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The Crusades were a series of military campaigns of a religious character waged by Christians from 1095-1291, usually sanctioned by the Pope<ref> The Sixth Crusade was the first crusade to set sail without the official blessing of the Church, thus setting a precedent allowing other rulers to independently call for crusades on subsequent expeditions to the Holy land.</ref> in the name of Christendom,<ref> This term refers to a particular political polity of the Medieval world.</ref> with the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the sacred "Holy Land" from Muslim rule while supporting the Byzantine Empire against the expansion of the Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia.<ref name="CathEnc">Crusades in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1966, Vol. IV, p. 504.</ref><ref> The Seljuk were a dynasty who ruled a Turkic branch of the Central Asian Oghuz and had recently overrun the Ghaznavids, Buyids and other dynasties contesting the authority of the Abbassid caliphate. They converted to Islam and established themselves as de facto rulers who only formally acknowledged the caliph's suzerainty. The "ghazwat" into Anatolia of the various Turcoman tribes nominally under their banner led to the Byzantine Emperor's call for assistance from the Christian West.</ref> The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns launched against various targets outside of the Levant for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons; usually against pagans, heretics, those under the ban of excommunication<ref name="CathEnc"/> or Muslim territories in Al Andalus, Ifriqiya, Egypt and Eastern Europe that lasted until the 15th Century.<ref>e.g. the Albigensian Crusade, the Aragonese Crusade, the Reconquista and the Northern Crusades.</ref>
The Crusades had far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts, some of which have lasted into contemporary times. Due to internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions, e. g., the fourth crusade, were diverted from their original aim despite the prohibition of the Pope (c.1202) and resulted to the sack of other Christian cities like Zara and the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.<ref>The Sixth Crusade was the first crusade to set sail without the official blessing of the Church, thus setting a precedent allowing other rulers to independently call for crusades on subsequent expeditions to the Holy land.</ref> This outraged even the well-intentioned Christians, like St. Bernard of Claivaux, who were supporters of the crusades.<ref>Crusades in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1966, Vol. IV, p. 508.</ref>
- It is necessary to look for the origin of a crusading ideal in the struggle between Christians and Muslims in Spain and consider how the idea of a holy war emerged from this background. — Norman F. Cantor
Western European origins
The origins of the crusades lie in developments in Western Europe earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the deteriorating situation of the Byzantine Empire in the east, due to a new wave of Turkish Muslim attacks. The breakdown of the Carolingian Empire in the later 9th century, combined with the relative stabilisation of local European borders after the Christianisation of the Vikings, Slavs, and Magyars, had as one side-effect produced a large class of armed warriors whose energies were misplaced fighting one another and terrorizing the local populace. The Church tried to stem this violence with the Peace and Truce of God movements, which was somewhat successful, but trained warriors always sought an outlet for their violence and opportunities for territorial expansion were becoming less attractive for large segments of the nobility. One exception was the Reconquista in Spain and Portugal, which at times occupied Iberian knights and some mercenaries from elsewhere in Europe in the fight against the Islamic Moors, who had attacked and successfully overrun most of the Iberian Peninsula over the preceding two centuries.
In 1009, the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah sacked the pilgrimage hospice in Jerusalem and destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. al-Hakim's successors allowed it to be rebuilt later by the Byzantine emperor, but this event was remembered in Europe and may have helped spark the crusades. In 1063, Pope Alexander II had given papal blessing to Iberian Christians in their wars against the Muslims, granting both a papal standard (the vexillum sancti Petri) and an indulgence to those who were killed in battle. Pleas from the Byzantine Emperors, now threatened under by the Seljuks, thus fell on ready ears. These occurred in 1074, from Emperor Michael VII to Pope Gregory VII and in 1095, from Emperor Alexius I Comnenus to Pope Urban II.
The Crusades were, in part, an outlet for an intense religious piety which rose up in the late 11th century among the lay public. A crusader would, after pronouncing a solemn vow, receive a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a "soldier of the Church". This was due in part to the Investiture Controversy, which had started around 1075 and was still on-going during the First Crusade. Christendom had emerged as a political conception that supposed the union of all peoples and sovereigns under the direction of the pope and had been greatly affected by the Investiture Controversy; as both sides tried to marshal public opinion in their favor, people became personally engaged in a dramatic religious controversy. The result was an awakening of intense Christian piety and public interest in religious affairs. This was further strengthened by religious propaganda, advocating Just War in order to retake the Holy Land, which included Jerusalem (where the death, resurrection and ascension into heaven of Jesus took place according to Christian theology) and Antioch (the first Christian city), from the Muslims. All of this eventually manifested in the overwhelming popular support for the First Crusade, and the religious vitality of the 12th century.
Middle Eastern situation
This background in the Christian West must be contrasted with that in the Muslim East. Muslim presence in the Holy Land goes back to the initial Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century. This did not interfere much with pilgrimage to Christian holy sites or the security of monasteries and Christian communities in the Holy Land of Christendom, and western Europeans were not much concerned with the loss of far-away Jerusalem when, in the ensuing decades and centuries, they were themselves faced with invasions by Muslims and other hostile non-Christians, such as the Vikings and Magyars. However, the Muslim armies' successes were putting strong pressure on the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire.
The turning point in western attitudes towards the east came in the year 1009, when the Fatimid caliph of Cairo, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem destroyed. His successor permitted the Byzantine Empire to rebuild it under stringent circumstances, and pilgrimage was again permitted, but many reports began to circulate in the West about the cruelty of Muslims toward Christian pilgrims; these accounts from returning pilgrims then played an important role in the development of the crusades later in the century.
The immediate cause of the First Crusade was Alexius I's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Byzantine Empire had been defeated, and this defeat led to the loss of all but the coastlands of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Although the East-West Schism was already beginning to brew between the Catholic Western church and the Eastern Orthodox church, Alexius I hoped for a positive response. However, the response was much larger, and less helpful, than Alexius I desired, as the Pope called for a large invasion force to not merely defend the Byzantine Empire, but also to retake Jerusalem.
When the First Crusade was preached in 1095, the Christian princes of northern Iberia had been fighting their way out of the mountains of Galicia and Asturias, the Basque Country and Navarre, with increasing success, for about a hundred years. The fall of Moorish Toledo to the Kingdom of León in 1085 was a major victory, but the turning points of the Reconquista still lay in the future. The disunity of the Muslim emirs was an essential factor, and the Christians, whose wives remained safely behind, were hard to beat: they knew nothing except fighting, they had no gardens or libraries to defend, and they worked their way forward through alien territory populated by infidels, where the Christian fighters felt they could afford to wreak havoc. All these factors were soon to be replayed in the fighting grounds of the East. Spanish historians have traditionally seen the Reconquista as the molding force in the Castilian character, with its sense that the highest good was to die fighting for the Christian cause of one's country.
While the Reconquista was the most prominent example of Christian reaction against Muslim conquests, it is not the only such example. The Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard had conquered the "toe of Italy," Calabria, in 1057 and was holding what had traditionally been Byzantine territory against the Muslims of Sicily. The maritime states of Pisa, Genoa and Catalonia were all actively fighting Islamic strongholds in Majorca and Sardinia, freeing the coasts of Italy and Catalonia from Muslim raids. Much earlier, of course, the Christian homelands of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, and so on had been conquered by Muslim armies. This long history of losing territories to a religious enemy created a powerful motive to respond to Byzantine emperor Alexius I's call for holy war to defend Christendom, and to recapture the lost lands, starting at the most important one of all, Jerusalem itself.
The papacy of Pope Gregory VII had struggled mightily with reservations about the doctrinal validity of a holy war and the shedding of blood for the Lord and had, painfully and with difficulty, resolved the question in favour of justified violence. More importantly to the Pope, the Christians who made pilgrimages to the Holy Land were being persecuted. Actions against Arians and other heretics offered historical precedents in a society where violence against unbelievers, and indeed against other Christians, was acceptable and common. Saint Augustine of Hippo, Gregory's intellectual model, had justified the use of force in the service of Christ in The City of God, and a Christian "just war" might enhance the wider standing of an aggressively ambitious leader of Europe, as Gregory saw himself. The northerners would be cemented to Rome and their troublesome knights could see the only kind of action that suited them. Previous attempts by the church to stem such violence, such as the concept of the "Peace of God", were not as successful as hoped. To the south of Rome, Normans were showing how such energies might be unleashed against both Arabs (in Sicily) and Byzantines (on the mainland). A Latin hegemony in the Levant would provide leverage in resolving the Papacy's claims of supremacy over the Patriarch of Constantinople, which had resulted in the Great Schism of 1054, a rift that might yet be resolved through the force of Frankish arms.
In the Byzantine homelands, the Eastern Emperor's weakness was revealed by the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, which reduced the Empire's Asian territory to a region in western Anatolia and around Constantinople. A sure sign of Byzantine desperation was the appeal of Alexius I Comnenus to his enemy, the Pope, for aid. But Gregory was occupied with the Investiture Controversy and could not call on the German emperor, so a crusade never took shape.
For Gregory's more moderate successor, Pope Urban II, a crusade would serve to reunite Christendom, bolster the Papacy, and perhaps bring the East under his control. The disaffected Germans and the Normans were not to be counted on, but the heart and backbone of a crusade could be found in Urban's own homeland among the northern French.
After the First Crusade
On a popular level, the first crusades unleashed a wave of impassioned, personally felt pious Christian fury that was expressed in the massacres of Jews that accompanied the movement of the Crusader mobs through Europe, as well as the violent treatment of "schismatic" Orthodox Christians of the east. The violence against the Orthodox Christians culminated in the sack of Constantinople in 1204, in which most of the Crusading armies took part. It should be noted, however that during many of the attacks on Jews, local Bishops and Christians made attempts to protect Jews from the mobs that were passing through. Jews were often offered sanctuary in churches and other Christian buildings, but the mobs broke in and killed them anyway.
The 13th century crusades never expressed such a popular fever, and after Acre fell for the last time in 1291, and after the extermination of the Occitan Cathars in the Albigensian Crusade, the crusading ideal became devalued by Papal justifications of political and territorial aggressions within Catholic Europe.
The last crusading order of knights to hold territory were the Knights Hospitaller. After the final fall of Acre, they took control of the island of Rhodes, and in the sixteenth century, were driven to Malta. These last crusaders were finally unseated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.
A list of the crusades
A traditional numbering scheme for the crusades gives us nine during the 11th to 13th centuries, as well as other smaller crusades that are mostly contemporaneous and unnumbered. There were frequent "minor" crusades throughout this period, not only in Palestine, but also in the Iberian Peninsula and central Europe, against not only Muslims, but also Christian heretics and personal enemies of the Papacy or other powerful monarchs. Such "crusades" continued into the 16th century, until the Renaissance and Reformation when the political and religious climate of Europe was significantly different to that of the Middle Ages. The following is a list of crusades.
First Crusade 1095–1099
Full article: First Crusade
After Byzantine emperor Alexius I called for help with defending his empire against the Seljuk Turks, in 1095 at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Turks, a war which would count as full penance. Crusader armies managed to defeat two substantial Turkish forces at Dorylaeum and at Antioch, finally marching to Jerusalem with only a fraction of their original forces. In 1099, they took Jerusalem by assault and massacred the population. As a result of the First Crusade, several small Crusader states were created, notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Crusade of 1101
Full article: Crusade of 1101
Following this crusade there was a second, less successful wave of crusaders. This is known as the crusade of 1101 and may be considered an adjunct of the first crusade.
Second Crusade 1145–1149
Full article: Second Crusade
After a period of relative peace, in which Christians and Muslims co-existed in the Holy Land, Muslims conquered the town of Edessa. A new crusade was called for by various preachers, most notably by Bernard of Clairvaux. French and German armies, under the Kings Louis VII and Conrad III respectively, marched to Jerusalem in 1147, but failed to accomplish any major successes, and indeed endangered the survival of the Crusader states with a strategically foolish attack on Damascus. By 1150, both leaders had returned to their countries without any result.
Third Crusade 1189–1192
Full article: Third Crusade
Also known as the Kings' Crusade. In 1187, Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, recaptured Jerusalem. Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade, which was led by several of Europe's most important leaders: Philip II of France, Richard I of England and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick drowned in Cilicia in 1190, leaving an unstable alliance between the English and the French. Philip left, in 1191, after the Crusaders had recaptured Acre from the Muslims. The Crusader army headed down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They defeated the Muslims near Arsuf and were in sight of Jerusalem. However, the inability of the Crusaders to thrive in the locale due to inadequate food and water resulted in an empty victory. Richard left the following year after establishing a truce with Saladin. On Richard's way home, his ship was wrecked and he ended up in Austria, where his enemy, Duke Leopold, captured him. The Duke delivered Richard to Emperor Henry VI, who held the King for ransom. By 1197, Henry felt himself ready for a Crusade, but he died in the same year of malaria. Richard I died during fighting in Europe and never returned to the Holy Land.
Fourth Crusade 1201–1204
Full article: Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was initiated in 1202 by Pope Innocent III, with the intention of invading the Holy Land through Egypt. The Venetians, under Doge Enrico Dandolo, gained control of this crusade and diverted it first to the Christian city of Zara (Zadar), then to Constantinople, where they attempted to place a Byzantine exile on the throne. After a series of misunderstandings and outbreaks of violence, the Crusaders sacked the city in 1204.
Full article: Albigensian Crusade
The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars of southern France. It was a decades-long struggle that had as much to do with the concerns of northern France to extend its control southwards as it did with heresy. In the end, both the Cathars and the independence of southern France were exterminated.
Full article: Children's Crusade
The Children's Crusade is a series of possibly fictitious or misinterpreted events of 1212. The story is that an outburst of the old popular enthusiasm led a gathering of children in France and Germany, which Pope Innocent III interpreted as a reproof from heaven to their unworthy elders. The leader of the French army, Stephen, led 30,000 children. The leader of the German army, Nicholas, led 7,000 children. None of the children actually reached the Holy Land; they were either sold as slaves, settled along the route to Jerusalem, or died of hunger during the journey.
Fifth Crusade 1217–1221
Full article: Fifth Crusade
By processions, prayers, and preaching, the Church attempted to set another crusade on foot, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) formulated a plan for the recovery of the Holy Land. In the first phase, a crusading force from Hungary, Austria joined the forces of the king of Jerusalem and the prince of Antioch to take back Jerusalem. In the second phase, crusader forces achieved a remarkable feat in the capture of Damietta in Egypt in 1219, but under the urgent insistence of the papal legate, Pelagius, they proceeded to a foolhardy attack on Cairo, and an inundation of the Nile compelled them to choose between surrender and destruction.
Sixth Crusade 1228–1229
Full article: Sixth Crusade
Emperor Frederick II had repeatedly vowed a crusade, but failed to live up to his words, for which he was excommunicated by the Pope in 1228. He nonetheless set sail from Brindisi, landed in Palestine and through diplomacy he achieved unexpected success, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem being delivered to the Crusaders for a period of ten years.
Seventh Crusade 1248–1254
Full article: Seventh Crusade
The papal interests represented by the Templars brought on a conflict with Egypt in 1243, and in the following year a Khwarezmian force summoned by the latter stormed Jerusalem. The Crusaders were drawn into battle at La Forbie in Gaza. The Crusader army and its Bedouin mercenaries were outnumbered by Baibars' force of Khwarezmian tribesmen and were completely defeated within forty-eight hours. This battle is considered by many historians to have been the death knell to the Kingdom of Outremer. Although this provoked no widespread outrage in Europe as the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 had done, Louis IX of France organized a crusade against Egypt from 1248 to 1254, leaving from the newly constructed port of Aigues-Mortes in southern France. It was a failure and Louis spent much of the crusade living at the court of the Crusader kingdom in Acre. In the midst of this crusade was the first Shepherds' Crusade in 1251.
Eighth Crusade 1270
Full article: Eighth Crusade
The eighth Crusade was organized by Louis IX in 1270, again sailing from Aigues-Mortes, initially to come to the aid of the remnants of the Crusader states in Syria. However, the crusade was diverted to Tunis, where Louis spent only two months before dying. The Eighth Crusade is sometimes counted as the Seventh, if the Fifth and Sixth Crusades are counted as a single crusade. The Ninth Crusade is sometimes also counted as part of the Eighth.
Ninth Crusade 1271–1272
Full article: Ninth Crusade
The future Edward I of England undertook another expedition in 1271, after having accompanied Louis on the Eighth Crusade. He accomplished very little in Syria and retired the following year after a truce. With the fall of Antioch (1268), Tripoli (1289), and Acre (1291), the last traces of the Christian rule in Syria disappeared.
Northern Crusades (Baltic and Germany)
Full article: Northern Crusades
The Crusades in the Baltic Sea area and in Central Europe were efforts by (mostly German) Christians to subjugate and convert the peoples of these areas to Christianity. These Crusades ranged from the 12th century, contemporaneous with the Second Crusade, to the 16th century.
Between 1232 and 1234, there was a crusade against the Stedingers. This crusade was special, because the Stedingers were not heathens or heretics, but fellow Roman Catholics. They were free Frisian farmers who resented attempts of the count of Oldenburg and the archbishop Bremen-Hamburg to make an end to their freedoms. The archbishop excommunicated them and the pope declared a crusade in 1232. The Stedingers were defeated in 1234.
Crusade against the Tatars
In the 14th century, Khan Tokhtamysh combined the Blue and White Hordes forming the Golden Horde. It seemed that the power of the Golden Horde had begun to rise, but in 1389, Tokhtamysh made the disastrous decision of waging war on his former master, the great Tamerlane. Tamerlane's hordes rampaged through southern Russia, crippling the Golden Horde's economy and practically wiping out its defenses in those lands.
After losing the war, Tokhtamysh was then dethroned by the party of Khan Temur Kutlugh and Emir Edigu, supported by Tamerlane. When Tokhtamysh asked Vytautas the Great for assistance in retaking the Horde, the latter readily gathered a huge army which included Lithuanians, Ruthenians, Russians, Mongols, Moldavians, Poles, Romanians and Teutonic knights.
In 1398, the huge army moved from Moldavia and conquered the southern steppe all the way to the Dnieper River and northern Crimea. Inspired by their great successes, Vytautas declared a 'Crusade against the Tatars' with Papal backing. Thus, in 1399, the army of Vytautas once again moved on the Horde. His army met the Horde's at the Vorskla River, slightly inside Lithuanian territory.
Although the Lithuanian army was well equipped with cannons, it could not resist a rear attack from Edigu's reserve units. Vytautas hardly escaped alive. Many princes of his kin—possibly as many as 20—were killed (as for example, Stefan Musat, Prince of Moldavia and two of his brothers, while a fourth was badly injured ), and the victorious Tatars besieged Kiev. "And the Christian blood flowed like water, up to the Kievan walls," as one chronicler put it. Meanwhile, Temur Kutlugh died from the wounds received in the battle, and Tokhtamysh was killed by one of his own men.
Crusades in the Balkans
To counter the expanding Ottoman Empire, several crusades were launched in the XV. century. The most notable are:
- the Crusade of Nicopolis (1396) organized by Sigismund of Luxemburg king of Hungary culminated in the Battle of Nicopolis. It is often called the last of the crusades.
- the Crusade of Varna (1444) led by the Polish-Hungarian king Władysław Warneńczyk ended in the Battle of Varna
- and the Crusade of 1456 organized to lift the Siege of Belgrade led by John Hunyadi and Giovanni da Capistrano
The Aragonese Crusade
The Aragonese Crusade or Crusade of Aragón was declared by Pope Martin IV against the King of Aragón, Peter III the Great, in 1284 and 1285.
The Alexandrian Crusade
The Alexandrian Crusade of October 1365 was a minor seaborne Crusade against Muslim Alexandria led by Peter I of Cyprus. His motivation was at least as commercial as religious. It had limited success.
The Hussite Crusade
The Hussite Crusade(s), also known as the "Hussite Wars," or the "Bohemian Wars," involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1420 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were arguably the first European war in which hand-held gunpowder weapons such as muskets made a decisive contribution. The Hussite warriors were basically infantry, and their many defeats of larger armies with heavily armoured knights helped effect the infantry revolution. In the end, it was an inconclusive war.
The Swedish Crusades
The Swedish conquest of Finland in the Middle Ages has traditionally been divided into three "crusades": the First Swedish Crusade around 1155 CE, the Second Swedish Crusade about 1249 CE and the Third Swedish Crusade in 1293 CE.
The first crusade is purely legendary, and according to most historians today, never took place as described in the legend and did not result in any ties between Finland and Sweden. For the most part, it was made up in the late 13th century to date the Swedish rule in Finland further back in time. No historical record has also survived describing the second one, but it probably was done and ended up in the concrete conquest of southwestern Finland. The third one was against Novgorod, and is properly documented by both parties of the conflict.
According to archaeological finds, Finland was largely Christian already before the said crusades. Thus the "crusades" can rather be seen as ordinary expeditions of conquest whose main target was territorial gain. The expeditions were dubbed as actual crusades only in the 19th century by the national-romanticist Swedish and Finnish historians.
Historical perspectives on the Crusades
Western versus Eastern interpretation
Western and Eastern historiography present variously different views on the Crusades, in large part because "crusade" invokes dramatically opposed sets of associations - "crusade" as a valiant struggle for a supreme cause, and "crusade" as a byword for barbarism and aggression. This contrasting view is not recent, as Christians have in the past struggled with the tension of military activity and teachings of Christ to "love ones enemies" and to "turn the other cheek". For these reasons, the crusades have been controversial even among contemporaries.
Western sources speak of both heroism, faith and honour (emphasized in chivalric romance), but also of acts of brutality. Islamic and Orthodox Christian chroniclers tell stories of barbarian savagery and brutality<ref>ISBN 0-8052-0898-4. Crusades Through Arab Eyes, Amin Maalouf</ref>.
Likewise, some modern historians in the west express moral outrage - for example Steven Runciman, the leading western historian of the Crusades for much of the 20th century, ended his history with a resounding condemnation:
- "High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed.. the Holy War was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God".
1908 Catholic Encyclopedia perspective
One traditional Catholic perspective is presented in the 1908 version of the Catholic Encyclopedia. This viewpoint sees the Crusades as defensive wars against Muslim aggression and "Mohammedan tyranny" <ref> Catholic Encyclopedia, "Crusades" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm) (The reference to "defensive wars" is found in the conclusion, the reference to "Mohammedan tyranny" is found in the introduction.</ref>. The 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes its traditional Roman Catholic viewpoints on the legacy of the Crusades:
|Notwithstanding their final overthrow, the Crusades hold a very important place in the history of the world... It must be said that the advantages thus acquired by the popes were for the common safety of Christendom. From the outset the Crusades were defensive wars and checked the advance of the Mohammedans who, for two centuries, concentrated their forces in a struggle against the Christian settlements in Syria; hence Europe is largely indebted to the Crusades for the maintenance of its independence." [Catholic Encyclopedia <ref> Catholic Encyclopedia, "Crusades" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm) </ref>]|
It should be noted that this viewpoint is not the only viewpoint on the Crusades to be found in the Roman Catholic tradition.
Like Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians also see the Crusades as attacks by "the barbarian West", but centered on the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Many relics and artifacts taken from Constantinople are still in the West, in the Vatican and elsewhere. Disagreement currently exists between modern Turks and Greeks over the claimant rights to the Greek Horses on the facade of St. Mark's in Venice. The Greeks argue that the frieze is inherently part of Greek culture and identity, similar to the "Elgin" Marbles and the Turks counter that the freize originated from what is now modern-day Istanbul. A picture of Turkish popular history of the Crusades can be assembled by compiling text of official Turkish brochures on Crusader fortifications in the Aegean coast and coastal islands.
Countries of Central Europe, despite the fact that they also belonged to Western Christianity, were the most skeptical about the idea of Crusades. Many cities in Hungary were sacked by passing bands of Crusaders; Polish Prince Leszek I the White refused to join a Crusade, allegedly because of the lack of mead in Palestine. Later on, Poles were themselves subject to conquest from the Crusaders (see Teutonic Order), and therefore championed the notion that pagans have the right to live in peace and have property rights to their lands (see Pawel Wlodkowic).
Popular reputation in Western Europe
In Western Europe, the Crusades have traditionally been regarded by laypeople as heroic adventures, though the mass enthusiasm of common people was largely expended in the First Crusade, from which so few of their class returned. Today, the "Saracen" adversary is crystallized in the lone figure of Saladin; his adversary Richard the Lionheart is, in the English-speaking world, the archetypical crusader king, while Frederick Barbarossa (illustration, below left) and Louis IX fill the same symbolic niche in German and French culture. Even in contemporary areas, the crusades and their leaders were romanticized in popular literature; the Chanson d'Antioche was a chanson de geste dealing with the First Crusade, and the Song of Roland, dealing with the era of the similarly romanticized Charlemagne, was directly influenced by the experience of the crusades, going so far as to replace Charlemagne's historic Basque opponents with Muslims. A popular theme for troubadours was the knight winning the love of his lady by going on crusade in the east.
In the 14th century, Godfrey of Bouillon was united with the Trojan War and the adventures of Alexander the Great against a backdrop for military and courtly heroics of the Nine Worthies who stood as popular secular culture heroes into the 16th century, when more critical literary tastes ran instead to Torquato Tasso and Rinaldo and Armida, Roger and Angelica. Later, the rise of a more authentic sense of history among literate people brought the Crusades into a new focus for the Romantic generation in the romances of Sir Walter Scott in the early 19th century. Crusading imagery could be found even in the Crimean War, in which the United Kingdom and France were allied with the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and in World War I, especially Allenby's capture of Jerusalem in 1917 (illustration, below right).
Legacy of the Crusades
The Crusades had profound and lasting historical impacts.
The Crusades have been remembered relatively favourably in western Europe (countries which were, at the time of the Crusades, Roman Catholic countries). (Nonetheless, there have certainly been many vocal critics of the Crusades in Western Europe since the renaissance.)
Politics and culture
The Crusades had an enormous influence on the European Middle Ages. At times, much of the continent was united under a powerful Papacy, but by the 14th century, the development of centralized bureaucracies (the foundation of the modern nation-state) was well on its way in France, England, Burgundy, Portugal, Castile, and Aragon partly because of the dominance of the church at the beginning of the crusading era.
Although Europe had been exposed to Islamic culture for centuries through contacts in Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, much knowledge in areas such as science, medicine, and architecture, was transferred from the Islamic to the western world during the crusade era.
The military experiences of the crusades also had their effects in Europe; for example, European castles became massive stone structures, as they were in the east, rather than smaller wooden buildings as they had typically been in the past.
In addition, the Crusades are seen as having opened up European culture to the world, especially Asia:
| The Crusades brought about results of which the popes had never dreamed, and which were perhaps the most, important of all. They re-established traffic between the East and West, which, after having been suspended for several centuries, was then resumed with even greater energy; they were the means of bringing from the depths of their respective provinces and introducing into the most civilized Asiatic countries Western knights, to whom a new world was thus revealed, and who returned to their native land filled with novel ideas... If, indeed, the Christian civilization of Europe has become universal culture, in the highest sense, the glory redounds, in no small measure, to the Crusades."
[Catholic Encyclopedia <ref> Catholic Encyclopedia, "Crusades" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm) </ref>]
Along with trade, new scientific discoveries and inventions made their way east or west. Arabic advances (including the development of Algebra, optics, and refinement of engineering) made their way west and sped the course of advancement in European universities that led to the Renaissance in later centuries.
The invasions of German crusaders prevented formation of the large Lithuanian state incorporating all Baltic nations and tribes. Lithuania was destined to become small country and forced to expand to the East looking for resources for wars with crusaders. <ref>(Lithuanian) Tomas Baranauskas. Prūsų sukilimas—prarasta galimybė sukurti kitokią Lietuvą (Prussian rebellion—the lost chance of creating different Lithuania). 20 September, 2006</ref>
The need to raise, transport and supply large armies led to a flourishing of trade throughout Europe. Roads largely unused since the days of Rome saw significant increases in traffic as local merchants began to expand their horizons. This was not only because the Crusades prepared Europe for travel, but rather that many wanted to travel after being reacquainted with the products of the Middle East. This also aided in the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, as various Italian city-states from the very beginning had important and profitable trading colonies in the crusader states, both in the Holy Land and later in captured Byzantine territory.
Increased trade brought many things to Europeans that were once unknown or extremely rare and costly. These goods included a variety of spices, ivory, jade, diamonds, improved glass-manufacturing techniques, early forms of gun powder, oranges, apples, and other Asian crops, and many other products.
Wider geo-political effects
Despite the ultimate defeat in the Middle East, the Crusaders were successful in regaining the Iberian Peninsula permanently and slowed down the military expansion of Islam.
The successful international coordination of Crusading forces from different countries, and the reduction (not cessation) in fighting between Christian monarchs that the crusading ideal encouraged, allowed Christian Europe to remain strong in the face of Muslim military expansionism. It is therefore likely that a considerable part of modern Christian Europe (particularly Spain, Portugal, and the Balkans) would be Muslim today had the Crusades not occurred, and it is furthermore possible that Christianity might have been largely replaced by Islam throughout Europe. (This is one traditional Roman Catholic perspective: See below.)
The achievement of preserving Christian Europe must not, however, ignore the eventual fall of the Christian Byzantine Empire, which was in large part due to the Fourth Crusade's extreme aggression against Eastern Orthodox Christianity, largely at the instigation of the infamous Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice and financial backer of the Fourth Crusade. The Byzantine lands had been a stable Christian state since the fourth century. After the Crusaders took Constantinople in 1204, the Byzantines never again had as large or strong a state and finally fell in 1453.
Taking into account the fall of the Byzantines, the Crusades could be portrayed as the defence of Roman Catholicism against the violent expansion of Islam, rather than the defence of Christianity as a whole against Islamic expansion. On the other hand, the Fourth Crusade could be presented as an anomaly. It is also possible to find a compromise between these two points of view, specifically that the Crusades were Roman Catholic campaigns which primarily sought to fight Islam to preserve Catholicism, and secondarily sought to thereby protect the rest of Christianity; in this context, the Fourth Crusade's crusaders could have felt compelled to abandon the secondary aim in order to retain Dandolo's absolutely essential logistical support in achieving the primary aim. Even so, the Fourth Crusade was condemned by the Pope of the time, and is now generally remembered throughout Europe as a disgraceful failure.
The crusades had profound but localized effects upon the Islamic world, where the equivalents of "Franks" and "Crusaders" remained expressions of disdain. Muslims traditionally celebrate Saladin, the Kurdish warrior, as a hero against the Crusaders. In the 21st century, some in the Arab world, such as the Arab independence movement and Pan-Islamism movement, continue to call Western involvement in the Middle East a "crusade". The Crusades were regarded by the Islamic world as cruel and savage onslaughts by European Christians.
The Crusaders' atrocities against Jews in the German and Hungarian towns, later also in those of France and England, and in the massacres of Jews in Palestine and Syria have become a significant part of the history of anti-Semitism, although no Crusade was ever declared against Jews. These attacks left behind for centuries strong feelings of ill will on both sides. The social position of the Jews in western Europe was distinctly worsened, and legal restrictions increased during and after the Crusades. They prepared the way for the anti-Jewish legislation of Pope Innocent III and formed the turning-point in medieval anti-Semitism.
The Crusading period brought with it many narratives from Jewish sources. Among the better-known Jewish narratives are the chronicles of Solomon Bar Simson and Rabbi Eliezer bar Nathan, The Narrative of the Old Persecutions by Mainz Anonymous, and Sefer Zekhirah, and The Book of Remembrance, by Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn.
In the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, in the remote highland region of Khevsureti, a tribe called the Khevsurs are thought to possibly be direct descendants of a party of crusaders, who got separated from a larger army and have remained in isolation with some of the crusader culture intact. Into the 20th century, relics of armor, weaponry and chain mail were still being used and passed down in such communities. Russian serviceman and ethnographer Arnold Zisserman who spent 25 years (1842–67) in the Caucasus, believed the exotic group of Georgian highlanders were descendants of the last Crusaders based on their customs, language, art and other evidence.<ref></ref> American traveler Richard Halliburton (1900–1939) saw and recorded the customs of the tribe in 1935<ref>Sword and Buckler Fighting among the Lost Crusaders. Excerpts of Halliburton's observations</ref>.
Etymology and use of the term "crusade"
- For other uses of the term "crusade", see Crusade (disambiguation).
The crusades were never referred to as such by their participants. The original crusaders were known by various terms, including fideles Sancti Petri (the faithful of St. Peter) or milites Christi (knights of Christ). They saw themselves as undertaking an iter, a journey, or a peregrinatio, a pilgrimage, though pilgrims were usually forbidden from carrying arms. Like pilgrims, each crusader swore a vow (a votus), to be fulfilled on successfully reaching Jerusalem, and they were granted a cloth cross (crux) to be sewn into their clothes. This "taking of the cross", the crux, eventually became associated with the entire journey; the word "crusade" (coming into English from the French croisade, the Italian crociata, or the Portuguese cruzada) developed from this.
Since the 17th century, the term "crusade" has carried a connotation in the West of being a righteous campaign, usually to "root out evil", or to fight for a just cause. In a non-historical common or theological use, "crusade" has come to have a much broader emphatic or religious meaning —substantially removed from "armed struggle."
Ardent activists may also refer to their causes as "crusades," as in the "Crusade against Adult Illiteracy," or a "Crusade against Littering." In recent years, however, the use of "crusade" as a positive term has become less frequent in order to avoid giving offense to Muslims or others offended by the term. The term may also sarcastically or pejoratively characterize the zealotry of agenda promoters, for example with the monicker "Public Crusader" or the campaigns "Crusade against abortion," and the "Crusade for prayer in public schools."
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References and further reading
- Andrea, Alfred J. Encyclopedia of the Crusades. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-313-31659-7).
- Asbridge, Thomas S. The First Crusade: A New History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-517823-8); New York: Free Press, 2005 (paperback, ISBN 0-7432-2084-6).
- Boas, Adrian J. Archaeology of the Military Orders: A Survey of the Urban Centres, Rural Settlements and Castles of the Military Orders in the Latin East (c. 1120–1291). Oxford: Routledge, 2006 (ISBN 0-415-29980-2).
- Cahen, Claude. "An Introduction to the First Crusade", Past and Present, No. 6. (Nov., 1954), pp. 6–30.
- Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades (2nd ed.). London: Penguin, 1998 (paperback, ISBN 0-14-026653-4).
- Clark, Victoria. The Far-Farers: A Journey from Viking Iceland to Crusader Jerusalem. MacMillan, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 0-333-90219-X); New York: Walker & Company, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 0-8027-1422-6); London: Pan Macmillan, 2005 (paperback, ISBN 0-330-48976-3).
- The Experience of Crusading. 1. Western Approaches. Edited by Marcus Bull and Norman Housley. Cambridge, MA; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-81168-6).
- The Experience of Crusading. 2. Defining the Crusader Kingdom. Edited by Peter Edbury and Jonathan Phillips. Cambridge, MA; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-78151-5).
- Fonnesberg-Schmidt, Iben. The Popes and the Baltic Crusades 1147–1254 (The Northern World; 26). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 90-04-15502-3).
- France, John. Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade. Cambridge, MA; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-41969-7); 1997 (paperback, ISBN 0-521-58987-8).
- Gabrieli, Francesco (editor and translator). Arab Historians of the Crusades. New York: Dorset Press, 1989 (hardcover, ISBN 0-88029-452-3); Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 1984 (paperback, ISBN 0-520-05224-2).
- Harris, Jonathan. Byzantium and the Crusades. London, Hambledon Continuum, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 1-85285-298-4); 2006 (paperback, ISBN 1-85285-501-0).
- Hillenbrand, Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999 (hardcover, ISBN 1-57958-210-9); New York: Routledge, 2000 (paperback, ISBN 0-415-92914-8).
- Holt, P.M. The Age of the Crusades: The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517. Longman, 1986 (paperback, ISBN 0-582-49303-X); 1989
- Housley, Norman. Contesting the Crusades (Contesting the Past). Blackwell Publishing, 2006 ISBN 1-4051-1189-5).
- Jaspert, Nikolas. The Crusades. Oxford: Routledge, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-415-35967-8; paperback, ISBN 0-415-35968-6).
- Maalouf, Amin, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. 1984; ISBN 0-8052-0898-4
- Laiou, Angeliki E. The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World, (e-book online), includes chapter on Historiography of the crusades.
- Madden, Thomas F. The New Concise History of the Crusades. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005 (hardcover, updated edition, ISBN 0-7425-3822-2).
- Marshall, Christopher. Warfare in the Latin East, 1192-1291. Cambridge: Cambridge Press. 1992 (ISBN 0521477425).
- Mayer, Hans Eberhard. The Crusades (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, 1988 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-873098-5; paperback, ISBN 0-19-873097-7).
- Murray, Alan V. (ed.) The Crusades: An Encyclopedia. Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 1-57607-862-0).
- Oldenbourg, Zoé. The Crusades. 1965; London: Phoenix Press, 2001 (paperback, ISBN 1-84212-223-1).
- Oldenbourg, Zoé. Massacre at Montségur: A History of the Albigensian Crusade. New York: Pantheon Books, 1962.
- Payne, Robert. The Dream and the Tomb, a History of the Crusades. New York:Dorset Press. 1984 (paperback,ISBN 0815410867).
- Phillips, Jonathan. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-224-06986-1); Pimlico, 2005 (paperback, ISBN 1-84413-080-0).
- Regan, Geoffrey. Lionhearts: Richard I, Saladin, and the Era of the Third Crusade. New York: Walker & Company, 1999 (hardcover, ISBN 0-8027-1354-8).
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History (2nd ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005 (paperback, ISBN 0-300-10128-7).
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986 (hardcover, ISBN 0-8122-8026-1; paperback, ISBN 0-8122-1363-7).
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The First Crusaders, 1095–1131. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (New ed.), 1997 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-59005-1); 1998 (paperback, ISBN 0-521-64603-0).
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan (ed.). The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-820435-3); New ed., 2001 (paperback, ISBN 0-19-285428-3). As The Oxford History of the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002 (paperback, ISBN 0-19-280312-3).
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan. What were the Crusades? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1977 (hardcover, ISBN 0-87471-944-5); Ft. Collins, CO: Ignatius Press, 2002 (paperback, ISBN 0-89870-954-7); New York: Palgrave MacMillan (3rd rev. ed.), 2002 (paperback, ISBN 0-333-94904-8).
- Runciman, Steven, A History of the Crusades (3 vols.). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1951 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-20554-9; hardcover, ISBN 0-521-35997-X); 1987 (paperback reprint, ISBN 0-521-34772-6, ISBN 0-521-34770-X)
- Setton, Kenneth. ed., A History of the Crusades. Madison, 1969–1989 (e-book online)
- Smail, R.C. Crusading Warfare, 1097–1193 (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: New Series). Cambridge, MA; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995 (paperback, ISBN 0-521-45838-2).
- Tyerman, Christopher. "The Cross and the State", History Today, September 2006, Volume 56, Issue 9, pp. 28–30.
- Tyerman, Christopher. Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press (USA), 2005 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-280325-5).
- Tyerman, Christopher. God's War: A New History of the Crusades. London: Allen Lane, 2006 (ISBN 0-7139-9220-4).
- Urban, William L. The Baltic Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 1994 (hardcover, ISBN 0-929700-10-4).
- Urban, William L. The Livonian Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-929700-45-7).
- Urban, William L. The Prussian Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 2000 (paperback, ISBN 0-929700-28-7).
- Urban, William L. The Samogitian Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 1989 (hardcover, ISBN 0-929700-03-1).
- E.L. Skip Knox, The Crusades, a virtual college course through Boise State University.
- Paul Crawford, Crusades: A Guide to Online Resources, 1999.
- Thomas F. Madden, The Real History of the Crusades
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