The Crusades were military expeditions undertaken by Christian Europe between the 11th and the 17th century to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. The main crusading movement took place between the 11th and 13th century. The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin "Crux" was adopted by crusaders who adorned themselves with the symbol of Christianity: the cross.1 Crusaders wore a red cross sewn on their tunics to indicate their status as soldiers of Christ.
The causes of the Crusades were many and complex, but prevailing religious beliefs were of major importance. The Crusaders assumed a dual role as pilgrims and warriors. Such an armed pilgrimage was regarded as an acceptable war, because it …show more content…
Challenged by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, King Louis VII of France and the German King Conrad III tried to lead separate armies through Anatolia. What remained of them joined in an unsuccessful siege of Damascus. The only success of this Crusade was the capture of Lisbon (1147), Portugal, by English and Frisian Crusaders on their way to the East by ship.
The Third Crusade was a response to the conquest (1187) of almost all of Palestine, including Jerusalem, by Sultan Saladin, who had consolidated Muslim power in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt. The Crusade's remarkable leadership included King Philip II of France, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, and King Richard I of England. "Frederick, however, drowned en route in Cilicia, and the Crusading effort disintegrated through attrition and lack of cooperation."3 Acre was recaptured (1191), but Philip returned to France soon after. Jaffa was secured, mainly through the initiative of Richard, who also occupied Cyprus.
Pope Innocent III attempted to reorganize the Crusading efforts under papal supervision. But lack of funds to pay for the passage of the 10,000 Crusaders in Venice forced a diversion of the mostly French army. At the request of the Venetians, the Crusaders first attacked the Christian city of Zara, in Dalmatia. Then they sailed on to lay siege to Constantinople. The Byzantine capital fell on Apr. 13, 1204; it was looted--particularly for its treasures of relics--and