THE CRUSADES PORTAL
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.
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
. At the Council of Acre
, magnates from France
, 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.
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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