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The First Crusade
Transcript of The First Crusade
Pope Urban II & Peter the Hermit
November 27th, 1095
Siege of Antioch
Crusaders continued to march to Antioch, which is located halfway between Constantinople and Jerusalem.
Pope Urban II
addresses a crowd in Clermont, France stating that he needed soldiers to help Byzantine Emperor,
Alexios I Komnenos
defend Constantinople against the Turks.
Why Did it Start?
Causes of the Crusades
The city of
was a Holy site for Christians because it housed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--which commemorates the place of crucifixion and the burial of Jesus.
When the Saracans (Muslims) originally held
, they granted safe passage to Christians. But in 1065, the Turks took Jerusalem, resulting in the death of 3,000 Christians and the remaining Christians were tortured.
was the first Qiblah for Muslims - the place toward which Muslims turn in prayer.
First Quiblah for Muslims
Site of Night Journey and Ascension
Journey between one mosque to another, "This night journey further reinforced the link between Mecca and
as holy cities".
Political and social movements are occurring during this time as well as a reform movement within the papacy.
**The true cause of the First Crusade is still widely debated among historains**
During his journeys in France gathering men to fight,
Pope Urban II
gave many empowering speeches about the monstrosities that Christians were being faced with in Jerusalem.
'For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and conquered the territory of Romania as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont. They have occupied more and more lands of those Christians and have overcome them in seven battles ... On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends.
From Fulcher of Chartres, History of the Expedition to Jerusalem.
In further encouragement,
Pope Urban II
offered the volunteers Papal Indulgence: meaning that all of their sins would be forgotten if they fought.
The crowd found the speech so inspiring they started chanting
"Dieu li volt!"
meaning 'God wills it!'. Fabric crosses were then passed around the symbolize those who were willing to fight.
One of the most popular responses to
Pope Urban II's
cry for help was The People's Crusade, spearheaded by
Peter the Hermit
People joined him from all over, Peter would preach salvation if they were willing to fight for the cause.
It became the official symbol of the crusades.
Peter the Hermit
was a priest that preched many of the same idea's
Pope Urban II
had. He attracted many inexperienced followers, most of whom were unfortunately killed before meeting with the rest of the official crusaders.
Wikipedia contributors, "Peter the Hermit," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peter_the_Hermit&oldid=578114010 (accessed December 17, 2013).
Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy
Spiritual leader, "close confidant" to Pope Urban II, and exercised general rule over all of the armies.
Raymond IV of St Gilles, Count of Toulouse
In command of the most powerful faction, located in Southern France.
Godfrey of Bouillon
Hugh, Count of Vermandois
Robert, Duke of Normandy
Northern France, groups of Normans and Lotharingians (from Lorraine)
Bohemond, Duke of Taranto
In command of a large group of Normans from southern Italy.
Siege of Nicaea
Livre des Passages d'Outre-mer, of c 1490
The Crusades depart Europe in August of 1096.
They each took different paths to Constantinople, where they awaited further orders from
Historians are uncertain of the actual size of the Crusaders, but they know that Raymond had the largest party at about 8,500 infantry and 1,200 cavalry. They estimate that all of the Crusades combined total at 30,000–35,000 crusaders, including 5,000 cavalry.
The first target was Nicaea, which had been taken over by the Turks 10 years prior and was the location of their capital.
The crusaders attacked Nicaea with the help of the remaining forces of
Peter the Hermit
, and two generals and their men from the Byzantine Empire sent by
Both sides suffered heavy losses over a time period of two months. The crusaders saw little hope because they could not blockade the lake. It wasn't until
sent ships, which were then rolled on logs, that finally broke the city on June 18th.
Ambush at Dorylaeum
As the crusaders were heading towards Antioch, they split up into two different groups because their size was too large.
The Turks took advantage of this and attacked head on with more troops.
They sent for help, and Godfrey was able to break through the Turkish lines. The Turks, not expecting the hasty arrival of the French, retreated.
Although the march to Antioch was unopposed, the crusaders had little food and water. Many men and horses died.
The siege took almost eight months because of the sheer size of the city.
The crusaders didn't have enough men to surround the entire city, so it was still getting reinforcements.
In addition to trying take control of Antioch, two large relief armies had to be fought off. Luckily on March 4, 1098, relief came from the West bringing supplies with them.
In May, Bohemond bribes one of the guards in Antioch and the crusaders break through the towers, massacring most of the cities inhabitants.
Reached Antioch in October 1097
Many of the crusaders were worried about the fortifications of the city. One man wrote in a letter:
Extract from a letter sent during the siege by Stephen, Count of Blois, to his wife, Adele – March 29, 1098.
We found the city of Antioch very extensive, fortified with incredible strength and almost impregnable. In addition, more than 5,000 bold Turkish soldiers had entered the city, not counting the Saracens, Publicans, Arabs, Turcopolitans, Syrians, Armenians and other different races of whom an infinite multitude had gathered together there. In fighting against these enemies of God and of our own we have, by God's grace, endured many sufferings and innumerable evils up to the present time. Many also have already exhausted all their resources in this very holy passion ... throughout the whole winter we suffered for our Lord Christ from excessive cold and enormous torrents of rain.
In addition, a plague broke out killling most of the men, and when the Muslim peasants wouldn't feed the crusaders, incidents of cannibalism broke out.
Siege of Jerusalem
When the crusaders arrived in Jerusalem, there were little supplies readily available to them.
The men were depleted and so the leaders had to get created with their strategy. They couldn't approach Jerusalem like they had Antioch because their wasn't enough men, it has been estimated that only about 12,000 men including 1,500 cavalry remained. So they decided to take the city through assault.
The initial attack was unsuccessful--more because it wasn't planned thoroughly. Reinforcements arrived on June 17th, more importantly, engineers arrived with wood and other supplies to build siege engines. "A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare."
Wikipedia contributors, "Siege engine," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siege_engine&oldid=582039711 (accessed December 17, 2013).
Moral was boosted when priest, Peter Desiderius, claimed to have had a divine vision, of Bishop Adhemar, instructing them to fast and then march in a barefoot procession around the city walls, after which the city would fall
July 13th marked the final assault on Jerusalem. There was an attack at the Northern gate and the South wall. In a panic the inhabitants fled the city, finally allowing the crusaders in.
Historians are sure that a massacre following the siege did happen, but the eye witness accounts may have exaggerated slightly.
After the North gate was taken, the defenders fled to Temple Mount, where the crusaders ultimately killed most of them. The few remaining fled to Al-Aqsa Mosque, where they were offered refuge.
Wikipedia contributors, "Al-Aqsa Mosque," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Al-Aqsa_Mosque&oldid=586105559 (accessed December 17, 2013).
The pillage of Jerusalem
Now that our men had possession of the walls and towers, wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared with what happened in the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, you would not believe it. Suffice to say that, in the Temple and Porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgement of God that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers, since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies. The city was filled with corpses and blood.
From Raymond d'Aguilers, Historia francorum qui ceprint Jerusalem
Establishment of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Church of the Holy Sepulchre had to establish a king for their new kingdom.
The candidates were the generals for the crusades. Godfrey accepted the title
Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri
("advocate" or "defender" of the Holy Sepulchre).
Wikipedia contributors, "First Crusade," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=First_Crusade&oldid=585191750 (accessed December 17, 2013).