Portal:Crusades

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THE CRUSADES PORTAL

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Crusader siege of Antioch

The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal threats. Crusades were fought against Muslims, pagan Slavs, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Jews, and political enemies of the popes. Crusaders took vows and were granted an indulgence for past sins.

The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted in territories outside the Levant usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons. Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade.

The Crusades had far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts, some of which have lasted into contemporary times. Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions were diverted from their original aim, such as the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Christian Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders.

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Louis VII in the Holy Land
The Siege of Damascus took place over four days in July 1148, during the Second Crusade. It ended in a decisive crusader defeat and led to the disintegration of the crusade. The two main Christian forces that marched to the Holy Land in response to Pope Eugenius III and Bernard of Clairvaux's call for the Second Crusade were led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Both faced disastrous marches across Anatolia in the months that followed, most of their armies were destroyed. The original focus of the crusade was Edessa, but in Jerusalem, the preferred target of King Baldwin III and the Knights Templar was Damascus. At the Council of Acre, magnates from France, Germany, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem decided to divert the crusade to Damascus.

The crusaders decided to attack Damascus from the west, where orchards would provide them with a constant food supply. Having arrived outside the walls of the city, they immediately put it to siege, using wood from the orchards. On 27 July, the crusaders decided to move to the plain on the eastern side of the city, which was less heavily fortified but had much less food and water. Nur ad-Din arrived with Muslim reinforcements and cut off the crusader's route to their previous position. The local crusader lords refused to carry on with the siege, and the three kings had no choice but to abandon the city. The entire crusader army had retreated back to Jerusalem by 28 July.

Each of the Christian forces felt betrayed by the other and mutual distrust was fostered for a generation due to the defeat. As a result of the Crusade, Damascus also no longer trusted the crusaders, and the city was formally handed over to Nur ad-Din in 1154. In Europe, Bernard of Clairvaux was humiliated by the result and he tried to disassociate himself from the events altogether.

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Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Credit: Cmmmm

The July 16, 1212 battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (Spanish:Batalla de Las Navas de Tolosa / Arabic:معركة العقاب) is considered a major turning point in the history of Medieval Iberia.[1] The forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his Christian rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal in battle against the Berber Muslim Almohad rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. The sultan Caliph al-Nasir (Miramamolín in the Spanish chronicles) led the Almohad army, made up of people from the whole Almohad empire. Most of the men in the Almohad army came from the African side of the empire, which included Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Mauritania and that part of the Iberian peninsula south of Las Navas de Tolosa.

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Battle of Varna by Jan Matejko

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Cistercians like Baldwin at work.
Baldwin of Exeter (c. 1125 – November 19, 1190) was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1185 and 1190. Son of a clergyman, he studied both canon law and theology at Bologna and was tutor to Pope Eugenius III's nephew before returning to England to serve successive bishops of Exeter. After becoming a Cistercian monk, he was named abbot of his monastery before being elected to the episcopate at Worcester. Before becoming a bishop, he wrote theological works and sermons, some of which survive.

He impressed King Henry II of England while bishop, and the king insisted that Baldwin become archbishop. While archbishop, Baldwin quarrelled with his cathedral clergy over the founding of a church, which led to the imprisonment of the clergy in their cloister for over a year. He also spent some time in Wales with Gerald of Wales, preaching and raising money for the Third Crusade. After the coronation of King Richard the Lionheart of England, Baldwin was sent ahead by the king to the Holy Land, and became embroiled in the politics of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Baldwin died in the Holy Land while participating in the Crusade. His dispute with his clergy led some chroniclers to characterize him as worse for Christianity than Saladin.

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The Crusades

Background: PilgrimageHoly LandChurch of the Holy SepulchreGerman Pilgrimage of 1064-1065Theology of sacred violenceBattle of ManzikertCouncil of PiacenzaCouncil of ClermontJihad

Realms and dynasties: Great Seljuq EmpireFatimid CaliphateKingdom of JerusalemPrincipality of AntiochCounty of TripoliCounty of EdessaKingdom of CyprusArmenian Kingdom of CiliciaVassals of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of CyprusAyyubid dynastyAlmohad dynastyLatin EmpireMonastic state of the Teutonic KnightsMamluksMongol EmpireLusignan dynastyDuchy of AthensDuchy of the ArchipelagoRise of the Ottoman EmpireHoly LeagueLatin Patriarchate of JerusalemArchdiocese of TyreArchdiocese of NazarethArchdiocese of CaesareaArchdiocese of PetraLatin Patriarchate of AntiochLatin Patriarchate of Constantinople

Cities and castles: JerusalemCitadel of Salah Ed-DinConstantinopleAcreKrak des ChevaliersFamagusta

Campaigns and battles: First CrusadeSiege of JerusalemSeljuk-Crusader WarReconquistaSecond CrusadeSiege of DamascusNorthern CrusadesBattle of HattinThird CrusadeBattle of ArsufLivonian CrusadeGerman CrusadeCrusades in ItalyFourth CrusadeAlbigensian CrusadeBattle of Las Navas de TolosaChildren's CrusadeFifth CrusadeSiege of DamiettaPrussian CrusadeSixth CrusadeSeventh CrusadeBattle of Al MansurahShepherds' CrusadeEighth CrusadeNinth CrusadeAragonese CrusadeAlexandrian CrusadeCrusades of the Western SchismBattle of NicopolisHussite WarsCrusade of VarnaFall of ConstantinopleSiege of BelgradeOttoman invasion of OtrantoFall of RhodesOttoman–Venetian WarsOttoman-Habsburg warsBattle of MohácsBattle of LepantoSpanish ArmadaBattle of Vienna

People: al-Hakim bi-Amr AllahAlexios I KomnenosPope Urban IIGodfrey of BouillonBernard of ClairvauxBaldwin of ExeterSaladinRichard I of EnglandLouis IX of FranceJames I of AragonMarino Sanuto the ElderPope Clement VITimurJohn HunyadiMuhammad XII of GranadaThomas Stukleyal-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

Military orders: Knights TemplarsHistory of the Knights TemplarKnights HospitallerMilitary orders of the ReconquistaTeutonic Knights

Legacy: History of the Jews and the CrusadesCriticism of the CrusadesTrade and the CrusadesMedieval Christian missions to AsiaSovereign Military Order of Malta

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# Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din
# Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani
# Baha ad-Din
# Children's Crusade

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  1. ^ Lynn Hunt describes the battle as a "major turning point in the reconquista..." See Lynn Hunt, R. Po-chia Hsia, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, and Bonnie Smith, The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History: Volume I: To 1740, Second Edition (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's 2007), 391.