Sunday, June 17, 2007


What were the Crusades?

The word crusade has been adopted from the French word ‘croisade’, which means “Marked by the Cross.” 
A series of military conflicts of a religious character are termed as the Crusades. These wars (1095 - 1291) were sanctioned by the Pope in the name of Christendom. The aim was to recapture Jerusalem and the sacred "Holy Land" from Muslim rule. These were launched in order to halt the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia. They reacted in response to a call for help by the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire.
In 1076, the Muslims occupied Jerusalem, which was the holiest place for Christians- Jesus, was born in nearby Bethlehem, had spent most of his life in Jerusalem and was also crucified in Jerusalem on Calvary Hill. It was because of this Christians called Jerusalem the "City of God".
However, Jerusalem was extremely important for the Muslims also. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had been there. So Muslim world cherished when Jerusalem was captured. A beautiful dome - called the Dome of the Rock - was built on the rock where Muhammad was said to have sat and prayed. It was so holy that no Muslim was allowed to tread on the rock or touch it when visiting the Dome.
Therefore the Christian fought to get Jerusalem back while the Muslims fought to keep Jerusalem. These wars were to last nearly 200 years


Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached an impassioned sermon to take back the Holy Land.

Though the list is not complete but it is still useful for understanding Crusades
Nov, 1095: Pope Urban II presided over the Council of Clermont and called the First Crusade into being
Spring, 1096: Peasants' Crusade set out from Europe
Aug, 1096: Emperor Alexius of Constantinople shipped the Peasants' Crusade over the Bosporus
Late Summer, 1096: First Crusade leaders were departing Europe
Oct 1096: Peasants' Crusade annihilated in Anatolia by the Turks
Spring, 1097: First Crusade contingents assembling in Constantinople
End of Apr, 1097: First Crusade began the march in Anatolia to Nicaea
Late May, 1097: Nicaea surrendered to Alexius
Late June, 1097: First Crusaders marched overland from Nicaea toward Dorylaeum
Oct 21, 1097: Crusaders arrived before Antioch; long, bitter siege ensued
Early Feb 1098: Emperor Alexius' General Tacitius left the siege of Antioch
Mar 10, 1098: Citizens of Edessa gave Baldwin control of the city
Jun 1, 1098: Stephen of Blois & a large group of French left the siege of Antioch
Jun 3, 1098: Firuz opened Antioch to Bohemond and the First Crusaders
Jun 5-9, 1098: Kerbogha arrived before Antioch & besieged the besiegers
Jun 14, 1098: Peter Bartholomew found the Lance
Jun 28, 1098: Crusaders beat back Kerbogha's siege of Crusader Antioch
Nov 27-Dec 11, 1098: Crusaders captured M'arrat-an-Numan; army restless for Jerusalem
Jan 13, 1099: Raymond of Toulouse led the first contingent away from Antioch and toward Jerusalem
Feb 14, 1099: Raymond began the desultory siege of Arqah, near Tripoli
Late Mar, 1099: Godfrey and Robert of Flanders joined the siege of Arqah
Mid-May, 1099: Raymond finally gave up on Arqah; all present marched to Jerusalem
Jun 6, 1099: Citizens of Bethlehem invited Tancred to protect them
Jun 7, 1099: Godfrey et al. arrived before Jerusalem
Jun 13, 1099: Crusaders failed to take Jerusalem by storm
Jul 15, 1099: Godfrey breached the walls of Jerusalem near Herod's Gate and soon was elected the "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre"
Aug 12, 1099: Crusaders beat back the Fatimids at Ascalon
1100-18: Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem
1113: Hospitallers of Jerusalem recognized by the papacy as an independent group
1118-31: Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem
1118-9: Hugh of Payns created the Order of the Temple
1124: Fall of Tyre to Crusaders; now most of the coast in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
1131-43: Fulk of Anjou, King of Jerusalem
Dec, 1144: Zengi took Edessa, sparked the Second Crusade
Dec, 1145: Pope Eugenius III issued Quantum praedecessores to initiate the Second Crusade
1146: Bernard of Clairvaux active in preaching the crusade
Oct, 1147: Lisbon fell to crusaders and Portuguese; Almeria fell to Spanish
Jul 1148: Louis VII of France, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emperor Conrad III in the East on the Second Crusade
Sep, 1144: Zengi was assassinated; Nur ad-Din acceeded to Aleppo
1143-63: Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem
Jul 15, 1149: Dedication of the Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Apr, 1154: Nur ad-Din took Damascus, united Muslim Syria
1160s: Series of invasions by Crusaders into Egypt
1163-74: Amaury, King of Jerusalem
1169: Shirkuh became vizier in Egypt and accepted Nur ad-Din's leadership
1174-85: Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem
May 1174: Nur ad-Din died
Oct, 1174: Saladin took Damascus
Nov, 1177: Crusader army defeated Saladin at Mont Gisard
1183: Saladin took Aleppo
1185-6: Baldwin V, King of Jerusalem
1186-94: Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem
Jul 4, 1187: Saladin won the Battle of Hattin, and took most of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
May, 1189: Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) left Europe on the Third Crusade
Jun 10, 1190: Frederick I drowned in Anatolia
Jul 1190: Kings Philip of France and Richard of England set out on the Third Crusade
Winter 1190-1: French and English stayed in Sicily
Jul 12, 1191: Acre surrendered to Kings Philip, Richard and Guy; Philip departed the Holy Land for France shortly afterward
Sep 7, 1191: Richard met Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf
Nov-Dec 1191: Richard's Crusaders marched toward Jerusalem but turned back to the coast
Jun 1192: Richard's Crusaders marched again toward Jerusalem but turned back again
Oct 9, 1192: Richard Lionheart departed the Holy Land
Mar 4, 1193: Saladin died
1197: Abortive Crusade of Emperor Henry VI
1198-1224: Albert of Buxtehude expanded the Baltic Crusades
Aug 1198: Pope Innocent III called the Fourth Crusade
1199: Political Crusade against Markward of Anweiler
Nov 1202: Venetians and Crusaders sacked Zara, a Christian port on the Dalmatian Coast
Apr, 1204: Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople
1208: Pope Innocent III called the Albigensian Crusade
Jul 1212: King Alfonso VIII of Castile expanded the Reconquista; King Sancho VII of Navarre won the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Dec 1215: Pope Innocent III issued Ad liberandam calling the Fifth Crusade during the Fourth Lateran Council
Dec 1217: Fifth Crusaders attacked Mount Tabor
May 1218: Fifth Crusaders began the siege of Damietta
Aug 1221: Fifth Crusade, in the Nile Delta, surrendered
Jun 1228: Emperor Frederick II, King of Jerusalem through marriage to Isabell (Yolanda), sailed East on the Sixth Crusade
Feb 1229: Al-Kamil surrendered Jerusalem to Emperor Frederick II
1240s: Popes Gregory IX and Innocent IV called Political Crusades against Emperor Frederick II
1248: King Louis IX departed for the Holy Land on the Seventh Crusade
Jun, 1249: Louis reached Damietta
Apr, 1254: Louis departed the Holy Land
Jul, 1270: Louis IX's Last Crusade; Louis died in North Africa
1291: The Fall of Acre
Oct 1307: King Philip IV surpessed the Templars in France
1330-1523: Hospitallers continued crusade action from Rhodes
1334: Crusader navy defeated Turkish pirates in the Gulf of Edremit
1334-1402: Crusaders held the port of Smyrna
1365: Crusaders under Peter I of Cyprus sacked Alexandria
1396: Crusade of Nicopolis
1426: Egyptians gained control over Cyprus
1492: Fall of Granada and the appearance at subsequent celebrations of a Genoese ship's captain with odd ideas about sailing to India
1798: Fall of Hospitallers on Malta to Napoleon