians count the date as the
start of the jihad against the Crusader states.
For more information on Imad ad-Din, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imad_ad-Din_Zengi.
For information on Edessa, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edessa
Pope Eugenius III reacted to the fall of Edessa by calling
for a Second Crusade. Shocked European leaders
quickly signed on.
For more information on Eugenius, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Eugene_III
and, for his call for the Second Crusade,
Eugenius asked his old mentor and Abbot, (Saint)
Bernard of Clairvaux, to preach the Second Crusade at a
meeting at Vezelay in Burgundy on March 31, 1146.
Louis VII of France, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and
princes and lords took the cross. Later, At Speyer
on Germany, Conrad III and his nephew, Frederick
Barbarossa, e inducted by Bernard. This was the
first time that reigning monarchs went on Crusade.
(Note: This is not the St. Bernard of the dogs, the
Alpine pass, and the hospice in the pass. That was
another Bernard, (Saint) Bernard of Menthon.)
For Bernard of Clairvaux, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_of_Clairvaux
For Bernard of Menthon, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_of_Menthon.
Louis VII was one of two Kings who led the Second Crusade,
the purpose of which was to recapture Edessa. In the
event, the Crusaders never even got to Edessa. Of
the huge armiest that set out from Europe, only a few
thousands escaped annihilation in Asia Minor at the hands
of the Turks. Louis and Conrad, with the remnants of their
armies, made a joint attack on Damascus, but had to raise
the siege after a few days. This closed the crusade.
Louis would not have been anything but a footnote except
for the fact that he married Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was
some lady. She grew up in the Aquitaine Troubadour
Court of her Grandfather William IX, married Louis, and
rode of to the crusade with an entourage of three hundred
women. She and her women apparently did not ride
bare breasted (disappointment!), but their Amazon costumes
did provoke comment. There were rumors she had an
affair with her uncle Raymond in Antioch where he
ruled. Her jealous husband dragged her off
unwillingly to Jerusalem. Harsh words were
exchanged, and they went home to France on different
ships. Shortly thereafter, she arranged an annulment
from Louis and then eight weeks later married Henry II of
England. With Henry she produced a number of sons,
two of whom, Richard Lionheart and John Lackland,
succeeded Henry II in turn as English kings.
Read about Louis VII at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade
Read about Louis' much more interesting wife, Eleanor, at
(with links to other Internet sites) and http://www.historynet.com/eleanor-of-aquitaine.htm
(with links to other Internet sites).
The 20,000 man army of Conrad III went overland through
Hungary and then disrupting Byzantine territories as they
progressed. Rather than taking the Coastal road
around Anatolia (through Christian held territories)
Conrad led his army into the interior. They only got
as far as Dorylaeum where they were annihilated by
the Seljuk Turks led by Mesud I on October 25, 1147. The
Germans were unable to continue the Crusade, and Conrad
made his way (with his remaining 2,000 men - ten percent
of his 20,000) to the army led by Louis VII of
France. Conrad finally made it to Jerusalem as a
pilgrim. But then, after participating in an
abortive attack on Ascelon, Conrad abandoned his Crusade
and went back to Germany. Neither he nor Louis had
even tried to recapture Edessa. The Second Crusade
was a complete failure.
Imad ad-Din Zengi's capture of Edessa in 1144 set
off the fireworks of the Second Crusade (which, as
we have seen, quickly fizzled out). That
being the case, you can imagine the reaction in
Europe when Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub
("Saladin") defeated the crusader king and
captured Jerusalem on October 2, 1187. Pope
Eugenius had managed to send two kings to the
Second Crusade. Three kings signed up for
Launched in 1189, the Third Crusade was called because of
the Muslim recapture of Jerusalem in 1187 and the defeat
of Palestinian knights at Hittin. It was ultimately
unsuccessful. Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany drowned
before he even reached the Holy Land and Philip II
Augustus of France returned home after a short period of
time. Only Richard the Lion Heart of England stayed long.
He helped capture Acre and some smaller ports, only
leaving after he concluded a peace treaty with Saladin.
There are several different types of color-coded dates in
this timeline of the Crusades, explained in a color key at
the bottom of the timeline.
Timeline of the Crusades: Third Crusade
& Aftermath 1187 - 1197
of Chantillon breaks a truce with Saladin by attacking a
Muslim caravan and taking several prisoners, including a
sister of Saladin. This infuriates the Muslim leader who
vows to kill Reynald with his own hands.
March 03, 1186 The city of Mosul,
Iraq, submits to Saladin.
August 1186 Baldwin V,
young king of Jerusalem. dies of an illness. His mother,
Sibylla, sister of King Baldwin IV, is crowned Queen of
Jerusalem by Joscelin of Courtenay and her husband, Guy
of Lusignan, is crowned King. This is contrary to the
previous king's will. The forces of Raymond of Tripoli
are based in Nablus and Raymond himself is in Tiberias;
as a consequence, the entire kingdom is effectively
split in two and chaos reigns.
1187 - 1192 The Third
Crusade is led by Frederick I Barbarossa, Richard I Lion
Heart of England, and Philip II Augustus of France. It
would end with a peace treaty giving Christians access
to Jerusalem and the Holy Places.
March 1187 In response
to his sister being taken prisoner and a caravan being
captured by Reynald of Chantillon, Saladin begins his
call for a holy war against the Latin Kingdom of
May 01, 1187 A large
reconnaissance force of Muslims cross the Jordan river
with the intent of provoking the Christians into
attacking and thus allowing a larger war to commence.
The incursion is designed to last just a single day and,
near the end, several dozens Templars and Hospitallers
charged the much larger Muslim force. Nearly all of the
June 26, 1187 Saladin
launches his invasion of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
by crossing into Palestine.
July 01, 1187 Saladin
crosses the Jordan River with a large army intent on
defeating the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. He is observed
by Hospitallers in the fortress of Belvoir but their
numbers are too small to do anything but watch.
July 02, 1187 Muslim
forces under Saladin capture the city of Tiberias but
the garrison, led by Count Raymond's wife Eschiva,
manage to hold out in the citadel. Christian forces camp
at Sephoria in order to decide what to do. They don't
have the strength to attack, but they are inspired to
move forward by the image of Eschiva holding out. Guy of
Lusignan is inclined to remain where he is and Raymond
supports him, despite the likely fate of his wife if she
is captured. Guy, however, is still plagued by the
belief of others that he is a coward and late that night
Gerard, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, convinces
him to attack. This would be a serious mistake.
July 03, 1187
Crusaders march from Sephoria in order to engage
Saladin's forces. They brought no water with them,
expecting to replenish their supplies at Hattin. That
night they would camp on a hill with a well, only to
discover that it was already dried up. Saladin would
also set fire to the brush; the drifting smoke made the
tired and thirsty Crusaders even more miserable.
July 04, 1187 Battle
of Hattin: Saladin defeats the Crusaders in an area
northwest of Lake Tiberias and assumes control of most
of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Crusaders should
never have left Sephoria - they were defeated as much by
the hot desert and lack of water as they were by
Saladin's army. Raymond of Tripoli dies of his wounds
after the battle. Reynald of Chantillon, Prince of
Antioch, is personally beheaded by Saladin but the other
Crusader leaders are treated better. Gerard de Ridefort,
the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and the Grand
Master of the Knights Hospitaller are ransomed. After
the battle Saladin moves north and captures the cities
of Acre, Beirut, and Sidon with little effort.
July 08, 1187 Saladin
and his forces arrive at Acre. The city capitulates to
him immediately, having heard of his victory at Hattin.
Other cities which also surrender to Saladin are treated
well. One city which resists, Jaffa, is taken by force
and the entire population sold into slavery.
July 14, 1187 Conrad
of Montferrat arrives at Tyre to take up the Crusading
banner. Conrad had intended to land at Acre, but finding
it under Saladin's control already he moves on to Tyre
where he takes over from another Christian leader who is
far more timid. Saladin had captured Conrad's father,
William, at Hattin and offers a trade, but Conrad
prefers to shoot at his own father rather than
surrender. Tyre is the only Crusader Kingdom that
Saladin is unable to defeat and it would last for
another hundred years.
July 29, 1187 The city
of Sidon surrenders to Saladin.
August 09, 1187 The
city of Beirut is captured by Saladin.
August 10, 1187 The
city of Ascalon surrenders to Saladin and Muslim forces
re-establish control over the region. By the following
month Saladin would also control the cities of Nablus,
Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Gaza ,and Ramla, completing a ring
around the prize, Jerusalem.
September 19, 1187
Saladin breaks camp at Ascalon and moves his army
September 20, 1187
Saladin and his forces arrive outside of Jerusalem and
prepare to assault the city. Defense of Jerusalem is led
by Balian of Ibelin. Balian had escaped capture at
Hattin and Saladin personally gave permission for him to
enter Jerusalem in order to retrieve his wife and
children. Once there, however, the people beg him to
stay and take up their defense - a defense that consists
of three knights, if one includes Balain himself.
Everyone else had been lost in the disaster at Hattin.
Balian not only gains Saladin's permission to stay, but
Saladin also ensures that his wife and children are
given safe conduct out of the city and taken to safety
in Tyre. Actions like this help ensure Saladin's
reputation in Europe as an honorable and chivalrous
September 26, 1187
After five days of scouting the city and the immediate
surrounding area, Saladin launches his assault to retake
Jerusalem from the Christian occupiers. Every male
Christian had been given a weapon, whether they knew how
to fight or not. The Christian citizens of Jerusalem
would rely on a miracle to save them.
September 28, 1187
After two days of heavy battering, the walls of
Jerusalem begin to buckle under the Muslim assault. St.
Stephen's tower falls partially and a breach begins to
appear at St. Stephen's Gate, the same place where the
Crusaders had broken through nearly a hundred years
September 30, 1187
is officially surrendered to Saladin, commander of the
Muslim forces besieging the city. In order to save face
Saladin demands that a heavy ransom be paid for the
release of any Latin Christians; those who cannot be
ransomed are kept in slavery. Orthodox and Jacobite
Christians are permitted to remain in the city. To show
mercy Saladin finds many excuses to let Christians go
for little or no ransom at all - even buying the freedom
of many himself. Many Christian leaders, on the other
hand, smuggle gold and treasure out of Jerusalem rather
than use to free others from slavery. These greedy
leaders include Patriarch Heraclius as well as many
Templars and Hospitallers.
October 02, 1187
Muslim forces under the command of Saladin officially
takes control Jerusalem from the Crusaders, effectively
ending any major Christian presence in the Levant (also
known as Outremer: the general region of the Crusader
states through Syria, Palestine, and Jordan). Saladin
had delayed his entry into the city by two days so that
it would fall on the anniversary of when Muslims believe
that Muhammed ascended from Jerusalem (the Dome of the
Rock, specifically) to heaven to be in the presence of
Allah. Unlike the Christian capture of Jerusalem almost
a hundred years earlier, there is no mass slaughter -
merely debates about whether Christian shrines like the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher should be destroyed to take
away Christian pilgrims' reason for returning to
Jerusalem. In the end, Saladin insists that no shrines
are to be touched and the holy sites of Christians
should be respected. This stands in sharp contrast to
Reynald of Chantillon's failed attempt to march on Mecca
and Medina for the purpose of destroying them in
1183 Saladin also has the walls
of Jerusalem destroyed so that, if the Christians ever
take it again, they would not be able to hold it.
October 29, 1187 In
response to the recapture of Jerusalem by Saladin, Pope
Gregory VIII issues the Bull Audita Tremendi calling for
the Third Crusade. The Third Crusade would be led by
Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, Philip II Augustus of
France, and Richard I the Lionheart of England. In
addition to the obvious religious purpose, Gregory has
strong political motives as well: the squabbling between
France and England, among others, was sapping the
strength of the European kingdoms and he believes that
if they could unite in a common cause, it would divert
their warring energies and reduce the threat that
European society would be undermined. In this he is
briefly successful, but the two kings are able to set
aside their differences for only a few months.
October 30, 1187
Saladin leads his Muslim army out of Jerusalem.
November 1187 Saladin
launches a second assault on Tyre, but this one fails as
well. Not only had Tyre's defenses been improved, but it
was now filled with refugees and soldiers had been
allowed to go free from other cities Saladin captured in
the region. This meant that it was filled with eager
December 1187 Richard
the Lionheart of England becomes the first European
ruler to take up the cross and agree to participate in
the Third Crusade.
December 30, 1187
Conrad of Montferrat, commander of the Christian
defenses of Tyre, launches a night raid against several
Muslim ships participating in the siege of the city. He
is able to capture them and chase away several more,
effectively eliminating Saladin's naval forces for the
January 21, 1188 Henry
II Plantagenet of England and Philip II of France meet
in France to listen to Archbishop of Tyre Josias
describe the loss of Jerusalem and most of the Crusader
positions in the Holy Land. They agree to take up the
cross and participate in a military expedition against
Saladin. They also decide to impose a special tithe,
known as the "Saladin Tithe," to help fund the Third
Crusade. This tax amounts to one tenth of a person's
income over a three year period; only those who
participated on the Crusade were exempt - a great
May 30, 1188 Saladin
lays siege the fortress of Krak des Chevaliers
(headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in Syria and
the largest of all the Crusader fortresses even before
most had been captured by Saladin) but fails to take it.
July 1188 Saladin
agrees to release Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem.
who had been captured at the Battle of Hattin a year
before. Guy is under oath not to take up arms against
Saladin again, but he manages to find a priest who
declares the oath to an infidel invalid. The Marquis
William of Montferrat is released at the same time.
August 1188 Henry II
Plantagenet of England and Philip II of France meet
again in France and nearly come to blows over their
various political disagreements.
December 06, 1188 The
fortress of Safed surrenders to Saladin.
1189 Last known Norse
visit to North America occurs.
January 21, 1189
Troops for the third crusade, called in response to the
victories of Muslims under the command of Saladin, began
to gather under King Philip II Augustus of France, King
Henry II of England (shortly followed by his son, King
Richard I), and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I.
Frederick drowned the next year on the way to Palestine
- German folklore developed that asserted he was hidden
in a mountain waiting to return and lead Germany to a
new and brighter future.
March 1189 Saladin
returns to Damascus.
April 1189 Fifty-two
warships from Pisa arrive at Tyre to aid in the city's
May 11, 1189 German
ruler Frederick I Barbarossa sets off on the Third
Crusade. The march through Byzantine land has to be made
quickly because Emperor Isaac II Angelus has signed a
treaty with Saladin against the Crusaders.
May 18, 1189 Frederick
I Barbarossa captures the Seljuk city of Iconium (Konya)
(Konya, Turkey, located in central Anatolia).
July 06, 1189 King
Henry II Plantagenet dies and is succeeded by his son,
Richard Lionheart. Richard would only spend a small
amount of time in England, leaving the administration of
his kingdom to various appointed officials. He was not
very concerned about England and didn't even learn much
English - he was much more concerned with protecting his
possessions in France and making a name for himself that
would last through the ages.
July 15, 1189 Jabala
Castle surrenders to Saladin.
July 29, 1189 Sahyun
Castle surrenders to Saladin, who leads the assault
personally, and the fortress is renamed Qalaat Saladin.
August 26, 1189
Baghras Castle is captured by Saladin.
August 28, 1189 Guy of
Lusignan arrives at the gates Acre with a force far
smaller than that in the city's Muslim garrison, but he
is determined to have a city to call his own because
Conrad of Montferrat refuses to turn control of Tyre
over to him. Conrad is supported by the Balians and the
Garniers, two of the most powerful families in
Palestine, and lays claim to the crown Guy wears.
Conrad's house of Montferrat is related to the
Hohenstaufen and an ally of the Capetians, further
complicating the political relationships among the
leaders of the Crusade.
August 31, 1189 Guy of
Lusignan launches an assault against the well-defended
city of Acre and fails to take it, but his efforts
attract most of those streaming into Palestine to
participate in the Third Crusade.
September 1189 Danish
and Frisian war ships arrive at Acre to participate in
the siege by blockading the city by sea.
September 03, 1189
Richard the Lionheart is crowned king of England in a
ceremony at Westminster. When Jews arrive with gifts,
they are attacked, stripped naked, and whipped by a mob
which then moves on to burn down houses in the Jewish
quarter of London. Not until Christian houses catch fire
do authorities move in to restore order. In the
following months Crusaders slaughter hundreds of Jews
September 15, 1189
Alarmed by the growing threat of the Crusaders camped
outside of Acre, Saladin launches an attack on the
Crusader camp which fails.
October 04, 1189
Joined by Conrad of Montferrat, Guy of Lusignan launches
an attack on the Muslim camp defending Acre which nearly
succeeds in routing Saladin's forces - but only at the
expense of heavy casualties among the Christians. Among
those captured and killed is Gerard de Ridefort, Master
of the Knights Templar who had previously been capture
and then ransomed off after the Battle of Hattin. Conrad
himself was nearly captured as well, but he was rescued
by his enemy Guy.
December 26, 1189 An
Egyptian fleet reaches the besieged city of Acre but it
unable to lift the sea blockade.
1190 Queen Sibylla of
Jerusalem dies and Guy of Lusignan claims sole rule of
the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Both of their daughters had
already died of disease a few days before, which means
that Sibylla's sister Isabella was technically the
successor in the eyes of many. Conrad in Tyre also
claims the throne, however, and confusion over who rules
divides the Crusader forces.
1190 The Teutonic
Knights are established by Germans in Palestine who also
create a hospital near Acre.
March 07, 1190
Crusaders slaughter Jews in Stamford, England.
March 16, 1190 Jews in
York England committed mass suicide in order to avoid
having to submit to baptism.
March 16, 1190 Jews in
York are massacred by Crusaders preparing to set off for
the Holy Land. Many killed themselves rather than fall
into the hands of the Christians.
March 18, 1190
Crusaders on a rampage kill 57 Jews in Bury St. Edmonds,
April 20, 1190 Philip
II Augustus of France arrives at Acre to participate in
the Third Crusade.
June 10, 1190 Wearing
heavy armor, Frederick Barbarossa drowns in the Saleph
River in Cilcia, after which the German forces of the
Third Crusade fall apart and are devastated by Muslim
attacks. This was especially unfortunate because unlike
armies in the First and Second Crusade, the German army
had managed to cross the plains of Anatolia without
serious loss and Saladin was very concerned about what
Frederick might accomplish. Eventually, a mere 5,000 of
the original 100,000 German soldiers make it to Acre.
Had Frederick lived, the entire course of the Third
Crusade would have been altered - it likely would have
been a success and Saladin would not have become such a
revered hero in Muslim tradition.
June 24, 1190 Philip
II of France and Richard the Lionheart of England break
camp at Vezelay and head off for the Holy Land,
officially launching the Third Crusade. Together their
armies are estimated to total over 100,000 men.
October 04, 1190 After
a number of his soldiers are killed in anti-English
rioting, Richard I Lionheart leads a small force to
capture Messina, Sicily. The Crusaders under Richard and
Philip II of France would be staying in Sicily for the
November 24, 1190
Conrad of Montferrat marries a reluctant Isabella,
sister Sibylla, deceased wife of Guy of Lusignan. With
this marriage questions about Guy's claim to the throne
of Jerusalem (which he only held because of his original
marriage to Sibylla) were made more urgent. Eventually
the two are able to resolve their differences when
Conrad recognizes Guy's claim to the crown of Jerusalem
in exchange for Guy turning control of Sidon, Beirut,
and Tyre over to Conrad.
February 05, 1191 In
order to quell a long-simmering feud, Richard Lionheart
and Tancred, king of Sicily, meet together at Catania.
March 1191 A ship
loaded with corn arrives for the Crusader forces outside
of Acre, giving the Crusaders hope and allowing the
siege to continue.
March 30, 1191 King
Philip of France leaves Sicily and sets sail for the
Holy Land to begin his military campaign against
April 10, 1191 King
Richard Lionheart of England departs from Sicily with a
fleet of over 200 ships, setting sail for what is left
of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. His journey is not
nearly so calm and quick as that of his colleague,
Philip of France.
April 20, 1191 Philip
II Augustus of France arrives to aid the Crusaders
besieging Acre. Philip spends much of his time building
siege engines and harassing the defenders on the walls.
May 06, 1191 Richard
the Lionheart's Crusader fleet arrives in the port of
Lemesos (now Limassol) in Cyprus where he begins his
conquest of the island. Richard had been travelling from
Sicily to Palestine but fierce storm scattered his
fleet. Most of the ships collected at Rhodes but a
couple, including those carrying the bulk of his
treasure and Ferengaria of Navarre, the future Queen of
England, were blown to Cyprus. Here Isaac Comnenus
treated them shabbily - he refused to allow them to come
ashore for water and the crew of one ship that wrecked
was imprisoned. Richard demanded the release of all
prisoners and all stolen treasure, but Isaac refused -
to his later regret.
May 12, 1191 Richard I
of England marries Berengaria of Navarre, first-born
daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre.
June 01, 1191 The
Count of Flanders is killed during the siege of Acre.
Flemish soldiers and nobles had played important roles
in the Third Crusade since the first reports of the fall
of Jerusalem had been heard in Europe and the Count had
been one of the first to take up the Cross and agree to
participate in the Crusade.
June 05, 1191 Richard
I the Lionheart departs Famagusta, Cyprus, and sets sail
for the Holy Land.
June 06, 1191 Richard
Lionheart, king of England, arrives at Tyre but Conrad
of Montferrat refuses to allow Richard to enter the
city. Richard had sided with Conrad's enemy, Guy of
Lusignan, and so is made to camp on the beaches.
June 07, 1191
Disgusted with his treatment at the hands of Conrad of
Montferrat, Richard Lionheart leaves Tyre and heads for
Acre where the rest of the Crusading forces are
besieging the city.
June 08, 1191 Richard
I the Lionheart of England arrives with 25 galleys to
aid the Crusaders besieging Acre. Richard's tactical
skills and military training make a huge difference,
allowing Richard to take command of the Crusader forces.
July 02, 1191 A large
fleet of English ships arrives at Acre with
reinforcements for the siege of the city.
July 04, 1191 The
Muslim defenders of Acre offer to surrender to the
Crusaders, but their offer is rebuffed.
July 08, 1191 English
and French Crusaders manage to penetrate the outermost
of Acre's two defensive walls.
July 11, 1191 Saladin
launches a final assault on the 50,000 strong Crusader
army besieging Acre but fails to break through.
July 12, 1191 Acre
surrenders to Richard I the Lionheart of England and
Philip II Augustus of France. During the siege 6
archbishops, 12 bishops, 40 earls, 500 barons, and
300,000 soldiers are reported killed. Acre would remain
in Christian hands until 1291.
August 1191 Richard I
the Lionheart takes the large Crusader army and marches
down the coast of Palestine.
August 26, 1191
Richard I the Lionheart marches 2,700 Muslim soldiers
out of Acre, onto the road of Nazareth in front of the
forward positions of the Muslim army, and has them
executed one by one. Saladin had for more than a month
delayed on fulfilling his side of the agreement that had
led to the surrender of Acre and Richard means this as a
warning of what would happen if the delays continue.
September 07, 1191
Battle of Arsuf: Richard I the Lion Heart and Hugh, Duke
of Burgundy, are ambushed by Saladin in Arsuf, a small
town near Jaffa about 50 miles from Jerusalem. Richard
had prepared for this and the Muslim forces are
1192 Muslims conquer
Dehli and later all of Northern and Eastern India,
establishing a Dehli sultanate. Hindus would suffer many
periods of persecution at the hands of Muslim rulers.
January 20, 1192 After
deciding that a siege of Jerusalem during the winter
weather would be unwise, Richard the Lionheart's
Crusading forces move into the ruined city of Ascalon,
demolished by Saladin the previous year in order to deny
it to the Crusaders.
April 1192 The
population of Cyprus revolts against their rulers, the
Knights Templar. Richard the Lionheart had sold Cyprus
to them, but they were cruel overlords known for their
April 20, 1192 Conrad
of Monteferrat learns that king Richard now supported
his claim on the throne of Jerusalem. Richard had
previously supported Guy of Lusignan, but when he
learned that none of the local barons supported Guy in
any way, he chose not to oppose them. In order to
prevent a civil war from breaking out, Richard would
later sell the island of Cyprus to Guy, whose
descendants would continue to rule it for another two
April 28, 1192 Conrad
of Montferrat is murdered by two members of the sect of
the Assassins who had, for the previous two months,
posed as monks in order to gain his trust. The Assassins
had not sided with Saladin against the Crusaders -
instead, they were paying Conrad back for his capture of
a shipload of Assassin treasure the year before. Because
Conrad was dead and his rival Guy of Lusignan had
already been deposed, the throne of the Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem was now vacant.
May 05, 1192 Isabella,
Queen of Jerusalem and wife of the now deceased Conrad
of Montferrat (killed by assassins the month before),
marries Henry of Champagne. A quick marriage was urged
by the local barons so as to ensure political and social
stability among the Christian Crusaders.
June 1192 Crusaders
under the command of Richard the Lion Heart march on
Jerusalem. but they are turned back. The Crusader
efforts were seriously hampered by Saladin's
scorched-earth tactics which denied the Crusaders food
and water during their campaign.
September 02, 1192 The
Treaty of Jaffa puts an end to hostilities of the Third
Crusade. Negotiated between Richard I the Lion Heart and
Saladin, Christian pilgrims are granted special rights
of travel around Palestine and in Jerusalem. Richard had
also managed to capture the cities of Daron, Jaffa,
Acre, and Ascalon - an improvement over the situation
when Richard first arrived, but not much of one.
Although the Kingdom of Jerusalem was never large or
secure, it was now still very weak and did not reach
inland more than 10 miles at any point.
October 09, 1192
Richard I the Lion Heart, ruler of England, departs the
Holy Land for home. On the way back he is taken hostage
by Leopold of Austria and he doesn't see England again
March 03, 1193 Saladin
dies and his sons begin to fight over who will take
control of the Ayyubid Empire which consists of Egypt,
Palestine, Syria, and some of Iraq. Saladin's death is
probably what saves the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem from
being quickly defeated and allows Christian rulers to
remain a while longer.
May 1193 Henry, king
of Jerusalem. discovers that Pisan leaders had been
conspiring with Guy of Cyprus to take over the city of
Tyre. Henry arrests those responsible, but Pisan ships
begin raiding the coast in retaliation, forcing Henry to
get expel the Pisan merchants altogether.
1194 The last Seljuk
Sultan, Toghril bin Arslan, is killed in battle against
the Khwarazm-Shah Tekish.
February 20, 1194
Tancred, king of Sicily, dies.
May 1194 Death of Guy
of Cyprus, originally Guy of Lusignan and once king of
the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Amalric of Lusignan,
Guy's brother, is named his successor. Henry, king of
Jerusalem. is able to make a treaty with Amalric. Three
of Amalric's sons are married to three daughters of
Isabella, two of which were also Henry's daughters.
1195 Alexius III
deposes his brother Emperor Isaac II Angelus of
Byzantium, blinding him and putting him in prison. Under
Alexius the Byzantine Empire begins to fall apart.
1195 Battle of
Alacros: Almohad leader Yaqib Aben Juzef (also known as
el-Mansur, "the Victorious") calls for a Jihad against
Castile. He gathers a massive army that includes Arabs,
Africans, and others and marches against the forces of
Alfonso VIII in Alacros. The Christian army is vastly
outnumbered and its soldiers are slaughtered in large
1196 Berthold, Bishop
of Buxtehude (Uexküll), launches the first armed
conflict of the Baltic Crusades when he sets a Crusading
army against local pagans in Livonia (modern Latvia and
Estonia). Many are forcibly converted during the
1197 - 1198 German
Crusaders under the command of Emperor Henry VI launch
attacks throughout Palestine, but fail to achieve any
significant goals. Henry is the son of Frederick
Barbarossa, a leader of the Second Crusade who
tragically drowned on the way to Palestine before his
forces could accomplish anything and Henry had been
determined to finish what his father had started.
September 10, 1197 Henry of Champagne,
king of Jerusalem. dies in Acre when he accidentally
falls from a balcony. This was the second husband of
Isabella's to die. The situation is urgent because the
Crusader city of Jaffa is being threatened by Muslim
forces under the command of Al-Adil, Saladin's brother.
Amalric I of Cyprus is chosen as Henry's successor.
After marrying Isabella, the daughter of Amalric I of
Jerusalem. he becomes Amalric II, king of Jerusalem and
Cyprus. Jaffa would be lost, but Amalric II is able to
capture Beirut and Sidon.
Click on small images of on links to expand
Salah ad-Din was an officer in one of the armies of Nur
ad-Din Zengi, who had succeeded his father Imad ad-Din
Zengi as the
Turkic atabeg of Aleppo and Mosul. The uncle of
Salah ad-Din, Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, was a General in Nur
ad-Din's army, and he had been sent to Cairo to reinstate
the Vizier of the Shia Fatamid Caliph. The Vizier
was successfullu reinstalled, but when he tried to pay off
Shirkuh and send him away, Shirkuh refused to leave.
It was fairly obvious that Shirkuh's support had always
been a way to exert influence and, eventually control, the
Fatamid regime. Eventually a power struggle
ensued. Salah ad-Din reportedly assassinated Shawar
in 1169, and Shirkuh died the same year. After
another shuffle of power Salah ad-Din emerged in power in
Cairo. He gradually spread his power base as far
north as Syria, and, after Nur ad-Din died, Salah ad-Din
became the de facto ruler of all the Islamic areas.
Having united the Muslims, Salah ad-Dine was finally ready
to move on Jerusalem, which he finally captured in 1187.
Salah ad-Din did not repeat the kind of atrocities that
the Christians had visited on Jerusalem. His good
treatment of the vanquished along with his chivalrous
conduct of his war against the three European king who
tried to get the city back for the Christians ensured the
positive reputation he enjoys with Christians and Muslims
For more information on Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, see
Richard Lion Heart was not one of the three kings that
pledged to recover Jerusalem in the Third Crusade.
It was his aged father Henry II Curt Mantle who took the
cross and was to lead the English contingent. When
Henry died, English participation in the Crusade was
doubtful, but Richard, already a warrior of reputation
with the sobriquet Lion Heart, jumped into his father's
boots. Richard I was officially crowned duke on 20
July 1189 and king in Westminster Abbey on 3 September
|London pogrom at the time of
Richard's coronation: When he was crowned,
Richard barred all Jews and women from the ceremony,
but some Jewish leaders arrived to present gifts for
the new king. According to Ralph of Diceto,
Richard's courtiers stripped and flogged the Jews,
then flung them out of court. When
a rumor spread that Richard had ordered all Jews to be
killed, the people of London began a massacre.
Many Jews were beaten to death, robbed, and burned
As it turned out, Richard, the substitute king in the Third
Crusade was the one who famously fought Salah ad-Din to a
stalemate in the Middle East.
Richard and his forces aided in the capture of Acre, despite the
king's serious illness. At one point, while sick from
scurvy, Richard is said to have picked off guards on the walls
with a crossbow, while being carried on a stretcher.
Eventually Conrad of Montferrat concluded the surrender
negotiations with Saladin and raised the banners of the kings in
the city. Richard quarrelled with Leopold V of Austria over
the deposition of Isaac Komnenos (related to Leopold's Byzantine
mother) and his position within the crusade. Leopold's banner had
been raised alongside the English and French standards. This was
interpreted as arrogance by both Richard and Philip, as Leopold
was a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor (although he was the
highest-ranking surviving leader of the imperial forces).
Richard's men tore the flag down and threw it in the moat of
Acre. Leopold left the crusade immediately. Philip also left
soon afterwards, in poor health and after further disputes with
Richard over the status of Cyprus (Philip demanded half the
island) and the kingship of Jerusalem. Richard, suddenly, found
himself without allies.
Richard the Lionheart's tactical skills and military training made
a huge difference in the Crusaders' capture of Acre in 1191. After
the battle Richard waited impatiently for Saladin to move off from
the Acre hinterland. To get things moving, Richard marched
2,700 Muslim soldiers out of Acre, onto the road of Nazareth in
front of the forward positions of the Muslim army, and had them
executed one by one. Saladin had for more than a month delayed
fulfilling his side of the agreement that had led to the surrender
of Acre and Richard meant this as a warning of what would happen
if delays continued. Later, Saladin blamed Conrad of
Montferrat for the atrocity.
As they came into the end game, Richard and Salah ad-din both were
facing "out of theater" problems. Richard's brother, John
Lack Land, was busy usurping Richard's throne in England, and
Richard's erstwhile ally in the Crusade, King Phillip of France
was attacking Richard's territories in France. Meanwhile,
Salah ad-Din's Emirs were worse than restless after the resolve to
recapture Jerusalem, which had unified Islam, had been
satisfied. Richard and Salah ad-Din each knew of the other's
problems, and for a while they played a waiting game:
Richard hoped the Islamic coalition would break allowing him to
capture Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din hoped Richard's problems in
England and France would force Richard to abandon the
crusade. And meanwhile small battles and skirmishes were
raising the casualty rate on both sides.
Richard flinched first. He sent terms to Salah ad-Din saying
that Jerusalem could stay in Muslim hands and that Richard would
withdraw to Europe. The final agreement left coastal
enclaves in Christian hands, and Salah ad-Din agreed the
Christians could come to Jerusalem as pilgrims. (In fact
Salah ad-Din had agreed to Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem from
the time he took the city, so that was not a new concession.)
Richard headed for home, but he was captured and held for ransom
by the Holy Roman Emperor and his allies. The ransom was
eventually paid and Richard went back to his own domain.
Shortly thereafter Richard was killed in battle trying to protect
his territory in France. John Lackland the legitimately
succeeded Richard, but in the course of a few years all of the
Plantagenet lands in France that had been gained by John's
predecessors were lost to the French.
For Richard I Lion Heart, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England
and numerous other Internet sites you can find by entering his
name in your web browser, e.g, http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=richard+lion+heart&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
For information on the "Angevin Empire" of the Plantagenet
"English" dynasty, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angevin_Empire
|Note that some versions, especially
British and US movie versions, of the Robin Hood
folklore tales place Robin in the period of the end of
the Third Crusade and the captivity of Richard while
John Lack Land was trying to usurp Richard's
crown. There is absolutely no historical
evidence that Robin Hood was anything more than a
legend -- despite claims of several towns in England's
East Midlands that he was active there.
Note also that the scenario of the Broadway play and
several movies of "The Lion in Winter" is a fiction
created by author and screenwriter James Goldman about a
Christmas Gathering of Henry II, his wife Eleanor, his
sons, and Phillip of France. Goldman's
story does, however, accurately indicate the
relationship of Henry II Curt Mantle with his wife and
kids and with Phillip.
Also signed up for the Third Crusade was Phillipe II Auguste Capet
the last "King of the Franks" and the first King of France.
He actually arrived in the war theater first and was supervising
the construction of massive siege engines at Acre when Richard
arrived on June 8, 1191. After the city fell, PhiBy the time
Acre surrendered on 12 July, Philip was severely ill with
dysentery which reduced his crusading zeal. Ties with Richard were
further strained after the latter acted in a haughty manner after
Acre had fallen.
More importantly, the siege resulted in the death of Philip of
Alsace, who held the county of Vermandois proper; an event that
threatened to derail the Treaty of Gisors which Philip had
orchestrated to isolate the powerful Blois-Champagne faction.
Philip decided to return to France to settle the issue of
succession in Flanders, a decision that displeased Richard, who
said, "It is a shame and a disgrace on my lord if he goes away
without having finished the business that brought him hither. But
still, if he finds himself in bad health, or is afraid lest he
should die here, his will be done."
Phillip left on 31 July 1191, but left a French army of 10,000 men
(along with 5,000 silver marks to pay the soldiers) in
Outremer under the command of Hugh III, Duke of Burgundy.
Philip and his cousin Peter of Courtenay, count of Nevers, made
their way to Genoa and from there returned to France. This
decision to return was also fuelled by the realization that with
Richard campaigning in the Holy Land, English possessions in
northern France (Normandy) would be open for attack. After
Richard's delayed return home after the Third Crusade, war between
England and France would ensue over possession of
English-controlled territories in modern-day France. Phillip
eventually won and integrated under his sovereignty all the
Angevin domains in France, and therefore he is called the first
King of France.
Most of the above is text lifted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_France#Third_Crusade
where there is also much more about Phillip's wars against the
Angevins after the Third Crusade..
The third king of the Third Crusade was the 67 year old Holy Roman
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. His army consisted of 100,000
men including 20,000 knights, or maybe 15,000 men and 3,000
knight, depending on who you believe. Whatever the size of
his army, it caused concern among the Turks, especially after the
Germans won a few victories in Anatolia. But then on June
10, 1190, Frederick got impatient, and instead of waiting to cross
a crowded Saleph River (now the Goksu River), he tried to ford the
river on horseback. Both he and his horse were overcome by
the current and Frederick's armor took him to the bottom.
His drowning distressed his troops to the point that most deserted
and some even committed suicide. More were killed in
harassing raids. Only 5,000 along with a small force of
Hungarians who had earlier joined the German column straggled on
to join the Acre siege. and that was the extent of German
participation in the Third Crusade.
Fourth Crusade 1202-1204
Read this one if you want to understand the Fourth
A complete English translation of Memoirs or Chronicle of The
Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople by Geoffrey de
Villehardouin (1160-1213) is on the internet at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/villehardouin.asp
Note that there will be a separate unit on the
Fourth Crusade later in this course.
Launched in 1202, the Fourth Crusade was in part instigated by
Venetian leaders who saw it as a means to increase their power and
influence. Crusaders who arrived in Venice expecting to be taken
to Egypt were instead diverted towards their allies in
Constantinople. The great city was mercilessly sacked in 1204
(during Easter week, yet), leading to greater enmity between
Eastern and Western Christians.
Timeline of the Crusades: Fourth Crusade 1198 - 1207
1198 - 1216 The power of the medieval papacy
reaches its apex with the reign of Pope Innocent III (1161 -
1216) who managed to excommunicate both Holy Roman emperor Otto
IV (1182 - 1218) and King John of England (c. 1167 - 1216) in
1198 - 1204 The Fourth Crusade is
called to recapture Jerusalem. but it is diverted to
Constantinople instead. The capital of the Byzantine Empire
would be captured, sacked, and held by Latin rulers until 1261.
March 05, 1198 The Teutonic Knights are
re-formed as a military order in a ceremony at Acre in
August 1198 Pope Innocent III proclaims the
launch of the Fourth Crusade.
December 1198 A special tax on churches is
created for the purpose of funding the Fourth Crusade.
1199 A political Crusade is launched against
Markward of Anweiler.
1199 Berthold, Bishop of Buxtehude
(Uexküll), dies in battle and his successor Albert arrives
with a new Crusading army.
February 19, 1199 Pope Innocent III issues a
bull which assigns the uniform of a white tunic with a black
cross to the Teutonic Knights. This uniform is worn during the
April 06, 1199 Richard I Lionheart, king of
England, dies from the effects of an arrow wound received during
the siege of Chalus in France. Richard had been one of the
leaders of the Third Crusade.
c. 1200 Muslim conquests in India started a
decline of Buddhism in northern India, eventually resulting in
its effective elimination in the nation of its origin.
1200 French nobles gather at the court of
Theobald III of Champagne for a tournament. Here Fulk of Neuilly
promotes the Fourth Crusade and they agree to "take the cross,"
electing Theobald their leader
1200 Saladin's brother, Al-Adil, takes control
of the Ayyubid Empire.
1201 Death of Count Theobald III of Champagne,
son of Henry I of Champagne and original leader of the Fourth
Crusade. Boniface of Montferrat (brother of Conrad of
Montferrat, an important figure in the Third Crusade) would be
elected leader in Theobald's place.
1201 Alexius, son of deposed Byzantine emperor
Isaac II Angelus, escapes from prison and travels to Europe to
seek help in recovering his throne.
1201 Even while negotiating with Europeans on
a price for transporting Crusader to Egypt, Venetians negotiate
a secret treaty with the sultan of Egypt, guaranteeing that
nation against invasion.
1202 Albert, the third Bishop of Buxtehude
(Uexküll), establishes the knightly crusading order known
as the Swordbrothers (also sometimes referred to as the Livonian
Order, Livonian Brothers of the Sword (latin Fratres militiae
Christi), the Christ Knights, or The Militia of Christ of
Livonia). Mostly non-landed members of the lower nobility, the
Swordbrothers are separated into classes of knights, priests,
November 1202 Christians on the Fourth Crusade
arrive at Venice in the hopes of being transported by ship to
Venice, but they don't have the 85,000 marks required for
payment so the Venetians, under doge Enrico Dandolo, barricades
them on the island of Lido until he figures out what to do with
them. Eventually, he decides that they can make up the
difference by capturing some cities for Venice.
November 24, 1202 After just five days of
fighting, Crusaders capture the Hungarian port of Zara, a
Christian city on the coast of Dalmatia. The Venetians had once
controlled Zara but lost it to the Hungarians and offered
passage to Egypt to the Crusaders in exchange for Zara. The
importance of this port had been growing and the Venetians
feared the rivalry from the Hungarians. Pope Innocent III is
infuriated by this and excommunicates the entire Crusade as well
as the city of Venice, not that anyone seems to notice or care.
1203 Crusaders abandon the city of Zara and
move on Constantinople. Alexius Angelus, son of deposed
Byzantine Emperor Isaac II, offers the Crusaders 200,000 marks
and the reunification of the Byzantine Church with Rome if they
capture Constantinople for him.
April 06, 1203 Crusaders launch an attack on
the Christian city of Constantinople.
June 23, 1203 A fleet carrying Crusaders on
the Fourth Crusade enters Bosphorus.
July 17, 1203 Constantinople, capital of the
Byzantine Empire, falls to Crusading forces from Western Europe.
Deposed emperor Isaac II is freed and resumes rule alongside his
son, Alexius IV, while Alexius III flees to Mosynopolis in
Thrace. Unfortunately, there is no money to pay the Crusaders
and the Byzantine nobility are infuriated at what happened.
Thomas Morosini of Venice is installed as patriarch of
Constantinople, increasing the rivalry between Eastern and
1204 Albert, the third Bishop of Buxtehude
(Uexküll), gets official approval from Pope Innocent III
for his Crusade in the Baltic region.
February 1204 The Byzantine nobility
re-imprison Isaac II, strangle Alexius IV, and install Alexius
Ducas Murtzuphlos, brother-in-law of Alexius III, on the throne
as Alexius V Ducas.
April 11, 1204 After months of not being paid
and infuriated at the execution of their ally, Alexius III,
soldiers of the Fourth Crusade once again attack Constantinople.
Pope Innocent III had again ordered them not to attack fellow
Christians, but the papal letter was suppressed by clergy on the
April 12, 1204 The armies of the Fourth
Crusade capture Constantinople again and establish the Latin
Empire of Byzantium, but not before they sack the city and rape
its inhabitants for three straight days - during Easter week.
Alexius V Ducas is forced to flee to Thrace. Although Pope
Innocent III protests at the behavior of the Crusaders, he does
not hesitate to accept a formal reunion of the Greek and Latin
May 16, 1204 Baldwin of Flanders becomes the
first Latin Emperor of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire
and French is made the official language. Boniface of
Montferrat, the leader of the Fourth Crusade, goes on to capture
the city of Thessalonica (second-largest Byzantine city) and
founds the Kingdom of Thessalonica.
April 01, 1205 Death of Amalric II, king of
both Jerusalem and Cyprus. His son, Hugh I, assumes control of
Cyprus while John of Ibelin becomes regent for Amalric's
daughter Maria for the kingdom of Jerusalem (even though
Jerusalem is still in Muslim hands).
August 20, 1205 Henry of Flanders is crowned
Emperor of the Latin Empire, formerly the Byzantine Empire,
after the death of Baldwin I.
1206 Mongol leader Temujin is proclaimed
"Genghis Khan," which means "emperor within the Seas."
1206 Theodore I Lascaris assumes the title
Emperor of Nicaea. After the fall of Constantinople to the
Crusaders, Byzantine Greeks spread throughout what is left of
their empire. Theodore, son-in-law of the Byzantine Emperor
Alexius III, sets himself up in Nicaea and leads a series of
defensive campaigns against the Latin invaders. In 1259 Michael
VIII Palaeologus would capture the throne and later capture
Constantinople from the Latins in 1261.
May 1207 Raymond VI of Toulouse (descendant of
Raymond IV or Toulouse, a leader of the First Crusade) refuses
to assist in the suppression of the Cathars in southern France
and is excommunicated by Pope Innocent III.
September 04, 1207 Boniface of Montferrat,
leader of the Fourth Crusade and founder the Kingdom of
Thessalonica, is ambushed and killed by Kaloyan, Tsar of
click on small images or on links to increase image size.
Innocent III was a young and active pope, only thirty-eight when
elected. He used the interdict and other forms of pressure
to line up European monarchs behind his decrees and ecclesiastic
reforms and, eventually, behind his idea that yet another Crusade
was needed to carry out the failed missions of the Second and
Third Crusades. Unlike his predecessors, Innocent did not
want kings to lead the Fourth Crusade, but he did demand that
European disputes between monarchs and among cities had to stop to
free up knights and people to once again march/sail off to the
Middle East. But before sending the folks eastward, he
organized a "Crusade" against the Albigensian (Cathar) heretics in
|The 1208 murder of Pierre de Castelnau, a
papal representative in Albigensian territory, changed
Innocent's focus from words to weapons. Innocent called
upon King Philip II Augustus of France to suppress the
Albigenses. Under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, 5th
Earl of Leicester, a campaign was launched. The
Albigensian Crusade, which led to the brutal slaughter of
approximately 20,000 men, women and children, Cathar
and Catholic alike essentially destroyed the
previously flourishing civilization of Occitania and
brought the region firmly under the control of the king of
France. It was directed not only against heretical
Christians, but also the nobility of Toulouse and vassals
of the Crown of Aragon. King Peter II of Aragon, "the
Catholic," was directly involved in the conflict, and was
killed in the course of the Battle of Muret in 1213. The
conflict largely ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1229,
in which the integration of the Occitan territory in the
French crown was agreed to. Military action ceased in
1255. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Innocent_III#Crusades_and_suppression_of_heresy.
The, on to the Crusade: Innocent, also unlike his
predecessors, though he would lead the Fourth Crusade
himself. An imaginative use of taxes (including on churches
and the clergy -- unheard of before) and a "buy out" plan under
which former and future "crusaders" could pay their way out of
their vows were used to raise funds. The initial destination
of the Fourth Crusade would be Egypt with follow on plans use
Egypt as a base from which to move on to the capture of
Any attack on Egypt would require ships. The Venetians were
ready to supply them for the usual fee.
Every Crusade needs a monkish preacher, and the Fourth Crusade
needed one more than most. Pope Innocent's crusade went
nowhere until Fulk of Neuilly began took to pulpits around Europe
calling on nobles, people, cities, and communities to join in the
effort. Even before he took up this cause , he was well
known for his eloquence and persuasiveness. His enthusiasm
led some critics to question whether he might have ulterior
motives, especially concerning the funds he was collecting.
But there was no doubt that it was Fulk who got the Fourth Crusade
on its way -- and then he died.
For more information, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06157a.htm
At an 1198 tournament at his Ecry sul-Aisne castle, Theobald
(Thibaut) III, Count of Champagne, was elected to lead the Fourth
Crusade. Theobald was the younger son of Henry I of
Champagne and Marie, a daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor
of Aquitaine. Fulk was there. Before the Crusade could
launch, however, he married and died. He apparently spent
some time with his wife. His widow ran Champagne for the
next twenty-one years as regent for his posthumous son.
Although he did not lead the Crusade, he is remembered for
providing an army, a fleet, and, most importantly, money.
The inscription on his tomb reads:
Intent upon making amends for the injuries of the
Cross and the land of the Crucified
He paved a way with expenses, an army, a fleet.
Seeking the terrestrial city, he finds the one celestial;
While he is obtaining his goal far away, he finds it at home.
The next man chosen to Lead the Crusade was Boniface I of
Montferrat, seen in the image being blessed before setting off.
Boniface's cousin Philip of Swabia was married to
Irene Angelina, a daughter of the deposed Byzantine emperor
Isaac II Angelus and niece of Conrad's second wife
Theodora. In the winter of 1201 Boniface spent Christmas
with Phillip in Hagenau, and while there also met with Alexius
Angelus, Isaac II's son, who had escaped from the custody of his
uncle Alexius III Angelus. At this time the three
discussed the possibility of using the crusading army to restore
Alexius' right to the throne. Both Boniface and Alexius
traveled separately to Rome to ask for Pope Innocent III's
blessing for the endeavour; however, Boniface was specifically
told by Innocent not to attack any Christians, including the
The Crusader army was in debt to the doge of Venice, who had
provided their fleet. He instructed them to attack the
rebellious cities of Trieste, Moglia, and Zara and beat them
into submission before sailing for Cairo. The Pope was
angered by these Christian cities being attacked by a Crusader
army. The doge, Enrico Dandolo, was now the true war
leader of this Crusade, with Boniface as only a
figurehead. Alexius Angelus made many promises to the
Crusaders and their principal financier, the doge of Venice, for
riches and honors if they would help him reclaim his
kingdom. Dandolo placated the Pope by having Alexius
Angelus promise to submit the Orthodox Church to Rome when he
was restored to his throne in Constantinople. This being
done, the fleet set sail for Constantinople in 1203.
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, Boniface was
assumed to be the new emperor, both by the western knights and
the conquered Byzantine citizens. However, the Venetians
vetoed him, believing that he already had too many connections
in the Empire (and, likely, felt that they would not have as
much influence in the new Empire if Boniface was in
control). Instead, they chose Baldwin of Flanders.
Boniface founded the Kingdom of Thessalonica and also held all
the territories lied east of Bosporus and territories in Crete,
though he later conceded Crete to Baldwin. Late 13th and
14th century sources suggest that Boniface based his claim to
Thessalonica on the statement that his younger brother Renier
had been granted Thessalonica on his marriage to Maria Komnene
The 41st Venetian Doge, old, blind, pious, and greedy Enriico
Dandolo, is universally vilified as the evil genius of the Fourth
Crusade. Despite explicit commands from Pope Innocent III
that no Christian cities were to be attacked, Dandolo used
financial leverage to direct the crusaders to restore Zadar on the
Adriatic to Venetian control. Dandolo the agreed to lead the
Crusaders to Constantinople to intervene in that city's internal
politics. The crusaders did manage to put Alexios Angelos,
the deposed Emperor Isaac II back on the throne, but Isaac and his
son Alexios couldn't or wouldn't pay what Alexios had promised for
the service. When Alexios defied Doge Dandolo's threats,
Dandolo directed the sack of Constantinople. The Venetians
carried off treasures, relics, the four bronze quadriga horses
that decorated the hippodrome, and most importantly, loads of
cash. The division of the spoils also gave Venice
three-eights of the former Byzantine territories (much of which
they influenced until the next wave of Turkish conquests which
began in the 15th century.)
For more information on Doge Enrico Dandolo, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Dandolo
For the siege of Constantinople, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Constantinople_(1204)
For on the spot accounts of the sack 0f Constantinople in 1294,