Table of contents for The crusades the two hundred years war : the clash between the cross and the crescent in the Middle East 1096/1291 / James Harpur.

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Chapter 1: The Holy Land 	 
Chapter 2: "God Wills It!" 	
Chapter 3: At the Gates of Damascus 	
Chapter 4: The Great Adversaries 
Chapter 5: Striking at the Empire 	 
Chapter 6: On the Banks of the Nile 	
Chapter 7: Jerusalem Regained 	
Chapter 8: The Saint's Progress 	
Chapter 9: Endgame and Aftermath	 
Chronology and Biographies	 
In 1394 an Italian traveller named Martoni was visiting Cyprus when he was surprised to 
see that the well-to-do women of the island were wearing black clothes from head to toe, 
with only their eyes showing. When he inquired about the origin of this dress code he 
was informed that the women were symbolically mourning the capture by the Muslims of 
the Christian city of Acre on the Palestinian coast. What was extraordinary was that Acre 
had been lost more than a century ago, in 1291. But its fall to a Mamluk army from Egypt 
had a tremendous significance, because it marked the end of a 200-year Christian 
presence in Syria and Palestine (which historians usually label the "Latin east" or 
"Outremer", from the French for "beyond the sea").
From 1099 to 1291, crusaders from western Europe had established themselves in a 
region that had been under Muslim control since the rise and expansion of Islam in the 
seventh century AD. The crusaders, or Franj ("Franks") as they were called by the 
Muslims, were drawn to their epic expeditions of conquest by a mixture of motives (see 
Chapter Two), not least by a burning desire to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land from 
the infidel. As well as holding out the attractive prospect of power, money and land, the 
crusades were at heart profoundly religious and idealistic enterprises, having the 
character of a pilgrimage. They were sanctioned by popes, and those hardy souls who 
"took the cross" had to swear a solemn vow to make their journey. If they then defaulted, 
they were liable to excommunication / being cast out from the church, with all the 
spiritual perils that entailed. Crusaders, like pilgrims, were also granted papal 
indulgences, which assured them of a remission of penance due to sin / an enormous 
reward in an age when people were anxious about the afterlife, with its all-too-real 
categories of hell, purgatory and heaven.
The crusades to the east began after Pope Urban II, in 1095, called for a great expedition 
to help the Christian Byzantine Greeks, under pressure from the Seljuk Turks, and to 
liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims. The First Crusade eventually got 
under way a year later and ended triumphantly with the Christians' capture of Jerusalem 
in 1099. The crusaders established four main states, namely the counties of Edessa and 
Tripoli, the principality of Antioch, and the kingdom of Jerusalem. The problem then was 
how to maintain these states in the face of Muslim hostility and a shortage of manpower, 
never satisfactorily resolved by the constant arrival of further adventurers and settlers 
from the west. That the Franks managed to remain in the east for nearly 200 years is a 
testament to their determination, tenacity and martial prowess, as well as to the way the 
spiritual allure of the Holy Land was constantly able to attract material assistance from 
After the First Crusade there were other major expeditions (which, by convention, are 
numbered) as well as countless smaller ones. The Second Crusade was launched in 1147 
to retake Edessa after it had fallen to the Muslims three years earlier. The Third Crusade 
was prompted by the loss of Jerusalem to the great Muslim general Saladin in 1187, 
while the Fourth Crusade (1202/04) ended up with the capture and pillaging of the 
Byzantine capital of Constantinople. The crusades in the thirteenth century included two 
expeditions to Egypt, perceived as the weak spot in the Muslims' defences, as well as an 
abortive attempt by Louis IX, king of France, to take Tunis. In the end, despite the threat 
of the Mongols, whose empire was steadily expanding westward from its central Asian 
heartland, the Muslim Mamluk dynasty in Egypt succeeded in driving the Christians from 
Outremer for good.
The crusades continue to hold a fascination for the west. This is partly due to a long 
process of romanticization and mythologizing (for example through the writings of Sir 
Walter Scott, such as Ivanhoe) that has crystallized and made popular images of knights 
in shining armour, chivalric behaviour and feats of derring-do. But for the reader who 
comes to accounts of the crusades with rose-tinted spectacles it can be something of a 
shock to discover that Christian chivalry and magnanimity were more than matched by 
cruelty and savagery. In 1156, Aimery, the patriarch of the Christian city of Antioch in 
Syria, was taken prisoner and brutally beaten around the head before having honey 
rubbed into his broken skin. His tormentors then chained him up outside in the full heat 
of the day as human fly-paper. Aimery's persecutor was not a sadistic Muslim but the 
Christian crusader Reynald of Ch¿tillon, who wanted the patriarch to surrender to him his 
considerable wealth. Why? Because Reynald wanted to invade the rich island of Cyprus / 
Christian Cyprus. This he duly did, with his Armenian allies, and subjected the island to a 
three-week orgy of violence. As the historian Sir Steven Runciman remarked: "The 
murder and rapine was on a scale that the Huns or Mongols might have envied." 
Although it must be said that Reynald was widely recognized by his fellow crusaders to 
be ruthless and irresponsible, even those with the noblest reputations were capable of 
terrible violence. Richard the Lionheart, the paragon of English chivalry, had a couple of 
thousand Muslim prisoners butchered in cold blood. The Christian generals besieging the 
Turkish-held city of Nicaea in Anatolia (modern Turkey) tried to dampen the spirits of 
the defenders by lobbing over the walls the hacked-off heads of dead Muslim soldiers. 
Yet it is well to remember that the violence of the crusades was not unusual in an age 
when brutal warfare was commonplace. Nor, of course, were the atrocities and cruelty 
one-sided / the Muslims were quite capable of matching the savagery of their Christian 
Another common conception of the crusades is that it was a titanic clash of civilizations 
and religions, west versus east, Christianity versus Islam, inspired by idealism and 
dogmatic theologies. Yet as historian Jeremy Johns has written: "Christendom's assault 
against the Muslims had less to do with the relationship between Christianity and Islam 
than with the internal stresses and strains of Christian Europe." Of course it is true that 
the crusaders, in the main, were fired up by religious zeal and that, over time, the Muslim 
idea of jihad, that is holy war against the infidel, reasserted itself. But there were other, 
more secular, motives for crusading, discussed in Chapter Two. Also, from the Muslim 
point of view, the crusades had far less historical significance than the threat to Islam 
from the Mongols. In 1258 the Mongol general H¿leg¿ destroyed a huge Muslim army 
before capturing the city of Baghdad, slaughtering tens of thousands of its citizens. But 
for a decisive riposte by the Mamluks of Egypt, the entire Muslim Middle East might 
have come under Mongol control.
In the early years of the twenty-first century, when conflicts in the Middle East and other 
parts of the world incorporate strong religious elements, it is tempting to set modern 
struggles in the tradition of the crusades. Indeed, the rhetoric of the crusades is sometimes 
drawn upon for publicity or propaganda. In 1920, a French army took over Damascus 
under the mandate of the League of Nations in the aftermath of World War I; its 
commander made his way to the tomb of Saladin / the great Muslim hero who recaptured 
Jerusalem from the Christians in 1187 / and declared: "Nous revoil¿, Saladin!" ("Here 
we are again, Saladin!"). Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader who was deposed in 2003, had 
his portrait put on a postage stamp beside that of Saladin in an attempt to depict himself 
as a latter-day Muslim knight. Even the word "crusade" can raise pulses in the Muslim 
world, as "jihad" sometimes does in the west. President George W. Bush, in the aftermath 
of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, 
talked of mounting a "crusade" against terror, and although he was using the word in its 
general, non-historical meaning, it rang alarm bells in the Muslim world. 
Yet to try to make facile connections between present conflicts involving Muslim and 
non-Muslim countries and the crusades is misleading, because it ignores the very 
different geo-political and religious circumstances and various other complexities. In the 
crusades era, for example, the Franks of the Latin east could at times live quite peacefully 
with their Muslim neighbours and cooperate with them over trade. (Indeed, when Prince 
Edward of England arrived in the Holy Land in 1271 he found that the Venetians were 
supplying weapons materials to his Muslim opponents!) Equally, the Christians were 
often drawn into conflicts among themselves / Latin Franks against Greek Byzantines, 
Venetians against Genoese / in the same way that the Muslims were also often caught up 
in internal strife. Nor was the religious element straightforward: the Catholic crusaders 
were generally hostile toward the Orthodox Byzantines, whom they held to be 
schismatics, while in the Muslim world, the orthodox Sunnis were usually at odds with 
the Shiites. There were also racial complexities: Christians and Muslims were not 
ethnically homogeneous. Those whom the Muslims bracketed under the term "Franks" 
actually consisted of men from France, England, Spain, Italy, Germany and other parts of 
Europe, among whom keen rivalries often existed. Equally, those usually labelled by the 
Christians as "Saracens" might be Syrians, Egyptians or Turks, who themselves could be 
Seljuks, Danishmends or, later on, Ottomans.
Although this book concentrates on the major expeditions to the Latin east, it is important 
to remember that the concept of the "crusade" was applied to theatres of war other than 
Outremer, for example Spain. There, for centuries, Christians fought the Moors / Muslim 
Arabs and Berbers who had invaded the country in 711 and conquered most of the 
Iberian peninsula by 718. The Christian Reconquista of Spain gained momentum in the 
late eleventh century, when Alfonso VI scored important victories against the Muslims 
with the help of Rodrigo Diaz, better known as El Cid, who became a national hero. It 
was late in the same century that the first crusade in the country was formally initiated, 
when in 1096 Pope Urban II encouraged Catalan crusaders bound for the Holy Land to 
fulfil their vows by fighting the Moors in Spain instead. Thenceforth, several crusades 
were launched to reinvigorate the Reconquista, especially after the Christian victory over 
the Moors at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Crusading in Spain was also 
prominent in the early fourteenth century and the late fifteenth century until, in 1492, the 
last Moorish enclave of Granada fell. 
It should also be stressed that crusades were not merely confined to combating Muslims. 
They were also launched at various times against: pagans in eastern Germany and the 
Baltic region; heretics, such as the Albigenses of Languedoc in the south of France and 
the Hussites in Bohemia; and political enemies of the pope in Italy. For what marked out 
a crusade was not so much the nature of the enemy but its endorsement by the pope and 
his granting of spiritual rewards in the form of indulgences as well as certain privileges, 
such as the protection of property while the crusaders were absent from home. Thus the 
historian Jonathan Riley-Smith has defined a crusade as "a holy war fought against those 
perceived to be the external or internal foes of Christendom for the recovering of 
Christian property or in defence of the Church or Christian people."
Nevertheless, the most glamorous, prestigious and high-profile crusades of the Middle 
Ages were recognized to be those against the Muslims in the east, and it is these which 
form the main narrative of this book, from the Council of Clermont in 1095 to the fall of 
Acre in 1291. The Crusades also sets out the historical background to the expeditions and 
describes the social, political and religious conditions in Outremer. Short biographies of 
the leading characters and a chronology are included to give signposts along what can be 
a tangled path of events, politics and personal names / in the index of Sir Steven 
Runciman's third volume of his History of the Crusades there are listed six different 
Bohemonds, 13 Baldwins and 33 Williams. It goes without saying that the modest aim of 
an introductory book of this nature is to encourage the reader to study more specialist 
works / whether those of contemporary chroniclers, such as John of Joinville, or modern 
studies, particularly those by Runciman and Riley-Smith / and suggestions for further 
reading are listed in the bibliography.

Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:

Crusades -- Influence.