Chronology and History of the Crusades

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CRUSSAS (1095–1270), military colonization campaigns of Europeans in the Middle East (to Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia) at the end of the 11th–13th centuries. in the form of a pilgrimage with the aim of liberating the Holy Land (Palestine) and the Holy Sepulcher (in Jerusalem) from the “infidels” (Muslims). Going to Palestine , their participants sewed red crosses on their chests, returning, they sewed it on their backs; hence the name “crusaders”.


The crusades are based on a whole complex of demographic, socio-economic, political, religious and psychological motives, which were not always realized by their participants.

Started in the 11th century in Western Europe, demographic growth ran into limited resources, primarily land as the main means of production (low labor productivity and productivity). Demographic pressure escalated due to the progress of commodity-money relations, which made a person more dependent on market conditions, and his economic situation less stable. A significant surplus of population arose, which could not be provided within the framework of the medieval economic system: it was formed at the expense of the younger sons of feudal lords (in a number of countries the right of majorat dominated – inheritance of paternal land holdings only by the eldest son), impoverished knights, small and landless peasantry. According to J. Le Goff, “the Crusades were perceived as a cleansing agent for the overpopulation of the West.”Also on the topic:


For the Italian trading city-republics of Venice, Genoa, Pisa, expansion to the East was a continuation of their struggle with the Arabs for dominance in the Mediterranean. Their support for the crusading movement was determined by the desire to establish themselves on the shores of the Levant and to control the main trade routes to Mesopotamia, Arabia and India.

Demographic pressure has contributed to the growth of political tensions. Civil strife, feudal wars, and peasant uprisings have become a constant feature of European life. The crusades made it possible to channel the aggressive energy of the frustrated groups of feudal society into a just war against the “infidels” and thereby ensure the consolidation of the Christian world.Also on the topic:


In the late 1080s – early 1090s, socio-economic and political difficulties were exacerbated by a series of natural disasters (harsh winters, floods) and epidemics (primarily “fever” and plague), which hit primarily Germany, the Rhine regions and East France . This contributed to the widespread spread of religious exaltation, asceticism, and hermitage in all strata of medieval society. The need for religious deeds and even self-sacrifice, which ensure the atonement of sins and the achievement of eternal salvation, found its adequate expression in the idea of ​​a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the liberation of the Holy Sepulcher.

In psychological terms, the desire to master the riches of the East and the hope for eternal salvation were combined with the thirst for wandering and adventure inherent in Europeans. Traveling into the unknown made it possible to escape from the familiar monotonous world and get rid of the hardships and disasters associated with it. The expectation of the afterlife bliss was intricately intertwined with the search for an earthly paradise.

The initiator and main organizer of the crusading movement was the papacy, which significantly strengthened its position in the second half of the 11th century. As a result of the Cluniac movement and the reforms of Gregory VII (1073-1085), the authority of the Catholic Church increased significantly, and it could again claim the role of leader of Western Christendom.



With the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate at the end of the 10th c. Palestine came under the rule of Fatimid Egypt; increased hostility of Muslims to Christians. The situation became even more tense after the capture of Jerusalem by the Seljuk Turks (1078). Europe was disturbed by stories about the atrocities of Muslims in relation to Christian shrines and the cruel persecution of believers. In 1071-1081, the Seljuks took away Asia Minor from the Byzantine Empire. In the early 1090s, the Byzantine emperor Alexei I Komnenos (1081–1118), pressed by the Turks, Pechenegs and Normans, appealed to the West for help.

CLERMONT CATHEDRAL – History of the Crusades

Taking advantage of the appeal of Alexei I, the papacy took the initiative in organizing a holy war to free the Holy Sepulcher. On November 27, 1095, at the Clermont Cathedral (France), Pope Urban II (1088-1099) delivered a sermon to the nobility and clergy, urging Europeans to stop internecine strife and go on a crusade to Palestine, promising its participants remission of sins and eternal salvation. The pope’s speech was enthusiastically received by a crowd of thousands, repeating like a spell of the word “God wills it”, which became the slogan of the crusaders.

PEASANT CRUSADE –History of the Crusades

Numerous preachers spread the appeal of Urban II throughout Western Europe. Knights and peasants sold their property in order to acquire the necessary military equipment, and sewed red crosses on their clothes. In mid-March 1096, crowds of peasants (about 60-70 thousand people), mainly from Rhineland Germany and North-Eastern France, led by the ascetic preacher Peter Hermit, set off on a campaign without waiting for the knights to gather. They passed along the valleys of the Rhine and Danube, crossed Hungary and in the summer of 1096 reached the limits of the Byzantine Empire; their path was marked by robberies and violence against the local population and Jewish pogroms. To prevent excesses, Alexei I demanded that they not stay anywhere for more than three days; on the territory of the Empire, they followed under the vigilant supervision of the Byzantine troops. In July, the significantly thinned (almost halved) militia of the crusader peasants approached Constantinople. The Byzantines hastily transported him across the Bosporus to the town of Tsibotus. Contrary to the advice of Peter the Hermit, the peasant detachments moved toNicaea , the capital of the Seljuk state. On October 21, they were ambushed by Sultan Kylych-Arslan I in a narrow desert valley between Nicaea and the village of Dragon, and were utterly defeated; most of the crusader peasants died (about 25 thousand people).

The first knightly crusade began in August 1096. It was attended by knights from Lorraine led by Duke Gottfried IV of Bouillon, from Northern and Central France led by counts Robert of Norman, Robert of Flanders and Stephen of Bloise, from southern France led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse and from Southern Italy (Normans), led by Prince Bohemond of Tarentum; the spiritual leader of the campaign was Bishop Ademar of Puy. The path of the Lorraine knights went along the Danube, the Provençal and northern French ones – through Dalmatia, the Norman ones – along the Mediterranean Sea. From the end of 1096 they began to concentrate in Constantinople. Despite the tense relations between the crusaders and the local population, sometimes resulting in bloody clashes, Byzantine diplomacy managed (March-April 1097) to get them to take a fief oath to Alexei I and the obligation to return to the Empire all its former possessions in Asia Minor, captured by the Seljuk Turks. By the beginning of May, the crusading detachments crossed the Bosphorus and in the middle of the month, together with the Byzantines, they laid siege to Nicaea. The knights defeated the army of Kylych-Arslan I under the walls of the city, but his garrison surrendered not to them, but to the Byzantines (June 19); to pacify the crusaders, Alexei I gave them part of the booty.

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At the end of June, the knights set out on a campaign against Antioch. On July 1, they utterly defeated the Seljuks at Dorilei and, having passed through the interior regions of Asia Minor with great difficulty (the Turks used the scorched earth tactics), reached Iconium in mid-August. Having repelled the attack of the Seljuks at Heraclia, the crusaders entered Cilicia and in October, having crossed the Antitaurus ridge, entered Syria. On October 21, they laid siege to Antioch, but the siege dragged on. At the beginning of 1098 a detachment of knights captured Edessa; their leader Baldwin of Bouillon founded here the first state of the crusaders – the county of Edessa. The crusaders were able to take Antioch only on June 2, 1098. On June 28, they defeated the army of the Emir of Mosul, who had come to the rescue of the city. In September 1098, by agreement between the leaders of the crusaders, Antioch was transferred to the possession of Bohemond of Taren; thus,

After the fall of Antioch, the leaders of the crusading army began to conquer the Syrian fortresses, which caused discontent among ordinary soldiers who wanted to continue the campaign. In the winter of 1098/1099, they revolted in Maar and forced their leaders to move in the spring of 1099 to Jerusalem, which by that time had passed from the hands of the Seljuks under the authority of the Egyptian sultan. On June 7, 1099, they laid siege to the city and on July 15 took it by storm, exterminating the entire non-Christian population. The winners created the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which was headed by Gottfried of Bouillon with the title of “guardian of the Holy Sepulcher.” On August 12, Gottfried defeated the Fatimid forces near Ascalon, ending their rule in Palestine.

In the first quarter of the 12th c. The crusaders’ possessions continued to expand. In 1101 they captured Tripoli and Caesarea, and in 1104 – Acre. In 1109 the county of Tripoli was created, and Bertrand, son of Raymond IV of Toulouse, became its ruler. Beirut and Sidon fell in 1110, and Tire in 1124.

CRUSADER STATES – History of the Crusades

The Jerusalem king was the supreme suzerain of the Palestinian and Syrian lands that fell under Christian rule; the count of Edessa, the prince of Antioch and the count of Tripoli were dependent on him as vassals. Each state was organized according to the Western European feudal model: it was divided into baronies, and baronies into knightly fiefs. Vassals were obliged, at the call of their overlord, to carry out military service at any time of the year. Direct vassals of the rulers sat in the council (in the Kingdom of Jerusalem – Assis of the High Court). Legal relations were regulated by a local judicial officer – the Jerusalem Assises. In the port cities, Italian merchants (Genoese, Venetians, Pisans) played a leading role; they had wide privileges and had their own fortified quarters, managed by elected consuls. The dependent population consisted of peasants of local origin and slaves (mostly prisoners).

In ecclesiastical terms, the crusading lands formed the Jerusalem Patriarchate, which was divided into fourteen bishoprics. The local Catholic Church had great wealth and considerable political weight. In Syria and Palestine, there was an extensive system of monasteries.

In the crusader states, special spiritual and chivalric orders arose, whose task was to fight against the “infidels” and provide conditions for the pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land (protection of roads and shrines, construction of hospitals and hospices). Their members were both monks (brought vows of chastity, poverty and obedience) and knights (could take up arms to defend the faith). The orders were headed by grand masters and chapters directly subordinate to the pope. The first such order in Palestine was the Order of the Johnites, or Hospitallers (the Order of St. John the Merciful; from 1522 the Order of Malta), which was constituted in 1113; its members wore red cloaks with a white cross. In 1128 the Order of the Templars (Order of the Temple of Solomon) took shape; they dressed in white cloaks with a red cross. In 1190/1191 the German knights founded the Teutonic Order (Order of the Holy Virgin Mary); their distinguishing feature was a white cloak with a black cross.

SUBSEQUENT CRUSADES – History of the Crusades

After the emir of Mosul, Imad ad-Din Zengi, captured Edessa in December 1144, in 1145 Pope Eugene III (1145–1153) called for a new crusade. The fiery preacher Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux convinced the French King Louis VII (1137–1180) and the German Emperor Conrad III (1138–1152) to lead it. In 1147 the German army moved into Asia along the Danube route through Hungary; the French followed two months later; the total number of the two armies was 140 thousand people. Byzantine Emperor Manuel I (1143-1180) did not provide them with serious material support and hurried to smuggle them across the Bosporus. Without waiting for the French, the Germans headed deep into Asia Minor. At the end of October 1147, they were defeated by the Seljuk Turks at Dorilea, retreated to Constantinople, and then reached Acre by sea;

The French army, having reached Constantinople, crossed the Bosporus and moved to Syria by the southern road (through Lydia). In the battle of Laodicea south of the river. Meander Louis VII failed, retreated to Pamphylia and sailed from Attalia to the Holy Land.

In March 1148 German and French troops arrived in Palestine. Together with the detachments of the Jerusalem king Baldwin III, they undertook two campaigns against Damascus and Ascalon, which ended in complete failure. In September 1148 Conrad III evacuated his army from Palestine; soon his example was followed by Louis VII.

In the early 1150s, the position of the crusading states in Palestine improved somewhat: in 1153 they managed to capture Ascalon. However, in the mid-1170s, they faced a new threat: in 1176, the new Egyptian sultan Salah ad-Din (Saladin) subjugated Syria, and the crusaders found themselves in the ring of his possessions. In 1187, one of the largest feudal lords of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Reno of Shatillon, captured a caravan with the sister of Salah ad-Din, which provoked an attack by the Sultan on the crusader states. In June 1187, the Egyptians inflicted a series of defeats on the knights near the Lake of Gennesaret, and on July 5 they defeated their main forces at Hattin, capturing King Guy de Lusignan, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Renaud of Châtillon and a large number of knights. On September 19, Salah ad-Din laid siege to Jerusalem and on October 2 forced him to surrender. Then he captured Ascalon, Acre, Tiberias and Beirut,

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At the call of Pope Clement III (1187–1191), a third crusade was organized, led by the German emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1152–1190), the French king Philip II Augustus (1180–1223) and the English king Richard I the Lionheart (1189–1199). ). The Germans were the first to act (end of April 1189). Having entered into an alliance with the Hungarian king Bela III (1173–1196) and the Seljuk sultan Kılıç-Arslan II, Frederick I led his army along the Danube route. He freely reached the borders of Byzantium, but, once on its territory, he faced the hostility of Emperor Isaac II Angelos (1185-1195). Nevertheless, he managed to negotiate with the Byzantines, who allowed the German army to spend the winter in Adrianople. Spring 1190 Frederick Icrossed the Hellespont to Asia Minor and moved to Syria through Lydia, Phrygia and Pisidia. The Germans captured Iconium, crossed the Taurus and entered Isauria; On June 10, 1190 Frederick I drowned while swimming in the Kalikadne (Salef) river not far from Seleucia. The army was led by his son Duke Friedrich of Swabia; passing Cilicia and Syria, he reached Palestine and laid siege to Acre.

In 1190, Philip II Augustus and Richard I concentrated their troops in Messina (Sicily). But the conflict that broke out between them led to the division of the forces of the crusaders. In March 1191 the French left Sicily and soon joined the Germans who were besieging Acre. They were followed by the English, who on the way captured Cyprus, which belonged to the Byzantine dynast Isaac Comnenus; in June 1191 they landed near Acre. A few weeks later the fortress fell. A new conflict with Richard I forced Philip II Augustusevacuate their troops from Palestine. In the second half of 1191 – the first half of 1192, Richard I undertook a series of military operations against Salah ad-Din, but did not achieve any success; three of his attempts to take Jerusalem failed. In September 1192, he made peace with the Egyptian sultan, according to which the Christians regained the coastal strip from Jaffa to Tire, the Muslims pledged to destroy Ascalon, but retained Jerusalem. October 9, 1192 English troops left Palestine. Cyprus, Richard I, ceded to the former King of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan, who founded the independent Kingdom of Cyprus (1192–1489).

FOURTH CRUSADE – History of the Crusades

The failure of the third crusade prompted Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) to start campaigning for a crusade against Egypt, the main enemy of the crusader states, who owned Jerusalem. In the summer of 1202, detachments of knights, led by the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, gathered in Venice. Since the crusader leaders did not have the funds to pay for sea transportation to Palestine, they agreed to the Venetian demand to take part in a punitive expedition against the deposited port of Dara (Zadar) in Dalmatia. In October 1202, the knights sailed from Venice and at the end of November, after a short siege, captured and plundered Dara. Innocent III excommunicated the crusaders from the church, promising, however, to lift the excommunication if they continued their campaign in Egypt. But at the beginning of 1203, at the request of the Byzantine prince Alexei Angel, who fled to the West, son of Emperor Isaac II, deposed in 1095 by his brother Alexei III (1195-1203), the knights decided to intervene in the internal political struggle in Byzantium and restore Isaac to the throne. At the end of June 1203 they laid siege to Constantinople. In mid-July, after the flight of Alexei III, the power of Isaac II was restored, and Tsarevich Alexei became his co-ruler under the name of Alexei IV. However, the emperors could not pay the crusaders the huge amount of two hundred thousand ducats promised to them, and in November 1203 a conflict broke out between them. On April 5, 1204, as a result of a popular uprising, Isaac II and Alexei IV were overthrown, and the new emperor Alexei V Murzufl entered into an open confrontation with the knights. On April 13, 1204, the crusaders broke into Constantinople and subjected it to a terrible defeat. Several crusading states were founded on the site of the Byzantine Empire: Latin Empire (1204–1261), Kingdom of Thessaloniki (1204–1224), Duchy of Athens (1205–1454), Principality of Morea (Achaean) (1205–1432); a number of islands went to the Venetians. As a result, the Fourth Crusade, the purpose of which was to strike at the Muslim world, led to the final split of Western and Byzantine Christianity.

At the beginning of the 13th c. In Europe, the belief spread that only sinless children are able to liberate the Holy Land. The fiery speeches of the preachers, who mourned the capture of the Holy Sepulcher by the “infidels”, found a wide response among children and adolescents, mainly from peasant families in Northern France and Rhineland Germany. The church authorities for the most part did not interfere with this movement. In 1212, two streams of young crusaders headed for the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Detachments of French teenagers, led by the shepherd Etienne, reached Marseille and boarded ships. Some of them died during a shipwreck; the rest, upon arrival in Egypt, were sold into slavery by the shipowners. The same fate befell the German children who sailed east from Genoa. Another group of young crusaders from Germany reached Rome and Brindisi; the pope and the local bishop freed them from their vows and sent them home. Few of the participants in the Children’s Crusade returned home. This tragic event, perhaps, formed the basis of the legend of the pied-piper flutist who took all the children away from the city of Hammeln.

In 1215 Innocent III called on the West for a new crusade; Honorius III (1216-1227), who succeeded him, repeated this call in 1216. In 1217, the Hungarian king Endre II landed with an army in Palestine. In 1218, more than two hundred ships arrived there with crusaders from Friesland and Rhineland Germany. In the same year, a huge army under the command of the King of Jerusalem Jean de Brienne and the Grand Masters of the three spiritual and knightly orders invaded Egypt and besieged the strategically important fortress of Damietta at the mouth of the Nile. In November 1219 the fortress fell. At the request of the papal legate, Cardinal Pelagius, the crusaders rejected the proposal of the Egyptian Sultan al-Kamil to exchange Damietta for Jerusalem and launched an offensive against Cairo, but found themselves sandwiched between the Egyptian troops and the flooded Nile.

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Under pressure from Popes Honorius III and Gregory IX (1227–1241), the German Emperor Frederick II (1220–1250), husband of the heiress to the throne of Jerusalem, Iolanthe, undertook a campaign in Palestine in the summer of 1228. Taking advantage of al-Kamil’s conflict with the ruler of Damascus, he entered into an alliance with the Egyptian sultan; under the terms of the ten-year peace concluded between them, al-Kamil freed all Christian captives and returned Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the coast from Beirut to Jaffa to the Kingdom of Jerusalem; The Holy Land was open to pilgrimage for both Christians and Muslims. On March 17, 1229, Frederick II solemnly entered Jerusalem, where he laid on himself the royal crown, and then sailed to Italy.

At the end of the ten-year peace period, the crusaders launched several offensive operations against the Muslims. In 1239, Thibaut I, king of Navarre (1234–1253), landed in Palestine, but his actions had no success. More successful was the campaign of 1240–1241 by English knights under the command of Earl Richard of Cornwall, brother of King Henry III (1216–1272); Richard obtained from the Egyptian Sultan Ayyub the release of all Christian captives and departed for his homeland. But in 1244 Ayyub, gathering an army of Turkish mercenaries, invaded Palestine, captured Jerusalem and defeated the crusaders in the battle of Gaza. In 1247, the Muslims captured Ascalon. In response to the appeal of Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254), the French king Louis IX(1226-1270) in February 1249 sailed from Marseilles with a large fleet and landed in Egypt. The French occupied Damietta left by the Muslims and moved to Cairo, but they were surrounded and were forced to capitulate. The entire rank and file of the army was exterminated. With great difficulty, Louis IX managed to conclude a truce and gain freedom for a huge ransom of two hundred thousand livres; Damietta was returned to the Egyptians. The king went to Acre and for four years conducted military operations in Syria with varying success. In 1254 he returned to France.

In the second half of the 1250s, the positions of Christians in Syria and Palestine strengthened somewhat, as the Muslim states had to fight the Tatar-Mongol invasion. But in 1260 the Egyptian sultan Baybars subjugated Syria and began to gradually capture the fortresses of the crusaders: in 1265 he took Caesarea, in 1268 – Jaffa, in the same year captured Antioch, putting an end to the existence of the Principality of Antioch. The last attempt to help the crusader states was the Eighth Crusade, led by Louis IX, the Sicilian king Charles of Anjou (1264–1285) and the Aragonese king Jaime I(1213–1276). The plan was to attack Tunisia first and then Egypt. In 1270, the crusaders landed in Tunisia, but because of a plague that broke out among them (Louis IX was among the dead), they interrupted the campaign, making peace with the Tunisian sultan, who pledged to pay tribute to the king of Sicily and give the Catholic clergy the right to freely practice worship in their possessions.

This failure made inevitable the fall of the last strongholds of the crusaders in Syria and Palestine. From 1289, the Muslims captured Tripoli, liquidating the county of the same name, and in 1291 they took Beirut, Sidon and Tire. The loss in the same year of Acre, which was desperately defended by the Templars and Johnites, was the end of crusading rule in the East.

CASTLE OF THE CRUSADERS Krak des Chevaliers (Syria). Chronology and History of the Crusades.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE CRUSADES – History of the Crusades

The Crusades brought innumerable disasters to the peoples of the Middle East and were accompanied by the destruction of material and cultural values. They (especially the Fourth Crusade) undermined the strength of the Byzantine Empire , thereby hastening its final fall in 1453. The Crusades ended in failure, and therefore did not solve any of the long-term problems facing medieval Europe. Nevertheless, they had a significant impact on its further development. They allowed for a certain period to ease the demographic, social and political tension in Western Europe. This contributed to the strengthening of royal power and the creation of national centralized states in France and England.

The Crusades led to a temporary strengthening of the Catholic Church: it significantly strengthened its financial position, expanded its sphere of influence, created new military and religious institutions – orders that played an important role in subsequent European history (the St. John in the defense of the Mediterranean from the Turks, the Teutons in the German aggression in the Baltics). The papacy confirmed its status as the leader of Western Christendom. At the same time, they made the gulf between Catholicism and Orthodoxy insurmountable, deepened the confrontation between Christianity and Islam, and sharpened the Europeans’ intransigence towards any form of religious dissent.

It used to be believed that the Crusades significantly enriched the European food flora, gave impetus to the development of production technologies and led to the expansion of cultural potential through borrowing from the East. Recent research, however, does not support these claims. At the same time, the Crusades did not leave their mark on the Western economy and culture. The robbery of overseas countries became a catalyst for property stratification and the progress of commodity-money relations. The economic power of the Italian trading republics increased, having received huge profits from freight and significantly strengthening their commercial positions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, seriously ousting the Arabs and Byzantines. The crusades contributed to the social mobility of Europeans, overcoming their fear of the unknown; psychologically, they prepared the Great Geographical Discoveries. And, finally, the crusading movement and the crusading spirit were reflected in medieval literature (knightly romance, troubadour poetry, historical writing). Among the most significant works are the historiographical and biographical works of William of Tire, Geoffroy de Villardouin, Robert de Clary and Jean de Joinville, poemsThe Song of Antioch and the History of the Holy War .

According to J. Le Goff, the crusades were “the pinnacle of the expansionism of medieval Christendom”, “the first experience of European colonialism.”

History of the Crusades – Literature:

Fences M.A. Crusaders in the East. M., 1960
Robert de Clary . Conquest of Constantinople . M., 1986
Fences M. A. The history of the crusades in documents and materials. M., 1986
Dobiash-Rozhdestvenskaya O. A. Cross and sword. M., 1991
Geoffrey de Villardouin . Conquest of Constantinople . M., 1993
Anna Komnin . Alexiad . St. Petersburg, 1996

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