First Crusade

First Crusade

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The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 to regain the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

s taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (1099)
The Siege of Jerusalem took place from June 7 to July 15, 1099 during the First Crusade. The Crusaders stormed and captured the city from Fatimid Egypt.-Background:...

. It was launched on 27 November 1095 by Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II , born Otho de Lagery , was Pope from 12 March 1088 until his death on July 29 1099...

 with the primary goal of responding to an appeal from Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus , was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders,...

, who requested that western volunteers come to his aid and help to repel the invading Seljuq Turks
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

 from Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. An additional goal soon became the principal objective—the Christian reconquest of the sacred city of Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

 and the Holy Land and the freeing of the Eastern Christians
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

 from Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic rule.

During the crusade, knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

s and peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s from many nations of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 travelled over land and by sea, first to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 and then on towards Jerusalem, as crusaders; the peasants greatly outnumbered the knights. Peasants and knights were split into separate armies; however, because the peasants were not as well-trained in combat as the knights, their army failed to reach Jerusalem. The knights arrived at Jerusalem, launched an assault on the city, and captured it in July 1099, massacring many of the city's Muslim and Jewish inhabitants. They also established the crusader states
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

 of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, the County of Tripoli
County of Tripoli
The County of Tripoli was the last Crusader state founded in the Levant, located in what today are parts of western Syria and northern Lebanon, where exists the modern city of Tripoli. The Crusader state was captured and created by Christian forces in 1109, originally held by Bertrand of Toulouse...

, the Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

, and the County of Edessa
County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, based around Edessa, a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity....

.

Because the First Crusade was largely concerned with Jerusalem, a city which had not been under Christian dominion for 461 years, and the crusader army refused to return the land to the control of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, the status of the First Crusade as defensive or as aggressive in nature remains controversial.

The First Crusade was part of the Christian response to the Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

, and was followed by the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

 to the Ninth Crusade
Ninth Crusade
The Ninth Crusade, which is sometimes grouped with the Eighth Crusade, is commonly considered to be the last major medieval Crusade to the Holy Land. It took place in 1271–1272....

, but the gains made lasted for less than 200 years. It was also the first major step towards reopening international trade
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 in the West since the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

.

Background


The origin of the Crusades in general, and particularly that of the First Crusade, is widely debated among historians. The Crusades are most commonly linked to the political and social situation in 11th-century Europe, the rise of a reform movement within the papacy
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, and the political and religious confrontation of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam in Europe and the Middle East. Christianity had spread throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

, but by the early 8th century
Christianity in the 8th century
- Eastern Church :By the late 8th century the Muslim empire had conquered all of Persia and much of the Eastern Roman territory including Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Suddenly much of the Christian world was under Muslim rule...

 Christian rule had become limited to Europe and Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 after the Muslim conquests. The Umayyad Caliphate had conquered Syria
Muslim conquest of Syria
The Muslim conquest of Syria occurred in the first half of the 7th century, and refers to the region known as the Bilad al-Sham, the Levant, or Greater Syria...

, Egypt
Muslim conquest of Egypt
At the commencement of the Muslims conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II...

, and North Africa
Umayyad conquest of North Africa
The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid Arab Muslim expansion following the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of Byzantine Syria. Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad caliphate....

 from the predominantly Christian Byzantine Empire, and Hispania
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 from the Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

. In North Africa, the Ummayad empire eventually collapsed and a number of smaller Muslim kingdoms emerged, such as the Aghlabids, who attacked Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in the 9th century
Christianity in the 9th century
The High Middle Ages begins in the 9th century with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 and continued with the Photian schism.- Carolingian Renaissance :...

. Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, and the Principality of Catalonia
Principality of Catalonia
The Principality of Catalonia , is a historic territory in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula, mostly in Spain and with an adjoining portion in southern France....

 began to battle various Muslim kingdoms for control of the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

, exemplified by the Mahdia campaign
Mahdia campaign
The Mahdia campaign of 1087 was an attack on the North African town of Mahdia by armed ships from Genoa and Pisa in northern Italy. It had been prompted by the actions of its ruler Tamim as a pirate in waters off the Italian peninsula, along with his involvement in Sicily fighting the Norman...

 and battles at Majorca and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

.

Situation in Europe


At the western edge of Europe and of Islamic expansion, the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula was well underway by the 11th century; it was intermittently ideological, as evidenced by the Epitome Ovetense
Codex Vigilanus
The Codex Vigilanus or Códice Albeldense , full name Codex Conciliorum Albeldensis seu Vigilanus, is an illuminated compilation of various historical documents from the Visigothic period in Spain...

written at the behest of Rodrick McManigal in 881, but it was not a proto-crusade. Increasingly in the 11th century foreign knights, mostly from France, visited Iberia to assist the Christians in their efforts. Shortly before the First Crusade, Pope Urban II had encouraged the Iberian Christians to reconquer Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

, using much of the same symbolism and rhetoric that was later used to preach the crusade to the people of Europe.

The heart of Western Europe itself had been stabilized after the Christianization
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 of the Saxon
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

, Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

, and Hungarian peoples by the end of the 10th century. However, the breakdown of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 gave rise to an entire class of warriors who now had little to do but fight among themselves. The random violence of the knightly class was regularly condemned by the church, and in response it established the Peace and Truce of God
Peace and Truce of God
The Peace and Truce of God was a medieval European movement of the Catholic Church that applied spiritual sanctions in order to limit the violence of private war in feudal society. The movement constituted the first organized attempt to control civil society in medieval Europe through non-violent...

 to prohibit fighting on certain days of the year. At the same time, the reform-minded papacy came into conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

s, resulting in the Investiture Controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

. Popes such as Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

 justified the subsequent warfare against the Emperor's partisans in theological terms. It became acceptable for the Pope to utilize knights in the name of Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

, not only against political enemies of the Papacy, but also against Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

, or, theoretically, against the Seljuq dynasty
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

 in the east.

To the east of Europe lay the Byzantine Empire, composed of Christians who had long followed a separate Orthodox rite; the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches had been in schism
East–West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 since 1054. Historians have argued that the desire to impose Roman church authority in the east may have been one of the goals of the crusade, although Urban II, who launched the First Crusade, never refers to such a goal in his letters on crusading. The Seljuq Turks had taken over almost all of Anatolia after the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Manzikert
Battle of Manzikert
The Battle of Manzikert , was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq Turks led by Alp Arslan on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert...

 in 1071, with the result that on the eve of the Council of Clermont, the territory controlled by the Byzantine Empire had been reduced by more than half. By the time of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, the Byzantine Empire was largely confined to Balkan Europe and the northwestern fringe of Anatolia, and faced Norman enemies in the west as well as Turks in the east. In response to the defeat at Manzikert and subsequent Byzantine losses in Anatolia in 1074, Pope Gregory VII had called for the milites Christi ("soldiers of Christ") to go to Byzantium's aid. This call, while largely ignored and even opposed, nevertheless focused a great deal of attention on the east.

Situation in the Middle East


Until the crusaders' arrival the Byzantines had continually fought the Seljuqs and other Turkish dynasties for control of Anatolia and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. The Seljuqs, who were orthodox Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Muslims, had formerly ruled the Great Seljuq Empire
Great Seljuq Empire
The Great Seljuq Empire was a medieval Persianate, Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf...

, but by the time of the First Crusade it had divided into several smaller states after the death of Malik-Shah I in 1092. Malik-Shah was succeeded in the Anatolian Sultanate of Rum
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

 by Kilij Arslan I
Kilij Arslan I
Kilij Arslan was the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm from 1092 until his death in 1107. He ruled the Sultanate during the time of the First Crusade and thus faced the brunt of the entire attack...

, and in Syria by his brother Tutush I
Tutush I
Abu Sa'id Taj ad-Dawla Tutush I was the Seljuq ruler of Damascus from 1079 to 1095, succeeding Abaaq al-Khwarazmi. He finished the construction of the Citadel of Damascus, a project that had begun under the direction of Abaaq al Khwarizmi...

, who died in 1095. Tutush's sons Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan and Duqaq
Duqaq
Abu Nasr Shams al-Muluk Duqaq was the Seljuq ruler of Damascus from 1095 to 1104.Duqaq was a son of the Seljuq ruler of Syria, Tutush I, and Khatun Safwat al-Mulk, He was the brother of Radwan. When their father died in 1095, Radwan claimed Syria for himself, and Duqaq initially inherited...

 inherited Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 and Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 respectively, further dividing Syria amongst emirs antagonistic towards each other, as well as Kerbogha
Kerbogha
Kerbogha was Atabeg of Mosul during the First Crusade and was renowned as a soldier. He was a Turk who owed his success to his military talent. In 1098, when he heard that the Crusaders had besieged Antioch, he gathered his troops and marched to relieve the city. By the time he arrived, around...

, the atabeg
Atabeg
Atabeg, Atabek, or Atabey is a hereditary title of nobility of Turkic origin, indicating a governor of a nation or province who was subordinate to a monarch and charged with raising the crown prince...

 of Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

.

Egypt and much of Palestine were controlled by the Arab Shi'ite Fatimid Caliphate, which was significantly smaller since the arrival of the Seljuqs. Warfare between the Fatimids and Seljuqs caused great disruption for the local Christians and for western pilgrims. The Fatimids, under the nominal rule of caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 al-Musta'li
Al-Musta'li
Aḥmad al-Musta‘lī was the ninth Fatimid Caliph, and believed by the Mustaali Ismaili sect to be the 19th imam. Al-Musta‘lī was made caliph by Regent al-Afdal Shahanshah as the successor to al-Mustansir...

 but actually controlled by vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 al-Afdal Shahanshah
Al-Afdal Shahanshah
al-Malik al-Afdal ibn Badr al-Jamali Shahanshah was a vizier of the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt.- Ascent to power :He was born in Acre, the son of Badr al-Jamali, an Armenian who became Muslim. Badr was vizier for the Fatimids in Cairo from 1074 until his death in 1094, when al-Afdal succeeded him...

, had lost Jerusalem to the Seljuqs in 1073 (although some older accounts say 1076); they recaptured it in 1098 from the Artuqids, a smaller Turkish tribe associated with the Seljuqs, just before the arrival of the crusaders.

Historiography


It is now impossible to assess exactly why the First Crusade occurred, although many possible causes have been suggested by historians. The historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

 of the Crusades reflects attempts made by different historians to understand the Crusades' complex causes and justifications. An early modern theory, the so-called "Erdmann thesis", developed by German historian Carl Erdmann
Carl Erdmann
Carl Erdmann was a German historian who specialized in medieval political and intellectual history. He is noted in particular for his study of the origins of the idea of crusading in medieval Latin Christendom, as well as his work on letter collections and correspondence among secular and...

, directly linked the Crusades to the 11th-century reform movements. This first theory claimed that the exportation of violence to the east, and the assistance to the struggling Byzantine Empire were the Crusaders' primary goals, and that the conquest of Jerusalem was more a secondary, popular goal.

Generally, subsequent historians have either followed Erdmann, with further expansions upon his thesis, or rejected it. Some historians, such as Speros Vryonis
Speros Vryonis
Speros Vryonis Jr. is an American historian of Greek descent and a specialist in Greek and Byzantine history. He is the author of a number of works on Byzantine/Greek-Turkish relations, including The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh...

, have emphasized the influence of the rise of Islam generally, and the impact of the recent Seljuq onslaught specifically. Steven Runciman
Steven Runciman
The Hon. Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH — known as Steven Runciman — was a British historian known for his work on the Middle Ages...

 argued that the crusade was motivated by a combination of theological justification for holy war and a "general restlessness and taste for adventure", especially among the Normans and the "younger sons" of the French nobility who had no other opportunities.Runciman
Steven Runciman
The Hon. Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH — known as Steven Runciman — was a British historian known for his work on the Middle Ages...

 is widely read; it is safe to say that most popular conceptions of the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 are based on his account, though the academic world has long moved past him.
Runciman even implies that there was no immediate threat from the Islamic world, arguing that "in the middle of the 11th century the lot of the Christians in Palestine had seldom been so pleasant". However, Runciman makes his argument only in reference to Palestine under the Fatimids c. 1029–1073, not under the Seljuqs. Moreover, the source of his generally positive view of Palestinian Christians' lot in the later 11th century is unclear, as there were very few contemporary Christian sources from Palestine writing in this period, and surviving Christian sources deriving directly from Seljuq Palestine are virtually non-existent. In opposition to Runciman's argument, and on the basis of contemporary Jewish Cairo Geniza
Cairo Geniza
The Cairo Geniza is a collection of almost 280,000 Jewish manuscript fragments found in the Genizah or storeroom of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, presently Old Cairo, Egypt. Some additional fragments were found in the Basatin cemetery east of Old Cairo, and the collection includes a number of...

 documents, as well as later Muslim accounts, Moshe Gil
Moshe Gil
Moshe Gil is an Israeli historian.-Academic career:Moshe Gil specializes in the historical interaction between Islam and the Jews, including the history of Palestine under the Islamic domination, the institution of the Exilarchate, and Jewish merchants such as the Radhanites...

 argues that the Seljuq conquest and occupation of Palestine (c. 1073–1098) was a period of "slaughter and vandalism, of economic hardship, and the uprooting of populations". Indeed, drawing upon earlier writers such as Ignatius of Melitene, Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian , also known as Michael the Great or Michael Syrus or Michael the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew, was a patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1166 to 1199. He is best known today as the author of the largest medieval Chronicle, which he composed in Syriac...

 had recorded that the Seljuqs subjected Coele-Syria and the Palestinian coast to "cruel destruction and pillage".

Thomas Asbridge
Thomas Asbridge
Thomas Asbridge is a University of London medieval history scholar. He is the author of The First Crusade: A New History, a book which describes the background, events, and consequences of the First Crusade, "The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land", a book providing a view on the crusading...

 argues that the First Crusade was Pope Urban II's attempt to expand the power of the church, and reunite the churches of Rome and Constantinople, which had been in schism since 1054. Asbridge, however, provides little evidence from Urban's own writings to bolster this claim, and Urban's four extant letters on crusading do not seem to express such a motive. According to Asbridge, the spread of Islam was unimportant because "Islam and Christendom had coexisted for centuries in relative equanimity". Asbridge, however, fails to note that the recent Turkish conquests of Anatolia and southern Syria had shattered the tense but relatively stable balance of power that a somewhat revived Byzantine Empire had gradually developed with earlier Islamic powers over the course of the 10th and early 11th century. Following the defeat at Manzikert
Malazgirt
Malazgirt is a town in Muş Province in eastern Turkey, with a population of 23,697 .-Founding:...

 in 1071, Muslims had taken half of the Byzantine Empire's territory, and such strategically and religiously important cities as Antioch and Nicaea had only fallen to Muslims in the decade before the Council of Piacenza
Council of Piacenza
The Council of Piacenza was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Roman Catholic Church, which took place from March 1 to March 5, 1095, at Piacenza....

. Moreover, the harrowing accounts of the Turkish invasion and conquest of Anatolia recorded by such Eastern Christian chroniclers as John Skylitzes
John Skylitzes
John Skylitzes, latinized as Ioannes Scylitzes was a Greek historian of the late 11th century. He was born in the beginning of 1040's and died after 1101.- Life :Very little is known about his life...

, Michael Attaleiates, Matthew of Edessa
Matthew of Edessa
Matthew of Edessa was an Armenian historian in the 12th century from the city of Edessa . Matthew was the superior abbot of Karmir Vank' , near the town of Kessoun, east of Marash , the former seat of Baldwin of Boulogne...

, Michael the Syrian and others, which are summarized by Vryonis, seem to contradict Asbridge's broad picture of equanimious "coexistence" between the Christian and Muslim worlds in the second half of the 11th century.

Thomas Madden
Thomas Madden
Thomas F. Madden is an American historian, a former Chair of the History Department at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, and Director of Saint Louis University's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies...

 represents a view almost diametrically opposed to that of Asbridge; while the crusade was certainly linked to church reform and attempts to assert papal authority, he argues that it was most importantly a pious struggle to liberate fellow Christians, who, Madden claims, "had suffered mightily at the hands of the Turks". This argument distinguishes the relatively recent violence and warfare that followed the conquests of the Turks from the general advance of Islam, the significance of which is dismissed by Runciman and Asbridge. Christopher Tyerman incorporates both arguments in his thesis; namely, that the Crusade developed out of church reform and theories of holy war as much as it was a response to conflicts with the Islamic world throughout Europe and the Middle East. In Jonathan Riley-Smith
Jonathan Riley-Smith
Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith, K.St.J., Ph.D. MA, Litt.D., FRHistS is an historian of the Crusades, and a former Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History...

's view, poor harvests, overpopulation, and a pre-existing movement towards colonizing the frontier areas of Europe also contributed to the crusade; however, he also takes care to say that "most commentators then and a minority of historians now have maintained that the chief motivation was a genuine idealism".

The idea that the crusades were a response to Islam dates back as far as 12th-century historian William of Tyre
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

, who began his chronicle with the fall of Jerusalem to Umar
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

. Although the original Islamic conquests had taken place centuries before the First Crusade, more recent events would have been fresh in the minds of the European Christians of the time. For example, in 1009 the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 had been destroyed by the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

; Pope Sergius IV
Pope Sergius IV
Pope Sergius IV , born Pietro Martino Buccaporci, was Pope from July 31, 1009, until his death. The date of his birth is unknown. His birth name is believed to have been Pietro Martino Buccaporci...

 supposedly called for a military expedition in response, and in France, many Jewish communities were even attacked in a misdirected retaliation. Despite the Church's rebuilding after al-Hakim's death, and pilgrimages resuming, including the Great German Pilgrimage of 1064–1065, pilgrims continued to suffer attacks from local Muslims. In addition, the even more recent Turkish incursions into Anatolia and northern Syria were certainly viewed as devastating by Eastern Christian chroniclers, and it is plausible they were presented as such by the Byzantines to the Pope in order to solicit the aid of European Christians.

Council of Clermont


While the Crusades had causes deeply rooted in the social and political situations of 11th-century Europe, the ultimate event actually triggering the First Crusade was a request for assistance from Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Alexios was worried about the advances of the Seljuqs, who had reached as far west as Nicaea
Nicaea
Nicaea or Nikaia may be:*The ancient name of several places, including:** İznik, Turkey - formerly Nicaea capital of the Empire of Nicaea**Nice, France**Nicaea, Locris, a fortress city of the Locri Epicnemidii...

, not far from Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. In March 1095, Alexios sent envoys to the Council of Piacenza
Council of Piacenza
The Council of Piacenza was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Roman Catholic Church, which took place from March 1 to March 5, 1095, at Piacenza....

 to ask Pope Urban II for aid against the Turks. Urban responded favourably, perhaps hoping to heal the Great Schism of forty years earlier, and to re-unite the Church under papal primacy
Primacy of the Roman Pontiff
The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is an ecclesiastical doctrine held by some branches of Christianity, most notably the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. The doctrine concerns the respect and authority that is due to the Bishop of Rome from bishops and their...

 by helping the Eastern churches in their time of need.

In July 1095, Urban turned to his homeland of France to recruit men for the expedition. His travels there culminated in the Council of Clermont in November, where, according to the various speeches attributed to him, he gave an impassioned sermon to a large audience of French nobles and clergy, graphically detailing the fantastical atrocities being committed against pilgrims and eastern Christians. There are five versions of the speech recorded by people who may have been at the council (Baldric of Dol
Baldric of Dol
Baldric of Dol was abbot of Bourgueil from 1079 to 1106, then bishop of Dol-en-Bretagne from 1107 until his death....

, Guibert of Nogent
Guibert of Nogent
Guibert of Nogent was a Benedictine historian, theologian and author of autobiographical memoirs. Guibert was relatively unknown in his own time, going virtually unmentioned by his contemporaries...

, Robert the Monk
Robert the Monk
Robert the Monk or Robert of Rheims was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He did not participate in the expedition, but rewrote the Gesta Francorum at the request of his abbot, who was appalled at the 'rustic' style of the Gesta....

, and Fulcher of Chartres
Fulcher of Chartres
Fulcher of Chartres was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He wrote in Latin.- Life :His appointment as chaplain of Baldwin of Boulogne in 1097 suggests that he had been trained as a priest, most likely at the school in Chartres...

) or who went on crusade (Fulcher and the anonymous author of the Gesta Francorum
Gesta Francorum
The so-called Gesta Francorum or in full De Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum is a Latin chronicle of the First Crusade written in circa 1100-1101 by an anonymous author connected with Bohemund I of Antioch.It narrates the events of the First Crusade from the inception in November...

), as well as other versions found in later historians (such as William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury was the foremost English historian of the 12th century. C. Warren Hollister so ranks him among the most talented generation of writers of history since Bede, "a gifted historical scholar and an omnivorous reader, impressively well versed in the literature of classical,...

 and William of Tyre). All of these versions were written after Jerusalem had been captured. Thus it is difficult to know what was actually said and what was recreated in the aftermath of the successful crusade. The only contemporary records are a few letters written by Urban in 1095.

All five versions of the speech differ widely from one another in regard to particulars. All versions, except that in the Gesta Francorum, generally agree that Urban talked about the violence of European society and the necessity of maintaining the Peace of God; about helping the Greeks, who had asked for assistance; about the crimes being committed against Christians in the east; and about a new kind of war, an armed pilgrimage, and of rewards in heaven, where remission of sins was offered to any who might die in the undertaking. They do not all specifically mention Jerusalem as the ultimate goal; however, it has been argued that Urban's subsequent preaching reveals that he expected the expedition to reach Jerusalem all along. According to one version of the speech, the enthusiastic crowd responded with cries of Deus vult
Deus vult
Deus vult was the cry of the people at the declaration of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095...

!
("God wills it!"). However, other versions of the speech do not include this detail.

Recruitment


Urban's speech had been well-planned; he had discussed the crusade with Adhemar of Le Puy
Adhemar of Le Puy
Adhemar de Monteil , one of the principal figures of the First Crusade, was bishop of Puy-en-Velay from before 1087...

 and Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, and instantly the expedition had the support of two of southern France's most important leaders. Adhemar himself was present at the Council and was the first to "take the cross". During the rest of 1095 and into 1096, Urban spread the message throughout France, and urged his bishops and legates to preach in their own dioceses elsewhere in France, Germany, and Italy as well. However, it is clear that the response to the speech was much greater than even the Pope, let alone Alexios, expected. On his tour of France, Urban tried to forbid certain people (including women, monks, and the sick) from joining the crusade, but found this nearly impossible. In the end, most who took up the call were not knights, but peasants who were not wealthy and had little in the way of fighting skills, in an outpouring of a new emotional and personal piety that was not easily harnessed by the ecclesiastical and lay aristocracy. Typically, preaching would conclude with every volunteer taking a vow to complete a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; they were also given a cross, usually sewn onto their clothes.

As Thomas Asbridge wrote, "Just as we can do nothing more than estimate the number of thousands who responded to the crusading ideal, so too, with the surviving evidence, we can gain only a limited insight into their motivation and intent." Previous generations of scholars argued that the crusaders were motivated by greed, hoping to find a better life away from the famines and warfare occurring in France, but as Asbridge notes, "This image is ... profoundly misleading." He argues that greed was unlikely to have been a major factor because of the extremely high cost of travelling so far from home, and because almost all of the crusaders eventually returned home after completing their pilgrimage rather than trying to carve out possessions for themselves in the Holy Land. It is difficult or impossible to assess the motives of the thousands of poor for whom there is no historical record, or even those of important knights, whose stories were usually retold by monks or clerics. As the secular medieval world was so deeply ingrained with the spiritual world of the church, it is quite likely that personal piety was a major factor for many crusaders.

Despite this popular enthusiasm, however, Urban ensured that there would be an army of knights, drawn from the French aristocracy. Aside from Adhemar and Raymond, other leaders he recruited throughout 1096 included Bohemond of Taranto, a southern Italian ally of the reform popes; Bohemond's nephew Tancred
Tancred, Prince of Galilee
Tancred was a Norman leader of the First Crusade who later became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch...

; Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon was a medieval Frankish knight who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death. He was the Lord of Bouillon, from which he took his byname, from 1076 and the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1087...

, who had previously been an anti-reform ally of the Holy Roman Emperor; his brother Baldwin of Boulogne
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

; Hugh I, Count of Vermandois, brother of the excommunicated Philip I of France
Philip I of France
Philip I , called the Amorous, was King of France from 1060 to his death. His reign, like that of most of the early Direct Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time...

; Robert Curthose, brother of William II of England
William II of England
William II , the third son of William I of England, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales...

; and his relatives Stephen II, Count of Blois
Stephen II, Count of Blois
Stephen II Henry , Count of Blois and Count of Chartres, was the son of Theobald III, count of Blois, and Garsinde du Maine. He married Adela of Normandy, a daughter of William the Conqueror around 1080 in Chartres...

 and Robert II, Count of Flanders
Robert II, Count of Flanders
Robert II was Count of Flanders from 1093 to 1111. He became known as Robert of Jerusalem or Robert the Crusader after his exploits in the First Crusade.-History:...

. The crusaders represented northern and southern France, Flanders, Germany, and southern Italy, and so were divided into four separate armies that were not always cooperative, though they were held together by their common ultimate goal.

The motives of the nobility are somewhat clearer than those of the peasants; greed was apparently not a major factor. It is commonly assumed, for example by Runciman as mentioned above, that only younger members of a family went on crusade, looking for wealth and adventure elsewhere, as they had no prospects for advancement at home. Riley-Smith has shown that this was not always the case. The crusade was led by some of the most powerful nobles of France, who left everything behind, and it was often the case that entire families went on crusade at their own great expense. For example, Robert of Normandy loaned the Duchy of Normandy
Duchy of Normandy
The Duchy of Normandy stems from various Danish, Norwegian, Hiberno-Norse, Orkney Viking and Anglo-Danish invasions of France in the 9th century...

 to his brother William II of England, and Godfrey sold or mortgaged his property to the church. According to Tancred's biographer, he was worried about the sinful nature of knightly warfare, and was excited to find a holy outlet for violence. Tancred and Bohemond, as well as Godfrey, Baldwin, and their older brother Eustace III, Count of Boulogne, are examples of families who crusaded together. Riley-Smith argues that the enthusiasm for the crusade was perhaps based on family relations, as most of the French crusaders were distant relatives. Nevertheless, in at least some cases, personal advancement played a role in Crusaders' motives. For instance, Bohemond was motivated by the desire to carve himself out a territory in the east, and had previously campaigned against the Byzantines to try to achieve this. The Crusade gave him a further opportunity, which he took after the Siege of Antioch
Siege of Antioch
The Siege of Antioch took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098. The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098. The second siege, against the crusaders who had occupied it, lasted from June 7 to June 28, 1098.-Background:Antioch...

, taking possession of the city and establishing the Principality of Antioch.

People's Crusade


The great French nobles and their trained armies of knights, however, were not the first to undertake the journey towards Jerusalem. Urban had planned the departure of the first crusade for 15 August 1096, the Feast of the Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, but months before this, a number of unexpected armies of peasants and petty nobles set off for Jerusalem on their own, led by a charismatic priest called Peter the Hermit
Peter the Hermit
Peter the Hermit was a priest of Amiens and a key figure during the First Crusade.-Before 1096:According to Anna Comnena, he had attempted to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before 1096, but was prevented by the Seljuk Turks from reaching his goal and was tortured.Sources differ as to whether he...

. Peter was the most successful of the preachers of Urban's message, and developed an almost hysterical enthusiasm among his followers, although he was probably not an "official" preacher sanctioned by Urban at Clermont. A century later he was already a legendary figure; William of Tyre believed that it was Peter who had planted the idea for the crusade in Urban's mind (which was taken as fact by historians until the 19th century). It is commonly believed that Peter led a massive group of untrained and illiterate peasants who did not even have any idea where Jerusalem was, but indeed there were many knights among the peasants, including Walter Sans Avoir, who was lieutenant to Peter and led a separate army.

Lacking military discipline, in what likely seemed to the participants a strange land (Eastern Europe), Peter's fledgling army quickly found itself in trouble despite the fact they were still in Christian territory. The army led by Walter fought with the Hungarians over food at Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, but otherwise arrived in Constantinople unharmed. Meanwhile, the army led by Peter, which marched separately from Walter's army, also fought with the Hungarians, and may have captured Belgrade. At Nish
Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

 the Byzantine governor tried to supply them, but Peter had little control over his followers and Byzantine troops were needed to quell their attacks. Peter arrived at Constantinople in August, where his army joined with the one led by Walter, which had already arrived, as well as separate bands of crusaders from France, Germany, and Italy. Another army of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

ns and Saxons
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 did not make it past Hungary before splitting up.

This unruly mob began to attack and pillage outside the city in search of supplies and food, prompting Alexios to hurriedly ferry the gathering across the Bosporus one week later. After crossing into Asia Minor, the crusaders split up and began to pillage the countryside, wandering into Seljuq territory around Nicaea. The greater experience of the Turks was overwhelming; most of the crusaders were massacred. Some Italian and German crusaders were defeated and killed at Xerigordon at the end of August. Meanwhile, Walter and Peter's followers, who, although for the most part untrained in battle but led by about 50 knights, fought a battle against the Turks at Civitote in October. The Turkish archers destroyed the crusader army, and Walter was among the dead. Peter, who was absent in Constantinople at the time, later joined the main crusader army, along with the few survivors of Civetot.

Attacks on Jews in the Rhineland


At a local level, the preaching of the First Crusade ignited violence against Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, which some historians have deemed "the first Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

". At the end of 1095 and beginning of 1096, months before the departure of the official crusade in August, there were attacks on Jewish communities in France and Germany. In May 1096, Emicho of Flonheim
Emicho
Count Emicho , was a count in the Rhineland in the late 11th century and the leader of the "German Crusade" in 1096...

 (sometimes incorrectly known as Emicho of Leiningen) attacked the Jews at Speyer and Worms. Other unofficial crusaders from Swabia, led by Hartmann of Dillingen, along with French, English, Lotharingian and Flemish volunteers, led by Drogo of Nesle and William the Carpenter
William the Carpenter
William the Carpenter , viscount of Melun, was a French nobleman who participated in the Reconquista in Spain and on the First Crusade...

, as well as many locals, joined Emicho in the destruction of the Jewish community of Mainz at the end of May. In Mainz, one Jewish woman killed her children rather than see them killed; the chief rabbi, Kalonymus Ben Meshullam
Kalonymus Ben Meshullam
Kalonymus Ben Meshullam was a French Jew of the Kalonymos family.He was head of the Jewish community of Mainz at the time of the German Crusade, 1096. He is said to have sent a messenger to King Henry IV in Italy, in consequence of which the king promulgated an order throughout his realm to the...

, committed suicide in anticipation of being killed.

Emicho's company then went on to Cologne, and others continued on to Trier, Metz, and other cities. Peter the Hermit may have been involved in violence against the Jews, and an army led by a priest named Folkmar also attacked Jews further east in Bohemia. Emicho's army eventually continued into Hungary but was defeated by the army of Coloman of Hungary. His followers dispersed; some eventually joined the main armies, although Emicho himself went home.

Many of the attackers seem to have wanted to force the Jews to convert, although they were also interested in acquiring money from them. Physical violence against Jews was never part of the church hierarchy's official policy for crusading, and the Christian bishops, especially the Archbishop of Cologne, did their best to protect the Jews. Nevertheless, some of them also took money in return for their protection. The attacks may have originated in the belief that Jews and Muslims were equally enemies of Christ, and enemies were to be fought or converted to Christianity. Godfrey of Bouillon had extorted money from the Jews of Cologne and Mainz, and many of the Crusaders wondered why they should travel thousands of miles to fight non-believers when there were already non-believers closer to home. The attacks on the Jews were witnessed by Ekkehard of Aura
Ekkehard of Aura
Ekkehard of Aura was the Abbot of Aura from 1108...

 and Albert of Aix
Albert of Aix
Albert of Aix-la-Chapelle or Albert of Aachen , historian of the First Crusade, was born during the later part of the 11th century, and afterwards became canon and custos of the church of Aachen....

; among the Jewish communities, the main contemporary witnesses were the Mainz Anonymous
Mainz Anonymous
The Mainz Anonymous or The Narrative of the Old Persecutions is an account of the First Crusade of 1096 written soon thereafter by an anonymous Jewish author.-Composition:...

, Eliezer ben Nathan
Eliezer ben Nathan
Eliezer ben Nathan of Mainz , Ra'aven , was a halakist and liturgical poet. As an early Rishon, he was a contemporary of the Rashbam and Rabbeinu Tam, and one of the earliest of the Tosafists. He was the son-in-law of Rabbi Eliakim b. Joseph of Mainz, a fellow student of Rashi...

, and Solomon bar Simson
Solomon bar Simson Chronicle
The Solomon bar Simson Chronicle is an anonymous Hebrew narrative history produced in the mid-12th century . Like the Eliezer bar Nathan Chronicle and the Mainz Anonymous, it is concerned with the persecutions of Jewish communities in the Rhineland area, notably Speyer, Worms, Mainz and Trier,...

.

Princes' Crusade


The four main crusader armies left Europe around the appointed time in August 1096. They took different paths to Constantinople and gathered outside its city walls
Walls of Constantinople
The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great...

 between November 1096 and April 1097; Hugh of Vermandois arrived first, followed by Godfrey, Raymond, and Bohemond. This time, Emperor Alexios was more prepared for the crusaders; there were fewer incidents of violence along the way.

The size of the entire crusader army is difficult to estimate; various numbers were given by the eyewitnesses, and equally various estimates have been offered by modern historians. Crusader military historian David Nicolle
David Nicolle
David C. Nicolle is a British historian specialising in the military history of the Middle Ages, with a particular in the Middle East....

 considers the armies to have consisted of about 30,000–35,000 crusaders, including 5,000 cavalry. Raymond had the largest contingent of about 8,500 infantry and 1,200 cavalry.

The princes arrived in Constantinople with little food and expected provisions and help from Alexios. Alexios was understandably suspicious after his experiences with the People's Crusade, and also because the knights included his old Norman enemy, Bohemond, who had invaded Byzantine territory on numerous occasions with his father, Robert Guiscard
Robert Guiscard
Robert d'Hauteville, known as Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, from Latin Viscardus and Old French Viscart, often rendered the Resourceful, the Cunning, the Wily, the Fox, or the Weasel was a Norman adventurer conspicuous in the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily...

, and may have even attempted to organize an attack on Constantinople while encamped outside the city.

The crusaders may have expected Alexios to become their leader, but he had no interest in joining them, and was mainly concerned with transporting them into Asia Minor as quickly as possible. In return for food and supplies, Alexios requested the leaders to swear fealty
Fealty
An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas , is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. Typically the oath is made upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint's relic, often contained within an altar, thus binding the oath-taker before God.In medieval Europe, fealty was sworn between...

 to him and promise to return to the Byzantine Empire any land recovered from the Turks. Godfrey was the first to take the oath, and almost all the other leaders followed him, although they did so only after warfare had almost broken out in the city between the citizens and the crusaders, who were eager to pillage for supplies. Raymond alone avoided swearing the oath, instead pledging that he would simply cause no harm to the Empire. Before ensuring that the various armies were shuttled across the Bosporus, Alexios advised the leaders on how best to deal with the Seljuq armies that they would soon encounter.

Siege of Nicaea


The crusader armies crossed over into Asia Minor during the first half of 1097, where they were joined by Peter the Hermit and the remainder of his little army. In addition, Alexios also sent two of his own generals, Manuel Boutoumites
Manuel Boutoumites
Manuel Boutoumites or Butumites was a leading Byzantine general and diplomat during the reign of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos , and one of that emperor's most trusted aides...

 and Tatikios, to assist the crusaders. The first objective of their campaign was Nicaea, previously a city under Byzantine rule, but had become the capital of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rum
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

 under Kilij Arslan I
Kilij Arslan I
Kilij Arslan was the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm from 1092 until his death in 1107. He ruled the Sultanate during the time of the First Crusade and thus faced the brunt of the entire attack...

. Arslan was away campaigning against the Danishmends
Danishmends
The Danishmend dynasty was a Turcoman dynasty that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries. The centered originally around Sivas, Tokat, and Niksar in central-northeastern Anatolia, they extended as far west as Ankara and Kastamonu for a time, and as far south as...

 in central Anatolia at the time, and had left behind his treasury and his family, underestimating the strength of these new crusaders. Subsequently, upon the Crusaders' arrival, the city was subjected to a lengthy siege, and when Arslan had word of it he rushed back to Nicaea and attacked the crusader army on 16 May. He was driven back by the unexpectedly large crusader force, with heavy losses being suffered on both sides in the ensuing battle. The siege continued, but the crusaders had little success as they found they could not blockade the lake
Lake Iznik
Lake İznik is a lake in the Bursa Province in Turkey. It is located at around and has an area of 290.00 km² and maximum depth of about 80 m. Its ancient name "Ascanius" is derived from Ashkuza, the Assyrian word for the Scythians.-History:...

, which the city was situated on, and from which it could be provisioned. To break the city, Alexios sent the Crusaders ships rolled over land on logs, and at the sight of them the Turkish garrison finally surrendered on 18 June. The city was handed over to the Byzantine troops, which has often been depicted as a source of conflict between the Empire and the crusaders; Byzantine standards flew from the walls while the crusaders were forbidden from looting the city or even entering it except in small escorted bands. However, this policy was in accordance with the previous oaths made to Alexios, and the emperor ensured that the crusaders were well-paid for their efforts. As Thomas Asbridge writes, "the fall of Nicaea was a product of the successful policy of close co-operation between the crusaders and Byzantium." After handing custody of Nicaea to the Byzantines, the crusaders resumed their march to Jerusalem. Stephen of Blois, in a letter to his wife Adela of Blois
Adela of Normandy
Adela of Normandy also known as Adela of Blois and Adela of England was, by marriage, Countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux. She was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders...

 wrote that he believed the journey would take five weeks; in reality, it took two years.

Battle of Dorylaeum


At the end of June, the crusaders marched on through Anatolia. They were accompanied by some Byzantine troops under Tatikios, and still harboured the hope that Alexios would send a full Byzantine army after them. They also divided the army into two more-easily managed groups—one contingent led by the Normans, the other by the French. The two groups intended to meet again at Dorylaeum
Dorylaeum
Dorylaeum or Dorylaion was an ancient city in Anatolia. It is now in ruins near the city of Eskişehir, Turkey.The city existed under the Phrygians but may have been much older. It was a Roman trading post. It also was probably a key city of the route the Apostle Paul took on his Second Missonary...

, but on 1 July the Normans, who had marched ahead of the French, were attacked by Kilij Arslan. Arslan had gathered a much larger army than he previously had after his defeat at Nicaea, and now surrounded the Normans with his fast-moving mounted archers. The Normans "deployed in a tight-knit defensive formation", surrounding all their equipment and the non-combatants who had followed them along the journey, and sent for help from the other group. When the French arrived, Godfrey broke through the Turkish lines and the legate Adhemar outflanked the Turks from the rear; thus the Turks, who had expected to destroy the Normans and did not anticipate the quick arrival of the French, fled rather than face the combined crusader army.

The crusaders' march through Anatolia was thereafter unopposed, but the journey was unpleasant, as Arslan had burned and destroyed everything he left behind on his retreat. It was the middle of summer, and the crusaders had very little food and water; many men and horses died. Fellow Christians sometimes gave them gifts of food and money, but more often than not, the crusaders simply looted and pillaged whenever the opportunity presented itself. Individual leaders continued to dispute the overall leadership, although none of them were powerful enough to take command on their own, as Adhemar was always recognized as the spiritual leader. After passing through the Cilician Gates
Cilician Gates
The Cilician Gates or Gülek Pass is a pass through the Taurus Mountains connecting the low plains of Cilicia to the Anatolian Plateau, by way of the narrow gorge of the Gökoluk River. Its highest elevation is about 1000m....

, Baldwin of Boulogne set off on his own towards the Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n lands around the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

; his wife, his only claim to European lands and wealth, had died after the battle, giving Baldwin no incentive to return to Europe. Thus, he resolved to seize a fiefdom for himself in the Holy Land. Early in 1098, he was adopted as heir by Thoros of Edessa
Thoros of Edessa
Thoros was an Armenian ruler of Edessa at the time of the First Crusade.Thoros was a former officer in the Byzantine Empire and a lieutenant of Philaretos Brachamios. He was Armenian but practised the Greek Orthodox faith...

, a ruler who was disliked by his Armenian subjects for his Greek Orthodox
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

 religion. Thoros was later killed, during an uprising that Baldwin may have instigated. Then, in March 1098, Baldwin became the new ruler, thus creating the County of Edessa
County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, based around Edessa, a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity....

, the first of the crusader states.

Siege of Antioch


The crusader army, meanwhile, marched on to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, which lay about half way between Constantinople and Jerusalem. Described by Stephen of Blois as "a city great beyond belief, very strong and unassailable", the idea of taking the city by assault was a discouraging one to the crusaders. Hoping rather to force a capitulation, or find a traitor inside the city—a tactic that had previously seen Antioch change to the control of the Byzantines and then the Seljuq Turks—the crusader army set Antioch to siege on 20 October 1097. During the almost eight months of the siege, they were forced to defeat two large relief armies under the leadership of Duqaq
Duqaq
Abu Nasr Shams al-Muluk Duqaq was the Seljuq ruler of Damascus from 1095 to 1104.Duqaq was a son of the Seljuq ruler of Syria, Tutush I, and Khatun Safwat al-Mulk, He was the brother of Radwan. When their father died in 1095, Radwan claimed Syria for himself, and Duqaq initially inherited...

 and Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan. Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and as a result it was able to stay partially supplied.

In May 1098, Kerbogha
Kerbogha
Kerbogha was Atabeg of Mosul during the First Crusade and was renowned as a soldier. He was a Turk who owed his success to his military talent. In 1098, when he heard that the Crusaders had besieged Antioch, he gathered his troops and marched to relieve the city. By the time he arrived, around...

 of Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

 approached Antioch to relieve the siege. Bohemond bribed an Armenian guard named Firuz to surrender his tower, and in June the crusaders entered the city and killed most of the inhabitants. However, only a few days later the Muslims arrived, laying siege to the former besiegers. It was at this point that a monk by the name of Peter Bartholomew
Peter Bartholomew
Peter Bartholomew was a soldier and mystic from France who was part of the First Crusade.In December, 1097, during the siege of Antioch, Peter began to have visions, mostly of St. Andrew. Peter claimed St. Andrew took him to the Church of St. Peter, inside Antioch, and showed him where the relic...

 claimed to have discovered the Holy Lance
Holy Lance
The Holy Lance is the name given to the lance that pierced Jesus' side as he hung on the cross in John's account of the Crucifixion.-Biblical references:The lance is mentioned only in the Gospel of John and not in any of the...

 in the city, and although some were skeptical, this was seen as a sign that they would be victorious.

On 28 June 1098, the crusaders defeated Kerbogha in a pitched battle outside the city, a victory caused by Kerbogha's inability to organize the different factions in his army. While the crusaders were marching towards the Muslims, the Fatimid section of the army deserted the Turkish contingent, as they feared Kerbogha would become too powerful were he able to defeat the Crusaders. According to later legend, an army of Christian saints came to the aid of the crusaders during the battle and crippled Kerbogha's army.

Bohemond argued that Alexios had deserted the Crusade and thus invalidated all of their oaths to him. While Bohemond asserted his claim to Antioch, not everyone agreed (most notably Raymond of Toulouse), so the crusade was delayed for the rest of the year while the nobles argued amongst themselves. When discussing this period, a common historiographical viewpoint advanced by some scholars is that the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 of northern France, the Provençals
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

 of southern France, and the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 of southern Italy considered themselves separate "nations", creating turmoil as each tried to increase its individual status. Others argue that while this may have had something to do with the disputes, personal ambition among the Crusader leaders might just be as easily blamed.

Meanwhile, a plague broke out, killing many among the army, including the legate Adhemar, who died on 1 August. There were now even fewer horses than before, and worse, the Muslim peasants in the area refused to supply the crusaders with food. Thus, in December, after the Arab town of Ma'arrat al-Numan
Ma'arrat al-Numan
Maarat al-Numaan, , is a city in northwestern Syria with a population of about 90000 . It is located at the highway between Aleppo and Hama and near the Dead Cities of Bara and Serjilla...

 was captured following a siege
Siege of Ma'arrat al-Numan
The Siege of Maarat, or Ma'arra, occurred in 1098 in the city of Ma'arrat al-Numan, in what is modern-day Syria, during the First Crusade...

, history describes the first occurrence of cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

 among the crusaders. At the same time, the minor knights and soldiers had become increasingly restless and threatened to continue to Jerusalem without their squabbling leaders. Finally, at the beginning of 1099, the march restarted, leaving Bohemond behind as the first Prince of Antioch.

Siege of Jerusalem


Proceeding down the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 coast, the crusaders encountered little resistance, as local rulers preferred to make peace with them and furnish them with supplies rather than fight. On 7 June, the crusaders reached Jerusalem, which had been recaptured from the Seljuqs by the Fatimids only the year before. Many Crusaders wept upon seeing the city they had journeyed so long to reach.

Their arrival at Jerusalem revealed an arid countryside, lacking in water or food supplies. Here there was no prospect of relief, even as they feared an imminent attack by the local Fatimid rulers. There was no hope of trying to blockade the city as they had at Antioch; the crusaders had insufficient troops, supplies, and time. Rather, they resolved to take the city by assault. They might have been left with little choice, as by the time the Crusader army reached Jerusalem, it has been estimated that only about 12,000 men including 1,500 cavalry remained. These contingents, composed of men with differing origins and varying allegiances, were also approaching another low ebb in their camaraderie; e.g., while Godfrey and Tancred made camp to the north of the city, Raymond made his to the south. In addition, the Provençal contingent did not take part in the initial assault on 13 June. This first assault was perhaps more speculative than determined, and after scaling the outer wall the Crusaders were repulsed from the inner one.

After the failure of the initial assault, a meeting between the various leaders was organized in which it was agreed upon that a more concerted attack would be required in future. On 17 June, a party of Genoese mariners under Guglielmo Embriaco
Guglielmo Embriaco
Guglielmo Embriaco , was a Genoese merchant and military leader who came to the assistance of the Crusader States in the aftermath of the First Crusade....

 arrived at Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

, and provided the Crusaders with skilled engineers, and perhaps more critically, supplies of timber (cannibalized from the ships) to build siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s. The Crusaders' morale was raised when a priest, Peter Desiderius, claimed to have had a divine vision instructing them to fast and then march in a barefoot procession around the city walls, after which the city would fall, following the Biblical story of Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 at the siege of Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

. After a three days fast, on 8 July the crusaders performed the procession as they had been instructed by Desiderius, and shortly afterward the various bickering factions arrived at a public rapprochement. News arrived shortly after that a Fatimid relief army had set off from Egypt, giving the Crusaders a very strong incentive to make another assault on the city.

The final assault on Jerusalem began on 13 July; Raymond's troops attacked the south gate while the other contingents attacked the northern wall. Initially the Provençals at the southern gate made little headway, but the contingents at the northern wall fared better, with a slow but steady attrition of the defence. On 15 July, a final push was launched at both ends of the city, and eventually the inner rampart of the northern wall was captured. In the ensuing panic, the defenders abandoned the walls of the city at both ends, allowing the Crusaders to finally enter.

Massacre


The massacre that followed the capture of Jerusalem has attained particular notoriety, as a "juxtaposition of extreme violence and anguished faith". The eyewitness accounts from the crusaders themselves leave little doubt that there was great slaughter in the aftermath of the siege. Nevertheless, some historians propose that the scale of the massacre has been exaggerated in later medieval sources, partly as a result of influence from Muslim sources, and partly as a result of the misinterpretation of the Crusaders' resort to apocalyptic language to describe the scenes. Contemporary Muslim reactions to the massacre were muted when compared to later polemics on the subject.

After the successful assault on the northern wall, the defenders fled to the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, pursued by Tancred and his men. Arriving before the defenders could secure the area, Tancred's men assaulted the precinct, butchering many of the defenders, with the remainder taking refuge in the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

. Tancred then called a halt to the slaughter, offering those in the mosque his protection. When the defenders on the southern wall heard of the fall of the northern wall, they fled to the citadel, allowing Raymond and the Provençals to enter the city. Iftikhar al-Dawla, the commander of the garrison, struck a deal with Raymond, surrendering the citadel in return for being granted safe passage to Ascalon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

. The slaughter continued for the rest of the day; Muslims were indiscriminately killed, and Jews who had taken refuge in their synagogue died when it was burnt down by the Crusaders. The following day, Tancred's prisoners in the mosque were slaughtered. Nevertheless, it is clear that some Muslims and Jews of the city survived the massacre, either escaping or being taken prisoner to be ransomed. The Eastern Christian population of the city had been expelled before the siege by the governor, and thus escaped the massacre.

Establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem



On 22 July, a council was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 to establish a king for the newly created Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

. Raymond of Toulouse at first refused to become king, perhaps attempting to show his piety, but probably hoping that the other nobles would insist upon his election anyway. Godfrey, who had become the more popular of the two after Raymond's actions at the siege of Antioch, did no damage to his own piety by accepting a position as secular leader. Raymond was incensed at this development and took his army out into the countryside. The exact nature and meaning of Godfrey's title is somewhat controversial. Although it is widely claimed that he took the title Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri ("advocate" or "defender" of the Holy Sepulchre), this title is only used in a letter that was not written by Godfrey. Instead, Godfrey himself seems to have used the more ambiguous term princeps, or simply retained his title of dux from Lower Lorraine. According to William of Tyre, writing in the later 12th century when Godfrey was already a legendary hero in crusader Jerusalem, he refused to wear "a crown of gold" where Christ had worn "a crown of thorns". Robert the Monk
Robert the Monk
Robert the Monk or Robert of Rheims was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He did not participate in the expedition, but rewrote the Gesta Francorum at the request of his abbot, who was appalled at the 'rustic' style of the Gesta....

 is the only contemporary chronicler of the crusade to report that Godfrey took the title "king".

Battle of Ascalon


The crusaders had attempted to negotiate with the Fatimids during their march to Jerusalem, but to no avail. After the crusaders captured Jerusalem from the Fatimids, they learned of a Fatimid army about to attack them. On 10 August, Godfrey of Bouillon led the remaining troops from Jerusalem to Ascalon, a day's march away.

The Fatimids were estimated to have as many as 50,000 troops (other sources estimate about 20,000–30,000) entering the battle. Their troops consisted of Seljuq Turks
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

, Arabs, Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

, Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

, and Ethiopians
People of Ethiopia
Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members....

, led by vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 al-Afdal Shahanshah
Al-Afdal Shahanshah
al-Malik al-Afdal ibn Badr al-Jamali Shahanshah was a vizier of the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt.- Ascent to power :He was born in Acre, the son of Badr al-Jamali, an Armenian who became Muslim. Badr was vizier for the Fatimids in Cairo from 1074 until his death in 1094, when al-Afdal succeeded him...

. Opposing them were the crusaders, whose numbers, estimated by Raymond of Aguilers
Raymond of Aguilers
Raymond of Aguilers was a chronicler of the First Crusade . He followed the Provençal army of crusaders, guided by count Raymond IV of Toulouse, to Jerusalem....

, were around 1,200 knights and 9,000 infantry.

On 12 August, crusader scouts discovered the location of the Fatimid camp, which the crusaders immediately marched towards. According to most crusader and Muslim accounts, the Fatimids were caught unawares. Because of a somewhat ill-prepared Fatimid army, the battle was fairly short, although it still took some time to resolve, according to Albert of Aix
Albert of Aix
Albert of Aix-la-Chapelle or Albert of Aachen , historian of the First Crusade, was born during the later part of the 11th century, and afterwards became canon and custos of the church of Aachen....

. al-Afdal Shahanshah and his army retreated into the heavily guarded and fortified city of Ascalon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

. The next day, the crusaders learned that al-Afdal Shahanshah had retreated back to Egypt via boat, so they plundered what remained of the Fatimid camp. After returning to Jerusalem, most of the crusaders returned to their homes in Europe.

Crusade of 1101


Having captured Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the crusading vow had hence been fulfilled. However, there were many who had gone home before reaching Jerusalem, and many who had never left Europe at all. When the success of the crusade became known, these people were mocked and scorned by their families and threatened with excommunication by the Pope. Many crusaders who had remained with the crusade all the way to Jerusalem also went home; according to Fulcher of Chartres, there were only a few hundred knights left in the newfound kingdom in 1100. Godfrey himself only ruled for one year, dying in July 1100. He was succeeded by his brother, Baldwin of Edessa, the first person to take the title King of Jerusalem.

In 1101, the Crusade of 1101
Crusade of 1101
The Crusade of 1101 was a minor crusade of three separate movements, organized in 1100 and 1101 in the successful aftermath of the First Crusade. It is also called the Crusade of the Faint-Hearted due to the number of participants who joined this crusade after having turned back from the First...

 set out; among the crusaders were Stephen of Blois and Hugh of Vermandois, both of whom had returned home before reaching Jerusalem. This crusade was almost annihilated in Asia Minor by the Seljuqs, but the survivors helped to reinforce the kingdom upon their arrival in Jerusalem. In the following years, assistance was also provided by Italian merchants who established themselves in Syrian ports, and from the religious and military orders of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

s and the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

, which were created during Baldwin I's reign.

Aftermath


The First Crusade succeeded in establishing the "crusader states
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

" of Edessa, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Tripoli in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and Syria (as well as allies along the Crusaders' route, such as the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia...

).

Back at home in Western Europe, those who had survived to reach Jerusalem were treated as heroes. Robert of Flanders was nicknamed "Hierosolymitanus" thanks to his exploits. The life of Godfrey of Bouillon became legendary even within a few years of his death. In some cases, the political situation at home was greatly affected by crusader absences. For instance, while Robert Curthose was away on crusade, the throne of England had passed to his brother Henry I of England
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

 instead, and their resultant conflict led to the Battle of Tinchebray
Battle of Tinchebray
The Battle of Tinchebray was fought 28 September 1106, in the town of Tinchebray , Normandy, between an invading force led by Henry I of England, and his older brother Robert Curthose, the Duke of Normandy...

 in 1106.

Meanwhile, the establishment of the crusader states in the east helped ease Seljuq pressure on the Byzantine Empire, which had regained some of its Anatolian territory with crusader help, and experienced a period of relative peace and prosperity in the 12th century. The effect on the Muslim dynasties of the east was gradual but important. In the wake of the death of Malik Shah I in 1092 the political instability and the division of Great Seljuq Empire
Great Seljuq Empire
The Great Seljuq Empire was a medieval Persianate, Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf...

, which had pressed the Byzantine call for aid to the pope, meant that it had prevented a coherent defence against the Latin states. Cooperation between them remained difficult for many decades, but from Egypt to Syria to Baghdad there were calls for the expulsion of the crusaders, culminating in the recapture of Jerusalem under Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 later in the century when the Ayyubids had united the surrounding areas.

Inspiration to the future


The success of the crusade inspired the literary imagination of poets in France, who, in the 12th century, began to compose various chansons de geste celebrating the exploits of Godfrey of Bouillon and other crusaders. Some of these, such as the Chanson d'Antioche
Chanson d'Antioche
The Chanson d'Antioche is a chanson de geste in 9000 lines of alexandrines in stanzas called laisses, now known in a version composed about 1180 for a courtly French audience and embedded in a quasi-historical cycle of epic poems inspired by the events of 1097 – 1099, the climax of the First...

, are semi-historical, while others are completely fanciful, describing battles with a dragon or connecting Godfrey's ancestors to the legend of the Knight of the Swan
Knight of the Swan
The story of the Knight of the Swan, or Swan Knight, is a medieval tale about a mysterious rescuer who comes in a swan-drawn boat to defend a damsel, his only condition being that he must never be asked his name...

. Together, the chansons are known as the crusade cycle
Crusade cycle
The Crusade cycle is an Old French cycle of chansons de geste concerning the First Crusade and its aftermath.-History:The cycle contains a number of initially unrelated texts, collated into interconnected narratives by later redactors...

.

The First Crusade was also an inspiration to artists in later centuries. In 1580, Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata , in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the siege of Jerusalem...

 wrote Jerusalem Delivered
Jerusalem Delivered
Jerusalem Delivered is an epic poem by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso first published in 1581, which tells a largely mythified version of the First Crusade in which Catholic knights, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, battle Muslims in order to take Jerusalem...

, a largely fictionalized epic poem
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 about the capture of Jerusalem. George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

 composed music based on Tasso's poem in his opera Rinaldo
Rinaldo (opera)
Rinaldo is an opera by George Frideric Handel composed in 1711. It is the first Italian language opera written specifically for the London stage. The libretto was prepared by Giacomo Rossi from a scenario provided by Aaron Hill. The work was first performed at the Queen's Theatre in London's...

. The 19th-century poet Tommaso Grossi
Tommaso Grossi
Tommaso Grossi , Lombard poet and novelist, was born in Bellano, beside the Lake of Como.He took his degree in law at Pavia in 1810, and proceeded thence to Milan to exercise his profession; but the Austrian government, suspecting his loyalty, interfered with his prospects, and in consequence...

 also wrote an epic poem, which was the basis of Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

's opera I Lombardi alla prima crociata
I Lombardi alla prima crociata
I Lombardi alla prima crociata is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an epic poem by Tommaso Grossi. Its first performance was given at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 11 February 1843...

.

Sources


Primary sources


  • Albert of Aix
    Albert of Aix
    Albert of Aix-la-Chapelle or Albert of Aachen , historian of the First Crusade, was born during the later part of the 11th century, and afterwards became canon and custos of the church of Aachen....

    , Historia Hierosolymitana
  • Anna Comnena
    Anna Komnene
    Anna Komnene, Latinized as Comnena was a Greek princess and scholar and the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and Irene Doukaina...

    , Alexiad
    Alexiad
    The Alexiad is a medieval biographical text written around the year 1148 by the Byzantine historian Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexius I....

  • Guibert of Nogent
    Guibert of Nogent
    Guibert of Nogent was a Benedictine historian, theologian and author of autobiographical memoirs. Guibert was relatively unknown in his own time, going virtually unmentioned by his contemporaries...

    , Dei gesta per Francos
    Dei gesta per Francos
    Dei gesta per Francos is a narrative of the First Crusade by Guibert of Nogent written between 1107 and 1108...

  • Fulcher of Chartres
    Fulcher of Chartres
    Fulcher of Chartres was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He wrote in Latin.- Life :His appointment as chaplain of Baldwin of Boulogne in 1097 suggests that he had been trained as a priest, most likely at the school in Chartres...

    , Historia Hierosolymitana
  • Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum
    Gesta Francorum
    The so-called Gesta Francorum or in full De Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum is a Latin chronicle of the First Crusade written in circa 1100-1101 by an anonymous author connected with Bohemund I of Antioch.It narrates the events of the First Crusade from the inception in November...

    , (anonymous)
  • Ibn al-Qalanisi
    Ibn al-Qalanisi
    Hamza ibn Asad abu Ya'la ibn al-Qalanisi was an Arab politician and chronicler in Damascus in the 12th century.He descended from the Banu Tamim tribe, and was among the well-educated nobility of the city of Damascus...

    , The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades
  • Michael the Syrian
    Michael the Syrian
    Michael the Syrian , also known as Michael the Great or Michael Syrus or Michael the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew, was a patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1166 to 1199. He is best known today as the author of the largest medieval Chronicle, which he composed in Syriac...

    , Chronical
  • Peter Tudebode
    Peter Tudebode
    Peter Tudebode was a Poitevin priest who was part of the First Crusade. He wrote an account of the crusade, Historia de Hierosolymitano itinere, including an eye-witness account of the Siege of Antioch, edited in volume 155 of the Patrologia Latina....

    , Historia de Hierosolymitano itinere
  • Raymond of Aguilers
    Raymond of Aguilers
    Raymond of Aguilers was a chronicler of the First Crusade . He followed the Provençal army of crusaders, guided by count Raymond IV of Toulouse, to Jerusalem....

    , Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Iherusalem |reference=William of Tyre
    William of Tyre
    William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

    , A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea}}


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