Crusader State to Military State



  • Kings couldn’t afford to lose the support of his feudal barons and their troops because the crusader Kingdom was in a state of perpetual struggle
  • Occupation of Outremer  was based on fortifications which ensured the survival of the kingdom
  • Castles primarily had a military function, dominate a valley, or to intimidate and gradually strangle a Muslim town/fortification
  • Administrative and commercial functions, acting as centres of local government and protecting trade routes and markets
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  • Crusaders restored many Byzantine and Arab fortifications which they also enlarged.
  • Baldwin I built a castle in Montreal to control valleys across the dead sea and Gulf of Aqaba
  • Krak des Chevaliers- commanded the Homs Valley and approaches to the coastal plains from Southern Syria
  • Each castle was at the centre of a region which supplied it with food and rents so that the commanders could pay their garrisons and commanders lived inside the castle walls
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  • Shortages of men meant that the leaders were faced with a choice of deploying them to either defend a castle or go to battlefield- high risk strategy
  • Private and remote nature of castles meant that Christian forces could be bottled up and surrounded in times of major invasion but Muslim forces weren’t united against the crusaders at this time
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  • 1100-300- two new institutions emerged which were to change the face of holy war and alter the political landscape of the kingdom
  • Orders of Warrior Monks, Knights Templars and Knights Hospitallers- protect pilgrims and provide military manpower to defend the Crusader Kingdom.
  • This was a radical concept from Pope Urban’s preaching of 1095.
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  • Founded in 1119 by Hugh of Payns and initially set up as a group laymen rather than monks
  • Prompted by the defeat in Battle of Field of Blood in 1119
  • The concept attracted the attention of Count Fulk of Anjou who stayed with them for a year. Hugh of Payns travelled to Europe  to gain wider support and the notion of fighting monks emerged whereby Templars would supply a permanent troop of committed warriors in the Holy Land
  • January 1129- The church gave its support and soon money, land and man flocked from all over to the order
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  • Bernard of Clairvaux deliberately based their rule on the Augustinian rule.
  • Thus it was more wordly wise, included detail of knights in battle, discipline, equipment and hierarchy of the order as well as fundamental monastic principles of chastity, poverty and obedience.
  • Focus on their duties to God and assist their commitment in battle
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  • A clear step forward from the just war theories of 1095 where Christian knights were urged to kill unbelievers
  • Their purpose were seen to defend the Holy Land and destroy evil. Bernard wrote a document defending the notion of a monk killing people
  • A better step forward from the old type of crusaders (especially Peter the Hermit’s People’s Crusade)
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1139-45 Templars gained privileges from the papacy- exemption from taxes payable to the local church, right to appoint their own priests and the right to elect their own master

Anyone who granted land, money or goods to the Templars would recieve a papal indulgence and if a layman became a Templar he could be buried in the Templar cementry

They were given lands and castles in outremer.

Local churchmen didn't always accept the Templar's power but support from the Pope made them untouchable

Idea of fighting monks wasn't universally accepted, their privileges were seen as an encouragement to acquire wealth and power that were suited to spiritual men

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Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem was the other order of fighting monks

Began in mid 11th century, pre-dating the crusades, as a hospice run by Italian traders caring for sick pilgrims

After the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, Godfrey became a strong supporter of the Hospitallers and the flood of Pilgrims into the Holy land added to their importance

General Chapter, the leading men of the order, met in the Holy Land- the scale of their endowments, donations and manpower grew rapidly and was a vital supply line to warrior monks and hospitals in the east

1113- they became an independent order, Pope Paschall II issued a papal bull which gave them papal protection and allowed them the freedom to elect their own master

Took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but their were no knights in the early stages

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Encouraged by the rise of the Templar order

Gradually assumed a knightly role

1136 King Fulk granted them the castle of Bethgibelin and by 1144 they had control of the fortress at Krak des Chevaliers

By 1160s they were determining policy against Muslim

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