THE CRUSADES PORTAL

Introduction

 Medieval illustration of a battle during the Second Crusade
A battle of the Second Crusade (illustration of William of Tyre's Histoire d'Outremer, 1337)

The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades were the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule. The term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns, such as Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars or the Baltic Crusades. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage.

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor,  I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia. One of Urban's aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the Eastern Mediterranean holy sites that were under Muslim control but scholars disagree as to whether this was the primary motive for Urban or those who heeded his call. Urban's strategy may have been to unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, which had been divided since the East–West Schism of 1054 and to establish himself as head of the unified Church. The initial success of the Crusade established the first four Crusader states in the Eastern Mediterranean: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli. The enthusiastic response to Urban's preaching from all classes in Western Europe established a precedent for other Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the Church. Some were hoping for a mass ascension into heaven at Jerusalem or God's forgiveness for all their sins. Others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, to obtain glory and honour or to seek economic and political gain.The two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were six major Crusades and numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291 there were a number of abortive attempts such as the Nicopolis Crusade of 1395.

The Wendish Crusade and those of the Archbishop of Bremen brought all the North-East Baltic and the tribes of Mecklenburg and Lusatia under Catholic control in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century the Teutonic Order created a Crusader state in Prussia and the French monarchy used the Albigensian Crusade to extend the kingdom to the Mediterranean Sea. The rise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century prompted a Catholic response which led to further defeats at Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444. Catholic Europe was in chaos and the final pivot of Christian–Islamic relations was marked by two seismic events: the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 and a final conclusive victory for the Spanish over the Moors with the conquest of Granada in 1492. The idea of Crusading continued, not least in the form of the Knights Hospitaller, until the end of the 18th century but the focus of Western European interest moved to the New World.

Selected article

Alexios I Komnenos
The Treaty of Devol was an agreement made in 1108 between Bohemond I of Antioch and Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (pictured), in the wake of the First Crusade. Although the treaty was not immediately enforced, it was intended to make the Principality of Antioch a vassal state of the Byzantine Empire.

At the beginning of the First Crusade, Crusader armies assembled at Constantinople and promised to return to the Byzantine Empire any land they might conquer. However, Bohemond, the son of Alexios' former enemy Robert Guiscard, claimed the Principality of Antioch for himself. Alexios did not recognize the legitimacy of the Principality, and Bohemond went to Europe looking for reinforcements. He launched into open warfare against Alexios, but he was soon forced to surrender and negotiate with Alexios at the imperial camp at Diabolis (Devol), where the Treaty was signed.

Under the terms of the Treaty, Bohemond agreed to become a vassal of the Emperor and to defend the Empire whenever needed. He also accepted the appointment of a Greek Patriarch. In return, he was given the titles of sebastos and doux (duke) of Antioch, and he was guaranteed the right to pass on to his heirs the County of Edessa. Following this, Bohemond retreated to Apulia and died there. His nephew, Tancred, who was regent in Antioch, refused to accept the terms of the Treaty. Antioch came temporarily under Byzantine sway in 1137, but it was not until 1158 that it truly became a Byzantine vassal.

The Treaty of Devol is viewed as typical example of the Byzantine tendency to settle disputes through diplomacy rather than warfare, and was both a result of and a cause for the distrust between the Byzantines and their Western European neighbors.

Selected biography

Canterbury Cathedral, seat of Hubert Walter
Hubert Walter (died July 13, 1205) was chief justiciar of England and archbishop of Canterbury in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. He owed his early advancement to his uncle Ranulf de Glanvill, who helped him become a clerk in the Exchequer. Walter served King Henry II of England in many different ways, not only in the financial administration. After an unsuccessful candidacy to the see of York, Walter was elected bishop of Salisbury shortly after the ascension of King Henry's son Richard I to the throne of England.

Walter accompanied King Richard on the Third Crusade, and was one of the principal persons involved in raising Richard's ransom after the king had been captured in Germany while returning home from Crusade. As a reward for his faithful service, Walter was selected to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193. Walter also served as justiciar for Richard until 1198. While justiciar, Walter was responsible for raising the money that Richard needed to prosecute his wars in France. He also set up a system of justice that involved the selection of four knights in each hundred to administer justice, a system that was the beginnings of justices of the peace. He also revived the dispute of his predecessor to set up a church in rivalry to Christ Church Priory in Canterbury, that was eventually settled by the pope ordering him to quit the plan.

With Richard's death in 1199 and the elevation of Richard's brother John to the throne, Hubert was named Lord Chancellor of England, an office he held until his death in 1205. Hubert had been instrumental in ensuring that John became king, and it was Hubert that crowned John. While chancellor, Hubert began the keeping of the Charter Roll, a record of all charters issued by the chancery. Walter also served John as a diplomat, undertaking a number of missions to France. Walter was not noted for holiness in life or learning, but historians have judged him one of the most outstanding governmental ministers in English History.

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Peirol from a 14th-century chansonnier.

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The Crusades

Background: PilgrimageHoly LandChurch of the Holy SepulchreGreat German Pilgrimage of 1064–65Theology of sacred violenceBattle of ManzikertCouncil of PiacenzaCouncil of ClermontJihad

Realms and dynasties: Great Seljuq EmpireFatimid CaliphateKingdom of JerusalemPrincipality of AntiochCounty of TripoliCounty of EdessaKingdom of CyprusArmenian Kingdom of CiliciaVassals of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of CyprusAyyubid dynastyAlmohad CaliphateLatin EmpireMonastic state of the Teutonic KnightsMamluksMongol EmpireHouse of LusignanDuchy of AthensDuchy of the ArchipelagoRise of the Ottoman EmpireLatin Patriarchate of JerusalemArchdiocese of TyreArchdiocese of NazarethLatin Patriarchate of AntiochLatin Patriarchate of Constantinople

Cities and castles: JerusalemCitadel of Salah Ed-DinConstantinopleAcreKrak des ChevaliersFamagusta

Campaigns and battles: First CrusadeSiege of JerusalemSeljuk–Crusader WarReconquistaSecond CrusadeSiege of DamascusNorthern CrusadesBattle of HattinThird CrusadeBattle of ArsufLivonian CrusadeGerman CrusadeCrusades in ItalyFourth CrusadeAlbigensian CrusadeBattle of Las Navas de TolosaChildren's CrusadeFifth CrusadeSiege of DamiettaPrussian CrusadeSixth CrusadeSeventh CrusadeBattle of Al MansurahShepherds' CrusadeEighth CrusadeNinth CrusadeAragonese CrusadeAlexandrian CrusadeBattle of NicopolisHussite WarsCrusade of VarnaFall of ConstantinopleOttoman invasion of OtrantoFall of RhodesOttoman–Venetian WarsOttoman–Habsburg warsBattle of MohácsBattle of LepantoSpanish ArmadaBattle of Vienna

People: al-Hakim bi-Amr AllahAlexios I KomnenosPope Urban IIGodfrey of BouillonBernard of ClairvauxBaldwin of ExeterSaladinRichard I of EnglandLouis IX of FranceGuy of LusignanJames I of AragonMarino Sanuto the ElderPope Clement VITimurJohn HunyadiMuhammad XII of GranadaThomas Stukleyal-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

Military orders: Knights TemplarHistory of the Knights TemplarKnights HospitallerMilitary orders of the ReconquistaTeutonic Knights

Legacy: History of the Jews and the CrusadesSovereign Military Order of Malta

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# Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din
# Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani
# Baha ad-Din
# Children's Crusade

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