SECOND CRUSADE (1147-1149)

Crusader leaving his home Europe

The Second Crusade (1147-1149) was triggered by the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144 to Zengi and Called by Pope Eugene III (1143-1153) and preached by Bernard of Clairvaux. Carl A. Volz wrote: “The actual crusade got underway in 1147, led by King Louis VII of France and King Conrad III of Germany. Upon arrival in Palestine they experienced constant frictions between the 2nd and 3rd generation of Latins who were already living there and had become accustomed to Moslem ways, culture, and wives. The attack against Damascus failed, and by 1149 both kings had returned home. Another reason for the failure of the crusade was the tension between the French and German troops. Eleanor, the wife of Louis VII, became estranged from him in Antioch, where she allegedly had an affair with her uncle. She returned home and in a short time married King Henry II of England. A further cause for failure was in the eastern emperor's (Manuel) truce with the Turks, which took the Greeks out of the war. English took Lisbon 1144. [Source: Carl A. Volz, late professor of church history at Luther Seminary, The Apostolic Fathers.,]

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “The Second Crusade, championed by the Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux attempted to take Damascus in Syria. The campaign was a dismal failure because the Muslims had regrouped. Led by Salah al-Din (Saladin), Muslim forces advanced across Syria and finally retook Jerusalem in October 1187. Saladin was credited by his personal secretary with allowing the Patriarch of Jerusalem to leave the city with the church's treasure, explaining: "If we make excuses [to confiscate this wealth] they [the Franks] will accuse us of treachery ... let us not make them accuse people of faith of breaking their oaths. Let them go. They will talk about our benevolence" (Mohamed el-Moctar). [Source:Metropolitan Museum of Art xxxxc"> \^/]

Upon entering Jerusalem, a vizier of Saladin was awed by how the Crusaders had spruced the city up. The Muslim chronicler Kadi el-Fadel wrote: "the care of the unbelievers had transformed [it] into a Paradise garden ... those accursed ones defended with the lance and sword this city, which they had rebuilt with columns and slabs of marble, where they had founded churches and the palaces of the Templars and the hospitallers ... One sees on every side houses as pleasant as their gardens and bright with white marble and columns decorated with leaves, which make them look like living trees"

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Third Crusade (1188-1191)

The Third Crusade (1188-1191) and the Forth Crusade that followed were inspired by Saladin's capture of Jerusalem in 1187. This time Europe's leaders — including Philippe-Augustus of France and Richard the Lion Hearted of England — came in person. They often quarreled among themselves and were unable to accomplish much. Carl A. Volz wrote: In spite of repeated appeals to Europe before the fall, Jerusalem received no aid. The crusade of the three kings. Frederick Barbarossa, king of Germany, was the first to leave, but in 1190 he drowned in the Saleph River in Cilesia, and his followers dispersed. [Source: Carl A. Volz, late professor of church history at Luther Seminary, The Apostolic Fathers., /~\]

Richard the Lionhearted

Richard I "the Lionhearted" of England set out by ship from Marseilles in 1190. Enroute he stopped off in Sicily to make war against Tancred. Now William II of Sicily died in 1189, and his throne went to his daughter, Constance, who was married to Henry VI of Germany (1190-1196) who was an inveterate foe of Richard. Meanwhile, Tancred had taken Sicily, so Richard gladly recognized him as legitimate ruler, against Henry VI and Constance. But Tancred also had taken William's widow, Joanna, captive - and it so happened that she was Richard's sister! That is why he stopped off in Sicily to make war against Tancred. Richard did little in Palestine, and enroute home he was captured by Leopold of Austria and given over to Henry VI to be held for ransom. It was paid, and by 1194 Richard was home again. Phillip II of France left in 1190 but was home again the next year. Meanwhile King Richard also broke his engagement to Phillip's sister. The Third Crusade was not a total fiasco - Christians recaptured Acre in 1191 and gained some coastal towns through treaties with Saladin.” /~\

By the end of the Third Crusade (1189–92), Crusader forces had gained Cyprus and the coastal city of Acre. Saladin guaranteed access to Jerusalem to European pilgrims and welcomed Jews back to the city as well.\^/

The chronicle of the Spanish-born Ibn Jubayr, who traveled to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, speaks of the ease of trade in the Holy Land, even in times of military hostilities: "the Muslims continuously journeyed from Damascus to Acre (through Frankish territory), and likewise not one of the Christian merchants was stopped and hindered (in Muslim territories) ... The soldiers engage themselves in their war, while the people are at peace" (as cited in Paul and Yaeger, 2012, p. 34).\^/

Richard the Lion Hearted

Richard I (Richard the Lionhearted, 1157-1199) was the last of three European leaders who took off for the Holy Land during the Third Crusade. The German Holy Roman Emperor drowned in a river and the King of France returned home to fight with French vassals that were powerful than himself.

Richard I ruled England for 10 years from 1189 to his death in 1199. The son of Henry II and known as Richard the Lionhearted, the six-foot-five Crusader was regarded as an artist and patron. He had blue eyes and blonde hair and was very popular even though he was often outside of England, either in prison or on Crusades.

Richard I displayed talent as a general and a lyric poet but spent only a few months in the country and nearly bankrupted it to pay off his ransom after he was kidnapped in Austria. Some scholars have suggested that Richard was gay. The assertion is based on the an account by Roger of Howden, a clerk of Henry II, who wrote that Richard and his father's enemy, King Philip Augustus "ate at the same table, shared the same dish and at night the bed did not separate them."

According to historian Robert Wernick, Richard was "a huge man of legendary strength who could spend a whole day in the daddle chopping off enemy limbs and heads, impulsive, choleric, utterly reckless of his personal safety." [Source: Robert Wernick, Smithsonian magazine, September 1986]

Richard's coronation was marred by the flogging and murders of Jews who arrived at the coronation banquet even though they had been forbidden from attending. There is a myth that the troubadour Blondel discovered Richard the Lionhearted.

Map of the Crusades

Richard I and the Third Crusade

Richard I had limited success during the Third Crusade. Allied with King Philip Augustus of France and Leopold, Duke of Austria, he captured the Palestinian town of Acre in 1191 but the 2,500 men, women and children he took hostage were later executed. Richard nearly bankrupted his kingdom, raising money to support his crusade. Most of the high positions in his government were occupied by patrons who gave him large donations.

Richard arrived in Marseilles at the beginning of the Crusade to find that an advance party of worthy knights had spent all their campaign money on prostitutes. On his way home Richard was captured by the King of Austria and spent a year in prison writing poems before England "was bled dry to pay his ransom." [Source: Robert Wernick, Smithsonian magazine, September 1986]

Richard traveled overland across Europe on his way back from the Holy Land, disguised as a pilgrim to elude kidnapping attempts. Only 50 miles from safety, he was captured by Leopold of Austria after reportedly being betrayed by a man who noticed the king's expensive ring. The huge ransom that won Richard’s release consisted of year's wool crop of all of his kingdom's Cisterian monks plus a quarter of the annual income of all his archbishops. bishops, abbots, earls, priors and barons. The ransom nearly bankrupted England.

The remainder of Richard’s reign was spent fighting lords in England and France. In April 1199, he was killed by an arrow in his shoulder from a crossbowman in a campaign against the rebel castle of Châlus near Limoges that resulted after a petty squabble with a French vassal.

Richard I and the Massacre at Acre

Richard I captured the Palestinian town of Acre in a siege that lasted from August 1189 until July 1191. Describing the capture of Acre, the chronicler Richard of Devizes wrote: "As soon as he sun rose, the bowman...kept up an unceasing rain of arrows on the Turks and Thracians. The stone throwers. skillfully placed, broke down the walls by repeated shots. Even more effective than these were miners, who opened a way for themselves underground and dug under the foundations of the walls...The king himself ran around through the ranks, ordering, exhorting nd inspiring."

Richard the Lionheart in the 1935 Cecille deMille film

The 2,500 men, women and children taken hostage after the capture of Acre were later executed. Describing the massacre of prisoners in Acre in August 1191, the Saracen chronicler Behâ-ed-Din wrote: "They numbered more than three thousand and were all bound with ropes. The Christians then flung themselves upon them all at once and massacred them with sword and lance in cold blood. Our advanced guard had already told the Sultan of the enemy's movements, and he sent in some reinforcements, but only after the massacre. [Source: Eyewitness to History, edited by John Carey, 1987, Avon Books]

"On the morrow morning our people gathered at the spot and found the Mussulmans stretched out upon the ground as martyrs for the faith. They even recognized some of the dead, and the sight was a great affliction to them. The enemy had only spared the prisoners of note and such as were strong enough to work...The motives of the massacre are different told; according to some, the captives were slain by way of reprisal for the death of those Christians whom the Mussulmans had slain. Others say that the King of England, on deciding to attempt the conquest of Ascalon, thought it was unwise to leave so many prisoners in the town after his departure. God alone knows what the real reason was."

Richard the Lionhearted, Saladin and Their Treaty

Richard defeated Saladin a series of battles but was unable to take to Jerusalem. He later signed a treaty with Saladin that gave Christians access to the Christian shrines in Jerusalem. The treaty ended fighting between the Muslims and Christians. Saladin that gave Christians the True Cross, 100,000 dibars and access to the Christian shrines in Jerusalem while Muslims kept control of the city. Richard was recovering from an illness when the treaty was signed. He had planned to lay siege to Jerusalem and was apoplectic when he was informed of the treaty and ordered the execution of Muslim prisoners. A year after the treaty was signed Saladin died and the Muslim empire he wove together began to unravel.

Richard versus Saladin in jousting tournament?

During the Third Crusade Richard had attempted to set up a summit meeting with Saladin. Although the meeting never took place, because Saladin believed that "kings meet together only after the conclusion of an accord", Richard sent his rival camels and linen as gifts and Saladin brought the English monarch fresh peaches, pears and snow from the mountains when he came down with malaria. [Source: Robert Wernick, Smithsonian magazine, September 1986]

According to one story, Richard was anxious to reach a settlement with Saladin so he could get back home to keep his greedy brother John from terrorizing his subjects. Richard gave the hand of his sister Joan, the widowed Queen of Sicily, to Saladin and proposed that he and Saladin rule Jerusalem together. Joan balked at the idea of entering the harem of a non-Christian and in the end an accord was reached in which Richard settled for possession of several coastal cities on the Mediterranean along with access to holy shrines in Jerusalem by Christian pilgrims. [Ibid]

Fourth Crusade (1202-1204)

Venice rose to prominence during the Forth Crusade in the 13th century. Pope Innocent III and the French noblemen who sponsored the Crusade commissioned the Venetian arsenal to build 480 war galleys that were to be used for an invasion of Egypt and the Holy Land. When it turned out the pope and the nobleman couldn't pay the bill, 80-year-old and half blind Doge Enrico Dandola told them their debt would be forgiven if they used the military forces to sack Zara, a city on the Dalmatian coast, and Constantinople, the world's greatest city at that time.

The mission was a success. Although the horrified Pope excommunicated everyone who was involved in the plot, the Crusaders delivered the famous four bronze horses of San Marcos and piles of other riches and treasures. For his efforts the Doge turned down a nomination to be Emperor of Constantinople and was given the title "Lord of a Quarter and Half a Quarter of the Roman Empire" and a gift of several Greek islands, including Crete, that helped Venice establish a monopoly on sea trade in the eastern Mediterranean.

siege of Zadar during the Forth Crusade

Carl A. Volz wrote: Baldwin, Count of Flanders, was crowned emperor of Constantinople “and the Venetian, Thomas Morosini, was created patriarch. An end was declared to the East-West schism. The new kingdom was named, "The Latin Kingdom of Constantinople." For over 50 years the Latins controlled Constantinople and the Greek peninsula, but in 1261 the Paleogogi retake it from the Latins. The famous four golden horses atop St. Marks in Venice are booty from this pillage. The Fourth Crusade was disastrous for Greek-Latin relations. For the first time in crusading history, Christians fought against Christians. Many historians insist that this crusade did more than anything else to perpetuate the schism. The only profiteers were the Venetian and Genoese traders. Venice gained control of ? of Constantinople and exclusive shipping rights. [Source: Carl A. Volz, late professor of church history at Luther Seminary, The Apostolic Fathers., /~\]

License to Venice to Trade With The Saracens

Pope Innocent III granted a License to Venice to Trade With The Saracens (1198). It reads: “Besides the indulgence we have promised to those going at their own expense to the east, and besides the favor of apostolic protection granted to those helping that country, we have renewed the decree of the Lateran council which excommunicated those who presume to give arms, iron, or wood to the Saracens for their galleys, and which excommunicated those who act as helmsmen on their galleys and dhows, and which at the same time decreed that they should be deprived of their property for their transgressions by the secular arm and by the consuls of the cities, and that, if caught, they become the slaves of their captors. Following the example of Pope Gregory, our predecessor of pious memory, we have placed under sentence of excommunication all those who in future consort with the Saracens, directly or indirectly, or who attempt to give or send aid to them by sea, as long as the war be tween them and us shall last. [Source: J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1855), Vol. CCXIV, p. 493, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 104-105]

“But our beloved sons Andreas Donatus and Benedict Grilion, your messengers, recently came to the apostolic see and were at pains to explain to us that by this decree your city was suffering no small loss, for she is not devoted to agriculture but rather to shipping and to commerce. We, therefore, induced by the paternal affection we have for you, and commanding you under pain of anathema not to aid the Saracens by selling or giving to them or exchanging with them iron, flax, pitch, pointed stakes, ropes, arms, helmets, ships, and boards, or unfinished wood, do permit for the present, until we issue further orders, the taking of goods, other than those mentioned, to Egypt and Babylon, whenever necessary. We hope that in consideration of this kindness you will bear in mind the aiding of Jerusalem, taking care not to abuse the apostolic decree, for there is no doubt that whosoever violates his conscience in evading this order will incur the anger of God.

Sacking of Constantinople During the Forth Crusade

Crusaders entry into Constantinople

During the forth crusade in 1204 the Crusaders sacked Constantinople when the Byzantines refused to covert to Catholicism. It was the only the time the city walls were successfully breached during the 1,123 year reign of the Byzantine emporership. Among the items the Crusaders took back to Europe were the four bronze horses that now grace the top of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice.♦

While Crusades forces were gathering for embarkation in Venice, the expelled eastern emperor's son arrived asking for help to restore his father to the throne. The Venetian coerced the Crusaders into sacking a rival city of Zara on the Dalmatian coast. From there they went to Constantinople, which was sacked and razed in 1204. The Greek emperor was driven out of Constantinople, hundreds wee massacred, and the city was partly burned,

Catholics viewed Byzantines as rivals and as brothers who needed be returned to the fold. The conquest of Constantinople was viewed as an opportunity to unify the churches. The raid on Constantinople greatly weakened the Byzantine empire, paving the way for its conquest by Turks in 1453.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “With each crusade, relations between the Byzantines and the Western forces became more estranged. The Fourth Crusade set out in 1202 with Egypt as its goal. After choosing sides in a dynastic dispute in Byzantium, however, the Crusaders turned their siege upon Byzantium's capital, Constantinople, to collect an enormous sum of money that had been promised for their support. The city was sacked in 1204, its rich treasures divided between the Venetians (the lion's share of which remains in the Treasury of San Marco, Venice), the French, and other Crusaders. The Latin Empire of Constantinople was established with Baldwin of Flanders as emperor. In 1261, the Byzantines regained the city. [Source:Metropolitan Museum of Art xxxxc"> \^/]

Children’s Crusade and Other Later Crusades

Successive crusades were launched to the Holy Land. The Seventh and Eighth Crusades, in 1248 and 1270, were sponsored by Louis IX, who died in Tunisia. In 1271, Sultan Baibars captured Montfort Castle, and in 1291, the Crusader city of Acre fell, ending the era of Latin Crusader kingdoms. Calls for new crusades over the next centuries were increasingly ignored, despite the renown in which Crusaders and the Holy Land were held in legend,

Children's Crusade

One of the most tragic episodes was the Children’s Crusade. Large numbers of young boys, mostly French and some Germans, were encouraged to leave their homes and embark for the Holy Land. Many died en route and many of those that made it to the Middle east were captured and turned into slaves,

Carl A. Volz wrote: “It is questionable whether this unhappy affair should even be classified with the military expeditions. Thousands of youth, propelled by apocalyptic fervor, descended upon Italy seeking transpiration to Palestine. Unscrupulous ship owners promised to take them there, but many ended up in Turkish slave markets [Source: Carl A. Volz, late professor of church history at Luther Seminary, The Apostolic Fathers.,]

Sixth Crusade: Crusade of Frederick II (1229)

Frederick II (1194-1250), who led the successful Sixth Crusade (1228-29) which captured Jerusalem and made a ten year truce with the sultan of Egypt, was worried the Mongols and Tartars would take over western Europe. Henry VIII of England was contacted for help and Pope Gregory IX proclaimed a new crusade, this time against the Mongols not the Muslims, but it never amounted to anything because of bad blood between the Pope and Frederick II, who was excommunicated twice. [Source: "The Discoverers" by Daniel Boorstin]

Carl A. Volz wrote: “Upon his accession to office he vowed to make a crusade, but he fulfilled his vow while he was under the ban of excommunication in 1229. He married Isabelle de Brienne, daughter of the King of Jerusalem, and regarded himself heir of that-defunct kingdom. Rather than fight the Moslems, Frederick negotiated the Treaty of Jaffa (1229) which stipulated that he should receive Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem and the routes connecting those cities with Acre; Jerusalem's walls would be razed; both Christians and Moslems should be free to visit holy places; a ten year truce should be effected between the two rulers. Frederick's "crusade" is noteworthy in that it was the most successful since the First Crusade, it gained significant concessions without spilling a drop of blood, and it was carried on by an excommunicated king. Back in Italy the pope was busy confiscating his lands, and the friars were engaged in preaching rebellion against him. [Source: Carl A. Volz, late professor of church history at Luther Seminary, The Apostolic Fathers., /~\]

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons except map of the Crusades from sideplayer

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; Islam, a Short History by Karen Armstrong; A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); Encyclopedia of the World Cultures edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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