Download The Crusades - Detailed Information on Each One

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Franco-Mongol alliance wikipedia , lookup

House of Lusignan wikipedia , lookup

Church of the Holy Sepulchre wikipedia , lookup

William of Tyre wikipedia , lookup

Livonian Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Siege of Antioch wikipedia , lookup

Battle of Arsuf wikipedia , lookup

Rhineland massacres wikipedia , lookup

Kingdom of Jerusalem wikipedia , lookup

Third Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Savoyard crusade wikipedia , lookup

Siege of Acre (1189–1191) wikipedia , lookup

Northern Crusades wikipedia , lookup

Battle of Nicopolis wikipedia , lookup

History of Jerusalem during the Kingdom of Jerusalem wikipedia , lookup

Siege of Acre (1291) wikipedia , lookup

Albigensian Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Despenser's Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Fourth Crusade wikipedia , lookup

First Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Second Crusade wikipedia , lookup

Barons' Crusade wikipedia , lookup

The First Crusade
The First Crusade (1096 - 1099) played a very important part in Medieval England. The First
Crusade was an attempt to re-capture Jerusalem. After the capture of Jerusalem by the Muslims
in 1076, any Christian who wanted to pay a pilgrimage to the city faced a very hard time. Muslim
soldiers made life very difficult for the Christians and trying to get to Jerusalem was filled with
danger for a Christian. This greatly angered all Christians.
One Christian - called Alexius I of Constantinople - feared that his country might also fall to the
Muslims as it was very close to the territory captured by the Muslims. Constantinople is in modern
day Turkey. Alexius called on the pope - Urban II - to give him help.
In 1095, Urban spoke to a great crowd at Clermont in France. He called for a war against the
Muslims so that Jerusalem was regained for the Christian faith. In his speech he said:
"Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are
being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain
Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will
be pardoned."
Those who volunteered to go to fight the Muslims cut out red crosses and sewed them on their
tunics. The French word "croix" means cross and the word changed to "croisades" or crusades.
The fight against the Muslims became a Holy War.
Many people did volunteer to fight on the First Crusade.
There were true Christians who wanted to reclaim Jerusalem for their belief and get the Muslims out of the city.
There were those who knew they had committed sin and that by going on the Crusade they might be forgiven by
God. They had also been told by the pope that if they were killed, they would automatically go to heaven as they
were fighting for God. There were those who thought that they might get rich by taking the wealth that they
thought existed in Jerusalem. Any crusader could claim to be going on a pilgrimage for God - pilgrims did not
have to pay tax and they were protected by the Church.
A Crusader knight
The First Crusade had a very difficult journey getting to the Middle East. They could not use the
Mediterranean Sea as the Crusaders did not control the ports on the coast of the Middle East.
Therefore, they had to cross land. They travelled from France through Italy, then Eastern Europe
and then through what is now Turkey. They covered hundreds of miles, through scorching heat
and also deep snow in the mountain passes. The Crusaders ran out of fresh water and according
to a survivor of the First Crusade who wrote about his experiences after his return, some were
reduced to drinking their own urine, drinking animal blood or water that had been in sewage. Food
was bought from local people but at very expensive prices. Odo of Deuil claims that these men
who were fighting for God were reduced to pillaging and plunder in order to get food.
Disease was common especially as men were weakened by the journey and drinking dirty water.
Dysentery was common. Heat stroke also weakened many Crusaders. Disease and fatigue
affected rich and poor alike.
By 1097, nearly 10,000 people had gathered at Constantinople ready for the journey to the Holy
Land. There was no one person in charge of the First Crusade. Urban II had made Bishop
Adbenar the leader but he preferred to let others do the work and make decisions. They were four
separate proper Crusader armies in the First Crusade but also a large number of smaller armies.
However, there was no proper command structure and with the problems of communications at
that time, it is possible that a command structure with one person in charge was an impossibility.
The first target of the Crusaders was the important fortress city of Nicea. This city was taken by
the Crusaders without too much trouble as the man in charge of it was away fighting!
The next target for the Crusaders was Antioch - a strongly protected Turkish city. It took a seven
month siege before the city fell. The next target was Jerusalem.
The attack and capture of Jerusalem started in the summer of 1099. Jerusalem was well-defended
with high walls around it. The first attacks on the city were not successful as the Crusaders were
short of materials for building siege machines. Once logs had arrived, two siege machines were
A monk called Fulcher was on the First Crusade. He wrote about the attack on the Holy City and
he can be treated as an eye-witness as to what took place.
Fulcher claimed that once the Crusaders had managed to get over the walls of Jerusalem, the
Muslim defenders there ran away. Fulcher claimed that the Crusaders cut down anybody they
could and that the streets of Jerusalem were ankle deep in blood. The rest of the Crusaders got
into the city when the gates were opened. The slaughter continued and the Crusaders "killed
whoever they wished". Those Muslims who had their lives spared, had to go round and collect the
bodies before dumping them outside of the city because they stank so much. The Muslims
claimed afterwards that 70,000 people were killed and that the Crusaders took whatever treasure
they could from the Dome of the Rock.
The Crusader attack on Jerusalem - in the foreground is a siege castle
After the success of the Crusaders, the Kingdom of Jerusalem was created and its first king was
Godfrey of Bouillon who was elected by other crusaders. He died in 1100 and was succeeded by
his brother Baldwin of Boulogne.
The capture of Jerusalem did not end the Crusades as the Crusaders wanted to get rid of the
Muslims from the whole region and not just Jerusalem. This desire ultimately led to the Second
Crusade in 1147 as the threat from the Muslims grew over the following years.
MLA Citation/Reference
"The First Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Second Crusade
The Second Crusade took place between 1147 and 1149 and was instigated by Pope Eugene
(Eugenius) III in a bid to defeat the Muslims who were still threatening to retake control of the Holy
A second crusade was seen as necessary due to the capture of the
County of Edessa in 1144, which meant more military reinforcements were needed.
Large armies drawn from across three major nations - England, France and Germany - and a host
of smaller nations, gathered in preparation and a Cistercian abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux,
encouraged Conrad III of Germany to go on crusade alongside Louis VII. The pair arrived in
Constantinople in 1147, together leading their respective armies - the first time that kings had
done so.
The plan was to cross to Anatolia in order to destroy the Turkish armies that had been seen the
year prior, while the ultimate aim of the crusade was to recover the County of Edessa, secure the
pilgrim pass and provide reinforcements to Jerusalem. The latter was at risk because the vast
majority of knights had died since the First Crusade, which took place between 1095 and 1099.
They attacked the Muslim city of Damascus first, which had been allied to the Christians until that
point. However, upon the arrival of Nur al-Din and his armies, both Louis VII of France and Conrad
III of Germany were defeated by the Turks and abandoned their siege, ending the Second
Crusade. The armies did have a small measure of success in that they acquired Lisbon in Portugal
and numerous other small settlements.
One of the major reasons behind the failure of the Second Crusade was the lack of
communication between the two kings. Conrad launched an initial attack on the Seljuk Turks
capital, Iconium, while the French attacked another target in Anatolia. This splitting up gave the
Turks a chance to march at speed from one location to the next without being outnumbered by the
crusade and overwhelmed.
Conrad was instantly defeated by the Turks and almost died as a result. The French, while lasting
longer, were also defeated and their army nearly entirely destroyed.
Europe suffered greatly in terms of its economy and lack of recruits as a result of the failure of the
Second Crusade, which was seen as marking the first sign of the fall of the Crusaders States in
the Middle East. The Egyptians were now ruled by Saladin, who managed to successfully unite
Syria and Egypt over their common enemy, the Christians, therefore completely surrounding the
Following the failure of the Second Crusade, Jerusalem was also left without adequate protection,
something which ultimately led to the demand for the Third Crusade.
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Second Crusade". 2014. Web
The Third Crusade
The Third Crusade is dominated by the leadership offered by the two main leaders involved Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. As with most major leaders of the Medieval Times, we know
very little about both Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. What information we do have comes from
either enemies or supporters of both- so a balanced view is difficult to gain.
What did they look like? Again, we only have pictures that were done years after their deaths by
people who could never have met them!
So what do we think we know about them?
"He was tall in stature, of shapely build, with hair between red and yellow. His limbs were straight
and flexible; his arms somewhat long; he had long legs." This was written at the time of the Third
"Richard was not a good king. He cared only for his soldiers. But he was brave, and loved a brave
man." This was written in 1965 by L Du Garde Peach
"A very powerful man, of great courage and spirit. He fought great battles and showed a burning
passion for war. The king was indeed a man of wisdom, experience, courage and
energy.......excitable, brave and clever." This was written by Baha' ad-Din Ibn Shaddad, a Muslim writer,
during the Third Crusade. He lived in the court of Saladin.
Richard drawn in 1965
"Richard of England, a red-haired giant, generous, incredibly brave, hot-tempered and tactless,
won a great reputation in the capture of Acre, but quarrelled with his allies who left him and went
home." This was written in 1962 by R Unstead
"Saladin made a disgraceful income out of the prostitutes of Damascus. none of them could carry
on their filthy trade without first buying a licence from him. He (Saladin) spent the money on
entertainers. That king of the brothels, who fought in taverns, and spent his time gambling. He
(Saladin) conquered countries by either trickery or force. But the greedy tyrant concentrated all his
efforts on an attempt to seize the Holy Land, Palestine." This was written by an Englishman who lived
in London and worked for the Church.
This was drawn by an Egyptian artist but we do not know if he ever met Saladin.
"Saladin did not spend a single gold or silver coin on anything except a jihad (holy war). Out of his
desire to fight for God's cause he left behind his family, children, country, home and all the towns
under his control. Saladin was well-mannered and entertaining. If anyone was sick, he would ask
about their illness, his treatment, food and drink and whether there was any change in his
condition. I never saw him insult anyone. he always stuck to his word and was loyal. No orphan
ever came to him without Saladin offering to provide the same amount of care as his father had
done. He treated old people kindly and generously." This was written by Baha' ad-Din Ibn Shaddad, a
Muslim writer who lived in the court of Saladin.
"Saladin used the idea of a holy war to bring the Muslims together. His popularity with the poor
people increased when he survived several assassination attacks. Friends and enemies saw
Saladin as a man of honour. Even the Crusaders praised him. However, he was criticised for
fighting against his fellow Muslims and for failing to capture Tyre. Nevertheless, Saladin continues
to be admired today." This was written by Elizabeth Hallam in 1989.
"Richard (the Lionheart) fell ill with a fever and appealed to Saladin to send him pears and
peaches. Saladin sent him fruit and snow from the mountains to cool his blood" The was written by
Bailey and Wise in 1969
The Fourth Crusade
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Third Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade took place between 1201 and 1204, eight years after the end of the Third
Crusade. The driving force behind the Fourth Crusade was the newly elected Pope Innocent III,
who decided to launch an attack against the united Egyptians, who had Jerusalem under their
control. Pope Innocent III was set on recovering the holy city of Jerusalem, following the
disastrous Third Crusade which lowered the chances of being able to reclaim the Holy Land
through any diplomatic means.
However, the Fourth Crusade did not recover Jerusalem, it instead saw Constantinople
conquered, a feat which was not even on the agenda when the Crusade first started.
The Pope ordered the Crusade in 1199, but was largely ignored by European monarchs, partly
due to the failure of the previous Crusade and to the fact that England and France were at war
with each other. Eventually, however, recruits responded to his sanction and decided to march first
to Venice, a rising power in the trade across the Mediterranean. From there they would head to
Cairo, led by Boniface, the Marquis of Monferrat, a descendent of early Crusaders.
As the soldiering pilgrims could not afford to pay Venice for its provision of boats to transport 4,000
knights, 9,000 squires and 20,000 foot soldiers, plus horses, to Cairo, the Crusaders agreed to
help the Venetians to capture a Byzantine port, Zara, as payment. A 15,000-strong army of
Crusaders and thousands of Venetians travelled to the port, easily capturing it.
Prince Alexius IV, the son of the imprisoned ruler of Byzantine, Isaac II Angelus, then begged the
Crusaders to help him drive out the usurper Alexius III and put him on the Constantinople throne.
He offered the Crusaders money, ships and extra men if they agreed to help him, and it was
agreed. Boniface of Montferrat hoped he may be able to recover Thessalonica as a result of these
sweeteners, and the Crusaders were all keen to lay their hands on the spoils that had been
So it was that the Crusaders sailed to the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, capturing the island
of Corfu on the way. The Crusaders finally captured Constantinople in April 1204, after fighting off
the city’s garrison of 30,000 men, weakened through lack of leadership and Civil War.
Following the successful capture of the city, thousands of valuable art works, statues and other
treasures were either destroyed or stolen, something from which the Byzantine Empire never
really recovered. While the named destination of the Fourth Crusade had always been Jerusalem,
from the outset it seemed as though the real goal for the Crusaders was in fact the conquest of
The Fourth Crusade angered Pope Innocent III as the Crusaders had attacked their own fellow
Christians, paying no attention to the Pope's pleas to desist. The Crusaders were by now deeply
unpopular and had yet to achieve their initial goal - that of regaining control of Jerusalem.
Following the capture of Constantinople, the vast majority of Crusaders returned home, many
armed with the spoils of war. Over the next years a renaissance of thought occurred, harking back
to the original Christian mission of the first Crusades. This ultimately led in 1217 to the 'Fifth
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Fourth Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Children's Crusade
The Children's Crusade is one of the more unusual events in Medieval England. The Children's
Crusade took place after the Fourth Crusade. By the end of the Fourth Crusade (1202 to 1204), it
was clear that the Christian crusaders had gained no long term success. In fact, the Fourth
Crusade had been a disaster for the Christians as many crusaders had not even got to the Holy
Land let alone fight for Jerusalem. Many Christians had used the crusade as a means to plunder
valuable goods from abroad. The Children's Crusade seemed to put some Christian belief back
into crusading.
Two groups appeared in 1212 which seemed to indicate that the beliefs of the First Crusade were
still alive.
In 1212, two groups - one from France, the other from Germany - set off on a crusade to the Holy
Land. There was nothing unusual about this as many 'armies' had gathered before to fight the
Muslims. The major difference about these two groups was that they were composed entirely of
young children. These children became convinced that they would be protected by God and that
because of this protection they would get to the Holy Land and take Jerusalem for the Christians.
Not a great deal is known about the Children's Crusade other than it was a disaster. The person
who seemed to be in charge was a boy called Stephen of Cloyes. We know very little about him.
We know that he was a shepherd and that in 1212 he was 12 years of age. With a peasant's
background, he would not have been able to read or write and at his age he would have done very
basic work around a farm.
In May 1212, it is said that he turned up at the court of King Philip of France and told him that he
had a letter from Christ ordering him to organise a crusade. Not surprisingly, King Philip was not
impressed by the 12 year old and told him to go away and come back when he was older!!
Regardless of this rejection, Stephen went around preaching to children about his letter from
Jesus and his desire to go to the Holy Land to capture Jerusalem. He told his followers that
crossing the Mediterranean or any other waterways was easy as the waters would part and they
would walk across as they were protected by God. By June 1212, Stephen is said to have
gathered 30,000 followers around him - all children.
As they marched south through France, they clearly had no idea of what to expect. Adults cheered
them along the route. It was as if their innocence shone through and made their success a
The Roman Catholic Church was not so sure. The Children's Crusade was never officially a
crusade as it was never blessed by the pope. However, this did not deter the children. The Church
could not bless a 'crusade' that was doomed to failure but the Church also did not stop it. Why ? It
is possible that the Church believed that the actions of the children might shame kings and
emperors into getting a proper crusade going to capture Jerusalem.
The Children's Crusade was doomed to failure. Many of the children had never walked such
distances before and for many the effort proved too much. The journey from Vendome to
Marseilles caused many children to drop out. Some even died of exhaustion. The sea did not part
as Stephen had said and they had to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat.
The children boarded seven boats in Marseilles and that was the last anything was heard of them.
However many years later a priest returned from traveling around northern Africa and he claimed
to have met some of the surviving children (now adults). He claimed that two of the seven ships
had sunk killing all on board and that pirates had captured the other five ships and the children
were sold into slavery. White skinned children were considered to be a valuable prize in Algerian
and Egyptian slave markets.
There is no proof that any of this is true as none of the children who left Marseilles ever returned.
As a priest, it is unlikely that he would have knowingly told a lie as Catholic priests would have
believed that God is omnipresent (everywhere) and omnipotent (all powerful). Therefore if he told
a lie, God would know and he would have been condemned to Hell. However, he may have been
told incorrect information and told this story in good faith not knowing if it was incorrect. As
historians, we just do not know.
A German Children's Crusade also took place in 1212. This was lead by a boy called Nicholas
and he had 20,000 followers. His dream was exactly the same as Stephen's - take Jerusalem for
Christianity. This crusade also included religious men and unmarried women so it was not fully a
Children's Crusade. Their journey south from Germany to Italy included a very dangerous crossing
of the Alps and many died of the cold here. Those that survived pushed onto to Rome in Italy.
Here, they met the pope. He praised their bravery but told them that they were too young to take
on such a venture. With this, they returned to Germany but a great many of them did not survive
the journey back. A few stopped off at the Italian port of Pisa and boarded a ship for the Holy
Land. No-one knows what happened to them.
Therefore both crusades can be seen as a disaster but they are also an indication of how
important Jerusalem was to Christians.
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Children's Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Fifth Crusade
Following the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, the Fifth Crusade (1217 - 1221) proved that Europeans
remained as committed as ever to recapturing Jerusalem, and planned to do so by first conquering
the powerful Egyptian state of Ayyubid. The Crusaders believed that the way to recapture the Holy
Land was first to break Egypt’s unity.
Egypt still had a firm hold on Jerusalem and the majority of the land that was previously held by
the Christians when Pope Innocent III urged this new Crusade at the Fourth Lateran Council in
1215. Wary of repeating the same mistakes made in the Fourth Crusade, the pope was
determined that the Fifth be controlled and overseen by the church.
However, Pope Innocent III's pleas to begin the new crusade initially went unanswered as a result
of the failure of the Second, Third and Fourth Crusades and the reluctance of Christian leaders to
suffer another defeat. Not one to give up easily, the Pope instead appealed to Christian members
of the public and offered them rewards if they agreed to join the Fifth Crusade or helped the cause
in any way. Those who were not physically able to march to the East were encouraged to help
towards the Crusade by fasting and praying for a positive outcome. Those who did have available
funds were urged to help to finance another Crusader who would not be able to afford to go
Pope Innocent died in 1216 without seeing the results of the Crusade he longed for, but his plans
were continued by the new pope, Honorius III, who wrote to the monarchs of Europe urging them
to lend their support.
The Crusaders travelled to Acre in 1217 and joined the ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, John of
Brienne and the Kingdom of Antioch’s Prince Bohemund IV in the fight against the Ayyubid state.
King John was aware that attacking Jerusalem while Egypt remained strong was not feasible, so
planned to take Egypt under Latin control and thereby force the Muslims to relinquish their hold on
Oliver of Cologne and the count of Holland, William I, arrived with large armies to assist in the plan
to conquer Egypt. They allied with the Seljuk Sultan of Rum, and worked together on a plan to
attack the Egyptians from the north.
The Crusaders left Acre on May 24, 1218, bound for Egypt, and first launched an attack on
Damietta, a key Egyptian settlement which guarded the main route up the Nile river to Cairo, in
June of 1218. With ranks boosted as a result of the arrival of a large number of French Crusaders
led by Cardinal-Legate Pelagius, the Crusaders believed that they were well on their way to taking
control of Damietta, the first step in their bid to capture Cairo, which would then lead to the rest of
Egypt coming under their control.
The city managed to fend off the Crusaders for several months, and, in February 1219, offered
peace terms that included the cession of the kingdom of Jerusalem and the return of the True
Cross. While King John and a large number of Crusaders were keen to accept the terms and head
home, Cardinal-Legate Pelagius, who argued that the Crusaders were under the Church’s control,
refused, and the fighting continued, with thousands of men losing their lives.
Damietta was taken on 5 November, 1219, and, once inside the settlement, the Crusaders looted
it for a number of days, as their enthusiasm built for their next attack on Cairo, the final obstacle
placed in their path by Egypt. From there, they planned to head straight for their top priority –
Damietta’s leader, the Sultan Al-Adil, planned to ward off the Crusaders’ huge army as they
swarmed towards Cairo. However, once the Egyptians saw the size of the army, they fled away
from Damietta towards Cairo, taking up a position next to the Nile river. The Crusaders were
hindered in their progress and failed to take the flooding of the Nile into account, so, upon
reaching Cairo, they were trapped behind a canal that was now flooded. The Christians retreated
and marched home as the Egyptians launched their attack. The Christian army was all but wiped
out and the remaining men were captured by the Sultan who demanded the immediate return of
Damietta. The Crusaders had no choice but to agree to the demands and the Fifth Crusade came
to an end.
The Fifth Crusade marked the last Crusade that was organised by the church in which different
nations came together to fight to recover the Holy Land.
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Fifth Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Sixth Crusade
The Sixth Crusade was of monumental importance to Europe as it managed to achieve what
previous Crusades had failed to do – recapture the Holy Land. Considerably less fighting was
involved in this Crusade, rather it was the diplomatic manoeuvring by the Holy Roman Emperor,
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, which achieved the desired outcome and saw the Kingdom Of
Jerusalem regain control of Jerusalem and other surrounding areas for the next fifteen years.
The Crusade - which began five years after the failed Fifth Crusade – was brought about by
Frederick, who sought to assuage his guilt at his lack of leadership of the Fifth Crusade by
launching the Sixth Crusade to recover Jerusalem, paid for by Holy Roman Empire funds.
While he had been encouraged to take a more definite leadership role in the Fifth Crusade by
Honorius III and later Gregory IX, Frederick had declined and was eager to make amends. As his
power as Emperor grew, the Pope became increasing angry at the Papacy's power decline and
excommunicated Frederick, citing as the reason his as failure to participate in the Fifth Crusade
despite promising to do so.
As a result of the excommunication, Frederick’s popularity began to dwindle. However, despite
this, and without the Pope’s blessing, Frederick gathered together a large army and set sail for
Syria in 1228, more determined than ever to launch a successful Crusade.
Sailing first to Cyprus in order to gain a strong base prior to launching the planned attack on
Egypt, Frederick and his army hit trouble along with way following a dispute with John of Ibelin
which forced them to depart earlier than planned. They sailed onto the Holy Land soon afterwards,
realising upon arrival that the army was smaller than the one which took part in the Fifth Crusade –
a fact which led them to believe launching an attack on the powerful Ayyubid Empire would be a
foolish mistake.
Frederick then tried another tactic. He approached the sultan of Egypt, Al-Kamil and was
dishonest about the true size of the army that accompanied him, telling him that it was far larger
than it was. Frederick hoped that this would lead to the recovering of Jerusalem through
diplomacy. As Al-Kamil was preoccupied with a rebellion in Syria, he agreed that Jerusalem,
Nazareth and several other small towns would be returned to Christian control, in exchange for a
decade-long truce.
Frederick and his army had achieved what four previous crusades had failed to do and he entered
Jerusalem on 17 March 1229 under the terms of the peace treaty. Following this triumph, he was
hailed a hero and the Pope soon lifted the excommunication.
Many believe that the key accomplishment of the Sixth Crusade was highlighting the evident
decline of the Papacy's power. Frederick’s success in recapturing the Holy Land changed the
course of history as it led to the later Seventh and Eighth Crusades following in the same vein.
Each of these were led by single kingdoms keen to emulate the triumph of the Sixth Crusade,
rather than by a union of several kingdoms, as had been the case in the unsuccessful first
Despite the glory enjoyed by Frederick and his Sixth Crusade, the Holy Land was conquered by
the Turks just fifteen years later in 1244.
See also: The Fifth Crusade, The Seventh Crusade, List of Crusades
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Sixth Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Seventh Crusade
Despite a lack of enthusiasm from his closest barons and noblemen, and being seriously ill with
malaria, Louis IX of France decided to launch a Seventh Crusade in December 1244.
The King was eager to free the Holy Land, which had been conquered by the Turks in August
1244, 15 years after the glory enjoyed by Frederick and his Sixth Crusade. He was also keen to
rescue Damascus, which had been seized by the Sultan of Egypt's vast armies. The situation in
Europe was seen by Louis IX as providing the ideal time to launch a new Crusade, as there was a
break in the struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy. As the kingdom of France
was at peace thanks to the Holy Roman emperor, Frederick II’s waning enthusiasm for war, the
barons eventually agreed to support their King in his bid to launch the Seventh Crusade.
The Seventh Crusade has similarities with the Sixth Crusade in that both were conceived and
carried out under the control of a monarch. This highlights the declining power of the papacy, who
had by now lost control of the crusading movement. As the papal power faded, rulers were
increasingly able to use the crusades as a tool of national policy. This shift in focus, however, is
thought to have contributed in the part to the failure of so many of the crusades, including the
After years of complicated preparations, Louis IX finally departed Aigues-Mortes on 25 August,
1248, taking his family with him. They travelled alongside 100 ships and an army of 35,000 men,
all aiming to seize Egypt’s key towns and use them as hostages to be offered in exchange for
Syrian cities. The vast majority of the men were French, with a few Scots and Englishmen thrown
in for good measure.
Following a council with his key men, the King had decided it would never be possible to capture
Jerusalem while Egypt remained hostile, so, following a winter spent in Limassol, Cyprus, the
Crusaders arrived close to Damietta, Egypt, in June of 1249. The King arrived in Egypt with only
around a quarter of the men he had set out with, as a result of diminishing supplies which had
been used up during their lengthy stay in Cyprus, and a storm which scattered many of the boats
and troops.
Both Damietta's port and town were extremely heavily fortified in a bid to ward off any attacks, but
Louis IX and his men were able to gain entry to the town on 6 June 1249. From there, they headed
onto Cairo, but their efforts were hampered thanks to the Nile, which was flooded with excess rain
water, making the river and its canals impassable for many months.
The army was heading for the citadel of al-Mansurah, which had been identified as a target in
need of capture. Several failed attempts to construct a pontoon bridge followed, with the
Crusaders finally succeeding and entering the citadel, at which point a battle ensued on 8
February 1250. During the struggle, Louis IX's brother, Robert of Artois, was killed, and Louis IX
was finally declared the victor of the battle, the outcome of which had gone undecided for several
Despite this victory, the Crusaders were tired from the fighting and many contracted a plague,
which diminished their numbers ever further. Louis IX was forced to make the decision that the
army would retreat back to Damietta. As the Crusaders were heading back to Damietta, the
Egyptian armies approached the weakened men and captured the King and many of his key
barons on 7 April, 1250.
Following months of negotiations, the King and his barons were set free from prison, in exchange
for a substantial ransom and Louis IX returned to join his wife at Acre. He made the decision to
stay there with the remaining Crusaders and barons, rather than return to France which is what
the majority of men were keen to do.
Over the coming four years, the King was able to turn a military defeat on its head through
negotiations and diplomacy. He made numerous advantageous alliances and also managed to
fortify the Christian cities of Syria. The King eventually returned to his Kingdom upon hearing that
mother had died.
See also: The Sixth Crusade, The Eighth Crusade, List of Crusades
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Seventh Crusade". 2014. Web.
The Eighth Crusade
The Eighth Crusade – launched by King Louis IX of France in 1270 – represented the last major
crusade aimed at the Holy Land. It took place just 16 years after the Seventh Crusade and came
about as a result of concerns over the decreasing power held by the remaining Crusader states. In
1260, Mongol conquests saw Muslim Syria invaded by an army led by Hulagu Khan of Persia,
while Aleppo and Damascus were seized. Kitbuqa, the Mongol General, was Christian and set to
work converting the mosques in Damascus into churches. This angered the Egyptian Mamluks
who decided to try and kill the General. They succeeded, forcing the Mongols to return to Persia,
allowing the Mamluks to seize Syria. They took many towns, including Jaffa in March 1268 and
Antakya that same year. The ongoing situation prompted Louis IX to set to work arranging an
eighth crusade in a bid to recapture the Holy Land.
The King opted to land first in Tunisia – mistakenly believing that the Bey of Tunis could be
converted to Christianity and encouraged by his brother, Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily, to
command the ports of Tunis, therefore making the conquest of Egypt easier. From there, he
planned to march across Egypt to the Holy Land. However, upon arrival in Tunisia on 18 July
1270, it quickly became clear that it was not going to be possible to convert the Bey of Tunis. The
city had been prepared to withstand an invasion, with a newly repaired city wall and warriors
shipped in from Morocco. The Tunis Sultan’s men railed against conversion to Christianity and the
Crusaders were hounded by local solders.
Louis’ army was ailing due to the lack of clean water to drink and the oppressive heat and his son,
John Tristan, died of dysentery. The King himself died on 25 August 1270 from a plague, one day
after his brother Charles had arrived with reinforcements and supplies for the army. Full control of
the army and the Crusade was handed over to Charles. The last word spoken by King Louis was
said to be ‘Jerusalem.’
Unlike Louis, Charles was a reluctant crusader and set about negotiating terms with the Bey of
Tunis, as the ill health of his army had scuppered any chance of a successful siege of the city.
On 30 October, the Crusaders made an agreement with the Sultan to retreat, in exchange for free
trade with the city and guaranteed residence for monks and priests in the area. A war indemnity of
210,000 ounces of gold and a doubling of the tribute paid to the King of Sicily were also included
in the terms.
While the Crusaders attempted to carry on to Syria, a storm which broke out in Trapini saw many
of their supplies and ships lost, and they were forced to return to France, a move which heralded
the end of the Eighth Crusade.
The future Edward I of England arrived in Tunis following the end of the Crusade and travelled
onto the Holy Land, continuing the campaign to recapture it until 1272, when the death of his
father, Henry III, prompted his return to England.
The year 1291 eventually saw the end of the crusading era in the Holy Land, as a result of the fall
of Acre, the last remaining crusader base in Palestine.
See also: The Seventh Crusade, List of Crusades
MLA Citation/Reference
"The Eighth Crusade". 2014. Web.