«“Crusades” Catholic Encyclopedia (2010) The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from ...»
1095. Just as the crusaders started on their march, King Roger of Sicily attacked the Byzantine Empire, but his expedition merely checked the progress of Noured-Din's invasion. The sufferings endured by the crusaders while crossing Asia Minor prevented them from advancing on Edessa. They contented themselves Source URL: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Crusades Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/engl201 Attributed to: [Catholic Encyclopedia] www.saylor.org Page 10 of 34 with besieging Damascus, but were obliged to retreat at the end of a few weeks (July, 1148). This defeat caused great dissatisfaction in the West; moreover, the conflicts between the Greeks and the crusaders only confirmed the general opinion that the Byzantine Empire was the chief obstacle to the success of the Crusades. Nevertheless, Manuel Comnenus endeavoured to strengthen the bonds that united the Byzantine Empire to the Italian principalities. In 1161 he married Mary of Antioch, and in 1167 gave the hand of one of his nieces to Amalric, King of Jerusalem. This alliance resulted in thwarting the progress of Nour-ed-Din, who, having become master of Damascus in 1154, refrained thenceforth from attacking the Christian dominions.
King Amalric profited by this respite to interpose in the affairs of Egypt, as the only remaining representatives of the Fatimite dynasty were children, and two rival viziers were disputing the supreme power amid conditions of absolute anarchy. One of these disputants, Shawer, being exiled from Egypt, took refuge with Nour-ed-Din, who sent his best general, Shírkúh, to reinstate him. After his conquest of Cairo, Shírkúh endeavoured to bring Shawer into disfavour with the caliph; Amalric, taking advantage of this, allied himself with Shawer. On two occasions, in 1164 and 1167, he forced Shírkúh to evacuate Egypt; a body of Frankish knights was stationed at one of the gates of Cairo, and Egypt paid a tribute of 100,000 dinárs to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1168 Amalric made another attempt to conquer Egypt, but failed. After ordering the assassination of Shawer, Shírkúh had himself proclaimed Grand Vizier. At his death on 3 March, 1169, he was succeeded by his nephew, Salah-ed-Dîn (Saladin). During that year Amalric, aided by a Byzantine fleet, invaded Egypt once more, but was defeated at Damietta. Saladin retained full sway in Egypt and appointed no successor to the last Fatimite caliph, who died in 1171. Moreover, Nour-ed-Din died in 1174, and, while his sons and nephews disputed the inheritance, Saladin took possession of Damascus and conquered all Mesopotamia except Mosul.
Thus, when Amalric died in 1173, leaving the royal power to Baldwin IV, "the Leprous", a child of thirteen, the Kingdom of Jerusalem was threatened on all sides. At the same time two factions, led respectively by Guy de Lusignan, brother-in-iaw of the king, and Raymond, Count of Tripoli, contended for the supremacy. Baldwin IV died in 1184, and was soon followed to the grave by his nephew Baldwin V. Despite lively opposition, Guy de Lusignan was crowned king, 20 July, 1186. Though the struggle against Saladin was already under way, it was unfortunately conducted without order or discipline. Notwithstanding the truce concluded with Saladin, Renaud de Châtillon, a powerful feudatory and lord of the trans-Jordanic region, which included the fief of Montréal, the great castle of Karak, and Aïlet, a port on the Red Sea, sought to divert the enemy's attention Source URL: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Crusades Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/engl201
IV. ATTEMPTS TO RESTORE THE CHRISTIAN STATES AND THE CRUSADE
AGAINST SAINT-JEAN D'ACREThe news of these events caused great consternation in Christendom, and Pope Gregory VIII strove to put a stop to all dissensions among the Christian princes.
On 21 January, 1188, Philip Augustus, King of France, and Henry II, Plantagenet, became reconciled at Gisors and took the cross. On 27 March, at the Diet of Mainz, Frederick Barbarossa and a great number of German knights made a vow to defend the Christian cause in Palestine. In Italy, Pisa made peace with Genoa, Venice with the King of Hungary, and William of Sicily with the Byzantine Empire.
Moreover, a Scandinavian fleet consisting of 12,000 warriors sailed around the shores of Europe, when passing Portugal, it helped to capture Alvor from the Mohammedans. Enthusiasm for the crusade was again wrought up to a high pitch; but, on the other hand, diplomacy and royal and princely schemes became increasingly important in its organization. Frederick Barbarossa entered into negotiations with Isaac Angelus, Emperor of Constantinople, with the Sultan of Iconium, and even with Saladin himself. It was, moreover, the first time that all the Mohammedan forces were united under a single leader; Saladin, while the holy war was being preached, organized against the Christians something like a counter-crusade. Frederick Barbarossa, who was first ready for the enterprise, and to whom chroniclers attribute an army of 100,000 men, left Ratisbon, 11 May, 1189. After crossing Hungary he took the Balkan passes by assault and tried to outflank the hostile movements of Isaac Angelus by attacking Source URL: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Crusades Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/engl201 Attributed to: [Catholic Encyclopedia] www.saylor.org Page 12 of 34 Constantinople. Finally, after the sack of Adrianople, Isaac Angelus surrendered, and between 21 and 30 March, 1190, the Germans succeeded in crossing the Strait of Gallipoli. As usual, the march across Asia Minor was most arduous. With a view to replenishing provisions, the army took Iconium by assault. On their arrival in the Taurus region, Frederick Barbarossa tried to cross the Selef (Kalykadnos) on horseback and was drowned. Thereupon many German princes returned to Europe; the others, under the emperor's son, Frederick of Swabia, reached Antioch and proceeded thence to Saint-Jean d'Acre. It was before this city that finally all the crusading troops assembled. In June, 1189, King Guy de Lusignan, who had been released from captivity, appeared there with the remnant of the Christian army, and, in September of the same year, the Scandinavian fleet arrived, followed by the English and Flemish fleets, commanded respectively by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Jacques d'Avesnes. This heroic siege lasted two years. In the spring of each year reinforcements arrived from the West, and a veritable Christian city sprang up outside the walls of Acre. But the winters were disastrous to the crusaders, whose ranks were decimated by disease brought on by the inclemency of the rainy season and lack of food. Saladin came to the assistance of the city, and communicated with it by means of carrier pigeons. Missile-hurtling machines (pierrières), worked by powerful machinery, were used by the crusaders to demolish the walls of Acre, but the Mohammedans also had strong artillery. This famous siege had already lasted two years when Philip Augustus, King of France, and Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England, arrived on the scene. After long deliberation they had left Vézelay together, 4 July, 1190. Richard embarked at Marseilles, Philip at Genoa, and they met at Messina. During a sojourn in this place, lasting until March, 1191, they almost quarrelled, but finally concluded a treaty of peace. While Philip was landing at Acre, Richard was shipwrecked on the coast of Cyprus, then independent under Isaac Comnenus. With the aid of Guy de Lusignan, Richard conquered this island. The arrival of the Kings of France and England before Acre brought about the capitulation of the city, 13 July 1191. Soon, however, the quarrel of the French and English kings broke out again, and Philip Augustus left Palestine, 28 July. Richard was now leader of the crusade, and, to punish Saladin for the non-fulfilment of the treaty conditions within the time specified, had the Mohammedan hostages put to death. Next, an attack on Jerusalem was meditated, but, after beguiling the Christians by negotiations, Saladin brought numerous troops from Egypt. The enterprise failed, and Richard compensated himself for these reverses by brilliant but useless exploits which made his name legendary among the Mohammedans. Before his departure he sold the Island of Cyprus, first to the Templars, who were unable to Source URL: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Crusades Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/engl201 Attributed to: [Catholic Encyclopedia] www.saylor.org Page 13 of 34 settle there, and then to Guy de Lusignan, who renounced the Kingdom of Jerusalem in favour of Conrad of Montferrat (1192). After a last expedition to defend Jaffa against Saladin, Richard declared a truce and embarked for Europe, 9 October, 1192, but did not reach his English realm until he had undergone a humiliating captivity at the hands of the Duke of Austria, who avenged in this way the insults offered him before Saint-Jean d'Acre.
While Capetians and Plantagenets, oblivious of the Holy War, were settling at home their territorial disputes, Emperor Henry VI, son of Barbarossa, took in hand the supreme direction of Christian politics in the East. Crowned King of the Two Sicilies, 25 December, 1194, he took the cross at Bari, 31 May, 1195, and made ready an expedition which, he thought, would recover Jerusalem and wrest Constantinople from the usurper Alexius III. Eager to exercise his imperial authority he made Amaury de Lusignan King of Cyprus and Leo II King of Armenia. In September, 1197, the German crusaders started for the East. They landed at Saint-Jean d'Acre and marched on Jerusalem, but were detained before the little town of Tibnin from November, 1197, to February 1198. On raising the siege, they learned that Henry VI had died, 28 September, at Messina, where he had gathered the fleet that was to convey him to Constantinople. The Germans signed a truce with the Saracens, but their future influence in Palestine was assured by the creation of the Order of the Teutonic Knights. In 1143, a German pilgrim had founded a hospital for his fellowcountrymen; the religious who served it moved to Acre and, in 1198, were organized in imitation of the plan of the Hospitallers, their rule being approved by Innocent III in 1199.
V. THE CRUSADE AGAINST CONSTANTINOPLE (1204) In the many attempts made to establish the Christian states the efforts of the crusaders had been directed solely toward the object for which the Holy War had been instituted; the crusade against Constantinople shows the first deviation from the original purpose. For those who strove to gain their ends by taking the direction of the crusades out of the pope's hands, this new movement was, of course, a triumph, but for Christendom it was a source of perplexity. Scarcely had Innocent III been elected pope, in January, 1198, when he inaugurated a policy in the East which he was to follow throughout his pontificate. He subordinated all else to the recapture of Jerusalem and the reconquest of the Holy Land. In his first Encyclicals he summoned all Christians to join the crusade and even negotiated with Alexius III, the Byzantine emperor, trying to persuade him to reenter the Roman communion and use his troops for the liberation of Palestine.