The First and Second Crusade

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The battle of Manzikert (1071)
This battle, between the Byzantines and the Seljuk Turks, was a major defeat for the Byzantines and
led to the beginning of the First Crusade. The Seljuk Turks had before unseen battle tactics in which
they would hover around their enemy and once battle was given, they fled. As the enemy chased
them, they then turned around and attacked with brutal force. Because the battle was so disastrous
for the Byzantine Emperor, he decided to write a letter to the Pope, requesting that he sent
mercenary soldiers from Western Europe to help him protect his Empire from the Seljuks.
Preaching the Crusade
In March 1095, the Pope received the letter at the Council of Picenza. But it was at the Council of
Clermont in November of that year that Pope Urban appealed for a Crusade to the Holy land and the
need to protect Christians from the persecution of the Turks. There is no definite recordings of what
Pope Urban said when he preached the Crusade, but Hans Mayer argues that he had no real
intentions of liberating Jerusalem, only to extend his control into the East. However, Jonathan
Riley-Smith believes that Jerusalem was the main objective, considering its religious and spiritual
connections with the Church. What is known about the preach was that he said that people who went
on Crusade to Jerusalem, and if they died before they got there, would have their penances
forgiven. Penance was the duties that you did if you had sinned, they had to equal with the sin you
had committed. There are five main reasons why he preached the Crusade:
A pilgrimage to Jerusalem ­ some people see the first crusade as an armed pilgrimage. The
main objective of the people would therefore be the resolve themselves of sin by gaining an
indulgence. They took their vows expecting to earn salvation.
A war of liberation ­ the main aim would therefore be to liberate Jerusalem from the ever
growing power of the Muslims. Jerusalem was important to the Christians as it is where Jesus
was killed and buried. Because of the passing of a thousand years since Jesus' death, people
believed that he may return any minute and therefore wanted to get to Jerusalem, thinking
that if he returned, it would be there.
Reforming the papacy and extending their power ­ linked to the idea of pilgrimage, the
papal reforms influenced Europe in two ways: the peace of God encouraged a peaceful
society, and the church tried to take control of the military aspect of society. Both the Popes
Gregory and Urban developed the idea of Knights of Christ.
An attack on Islam ­ the church deliberately attacked the Middle East as an act of revenge
on the Muslims. It is believed that Pope Urban hinted towards Christians being tortured and
persecuted by the Muslims.
Social and economic opportunity ­ younger brothers of Noble families couldn't inherit their
father's land due to primogeniture, which only allowed the eldest son to inherit the land. On

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Frereche split the treasures of the family behind all of the brothers. This
meant that some men felt cheated out of possessions so went on Crusade to gain land in the
Middle East instead of missing out in Europe. Henry II on England and Bohemond of Taranto
are examples of Crusaders who travelled for this purposes.
The people's Crusade
After the preaching of Urban's speech at the Council of Clermont, his messengers went out around
Europe to spread the message.…read more

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The leaders
The official Crusade left Europe on August 15th 1096. The three main groups that left were
led by Raymond of Toulouse, who was aged 55 and mainly interested in absolving his sins,
Godfrey of Bouillon took a group from Northern France, he wanted to leave Europe to gain
more land as his duchy was not enough for him, and finally Bohemond of Taranto, who
wanted to extend his power.…read more

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Main reasons for the First Crusade being a success
Muslim disunity ­ the Muslim leaders were too preoccupied by their own disputes to see
the Crusaders as a major threat. Firstly Kilij Arslan didn't stop them in Anatolia because he was
busy fighting Danishmend. When the Governor of Antioch looked for help against the
Crusaders besieging his city, many of the Muslim leaders didn't response straight away.…read more

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The Crusade of 1101
After Godfrey accepted the position of Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre in 1099, he died childless in
1100. Baldwin, who had left the main Crusading army to capture the county of Edessa, accepted the
Kingship of Jerusalem in 1100. He immediately asked Pope Paschal for help in securing the newly
founded land of Outremer. His response was to organise another Crusade. There were four main
groups of the Crusade of 1101, the Lombards, the Provencals, the French and the Germans.…read more

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The founding of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
The aim of the first years of Jerusalem was to capture the ports along the Mediterranean; this would
allow him to have access to the sea so that supplies could be brought directly from Europe to his
depleted forces. Many of the Italian sea powers agreed to support him and in the spring of 1100, the
ports of Arsuf, Ascalon, Caesarea, Jaffa and Acre were captured.…read more

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What was the Jihad?
The Jihad was the Muslim idea of a Holy War to spread Islam throughout the world. They aimed to get
rid of the infidel, in this case the Christians. The idea of the Jihad developed after the conquest of
Jerusalem by the Crusaders. Like the Crusade, the Jihad focused on the recapture of Jerusalem. The
first successful leader of the Jihad was Zengi who used Muslim unity and Christian disunity.…read more

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What prompted the call?
The fall of Edessa led to Hugh of Jabala sending for help from Pope Eugenius to call for a nother
Crusade to help those in the Latin East. He issued a Papal bull in December 1145, a year after the fall
of Edessa, which was sent to King Louis of France.…read more

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After reaching Antioch
Louis reached Antioch in March 1148 along with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her uncle was
Raymond of Antioch, and soon after they decided not to go straight to Edessa but to try and take
Aleppo, they were suspected of having an affair. Louis captured Eleanor and carried on to Jerusalem
without Raymond. He reached Jerusalem in June, just after Conrad and shortly after a meeting at Acre
was held to decide what to do next.…read more

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Nur-ad-Din's first goal was to unite all of the Muslims within Syria, including bringing Damascus into
the Jihad. His first opportunity came in 1149when Onor of Damascus died, leaving the city in a
struggle to see who would lead them. The two main candidates were Onor's young son, Abaq, or
Nur-ad-Din. He lost his advantage when his brother, Saif-ad-Din died and he had to extend his
influence in Mosul, but beaten to it by his younger brother.…read more



This is a very substantial resource that provides accurate information on the events of the First and Second Crusade as well as ideas on why the first succeeded and the second failed. Highly recommended.

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