Most people even if they are not a history buff will know of the 1st Crusade and the adventurism into the Holy Land in the name of Christ…..but that was not the only Crusade to try and expel the Muslim usurpers from the “Holy Land”…..
There were a couple of minor Crusades after the First….the Crusade of the Faint Hearted 1101…the Venetian Crusade and then we come to the Second Crusade of 1147…..but what happened after 1150?
Then came the Third Crusade…….
1187 saw the crusader kingdoms reach their low point. The crusaders fought amongst themselves, while at the same time Saladin was unifying large parts of the Muslim world, eventually coming to surround the crusaders. Despite this, the crusaders failed to observe their truce with Saladin, and eventually Saladin decided on war. In June 1187 he invaded Palestine. Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, was able to raise an army of almost equal size to Saladins’, but it was badly led, and the crusaders suffered a decisive defeat at the battle of Hattin (4 July 1187). Guy was captured, while the most able Crusader leader, Raymond of Tripoli, died of his wounds after the battle. The aftermath of the defeat saw the effective end of all but a tiny remnant of the crusader kingdoms. With their garrisons lost, Saladin was able to capture most cities, including Tiberias, Acre and Ascalon. Only at Tyre, where a combination of strong defences, and the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat with fresh troops thwarted Saladin. From Tyre, he moved on Jerusalem, which surrendered to him on 2 October 1187. News of the loss of Jerusalem broke on a stunned Europe, where moves were soon in hand for a fresh crusade, the Third. However, for the moment those crusaders left in Palestine has to survive.
Then there was the 4th Crusade to recapture the lost city of Jerusalem from the Muslims……
The Fourth Crusade was actually conceived in 1199 at a jousting tournament held by Thibaut, Count of Champagne, at Ecry-sur-Aisne in northern France. There, in a sudden wave of mass emotion, the assembled knights and barons fell to their knees weeping for the captive Holy Land. They swore solemn oaths to go as armed pilgrims to wrest it from the infidels. In the months that followed, the crusade took form in a series of feudal assemblies headed by Count Thibaut; Baldwin, Count of Flanders; and Louis, Count of Blois. Rather than wear out their army by a long land march through hostile territory, the leaders decided to reach Egypt by sea. A delegation of six trusted knights went to Venice, the leading seafaring city of Western Europe, to arrange for passage. One of those envoys, Geoffrey of Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne, later wrote a chronicle of the expedition.
The 4th failed to do what it intended to do…….which was pretty much every Crusade’s fate for 1200 on……time wasted, people dead and resources squandered all in the name of religion……some things never change.
Not to worry there were 6 more Crusades before 1291….after that year there were 6 more crusades until 1481…..
It seems that a Crusade was a popular past time in the Middle Ages.