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(kro͞o`sādz), series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.

First Crusade


In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph UmarUmar
or Omar
, c.581–644, 2d caliph (see caliphate). At first hostile to Islam, he was converted by 618, becoming an adviser to Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr as caliph without opposition in 634. In his reign Islam became an imperial power.
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. Pilgrimages (see pilgrimpilgrim,
one who travels to a shrine or other sacred place out of religious motives. Pilgrimages are a feature of many religions and cultures. Examples in ancient Greece were the pilgrimages to Eleusis and Delphi. Pilgrimages are well established in India (e.g.
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) were not cut off at first, but early in the 11th cent. the FatimidFatimid
or Fatimite
, dynasty claiming to hold the caliphate on the basis of descent from Fatima, a daughter of Muhammad the Prophet. In doctrine the Fatimids were related to other Shiite sects.
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 caliph Hakim began to persecute the Christians and despoiled the Holy Sepulcher. Persecution abated after his death (1021), but relations remained strained and became more so when Jerusalem passed (1071) from the comparatively tolerant Egyptians to the Seljuk TurksTurks,
term applied in its wider meaning to the Turkic-speaking peoples of Turkey, Russia, Central Asia, Xinjiang in China (Chinese Turkistan), Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, Iran, and Afghanistan.
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, who in the same year defeated the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV at Manzikert.

Late in the 11th cent., Byzantine Emperor Alexius IAlexius I
(Alexius Comnenus) , 1048–1118, Byzantine emperor (1081–1118). Under the successors of his uncle, Isaac I, the empire had fallen prey to anarchy and foreign invasions.
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, threatened by the Seljuk Turks, appealed to the West for aid. This was not the first appeal of the kind; while it may have helped to determine the time and the route of the First Crusade, 1095–99, its precise import is difficult to estimate. Modern historians have speculated that two internal problems also helped trigger the First Crusade: an attempt, begun by Pope Gregory VIIGregory VII, Saint,
d. 1085, pope (1073–85), an Italian (b. near Rome) named Hildebrand (Ital. Ildebrando); successor of Alexander II. He was one of the greatest popes. Feast: May 25.
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, to reform the church, and the pressing need to strengthen the weakened Papacy itself. Direct impetus was given the crusade by the famous sermon of Pope Urban IIUrban II,
c.1042–1099, pope (1088–99), a Frenchman named Odo (or Eudes) of Lagery; successor of Victor III. He studied at Reims and became a monk at Cluny. He went to Rome, as prior of Cluny, early in the reign of St. Gregory VII.
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 at the Council of Clermont (now Clermont-Ferrand) in 1095. Exaggerating the anti-Christian acts of the Muslims, Urban exhorted Christendom to go to war for the Sepulcher, promising that the journey would count as full penance and that the homes of the absent ones would be protected by a truce. The battle cry of the Christians, he urged, should be Deus volt [God wills it]. From the crosses that were distributed at this meeting the Crusaders took their name. Bishop AdemarAdemar
or Adhémar
, d. 1098, French prelate, bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay. At the Council of Clermont (1095), he energetically promoted the First Crusade (see Crusades) and was designated as papal legate on that expedition.
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 of Le Puy-en-Velay was designated as papal legate for the crusade, and Count Raymond IVRaymond IV,
c.1038–1105, count of Toulouse (1093–1105), leader in the First Crusade (see Crusades). He was also count of Saint Gilles and marquis of Provence. The first great prince to take the Cross, he was the chief planner and organizer of the expedition.
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 of Toulouse was the first of the leaders of the expedition to take the cross.

Proclaimed by many wandering preachers, notably Peter the HermitPeter the Hermit,
c.1050–1115, French religious leader. In 1095 he was a very successful preacher of the First Crusade (see Crusades), and he led one of its bands.
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, the movement spread through Europe and even reached Scandinavia. It is estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 heeded the call and took up the cause of the First Crusade. The chief factors that contributed to this enthusiastic response were the increase in the population and prosperity of Western Europe; the high point that religious devotion had reached; the prospect of territorial expansion and riches for the nobles, and of more freedom for the lower classes; the colonial projects of the Normans (directed against the Byzantine Empire as much as against the Muslim world); the desire, particularly of the Italian cities, to expand trade with the East; and a general awakening to the lure of travel and adventure.

Course of the Crusade

The conflict between spiritual and material aims, apparent from the first, became increasingly serious. The organized host of the crusade was preceded in the spring of 1096 by several undisciplined hordes of French and German peasants. Walter Sans AvoirWalter Sans Avoir,
Fr. Gautier Sans-Avoir, d. 1096, French Crusader, known as Walter the Penniless. He joined Peter the Hermit as leader of an army to the Holy Land.
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 (Walter the Penniless) led a French group, which passed peacefully through Germany and Hungary but sacked the district of Belgrade. The Bulgarians retaliated, but Walter reached Constantinople by midsummer. He was joined there by the followers of Peter the Hermit, whose progress had been similar. A German group started off by robbing and massacring the Jews in the Rhenish cities and later so provoked the king of Hungary that he attacked and dispersed them.

The bands that had reached Constantinople were speedily transported by Alexius I to Asia Minor, where they were defeated by the Turks. The survivors either joined later bands or returned to Europe. Alexius began to take fright at the proportions the movement was assuming. When, late in 1096, the first of the princes, Hugh of Vermandois, a brother of Philip I of France, reached Constantinople, the emperor persuaded him to take an oath of fealty. Godfrey of BouillonGodfrey of Bouillon
, c.1058–1100, Crusader, duke of Lower Lorraine. He fought for Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV against Pope Gregory VII and against Rudolf of Swabia and was rewarded (c.1082) with the duchy of Lower Lorraine, which he claimed through his mother.
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 and his brothers Eustace and Baldwin (later Baldwin IBaldwin I
(Baldwin of Boulogne), 1058?–1118, Latin king of Jerusalem (1100–1118), brother and successor of Godfrey of Bouillon, whom he accompanied on the First Crusade (see Crusades).
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 of Jerusalem), Raymond IV of Toulouse, Bohemond IBohemond I
, c.1056–1111, prince of Antioch (1099–1111), a leader in the First Crusade (see Crusades); elder son of Robert Guiscard. With his father he fought (1081–85) against the Byzantine emperor Alexius I.
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, TancredTancred,
1076–1112, Crusader. He became a Crusader in 1096 with his uncle Bohemond I. After distinguishing himself at Nicaea, he struck out into Cilicia and besieged Tarsus, but was deprived of the city, after its fall, by Baldwin (Baldwin I of Jerusalem) and was forced to
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, Robert of Normandy, and Robert II of Flanders arrived early in 1097. At Antioch all except Tancred and Raymond (who promised only to refrain from hostilities against the Byzantines) took the oath to Alexius, which bound them to accept Alexius as overlord of their conquests. Bohemond's subsequent breach of the oath was to cause endless wrangling.

The armies crossed to Asia Minor, took Nicaea (1097), defeated the Turks at Dorylaeum, and, after a seven-month siege, took Antioch (1098) and slaughtered nearly all of its inhabitants, including its Christians. The campaign was completed in July, 1099, by the taking of Jerusalem, where they massacred the city's Muslims and Jews. The election of Godfrey of Bouillon as defender of the Holy Sepulcher marked the beginning of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (see Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom ofJerusalem, Latin Kingdom of,
feudal state created by leaders of the First Crusade (see Crusades) in the areas they had wrested from the Muslims in Syria and Palestine. In 1099, after their capture of Jerusalem, the Crusaders chose Godfrey of Bouillon king; he declined the title,
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). A Latin patriarch was elected. Other fiefs, theoretically dependent on Jerusalem, were created as the crusade's leaders moved to expand their domains. These were the counties of Edessa (Baldwin) and Tripoli (Raymond) and the principality of Antioch (Bohemond).

The First Crusade thus ended in victory. It was the only crusade that achieved more than ephemeral results. Until the ultimate fall (1291) of the Latin Kingdom, the brunt of the fighting in the Holy Land fell on the Latin princes and their followers and on the great military orders, the Knights HospitalersKnights Hospitalers,
members of the military and religious Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, sometimes called the Knights of St. John and the Knights of Jerusalem. The symbol of the Order of St.
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 and the Knights TemplarsKnights Templars
, in medieval history, members of the military and religious order of the Poor Knights of Christ, called the Knights of the Temple of Solomon from their house in Jerusalem.
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, that arose out of the Crusades.

The Later Crusades

The later Crusades were for the most part only expeditions to assist those who already were in the Holy Land and defend the lands they had captured; they are a single current, and dates are given them only for convenience.

Second Crusade

The Second Crusade, 1147–49, was preached by St. Bernard of ClairvauxBernard of Clairvaux, Saint
, 1090?–1153, French churchman, mystic, Doctor of the Church. Born of noble family, in 1112 he entered the Cistercian abbey of Cîteaux, taking along 4 or 5 brothers and some 25 friends.
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 after the fall (1144) of Edessa to the Turks. It was led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad IIIConrad III,
c.1093–1152, German king (1138–52), son of Frederick, duke of Swabia, and Agnes, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV; first of the Hohenstaufen dynasty.
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, whose army set out first, and by King Louis VIILouis VII
(Louis the Young), c.1120–1180, king of France (1137–80), son and successor of King Louis VI. Before his accession he married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
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 of France. Both armies passed through the Balkans and pillaged the territory of the Byzantine emperor, Manuel IManuel I
(Manuel Comnenus) , c.1120–1180, Byzantine emperor (1143–80), son and successor of John II. He began his reign with a war against the Seljuk Turks, the subjugation of Raymond of Antioch, and an alliance with the German king, Conrad III, against Roger of
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, who provided them with transportation to Asia Minor in order to be rid of them. The German contingent, already decimated by the Turks, merged (1148) with the French, who had fared only slightly better, at Acre (Akko). A joint attack on Damascus failed because of jealousy and, possibly, treachery among the Latin princes of the Holy Land. Conrad returned home in 1148 and was followed (1149) by Louis. The Second Crusade thus ended in dismal failure.

Third Crusade

The Third Crusade, 1189–92, followed on the capture (1187) of Jerusalem by SaladinSaladin
, Arabic Salah ad-Din, 1137?–1193, Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, the great opponent of the Crusaders, b. Mesopotamia, of Kurdish descent.
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 and the defeat of Guy of LusignanGuy of Lusignan
, d. 1194, Latin king of Jerusalem (1186–92) and Cyprus (1192–94), second husband of Sibylla, sister of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. In 1183 he was briefly regent for his brother-in-law, who was incapacitated by leprosy, but Baldwin made Guy's
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, Reginald of ChâtillonReginald of Châtillon
, d. 1187, Crusader, lord of Krak and Montreal in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. He came to the Holy Land in the Second Crusade and married (1153) Constance, daughter of Bohemond II of Antioch.
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, and RaymondRaymond,
c.1140–1187, count of Tripoli (1152–87), great-great-grandson of Raymond IV of Toulouse. He played a leading part in the last years of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Captured (1164) by the Muslims, he was released c.
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 of Tripoli at Hattin. The crusade was preached by Pope Gregory VIII but was directed by its leaders—Richard IRichard I,
 Richard Cœur de Lion
, or Richard Lion-Heart,
1157–99, king of England (1189–99); third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
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 of England, Philip IIPhilip II
or Philip Augustus,
1165–1223, king of France (1180–1223), son of Louis VII. During his reign the royal domains were more than doubled, and the royal power was consolidated at the expense of the feudal lords.
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 of France, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IFrederick I
or Frederick Barbarossa
[Ital.,=red beard], c.1125–90, Holy Roman emperor (1155–90) and German king (1152–90), son of Frederick of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, nephew and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III.
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. Frederick set out first, but was hindered by the Byzantine emperor, Isaac IIIsaac II
(Isaac Angelus) , d. 1204, Byzantine emperor (1185–95, 1203–4). The great-grandson of Alexius I, he was proclaimed emperor by the mob that had killed the unpopular Andronicus I.
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, who had formed an alliance with Saladin. Frederick forced his way to the Bosporus, sacked Adrianople (Edirne), and compelled the Greeks to furnish transportation to Asia Minor. However, he died (1190) in Cilicia, and only part of his forces went on to the Holy Land. Richard and Philip, uneasy allies, arrived at Acre in 1191. The city had been besieged since 1189, but the siege had been prolonged by dissensions between the two chief Christian leaders, Guy of Lusignan and ConradConrad,
d. 1192, Latin king of Jerusalem (1192), marquis of Montferrat, a leading figure in the Third Crusade (see Crusades). He saved Tyre from the Saracens and became (1187) its lord.
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, marquis of Montferrat, both of whom claimed the kingship of Jerusalem.

The city was nevertheless starved out by July, 1191; shortly afterward Philip went home. Richard removed his base to Jaffa, which he fortified, and rebuilt Ascalon (Ashqelon), which the Muslims had burned down. In 1192 he made a three-year truce with Saladin; the Christians retained Jaffa with a narrow strip of coast (all that remained of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem) and the right of free access to the Holy Sepulcher. Antioch and Tripoli were still in Christian hands; Cyprus, which Richard I had wrested (1191) from the Byzantines while on his way to the Holy Land, was given to Guy of Lusignan. In Oct., 1192, Richard left the Holy Land, thus ending the crusade.

Fourth, Children's, and Fifth Crusades

Pope Innocent IIIInnocent III,
b. 1160 or 1161, d. 1216, pope (1198–1216), an Italian, b. Anagni, named Lotario di Segni; successor of Celestine III. Innocent III was succeeded by Honorius III.
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 launched the Fourth Crusade, 1202–1204, which was totally diverted from its original course. The Crusaders, led mostly by French and Flemish nobles and spurred on by Fulk of NeuillyFulk of Neuilly,
Fr. Foulques de Neuilly , d. 1201, French preacher. His sermons and alleged miracles gave him a wide popular following in N France, and in 1199 Pope Innocent III appointed him to preach a new crusade (the Fourth Crusade).
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, assembled (1202) near Venice. To pay some of their passage to Palestine they aided Doge Enrico Dandolo (see under DandoloDandolo
, ancient Venetian family that produced four doges, many admirals, and other prominent citizens. Enrico Dandolo, c.1108–1205, became doge in 1192. He is considered the founder of the Venetian colonial empire.
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, family) and his Venetian forces in recovering the Christian city of Zara (Zadar) on the Dalmatian coast from the Hungarians. The sack of Zara (1202), for which Innocent III excommunicated the crusaders, prefaced more serious political schemes. Alexius (later Alexius IVAlexius IV
(Alexius Angelus), d. 1204, Byzantine emperor (1203–4), son of Isaac II. When his father was deposed, Alexius fled to Italy and then went to Germany. Encouraged by his brother-in-law, Philip of Swabia, he obtained (1202) from the leaders of the Fourth Crusade
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), son of the deposed Byzantine emperor Isaac II and brother-in-law of Philip of SwabiaPhilip of Swabia
, 1176?–1208, German king (1198–1208), son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. After the death (1197) of his brother, German King and Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, he unsuccessfully attempted to secure the succession in Germany of his infant nephew,
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, a sponsor of the crusade, joined the army at Zara and persuaded the leaders to help him depose his uncle, Alexius IIIAlexius III
(Alexius Angelus) , d. after 1210, Byzantine emperor (1195–1203). He acceded to power by deposing and blinding his brother Isaac II. This act served as pretext for the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) to attack Constantinople (1203).
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. In exchange, he promised large sums of money, aid to the Crusaders in conquering Egypt, and the union of Roman and Eastern Christianity under the control of the Roman church. The actual decision to turn on Constantinople was largely brought about by Venetian pressure. The fleet arrived at the Bosporus in 1203; Alexius III fled, and Isaac II and Alexius IV were installed as joint emperors while the fleet remained outside the harbor. In 1204, Alexius VAlexius V
(Alexius Ducas Mourtzouphlos) , d. 1204, Byzantine emperor (1204), son-in-law of Alexius III. The head of the Byzantine national party, he overthrew emperors Isaac II and Alexius IV (who had been installed by the Crusaders), thus precipitating the conquest and sack of
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 overthrew the emperors. As a result the Crusaders stormed the city, sacked it amid horrendous rape and murder, divided the rich spoils with the Venetians (who brought much of it back to Venice) according to a prearranged plan, and set up the Latin Empire of Constantinople (see Constantinople, Latin Empire ofConstantinople, Latin Empire of,
1204–61, feudal empire established in the S Balkan Peninsula and the Greek archipelago by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) after they had sacked (1204) Constantinople; also known as the empire of Romania
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). The Crusader Baldwin IBaldwin I
, 1171–1205, 1st Latin emperor of Constantinople (1204–5). The count of Flanders (as Baldwin IX), he was a leader in the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades).
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 of Flanders was elected first Latin Emperor of Constantinople, but within a year he was captured and killed by the Bulgarians and succeeded by his brother Henry.

There followed the pathetic interlude of the Children's Crusade, 1212. Led by a visionary French peasant boy, Stephen of Cloyes, children embarked at Marseilles, hoping that they would succeed in the cause that their elders had betrayed. According to later sources, they were sold into slavery by unscrupulous skippers. Another group, made up of German children, went to Italy; most of them perished of hunger and disease.

Soon afterward Innocent III and his successor, Honorius III, began to preach the Fifth Crusade, 1217–21. King Andrew II of Hungary, Duke Leopold VI of Austria, John of BrienneJohn of Brienne
, c.1170–1237, French crusader. He was a count and in 1210 married Mary, titular queen of Jerusalem. Mary died in 1212, and their daughter, Yolande (1212–28), succeeded to the title under John's regency.
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, and the papal legate Pelasius were among the leaders of the expedition, which was aimed at Egypt, the center of Muslim strength. Damietta (Dumyat) was taken in 1219 but had to be evacuated again after the defeat (1221) of an expedition against Cairo.

Sixth Crusade

The Sixth Crusade, 1228–29, undertaken by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IIFrederick II,
1194–1250, Holy Roman emperor (1220–50) and German king (1212–20), king of Sicily (1197–1250), and king of Jerusalem (1229–50), son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and of Constance, heiress of Sicily.
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, was simply a peaceful visit, in the course of which the emperor made a truce with the Muslims, securing the partial surrender of Jerusalem and other holy places. Frederick crowned himself king of Jerusalem, but, occupied with Western affairs, he did nothing when the Muslims later reoccupied the city. Thibaut IVThibaut IV
, 1201–53, French trouvère, count of Champagne. He became Thibaut I, king of Navarre, in 1234, succeeding his uncle Sancho VII. He was defeated while leading a Crusade (1239), but he returned to become a poet and composer of first rank.
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 of Navarre and Champagne, however, reopened (1239) the wars, which were continued by Richard, earl of Cornwall. They were unable to compose the quarrels between the Knights Hospitalers and Knights Templars. In 1244 the Templars, who advocated an alliance with the sultan of Damascus rather than with Egypt, prevailed.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Crusades

A treaty (1244) with Damascus restored Palestine to the Christians, but in the same year the Egyptian Muslims and their Turkish allies took Jerusalem and utterly routed the Christians at Gaza. This event led to the Seventh Crusade, 1248–54, due solely to the idealistic enterprise of Louis IXLouis IX
or Saint Louis,
1214–70, king of France (1226–70), son and successor of Louis VIII. His mother, Blanche of Castile, was regent during his minority (1226–34), and her regency probably lasted even after Louis reached his majority; she was his
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 of France. Egypt again was the object of attack. Damietta fell again (1249); and an expedition to Cairo miscarried (1250), Louis himself being captured. After his release from captivity, he spent four years improving the fortifications left to the Christians in the Holy Land.

The fall (1268) of Jaffa and Antioch to the Muslims caused Louis IX to undertake the Eighth Crusade, 1270, which was cut short by his death in Tunisia. The Ninth Crusade, 1271–72, was led by Prince Edward (later Edward IEdward I,
1239–1307, king of England (1272–1307), son of and successor to Henry III. Early Life

By his marriage (1254) to Eleanor of Castile Edward gained new claims in France and strengthened the English rights to Gascony.
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 of England). He landed at Acre but retired after concluding a truce. In 1289 Tripoli fell to the Muslims, and in 1291 Acre, the last Christian stronghold, followed.

Aftermath and Heritage of the Crusades

After the fall of Acre no further Crusades were undertaken in the Holy Land, although several were preached. Already, however, the term crusade was also being used for other expeditions, sanctioned by the pope, against heathens and heretics. Albert the BearAlbert the Bear,
c.1100–1170, first margrave of Brandenburg (1150–70). He was a loyal vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II, who, as duke of Saxony, helped him take (1123) Lower Lusatia and the eastern march of Saxony. Albert lost these lands in 1131.
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 and Henry the LionHenry the Lion,
1129–95, duke of Saxony (1142–80) and of Bavaria (1156–80); son of Henry the Proud. His father died (1139) while engaged in a war to regain his duchies, and it was not until 1142 that Henry the Lion became duke of Saxony.
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 led (1147) a crusade against the WendsWends
or Sorbs,
Slavic people (numbering about 60,000) of Brandenburg and Saxony, E Germany, in Lusatia. They speak Lusatian (also known as Sorbic or Wendish), a West Slavic language with two main dialects: Upper Lusatian, nearer to Czech, and Lower Lusatian, nearer to
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 in NE Germany; Hermann von SalzaSalza, Hermann von
, d. 1239, grand master (1210–39) of the Teutonic Knights. A friend and adviser of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, he often mediated between the emperor and Pope Gregory IX.
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 in 1226 received crusading privileges for the Teutonic Knights against the Prussians; the pope proclaimed (1228) a crusade against Emperor Frederick II; and several crusades were fought against the AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices

Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
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 and the Hussites (see Hussite WarsHussite Wars,
series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia. It was a religious struggle between Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church, a national struggle between Czechs and Germans, and a social struggle between the landed
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War against the Turks remained the chief problem of Eastern Europe for centuries after 1291. Campaigns akin to crusades were those of John HunyadiHunyadi, John
, Hung. Hunyadi János, c.1385–1456, Hungarian national hero, leader of the resistance against the Ottomans. He was chosen (1441) voivode [governor] of Transylvania under King Uladislaus I (Ladislaus III of Poland) and won numerous victories over
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, John of AustriaJohn of Austria,
1545–78, Spanish admiral and general; illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. He was acknowledged in his father's will and was recognized by his half-brother, Philip II of Spain. In 1569 he fought against the Morisco rebels in Granada.
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 (d. 1578), and John IIIJohn III
(John Sobieski) , 1624–96, king of Poland (1674–96), champion of Christian Europe against the Ottomans. Born to an ancient noble family, he was appointed (1668) commander of the Polish army.
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 of Poland. In their consequences, the crusades in Europe were as important as those in the Holy Land. However, although the Crusades in the Holy Land failed in their chief purpose, they exercised an incalculable influence on Western civilization by bringing the West into closer contact with new modes of living and thinking, by stimulating commerce, by giving fresh impetus to literature and invention, and by increasing geographical knowledge. The crusading period advanced the development of national monarchies in Europe, because secular leaders deprived the pope of the power of decision in what was to have been the highest Christian enterprise.

In the Levant the Crusades left a lasting imprint, not least on the Byzantine Empire, which was disastrously weakened. Physical reminders of the Crusades remain in the monumental castles built by the Crusaders, such as that of Al KarakAl Karak
, town (1997 est. pop. 19,000), W central Jordan. It is also known as Krak. It is a road junction and an agricultural trade center. The ancient Kir Moab (also mentioned in the Bible as Kir Hareseth, Kir Haresh, and Kir Heres), it was the walled citadel of the Moabites.
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. The chief material beneficiaries of the Crusades were Venice and the other great Mediterranean ports.


Outstanding among eyewitness acounts are those of William of TyreWilliam of Tyre
, b. c.1130, d. before 1185, historian and churchman. Born in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and possibly of French extraction, he received his education at Antioch and in Europe.
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, Richard of DevizesRichard of Devizes
, fl. late 12th cent., English chronicler and monk. He wrote a lively Chronicon de rebus gestis Ricardi primi [chronicle of the deeds of Richard I], a valuable historical source having information not found elsewhere.
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, Geoffroi de VillehardouinVillehardouin, Geoffroi de,
c.1160–c.1212, French historian and Crusader. As marshal of Champagne, he was a leader of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades), which resulted in the conquest (1204) of Constantinople and the creation of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.
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, Jean de JoinvilleJoinville, Jean, sire de
, 1224?–1317?, French chronicler, biographer of Louis IX of France (St. Louis). As seneschal (governor) of Champagne, Joinville was a close adviser to Louis, whom he accompanied (1248–54) on the Seventh Crusade.
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, Anna ComnenaAnna Comnena
, b. 1083, d. after 1148, Byzantine princess and historian; daughter of Emperor Alexius I. She plotted, during and after her father's reign, against her brother, John II, in favor of her husband, Nicephorus Bryennius, whom she wished to rule as emperor.
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, Fulcher of Chartres, and Nicetas Acominatus.

The chief collection of sources is Recueil des historiens des croisades (ed. by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belle-Lettres, 16 vol., 1841–1906). For sources in translation see E. Peters, ed., Christian Society and the Crusades (1971) and The First Crusade (1971). Treatments in English include S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades (3 vol., 1951–54, repr. 1962–66); D. Queller, The Fourth Crusade (1977); H. E. Mayer, The Crusades (2d ed. 1988); K. M. Setton, ed., The History of the Crusades (6 vol., 2d ed., 1969–89); T. Asbridge, The First Crusade (2004); J. Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople (2004); C. Tyerman, Fighting for Christendom (2004); J. N. Claster, Sacred Violence (2009); J. Phillips, Holy Warriors (2010); J. Rubenstein, Armies of Heaven (2011); P. Frankopan, The First Crusade (2012); N. Paul and S. Yeager, ed., Remembering the Crusades (2012); B. A. Catlos, Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors (2014); M. Lambert, God's Armies: Crusade and Jihad (2016).

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Engraving entitled “Procession of the Crusaders Around the Walls of Jerusalem,” from the 1892 edition of the Illustrated History of England. Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In the early years of the eleventh century the Christian Church had already split into two distinct bodies. The Eastern Church was fighting against the enemy they called "infidel Muslim Turks," who had conquered Jerusalem in 638 and were now knocking on the door of Constantinople, home of Byzantine (Eastern) Christianity. With this as a background, Pope Urban II gave a speech on November 27, 1095, in Clermont, France. He called for the nobility of Western Europe to form armies, head east, assist the Byzantine brothers, and liberate the Holy City. The response exceeded his wildest expectations. Waves of people decided to "go crusading." It must have seemed like a great deal. Serfs, trying in vain to support their families with the income from their few small acres, were promised indulgences, free food and board, and a chance to see the world. Waves of inspired people headed east in the centuries to come. Fighting men, yes, but also women (many of whom apparently had visions of a steady income through prostitution) and children got caught up in religious fervor. Some armies, financed and led by wealthy, educated lords, did very well. Against all expectations they even captured Jerusalem on July 15, 1099, establishing Crusader states that would last for a few hundred years. Others, however, were a disgrace. Hopping off the boat in Constantinople, they killed anybody that didn't look like a European Christian, including turbaned Byzantine Christians, Jews, and innocent Arab merchants.

Although we can mark the beginning of the crusades, the end is subject to debate. The Spanish defeated the Muslim kingdom of Granada in 1492, recovering the peninsula the Muslims had seized back in 711. One of the reasons "Columbus sailed the ocean blue" was to find a new route to Jerusalem. Another was to acquire wealth to help the Spanish kings carry on the fight.

As late as 1798, Napoleon was "crusading" on Malta. Perhaps even 1945 might be considered the end of the Crusades. That was the year the Crusade tax, imposed on local dioceses during the eleventh century to help fund the first Crusade, was officially abolished in the Roman Catholic diocese of Pueblo, Colorado.

It is easy to criticize the Crusades. It is perhaps more difficult to explain why they came about. The Islamic jihad expanded rapidly following the death of the prophet Muhammad. In 635 Islam had conquered Damascus. Persia followed in 636, Jerusalem in 638, all of Egypt by 640. Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and even parts of China quickly followed. Some historians have speculated that, if Charles Martel had not stemmed the tide at the battle of Tours in 732, all of Western Europe might have fallen to the Islamic offensive. There were undoubtedly some Crusaders who sincerely believed their violence toward the Muslims was justified by God's will; many Crusaders, however, were expressing hatred and bigotry toward an unfamiliar religion and culture, using religious doctrine as an excuse to seize territory and riches.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



expansionist campaigns in the Orient carried on by Western European feudal lords between 1096 and 1270; the slogan for the Crusades was liberation of the Christian holy places in Palestine from Muslim control.

Participants normally wore the sign of the cross on their clothing (hence the term “crusade”). Serving as the occasion for the invasion was the Seljuk Turks’ conquest during the last third of the 11th century of many Byzantine possessions in Asia Minor and also of Jerusalem, the “holy city” of the Christians according to church tradition. Byzantium turned to the West several times for military aid against the Seljuks. The papacy took advantage of this and became both the ideological inspirer and the immediate organizer of the Crusades. The popes strove to fan religious fanaticism in order to consolidate and expand the influence of the Catholic Church and to make the Orthodox Church subordinate to Rome. This policy corresponded to the interests of the ruling class. The impoverished knights, who made up the main bulk of the Crusaders, and the big seigneurs looked forward to the conquest of the economically more developed countries of the Middle East, which were long known to them from traveling merchants and pilgrims. (Travelers’ tales of the riches of the East had inflamed the imagination of feudal lords of all ranks.) The first Crusades also included poor peasants, who sought relief abroad from feudal oppression and poverty. The Italian cities participating in the Crusades, mainly Venice and Genoa, sought commercial superiority in relations with the Levant.

The First Crusade (1096–99) was proclaimed in 1095 in Clermont by Pope Urban II. The peasantry participated extensively in the campaign. The Crusade ended in the conquest of Jerusalem in July 1099. Jerusalem then became the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem founded by the Crusaders. The Second Crusade (1147–49) was prompted by the Seljuks’ recapture of the city of Edessa (taken by participants of the First Crusade) in 1144. The Crusade was headed by the French king Louis VII and the German king Conrad III. It ended in failure.

The Third Crusade (1189–92), provoked by the conquest of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Egyptian sultan Saladin, also ended in failure. This Crusade was led by the German emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, the French king Philip II Augustus, and the English king Richard I the Lionhearted. The growing conflicts in the Mediterranean between the Western European states (which gave rise to conflicts among the Crusaders themselves) and between the Western European states and Byzantium were the major reasons for the Crusaders’ failures in the 12th century.

On the Fourth Crusade, organized by Pope Innocent III in 1199, French, German, and Italian Crusaders changed course from the originally planned destination (Egypt) and subjected Christian cities to plunder and conquest (Zadar in Dalmatia in November 1202 and Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, in April 1204). They then founded the Latin Empire. The events of 1202 to 1204 made quite clear the predatory essence of the Crusades; the aggressive aims of the Crusaders were openly revealed. The Children’s Crusades of 1212, which cost the lives of tens of thousands of children, were a consequence of the fatal influence of religious fanaticism. (Some perished during a storm in the Mediterranean Sea; others were sold into slavery in Egypt by shipowners.)

The other Crusades (the fifth through eighth) had a clearly expressed aggressive character. The Fifth Crusade (1217–21) against Egypt included the Austrian duke Leopold VI and the Hungarian king Andrew II among its participants; it ended without any results. The Sixth Crusade (1228–29), headed by the German emperor Frederick II, enabled the Christians once again to take possession of Jerusalem (by the peace treaty of 1229 with the Egyptian sultan). However, in 1244 the city was again conquered by the Muslims. The Seventh Crusade (1248–54) to Egypt and the Eighth Crusade (1270) to Tunis were both led by the French king Louis IX (St. Louis). Both ended in complete failure.

During the period of the Crusades, Mediterranean trade grew significantly. It was concentrated chiefly in the hands of Italian and southern French merchants, who enjoyed extensive privileges in the states of the Crusaders. Links with the Orient enabled the countries of Western Europe to adopt a number of technical, economic, and cultural achievements from the Orient. At the same time, these prolonged and bloody wars caused huge human and material losses in the European countries, and this had negative consequences for their development. The Crusades inflicted enormous damage on the peoples of the Orient. They were compelled to experience all the horrors of foreign incursions—ruin and oppression at the hands of the feudal lords of the West.

The campaigns of the German feudal lords against the Slavs and other peoples of the Baltic and the Albigensian Wars are also often called Crusades.


Zaborov, M. A. Krestovye pokhody. Moscow, 1956.
Zaborov, M. A. Istoriografiia krestovykh pokhodov (XV-XIX vv.). Moscow, 1971.
Waas, A. Geschichte der Kreuzzüge, vols. 1–2. Freiburg, 1956.
Rousset, P. Histoire des croisades. Paris, 1957.
A History of the Crusades, [vol. l]-2. [Philadelphia, 1955–62.]
Mayer, H. E. Bibliographic zür Geschichte der Kreuzzüge. Hanover, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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