Krak des Chevaliers: A Medieval Hospitaller Crusades Fortress

At its peak, Krak des Chevaliers housed a garrison of around 2,000, allowing the Hospitallers to exact tribute from a wide area. Introduction Krak des Chevaliers, also called Crac des Chevaliers, Ḥiṣn al-Akrād, literally “Fortress of the Kurds”), and formerly Crac de l’Ospital, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The[…]

Events and Impacts of the Medieval Crusades

Christians mounted violent campaigns against Jews and heretics in addition to the wars in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Introduction The Crusades were launched by European Christians to reclaim Jerusalem and other holy sites in the Middle East from Muslims. Christians mounted these religious wars between 1096 and 1291. A major purpose was[…]

The Ninth Crusade: A Final, Fruitless Push

Blanche of Castile and Louis IX of France / Creative Commons Ultimately the Crusaders were forced to withdraw. I Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction 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. Louis IX of France’s[…]

The Seventh Crusade: Capture, Ransom, Another Failure

A 14th century CE illustration of Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270 CE) departing Aigues Mortes for Egypt on the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254 CE) / Wikimedia Commons The Seventh Crusade cost Louis IX a massive 1.5 million livres tournoi, about six times his annual income as King of France. By Mark Cartwright / 09.12.2018 Historian The Seventh Crusade (1248-1254 CE) was led by the French[…]

Five Crusader Fortifications in the Medieval Levant

Dues Vault, Hospitaller fortress in Acre, Israel / Creative Commons Taking a tour through five well-known 13th-century fortifications and castles built by Crusaders in the Levant. By Dr. David Nicolle Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Margat William of Oldenburg described Margat as follows: A huge and very strong castle, defended by a double wall and protected[…]

The Treaty of Jaffa: Frederick II and the Sixth Crusade

A 14th century CE manuscript illustration depicting Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1220-1250 CE), and the Sultan of Egypt and Syria al-Kamil (r. 1218-1238 CE) who negotiated the handing over of Jerusalem to Christian rule during the Sixth Crusade (1227-1229 CE). (Vatican Libraries, Rome) / Wikimedia Commons The Sixth Crusade managed to achieve by peaceful means what four bloody previous Crusades had failed to do. By Mark Cartwright[…]

Frederick, Richard, and Philip: The Triad of the Third Crusade

A painting depicting the surrender of the Latin ruler Guy de Lusignan to Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria (r. 1174-1193 CE), after the Battle of Hattin in 1187 CE. The loss and subsequent capture of Jerusalem by Saladin would spark off the Third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) / Photo by Said Tahsine, Wikimedia Commons The Second Crusade ended in complete failure – the Third was[…]

Louis IX and the Eighth Crusade: Ending at the Beginning

Blanche de Castille and King Louis IX / The Morgan Library and Museum, Wikimedia Commons Upon Louis IX’s death, campaign was abandoned before it had even properly begun. By Mark Cartwright / 09.12.2018 Historian Introduction A 15th century CE painting depicting the death of French king Louis IX in 1270 CE during the Eighth Crusade at Tunis. / Wikimedia Commons[…]

The Fourth Crusade and the Fall of Constantinople

Attack of the Crusaders on Constantinople, miniature in a manuscript of 9 La Conquête de Constantinople by Geoffreoy de Villehardouin, Venetian ms. / Wikimedia Commons Instead of Jerusalem as initially intended, the target ended up being Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. By Mark Cartwright / 09.03.2018 Historian Introduction A painting by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863 CE) depicting the entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople in[…]

Byzantium and the First Crusade: Three Avenues of Approach

Peter the Hermit Preaching the First Crusade – From the Painting by James Archer / Wikimedia Commons Exploring reasons for misunderstandings between Crusaders and the Byzantine emperor. By Dr. Jonathan Harris Professor of the History of Byzantium Royal Holloway, University of London A recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of[…]

A Blow to Byzantium in the Second Crusade

A 15th century CE painting by Jean Fouquet depicting the Second Crusaders (1147-49 CE), led by Louis VII and Conrad III, as they arrive at Constantinople, by Jean Fouquet / Wikimedia Commons The Second Crusade was a serious blow to Byzantium’s carefully constructed diplomatic alliances. By Mark Cartwright / 07.17.2018 Historian Introduction The Second Crusade[…]

Crusader Fortifications and Siege Weaponry in the Holy Land

Krak des Chevaliers, Syria / Photo by Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons The 13th century saw a number of significant changes in the design of European and Islamic fortifications. By Dr. David Nicolle The Development of Crusader Fortifications The 13th century saw a number of significant changes in the design of European and Islamic fortifications, the[…]

The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem Following the First Crusade, 1099-1291

Medieval map of Jerusalem by Konrad Grünenberg / Wikimedia Commons The Kingdom of Israel was created after the capture of the city of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099.  06.30.2018 Creation of the Kingdom The Kingdom was created after the capture of the city of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099. One of the leaders Gottfried[…]

Were the Crusades Bound to Fail?

A battle of the Second Crusade (illustration of William of Tyre’s Histoire d’Outremer, 1337) / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Nicholas Morton / 03.25.2018 Senior Lecturer in History Nottingham Trent University Looking back from the Twenty-First century, one of the most easily-identifiable facts about the medieval Crusades to the Holy Land is that they conspicuously failed. The crusaders were obviously[…]

A Brief History of the Crusades

Knight, Psalter, with litany, prayers and Easter tables (The “Westminster Psalter”), c. 1200, f. 220 (British Library) By Dr. Susanna A. Throop / 08.08.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History Ursinus College What Were the Crusades? What comes to mind when you think of the crusades? Earnest and alarmingly buff knights (in shining armor, of course)[…]