The Crusades

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The End of the Medieval Crusades

The crusading era came to an end by the close thirteenth century. The emperor Frederick II for a short time recovered Jerusalem by a treaty, but in 1244 A.D. the Holy City became again a possession of the Muslims. They have never since abandoned it. The last Christian Post, Acre in Syria, fell in 1291 A.D. With this event the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem finished existing. The Hospitallers, or Knights of St. John, still kept possession of the important islands of Cyprus and Rhodes, which long served as a barrier to Muslim expansion over the Mediterranean.

Effects of the Crusades

The Crusades kept all Europe in a Chaos and confusion for two centuries, and directly and indirectly cost several million lives (from 2,000,000 to 6,000,000 ).

Some nobles died in battle without leaving a successor. Their lands passed to the king.

Some nobles sold their land in an effort to raise money to pay the special tax levied by the king to help fight the cost of the crusades.

Some nobles gave their slaves a chance to buy their freedom in an effort to raise money they needed to buy armor and weapons

The goals of the Crusades were not accomplished. While the western Europeans had joined with the Eastern ones, the two groups (Christians and Muslims) remained bitter toward each other, which contributed to the fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. However, the Crusades had a lasting effect on the European economy.

During the expeditions, trade routes were established, new markets opened, and shipbuilding was improved. Having prepared themselves for the fight, the Christian monarchies in Western Europe emerged from the Crusades in 1291 as strong as if not stronger than before Pope Urban had first rallied the troops in 1095.

Why is Jerusalem so special Christians?

Mt Moriah, is the centre of Jerusalem.

This is where Isaac (Abrahams son) was given as a sacrifice when God said you have showed me great faith so a greater son will be sacrificed here. Now before this unknown great son was going to sacrifice, this was the location of the first temple in the promise land (built by Solomon). After a very long time when the world was in strife, Jesus (son of God) came to Earth and was crucified on this point in Jerusalem.

Why Jerusalem special to the Muslims?

The Muslims believed that Jerusalem (Mt Moriah) was there’s because it is where Mohammad went to heaven.

After Mohammed went to heaven, Abd al Malik built the Dome of the rock on Mt Moriah.

This is the equal most important Islamic place in the world (with the birth place of Mohammed in Saudi Arabia). No one is allowed in the Dome which means the Muslims could be hiding anything from drugs to explosives in there. If the Dome were to be bombed, we would have world war 3.

How did contact between Western European and Islamic cultures affect both of them?

The goals of the Crusades were not accomplished. The Holy Land had been recovered, but Christians were unable to keep control of it. And while the western Europeans had joined with the Eastern (Byzantine) Christians in their fight against the Muslims, the two groups remained bitter toward each other, which likely contributed to the fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Nevertheless, the Crusades had a lasting effect on the European economy: During the expeditions, trade routes were established, new markets opened, and shipbuilding was improved. Having fortified themselves for the fight, the Christian monarchies in Western Europe emerged from the Crusades in 1291 as strong as-if not stronger than-before Pope Urban had first rallied the troops in 1095.

With the emergence, in 634AD, of the Arabs from their peninsula, and the building of an Arab Empire that extended across Asia to Africa and China, Europe was cut off from overseas trade and relapsed into a feudal and agricultural society. From the seventh to the twelfth centuries, Europe lived in fear of Arab imperialism and the imposition of Islam upon Christendom.

Since the Muslim conquests were in the name of religion, it was natural that Europe would react eventually, also in the name of religion. The Crusades were not an isolated event in history but an extension of the battles between Muslims and Christians which had been fought sporadically over four centuries.

Islam, while battling the Christian nations of the west, had other enemies more dangerous to face. These were the Turkish and Mongol hordes coming from the Central Plain of Asia. The wars with them would prove more disastrous than those between Islam and Christianity.

Although Islam and Christianity, both monotheistic, were infinitely closer to each other’s philosophies than either was to the Pagan invaders, it was toward Islam that Europe turned its hostilities in the age of the Renaissance following the Crusades. The memories of the long wars between them burned vividly even into the twentieth century.

Becoming a knight in medieval times

During the crusades, knights played a big part in the Christians army, but knights just weren’t any ordinary people, they had to through rigorous training to become one. First, when a young boy was around seven years of age, he left his family to become a page. He lived in a castle or manor house of a great lord. This is where he begins his first steps to becoming a knight. For seven years he carried messages, did errands and served the adults of the house. The ladies of the court taught him many things including manners and maybe how to sing or play a board game. When he was not serving his elders, the boy would be outside practising his boxing, wrestling, hunting, riding and caring for the horses. He also would practice his fighting skills with toy swords and shields. The weapons were purposefully blunted so he would not injure himself or others while training.  Once the boy was fourteen he could become a squire, this included, instead of helping out a whole host of adults, caring for one particular lord which he followed everywhere. This included caring for his lords armour and horses and accompanying him on expeditions, whether it be a simple fishing trip or a full scale battle. During his time as a squire he worked on his skills with a number of weapons, he practiced on a stuffed dummy called a quintain. When not outside training, the squire helped his lord with everything, whether it was combing the lord’s hair or cutting his meat at meal times, the squire was always there to assist his lord. After a while as a squire, the boy could now become a knight and fight under the banner of the church. Before the ceremony, he would fast all day, was bathed to symbolize washing away sins and dressed in a white robe to symbolize service to God and purity of heart. Later that night, he would pray on his own that he would live up to the expectations associated with being a knight. The next morning, the priest would hear the boys confession, blessed his weapons and reminded him of what was required of him once he had become a knight. He would know get dressed for the ceremony, everything he had and wore symbolized something. His white belt or sash stood for a clean life, his white hat stood for a pure heart and his red tunic indicated that he was willing to shed his blood to defend the church. His spurs moved from silver to gold, which signified he was ready for service. Finally, to stand for self-defence and aid to others was his two edged sword. Now kneeling at the foot of his lord, he promised to tell the truth, to faithfully serve the church and the king, to respect women and never to run from an enemy. His lord now tapped him on each soldier three times with a sword saying, “I dub thee Sir (insert name here), knight”. He was now officially a knight.


By Noel Aruliah


The Crusades

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What were the crusades?

The Crusades were a series of nine holy wars involving Christians and Muslims and their battle over the land of Jerusalem. The reason for the conflict was that each side believed that the land was sacred to their religion. The Muslims believed that Mohammed ascended into heaven there and the Christians believed that Jesus died and rose to heaven there as well. The Christian pilgrims as well as traders originally lived in harmony with Muslim Arabs who were controlling the land. This came to a stop when in 1050 a group of militant Turkish Muslims known as the Seljuks, took control and as they would not tolerate Christians  they killed many of them. There was only one Christian City in the region left and this was Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 1096 this city was threatened by the Seljuks and the Byzantine emperor asked Pope Urban the second for help. The Pope was very powerful at this time. This started a chain of events that would not finish until 1291, nearly 200 years later.

The First crusade

The first crusade, also called the peoples crusade, started when in 1096, four groups of Crusaders set out for Europe, meeting in Constantinople. It was called the peoples crusade because many ordinary people made up the four groups of crusaders. The reason for their willingness to go, was a man by the name of Peter the Hermit who excited large parts of France by walking around town to town carrying a cross urging people to join the cause. They captured Jerusalem in 1099 but only after two thirds of them had died of heat and exhaustion. After the first crusade, lots of crusaders stayed and made the region home. Castles were built and orders of knights were set up to protect pilgrims and their forts.

The Second Crusade

The Christians had won the first crusade, their success though, was largely due to disunion amongst the muslims. Realising this, the muslims rallied together and one of their groups, the Turks, successfully captured Edessa, and then the whole country of Edessa which was one of the principal Christian outposts. The turks either slaughtered or sold into slavery everyone in the country. After the fall of this city, western Europe were aroused to the danger which threatened the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and this began the second crusade. St. Bernard was the person who preached in the second crusade and wherever he went there were scenes of the wildest enthusiasm. He was quite like Peter the Hermit, he travelled to many different places arousing the warriors of the Cross to defend their religions sacred place. St Bernards preaching had encouraged many people to take part, he even induced two monarchs, Louis the 7th and Conrad the 3rd of Germany, to take the blood – red cross of a crusader. In spite of all this, after the battle, only a few thousand crusaders escaped annihilation from the Turks. Conrad and Louis, with what was left of their armies, together attacked Damascus, but gave up after a few days. This marked the end of another crusade.

The Third Crusade

Not long after the second crusade, the Moslem side of the Crusades found a leader. His name was Saladin and was a typical Mohammedan taking part in prayers and fasting. He was also hated unbelievers. In 1187, Saladin captured Jerusalem and a third crusade was launched. The Christians quickly to battle to him near the lake of Galilee. It ended very badly, with the capture of their King and the rout of their army. The other Christian cities of Syria as well as Jerusalem itself surrendered and Saladin had full power over them and their land. News of what happened in Jerusalem spread throughout western Christendom. Many people cried for another crusade. As well as thousands of men, the three greatest rulers of Europe, King Philip Augustus of France, King Richard the 1st of England and the German emperor, Frederick Barbossa became crusaders. These three leaders set out each with his own large army with one goal, to recover the Holy City of Jerusalem. The German army was the first to set off, and did very badly. After many of them being killed by the Turks, Emperor Frederick drowned while crossing a stream and most of his army then returned back to Germany. The French and English armies were next to head off and they captured Acre after a hard siege. King Philip then left for home leaving responsibility in to Richard. For two years Richard the Lion Hearted fought with Saladin over the possession of the tomb of Christ. After trying in vain to capture Jerusalem Richard agreed on a truce with Saladin where the Christian were allowed to visit Jerusalem without having to pay tribute and that was the end of the third crusade.

The Fourth Crusade

As Egypt was the centre of Muslim power, the crusaders targeted this city instead of Jerusalem in the fourth crusade. The crusaders first took Constantinople by storm. They burned down parts, slaughter the people there and did not hesitate to destroy monuments, statues and painting some of which were a thousand years old. They also took away anything valuable that was easy to transport. Two centuries later, after Constantinople could no longer cope with the barbarians menacing it, the city fell to the Turks. This was the end of another crusade.

Later Crusades

The Fifth Crusade

The kings of Hungary and Cyprus led the fifth crusade and its strength was wasted in Egypt. Nothing came of it.

The Sixth Crusade

Frederick the 2nd of Germany headed the sixth crusade and succeeded in securing from the Saracens the restoration of Jerusalem.

The Eighth Crusade

In this crusade King Louis the 9th pointed his army against the Moors in North Africa, the king died of the plague and nothing came of it.

The Ninth Crusade

The Ninth and last crusade was first led by Prince Edward of England and then King Edward the 1st. Edward captured Nazareth and compelled the sultan of Egypt to go along with a treaty favourable to the Christian army. Sadly though, Acre, the last city held by the Christians eventually fell and with this event the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem came to an end in 1291. There were no more crusades.


Jacaranda Humanities Alive History 1 Level 5 by Maggy Saldais, Ross Smith and Denis Young

By Trent Wedding