Crusades (Fr. croisade), the name given to the expeditions by which the Christian nations of Europe, in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, sought to recover Palestine from the Mussulmans. The Holy Land was among the early conquests of the Saracens, the caliph Omar having taken Jerusalem A. D. 637. Thus all the places most sacred in the eyes of Christians passed under the control of the votaries of a new religion; and though some of the Saracenic rulers treated pilgrims humanely, others behaved tyrannically. The Abbassides were a superior race, and the most famous caliph of that line, Haroun al-Rashid, sent the keys of Jerusalem to his great occidental contemporary, Charlemagne, which assured the safety of Christian visitors to that city. The holy sepulchre and the church of the resurrection were in the hands of the Christians; and the tribute exacted from the Christian inhabitants and pilgrims was small. The Fatimite caliphs, who became masters of Jerusalem about 972, pursued the liberal policy of the Abbassides until the time of Hakem, who was a fanatic, and persecuted the Christians, interfered with the pilgrims, and defaced the holy places. His conduct excited much indiguation in the West, which abated when his successors returned to the wiser course of his predecessors.
The church and the sepulchre assumed their former state, and pilgrimage became more common than ever, embracing men of every condition, and women of all ranks. The Fatimite or Egyptian caliphs, though they never again sought deliberately to put a stop to pilgrimage, did not always protect the pilgrims, who had much ill usage to complain of, and who made it known to all Christendom. When the Seljuk Turks conquered Palestine, they inflicted all manner of atrocities on the Christian residents, and treated pilgrims with great indignity and cruelty. While the rage that this caused throughout Europe was at its height, the Byzantine emperor, Michael VII., fearing the Turks would take his capital, sent an embassy to Gregory VII. entreating assistance. The pope addressed the rulers of the European states, urging war on the Turks, and foreshadowing the crusades. But the crusades were precipitated by the action of an obscure man, Peter the Hermit, who had become imbued with deep religious en-thusiam. He was a monk, and by birth a Picard. Visiting Jerusalem, he was an eyewitness of the insults and cruelties of the Turks, and experienced some of them.
He became possessed of the idea that he was to deliver the holy sepulchre, and told the patriarch of Jerusalem that he would cause the western nations to drive out the infidels. The patriarch gave him letters entreating aid, and Peter visited Urban II., who saw that he was an enthusiast, and not the less likely to move Christendom because of his austerity, vehemence, and humble condition. The pope encouraged him, and Peter departed to preach a crusade in Italy and France, which he did with such effect that all other business was neglected, and the minds of men of all degrees were most powerfully affected. Christendom then felt the disgrace involved in allowing the Holy Land to remain in the hands of the Turks. Pilgrimages had become so common that they were made by companies of thousands; and their violent interruption was everywhere felt and resented. Human policy turned religious zeal to a useful purpose. Those statesmen who were capable of taking a broad view of affairs may have thought there was great danger that the Mussulmans would come to the West if the Christians should not go to the East. The pope wished to bring the Byzantine empire into the Latin fold.
He held a council at Pia-cenza in March, 1095, which was numerously attended, and at which the Byzantine envoys pleaded their country's cause. It was determined to hold a more general council, which met at Clermont in November, 1095, and French, Germans, Italians, and others were present. The pope's eloquence was so effectual that when he declared the holy war was commanded from on high, the multitude exclaimed, "God wills it! God wills it!" The pope suggested that those who entered on the enterprise should assume the cross on the shoulder or breast. This was agreed to, and the first clergyman who took it, from the hands of Urban II., was the bishop of Puy. The count of Toulouse was the first temporal prince who assumed the cross. The cross was originally red, but different colors were subsequently adopted by different nations. Every person who assumed the cross was known as a croise, or cross-wearer, whence the name of the enterprise. The crusading spirit spread over Britain and the northern nations, much inflamed by the decree passed at Clermont that whoso should go on the expedition should be regarded as having performed all penances. It was to be a pilgrimage on the largest scale, with the pilgrims armed.
The spirit was shared by all classes, and by people of every description, including the worst criminals. The number that assumed the cross was almost incalculable. In the spring of 1096 a large body of the lower orders, under the lead of Peter the Hermit, began the march across Germany. They were compelled to divide, and the smaller party, led by a Burgundian knight, Walter the Penniless, going in advance, was annihilated in Bulgaria. The larger party suffered severely, and was guilty of great atrocities, but Peter brought the bulk of it to Constantinople, where he was joined by Walter. They were landed in Asia, where they were nearly all destroyed by the Turks, Peter having left them. A third division, consisting of Germans, led by a monk named Gottschalk, was massacred in Hungary. A fourth, estimated at 200,000, and composed of various peoples, was led by some nobles from Germany, but it was destroyed by the Hungarians, after having perpetrated terrible outrages. The real crusade was very different from these rabble gatherings.
No king joined it, but it was headed by a number of eminent feudal princes: Godfrey de Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorraine, Robert, duke of Normandy, Hugh, count of Vermandois, Raymond, count of Toulouse, the counts of Flanders and Chartres, Bohemond, prince of Taranto, Tancred, and others. Godfrey is often mentioned as the leader of the crusading hosts, but he held no such position, though much was conceded to him. After many adventures, including contests with the Greeks, to whose emperor most of the chiefs took the oath of fealty, the crusaders were united in Asia Minor, where they besieged Nicsea, which surrendered to the Greeks. The first great encounter with the Turks took place at Dorylseum, July 4,1097, and, after a long doubtful contest, ended in their victory. Pursuing their march, thousands died of privation, and many more lost their horses. Had the Turks then vigorously assailed them, they would have been destroyed. Antioch was besieged, and taken after many months, but less through crusading valor than by the treachery of a citizen, June, 1098. Here the victors were besieged in their turn by a great Mussulman army, which had failed to take Edessa, where Baldwin, brother of Godfrey, had established a principality.
The crusaders were apparently on the eve of destruction, when they were saved by a revival of the enthusiastic spirit in which their undertaking originated. It was declared that the steel head of the lance that pierced the Saviour was found under the altar of the church of St. Peter, and its possession was regarded as an assurance of that victory which the invaders won soon after, the Mussulman forces being destroyed or driven off. This victory was facilitated by dissensions among the Mussulmans. Months elapsed before the crusaders resumed their original purpose, and then but 21,500 soldiers marched upon Jerusalem, 1,500 only being mounted. Meeting with no resistance, they arrived before the holy city, which, though valiantly defended, fell into their hands after a siege that closed with an assault, and a massacre of almost unequalled atrocity, July 15, 1099. Godfrey de Bouillon was chosen first head of the Latin dominion of Jerusalem, July 23. This event marks the completion of the first crusade, though the war between Christians and Mussulmans was continued, involving the destruction of new immense hosts of Germans, Italians, and French, under the duke of Bavaria and others. - When Edessa fell into the hands of the Turks in 1145, Christendom was again aroused, and listened readily to the entreaties for assistance that came from the East. St. Bernard preached a second crusade in France, Germany, and elsewhere.
Louis VII. of France and Conrad III. of Germany assumed the cross and set out for Jerusalem, the latter in May, the former in June, 1147. The emperor led an immense force by the old route of Hungary and Bulgaria to Constantinople, meeting with the usual Greek treachery. He passed into Asia,.but soon lost more than four fifths of his army, which was betrayed by the Greeks into the hands of the Turks. Conrad made his way at the head of a small force to Nicaea, where he found Louis with his army. After a variety of adventures, in which the French were nearly destroyed, the emperor and the king reached Palestine, and with the fragments of their armies, aided by the templars, hospitallers, and forces of the Latin kingdom, besieged Damascus, where they failed completely. The monarchs returned to Europe in 1149. For some years the Christians in Palestine defended themselves with success against the Mussulmans, but the rise of the celebrated Saladin to power in Egypt and Syria was fatal to their cause. Defeated in the battle of Hattin or Tiberias in 1187, they surrendered even Jerusalem to Saladin soon after that event. Tyre was the only place of any consequence which they retained. - The news of the fall of Jerusalem caused much excitement in the West. A third crusade was resolved upon.
The emperor of Germany, Frederick Barbarossa, who had accompanied his uncle Conrad III. in the second crusade, and the kings of France and England, Philip Augustus and Henry II., took the cross. Numerous bands of Christians soon reached Palestine, and Acre was besieged by an immense host. Saladin aided the besieged from without, and this contest was waged for almost two years. The German emperor had organized a great army, better provided, disciplined, and led than any previous crusading force. This army marched by the usual overland route. In Asia Minor they defeated the Turks, but not without heavy losses. Frederick lost his life while attempting to cross the Calycad-nus in Cilicia, after which little was done by his army, the remnants of which finally reached Acre. Meantime, Richard I. of England (having succeeded Henry in 1189) and Philip Augustus of France had arrived with their forces at Acre, which surrendered (1191), and the crusaders, in violation of their word, butchered 5,000 Mussulman hostages. Philip Augustus soon withdrew from the crusade, alienated and disgusted by Richard's arrogance; but he left a portion of his army to aid that leader, who marched toward Jaffa, defeating Saladin on his way in a pitched battle.
Jaffa was abandoned to him, but this was nearly the term of his crusading career. He wished to proceed immediately to Jerusalem, but was thwarted, and two months were lost. The crusaders then marched to Ramla, near Jerusalem, but were forced to fall back. The next year Richard resumed operations, and the city might have been taken if the enterprise had been vigorously pushed. Why it was not is unknown. Richard retreated to the seacoast. His last act was to relieve Jaffa, which Saladin had assailed. A truce was agreed to, Sept. 2, 1192, on terms quite as favorable as the Christians could have expected, access to the holy places at Jerusalem being allowed by Saladin. Thus terminated the third crusade. An attempt made to preach a new crusade, after the expiration of the truce between Richard and Saladin, had little success out of Germany. From that country bands of nobles and others proceeded to Palestine, where they served to keep up the remains of the Latin kingdom, frequently defeating the Turks, but accomplishing nothing of consequence. - In 1198 Innocent III. resolved to get up a new crusade. The eloquence of Foulques of Neuilly was employed with considerable success. The fourth crusade was now commenced.
Though intended to injure the Mussulmans, it probably did more to enable the Turks to establish themselves permanently in Europe than any other event. It was mainly French in its character and composition. The counts of Champagne, Blois, and Flanders, and Simon de Montfort, were the principal leaders. The marquis of Mont-ferrat, in Italy, acted with them, and was followed by many Italians. The crusading spirit extended to Germany and Hungary, and in the latter country the king assumed the cross. The French crusaders despatched a deputation to Venice to make arrangements for the transportation of their forces to Palestine by sea. The Venetians engaged to transport a large army; but when in 1202 the crusaders assembled at Venice, they could not pay the price named, whereupon it was agreed that in lieu of money they should aid the Venetians to subdue Zara in Dalmatia, which had revolted. This, though not under the command of their chief, the marquis of Montferrat, and in defiance of papal prohibition, they accomplished. The Venetians' were commanded by the doge Enrico Dandolo, then nearly blind and more than 90 years old. Montferrat then rejoined them.
Here the combined forces entered into an agreement with Alexis, son of the deposed Byzantine emperor Isaac Angelus, to restore the fallen monarch. The opposition of the pope to this singular undertaking had little effect. The expedition proceeded to Constantinople, which was taken, and Isaac Angelus and his son were raised to the throne (1203). Soon, however, dissensions broke out between the allies. The restored princes were compelled to fight their restorers, but against their will, and with no good to themselves; for the Greeks hated them, overthrew them, and placed another emperor on the throne. Isaac died of terror, and Alexis was slain. The crusaders, affecting to be the champions of the dead princes, waged successful war with the new emperor, besieged and took Constantinople (1204), which they pillaged, and established a Latin empire, the conquered territory being divided between the Venetians and their western associates. The ultimate effect of this crusade was to weaken the principal barrier against Mussulman progress westward, so that when the new Turkish power was established in Asia Minor it experienced but moderate resistance from Byzantium. - In the spring of 1212 a French peasant boy named Stephen preached a crusade of boys.
Though the enterprise was condemned by the university of Paris and by royal edict, nevertheless several thousand boys, by some estimated as high as 30,000, embarked at Marseilles in August of that year. They were shipwrecked on the island of San Pietro, and the greater part perished; the rest were sold into slavery to the Mohammedans. A similar expedition, advocated by a peasant boy named Nicholas, in Germany, mustered at Cologne; but after various disasters it was abandoned. These expeditions are known in history as the "children's crusade." - The fifth crusade, 1216, was the work of Pope Innocent III., and was joined by Hungarians, Italians, Germans, English, and French. Andrew II., king of Hungary, led a large army to Palestine, and, in connection with the dukes of Austria and Bavaria, made one campaign, when he returned home. The Germans remained, and having been joined by others, they transferred the war to Egypt (1218). Damietta was besieged and taken, and the crusaders received large reinforcements from England, France, and Italy. The Mussulmans now offered Jerusalem, and even all Palestine, to the victors, on condition that they should leave Egypt, and most of them were for accepting terms which embraced all that the first crusades had been intended to gain.
But the papal legate, and the templars and hospitallers, who were joined by the Italian leaders, were able to bring about the rejection of the offer. After a delay of months the crusaders advanced upon Cairo, but the expedition failed entirely, and they were glad to humble themselves before the sultan, who allowed them to leave the country. The pope, Honorius III., attributed the failure to the emperor Frederick II., who had not kept his crusading vow. It was not till 1228 that the emperor went to Palestine with a small force, he being then excommunicate, the effect of which was greatly to weaken his power. Yet he did much, and made a treaty with the sultan, by which the Christians were to be allowed to visit Jerusalem freely, and Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other places were made over to them. He was permitted to visit the church of the sepulchre, from the altar of which he took the crown, and put it on his head. Thus the fifth crusade was brought to an honorable termination, and the emperor returned to Germany in 1229. - The folly of the Christians soon led to the loss of all that Frederick had gained for them. They quarrelled, and some of the independent Mussulman rulers were thereby encouraged to refuse to be bound by the treaty, and were successful in their warfare.
Again Europe was filled with complaints. A sixth crusade was proclaimed, but with no good result; and the sultan of Egypt, resolved to be beforehand with his enemies, entered Palestine, and drove the Christians from Jerusalem. Hereupon the nobility of England and France, in 1238, resolved to go to the relief of Palestine. The French, under various leaders, arrived there first, and achieved some brilliant successes. These were followed by reverses and dissensions, and most of the French left the country. The English then arrived, headed by the earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III., who was well received by the Christians, whose affairs he completely reestablished. Jerusalem and most of the Latin kingdom were ceded to them, and numerous captives were released. Cornwall then departed, and the sixth crusade was honorably ended in 1240. - The seventh crusade grew out of that vast Mongol movement which terrified the world in the 13th century. The Kharizmian horde, flying before the Mongols, sought refuge in Egypt, but were persuaded by the sultan to attack Palestine. They entered that country, and in 1244 stormed Jerusalem, perpetrating horrors equal to those which had marked its Christian conquest in 1099. Christians and Mussulmans were compelled to league against them, but were crushed by the savages and their Egyptian allies.
Acre became the refuge of the remnants of the Christians, and was the only place of importance left to the cross. The Kharizmians were soon destroyed or expelled by the Egyptians themselves, who now held Jerusalem. These events had the usual effect on Europe. At the council of Lyons (1245), a seventh crusade was proclaimed. It was chiefly confined to France and England; for though the king of Norway took the cross, he never drew his sword in its cause, and Germany and Italy were not in a state to afford assistance. Louis IX. of France, known as St. Louis, was the leader. A large army was assembled at Cyprus in 1248, and after a long delay proceeded to Egypt. The English joined it there. Damietta was taken (1249), and the crusaders directed their steps to Cairo. Mansoora fell before them, but the rash behavior of some of the French leaders caused them to pay dearly for the victory. The Egyptians resisted bravely and skilfully. Communication between the invaders and Damietta, the base of their operations, was cut off, and they were shut up in their camp, where sickness and famine thinned their number.
Attempting to retreat, they were utterly routed, and the king and his brothers, with many nobles and knights, became captives (1250). The rest of the army were slaughtered, 30,000 falling in all. The king and his companions were finally released, but not until they had experienced many dangers. Damietta was given up, and large sums were promised to the victors. Most of the survivors regarded the crusade as at an end, and departed from a land which had received them so roughly. Not so Louis, who went to Acre, and determined to remain in Palestine. This resolution he maintained for four years, exerting himself strenuously for the Christian cause, fortifying several places, and preserving union. Compelled by the condition of France to return home in 1254, his departure was followed by dissensions. The templars and hospitallers made open war on each other. The Egyptians, having extended their power over the Syrian Mussulmans, now fell on the Christians. The war lasted for years, and was characterized by constant Christian reverses, in spite of the valor of the losing party. At length the Latin principality of Antioch fell in 1268, myriads of Christians being slain, or sold into slavery.
Nothing was left but Acre. - For the last time Europe was moved to serious exertion, and the eighth crusade was undertaken. Louis IX., undis-couraged by his Egyptian failure, assembled a large force, which sailed in 1270. He landed in northern Africa, near Tunis, influenced by a false report of the dey's conversion to Christianity, and the hope of securing him as an ally.
He met with no firm resistance in the field, but the light troops of the Moors harassed the French exceedingly. Sickness raged in the invading ranks, and after crowds of brave soldiers and illustrious nobles had fallen, the king himself died. The French immediately gave up the crusade; but they had been joined by a band of English auxiliaries, headed by Prince Edward, afterward King Edward I., and these resolved to proceed to Palestine. Spending the winter in Sicily, they sailed for Acre in the spring of 1271, the last expedition of the kind that ever reached that place. The force was only 1,000 strong, but the name of Plantagenet was great in the East. Sultan Bibars, who had been so successful over the Christians, immediately retreated. Edward managed to assemble 7,000 men, and defeated a large Mussulman army, and then stormed Nazareth, which became the scene of a sweeping massacre. Here he was struck down by disease, and his followers died in great numbers. His life was attempted by an assassin. On his recovery, seeing that success could not be looked for, he concluded a truce of ten years, and departed for his own country (1272); and so ended the last crusade, 177 years from the time the first had been preached. - Gregory X. sought to evoke a ninth, but with no success.
In 1289 Tripoli, on the Phoenician coast, the last fief of the kingdom of Jerusalem, was taken by Sultan Kelaun. The remnants of that kingdom fell into his hands without resistance, save Acre, which he besieged at the head of an overwhelming force. The greater part of the inhabitants withdrew, but the soldiers of the three military orders, and some others, defended it resolutely to the last. The city was stormed (May 18,1291), and the defenders massacred, or sold into slavery; 60,000 are said to have been killed or taken, probably an exaggeration; - The most important works treating specially of the crusades are: Gesta Dei per Francos, sive Orientalium Expeditionum et Regni Francorum Hierosolymitani Historia, edited by Jacques Bongars (2 vols, fol., Hanover, 1611), a collection of the ancient histories of the crusades, the principal of which are also found, translated into French, in Guizot's Collection des memoires relatifs a l'histoire de France; Mailly, L'Esprit des croisades (Paris, 1780); Choiseul-Daillecourt, Dl'influence des croisades sur l'etat des peuples en Europe (Paris, 1810); Michaud, Histoire des croisades (Paris, 1812-22); Heeren, Ueber den Einfluss der Kreuzzuge (Gottingen, 1803); Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzzuge (Leipsic, 1807-32); Haken, Gemalde der Kreuzzuge (Frankfort, 1808-20); Sporschill, Geschichte der Kreuzzuge (Leipsic, 1843 et seq.); Navarrete, Di-sertacion historica sobre la parte que tuvieron los Espanoles en las guerras de ultramaro o de las cruzadas (Madrid, 1816); Hallam's " View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages" (1818); Mill's "History of the Crusades " (London, 1819); G. P. R. James, "Chivalry and the Crusades" (1838); the latter volumes of Gibbon's " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire;" Procter's "History of the Crusades" (London, 1854); and Gray's "Children's Crusade" (New York, 1870).