World History

The Crusades of Middle Ages

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Christians of Europe fought a series of battles known as the Crusades in an effort to reclaim Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims.

They wanted to rule Jerusalem for what reason?

Throughout the Middle Ages, Jerusalem was significant to many different religions. The fact that King Solomon’s original temple to God was erected there made it significant to Jews. Muslims considered it significant because they think Muhammad ascension to heaven took place there. As the place where Christians believe Christ was crucified and rose again, it was significant to them.

Who fought in the Crusades?

The Crusades were fought between European forces, mostly those of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Arabs who ruled Jerusalem. Europe fought against the Seljuk Turks during the first Crusade.

The first Crusade involved some 30,000 men from Europe, including knights, peasants, and other commoners. Others thought joining the army was a way to enter paradise, while some regarded it as a way to become wealthy and practise their fighting abilities.

When they first began

When the Seljuk Turks seized power in the Holy Land, the first Crusade got under way. The country had previously been ruled by the Arabs. However, Christians were welcome to make pilgrimages to and travel to Jerusalem thanks to the Arabs. When the Turks seized power in 1070, they started to turn away Christian pilgrims.

Byzantine Emperor Alexius I requested the Pope’s assistance in repelling the Turks from his dominion and driving them out of the Holy Land. The Holy Roman Empire and the Franks, in particular, assisted the Pope in assembling an army.

Timeline of the Crusades

Over the course of 200 years beginning in 1095, there were numerous Crusades:

1095–1099: The First Crusade
The First Crusade achieved the most success. European armies expelled the Turks and seized possession of Jerusalem.

(1147–1149) The Second Crusade
In 1146, the Turks seized control of the city of Edessa. All inhabitants were either slaughtered or sold into slavery. Then a second Crusade was started, but it failed.

(1187–1192), the Third Crusade
The Christians were driven out of Jerusalem in 1187 by Saladin, the Egyptian ruler. Emperor Barbarossa of Germany, King Philip Augustus of France, and King Richard the Lionheart of England organised and commanded the third Crusade. Saladin and Richard the Lionheart engaged in a protracted war. In the end, he was unable to take Jerusalem, but he did succeed in securing the right for travellers to return to the revered city.

(1201–204) The Fourth Crusade:
Pope Innocent III organised the Fourth Crusade in an effort to retake the Holy Land. As a result of their diversion and greed, the Crusaders instead captured and pillaged Constantinople.

Crusade for Children (1212):
Tens of thousands of youngsters gathered to march to the Holy Land after being inspired by two young boys, Stephen of Cloyes from France and Nicholas from Germany. This was a complete failure. None of the kids reached the Holy Land, and many were lost to history. Most likely, they were bought as slaves.

Five through nine crusades (1217–1272):
There would be five additional Crusades during the following few years. All of them would fail miserably in their attempts to seize power over the Holy Land.

Facts worth knowing about the Crusades

The Crusaders’ battle cry, “Deus vult!” (Latin for “God wills it”), was used during battle. It originated from a speech made by the Pope to rally support for the First Crusade.

A red cross served as the Crusaders’ emblem. It was applied on the uniforms and armour of soldiers. Additionally, flags and banners have it.

The Teutonic Knights and the Templars were established to aid in the defence of Christendom between the second and third Crusades. These were well-known Holy Knight organisations.