1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Crusades
CRUSADES, the name given to the series of wars for delivering the Holy Land from the Mahommedans, so-called from the cross worn as a badge by the crusaders. By analogy the term “crusade” is also given to any campaign undertaken in the same spirit.
1. The Meaning of the Crusades.—The Crusades may be regarded partly as the decumanus fluctus in the surge of religious revival, which had begun in western Europe during the 10th, and had mounted high during the 11th century; partly as a chapter, and a most important chapter, in the history of the interaction of East and West. Contemporaries regarded them in the former of these two aspects, as “holy wars” and “pilgrims’ progresses” towards Christ’s Sepulchre; the reflective eye of history must perhaps regard them more exclusively from the latter point of view. Considered as holy wars the Crusades must be interpreted by the ideas of an age which was dominated by the spirit of otherworldliness, and accordingly ruled by the clerical power which represented the other world. They are a novum salutis genus—a new path to Heaven, to tread which counted “for full and complete satisfaction” pro omni poenitentia and gave “forgiveness of sins” (peccaminum remissio); they are, again, the “foreign policy” of the papacy, directing its faithful subjects to the great war of Christianity against the infidel. As such a novum salutis genus, the Crusades connect themselves with the history of the penitentiary system; as the foreign policy of the Church they belong to that clerical purification and direction of feudal society and its instincts, which appears in the institution of “God’s Truce” and in chivalry itself. The penitentiary system, according to which the priest enforced a code of moral law in the confessional by the sanction of penance—penance which must be performed as a condition of admission to the sacrament of the Eucharist—had been from early times a great instrument in the civilization of the raw Germanic races. Penance might consist in fasting; it might consist in flagellation; it might consist in pilgrimage. The penitentiary pilgrimage, which seems to have been practised as early as A.D. 700, was twice blessed; not only was it an act of atonement in itself, like fasting and flagellation; it also gained for the pilgrim the merit of having stood on holy ground. Under the influence of the Cluniac revival, which began in the 10th century, pilgrimages became increasingly frequent; and the goal of pilgrimage was often Jerusalem. Pilgrims who were travelling to Jerusalem joined themselves in companies for security, and marched under arms; the pilgrims of 1064, who were headed by the archbishop of Mainz, numbered some 7000 men. When the First Crusade finally came, what was it but a penitentiary pilgrimage under arms—with the one additional object of conquering the goal of pilgrimage? That the Pilgrims’ Progress should thus have turned into a Holy War is a fact readily explicable, when we turn to consider the attempts made by the Church, during the 11th century, to purify, or at any rate to direct, the feudal instinct for private war (Fehde). Since the close of the 10th century diocesan councils in France had been busily acting as legislatures, and enacting “forms of peace” for the maintenance of God’s Peace or Truce (Pax Dei or Treuga Dei). In each diocese there had arisen a judicature (judices pacis) to decide when the form had been broken; and an executive, or communitas pacis, had been formed to enforce the decisions of the judicature. But it was an easier thing to consecrate the fighting instinct than to curb it; and the institution of chivalry represents such a clerical consecration, for ideal ends and noble purposes, of the martial impulses which the Church had hitherto endeavoured to check. In the same way the Crusades themselves may be regarded as a stage in the clerical reformation of the fighting laymen. As chivalry directed the layman to defend what was right, so the preaching of the Crusades directed him to attack what was wrong—the possession by “infidels” of the Sepulchre of Christ. The Crusades are the offensive side of chivalry: chivalry is their parent—as it is also their child. The knight who joined the Crusades might thus still indulge the bellicose side of his genius—under the aegis and at the bidding of the Church; and in so doing he would also attain what the spiritual side of his nature ardently sought—a perfect salvation and remission of sins. He might butcher all day, till he waded ankle-deep in blood, and then at nightfall kneel, sobbing for very joy, at the altar of the Sepulchre—for was he not red from the winepress of the Lord? One can readily understand the popularity of the Crusades, when one reflects that they permitted men to get to the other world by fighting hard on earth, and allowed them to gain the fruits of asceticism by the ways of hedonism. Nor was the Church merely able, through the Crusades, to direct the martial instincts of a feudal society; it was also able to pursue the object of its own immediate policy, and to attempt the universal diffusion of Christianity, even at the edge of the sword, over the whole of the known world.
Thus was renewed, on a greater scale, that ancient feud of East and West, which has never died. For a thousand years, from the Hegira in 622 to the siege of Vienna in 1683, the peril of a Mahommedan conquest of Europe was almost continually present. From this point of view, the Crusades appear as a reaction of the West against the pressure of the East—a reaction which carried the West into the East, and founded a Latin and Christian kingdom on the shores of Asia. They protected Europe from the new revival of Mahommedanism under the Turks; they gave it a time of rest in which the Western civilization of the middle ages developed. But the relation of East and West during the Crusades was not merely hostile or negative. The Latin kingdom of Jerusalem was the meeting-place of two civilizations: on its soil the East learned from the West, and—perhaps still more—the West learned from the East. The culture developed in the West during the 13th century was not only permitted to develop by the protection of the Crusades, it grew upon materials which the Crusades enabled it to import from the East. Yet the debt of Europe to the Crusades in this last respect has perhaps been unduly emphasized. Sicily was still more the meeting-place of East and West than the kingdom of Jerusalem; and the Arabs of Spain gave more to the culture of Europe than the Arabs of Syria.
2. Historical Causes of the Crusades.—Within fifteen years of the Hegira Jerusalem fell before the arms of Omar (637), and it continued to remain in the hands of Mahommedan rulers till the end of the First Crusade. For centuries, however, a lively intercourse was maintained between the Latin Church in Jerusalem, which the clemency of the Arab conquerors tolerated, and the Christians of the West. Charlemagne in particular was closely connected with Jerusalem: the patriarch sent him the keys of the city and a standard in 800; and in 807 Harun al-Rashid recognized this symbolical cession, and acknowledged Charlemagne as protector of Jerusalem and owner of the church of the Sepulchre. Charlemagne founded a hospital and a library in the Holy City; and later legend, when it made him the first of crusaders and the conqueror of the Holy Land, was not without some basis of fact. The connexion lasted during the 9th century; kings like Alfred of England and Louis of Germany sent contributions to Jerusalem, while the Church of Jerusalem acquired estates in the West. During the 10th century this intercourse still continued; but in the 11th century interruptions began to come. The fanaticism of the caliph Hakim destroyed the church of the Sepulchre and ended the Frankish protectorate (1010); and the patronage of the Holy Places, a source of strife between the Greek and the Latin Churches as late as the beginning of the Crimean War, passed to the Byzantine empire in 1021. This latter change in itself made pilgrimages from the West increasingly difficult: the Byzantines, especially after the schism of 1054, did not seek to smooth the way of the pilgrim, and Victor II. had to complain to the empress Theodora of the exactions practised by her officials. But still worse for the Latins was the capture of Jerusalem by the Seljukian Turks in 1071. Without being intolerant, the Turks were a rougher and ruder race than the Arabs of Egypt whom they displaced; while the wars between the Fatimites of Egypt and the Abbasids of Bagdad, whose cause was represented by the Seljuks, made Syria (one of the natural battle-grounds of history) into a troubled and unquiet region. The native Christians suffered; the pilgrims of the West found their way made still more difficult, and that at a time when greater numbers than ever were thronging to the East. Western Christians could not but feel hampered and checked in their natural movement towards the fountain-head of their religion, and it was natural that they should ultimately endeavour to clear the way. In much the same way, at a later date and in a lesser sphere, the closing of the trade-routes by the advance of the Ottoman Turks led traders to endeavour to find new channels, and issued in the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope and the discovery of America. Nor, indeed, must it be forgotten that the search for new and more direct connexions with the routes of Oriental trade is one of the motives underlying the Crusades themselves, and leading to what may be called the 13th-century discovery of Asia.
It was thus natural, for these reasons, that the conquest of the Holy Land should gradually become an object for the ambition of Western Christianity—an object which the papacy, eager to realize its dream of a universal Church subject to its sway, would naturally cherish and attempt to advance. Two causes combined to make this object still more natural and more definite. On the one hand, the reconquest of lost territories from the Mahommedans by Christian powers had been proceeding steadily for more than a hundred years before the First Crusade; on the other hand, the position of the Eastern empire after 1071 was a clear and definite summons to the Christian West, and proved, in the event, the immediate occasion of the holy war. As early as 970 the recovery of the territories lost to Mahommedanism in the East had been begun by emperors like Nicephoras Phocas and John Zimisces: they had pushed their conquests, if only for a time, as far as Antioch and Edessa, and the temporary occupation of Jerusalem is attributed to the East Roman arms. At the opposite end of the Mediterranean, in Spain, the Omayyad caliphate was verging to its fall: the long Spanish crusade against the Moor had begun; and in 1018 Roger de Toeni was already leading Normans into Catalonia to the aid of the native Spaniard. In the centre of the Mediterranean the fight between Christian and Mahommedan had been long, but was finally inclining in favour of the Christian. The Arabs had begun the conquest of Sicily from the East Roman empire in 827, and they had attacked the mainland of Italy as early as 840. The popes had put themselves at the head of Italian resistance: in 848 Leo IV. is already promising a sure and certain hope of salvation to those who die in defence of the cross; and by 916, with the capture of the Arab fortress on the Garigliano, Italy was safe. Then came the reconquest of the Mediterranean islands near Italy. The Pisans conquered Sardinia at the instigation of Benedict VIII. about 1016; and, in a thirty years’ war which lasted from 1060 to 1090, the Normans, under a banner blessed by Pope Alexander II., wrested Sicily from the Arabs. The Norman conquest of Sicily may with justice be called a crusade before the Crusades; and it cannot but have given some impulse to that later attempt to wrest Syria from the Mahommedans, in which the virtual leader was Bohemund, a scion of the same house which had conquered Sicily. But while the Christians of the West were thus winning fresh ground from the Mahommedans, in the course of the 11th century, the East Roman empire had now to bear the brunt of a Mahommedan revival under the Seljuks—a revival which, while it crushed for a time the Greeks, only acted as a new incentive to the Latins to carry their arms to the East. The Seljukian Turks, first the mercenaries and then the masters of the caliph, had given new life to the decadent caliphate of Bagdad. Under the rule of their sultans, who assumed the rôle of mayors of the palace in Bagdad about the middle of the 11th century, they pushed westwards towards the caliphate of Egypt and the East Roman empire. While they wrested Jerusalem from the former (1071), in the same year they inflicted a crushing defeat on the Eastern emperor at Manzikert. The result of the defeat was the loss of almost the whole of Asia Minor; the dominions of the Turks extended to the sea of Marmora. An appeal for assistance, such as was often to be heard again in succeeding centuries, was sent by Michael VII. of Constantinople to Gregory VII. in 1073. Gregory listened to the appeal; he projected—not, indeed, as has often been said, a crusade, but a great expedition, which should recover Asia Minor for the Eastern empire, in return for a union of the Eastern with the Western Church. In 1074 Gregory actually assembled a considerable army; but his disagreement with Robert Guiscard, followed by the outbreak of the war of investitures, hindered the realization of his plans, and the only result was a precedent and a suggestion for the events of 1095. The appeal of Michael VII. was re-echoed by Alexius Comnenus himself. Brave and sage as he was, he could hardly cope at one and the same time with the hostility of the Normans on the west, of the Petchenegs (Patzinaks) on the north, and of the Seljuks on the east and south. Already in 1087 and 1088 he had appealed to Baldwin of Flanders, verbally and by letter, for troops; and Baldwin had answered the appeal. The same appeal was made, more than once, to Urban II.; and the answer was the First Crusade. The First Crusade was not, indeed, what Alexius had asked or expected to receive. He had appealed for reinforcements to recover Asia Minor; he received hundreds of thousands of troops, independent of him, and intending to conquer Jerusalem for themselves, though they might incidentally recover Asia Minor for the Eastern empire on their way. Alexius may almost be compared to a magician, who has uttered a charm to summon a ministering spirit, and is surrounded on the instant by legions of demons. In truth the appeal of Alexius had set free forces in the West which were independent of, and even ultimately hostile to, the interests of the Eastern empire.
The primary force, which thus transmuted an appeal for reinforcements into a holy war for the conquest of Palestine, was the Church. The creative thought of the middle ages is clerical thought. It is the Church which creates the Carolingian empire, because the clergy thinks in terms of empire. It is the Church which creates the First Crusade, because the clergy believes in penitentiary pilgrimages, and the war against the Seljuks can be turned into a pilgrimage to the Sepulchre; because, again, it wishes to direct the fighting instinct of the laity, and the consecrating name of Jerusalem provides an unimpeachable channel; above all, because the papacy desires a perfect and universal Church, and a perfect and universal Church must rule in the Holy Land. But it would be a mistake to regard the Crusades (as it would be a mistake to regard the Carolingian empire) as a pure creation of the Church, or as merely due to the policy of a theocracy directing men to the holy war which is the only war possible for a theocracy. It would be almost truer, though only half the truth, to say that the clergy gave the name of Crusade to sanctify interests and ambitions which, while set on other ends than those of the Church, happened to coincide in their choice of means. There was, for instance, the ambition of the adventurer prince, the younger son, eager to carve a principality in the far East, of whom Bohemund is the type; there was the interest of Italian towns, anxious to acquire the products of the East more directly and cheaply, by erecting their own emporia in the eastern Mediterranean. The former was the driving force which made the First Crusade successful, where later Crusades, without its stimulus, for the most part failed; the latter was the one staunch ally which alone enabled Baldwin I. and Baldwin II. to create the kingdom of Jerusalem. So far as the Crusades led to permanent material results in the East, they did so in virtue of these two forces. Unregulated enthusiasm might of itself have achieved little or nothing; enthusiasm caught and guided by the astute Norman, and the no less astute Venetian or Genoese, could not but achieve tangible results. The principality or the emporium, it is true, would supply motives to the prince and the merchant only; and it may be urged that to the mass of the crusaders the religious motive was all in all. In this way we may return to the view that the First Crusade, at any rate, was un fait ecclésiastique. It is indeed true that to thousands the hope of acquiring spiritual merit must have been a great motive; it is also true, as the records of crusading sermons show, that there was a strong element of “revivalism” in the Crusades, and that thousands were hurried into taking the cross by a gust of that uncontrollable enthusiasm which is excited by revivalist meetings to-day. But it must also be admitted that there were motives of this world to attract the masses to the Crusades. Famine and pestilence at home drove men to emigrate hopefully to the golden East. In 1094 there was pestilence from Flanders to Bohemia: in 1095 there was famine in Lorraine. Francigenis occidentalibus facile persuaderi poterat sua rura relinquere; nam Gallias per annos aliquot nunc seditio civilis, nunc fames, nunc mortalitas nimis afflixerat. No wonder that a stream of emigration set towards the East, such as would in modern times flow towards a newly discovered gold-field—a stream carrying in its turbid waters much refuse, tramps and bankrupts, camp-followers and hucksters, fugitive monks and escaped villeins, and marked by the same motley grouping, the same fever of life, the same alternations of affluence and beggary, which mark the rush for a gold-field to-day.
Such were the forces set in movement by Urban II., when, after holding a synod at Piacenza (March, 1095), and receiving there fresh appeals from Alexius, he moved to Clermont, in the S.E. of France, and there on the 26th of November delivered the great speech which was followed by the First Crusade. In this speech he appealed, indeed, for help for the Greeks, auxilio . . . saepe acclamato indigis (Fulcher i. c. i.); but the gist of his speech was the need of Jerusalem. Let the truce of God be observed at home; and let the arms of Christians be directed to the winning of Jerusalem in an expedition which should count for full and complete penance. Like Gregory, Urban had thus sought for aid for the Eastern empire; unlike Gregory, who had only mentioned the Holy Sepulchre in a single letter, and then casually, he had struck the note of Jerusalem. The instant cries of Deus vult which answered the note showed that Urban had struck aright. Thousands at once took the cross; the first was Bishop Adhemar of Puy, whom Urban named his legate and made leader of the First Crusade (for the holy war, according to Urban’s original conception, must needs be led by a clerk). Fixing the 15th of August 1096 as the time for the departure of the crusaders, and Constantinople as the general rendezvous, Urban returned from France to Italy. It is noticeable that it was on French soil that the seed had been sown. Preached on French soil by a pope of French descent, the Crusades began—and they continued—as essentially a French (or perhaps better Norman-French) enterprise; and the kingdom which they established in the East was essentially a French kingdom, in its speech and its customs, its virtues and its vices. It was natural that France should be the home of the Crusades. She was already the home of the Cluniac movement, the centre from which radiated the truce of God, the chosen place of chivalry; she could supply a host of feudal nobles, somewhat loosely tied to their place in society, and ready to break loose for a great enterprise; she had suffered from battle and murder, pestilence and famine, from which any escape was welcome. To the Normans particularly the Crusades had an intimate appeal. They appealed to the old Norse instinct for wandering—an instinct which, as it had long before sent the Norseman eastward to find his El Dorado of Micklegarth, could now find a natural outlet in the expedition to Jerusalem: they appealed to the Norman religiosity, which had made them a people of pilgrims, the allies of the papacy, and, in England and Sicily, crusaders before the Crusades: finally, they appealed to that desire to gain fresh territory, upon which Malaterra remarks as characteristic of Norman princes. No wonder, then, that the crusading armies were recruited in France, or that they were led by men of the stock of the d’Hautevilles. Meanwhile newly-conquered England had its own problems to solve; and Germany, torn by civil war, and not naturally quick to kindle, could only deride the “delirium” of the crusader.
3. Course of the First Crusade.—The First Crusade falls naturally into two parts. One of these may be called the Crusade of the people: the other may be termed the Crusade of the princes. Of these the people’s Crusade—prior in order of time, if only secondary in point of importance—may naturally be studied first. The sermon of Urban II. at Clermont became the staple for wandering preachers, among whom Peter the Hermit distinguished himself by his fiery zeal. Riding on an ass from place to place through France and along the Rhine, he carried away by his eloquence thousands of the poor. Some three or four months before the term fixed by Urban II., in April and May 1096, five divisions of pauperes had already collected. Three of these, led by Fulcher of Orleans, Gottschalk and William the Carpenter respectively, failed to reach even Constantinople. The armies of Fulcher and Gottschalk were destroyed by the Hungarians in just revenge for their excesses (June); the third, after joining in a wild Judenhetze in the towns of the valley of the Rhine, during which some 10,000 Jews perished as the first-fruits of crusading zeal, was scattered to the winds in Hungary (August). Two other divisions, however, reached Constantinople in safety. The first of these, under Walter the Penniless, passed through Hungary in May, and reached Constantinople, where it halted to wait for the Hermit, in the middle of July. The second, led by Peter himself, passed safely through Hungary, but suffered severely in Bulgaria, and only attained Constantinople with sadly diminished numbers at the end of July. These two divisions (which in spite of good treatment by Alexius began to commit excesses against the Greeks) united and crossed the Bosporus in August, Peter himself remaining in Constantinople. By the end of October they had perished utterly at the hands of the Seljuks; a heap of whitening bones also remained to testify to the later crusaders, when they passed in the spring of 1097, of the fate of the people’s Crusade.
Meanwhile the knights had already begun to assemble in March 1096. In small bands, and by divers ways, they streamed gradually southward and eastward, in a steady flow, throughout 1096. But three large divisions, under three considerable leaders, were pre-eminent among the rest. Godfrey of Bouillon, with his brother Baldwin, led the crusaders of Lorraine along “the road of Charles the Great,” through Hungary, to Constantinople, where he arrived on the 23rd of December. Raymund of Toulouse (the first prince to join the crusading movement) along with Bishop Adhemar, the papal commissary, led the Provençals down the coast of Illyria, and then due east to Constantinople, arriving towards the end of April 1097. Bohemund of Otranto, the destined leader of the Crusade, with his nephew Tancred, led a fine force of Normans by sea to Durazzo, and thence by land to Constantinople, which he reached about the same time as Raymund. To the same great rendezvous other leaders also gathered, some of higher rank than Godfrey or Raymund or Bohemund, but none destined to exercise an equal influence on the fate of the Crusade. Hugh of Vermandois, younger brother of Philip I. of France, had reached Constantinople in November 1096, in a species of honourable captivity, and had done Alexius homage; Robert of Normandy and Stephen of Blois, to whom Urban II. had given St Peter’s banner at Lucca, only arrived—the last of the crusaders—in May 1097 (their original companion in arms, Count Robert of Flanders, having left them to winter at Bari, and crossed to Constantinople before the end of 1096).
Thus was gathered at Constantinople, in the spring of 1097, a great host, which Fulcher computes at 600,000 men (I. c. iv.), Urban II. at 300,000, and which was probably some 150,000 strong. Before we follow this host into Asia, we may pause to inquire into the various factors which would determine its course, or condition its activity. On the Western side, and among the crusaders themselves, there were two factors of importance, already mentioned above—the aims of the adventurer prince, and the interests of the Italian merchant; while on the Eastern side there are again two—the policy of the Greeks, and the condition of the Mahommedan East. We have already seen that among the princes who joined the First Crusade there were some who were rather politiques than dévots, and who aimed at the acquisition of temporal profit as well as of spiritual merit. Of these the type and, it may almost be said, the inspirer of the rest was Bohemund. From the first he had an Eastern principality in his mind’s eye; and if we may judge from the follower of Bohemund who wrote the Gesta Francorum, there had already been some talk at Constantinople of Antioch as the seat of this principality. Bohemund’s policy seems to have inspired Baldwin, the brother of Godfrey of Bouillon to emulation; on the one hand he strove to thwart the endeavours of Tancred, the nephew of Bohemund, to begin the foundation of the Eastern principality for his uncle by conquering Cilicia, and, on the other, he founded a principality for himself in Edessa. Raymond of Provence, the third and last of the great politiques of the First Crusade, was, like Baldwin, envious of Bohemund; and jealousy drove him first to attempt to wrest Antioch from Bohemund, and then to found a principality of Tripoli to the south of Antioch, which would check the growth of his power. The political motives of these three princes, and the interaction of their different policies, was thus a great factor in determining the course and the results of the First Crusade. The influence of the Italian towns did not make itself greatly felt till after the end of the First Crusade, when it made possible the foundation of a kingdom in Jerusalem, in addition to the three principalities established by Bohemund, Baldwin and Raymond; but during the course of the Crusade itself the Italian ships which hugged the shores of Syria were able to supply the crusaders with provisions and munition of war, and to render help in the sieges of Antioch and Jerusalem. Sea-power had thus some influence in determining the victory of the crusaders.
In the East the conditions were, on the whole, favourable to the crusaders. The one difficulty—and it was serious—was the attitude adopted by Alexius. Confronted by crusaders where he had asked for auxiliaries, Alexius had two alternative policies presented to his choice. He might, in the first place, have frankly admitted that the crusaders were independent allies, and treating them as equals, he might have waged war in concert with them, and divided the conquests achieved in the war. A boundary line might have been drawn somewhere to the N.W. of Antioch; and the crusaders might have been left to acquire what they could to the south and east of that line. Unhappily, clinging to the conviction that all the lands which the crusaders would traverse were the “lost provinces” of his empire, he induced the crusaders to do him homage, so that, whatever they conquered, they would conquer in his name, and whatever they held, they would hold by his grant and as his vassals. Thus Hugh of Vermandois became the man of Alexius in November 1096; Godfrey of Bouillon was induced, not without difficulty, to do homage in January 1097; and in April and May the other leaders, including Bohemund and the obstinate Raymond himself, followed his example. The policy of Alexius was destined to produce evil results, both for the Eastern empire and for the crusading movement. The West had already its grievances against the East: the Greek emperors had taken advantage of their protectorate of the Holy Places to lay charges on the pilgrims, against which the Papacy had already been forced to remonstrate; nor were the Italian towns, with the exception of favoured Venice, disposed to be friendly to the great monopolist city of Constantinople. The old dissension of the Eastern and Western Churches had blazed out afresh in 1054; and the policy of Alexius only added new rancours to an old grudge, which culminated in the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204. On the other hand, the success of the crusading movement was imperilled, both now and afterwards, by the jealousy of the Comneni. Always hostile to the principality, which Bohemund established in spite of his oath, they helped by their hostility to cause the loss of Edessa in 1144, and thus to hasten the disintegration of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. Yet one must remember, in justice to Alexius, the gravity of the problem by which he was confronted; nor was the conduct of the crusaders themselves such that he could readily make them his brethren in arms.
The condition of Asia Minor and Syria in 1097 was almost altogether such as to favour the success of the crusaders. The Seljukian sultans had only achieved a military occupation of the country which they had conquered. There were Seljukian garrisons in towns like Nicaea and Antioch, ready to offer an obstinate resistance to the crusaders; and here and there in the country there were Seljukian armies, either cantoned or nomadic. But the inhabitants of the towns were often hostile to the garrisons, and over wide tracts of country there were no forces at all. Accordingly, when the crusaders had captured the town at Nicaea, and defeated the Seljukian field-army at Dorylaeum their way lay clear before them through Asia Minor. Not only so, but they could count, at the very least, on a benevolent neutrality from the native population; while from the Armenian principalities in the S.E. of Asia Minor, which survived unsubdued in the general deluge of Seljukian conquest, they could expect active assistance (the hope of which will explain the north-easterly line of march which they followed after leaving Heraclea). But the purely military character of the Seljukian occupation helped the crusaders in yet another way. Strong generals were needed in the separate divisions of the empire, and these, as has always been the case in Eastern empires, made themselves independent in their spheres of command, because there was no organization to keep them together under a single control. On the death of Malik Shah, the last of the great Seljukian emperors (1092), the empire dissolved. A new sultan, Barkiyāroq or Barkiarok, ruled in Bagdad (1094–1104); but in Asia Minor Kilij Arslan held sway as the independent sultan of Konia (Iconium), while the whole of Syria was also practically independent. Not only was Syria thus weakened by being detached from the body of the Seljukian empire; it was divided by dissensions within, and assailed by the Fatimite caliph of Egypt from without. In 1095 two brothers, Ridwan and Dekak, ruled in Aleppo and Damascus respectively; but they were at war with one another, and Yagi-sian, the ruler of Antioch, was a party to their dissensions. Ridwan and Yagi-sian were only stopped in an attack on Damascus by news of the approach of the crusaders, which led the latter to throw himself hastily into Antioch, in the autumn of 1097. Meanwhile the Fatimites were not slow to take advantage of these dissensions. A great religious difference divided the Fatimite caliph of Cairo, the head of the Shiite sect, from the Abbasid caliph of Bagdad, who was the head of the Sunnites. The difference may be compared to the dissension between the Greek and the Latin Churches; but it had perhaps more of the nature of a political difference. In any case, it hampered the Mahommedans as much as the jealousy between Alexius and the Latins hampered the progress of the Crusade. The crusading princes were well enough aware of the gulf which divided the caliph of Cairo from the Sunnite princes of Syria; and they sought by envoys to put themselves into connexion with him, hoping by his aid to gain Jerusalem (which was then ruled for the Turks by Sokman, the son of the amir Ortok). But the caliph preferred to act for himself, and took advantage of the wars of the Syrian princes, and of the terror inspired by the advance of the crusaders to conquer Jerusalem (August 1098). But though the leaders of the First Crusade did not succeed in utilizing the dissensions of the Mahommedans as fully as they desired, it still remains true that these dissensions very largely explain their success. It was the disunion of the Syrian amirs, and the division between the Abbasids and the Fatimites, that made possible the conquest of the Holy City and the foundation of the kingdom of Jerusalem. When a power arose in Mosul, about 1130, which was able to unify Syria—when, again, in the hands of Saladin, unified Syria was in turn united to Egypt—the cause of Latin Christianity in the East was doomed.
We are now in a position to follow the history of the First Crusade. By the beginning of May 1097 the crusaders were crossing the Bosporus, and entering the dominions of Kilij Arslan. Their first operation was the siege of Nicaea, defended by a Seljuk garrison, but eventually captured, with the aid of Alexius, after a month’s siege (June 18). Alexius took possession of the town; and though he rewarded the crusading princes richly, some discontent was excited by his action. After the capture of Nicaea, the field-army of Kilij Arslan had to be met. In a long and obstinate encounter, it was defeated at Dorylaeum (July 1); and the crusaders marched unmolested in a south-easterly direction to Heraclea. Here Tancred, followed by Baldwin, turned into Cilicia, and began to take possession of the Cilician towns, and especially of Tarsus—thus beginning, it would seem, the creation of the Norman principality of Antioch. The main army turned to the N.E., in the direction of Caesarea (in order to bring itself into touch with the Armenian princes of this district), and then marched southward again to Antioch. At Marash, half way between Caesarea and Antioch, Baldwin, who had meanwhile wrested Tarsus from Tancred, rejoined the ranks; but he soon left the main body again, and struck eastward towards Edessa, to found a principality there. At the end of October the crusaders came into position before Antioch, which was held by Yagi-sian, and began the siege of the city, which lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 3, 1098. The great figure in the siege was naturally Bohemund (who had also been the hero of Dorylaeum). He repelled attempts at relief made by Dekak (Dec. 31, 1097) and Ridwan (Feb. 9, 1098); he put the besiegers in touch with the Genoese ships lying in the harbour of St Simeon, the port of Antioch (March 1098)—a move which at once served to remedy the want of provisions from which the crusaders suffered, and secured materials for the building of castles, with which Bohemund sought—in the Norman fashion—to overawe the besieged city. But it was finally by the treachery of one of Yagi-sian’s commanders, the amir Firuz, that Bohemund was able to effect its capture. The other leaders had, however, to promise him possession of the city, before he would bring his negotiations with Firuz to a conclusion; and the matter was so long protracted that an army of relief under Kerbogha of Mosul was only at a distance of three days’ march, when the city was taken (June 3, 1098). The besiegers were no sooner in the city, than they were besieged in their turn by Kerbogha; and the twenty-five days which followed were the worst period of stress and strain which the crusaders had to encounter. Under the pressure of this strain “spiritualistic” phenomena began to appear. It was in the ranks of the Provençals, where the religiosity of Count Raymund seems to have extended to his followers, that these phenomena appeared; and they culminated in the discovery of the Holy Lance, which had pierced the side of the Saviour. The excitement communicated itself to the whole army; and the nervous strength which it gave enabled the crusaders to meet and defeat Kerbogha in the open (June 28), but not before many of their number, including even Count Stephen of Blois, had deserted and fled.
With the discovery of the Lance, which became as it were a Provençal asset, Count Raymund assumes a new importance. Mingled with the religiosity of his nature there was much obstinacy and self-seeking; and when Kerbogha was finally repelled, he began to dispute the possession of Antioch with Bohemund, pleading in excuse his oath to Alexius. The struggle lasted for some months, and helped to delay the further progress of the crusaders. Raymund, indeed, left Antioch in November, and moved S.E. to Marra; but his men still held two positions in Antioch, from which they were not dislodged by Bohemund till January 1099. Expelled from Antioch, the obstinate Raymund endeavoured to recompense himself in the south (where indeed he subsequently created the county of Tripoli); and from February to May 1099 he occupied himself with the siege of Arca, to the N.E. of Tripoli. It was during the siege of Arca that Peter Bartholomew, to whom the vision of the Holy Lance had first appeared, was subjected, with no definite result, to the ordeal of fire—the hard-headed Normans doubting the genuine character of any Provençal vision, the more when, as in this case, it turned to the political advantage of the Provençals. The siege was long protracted; the mass of the pilgrims were anxious to proceed to Jerusalem, and, as the altered tone of the author of the Gesta sufficiently indicates, thoroughly weary of the obstinate political bickerings of Raymund and Bohemund. Here Godfrey of Bouillon finally came to the front, and placing himself at the head of the discontented pilgrims, he forced Raymund to accept the offers of the amir of Tripoli, to desist from the siege, and to march to Jerusalem (in the middle of May 1099). Bohemund remained in Antioch: the other leaders pressed forward, and following the coast route, arrived before Jerusalem in the beginning of June. After a little more than a month’s siege, the city was finally captured (July 15). The slaughter was terrible; the blood of the conquered ran down the streets, until men splashed in blood as they rode. At nightfall, “sobbing for excess of joy,” the crusaders came to the Sepulchre from their treading of the winepress, and put their blood-stained hands together in prayer. So, on that day of July, the First Crusade came to an end.
It remained to determine the future government of Jerusalem; and here the eternal problem of the relations of Church and State emerged. It might seem natural that the Holy City, conquered in a holy war by an army of which the pope had made a churchman, Bishop Adhemar, the leader, should be left to the government of the Church. But Adhemar had died in August 1098 (whence, in large part, the confusion and bickerings which followed in the end of 1098 and the beginning of 1099); nor were there any churchmen left of sufficient dignity or weight to secure the triumph of the ecclesiastical cause. In the meeting of the crusaders on the 22nd of July, some few voices were raised in support of the view that a “spiritual vicar” should first be chosen in the place of the late patriarch of Jerusalem (who had just died in Cyprus), before the election of any lay ruler was taken in hand. But the voices were not heard; and the princes proceeded at once to elect a lay ruler. Raymund of Provence refused to accept their nomination, nominally on the pious ground that he did not wish to reign where Christ had suffered on the cross; though one may suspect that the establishment of a principality in Tripoli—in which he had been interrupted by the pressure of the pilgrims—was still the first object of his ambition. The refusal of Raymund meant the choice of Godfrey of Bouillon, who had, as we have seen, become prominent since the siege of Arca; and Godfrey accordingly became—not king, but “advocate of the Holy Sepulchre,” while a few days afterwards Arnulf, the chaplain of Robert of Normandy, and one of the sceptics in the matter of the Holy Lance, became “vicar” of the vacant patriarchate. Godfrey’s first business was to repel an Egyptian attack, which he accomplished successfully at Ascalon, with the aid of the other crusaders (August 12). At the end of August the other crusaders returned, and Godfrey was left with a small army of 2000 men, and the support of Tancred, now prince of Galilee, to rule in some four isolated districts—Jaffa, Jerusalem, Ramlah and Haifa. At the end of the year came Bohemund and Godfrey’s brother Baldwin (now count of Edessa) on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The result of Bohemund’s visit was new trouble for Godfrey. Bohemund procured the election of Dagobert, the archbishop of Pisa, to the vacant patriarchate, disliking Arnulf, and perhaps hoping to find in the new patriarch a political supporter. Bohemund and Godfrey together became Dagobert’s vassals; and in the spring Godfrey even seems to have entered into an agreement with the patriarch to cede Jerusalem and Jaffa into his hands, in the event of acquiring other lands or towns, especially Cairo, or dying without direct heirs. When Godfrey died in July 1100 (after successful forays against the Mahommedans which took him as far as Damascus), it might seem as if a theocracy were after all to be established in Jerusalem, in spite of the events of 1099.
4. The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem under the First Three Kings, 1100–1143.—The theocracy, however, was not destined to be established. Godfrey had died without direct heirs; but in far Edessa there was his brother Baldwin, ready to take his place. Dagobert had at first consented to the dying Godfrey’s wish that Baldwin should be his successor; but when Godfrey died he saw an opportunity too precious to be missed, and opposed Baldwin, counting on the support of Bohemund, to whom he sent an appeal for assistance. But a party in Jerusalem, headed by the late “vicar” Arnulf, opposed itself to the hierarchical pretensions of Dagobert and the Norman influence by which they were backed; and this party, representing the Lotharingian laity, carried the day. Baldwin was summoned from Edessa; and when he arrived, towards the end of the year, he was crowned king by Dagobert himself. Thus was founded, on Christmas day 1100, the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem; and thus was the possibility of a theocracy finally annihilated. A feudal kingdom of Frankish seigneurs was to be planted on the soil of Palestine, instead of a dominium temporale of the patriarch like that of the pope in central Italy. Nor were any great difficulties with the Church to hamper the growth of this kingdom. For two years, indeed, a struggle raged between Baldwin I. and Dagobert: Baldwin accused the patriarch of treachery, and attempted to force him to contribute to the defence of the kingdom. But in 1102 the struggle ceased with the deposition of the patriarch and the victory of the king; and though it was renewed for a time by the patriarch Stephen in the reign of Baldwin II. (1128–1130), the new struggle was of short duration, and was soon ended by Stephen’s death.
The establishment of a kingdom in Jerusalem in 1100 was a blow, not only to the Church but to the Normans of Antioch. At the end of 1099 any contemporary observer must have believed that the capital of Latin Christianity in the East was destined to be Antioch. Antioch lay in one of the most fertile regions of the East; Bohemund was almost, if not quite, the greatest genius of his generation; and when he visited Jerusalem at the end of 1099, he led an army of 25,000 men—and those men, at any rate in large part, Normans. What could Godfrey avail against such a force? Yet the principality of Godfrey was destined to higher things than that of Bohemund. Jerusalem, like Rome, had the shadow of a mighty name to lend prestige to its ruler; and as residence in Rome was one great reason of the strength of the medieval papacy, so was residence in Jerusalem a reason for the ultimate supremacy of the Lotharingian kings. Jerusalem attracted the flow of pilgrims from the West as Antioch never could; and though the great majority of the pilgrims were only birds of passage, there were always many who stayed in the East. There was thus a steady immigration into the kingdom, to strengthen its armies and recruit with new blood the vigour of its inhabitants. Still more important perhaps was the fact that the ports of the kingdom attracted the Italian towns; and it was therefore to the kingdom that they lent the strength of their armies and the skill of their siege-artillery—in return, it is true, for concessions of privileges so considerable as to weaken the resources of the kingdom they helped to create. While Jerusalem possessed these advantages, Antioch was not without its defects. It had to meet—or perhaps it would be more true to say, it brought upon itself—the hostility of strong Mahommedan powers in the vicinity. As early as 1100 Bohemund was captured in battle by Danishmend of Sivas; and it was his captivity, depriving the patriarch as it did of Norman assistance, which allowed the uncontested accession of Baldwin I. Again, in 1104, the Normans, while attempting to capture Harran, were badly defeated on the river Balikh, near Rakka; and this defeat may be said to have been fatal to the chance of a great Norman principality. But the hostility of Alexius, aided and abetted by the jealousy of Raymund of Toulouse, was almost equally fatal. Alexius claimed Antioch; was it not the old possession of his empire, and had not Bohemund done him homage? Raymund was ready to defend the claims of Alexius; was not Bohemund a successful rival? Thus it came about that Alexius and Raymund became allies; and by the aid of Alexius Raymund established, from 1102 onwards, the principality which, with the capture of Tripoli in 1109, became the principality of Tripoli, and barred the advance of Antioch to the south. Meanwhile the armies of Alexius not only prevented any farther advance to the N.W., but conquered the Cilician towns (1104). No wonder that Bohemund flung himself in revenge on the Eastern empire in 1108—only, however, to meet with a humiliating defeat at Durazzo.
Thus it was that Baldwin waxed while Bohemund waned. The growth of Baldwin’s kingdom, as it was suggested above, owed more to the interests of Italian traders than it did to crusading zeal. In 1100, indeed, it might appear that a new Crusade from the West, which the capture of Antioch in 1098 had begun, and the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 had finally set in motion, was destined to achieve great things for the nascent kingdom. Thousands had joined this new Crusade, which should deal the final blow to Mahommedanism: among the rest came the first of the troubadours, William IX., Count of Poitiers, to gather copy for his muse, and even some, like Stephen of Blois and Hugh of Vermandois, who had joined the First Crusade, but had failed to reach Jerusalem. The new crusaders cherished high plans; they would free Bohemund and capture Bagdad. But each of the three sections of their army was routed in turn in Asia Minor by the princes of Sivas, Aleppo and Harran, in the middle of 1101; and only a few escaped to report the crushing disaster. Baldwin I. had thus no assistance to expect from the West, save that of the Italian towns. From an early date Italian ships had followed the crusaders. There were Genoese ships in St Simeon’s harbour in the spring of 1098 and at Jaffa in 1099; in 1099 Dagobert, the archbishop of Pisa, led a fleet from his city to the Holy Land; and in 1100 there came to Jaffa a Venetian fleet of 200 sail, whose leaders promised Venetian assistance in return for freedom from tolls and a third of each town they helped to conquer. But it was the Genoese who helped Baldwin I. most. The Venetians already enjoyed, since 1080, a favoured position in Constantinople, and had the less reason to find a new emporium in the East; while Pisa connected itself, through Dagobert, with Antioch rather than with Jerusalem, and was further, in 1111, invested by Alexius with privileges, which made an outlet in the Holy Land no longer necessary. But the Genoese, who had helped with provisions and siege-tackle in the capture of Antioch and of Jerusalem, had both a stronger claim on the crusaders, and a greater interest in acquiring an eastern emporium. An alliance was accordingly struck in 1101 (Fulcher II. c. vii.), by which the Genoese promised their assistance, in return for a third of all booty, a quarter in each town captured, and a grant of freedom from tolls. In this way Baldwin I. was able to take Arsuf and Caesarea in 1101 and Acre in 1104. But Genoese aid was given to others beside Baldwin (it enabled Raymund to capture Byblus in 1104, and his successor, William, to win Tripoli in 1109); while, on the other hand, Baldwin enjoyed other aid besides that of the Genoese. In 1110, for example, he was enabled to capture Sidon by the aid of Sigurd of Norway, the Jorsalafari, who came to the Holy Land with a fleet of 55 ships, starting in 1107, and in a three years’ “wandering,” after the old Norse fashion, fighting the Moors in Spain, and fraternizing with the Normans in Sicily. At a later date, in the reign of Baldwin II., Venice also gave her aid to the kings of Jerusalem. Irritated by the concessions made by Alexius to the Pisans in 1111, and furious at the revocation of her own privileges by John Comnenus in 1118, the republic naturally sought a new outlet in the Holy Land. A Venetian fleet of 120 sail came in 1123, and after aiding in the repulse of an attack, which the Egyptians had taken advantage of Baldwin II.’s captivity to deliver, they helped the regent Eustace to capture Tyre (1124), in return for considerable privileges—freedom from tolls throughout the kingdom, a quarter in Jerusalem, baths and ovens in Acre, and in Tyre one-third of the city and its suburbs, with their own court of justice and their own church. After thus gaining a new footing in Tyre, the Venetians could afford to attack the islands of the Aegean as they returned, in revenge for the loss of their privileges in Constantinople; but the hostility between Venice and the Eastern empire was soon afterwards appeased, when John Comnenus restored the old privileges of the Venetians. The Venetians, however, maintained their position in Palestine; and their quarters remained, along with those of the Genoese, as privileged commercial franchises in an otherwise feudal state.
In this way the kingdom of Jerusalem expanded until it came to embrace a territory stretching along the coast from Beirut (captured in 1110) to el-Arish on the confines of Egypt—a territory whose strength lay not in Judaea, like the ancient kingdom of David, but, somewhat paradoxically (though commercial motives explain the paradox), in Phoenicia and the land of the Philistines. With all its length, the territory had but little breadth: towards the north it was bounded by the amirate of Damascus; in the centre, it spread little, if at all, beyond the Jordan; and it was only in the south that it had any real extension. Here there were two considerable annexes. To the south of the Dead Sea stretched a tongue of land, reaching to Aila, at the head of the eastern arm of the Red Sea. This had been won by Baldwin I., by way of revenge for the attacks of the Egyptians on his kingdom; and here, as early as 1116, he had built the fort of Monreal, half way between Aila and the Dead Sea. To the east of the Dead Sea, again, lay a second strip of territory, in which the great fortress was Krak (Kerak) of the Desert, planted somewhere about 1140 by the royal butler, Paganus, in the reign of Fulk of Jerusalem. These extensions in the south and east had also, it is easy to see, a commercial motive. They gave the kingdom a connexion of its own with the Red Sea and its shipping; and they enabled the Franks to control the routes of the caravans, especially the route from Damascus to Egypt and the Red Sea. Thus, it would appear, the whole of the expansion of the Latin kingdom (which may be said to have attained its height in 1131, at the death of Baldwin II.) may be shown to have been dictated, at any rate in large part, by economic motives; and thus, too, it would seem that two of the most powerful motives which sway the mind of man—the religious motive and the desire for gain—conspired to elevate the kingdom of Jerusalem (at once the country of Christ, and a natural centre of trade) to a position of supremacy in Latin Syria. During this process of growth the kingdom stood in relation to two sects of powers—the three Frankish principalities in northern Syria, and the Mahommedan powers both of the Euphrates and the Nile—whose action affected its growth and character.
Of the three Frankish principalities, Edessa, founded in 1098 by Baldwin I. himself, was a natural fief of Jerusalem. Baldwin de Burgh, the future Baldwin II., ruled in Edessa as the vassal of Baldwin I. from 1100 to 1118; and thereafter the county was held in succession by the two Joscelins of Tell-bashir until the conquest of Edessa by Zengi in 1144. Lying to the east of the Euphrates, at once in close contact with the Armenians, and in near proximity to the great route of trade which came up the Euphrates to Rakka, and thence diverged to Antioch and Damascus, the county of Edessa had an eventful if brief life. The county of Tripoli, the second of these principalities, had also come under the aegis of Jerusalem at an early date. Founded by Raymund of Toulouse, between 1102 and 1105, with the favour of Alexius and the alliance of the Genoese, it did not acquire its capital of Tripoli till 1109. Even before the conquest of Tripoli, there had been dissensions between William, the nephew and successor of Raymund, and Bertrand, Raymund’s eldest son, which it had needed the interference of Baldwin I. to compose; and it was only by the aid of the king that the town of Tripoli had been taken. At an early date therefore the county of Tripoli had already come under the influence of the kingdom. Meanwhile the principality of Antioch, ruled by Tancred, after the departure of Bohemund (1104–1112), and then by Roger his kinsman (1112–1119), was, during the reign of Baldwin I., busily engaged in disputes both with its Christian neighbours at Edessa and Tripoli, and with the Mahommedan princes of Mardin and Mosul. On the death of Roger in 1119, the principality came under the regency of Baldwin II. of Jerusalem, until 1126, when Bohemund II. came of age. Bohemund had married a daughter of Baldwin; and on his death in 1130 Baldwin II. had once more become the guardian of Antioch. From his reign therefore Antioch may be regarded as a dependency of Jerusalem; and thus the end of Baldwin’s reign (1131) may be said to mark the time when the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem stands complete, with its own boundaries stretching from Beirut in the north to el-Arish and Aila in the south, and with the three Frankish powers of the north admitting its suzerainty.
The Latin power thus established and organized in the East had to face in the north a number of Mahommedan amirs, in the south the caliph of Egypt. The disunion between the Mahommedans of northern Syria and the Fatimites of Egypt, and the political disintegration of the former, were both favourable to the success of the Franks; but they had nevertheless to maintain their ground vigorously both in the north and the south against almost incessant attacks. The hostility of the decadent caliphate of Cairo was the less dangerous; and though Baldwin I. had at the beginning of his reign to meet annual attacks from Egypt, by the end he had pushed his power to the Red Sea, and in the very year of his death (1118) he had penetrated along the north coast of Egypt as far as Farama (Pelusium). The plan of conquering Egypt had indeed presented itself to the Franks from the first, as it continued to attract them to the end; and it is significant that Godfrey himself, in 1100, promised Jerusalem to the patriarch, “as soon as he should have conquered some other great city, and especially Cairo.” But the real menace to the Latin kingdom lay in northern Syria; and here a power was eventually destined to rise, which outstripped the kings of Jerusalem in the race for Cairo, and then—with the northern and southern boundaries of Jerusalem in its control—was able to crush the kingdom as it were between the two arms of a vice. Until 1127, however, the Mahommedans of northern Syria were disunited among themselves. The beginning of the 12th century was the age of the atabegs (regents or stadtholders). The atabegs formed a number of dynasties, which displaced the descendants of the Seljukian amirs in their various principalities. These dynasties were founded by emancipated mamelukes, who had held high office at court and in camp under powerful amirs, and who, on their death, first became stadtholders for their descendants, and then usurped the throne of their masters. There was an atabeg dynasty in Damascus founded by Tughtigin (1103–1128): there was another to the N.E., that of the Ortokids, represented by Sokman, who established himself at Kaifa in Diarbekr about 1101, and by his brother Ilghazi, who received Mardin from Sokman about 1108, and added to it Aleppo in 1117. But the greatest of the atabegs were those of Mosul on the Tigris—Maudud, who died in 1113; Aksunkur, his successor; and finally, greatest of all, Zengi himself, who ruled in Mosul from 1127 onwards.
Before the accession of Zengi, there had been constant fighting, which had led, however, to no definite result, between the various Mahommedan princes and the Franks of northern Syria. The constant pressure of Tancred of Antioch and Baldwin de Burgh of Edessa led to a series of retaliations between 1110 and 1115; Edessa was attacked in 1110, 1111, 1112 and 1114; and in 1113 Maudud of Mosul had even penetrated as far as the vicinity of Acre and Jerusalem. But the dissensions of the Mahommedans made their attacks unavailing; in 1115, for instance, we find Antioch actually aided by Ilghazi and Tughtigin against Aksunkur of Mosul. Again, in the reign of Baldwin II., there was steady fighting in the north; Roger of Antioch was defeated by Ilghazi at Balat in 1119, and Baldwin II. himself was captured by Balak, the successor of Ilghazi, in 1123, but on the whole the Franks held the upper hand. Baldwin conquered part of the territory of Aleppo (in 1121 and the following years), and extorted a tribute from Damascus (1126). But when Zengi established himself in Mosul in 1127, the tide gradually began to turn. He created for himself a great and united principality, comprising not only Mosul, but also Aleppo, Harran, Nisibin and other districts; and in 1130, Alice, the widow of Bohemund II., sought his alliance in order to maintain herself in power at Antioch. In the beginning of the reign of Fulk of Jerusalem (1131–1143) the progress of Zengi was steady. He conquered in 1135 several fortresses in the east of the principality of Antioch, and in this year and the next pressed the count of Tripoli hard; while in 1137 he defeated Fulk at Barin, and forced the king to capitulate and surrender the town. If Fulk had been left alone to wage the struggle against Zengi, and if Zengi had enjoyed a clear field against the Franks, the fall of the kingdom of Jerusalem might have come far sooner than it did. But there were two powers which aided Fulk, and impeded the progress of Zengi—the amirate of Damascus and the emperors of Constantinople. The position of Damascus is a position of crucial importance from 1130 to 1154. Lying between Mosul and Jerusalem, and important both strategically and from its position on the great route of commerce from the Euphrates to Egypt, Damascus became the arbiter of Syrian politics. During the greater part of the period between 1130 and 1154 the policy of Damascus was guided by the vizier Muin eddin Anar, who ruled on behalf of the descendants of the atabeg Tughtigin. He saw the importance of finding an ally against the ambition of Zengi, who had already attacked Damascus in 1130. The natural ally was Jerusalem. As early as 1133 the alliance of the two powers had been concluded; and in 1140 the alliance was solemnly renewed between Fulk and the vizier. Henceforth this alliance was a dominant factor in politics. One of the great mistakes made by the Franks was the breach of the alliance in 1147—a breach which was widened by the attack directed against Damascus during the Second Crusade; and the conquest of Damascus by Nureddin in 1154 was ultimately fatal to the Latin kingdom, removing as it did the one possible ally of the Franks, and opening the way to Egypt for the atabegs of Mosul.
The alliance of the emperors of Constantinople was of far more dubious value to the kings of Jerusalem. We have already seen that it was the theory of the Eastern emperors—a theory which logically followed from the homage of the crusaders to Alexius—that the conquests of the crusaders belonged to their empire, and were held by the crusading princes as fiefs. We have seen that the action of Bohemund at Antioch was the negation of this theory, and that Alexius in consequence helped Raymund to establish himself in Tripoli as a thorn in the side of Bohemund, and sent an army and a fleet which wrested from the Normans the towns of Cilicia (1104). The defeat of Bohemund at Durazzo in 1108 had resulted in a treaty, which made Antioch a fief of Alexius; but Tancred (who in 1107 had recovered Cilicia from the Greeks) refused to fulfil the terms of the treaty, and Alexius (who attempted—but in vain—to induce Baldwin I. to join an alliance against Tancred in 1112) was forced to leave Antioch independent. Thus, although Alexius had been able, in the wake of the crusading armies, to recover a large belt of land round the whole coast of Asia Minor,—the interior remaining subject to the sultans of Konia (Iconium) and the princes of Sivas,—he left the territories to the east of the western boundary of Cilicia in the hands of the Latins when he died in 1118. Not for 20 years after his death did the Eastern empire make any attempt to gain Cilicia or wrest homage from Antioch. But in 1137 John Comnenus appeared, instigated by the opportunity of dissensions in Antioch, and received its long-denied homage, as well as that of Tripoli; while in the following year he entered into hostilities with Zengi, without, however, achieving any considerable result. In 1142 he returned again, anxious to create a principality in Cilicia and Antioch for his younger son Manuel. The people of Antioch refused to submit; a projected visit to Jerusalem, during which John was to unite with Fulk in a great alliance against the Moslem, fell through; and in the spring of 1143 the emperor died in Cilicia, with nothing accomplished. On the whole, the interference of the Comneni, if it checked Zengi for the moment in 1138, may be said to have ultimately weakened and distracted the Franks, and to have helped to cause the loss of Edessa (1144), which marks the turning-point in the history of the kingdom of Jerusalem.
5. Organization of the Kingdom.—Before we turn to describe the Second Crusade, which the loss of Edessa provoked, and to trace the fall of the kingdom, which the Second Crusade rather hastened than hindered, we may pause at this point to consider the organization of the Frankish colonies in Syria. The first question which arises is that of the relation of the kingdom of Jerusalem to the three counties or principalities of Antioch, Tripoli and Edessa, which acknowledged their dependence upon it. The degree of this dependence was always a matter of dispute. The rights of the king of Jerusalem chiefly appear when there is a vacancy or a minority in one of the principalities, or when there is dissension either inside one of the principalities or between two of the princes. On the death of one of the princes without heirs of full age, the kings of Jerusalem were entitled to act as regents, as Baldwin II. did twice at Antioch, in 1119 and 1130; but the kings regarded this right of regency as a burden rather than a privilege, and it is indeed characteristic of the relation of the king to the three princes, that it imposes upon him duties without any corresponding rights. It is his duty to act as regent; it is his duty to compose the dissensions in the principality of Antioch, and to repress the violences of the prince towards his patriarch (1154); it is his duty to reconcile Antioch with Edessa, when the two fall to fighting. The princes on their side acted independently: if they joined the king with their armies, it was as equals doing a favour; and they sometimes refused to join until they were coerced. They made their own treaties with the Mahommedans, or attacked them in spite of the king’s treaties; they dated their documents by the year of their own reign, and they had each their separate laws or assizes. There was, in a word, co-ordination rather than subordination; nor did the kings ever attempt to embark on a policy of centralization.
The relation of the king to his own barons within his immediate kingdom of Jerusalem is not unlike the relation of the king to the three princes. In Norman England the king insisted on his rights; in Frankish Jerusalem the barons insisted on his duties. The circumstances of the foundation of the kingdom explain its characteristics. As the crusaders advanced to Jerusalem, says Raymund of Agiles (c. xxxiii.), it was their rule that the first-comer had the right to each castle or town, provided that he hoisted his standard and planted a garrison there. The feudal nobility was thus the first to establish itself, and the king only came after its institution—the reverse of Norman England, where the king first conquered the country, and then plotted it out among his nobles. The predominance of the nobility in this way became as characteristic of feudalism in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem as the supremacy of the crown was of contemporary feudalism in England; and that predominance expressed itself in the position and powers of the high court, in which the ultimate sovereignty resided. The kingdom of Jerusalem consisted of a society of peers, in which the king might be primus, but in which he was none the less subject to a punctilious law, regulating his position equally with that of every member of the society. In such a society the election of the head by the members may seem natural; and in the case of Godfrey and the first two Baldwins this was the case. But the conception of the equality of the king and his peers in the long run led to hereditary monarchy; for if the king held his kingdom as a fief, like other nobles, the laws of descent which applied to a fief applied to the kingdom, and those laws demanded heredity. Yet the high court, which decided all problems of descent, would naturally intervene if a problem of descent arose, as it frequently did, in the kingdom; and thus the barons had the right of deciding between different claimants, and also of formally “approving” each new successor to the throne. The conception of the kingdom as a fief not only subjected it to the jurisdiction of the high court; it involved the more disastrous result that the kingdom, like other fiefs, might be carried by an heiress to her husband; and the proximate causes of the collapse of the kingdom in 1187 depend on this fact and the dissensions which it occasioned.
Thus conceived as the holder of a great fief, the king had only the rights of suzerain over the four great baronies and the twelve minor fiefs of his kingdom. He had not those rights of sovereign which the Norman kings of England inherited from their Anglo-Saxon predecessors, or the Capetian kings of France from the Carolings; nor was he able therefore to come into direct touch with each of his subjects, which William I., in virtue of his sovereign rights, was able to attain by the Salisbury oath of 1086. Amalric I. indeed, by his assise sur la ligèce, attempted to reach the vassals of his vassals; he admitted arrière-vassaux to the haute cour, and encouraged them to carry their cases to it in the first instance. But this is the only attempt at that policy of immédiatisation which in contemporary England was carried to far greater lengths; and even this attempt was unsuccessful. No alliance was actually formed between the king and the mesne nobility against the immediate baronage. The body of the tenants-in-chief continued to limit the power of the crown: their consent was necessary to legislation, and grants of fiefs could not be made without their permission. Nor was the crown only limited in this way. The duties of the king towards his tenants are prominent in the assises. The king’s oath to his men binds him to respect and maintain their rights, which are as prominent as are his duties; and if the men feel that the royal oath has not been kept, they may lawfully refuse military service (gager le roi), and may even rise in authorized and legal rebellion. The system of military service and the organization of justice corresponded to the part which the monarchy was thus constrained to play. The vassal was bound to pay military service, not, as in western Europe, for a limited period of forty days, but for the whole year—the Holy Land being, as it were, in a perpetual state of siege. On the other hand, the vassal was not bound to render service, unless he were paid for his service; and it was only famine, or Saracen devastation, which freed the king from the obligation of paying his men. The king was also bound to insure the horses of his men by a system called the restor: if a vassal lost his horse otherwise than by his own fault, it must be replaced by the treasury (which was termed, as it also was in Norman Sicily, the secretum). But the king had another force in addition to the feudal levy—a paid force of soudoyers, holding fiefs, not of land, but of pay (fiefs de soudée). Along with this paid cavalry went another branch of the army, the Turcopuli, a body of light cavalry, recruited from the Syrians and Mahommedans, and using the tactics of the Arabs; while an infantry was found among the Armenians, the best soldiers of the East, and the Maronites, who furnished the kingdom with archers. To all these various forces must be added the knights and native levies of the great orders, whose masters were practically independent sovereigns like the princes of Antioch and Tripoli; and with these the total levy of the kingdom may be reckoned at some 25,000 men. But the strength of the kingdom lay less perhaps in the army than in the magnificent fortresses which the nobility, and especially the two orders, had built; and the most visible relic of the crusades to-day is the towering ruins of a fortress like Krak (Kerak) des Chevaliers, the fortress of the Knights of St John in the principality of Tripoli. These fortresses, garrisoned not by the king, as in Norman England, but by their possessors, would only strengthen the power of the feudatories, and help to dissipate the kingdom into a number of local units.
In the organization of its system of justice the kingdom showed its most characteristic features. Two great central courts sat in Jerusalem to do justice—the high court of the nobles, and the court of burgesses for the rest of the Franks. (1) The high court was the supreme source of justice for the military class; and in its composition and procedure the same limitation of the crown, which appears in regard to military service, is again evident. The high court is not a curia regis, but a curia baronum, in which the theory of judicium parium is fully realized. If the king presides in the court, the motive of its action is none the less the preservation of the rights of the nobles, and not, as in England, the extension of the rights of the crown. It is a court of the king’s peers: it tries cases of dispute between the king and his peers—with regard, for instance, to military service—and it settles the descent of the title of king. (2) The court of burgesses was almost equally sovereign within its sphere. While the body of the noblesse formed the high court, the court of the burgesses was composed of twelve legists (probably named by the king) under the presidency of the vicomte—a knight also named by the king, who was a great financial as well as a judicial officer. The province of the court included all acts and contracts between burgesses, and extended to criminal cases in which burgesses were involved. Like the high court, the court of burgesses had also its assizes—a body of unwritten legal custom. The independent position of the burgesses, who thus assumed a position of equality by the side of the feudal class, is one of the peculiarities of the kingdom of Jerusalem. It may be explained by reference to the peculiar conditions of the kingdom. Burgesses and nobles, however different in status, were both of the same Frankish stock, and both occupied the same superior position with regard to the native Syrians. The commercial motive, again, had been one of the great motives of the crusade; and the class which was impelled by that motive would be both large and, in view of the quality of the Eastern goods in which it dealt, exceptionally prosperous. Finally, when one remembers how, during the First Crusade, the pedites had marched side by side with the principes, and how, from the beginning of 1099, they had practically risen in revolt against the selfish ambitions of princes like Count Raymund, it becomes easy to understand the independent position which the burgesses assumed in the organization of the kingdom. Burgesses could buy and possess property in towns, which knights were forbidden to acquire; and though they could not intermarry with the feudal classes, it was easy and regular for a burgess to thrive to knighthood. Like the nobles, again, the burgesses had the right of confirming royal grants and of taking part in legislation; and they may be said to have formed—socially, politically and judicially—an independent and powerful estate. Yet (with the exception of Antioch, Tripoli and Acre in the course of the 13th century) the Frankish towns never developed a communal government: the domain of their development was private law and commercial life.
Locally, the consideration of the system of justice administered in the kingdom involves some account of three things—the organization of the fiefs, the position of the Italian traders in their quarters, and the privileges of the Church. Each fief was organized like the kingdom. In each there was a court for the noblesse, and a court (or courts) for the bourgeoisie. There were some thirty-seven cours de bourgeoisie (several of the fiefs having more than one), each of which was under the presidency of a vicomte, while all were independent of the court of burgesses at Jerusalem. Of the feudal courts there were some twenty-two. Each of these followed the procedure and the law of the high court; but each was independent of the high court, and formed a sovereign court without any appeal. On the other hand, the revolution wrought by Amalric I. in the status of the arrière-vassaux, which made them members of the high court, allowed them to carry their cases to Jerusalem in the first instance, if they desired. Apart from this, the characteristic of seignorial justice is its independence and its freedom from the central court; though, when we reflect that the central court is a court of seigneurs, this characteristic is seen to be the logical result of the whole system. Midway between the seignorial cours de bourgeoisie and the privileged jurisdictions of the Italian quarter, there were two kinds of courts of a commercial character—the cours de la fonde in towns where trade was busy, and the cours de la chaîne in the sea-ports. The former courts, under their bailiffs, gradually absorbed the separate courts which the Syrians had at first been permitted to enjoy under their own reïs; and the bailiff with his 6 assessors (4 Syrians and 2 Franks) thus came to judge both commercial cases and cases in which Syrians were involved. The cours de la chaîne, whose institution is assigned to Amalric I. (1162–1174), had a civil jurisdiction in admiralty cases, and, like the cours de la fonde, they were composed of a bailiff and his assessors. Distinct from all these courts, if similar in its sphere, is the court which the Italian quarter generally enjoyed in each town under its own consuls—a court privileged to try all but the graver cases, like murder, theft and forgery. The court was part of the general immunity which made these quarters imperia in imperio: their exemptions from tolls and from financial contributions is parallel to their judicial privileges. Regulated by their mother-town, both in their trade and their government, these Italian quarters outlasted the collapse of the kingdom, and continued to exist under Mahommedan rulers. The Church had its separate courts, as in the West; but their province was perhaps greater than elsewhere. The church courts could not indeed decide cases of perjury; but, on the other hand, they tried all matters in which clerical property was concerned, and all cases of dispute between husband and wife. In other spheres the immunities and exemptions of the Church offered a far more serious problem, and especially in the sphere of finance. Perhaps the supreme defect of the kingdom of Jerusalem was its want of any financial basis. It is true that the king had a revenue, collected by the vicomte and paid into the secretum or treasury—a revenue composed of tolls on the caravans and customs from the ports, of the profits of monopolies and the proceeds of justice, of poll-taxes on Jews and Mahommedans, and of the tributes paid by Mahommedan powers. But his expenditure was large: he had to pay his feudatories; and he had to provide fiefs in money and kind to those who had not fiefs of land. The contributions sent to the Holy Land by the monarchs of western Europe, as commutations in lieu of personal participation in crusades, might help; the fatal policy of razzias against the neighbouring Mahommedan powers might procure temporary resources; but what was really necessary was a wide measure of native taxation, such as was once, and once only, attempted in 1183. To any such measure the privileges of the Italian quarters, and still more those of the Church, were inimical. In spite of provisions somewhat parallel to those of the English statute of mortmain, the clergy continued to acquire fresh lands at the same time that they refused to contribute to the defence of the kingdom, and rigorously exacted the full quota of tithe from every source which they could tap, and even from booty captured in war. The richest proprietor in the Holy Land, but practically immune from any charges on its property, the Church helped, unconsciously, to ruin the kingdom which it should have supported above all others. It refused to throw its weight into the scale, and to strengthen the hands of the king against an over-mighty nobility. On the other hand, it must be admitted that the Church did not, after the first struggle between Dagobert and Baldwin I., actively oppose by any hierarchical pretensions the authority of the crown. The assizes may speak of patriarch and king as conjoint seigneurs in Jerusalem; but as a matter of fact the king could secure the nomination of his own patriarch, and after Dagobert the patriarchs are, with the temporary exception of Stephen in 1128, the confidants and supporters of the kings. It was the two great orders of the Templars and the Hospitallers which were, in reality, most dangerous to the kingdom. Honeycombed as it was by immunities—of seigneurs, of Italian quarters, of the clergy—the kingdom was most seriously impaired by these overweening immunists, who, half-lay and half-clerical, took advantage of their ambiguous position to escape from the duties of either character. They built up great estates, especially in the principality of Tripoli; they quarrelled with one another, until their dissensions prevented any vigorous action; they struggled against the claims of the clergy to tithes and to rights of jurisdiction; they negotiated with the Mahommedans as separate powers; they conducted themselves towards the kings as independent sovereigns. Yet their aid was as necessary as their influence was noxious. Continually recruited from the West, they retained the vigour which the native Franks of Palestine gradually lost; and their corporate strength gave a weight to their arms which made them indispensable.
In describing the organization of the kingdom, we have also been describing the causes of its fall. It fell because it had not the financial or political strength to survive. “Les vices du gouvernement avaient été plus puissants que les vertus des gouvernants.” But the vices were not only vices of the government: they were also vices, partly inevitable, partly moral, in the governing race itself. The climate was no doubt responsible for much. The Franks of northern Europe attempted to live a life that suited a northern climate under a southern sun. They rode incessantly to battle over burning sands, in full armour—chain mail, long shield and heavy casque—as if they were on their native French soil. The ruling population was already spread too thin for the work which it had to do; and exhausted by its efforts, it gradually became extinct. A constant immigration from the West, bringing new blood and recruiting the stock, could alone have maintained its vigour; and such immigration never came. Little driblets of men might indeed be added to the numbers of the Franks; but the great bodies of crusaders either perished in Asia Minor, as in 1101 and 1147, or found themselves thwarted and distrusted by the native Franks. It was indeed one of the misfortunes of the kingdom that its inhabitants could never welcome the reinforcements which came to their aid. The barons suspected the crusaders of ulterior motives, and of designing to get new principalities for themselves. In any case the native Frank, accustomed to commercial intercourse and diplomatic negotiations with the Mahommedans, could hardly share the unreasoning passion to make a dash for the “infidel.” As with the barons, so with the burgesses: they profited too much by their intercourse with the Mahommedans to abandon readily the way of peaceful commerce, and they were far more ready to hinder than to help any martial enterprise. Left to itself, the native population lost physical and moral vigour. The barons alternated between the extravagances of Western chivalry and the attractions of Eastern luxury: they returned from the field to divans with frescoed walls and floors of mosaic, Persian rugs and embroidered silk hangings. Their houses, at any rate those in the towns, had thus the characteristics of Moorish villas; and in them they lived a Moorish life. Their sideboards were covered with the copper and silver work of Eastern smiths and the confectioneries of Damascus. They dressed in flowing robes of silk, and their women wore oriental gauzes covered with sequins. Into these divans where figures of this kind moved to the music of Saracen instruments, there entered an inevitable voluptuousness and corruption of manners. The hardships of war and the excesses of peace shortened the lives of the men; the kingdom of Jerusalem had eleven kings within a century. While the men died, the women, living in comparative indolence, lived longer lives. They became regents to their young children; and the experience of all medieval minorities reiterates the lesson—woe to the land where the king is a child and the regent a woman. Still worse was the frequent remarriage of widowed princesses and heiresses. By the assizes of the high court, the widow, on the death of her husband, took half of the estate for herself, and half in guardianship for her children. Liberae ire cum terra, widows carried their estates or titles to three or four husbands; and as in 15th-century England, the influence of the heiress was fatal to the peace of the country. At Antioch, for instance, after the death of Bohemund II. in 1130, his widow Alice headed a party in favour of the marriage of the heiress Constance to Manuel of Constantinople, and did not scruple to enter into negotiations with Zengi of Mosul. Her policy failed; and Constance successively married Raymund of Antioch and Raynald of Chatillon. The result was the renewed enmity of the Greek empire, while the French adventurers who won the prize ruined the prospects of the Franks by their conduct. In the kingdom matters were almost worse. There was hardly any regular succession to the throne; and Jerusalem, as Stubbs writes, “suffered from the weakness of hereditary right and the jealousies of the elective system” at one and the same time. With the frequent remarriages of the heiresses of the kingdom, relationships grew confused and family quarrels frequent; and when Sibylla carried the crown to Guy de Lusignan, a newcomer disliked by all the relatives of the crown, she sealed the fate of the kingdom.
It may be doubted—though it seems a harsh verdict to pass on a kingdom founded by religious zeal on holy soil—whether the kingdom possessed that moral basis which alone can give a right of survival to any institution or organization. The crusading states had been founded by adventurers who thirsted for gain; and the primitive appetite did not lose its edge with the progress of time. We cannot be certain, indeed, how far the Frankish lords oppressed their Syrian tenants: the stories of such oppression have been discredited; while if we may trust the evidence of a Mahommedan traveller, Ibn Jubair, the lot of the Mahommedan who lived on Frankish manors was better than it had been under their native lords. But the habits of the Franks were none the less habits of lawless greed: they swooped down from their castles, as Raynald of Chatillon did from Krak of the Desert, to capture Saracens and hold them to ransom or to plunder caravans. The lust of unlawful gain had infected the Frankish blood, as it seems to have infected England during the Hundred Years’ War; and in either case nemesis infallibly came. The Moslems might have endured a state of “infidels”; they could not endure a state of brigands.
6. The History of the Kingdom and the Crusades from the Loss of Edessa in 1144 to the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187.—The years 1143–1144 are in many ways the turning point in the history of the Latin East. In 1143 began the reign of the first native king; and about this date may be placed the final organization of the kingdom, witnessed by the completion of its body of customary law. At the same date, however, the decline of the kingdom also begins; the fall of Edessa is the beginning of the end. In 1143 John Comnenus and Fulk had just died, and Zengi, seeing his way clear, threw himself on the great Christian outpost, against which the tides of Mahommedan attack had so often vainly surged, and finally entered on Christmas Day 1144. Two years later Zengi died; but he left an able successor in his son, Nureddin, and an attempt to recover Edessa was successfully repelled in November 1146. Not only so, but in the spring of 1147 the Franks were unwise enough to allow the hope of gaining two small towns to induce them to break the vital alliance with Damascus. Thus, in itself, the position of affairs in the Holy Land in 1147 was certainly ominous; and the kingdom might well seem dependent for its safety on such aid as it might receive from the West.
Early in 1145 news had come from Antioch to Eugenius III. of the fall of Edessa, and at the end of the year he had sent an encyclical to France—the natural soil, as we have seen, of crusading zeal. The response was instantaneous: the king of France himself, who bore on his conscience the burden of an unpunished massacre by his troops at Vitry in 1142, took the crusading vow on the Christmas day of 1145. But the greatest success was attained when St Bernard—no great believer in pilgrimages, and naturally disposed to doubt the policy of a second Crusade—was induced by the pope to become the preacher of the new movement. To the crusading king of France St Bernard added the king of Germany, when, in Christmas week of 1146, he induced Conrad III. to take the vow by his sermon in the cathedral of Spires. Thus was begun the Second Crusade, under auspices still more favourable than those which attended the beginning of the First, seeing that kings now took the place of knights, while the new crusaders would no longer be penetrating into the wilds, but would find a friendly basis of operations ready to their hands in Frankish Syria. But the more favourable the auspices, the greater proved the failure. Already at the final meeting at Étampes, in 1147, difficulties arose. Manuel Comnenus demanded that all conquests made by the crusaders should be his fiefs; and the question was debated whether the crusaders should follow the land route through Hungary, along the old road of Charlemagne, or should go by sea to the Holy Land. In this question the envoys of Manuel and of Roger of Sicily, who were engaged in hostilities with one another, took opposite sides. Conrad, related by marriage to Manuel, decided in favour of the land route, which Manuel desired because it brought the Crusade more under his direction, and because, if the route by sea were followed, Roger of Sicily might be able to divert the crusading ships against Constantinople. As it was, a struggle raged between Roger and Manuel during the whole progress of the Crusade, which greatly contributed towards its failure, preventing, as it did, any assistance from the Eastern empire. Nor was there any real unity among the crusaders themselves. The crusaders of northern Germany never went to the Holy Land at all; they were allowed the crusaders’ privileges for attacking the Wends to the east of the Elbe—a fact which at once attests the cleavage between northern and southern Germany (intensified of late years by the war of investitures), and anticipates the age of the Teutonic knights and their long Crusade on the Baltic. The crusaders of the Low Countries and of England took the sea route, and attacked and captured Lisbon on their way, thus helping to found the kingdom of Portugal, and achieving the one real success which was gained by the Second Crusade. Among the great army of crusaders who actually marched to Jerusalem there was little real unity. Conrad and Louis VII. started separately, and at different times, in order to avoid dissensions between their armies; and when they reached Asia Minor (after encountering some difficulties in Greek territory) they still acted separately. Eager to win the first spoils, the German crusaders, who were in advance of the French, attempted a raid into the sultanate of Iconium; but after a stern fight at Dorylaeum they were forced to retreat (October 1147), and for the most part perished by the way. Louis VII., who now appeared, was induced by this failure to take the long and circuitous route by the west coast of Asia Minor; but even so he had lost the majority of his troops when he reached the Holy Land in 1148. Here he joined Conrad (who had come by sea from Constantinople) and Baldwin III., and after some deliberation the three sovereigns resolved to attack Damascus. The attack was impolitic: Damascus was the one ally which could help the Franks to stem the advance of Nureddin. It proved as futile as it was impolitic; for the vizier of Damascus, Muin-eddin-Anar, was able to sow dissension between the native Franks and the crusaders; and by bribes and promises of tribute he succeeded in inducing the former to make the siege an absolute failure, at the end of only four days (July 28th, 1148). The Second Crusade now collapsed. Conrad returned to Constantinople in the autumn of 1148, and Louis VII. returned by sea to France in the spring of 1149. The only effects of this great movement were effects prejudicial to the ends towards which it was directed. The position of the Franks in the Holy Land was not improved by the attack on Damascus; while the ignominious failure of a Crusade led by two kings brought the whole crusading movement into discredit in western Europe, and it was utterly in vain that Suger and St Bernard attempted to gather a fresh Crusade in 1150.
The result of the failure of the Second Crusade was the renewal of Nureddin’s attacks. The rest of the county of Edessa, including Tell-bashir on the west, was now conquered (1150); while Raymund of Antioch was defeated and killed (in 1149), and several towns in the east of his principality were captured. Baldwin III. attempted to make head against these troubles, partly by renewing the old alliance with Damascus, partly by drawing closer to Manuel of Constantinople. For the next twenty years, during the reigns of Baldwin and his brother Amalric I., there is indeed a close connexion between the kingdom of Jerusalem and the East Roman empire. Baldwin and Amalric both married into the Comnenian house, while Manuel married Mary of Antioch, the daughter of Raymund. In the north Manuel enjoyed the homage of Antioch, which his father had gained in 1137, and the nominal possession of Tell-bashir, which had been ceded to him by Baldwin III.: in the south he joined with Amalric I. in the attempt to acquire Egypt (1168–1171). In this way he acquired a certain ascendancy over the Latin kings: Baldwin III. rode behind him at Antioch in 1159 without any of the insignia of royalty, and in an inscription at Bethlehem of 1172 Amalric I. had the name of the emperor written above his own. The patronage of Constantinople, to which Jerusalem was thus practically surrendered, contributed to some slight extent in maintaining the kingdom against Nureddin. But there were dissensions within, both between Baldwin and his mother, Melisinda, who sought to protract her regency unduly, and between contending parties in Antioch, where the hand of Constance, Raymund’s widow, was a desirable prize; while from without the horns of the crescent were slowly closing in on the kingdom. Nureddin pursued in his policy the tactics which the Mahommedans used against the Franks in battle: he sought to envelop their territories on every side. In 1154 fell Damascus, and the crescent closed perceptibly in the north: the most valuable ally of the kingdom was lost, and the way seemed clear from Aleppo (the peculiar seat of Nureddin’s power) into Egypt. On the other hand, in 1153 Baldwin III. had taken Ascalon, which for fifty years had mocked the efforts of successive kings, and by this stroke he might appear to have closed for Nureddin the route to Egypt, and to have opened a path for its conquest by the Franks. For the future, events hinged on the situation of affairs in Egypt, and in Egypt the fate of the kingdom of Jerusalem was finally decided (see Egypt: History, “Mahommedan Period”). There was a race for the possession of the country between Nureddin’s lieutenant Shīrgūh or Shīrkūh and Amalric I., the brother and successor of Baldwin III.; and in the race Shīrkūh proved the winner.
Since the days of Godfrey and Baldwin I., Egypt had been a goal of Latin ambition, and the capture of Ascalon must obviously have given form and strength to the projects for its conquest. Plans of attack were sketched: routes were traced: distances were measured; and finally in 1163 there came the impulse from within which turned these plans into action. The Shiite caliphs of Egypt were by this time the playthings of contending viziers, as the Sunnite caliphs of Bagdad had long been the puppets of Turkish sultans or amirs; and in 1164 Amalric I. and Nureddin were fighting in Egypt in support of two rival viziers, Dirgham and Shawar. For Nureddin the fight meant the acquisition of an heretical country for the true faith of the Sunnite, and the final enveloping of the Latin kingdom: for Amalric it meant the escape from Nureddin’s net, and a more direct and lucrative contact with Eastern trade. Into the vicissitudes of the fight it is not necessary here to enter; but in the issue Nureddin won, in spite of the support which Manuel gave to Amalric. Nureddin’s Kurdish lieutenant, Shīrgūh, succeeded in establishing in power the vizier whom he favoured, and finally in becoming vizier himself (January 1169); and when he died, his nephew Saladin (Sala-ed-din) succeeded to his position (March 1169), and made himself, on the death of the caliph in 1171, sole ruler in Egypt. Thus the Shiite caliphate became extinct: in the mosques of Cairo the name of the caliph of Bagdad was now used; and the long-disunited Mahommedans at last faced the Christians as a solid body. But nevertheless the kingdom of Jerusalem continued almost unmenaced, and practically undiminished, for the next sixteen years. If a religious union had been effected between Egypt and northern Syria, political disunion still remained; and the Franks were safe as long as it lasted. Saladin acted as the peer of Nureddin rather than as his subject; and the jealousy between the two kept both inactive till the death of Nureddin in 1174. Nureddin only left a minor in his place: Amalric, who died in the same year, left a son (Baldwin IV.) who was not only a minor but also a leper; and thus the stage seemed cleared for Saladin. He was confronted, however, by Raymund, count of Tripoli, the one man of ability among the decadent Franks, who acted as guardian of the kingdom; while he was also occupied in trying to win for himself the Syrian possessions of Nureddin. The task engaged his attention for nine years. Damascus he acquired as early as 1174; but Raymund supported the heir of Nureddin in his capital at Aleppo, and it was not until 1183 that Saladin entered the city, and finally brought Egypt and northern Syria under a single rule.
The hour of peril for the Latin kingdom had now at last struck. It had done little to prepare itself for that hour. Repeated appeals had been sent to the West from the beginning of the Egyptian affair (1163) onwards; while in 1184–1185 a great mission, on which the patriarch of Jerusalem and the masters of the Templars and the Hospitallers were all present, came to France and England, and offered the crown of Jerusalem to Philip Augustus and Henry II. in turn, in order to secure their presence in the Holy Land. The only result of these appeals was the rise of a regular system of taxation in France and England, ad sustentationem Jerosolimitanae terrae, which starts about 1185 (though there had already been isolated taxes in 1147 and 1166), and which has been described as the beginning of modern taxation. In the East itself, with the exception of the tax of 1183, nothing was done that was good, and two things were done which were evil. Sibylla married her second husband, Guy de Lusignan, in 1180—a marriage destined to be the cause of many dissensions; for Sibylla, the eldest daughter of Amalric I., carried to her husband—a French adventurer—a presumptive title to the crown, which would never be admitted without dispute. In 1186 Guy eventually became king, after the death of Baldwin V. (Sibylla’s son by her first marriage); but his coronation was in violation of the promise given to Raymund of Tripoli (that in the event of the death of Baldwin V. without issue the succession should be determined by the pope, the emperor and the kings of France and England), and Guy, with a weak title, was unable to exercise any real control over the kingdom. At this point another French adventurer, who had already made himself somewhat of a name in Antioch, gave the final blow to the kingdom. Raynald of Chatillon, the second husband of Constance of Antioch, after languishing in captivity from 1159 to 1176, had been granted the seignory of Krak, to the east and south of the Dead Sea. From this point of vantage he began depredations on the Red Sea (1182), building a fleet, and seeking to attack Medina and Mecca—a policy which may be interpreted either as mere buccaneering, or as a calculated attempt to deal a blow at Mahommedanism in its very centre. Driven from the Red Sea by Saladin, he turned from buccaneering to brigandage, and infested the great trade-route from Damascus to Egypt, which passed close by his seignory. In 1186 he attacked a caravan in which the sister of Saladin was travelling, thus violating a four years’ truce, which, after some two years’ skirmishing, Saladin and Raymund of Tripoli had made in the previous year owing to the general prevalence of famine. The coronation of one French adventurer and the conduct of another, whom the first was unable to control, meant the ruin of the kingdom; and Saladin at last delivered in full force his long-deferred attack. The Crusade was now at last answered by the counter-Crusade—the jihad; for though for many years past Saladin had, in his attempt to acquire all the inheritance of Nureddin, left Palestine unmenaced and intact, his ultimate aim was always the holy war and the recovery of Jerusalem. The acquisition of Aleppo could only make that supreme object more readily attainable; and so Saladin had spent his time in acquiring Aleppo, but only in order that he might ultimately “attain the goal of his desires, and set the mosque of Asha free, to which Allah once led in the night his servant Mahomet.” Thus it was on a kingdom of crusaders who had lost the crusading spirit that a new Crusade swept down; and Saladin’s army in 1187 had the spirit and the fire of the Latin crusaders of 1099. The tables were turned; and fighting on their own soil for the recovery of what was to them too a holy place, the Mahommedans easily carried the day. At Tiberias a little squadron of the brethren of the two Orders went down before Saladin’s cavalry in May; at Hattin the levy en masse of the kingdom, some 20,000 strong, foolishly marching over a sandy plain under the heat of a July sun, was utterly defeated; and after a fortnight’s siege Jerusalem capitulated (October 2nd, 1187). In the kingdom itself nothing was left to the Latins by the end of 1189 except the city of Tyre; and to the north of the kingdom they only held Antioch and Tripoli, with the Hospitallers’ fortress at Margat. The fingers of the clock had been pushed back; once more things were as they had been at the time of the First Crusade; once more the West must arm itself for the holy war and the recovery of Jerusalem—but now it must face a united Mahommedan world, where in 1096 it had found political and religious dissension, and it must attempt its vastly heavier task without the morning freshness of a new religious impulse, and with something of the weariness of a hundred years of struggle upon its shoulders.
7. The Forty Years’ Crusade for the Recovery of Jerusalem, 1189–1229.—The forty years from 1189 to 1229 form a period of incessant crusading, occupied by Crusades of every kind. There are the Third, Fifth and Sixth Crusades against the “infidel” Mahommedans encamped in the Holy Land; there is the Albigensian Crusade against the heretic Cathars; there is the Fourth Crusade, directed in the issue against the schismatic Greeks; lastly, there are the Crusades waged by the papacy against revolted Christians—John of England and Frederick II. Our concern lies with the first kind of Crusade, and with the other three only so far as they bear on the first, and as they illustrate the immense widening which the term “Crusade” now underwent—a widening accompanied by its inevitable corollary of shallowness of motive and degradation of impulse.
The Third Crusade, 1189–1192.—Conrad of Montferrat was, as much as any one man, responsible for the Third Crusade. Compelled to leave the court of Constantinople, which he had been serving, he had sailed for the Holy Land and reached Tyre about three weeks after the battle of Hattin. He had saved Tyre; and from it he sent his appeals to the West. Not the least effective of these appeals was a great poster which he had circulated in Europe, and which represented the Holy Sepulchre defiled by the horses of the Mahommedans. Meanwhile the papacy, as soon as the news reached Rome, despatched encyclicals throughout Europe; and soon a new Crusade was in full swing. But the Third Crusade, unlike the First, does not spring from the papacy, which was passing through one of its epochs of depression; it springs from the lay power, which, represented by the three strong monarchies of Germany, England and France, was at this time dominant in Europe. In Germany it was the solemn national diet of Mainz (Easter 1188) which “swore the expedition” to the Holy Land; in France and England the agreement of the two kings decided upon a joint Crusade. The very means which Philip Augustus and Henry II. took, in order to further the Crusade, show its lay aspect. A scheme of taxation—the Saladin tithe—was imposed on all who did not take the cross; and this taxation, while on the one hand it drove many to take the cross in order to escape its incidence, on the other hand provided a necessary financial basis for military operations. The lay basis of the Third Crusade made it, in one sense, the greatest of all Crusades, in which all the three great monarchs of western Europe participated; but it also made it a failure, for the kings of France and England, changing caelum, non animum, carried their political rivalries into the movement, in which it had been agreed that they should be sunk. Spiritually, therefore, the Third Crusade is inferior to the First, however imposing it may be in its material aspects. Yet it must be admitted that the idea of a spiritual regeneration accompanied the crusading movement of 1188. Europe had sinned in the face of God; otherwise Jerusalem would never have fallen; and the idea of a spiritual reform from within, as the necessary corollary and accompaniment of the expedition of Christianity without, breathes in some of the papal letters, just as, during the conciliar movement, the causa reformationis was blended with the causa unionis.
We may conceive of the Third Crusade under the figure of a number of converging lines, all seeking to reach a common centre. That centre is Acre. The siege of Acre, as arduous and heroic in many of its episodes as the siege of Troy, had been begun in the summer of 1189 by Guy de Lusignan, who, captured by Saladin at the battle of Hattin, and released on parole, had at once broken his word and returned to the attack. The army which was besieging Acre was soon joined by various contingents; for Acre, after all, was the vital point, and its capture would open the way to Jerusalem. Two of these contingents alone concern us here—the German and the Anglo-French. Frederick I. of Germany, using a diplomacy which corresponds to the lay character of the Third Crusade, had sought to prepare his way by embassies to the king of Hungary, the Eastern emperor and the sultan of Iconium. Starting from Regensburg in May 1189, the German army marched quietly through Hungary; but difficulties arose, as they had arisen in 1147, as soon as the frontiers of the Eastern empire were reached. The emperor Isaac Angelus had not only the old grudge of all Eastern emperors against the “upstart” emperor of the West; he had also allied himself with Saladin, in order to acquire for his empire the patronage of the Holy Places and religious supremacy in the Levant. The difficulties between Frederick and Isaac Angelus became acute: in November 1189 Frederick wrote to his son Henry, asking him to induce the pope to preach a Crusade against the schismatic Greeks. But terms were at last arranged, and by the end of March 1190 the Germans had all crossed to the shores of Asia Minor. Taking a route midway between the eastern route of the crusaders of 1097 and the respects than Richard’s proposal that Saladin’s brother should marry his own sister Johanna and receive Jerusalem and the contiguous towns on the coast. In the event, a peace was made for three years (September 2nd, 1192), by which Lydda and Ramlah were to be equally divided, Ascalon was to be destroyed, and small bodies of crusaders were to be allowed to visit the Holy Sepulchre. Meanwhile Conrad of Montferrat, at the very instant when his superior ability had finally forced Richard to recognize him as king, had been assassinated (April 1192): Guy de Lusignan had bought Cyprus from Richard, and had sailed away to establish himself there; and Henry of Champagne, Richard’s nephew, had been called to the throne of Jerusalem, and had given himself a title by marrying Conrad’s widow, Isabella. In this condition Richard left the Holy Land, when he began his eventful return, in October 1192. The Crusade had failed—failed because a leaderless army, torn by political dissensions and fighting on a foreign soil, could not succeed against forces united by religious zeal under the banner of a leader like Saladin. Yet it had at any rate saved for the Christians the principality of Antioch, the county of Tripoli, and some of the coast towns of the kingdom; and if it had failed to accomplish its object, it had left behind, none the less, many important results. The difficulties which had arisen between Isaac Angelus and Frederick Barbarossa contain the germs of the Fourth Crusade; the negotiations between Richard and Saladin contain the germs of the Sixth. National rivalries had been accentuated and national differences brought into prominence by the meeting of the nations in a common enterprise; while, on the other hand, Mahommedans and Christians had fraternized as they had never done before during the progress of a Crusade. But what the Third Crusade showed most clearly was that the crusading movement was being lost to the papacy, and becoming part of the demesne of the secular state—organized by the state on its own basis of taxation, and conducted by the state according to its own method of negotiation. This after all is the great change; and even the genius of an Innocent III. “could not make undone what had once been done.” On the contrary, the thing once done would go further; and the state would take up the name of Crusade in order to cover, and under such cover to achieve, its own objects and ambitions, as in the future it was destined again and again to do.route of Louis VII. in 1148, Frederick marched by Philadelphia and Iconium, not without dust and heat, until he reached the river Salof, in Armenian territory. Here, with the burden of the day now past, the fine old crusader—he had joined before in the Second Crusade, forty years ago—perished by accident in the river; and of all his fine army only a thousand men won their way through, under his son, Frederick of Swabia, to join the ranks before Acre (October 1190). The Anglo-French detachment achieved a far greater immediate success. War had indeed disturbed the original agreement of Gisors between Philip Augustus and Henry II., but a new agreement was made between Henry’s successor, Richard I., and the French king at Nonancourt (December 1189), by which the two monarchs were to meet at Vezelay next year, and then follow the sea route to the Holy Land together. They met, and by different routes they both reached Sicily, where they wintered together (1190–1191). The enforced inactivity of a whole winter was the mother of disputes and bad blood; and when Philip sailed for the Holy Land, at the end of March 1191, the failure of the Crusade was already decided. Richard soon followed; but while Philip sailed straight for Acre, Richard occupied himself by the way in conquering Cyprus—partly out of knight-errantry, and in order to avenge an insult offered to his betrothed wife Berengaria by the despot of the island, partly perhaps out of policy, and in order to provide a basis of supplies and of operations for the armies attempting to recover Palestine. In any case, he is the founder of the Latin kingdom of Cyprus (for he afterwards sold his new acquisition to Guy de Lusignan, who established a dynasty in the island); and thereby he made possible the survival of the institutions and assizes of Jerusalem, which were continued in Cyprus until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. From Cyprus Richard sailed to Acre, arriving on the 8th of June, and in little more than a month he was able, in virtue of the large reinforcements he brought, and in spite of dissensions in the Christian camp which he helped to foment, to bring the two years’ siege to a successful issue (July 12th, 1191). It was indeed time; the privations of the besiegers during the previous winter had been terrible; and the position of affairs had only been made worse by the dissensions between Guy de Lusignan and Conrad of Montferrat, who had begun to claim the crown in return for his services, and had, on the death of Sibylla, the wife of Guy, reinforced his claim by a marriage with her younger sister, Isabella. In these dissensions it was inevitable that Philip Augustus and Richard I., already discordant, should take contrary sides; and while Richard naturally sided with Guy de Lusignan, who came from his own county of Poitou, Philip as naturally sided with Conrad. At the end of July it was decided that Guy should remain king for his life, and Conrad should be his successor; but as three days afterwards Philip Augustus began his return to France (pleading ill-health, but in reality eager to gain possession of Flanders), the settlement availed little for the success of the Crusade. Richard stayed in the Holy Land for another year, during which he won a battle at Arsuf and refortified Jaffa. But far more important than any hostilities are the negotiations which, for the whole year, Richard conducted with Saladin. They show the lay aspect of the Third Crusade; they anticipate the Crusade of Frederick II.—for Richard was attempting to secure the same concessions which Frederick secured by the same means which he used. They show again the closer approximation and better understanding with the Mahommedans, which marks this Crusade. Nothing is more striking in these
The Fourth Crusade, 1202–1204.—The history of the Fourth Crusade is a history of the predominance of the lay motive, of the attempt of the papacy to escape from that predominance, and to establish its old direction of the Crusade, and of the complete failure of its attempt. Until the accession of Innocent III. in 1198 the lay motive was supreme; and its representative was Henry VI.—the greatest politician of his day, and in many ways the greatest emperor since Charlemagne. In 1195 Amalric, the brother of Guy de Lusignan, and his successor in Cyprus, sought the title of king from Henry and did homage; and at the same time Leo of Lesser Armenia, in order to escape from dependence on the Eastern empire, took the same course. Henry thus gained a basis in the Levant; while the death of Saladin in 1193, followed by a civil war between his brother, Malik-al-Adil, and his sons for the possession of his dominions, weakened the position of the Mahommedans. As emperor, Henry was eager to resume the imperial Crusade which had been stopped by his father’s death; while both as Frederick’s successor and as heir to the Norman kings of Sicily, who had again and again waged war against the Eastern empire, he had an account to settle with the rulers of Constantinople. The project of a Crusade and of an attack on Constantinople wove themselves into a single thread, in a way which very definitely anticipates the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204. In 1195 Henry took the cross; some time before, he had already sent to Isaac Angelus to demand compensation for the injuries done to Frederick I., along with the cession of all territories ever conquered by the Norman kings of Sicily, and a fleet to co-operate with the new Crusade. In the same year, however, Isaac was dethroned by his brother, Alexius III.; but Henry married Isaac’s daughter Irene to his brother, Philip of Swabia, and thus attempted to give the Hohenstaufen a new title and a valid claim against the usurper Alexius. Thus armed he pushed forward the preparations for the Crusade in Germany—a Crusade whose first object would have been an attack on Alexius III.; but in the middle of his preparations he died in Sicily in the autumn of 1197, and the Crusade collapsed. Some results were, however, achieved by a body of German crusaders which had sailed in advance of Henry; by its influence Amalric of Cyprus succeeded Henry of Champagne, who died in 1197, as king of Jerusalem, and a vassal of the emperor thus became ruler in the Holy Land; while the Teutonic order, which had begun as a hospital during the siege of Acre (1190–1191), now received its organization. Some of the coast towns, too, were recovered by the German crusaders, especially Beirut; and in 1198 the new king Amalric II. was able to make a truce with Malik-al-Adil for the next five years.
“The true heir of Henry VI.,” Ranke has said, “is Innocent III.,” and nowhere is this more true than in respect of the crusading movement. Throughout the course of his crowded and magnificent pontificate, Innocent III. made the Crusade his ultimate object, and attempted to bring it back to its old religious basis and under its old papal direction. By the spring of 1200, owing to Innocent’s exertions, a new Crusade was in full progress, especially in France, where Fulk of Neuilly played the part once played by Peter the Hermit. Like the First Crusade, the Fourth Crusade also—in its personnel, but not its direction—was a French enterprise; and its leading members were French feudatories like Theobald of Champagne (who was chosen leader of the Crusade), Baldwin of Flanders (the future emperor of Constantinople), and the count of Blois. The objective, which these three original chiefs of the Fourth Crusade proposed to themselves, was Egypt. Since 1163 the importance of acquiring Egypt had, as we have seen, been definitely understood, and in the summer of 1192 Richard I. had been advised by his counsellors that Cairo and not Jerusalem was the true point of attack; while in 1200 there was the additional reason for preferring an attack on Egypt, that the truce in the Holy Land between Amalric II. and Malik-al-Adil had still three years to run. It is Egypt therefore—to which, it must be remembered, the centre of Mahommedan power had now been virtually shifted, and to which motives of trade impelled the Italian towns (since from it they could easily reach the Red Sea, and the commerce of the Indian Ocean)—it is Egypt which is henceforth the normal goal of the Crusades. This is one of the many facts which differentiate the Crusades of the 13th from those of the preceding century. But, with Syria in the hands of the Mahommedans, the attack on Egypt must necessarily be directed by sea; and thus the Crusade henceforth becomes—what the Third Crusade, here as elsewhere the turning-point in crusading history, had already in part been—a maritime enterprise. Accordingly, early in 1201, envoys from each of the three chiefs of the Fourth Crusade (among whom was Villehardouin, the historian of the Crusade) came to Venice to negotiate for a passage to Egypt. An agreement was made between the doge and the envoys, by which transport and active help were to be given by Venice in return for 85,000 marks and the cession of half of the conquests made by the crusaders. But the Fourth Crusade was not to be plain sailing to Egypt. It became involved in a maelstrom of conflicting political motives, by which it was swept to Constantinople. Here we must distinguish between cause and occasion. There were three great causes which made for an attack on Constantinople by the West. There was first of all the old crusading grudge against the Eastern empire, and its fatal policy of regarding the whole of the Levant as its lost provinces, to be restored as soon as conquered, or at any rate held in fee, by the Western crusaders—a policy which led the Eastern emperors either to give niggardly aid or to pursue obstructive tactics, and caused them to be blamed for the failure of the Crusades in 1101, and 1149, and in 1190. It is significant of the final result of these things that already in 1147 Roger of Sicily, engaged in war with Manuel, had proposed the sea-route for the Second Crusade, perhaps with some intention of diverting it against Constantinople; and in the winter of 1189–1190 Barbarossa, as we have seen, had actually thought and spoken of an attack on Constantinople. In the second place, there was the commercial grudge of Venice, which had only been given large privileges by the Eastern empire to desire still larger, and had, moreover, been annoyed not only by alterations or revocations of those privileges, such as the usurper Alexius III. had but recently attempted, but also by the temporary destruction of their colony in Constantinople in 1171. Lastly, and perhaps most of all, there is the old Norman blood-feud with Constantinople, as old as the old Norse seeking for Micklegarth, and keen and deadly ever since the Norman conquest of the Greek themes in South Italy (1041 onwards). The heirs of the Norman kings were the Hohenstaufen; and we have already seen Henry VI. planning a Crusade which would primarily have been directed against Constantinople. It is this Hohenstaufen policy which becomes the primary occasion of the diversion of the Fourth Crusade. Philip of Swabia, engaged in a struggle with the papacy, found Innocent III. planning a Guelph Crusade, which should be under the direction of the church; and to this Guelph project he opposed the Ghibelline plan of Henry VI., with such success that he transmuted the Fourth Crusade into a political expedition against Constantinople. To such a policy of transmutation he was urged by two things. On the one hand, the death of the count of Champagne (May 1201) had induced the crusaders to elect as their leader Boniface of Montferrat, the brother of Conrad; and Boniface was the cousin of Philip, and interested in Constantinople, where not only Conrad, but another brother as well, had served, and suffered for their service at the hands of their masters. On the other hand Alexius, the son of the dethroned Isaac Angelus, was related to Philip through his marriage with Irene; and Alexius had escaped to the German court to urge the restoration of his father. On Christmas day 1201, Philip, Alexius and Boniface all met at Hagenau and formulated (one may suppose) a plan for the diversion of the Crusade. Events played into their hands. When the crusaders gathered at Venice in the autumn of 1202, it was found impossible to get together the 85,000 marks promised to Venice. The Venetians—already, perhaps, indoctrinated in the Hohenstaufen plan—indicated to the leaders a way of meeting the difficulty: they had only to lend their services to the republic for certain ends which it desired to compass, and the debt was settled. The conquest of Zara, a port on the Adriatic claimed by the Venetians from the king of Hungary, was the only object overtly mentioned; but the idea of the expedition to Constantinople was in the air, and the crusaders knew what was ultimately expected. It took time and effort to bring them round to the diversion: the pope—naturally enough—set his face sternly against the project, the more as the usurper, Alexius III., was in negotiation with him in order to win his support against the Hohenstaufen, and Innocent hoped to find, as Alexius promised, a support and a reinforcement for the Crusade in an alliance with the Greek empire. But they came round none the less, in spite of Innocent’s renewed prohibitions. In November 1202 Zara was taken; and at Zara the fatal decision was made. The young Alexius joined the army; and in spite of the opposition of stern crusaders like Simon de Montfort, who sailed away ultimately to Palestine, he succeeded by large promises in inducing the army to follow in his train to Constantinople. By the middle of July 1203 Constantinople was reached, the usurper was in flight, and Isaac Angelus was restored to his throne. But when the time came for Alexius to fulfil his promises, the difficulty which had arisen at Venice in the autumn of 1202 repeated itself. Alexius’s resources were insufficient, and he had to beg the crusaders to wait at Constantinople for a year in order that he might have time. They waited; but the closer contact of a prolonged stay only brought into fuller play the essential antipathy of the Greek and the Latin. Continual friction developed at last into the open fire of war; and in March 1204 the crusaders resolved to storm Constantinople, and to divide among themselves the Eastern empire. In April Constantinople was captured; in May Baldwin of Flanders became the first Latin emperor of Constantinople. Venice had her own reward; a Venetian, Thomas Morosini, became patriarch; and the doge of Venice added “a quarter and a half” of the Eastern empire—chiefly the coasts and the islands—to the sphere of his sway. If Venetian cupidity had not originally deflected the Crusade (and it was the view of contemporary writers that Venice had committed her first treason against Christianity by diverting the Crusade from Egypt in order to get commercial concessions from Malik-al-Adil, yet it had at any rate profited exceedingly from that deflection; and the Hohenstaufen and their protégé Alexius only reaped dust and ashes. For, however Ghibelline might be the original intention, the result was not commensurate with the subtlety of the design, and the power of the pope was rather increased than diminished by the event of the Crusade. The crusaders appealed to Innocent to ratify the subjugation of a schismatic people, and the union of the Eastern and Western Churches; and Innocent, dazzled by the magic of the fait accompli, not unwillingly acquiesced. He might soothe himself by reflecting that the basis for the Crusade, which he had hoped to find in Alexius III., was still more securely offered by Baldwin; he could not but feel with pride that he had become “as it were pope and apostolicus of a second world.” Yet the result of the Fourth Crusade was on the whole disastrous both for the papacy and for the crusading movement. The pope had been forced to see the helm of the Crusades wrenched from his grasp; and the Albigensian Crusade against the heretics of southern France was soon afterwards to show that the example could be followed, and that the land-hunger of the north French baronage could exploit a Crusade as successfully as ever did Hohenstaufen policy leagued with Venetian cupidity. The Crusade lost its élan when it became a move in a political game. If the Third Crusade had been directed by the lay power towards the true spiritual end of all Crusades, the Fourth was directed by the lay power to its own lay ends; and the political and commercial motives, which were deeply implicit even in the First Crusade, had now become dominantly explicit. In a simpler and more immediate sense, the capture of Constantinople was detrimental to the movement from which it sprang. The precarious empire which had been founded in 1204 drained away all the vigorous adventurers of the West for its support for many years to come, and the Holy Land was starved to feed a land less holy, but equally greedy of men. No basis for the Crusades was ever to be found in the Latin empire of the East; and Innocent, after vainly hoping for the new Crusade which was to emerge from Constantinople, was by 1208 compelled to return to the old idea of a Crusade proceeding simply and immediately from the West to the East.
The Fifth Crusade, 1218–1221.—The glow and the glamour of the Crusades disappear save for the pathetic sunset splendours of St Louis, as Dandolo dies, and gallant Villehardouin drops his pen. But before St Louis sailed for Damietta there intervened the miserable failure of one Crusade, and the secular and diplomatic success of another. The Fifth Crusade is the last which is started in that pontificate of Crusades—the pontificate of Innocent III. It owed its origin to his feverish zeal for the recovery of Jerusalem, rather than to any pressing need in the Holy Land. Here there reigned, during the forty years of the loss of Jerusalem, an almost unbroken peace. Malik-al-Adil, the brother of Saladin, had by 1200 succeeded to his brother’s possessions not only in Egypt but also in Syria, and he granted the Christians a series of truces (1198–1203, 1204–1210, 1211–1217). While the Holy Land was thus at peace, crusaders were also being drawn elsewhere by the needs of the Latin empire of Constantinople, or the attractions of the Albigensian Crusade. But Innocent could never consent to forget Jerusalem, as long as his right hand retained its cunning. The pathos of the Children’s Crusade of 1212 only nerved him to fresh efforts. A shepherd boy named Stephen had appeared in France, and had induced thousands to follow his guidance: with his boyish army he rode on a wagon southward to Marseilles, promising to lead his followers dry-shod through the seas. In Germany a child from Cologne, named Nicolas, gathered some 20,000 young crusaders by the like promises, and led them into Italy. Stephen’s army was kidnapped by slave-dealers and sold into Egypt; while Nicolas’s expedition left nothing behind it but an after-echo in the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. But for Innocent these outbursts of the revivalist element, which always accompanied the Crusades, had their moral: “the very children put us to shame,” he wrote; “while we sleep they go forth gladly to conquer the Holy Land.” In the fourth Lateran council of 1215 Innocent found his opportunity to rekindle the flickering fires. Before this great gathering of all Christian Europe he proclaimed a Crusade for the year 1217, and in common deliberation it was resolved that a truce of God should reign for the next four years, while for the same time all trade with the Levant should cease. Here were two things attempted—neither, indeed, for the first time—which 14th century pamphleteers on the subject of the Crusades unanimously advocate as the necessary conditions of success; there was to be peace in Europe and a commercial war with Egypt. This statesmanlike beginning of a Crusade, preached, as no Crusade had ever been preached before, in a general council of all Europe, presaged well for its success. In Germany (where Frederick II. himself took the cross in this same year) a large body of crusaders gathered together: in 1217 the south-east sent the duke of Austria and the king of Hungary to the Holy Land; while in 1218 an army from the north-west joined at Acre the forces of the previous year. Egypt had already been indicated by Innocent III. in 1215 as the goal of attack, and it was accordingly resolved to begin the Crusade by the siege of Damietta, on the eastern delta of the Nile. The original leader of the Crusade was John of Brienne, king of Jerusalem (who had succeeded Amalric II., marrying Maria, the daughter of Amalric’s wife Isabella by her former husband, Conrad of Montferrat); but after the end of 1218 the cardinal legate Pelagius, fortified by papal letters, claimed the command. In spite of dissensions between the cardinal and the king, and in spite of the offers of Malik-al-Kamil (who succeeded Malik-al-Adil at the end of 1218), the crusaders finally carried the siege to a successful conclusion by the end of 1219. The capture of Damietta was a considerable feat of arms, but nothing was done to clinch the advantage which had been won, and the whole of the year 1220 was spent by the crusaders in Damietta, partly in consolidating their immediate position, and partly in waiting for the arrival of Frederick II., who had promised to appear in 1221. In 1221 Hermann of Salza, the master of the Teutonic order, along with the duke of Bavaria, appeared in the camp before Damietta; and as it seemed useless to wait any longer for Frederick II., the cardinal, in spite of the opposition of King John, gave the signal for the march on Cairo. The army reached a fortress (erected by the sultan in 1219 afterwards, from 1221, the town of Mansura), and encamped there at the end of July. Here the sultan reiterated terms which he had already offered several times before—the cession of most of the kingdom of Jerusalem, the surrender of the cross (captured by Saladin in 1187), and the restoration of all prisoners. King John urged the acceptance of these terms. The legate insisted on a large indemnity in addition: the negotiations failed, and the sultan prepared for war. The crusaders were driven back towards Damietta; and at the end of August 1221 Pelagius had to make a treaty with Malik-al-Kamil, by which he gained a free retreat and the surrender of the Holy Cross at the price of the restoration of Damietta. The treaty was to last for eight years, and could only be broken on the coming of a king or emperor to the East. In pursuance of its terms the crusaders evacuated Egypt, and the Fifth Crusade was at an end. It is difficult to decide whether to blame the legate or the emperor more for its failure. If Frederick had only come in person, a single month of his presence might have meant everything: if Pelagius had only listened to King John, the sultan was ready to concede practically everything which was at issue. Unhappily Frederick preferred to put his Sicilian house in order, and the legate preferred to listen to the Italians, who had their own commercial reasons for wishing to establish a strong position in Egypt, and to the Templars and Hospitallers, who did not feel satisfied by the terms offered by the sultan, because he wished to retain in his hands the two fortresses of Krak and Monreal.
The Sixth Crusade (1228–1229) succeeded as signally as the Fifth Crusade had failed; but the circumstances under which it took place and the means by which it was conducted made its success still more disastrous than the failure of 1221. The last Crusade had, after all, been under papal control: if Richard I. had directed the Third Crusade, and the policy of the Hohenstaufen and the Venetians had directed the Fourth, it was a papal legate who had steered the Fifth to its ultimate fate. The Crusade of Frederick II. in 1228–1229 finds its analogy in the projected Crusade of Henry VI.; it is essentially lay. It is unique in the annals of the Crusades. Alone of all Crusades (though the Fourth Crusade offers some analogy) it was not blessed but cursed by the papacy: alone of all the Crusades it was conducted without a single act of hostility against the Mahommedan. St Louis, the true type of the religious crusader, once said that a layman ought only to argue with a blasphemer against Christian law by running his sword into the bowels of the blasphemer as far as it would go: Frederick II. talked amicably with all unbelievers, if one may trust Arabic accounts, and he achieved by mere negotiation the recovery of Jerusalem, for which men had vainly striven with the sword for the forty years since 1187. It was in 1215 that the leader of this strange Crusade had first taken the vow; it was twelve years afterwards when he finally attempted to carry the vow into effective execution. Again and again he had excused himself to the pope, and been excused by the pope, because the exigencies of his policy in Germany or Sicily tied his hands. After the failure of the Fifth Crusade—for which these delays were in part responsible—Honorius III. had attempted to bind him more intimately to the Holy Land by arranging a marriage with Isabella, the daughter of John of Brienne, and the heiress of the kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1225 Frederick married Isabella, and immediately after the marriage he assumed the title of king in right of his wife, and exacted homage from the vassals of the kingdom. It was thus as king of Jerusalem that Frederick began his Crusade in the autumn of 1227. Scarcely, however, had he sailed from Brindisi when he fell sick of a fever which had been raging for some time among the ranks of his army, while they waited for the crossing. He sailed back to Otranto in order to recover his health, but the new pope, Gregory IX., launched in hot anger the bolt of excommunication, in the belief that Frederick was malingering once more. None the less the emperor sailed on his Crusade in the summer of 1228, affording to astonished Europe the spectacle of an excommunicated crusader, and leaving his territories to be invaded by papal soldiers, whom Gregory IX. professed to regard as crusaders against a non-Christian king, and for whom he accordingly levied a tithe from the churches of Europe. The paradox of Frederick’s Crusade is indeed astonishing. Here was a crusader against whom a Crusade was proclaimed in his own territories; and when he arrived in the Holy Land he found little obedience and many insults from all but his own immediate followers. Yet by adroit use of his powers of diplomacy, and by playing upon the dissensions which raged between the descendants of Saladin’s brother (Malik-al-Adil), he was able, without striking a blow, to conclude a treaty with the sultan of Egypt which gave him all that Richard I. had vainly attempted to secure by arduous fighting and patient negotiations. By the treaty of the 18th of February 1229, which was to last for ten years, the sultan conceded to Frederick, in addition to the coast towns already in the possession of the Christians, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, with a strip of territory connecting Jerusalem with the port of Acre. As king of Jerusalem Frederick was now able to enter his capital: as one under excommunication, he had to see an interdict immediately fall on the city, and it was with his own hands—for no churchman could perform the office—that he had to take his crown from the altar of the church of the Sepulchre, and crown himself king of his new kingdom. He stayed in the Holy Land little more than a month after his coronation; and leaving in May he soon overcame the papal armies in Italy, and secured absolution from Gregory IX. (August 1229). By his treaty with the sultan he had secured for Christianity the last fifteen years of its possession of Jerusalem (1229–1244): no man since Frederick II. has ever recovered the holy places for the religion which holds them most holy. Yet the church might ask, with some justice, whether the means he had used were excused by the end which he had attained. After all, there was nothing of the holy war about the Sixth Crusade: there was simply huckstering, as in an Eastern bazaar, between a free-thinking, semi-oriental king of Sicily and an Egyptian sultan. It was indeed in the spirit of a king of Sicily, and not in the spirit—though it was in the rôle—of a king of Jerusalem, that Frederick had acted. It was from his Sicilian predecessors, who had made trade treaties with Egypt, that he had learned to make even the Crusade a matter of treaty. The Norman line of Sicilian kings might be extinct; their policy lived after them in their Hohenstaufen successors, and that policy, as it had helped to divert the Fourth Crusade to the old Norman objective of Constantinople, helped still more to give the Sixth Crusade its secular, diplomatic, non-religious aspect.
Forty years of struggle ended in fifteen years’ possession of Jerusalem. During those fifteen years the kingdom of Jerusalem was agitated by a struggle between the native barons, championing the principle that sovereignty resided in the collective baronage, and taking their stand on the assizes, and Frederick II., claiming sovereignty for himself, and opposing to the assizes the feudal law of Sicily. It is a struggle between the king and the haute cour: it is a struggle between the aristocratic feudalism of the Franks and the monarchical feudalism of the Normans. Already in Cyprus, in the summer of 1228, Frederick II. had insisted on the right of wardship which he enjoyed as overlord of the island, and he had appointed a commission of five barons to exercise his rights. In 1229 this commission was overthrown by John of Ibelin, lord of Beirut, against whom it had taken proceedings. John of Beirut, like many of the Cypriot barons, was also a baron of the kingdom of Jerusalem; and resistance in the one kingdom could only produce difficulties in the other. Difficulties quickly arose when Frederick, in 1231, sent Marshal Richard to Syria as his legate. This in itself was a serious matter; according to the assizes, the barons maintained, the king must either personally reside in the kingdom, or, in the event of his absence, be replaced by a regency. The position became more difficult, when the legate took steps against John of Beirut without any authorization from the high court. A gild was formed at Acre—the gild of St Adrian—which, if nominally religious in its origin, soon came to represent the political opposition to Frederick, as was significantly proved by its reception of the rebellious John of Beirut as a member (1232). The opposition was successful: by 1233 Frederick had lost all hold on Cyprus, and only retained Tyre in his own kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1236 he had to promise to recognize fully the laws of the kingdom: and when, in 1239, he was again excommunicated by Gregory IX., and a new quarrel of papacy and empire began, he soon lost the last vestiges of his power. Till 1243 the party of Frederick had been successful in retaining Tyre, and the baronial demand for a regency had remained without effect; but in that year the opposition, headed by the great family of Ibelin, succeeded, under cover of asserting the rights of Alice of Cyprus to the regency, in securing possession of Tyre, and the kingdom of Jerusalem thus fell back into the power of the baronage. The very next year (1244) Jerusalem was finally and for ever lost. Its loss was the natural corollary of these dissensions. The treaty of Frederick with Malik-al-Kamil (d. 1238) had now expired, and new succours and new measures were needed for the Holy Land. Theobald of Champagne had taken the cross as early as 1230, and 1239 he sailed to Acre in spite of the express prohibition of the pope, who, having quarrelled with Frederick II., was eager to divert any succour from Jerusalem itself, so long as Jerusalem belonged to his enemy. Theobald was followed (1240–1241) by Richard of Cornwall, the brother of Henry III., who, like his predecessor, had to sail in the teeth of papal prohibitions; but neither of the two achieved any permanent result, except the fortification of Ascalon. It was, however, by their own folly that the Franks lost Jerusalem in 1244. They consented to ally themselves with the ruler of Damascus against the sultan of Egypt; but in the battle of Gaza they were deserted by their allies and heavily defeated by Bibars, the Egyptian general and future Mameluke sultan of Egypt. Jerusalem, which had already been plundered and destroyed earlier in the year by Chorasmians (Khwarizmians), was the prize of victory, and Ascalon also fell in 1247.
8. The Crusades of St Louis.—As the loss of Jerusalem in 1187 produced the Third Crusade, so its loss in 1244 produced the Seventh: as the preaching of the Fifth Crusade had taken place in the Lateran council of 1215, so that of the Seventh Crusade began in the council of Lyons of 1245. But the preaching of the Crusade by Innocent IV. at Lyons was a curious thing. On the one hand he repeated the provisions of the Fourth Lateran council on behalf of the Crusade to the Holy Land; on the other hand he preached a Crusade against Frederick II., and promised to all who would join the full benefits of absolution and remission of sins. While the papacy thus bent its energies to the destruction of the Crusades in their genuine sense, and preferred to use for its own political objects what was meant for Jerusalem, a layman took up the derelict cause with all the religious zeal which any pope had ever displayed. Paradoxically enough, it was now the turn for the papacy to exploit the name of Crusade for political ends, as the laity had done before; and it was left to the laity to champion the spiritual meaning of the Crusade even against the papacy. It was at the end of the year in which Jerusalem had fallen that St Louis had taken the cross, and by all the means in his power he attempted to ensure the success of his projected Crusade. He sought to mediate, though with no success, between the pope and the emperor; he descended to a whimsical piety, and took his courtiers by guile in distributing to them, at Christmas, clothing on which a cross had been secretly stitched. He started in 1248 with a gallant company, which contained his three brothers and the sieur de Joinville, his biographer; and after wintering in Cyprus he directed his army in the spring of 1249 against Egypt. The objective was unexpected: it may have been chosen by St Louis, because he knew how seriously the power of the sultan was undermined by the Mamelukes, who were in the very next year to depose the Ayyubite dynasty, which had reigned since 1171, and to substitute one of their number as sultan. Damietta was taken without a blow, and the march for Cairo was begun, as it had been begun by the legate Pelagius in 1221. Again the invading army halted before Mansura (December 1249); again it had to retreat. The retreat became a rout. St Louis was captured, and a treaty was made by which he had to consent to evacuate Damietta and pay a ransom of 800,000 pieces of gold. Eventually St Louis was released on surrendering Damietta and paying one-half of his ransom, and by the middle of May 1250 he reached Acre, having abandoned the Egyptian expedition. For the next four years he stayed in the Holy Land, seeking to do what he could for the establishing of the kingdom of Jerusalem. He was able to do but little. The struggle of papacy and empire paralysed Europe, and even in France itself there were few ready to answer the calls for help which St Louis sent home from Acre. The one answer was the Shepherds’ Crusade, or Crusade of the Pastoureaux—“a religious Jacquerie,” as it has been called by Dean Milman. It had some of the features of the Children’s Crusade of 1212. That, too, had begun with a shepherd boy: the leader of the Pastoureaux, like the leader of the children, promised to lead his followers dry-shod through the seas; and tradition even said that this leader, “the master of Hungary,” as he was called, was the Stephen of the Children’s Crusade. But the anti-clerical feeling and action of the Shepherds was new and ominous; and moved by its enormities the government suppressed the new movement ruthlessly. None came to the aid of St Louis; and in 1254, on the death of his mother Blanche, the regent, he had to return to France.
The final collapse of the kingdom of Jerusalem had been really determined by the battle of Gaza in 1244, and by the deposition of the Ayyubite dynasty by the Mamelukes. The Ayyubites had always been, on the whole, chivalrous and tolerant: Saladin and his successors, Malik-al-Adil and Malik-al-Kamil, had none of them shown an implacable enmity to the Christians. The Mamelukes, who are analogous to the janissaries of the Ottoman Turks, were made of sterner and more fanatical stuff; and Bibars, the greatest of these Mamelukes, who had commanded at Gaza in 1244, had been one of the leaders in 1250, and was destined to become sultan in 1260, was the sternest and most fanatical of them all. The Christians were, however, able to maintain a footing in Syria for forty years after St Louis’ departure, not by reason of their own strength, but owing to two powers which checked the advance of the Mamelukes. The first of these was Damascus. The kingdom of Jerusalem, as we have seen, had profited by the alliance of Damascus as early as 1130, when the fear of the atabegs of Mosul had first drawn the two together; and when Damascus had been acquired by the rule of Mosul, the hostility between the house of Nureddin in Damascus and Saladin in Egypt had still for a time preserved the kingdom (from 1171 onwards). Saladin had united Egypt and Damascus; but after his death dissensions broke out among the members of his family, which more than once led to wars between Damascus and Cairo. It has already been noticed that such a war between the sons of Malik-al-Adil accounts in large measure for the success of the Sixth Crusade; and it has been seen that the battle of Gaza was an act in the long drama of strife between Egypt and northern Syria. The revolution in Egypt in 1250 separated Damascus from Cairo more trenchantly than they had ever been separated since 1171: while a Mameluke ruled in Cairo, Malik-al-Nāsir of Aleppo was elected as sultan by the emirs of Damascus. But an entirely new and far more important factor in the affairs of the Levant was the extension of the empire of the Mongols during the 13th century. That empire had been founded by Jenghiz Khan in the first quarter of the century; it stretched from Peking on the east to the Euphrates and the Dnieper on the west. Two things gave the Mongols an influence on the history of the Holy Land and the fate of the Crusades. In the first place, the south-western division of the empire, comprising Persia and Armenia, and governed about 1250 by the Khan Hulaku or Hulagu, was inevitably brought into relations, which were naturally hostile, with the Mahommedan powers of Syria and Egypt. In the second place, the Mongols of the 13th century were not as yet, in any great numbers, Mahommedans; the official religion was “Shamanism,” but in the Mongol army there were many Christians, the results of early Nestorian missions to the far East. This last fact in particular caused western Europe to dream of an alliance with the great khan “Prester John,” who should aid in the reconquest of Jerusalem and the final conversion to Christianity of the whole continent of Asia. The Crusades thus widen out, towards their close, into a general scheme for the christianization of all the known world. About 1220 James of Vitry was already hoping that 4000 knights would, with the assistance of the Mongols, recover Jerusalem; but it is in 1245 that the first definite sign of an alliance with the Mongols appears. In that year Innocent IV. sent a Franciscan friar, Joannes de Piano Carpini, to the Mongols of southern Russia, and despatched a Dominican mission to Persia. Nothing came of either of these missions; but through them Europe first began to know the interior of Asia, for Carpini was conducted by the Mongols as far as Karakorum, the capital of the great khan, on the borders of China. Again in 1252 St Louis (who had already begun to negotiate with the Mongols in the winter of 1248–1249) sent the friar William of Rubruquis to the court of the great khan; but again nothing came of the mission save an increase of geographical knowledge. It was in the year 1260 when it first seemed likely that any results definitely affecting the course of the Crusades would flow from the action of the Mongols. In that year Hulagu, the khan of Persia, invaded Syria and captured Damascus. His general, a Christian named Kitboga, marched southwards to attack the Mamelukes of Egypt, but he was beaten by Bibars (who in the same year became sultan of Egypt), and Damascus fell into the hands of the Mamelukes. Once more, in spite of Mongol intervention, Damascus and Cairo were united, as they had been united in the hands of Saladin; once more they were united in the hands of a devout Mahommedan, who was resolved to extirpate the Christians from Syria.
While these things were taking place around them, the Christians of the kingdom of Jerusalem only hastened their own fall by internal dissensions which repeated the history of the period preceding 1187. In part the war of Guelph and Ghibelline fought itself out in the East; and while one party demanded a regency, as in 1243, another argued for the recognition of Conrad, the son of Frederick II., as king. In part, again, a commercial war raged between Venice and Genoa, which attracted into its orbit all the various feuds and animosities of the Levant (1257). Beaten in the war, the Genoese avenged themselves for their defeat by an alliance with the Palaeologi, which led to the loss of Constantinople by the Latins (1261), and to the collapse of the Latin empire after sixty years of infirm and precarious existence. On a kingdom thus divided against itself, and deprived of allies, the arm of Bibars soon fell with crushing weight. The sultan, who had risen from a Mongolian slave to become a second Saladin, and who combined the physique and audacity of a Danton with the tenacity and religiosity of a Philip II., dealt blow after blow to the Franks of the East. In 1265 fell Caesarea and Arsuf; in 1268 Antioch was taken, and the principality of Bohemund and Tancred ceased to exist. In the years which followed on the loss of Antioch several attempts were made in the West to meet the progress of the new conqueror. In 1269 James the Conqueror of Aragon, at the bidding of the pope, turned from the long Spanish Crusade to a Crusade in the East in order to atone for his offences against the law matrimonial. An opportune storm, however, gave the king an excuse for returning home, as Frederick II. had done in 1227; and though his followers reached Acre, they hardly dared venture outside its walls, and returned home promptly in the beginning of 1270. More serious were the plans and the attempts of Charles of Anjou and Louis IX., in which the Crusades may be said to have finally ended, save for sundry disjointed epilogues in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Charles of Anjou had succeeded, as a result of the long “crusade” waged by the papacy against the Hohenstaufen from the council of Lyons to the battle of Tagliacozzo (1245–1268), in establishing himself in the kingdom of Sicily. With the kingdom of Frederick II. and Henry VI. he also took over their policy—the “forward” policy in the East which had also been followed by the old Norman kings. On the one hand he aimed at the conquest of Constantinople as Henry VI. had done before; and by the treaty of Viterbo of 1267 he secured from the last Latin emperor of the East, Baldwin II., a right of eventual succession. On the other hand, like Frederick II., he aimed at uniting the kingdom of Jerusalem with that of Sicily; and here, too, he was able to provide himself with a title. On the death of Conradin, Hugh of Cyprus had been recognized in the East as king of Jerusalem (1269); but his pretensions were opposed by Mary of Antioch, a granddaughter of Amalric II., who was prepared to bequeath her claims to Charles of Anjou, and was therefore naturally supported by him. But the policy of Charles, which thus prepared the way for a Crusade similar to those of 1197 and 1202, was crossed by that of his brother Louis IX. Already in 1267 St Louis had taken the cross a second time, moved by the news of Bibars’ conquests; and though the French baronage, including even Joinville himself, refused to follow the lead of their king, Prince Edward of England imitated his example. Louis had been led to think that the bey of Tunis might be converted, and in that hope he resolved to begin this eighth and last of the Crusades by an expedition to Tunis. Charles, as anxious to attack Constantinople as he was reluctant to attack Tunis, with which Sicily had long had commercial relations, was forced to abandon his own plans and to join in those of his brother. St Louis had barely landed in Tunis when he sickened and died, murmuring “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (August 1270); but Charles, who appeared immediately after his brother’s death, was able to conduct the Crusade to a successful conclusion. Negotiating in the spirit of a Frederick II., and acting not as a Crusader but as a king of Sicily, he not only wrested a large indemnity from the bey for himself and the new king of France, but also secured a large annual tribute for his Sicilian exchequer. So ended the Eighth Crusade—much as the Sixth had done—to the profound disgust of many of the crusaders, including Prince Edward of England, who only arrived on the eve of the conclusion of the treaty. Baulked of any opportunity of joining in the main Crusade, Edward, after wintering in Sicily, conducted a Crusade of his own to Acre in the spring of 1271. For over a year he stayed in the Holy Land, making little sallies from Acre, and negotiating with the Mongols, but achieving no permanent results. He returned home at the end of 1272, the last of the western crusaders; and thus all the attempts of St Louis and Charles of Anjou, of James of Aragon and Edward of England left Bibars still in possession of all his conquests.
Two projects of Crusades were started before the final expulsion of the Latins from Syria. In 1274, at the council of Lyons, Gregory X., who had been the companion of Edward in the Holy Land, preached the Crusade to an assembly which contained envoys from the Mongol khan and Michael Palaeologus as well as from many western princes. All the princes of western Europe took the cross; not only so, but Gregory was successful in uniting the Eastern and Western churches for the moment, and in securing for the new Crusade the aid of the Palaeologi, now thoroughly alarmed by the plans of Charles of Anjou. Thus was a papal Crusade begun, backed by an alliance with Constantinople, and thus were the plans of Charles of Anjou temporarily thwarted. But in 1276 Gregory X. died, and all his plans died with him; there was to be no union of the monarchs of the West with the emperor of the East in a common Crusade. Charles was able to resume his plans. In 1277 Mary of Antioch ceded to him her claims, and he was able to establish himself in Acre; in 1278 he took possession of the principality of Achaea. With these bases at his disposal he began to prepare a new Crusade, to be directed primarily (like that of Henry VI. in 1197, and like his own projected Crusade of 1270) against Constantinople. Once more his plans were crossed finally and fatally: the Sicilian Vespers, and the coronation of Peter of Aragon as Sicilian king (1282), gave him troubles at home which occupied him for the rest of his days. This was the last serious attempt at a Crusade on behalf of the dying kingdom of Jerusalem which was made in the West; and its collapse was quickly followed by the final extinction of the kingdom. A precarious peace had reigned in the Holy Land since 1272, when Bibars had granted a truce of ten years; but the fall of the great power of Charles of Anjou set free Kalāʽūn the successor of Bibars’ son (who reigned little more than two years), to complete the work of the great sultan. In 1289 Kalāʽūn took Tripoli, and the county of Tripoli was extinguished; in 1290 he died while preparing to besiege Acre, which was captured after a brave defence by his son and successor Khālil in 1291. Thus the kingdom of Jerusalem came to an end. The Franks evacuated Syria altogether, leaving behind them only the ruins of their castles to bear witness, to this very day, of the Crusades they had waged and the kingdom they had founded and lost.
9. The Ghost of the Crusades.—The loss of Acre failed to stimulate the powers of Europe to any new effort. France, always the natural home of the Crusades, was too fully occupied, first by war with England and then by a struggle with the papacy, to turn her energies towards the East. But it is often the case that theory develops as practice fails; and as the theory of the Holy Roman Empire was never more vigorous than in the days of its decrepitude, so it was with the Crusades. Particularly in the first quarter of the 14th century, writers were busy in explaining the causes of the failures of past Crusades, and in laying down the lines along which a new Crusade must proceed. Several causes are recognized by these writers as accounting for the failure of the Crusades. Some of them lay the blame on the papacy; and it is true that the papacy had contributed towards the decay of the Crusades when it had allowed its own particular interests to overbear the general welfare of Christianity, and had dignified with the name and the benefits of a Crusade its own political war against the Hohenstaufen. Others again find in the princes of Europe the authors of the ruin of the Crusades; they too had preferred their own national or dynastic interests to the cause of a common Christianity. They had indeed, as has been already noticed, done even more; they had used the name of Crusade, from the days of Henry VI. onwards, as a cover and an excuse for secular ambitions of their own; and in this way they had certainly helped, in very large measure, to discourage the old religious zeal for the Holy War. Other writers, again, blame the commercial cupidity of the Italian towns; of what avail, they asked with no little justice, was the Crusade, when Venice and Genoa destroyed the naval bases necessary for its success by their internecine quarrels in the Levant (as in 1257), or—still worse—entered into commercial treaties with the common enemy against whom the Crusades were directed? On the very eve of the Fifth Crusade, Venice had concluded a commercial treaty with Malik-al-Kamil of Egypt; just before the fall of Acre the Genoese, the king of Aragon and the king of Sicily had all concluded advantageous treaties with the sultan Kalāʽūn. A fourth cause, on which many writers dwelt, particularly at the time when the suppression of the Templars was in question, was the dissensions between the two orders of Templars and Hospitallers, and the selfish policy of merely pursuing their own interest which was followed by both in common. But one might enumerate ad infinitum the causes of the failure of the Crusades. It is simplest, as it is truest, to say that the Crusades did not fail—they simply ceased; and they ceased because they were no longer in joint with the times. The moral character of Europe in 1300 was no longer the moral character of Europe in 1100; and the Crusades, which had been the active and objective embodiment of the other worldly Europe of 1100, were alien to the secular, legal, scholastic Europe of 1300. While Edward I. was seeking to found a united kingdom in Great Britain; while the Habsburgs were entrenching themselves in Austria; above all, while Philippe le Bel and his legists were consolidating the French monarchy on an absolutist basis, there could be little thought of the holy war. These were hard-headed men of affairs—men who would not lightly embark on joyous ventures, or seek for an ideal San Grail; nor were the popes, doomed to the Babylonian captivity for seventy long years at Avignon, able to call down the spark from on high which should consume all earthly ambitions in one great act of sacrifice.
But it is long before the death of any institution is recognized; and it was inevitable that men should busy themselves in trying to rekindle the dead embers into new life. Pierre Dubois, in a pamphlet “De recuperatione Sanctae Terrae,” addressed to Edward I. in 1307, advocates a general council of Europe to maintain peace and prevent the dissensions which—as, for instance, in 1192—had helped to cause the failure of past Crusades. Along with this advocacy of internationalism goes a plea for the disendowment of the Church, in order to provide an adequate financial basis for the future Crusade. Other proposals, made by men well acquainted with the East, are more definitely practical and less political in their intention. A blockade of Egypt by an international fleet, an alliance with the Mongols, the union of the two great orders—these are the three staple heads of these proposals. Something, indeed, was attempted, if little was actually done, under each of these three heads. The plan of an international fleet to coerce the Mahommedan is even to this day ineffective; but the Hospitallers, who acquired a new basis by the conquest of Rhodes in 1310, used their fleet to enforce a partial and, on the whole, ineffective blockade of the coast of the Levant. The union of the two orders, already suggested at the council of Lyons in 1245, was nominally achieved by the council of Vienne in 1311; but the so-called “union” was in reality the suppression of the Templars, and the confiscation of all their resources by the cupidity of Philippe le Bel. The alliance with the Mongols remained, from the first to the last, something of a chimera; and the last visionary hope vanished when the Mongols finally embraced Mahommedanism, as, by the end of the 14th century, they had almost universally done.
Isolated enterprises somewhat of the character of a Crusade, but hardly serious enough to be dignified by that name, recur during the 14th century. The French kings are all crusaders—in name—until the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War; but the only crusader who ever carried war in Palestine and sought to shake the hold of the Mamelukes on the Holy Land was Peter I., king of Cyprus from 1359 to 1369. Peter founded the order of the Sword for the delivery of Jerusalem; and instigated by his chancellor, P. de Mézières (one of the last of the theorists who speculated and wrote on the Crusades), he attempted to revive the old crusading spirit throughout the west of Europe. The mission which he undertook with his chancellor for this purpose (1362–1365) only produced a crop of promises or excuses from sovereigns like Edward III. or the Emperor Charles IV.; and Peter was forced to begin the Crusade with such volunteers as he could collect for himself. In the autumn of 1365 he sacked Alexandria; in 1367 he ravaged the coast of Syria, and inflicted serious damages on the sultan of Egypt. But in 1369 he was assassinated, and the last romantic figure of the Crusades died, leaving only the legacy of his memory to his chancellor de Mézières, who for nearly forty years longer continued to be the preacher of the Crusades to Europe, advocating—what always continued to be the “dream of the old pilgrim”—a new order of knights of the Passion of Christ for the recovery and defence of Jerusalem. De Mézières was the last to advocate seriously, as Peter I. was the last to attempt, a Crusade after the old fashion—an offensive war against Egypt for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. From 1350 onwards the Crusade assumes a new aspect; it becomes defensive, and it is directed against the Ottoman Turks, a tribe of Turcomans who had established themselves in the sultanate of Iconium at the end of the 13th century, during the confusion and displacement of peoples which attended the Mongol invasions. As early as 1308 the Ottoman Turks had begun to settle in Europe; by 1350 they had organized their terrible army of janissaries. They threatened at once the débris of the old Latin empire in Greece and the archipelago, and the relics of the Byzantine empire round Constantinople; they menaced the Hospitallers in Rhodes and the Lusignans in Cyprus. It was natural that the popes should endeavour to form a coalition between the various Christian powers which were threatened by the Turks; and Venice, anxious to preserve her possessions in the Aegean, zealously seconded their efforts. In 1344 a Crusade, in which Venice, the Cypriots, and the Hospitallers all joined, ended in the conquest of Smyrna; in 1345 another Crusade, led by Humbert, dauphin of Vienne, ended in failure. The Turks continued their progress; in 1363 they captured Philippopolis, and in 1365 they entered Adrianople; the whole Balkan peninsula was threatened, and even Hungary itself seemed doomed. Already in 1365 Urban VI. sought to unite the king of Hungary and the king of Cyprus in a common Crusade against the Turks; but it was not till 1396 that an attempt was at last made to supplement by a land Crusade the naval Crusades of 1344 and 1345. Master of Servia and of Bulgaria, as well as of Asia Minor, the sultan Bayezid was now threatening Constantinople itself. To arrest his progress, a Crusade, preached by Boniface IX., led by John the Fearless of Burgundy, and joined chiefly by French knights, was directed down the valley of the Danube into the Balkans; but the old faults stigmatized by de Mézières, divisio and propria voluntas, were the ruin of the crusading army, and at the battle of Nicopolis it was signally defeated. Not the Western Crusades but an Eastern rival, Timur (Tamerlane), king of Transoxiana and conqueror of southern Russia and India, was destined to arrest the progress of Bayezid; and from the battle of Angora (1402) till the days of Murad II. (1422) the Ottoman power was paralysed. Under Murad, however, it rose to its old height. To meet the new danger a new union of the churches of the East and the West was attempted. As in 1074 Gregory VII. had dreamed of such a union, to be followed by a joint attack of East and West on the Seljuks, so in 1439, at the council of Florence, a new union of the two churches was again attempted and temporarily secured, in order that a united Christendom might face the new Turkish danger. The logical result of the union was the Crusade of 1443. An army of cosmopolitan adventurers, led by the Cardinal Caesarini, joined the forces of Wladislaus of Poland and John Hunyadi of Transylvania, and succeeded in forcing on Murad II. a truce of ten years at Szegedin in 1444. But the crusaders broke the truce, to which Caesarini had never consented; and, attempting to better what was already good enough, they were defeated at Varna. Here the last Crusade ended; and nine years afterwards, in 1453, Mahommed II., the successor of Murad, captured Constantinople. It was in vain that the popes sought to gather a new Crusade for its recovery; Pius II., who had vowed to join the crusade in person, only reached Ancona in 1464 to find the crusaders deserting and to die. Yet the ghost of the Crusades still lingered. It became a convention of diplomacy, designed to cover any particularly sharp piece of policy which needed some excuse; and the treaty of Granada, formed between Louis XII. and Ferdinand of Aragon for the partition of Naples in 1500, was excused as a thing necessary in the interests of the Crusades. In a more noble fashion the Crusade survived in the minds of the navigators; “Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, Albuquerque, and many others dreamed, and not insincerely, that they were labouring for the deliverance of the Holy Land, and they bore the Cross on their breasts.” “Don Henrique’s scheme,” it has been said, “represents the final effort of the crusading spirit; and the naval campaigns against the Moslem in the Indian seas, in which it culminated, forty years after Don Henrique’s death, may be described as the last Crusade.”
10. Results of the Crusades.—In one vital respect the result of the Crusades may be written down as failure. They ended, not in the occupation of the East by the Christian West, but in the conquest of the West by the Mahommedan East. The Crusades began with the Seljukian Turk planted at Nicaea; they ended with the Ottoman Turk entrenched by the Danube. Nothing is more striking in history than the recession of Christianity in the East after the 13th century. In the 13th century the whole of Europe was Christian; part of Asia Minor still belonged to Greek Christianity, and there was a Christian kingdom in Palestine. Nor was this all. A wide missionary activity had begun in the 13th century—an activity which was the product of the Crusades and the contact with the Moslem which they brought, but which yet helped to check the Crusades, substituting as it did peaceful and spiritual conquests of souls for the violence and materialism of even a Holy War. The Eastern mission had been begun by St Francis, who had visited and attempted to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade (1220); within a hundred years the little seed had grown into a great tree. A great field for missionary enterprise opened itself in the Mongol empire, in which, as has already been mentioned, there were many Christians to be found; and by 1350 this field had been so well worked that Christian missions and Christian bishops were established from Persia to Peking, and from the Dnieper to Tibet itself. But a Mahommedan reaction came, thanks in large measure to the zeal of Timur; and central Asia was lost to Christianity. Everywhere in the 15th century, in Europe and in Asia, the crescent was victorious over the cross; and Crusade and mission, whether one regards them as complementary or inimical, perished together.
But the history of the Crusades must be viewed rather as a chapter in the history of civilization in the West itself, than as an extension of Western dominion or religion to the East. It is a chapter very difficult to write, for while on the one hand an ingenious and speculative historian may refer to the influence of the Crusades almost everything which was thought or done between 1100 and 1300, a cautious writer who seeks to find documentary evidence for every assertion may be rather inclined to attribute to that influence little or nothing. The dissolution of feudalism, the development of towns, the growth of scholasticism, all these and much more have been ascribed to the Crusades, when in truth they were concomitants rather than results, or at any rate, if in part the results of the Crusades, were in far larger part the results of other things. At most, therefore, it may be admitted that the Crusades contributed to the dissolution of feudalism by putting property on the market and disturbing the validity of titles; that they aided the development of towns by vastly increasing the volume of trade; and that they furthered the growth of scholasticism by bringing the West into contact with the mind of the East. If we seek the peculiar and definite results of the Crusades, we must turn to narrower issues. In the first place, the Crusades represent the attempt of a feudal system, bound under the law of primogeniture to dispose of its younger sons. They are attempts at feudal colonization; and as such they resulted in a number of colonies—the kingdom of Jerusalem, the kingdom of Cyprus, the Latin empire of Constantinople. They resulted too in a number of “chartered companies”—that is to say, the three military orders, which, beginning as charitable , developed into military clubs, and developed again from military clubs into chartered companies, possessed of banks, navies and considerable territories. In the second place, as has already been noticed, the Crusades represent the attempt of Western commerce to find new and more easy routes to the wealth of the East; and in this respect they led to various results. On the one hand they led to the establishment of emporia in the East—for instance, Acre, and after the fall of Acre Famagusta, both in their day great centres of Levantine trade. On the other hand, the commodities which poured into Venice and Genoa from the East had to find a route for their diffusion through Europe. The great route was that which led from Venice over the Brenner and up the Rhine to Bruges; and this route became the long red line of municipal development, along which—in Lombardy, Germany and Flanders—the great towns of the middle ages sprang to life. Partly as a result of this trade, ever pushing its way farther east, and partly as a result of the Asiatic missions, which were themselves an accompaniment and effect of the Crusades, a third great result of the Crusades came to light in the 13th century—the discovery of the interior of Asia, and an immense accession to the sphere of geography. When one remembers that missionaries like Piano Carpini, and traders like the Venetian Polos, either penetrated by land from Acre to Peking, or circumnavigated southern Asia from Basra to Canton, one realizes that there was, about 1300, a discovery of Asia as new and tremendous as the discovery of America by Columbus two centuries later. At the same time the old knowledge of nearer Asia was immensely deepened. It has already been noticed how military reconnaissances of the routes to Egypt came to be made; but more important were the guide-books, of which a great number were written to guide the pilgrims from one sacred spot of Bible history to another. There were medieval Baedekers in abundance for the use of the annual flow of tourists, who were carried every Easter by the vessels of the Italian towns or of the Orders to visit the Holy Land and to bathe in Jordan, to gather palms, and to see the miracle of fire at the Sepulchre.
Colonization, trade, geography—these then are three things closely connected with the history of the Crusades. The development of the art of war, and the growth of a systematic taxation, are two debts which medieval Europe also owed to the Crusades. Partly by contact with the Byzantines, partly by conflict with the Mahommedans, the Franks learned new methods both of building and of attacking fortifications. The concentric castle, with its rings of walls, began to displace the old keep and bailey with their single wall, as the crusaders brought back news from the East. The art of the sapper and miner, the use of siege instruments like the mangonel, and the employment of various “fires” as missiles, were all known among the Mahommedans; and in all these respects the Franks learned from their enemies. The common use of armorial bearings, and the practice of the tournament, may be Oriental in their origin; the latter has its affinities with the equestrian exercises of the Jerid, and the former, though of prehistoric antiquity, may have received a new impulse from contact with the Arabs. The military development which sprang from the Crusades is thus largely a matter of borrowing; the financial development is independent and indigenous in the West. As early as 1147 Louis VII. had imposed a tax in the interests of the Crusades; and that tax had been repeated by Louis, and imitated by Henry II. in 1166, while it had been still further extended in the Saladin tithe of 1188. The taxation of 1166 is important as the first to fall on “moveables”; the whole scheme of taxation may be regarded as the beginning of a modern system of taxation. But it was not only to the lay power that the Crusades gave an excuse for taxation; the papacy also profited. Tithes for the Crusades were first imposed on the clergy by Innocent III. at the Lateran council of 1215; and clerical taxation was thus part of the whole statesmanlike project of the Fifth Crusade as it was sketched by the great pope. Henceforth tithes for the Crusades are regular; under Gregory IX. they become a great part of the papal resources in the Crusade against the Hohenstaufen; and in the 16th century they are still a normal part of the government of the Church.
In many other ways the Europe over which the Crusades had passed was different from the Europe of the 11th century. In the first place, many political changes had been wrought, largely under its influence. Always in large part French, the Crusades had on the whole contributed to exalt the prestige of France, until it stood at the end of the 13th century the most considerable power in Europe. It was France which had colonized the Levant; it was the French tongue which was used in the Levant; and the results of the ancient and continuous connexion with the East are still to be traced to-day. Of the other great powers of Europe, England and Germany had been little changed by the Crusades, save that Germany had been extended towards the East by the conquests of the Teutonic Order; but the Eastern empire had been profoundly modified, and the papacy had suffered a great change. The Eastern empire had been for a time annihilated by the movement which in 1095 it had helped to evoke; and if it rose from its ashes in 1261 for two centuries of renewed life, it was never more than the shadow of its old self, with little hold on Asia Minor and less on Greece and the Archipelago, which the Latins still continued to occupy until they were finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks. The papacy, on the other hand, had grown as a result of the Crusades. Popes had preached them; popes had financed them; popes had sent their legates to lead them. Through them the popes had deposed the emperors of the West from their headship of the world, partly because through the Crusades the popes were able to direct the common Christianity of Europe in a foreign policy of their own without consultation with the emperor, partly because in the 13th century they were ultimately able to direct the Crusade itself against the empire. Yet while they had magnified, the Crusades had also corrupted the papacy. They became an instrument in its hands which it used to its own undoing. It cried Crusade when there was no Crusade; and the long Crusade against the Hohenstaufen, if it gave the papacy an apparent victory, only served in the long run to lower its prestige in the eyes of Europe.
When we turn from the sphere of politics to the history of civilization and culture, we find the effects of the Crusades as deeply impressed, if not so definitely marked. The Crusades had sprung from the policy of a theocratic government counting on the motive of otherworldliness; they had helped in their course to overthrow that motive, and with it the government which it had made possible. In part they had provided a field in which the layman could prove that he too was a priest; in part they had brought the West into a living and continuous contact with a new faith and a new civilization. They had torn men loose from the ancestral custom of home to walk in new ways and see new things and hear new thoughts; and some broadening of view, some lessening in the intensity of the old one-sidedness, was the inevitable result. It is not so much that the West came into contact with a particular civilization in the East, or borrowed from that civilization; it is simply that the West came into contact with something unlike itself, yet in many ways as high as, if not higher than, itself. The spirit of Nathan der Weise may not have been exactly the spirit engendered by the Crusades; and yet it is not without reason that Lessing stages the fable which teaches toleration in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. In any case the accusations made against the Templars at the time of their suppression prove that there was, at any rate in the ranks of those who knew the East, too little of absolute orthodoxy. While a new spirit which compares and tolerates thus sprang from the Crusades, the large sphere of new knowledge and experience which they gave brought new material at once for scientific thought and poetic imagination. Not only was geography more studied; the Crusades gave a great impulse to the writing of history, and produced, besides innumerable other works, the greatest historical work of the middle ages—the Historia transmarina of William of Tyre. Mathematics received an impulse, largely, it is true, from the Arabs of Spain, but also from the East; Leonardo Fibonacci, the first Christian algebraist, had travelled in Syria and Egypt. The study of Oriental languages began in connexion with the Christian missions of the East; Raymond Lull, the indefatigable missionary, induced the council of Vienne to decide on the creation of six schools of Oriental languages in Europe (1311). But the new field of poetic literature afforded by the Crusades is still more striking than this development of science. New poems in abundance dealt with the history of the Crusades, either in a faithful narrative, like that of the Chanson of Ambroise, which narrates the Third Crusade, or in a free and poetical spirit, such as breathes in the Chanson d’Antioche. Nor was this all. The Crusades afforded new details which might be inserted into old matters, and a new spirit which might be infused into old subjects; and a crusading complexion thus came to be put upon old tales like those of Arthur and Charlemagne. By the side of these greater things it may seem little, and yet, just because it is little, it is all the more significant that the Crusades should have familiarized Europe with new plants, new fruits, new manufactures, new colours, and new fashions in dress. Sugar and maize; lemons, apricots and melons; cotton, muslin and damask; lilac and purple (azure and gules are words derived from the Arabic); the use of powder and of glass mirrors, and also of the rosary itself—all these things came to Europe from the East and as a result of the Crusades. To this day there are many Arabic words in the vocabulary of the languages of western Europe which are a standing witness of the Crusades—words relating to trade and seafaring, like tariff and corvette, or words for musical instruments, like lute or the Elizabethan word “naker.”When all is said, the Crusades remain a wonderful and perpetually astonishing act in the great drama of human life. They touched the summits of daring and devotion, if they also sank into the deep abysms of shame. Motives of self-interest may have lurked in them—otherworldly motives of buying salvation for a little price, or worldly motives of achieving riches and acquiring lands. Yet it would be treason to the majesty of man’s incessant struggle towards an ideal good, if one were to deny that in and through the Crusades men strove for righteousness’ sake to extend the kingdom of God upon earth. Therefore the tears and the blood that were shed were not unavailing; the heroism and the chivalry were not wasted. Humanity is the richer for the memory of those millions of men, who followed the pillar of cloud and fire in the sure and certain hope of an eternal reward. The ages were not dark in which Christianity could gather itself together in a common cause, and carry the flag of its faith to the grave of its Redeemer; nor can we but give thanks for their memory, even if for us religion is of the spirit, and Jerusalem in the heart of every man who believes in Christ.
Literature.—In dealing with the literature of the Crusades, it is perhaps better, though ideally less scientific, to begin with chronicles and narratives rather than with documents. One of the results of the Crusades, as has just been suggested above, was a great increase in the writing of history. Crusaders themselves kept diaries or itineraria; while home-keeping ecclesiastics in the West—monks like Robert of Reims, abbots like Guibert of Nogent, archbishops like Balderich of Dol—found a fertile subject for their pens in the history of the Crusades. The history of a series of actions like the Crusades must primarily be based on these accounts, and more particularly on the former: narratives must precede documents where one is dealing, not with the continuous life of an organized kingdom, but with a number of enterprises—especially when those enterprises have been, as in this case, excellently narrated by contemporary writers.
I. Chronicles and Narratives of the Crusades—(1) Collections. The authorities for the Crusades have been collected in Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanover, 1611) (incomplete); Michaud, Bibliothèque des croisades (Paris, 1829) (containing translations of select passages in the authorities); the Recueil des historiens des croisades, published by the Académie des Inscriptions (Paris, 1841 onwards) (the best general collection, containing many of the Latin, Greek, Arabic and Armenian authorities, and also the text of the assizes; but sometimes poorly edited and still incomplete); and the publications of the Société de l’Orient Latin (founded in 1875), especially the Archives, of which two volumes were published in 1881 and 1884, and the volumes of the Revue, published yearly from 1893 to 1902, and containing not only new texts, but articles and reviews of books which are of great service. (2) Particular authorities. The Crusades—a movement which engaged all Europe and brought the East into contact with the West—must necessarily be studied not only in the Latin authorities of Europe and of Palestine, but also in Byzantine, Armenian and Arabic writers. There are thus some four or five different points of view to be considered.
The First Crusade, far more than any other, became the theme of a multitude of writings, whose different degrees of value it is all-important to distinguish. Until about 1840 the authority followed for its history was naturally the great work of William of Tyre. For the First Crusade William had followed Albert of Aix; and he had consequently depicted Peter the Hermit as the prime mover in the Crusade. But about 1840 Ranke suggested, and von Sybel in his Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzüges proved, that Albert of Aix was not a good authority, and that consequently William of Tyre must be set aside for the history of the First Crusade, and other and more contemporary authorities used. In writing his account of the First Crusade, von Sybel accordingly based himself on the three contemporary Western authorities—the Gesta Francorum, Raymond of Agiles, and Fulcher. His view of the value of Albert of Aix, and his account of the First Crusade, have been generally followed (Kugler alone having attempted, to some extent, to rehabilitate Albert of Aix); and thus von Sybel’s work may be said to mark a revolution in the history of the First Crusade, when its legendary features were stripped away, and its real progress was first properly discovered.
Taking the Western authorities for the First Crusade separately, one may divide them, in the light of von Sybel’s work, into four kinds—the accounts of eye-witnesses; later compilations based on these accounts; semi-legendary and legendary narratives; and lastly, in a class by itself, the “History” of William of Tyre, who is rather a scientific historian than a chronicler.
(a) The three chief eye-witnesses are the anonymous author of the Gesta Francorum, Raymund of Agiles, and Fulcher. The anonymous author of the Gesta (see Hagenmeyer’s edition, Heidelberg, 1890) was a Norman of South Italy, who followed Bohemund, and accordingly depicts the progress of the First Crusade from a Norman point of view. He was a layman, marching and fighting in the ranks; and thus he is additionally valuable as representing the opinion of the ordinary crusader. Finally he was an eye-witness throughout, and absolutely contemporary, in the sense that he wrote his account of each great event practically at the time of the event. He is the primary authority for the First Crusade. Raymund of Agiles, a Provençal clerk and a follower of Raymund of Toulouse, writes his Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Jerusalem from the Provençal point of view. He gives an ecclesiastic’s account of the First Crusade, and is specially full on the spiritualistic phenomena which accompanied and followed the finding of the Holy Lance. His book might almost be called the “Visions of Peter Bartholomew and others,” and it is written in the plain matter-of-fact manner of Defoe’s narratives. He too was an eye-witness throughout, and thoroughly honest; and his account ranks second to the Gesta. Fulcher of Chartres originally followed Robert of Normandy, but in October 1097 he joined Baldwin of Lorraine in his expedition to Edessa, and afterwards followed his fortunes. His Historia Hierosolymitana, which extends to 1127, and embraces not only the history of the First Crusade, but also that of the foundation of the kingdom of Jerusalem, is written on the whole from a Lotharingian point of view, and is thus a natural complement to the accounts of the Anonymus and Raymund. His account of the First Crusade itself is poor (he was absent at Edessa during its course), but otherwise he is an excellent authority. A kindly old pedant, Fulcher interlards his history with much discourse on geography, zoology and sacred history. Besides these three chief eye-witnesses we may also mention the Annales Genuenses by the Genoese consul Caffarus, and the Annales Pisani of Bernardus Marago, useful as giving the mercantile and Italian side of the Crusade; the Hierosolymita of Ekkehard, the German abbot of Aura, who first came to Jerusalem about 1101 (partly based on the Gesta, but also of independent value: see Hagenmeyer’s edition, Tübingen, 1877); and Raoul of Caen’s Gesta Tancredi, composed on the basis of information supplied by Tancred himself. The last two works, if not actually the works of eye-witnesses, are at any rate first-hand, and belong to the category of primary writers rather than to that of later compilations. Finally, to contemporary writers we may add contemporary letters, especially those written by Stephen of Blois and Anselm of Ribemont, and the three letters sent to the West by the crusading princes during the First Crusade (see Hagenmeyer, Epistulae et Chartae, &c., Innsbruck, 1901).
(b) The later compilations are chiefly based on the Gesta, whose uncouth style many writers set themselves to mend. In the first place, there is the Historia de Hierosolymitano itinere of Tudebod, which according to Besly, writing in 1641, is the original from which the Gesta was a mere plagiarism—an absolute inversion of the truth, as von Sybel first proved two centuries later. Secondly, besides the plagiarist Tudebod, there are the artistic rédacteurs of the Gesta, who confess their indebtedness, but plead the bad style of their original—Guibert of Nogent, Balderich of Dol, Robert of Reims (all c. 1120–1130), and Fulco, the author of a Virgilian poem on the Crusades, continued by Gilo (ob. c. 1142). Of these, the monk Robert was more popular in the middle ages than either the pompous abbot Guibert or the quiet garden-loving archbishop of Dol.
(c) The growth of a legend, or perhaps better, a saga of the First Crusade began, according to von Sybel, even during the Crusade itself. The basis of this growth is partly the story-telling instinct innate in all men, which loves to heighten an effect, sharpen a point or increase a contrast—the instinct which breathes in Icelandic sagas like that of Burnt Njal; partly the instinct of idolization, if it may be so called, which leads to the perversion into impossible greatness of an approved character, and has created, in this instance, the legendary figures of Peter the Hermit and Godfrey of Bouillon (qq.v.); partly the religious impulse, which counted nothing wonderful in a holy war, and imported miraculous elements even into the sober pages of the Gesta. These instincts and impulses would be at work already among the soldiers during the Crusade, producing a saga all the more readily, as there were poets in the camp; for we know that a certain Richard, who joined the First Crusade, sang its exploits in verse, while still more famous is the princely troubadour, William of Aquitaine, who joined the Crusade of 1100. If we are to follow von Sybel rather than Kugler, this saga of the First Crusade found one of its earliest expressions (c. 1120) in the prose work of Albert of Aix (Historia Hierosolymitana)—genuine saga in its inconsistencies, its errors of chronology and topography, its poetical colour, and its living descriptions of battles. Kugler, however, regards Albert as a copyist, somewhat in the manner of Tudebod, of an unknown writer of value, who belonged to the Lotharingian ranks during the Crusade, and settled in the kingdom of Jerusalem afterwards (see Kugler, Albert von Aachen, Stuttgart, 1885). In the Chanson des chétifs and the Chanson d’Antioche the legend of the Crusades more certainly finds its expression. The former, composed at Antioch about 1130, contained an idolization of the Hermit: the latter is a poem written about 1180 by Graindor of Douai, who used as his basis the verses of the crusader Richard (see the edition of P. Paris, 1848). It shows the growth of the legend that Graindor regards the vision of the Hermit as responsible for the Crusade, and makes the Crusade led by him precede, and indeed occasion by its failure, the meeting at Clermont (which is dated in May instead of November). Into the legendary overgrowth of the First Crusade we cannot here enter any further; but it is perhaps worth while to mention that the French legend of the Third Crusade equally perverted the truth, making Richard I. return home in disgrace, while Philip Augustus stays, captures Damascus and mortally wounds Saladin (cf. G. Paris, L’Estoire de la guerre sainte, Paris, 1897; Introduction).
(d) William of Tyre is the scientific historian and rationalizer, weaving into a harmonious account, which was followed by historians for centuries, the sober accounts of eye-witnesses and the picturesque details of the saga—with somewhat of a bias towards the latter in regard to the First Crusade. He was a native of Palestine, born about 1130, and educated in the West. On his return he was happy in winning the good opinion of Amalric I.; he was made first canon and then archdeacon of Tyre, and tutor of the future Baldwin IV. (1170); while on Baldwin’s accession he became chancellor of the kingdom and archbishop of Tyre (1174–1175). He was a man often employed on missions and negotiations, and as chancellor he had in his care the archives of the kingdom. His temper was naturally that of a trimmer; and he had thus many qualifications for the writing of well-informed and unbiassed history. He knew Greek and Arabic; and he was well acquainted with the affairs of Constantinople, to which he went at least twice on political business, and with the history of the Mahommedan powers, on which he had written a work (now lost) at the command of Amalric. It was Amalric also who set him to write the history of the Crusades which we still possess (in twenty-two books, with a fragment of a twenty-third)—the Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum. He wrote the book at different times between 1170 and 1183, when it abruptly ends, and its author as abruptly disappears from sight. The book falls into two parts, the first (books i.-xv.) derivative, the second (books xvi.-xxiii.) original. In the second part he had his own knowledge of events and the information of his contemporaries as his source: in the first he used the same authorities which we still possess—the Gesta, Fulcher, and Albert of Aix—in somewhat of an eclectic spirit, choosing now here, now there, according as he could best weave a pleasant narrative, but not according to any real critical principle. His book thus begins to be a real authority only from the date of the Second Crusade onwards; but the perfection of his form (for he is one of the greatest stylists of the middle ages) and the prestige of his position conspired to make his book the one authority for the whole history of the first century of the Crusades. Nor was he (apart from his reception of legendary elements into his narrative) unworthy of the honour in which he was held; for he is really a great historian, in the form of his matter and in his conception of his subject—diligent, impartial, well-informed and interesting, if somewhat rhetorical in style and vague in chronology.
[During the middle ages his work was current in a French translation, known as the Chronique d’outre-mer, or the Livre or Roman d’Éracles (so called from the reference at the beginning to the emperor Heraclius). This translation also contained a continuation by various hands down to 1277; while besides the continuation embedded in the Livre d’Éracles, there are separate continuations, of the nature of independent works, by Ernoul and Bernard the Treasurer. These latter cover the period from 1183 to 1228; and of the two Ernoul’s account seems primary, while that of Bernard is in large part a mere copy of Ernoul. But the whole subject of the continuators of William of Tyre is dubious.]
To the Western authorities for the First Crusade must be added the Eastern—Byzantine, Arabic and Armenian. Of these the Byzantine authority, the Alexiad of Anna Comnena, is most important, partly from the position of the authoress, partly from the many points of contact between the Byzantine empire and the crusaders. Anna’s narrative both furnishes a useful corrective of the prejudiced Western accounts of Alexius, and serves to bring Bohemund forward into his proper prominence. The Armenian view of the First Crusade and of Baldwin’s principality of Edessa is presented in the Armenian Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa. There is little in Arabic bearing on the First Crusade: the Arabic authorities only begin to be of value with the rise of the atabegs of Mosul (c. 1127). But Kemal-ud-din’s History of Aleppo (composed in the 13th century) contains some details on the history of the First Crusade; and the Vie d’Ousāma (the autobiography of a sheik at Caesarea in northern Syria, edited and paraphrased by Derenbourg in the Publications de l’École des langues orientales vivantes) presents the point of view of an Arab whose life covered the first century of the Crusades (1095–1188).
For the Second Crusade the primary authority in the West is the work of Odo de Deuil, De profectione Ludovici VII regis Francorum in Orientem. Odo was a monk attached by Suger to Louis VII. during the Second Crusade; and he wrote home to Suger during the Crusade seven short letters, afterwards pieced together in a single work. The Gesta Friderici Primi of Otto of Freising (who joined in the Second Crusade) gives some details from the German point of view (i. c. 44 sqq.). The former is supplemented by the letters of Louis VII. to Suger; the latter by the letters of Conrad III. to Wibald, abbot of Stablo and Corvey. The Byzantine point of view is presented in the Ἐπιτομή of Cinnamus, the private secretary of Manuel, who continued the Alexiad of Anna Comnena in a work describing the reigns of John and Manuel. It is from the Second Crusade that William of Tyre, representing the attitude of the Franks of Jerusalem, begins to be a primary authority; while on the Mahommedan side a considerable authority emerges in Ibn Athīr. His history of the Atabegs was written about 1200, and it presents in a light favourable to Zengi and Nureddin, but unfavourable to Saladin (who thrust Nureddin’s descendants aside), the history of the great Mahommedan power which finally crushed the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Side by side with Beha-ud-dīn’s life of Saladin, Ibn Athīr’s work is the most considerable historical record written by the Arabs. Generally speaking the Arabic writings are late in point of date, and cold and jejune in style; while it must also be remembered that they are set religious works written to defend Islam. On the other hand they are generally written by men of affairs—governors, secretaries or ambassadors; and a fatalistic temper leads their authors to a certain impartial recording of everything, good or evil, which seems of moment.
The Third Crusade was narrated in the West from very different points of view by Anglo-Norman, French and German authorities. The primary Anglo-Norman authority is the Carmen Ambrosii, or, as it is called by M. Gaston Paris, L’Estoire de la guerre sainte. This is an octosyllabic poem in French verse, written by Ambroise, a Norman trouvère who followed Richard I. to the Holy Land. The poem first came to be known by scholars about 1873, and has been edited by M. Gaston Paris (Paris, 1897). The Itinerarium Peregrinorum, a work in ornate Latin prose, is (except for the first book) a translation of the Carmen masquerading under the guise of an independent work. There seems no doubt that it is a piece of plagiary, and that its writer, Richard, “canon of the Holy Trinity” in London, stands to the Carmen as Tudebod to the Gesta, or Albert of Aix to his supposed original. The Third Crusade is also described from the English point of view by all contemporary writers of history in England, e.g. Ralph of Coggeshall, who used information gained from crusaders, and William of Newburgh, who had access to a work by Richard I.’s chaplain Anselm, which is now lost. The French side is presented in Rigord’s Gesta Philippi Augusti and in the Gesta (an abridgment and continuation of Rigord) and the Philippeis of William the Breton. The two French writers represent Richard as a faithless vassal: in the German writers—Tagino, dean of Passau, who wrote a Descriptio of Barbarossa’s Crusade (1189–1190); and Ansbert, an Austrian clerk, who wrote De expeditione Friderici Imperatoris (1187–1196)—Richard appears rather as a monster of pride and arrogance. From the Arabic point of view the life of Richard’s rival, Saladin, is described by Beha-ud-din, a high official under Saladin, who writes a panegyric on his master, somewhat confused in chronology and partial in its sympathies, but nevertheless of great value. The various continuations of William of Tyre above mentioned represent the opinion of the native Franks (which is hostile to Richard I.); while in Nicetas, who wrote a history of the Eastern empire from 1118 to 1206, we have a Byzantine authority who, as Professor Bury remarks, “differs from Anna and Cinnamus in his tone towards the crusaders, to whom he is surprisingly fair.”
For the Fourth Crusade the primary authority is Villehardouin’s La Conquête de Constantinople, an official apology for the diversion of the Crusade written by one of its leaders, and concealing the arcana under an appearance of frank naïveté. His work is usefully supplemented by the narrative (La Prise de Constantinople) of Robert de Clary, a knight from Picardy, who presents the non-official view of the Crusade, as it appeared to an ordinary soldier. The χρονικὸν τῶν ἐν Ῥωμανίᾳ (composed in Greek verse some time after 1300, apparently by an author of mixed Frankish and Greek parentage, and translated into French at an early date under the title “The Book of the Conquest of Constantinople and the Empire of Rumania”) narrates in a prologue the events of the Fourth (as indeed also of the First) Crusade. The Chronicle of the Morea (as this work is generally called) is written from the Frankish point of view, in spite of its Greek verse; and the Byzantine point of view must be sought in Nicetas.
The history of the later Crusades, from the Fifth to the Eighth, enters into the continuations of William of Tyre above mentioned; while the Historia orientalis of Jacques de Vitry, who had taken part in the Fifth Crusade, and died in 1240, embraces the history of events till 1218 (the third book being a later addition). The Secreta fidelium Crucis of Marino Sanudo, a history of the Crusades written by a Venetian noble between 1306 and 1321, is also of value, particularly for the Crusade of Frederick II. The minor authorities for the Fifth Crusade have been collected by Röhricht, in the publications of the Société de l’Orient Latin for 1879 and 1882; the ten valuable letters of Oliver, bishop of Paderborn, and the Historia Damiettina, based on these letters, have also been edited by Röhricht in the Westdeutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kunst (1891). The Sixth Crusade, that of Frederick II., is described in the chronicle of Richard of San Germano, a notary of the emperor, and in other Western authorities, e.g. Roger of Wendover. For the Crusades of St Louis the chief authorities are Joinville’s life of his master (whom he accompanied to Egypt on the Seventh Crusade), and de Nangis’ Gesta Ludovici regis. Several works were written on the capture of Acre in 1291, especially the Excidium urbis Acconensis, a treatise which emerges to throw light, after many years of darkness, on the last hours of the kingdom. The Oriental point of view for the 13th century appears in Jelaleddin’s history of the Ayyubite sultans of Egypt, written towards the end of the 13th century; in Maqrizi’s history of Egypt, written in the middle of the 15th century; and in the compendium of the history of the human race by Abulfeda (†1332); while the omniscient Abulfaragius (whom Rey calls the Eastern St Thomas) wrote, in the latter half of the 13th century, a chronicle of universal history in Syriac, which he also issued, in an Arabic recension, as a Compendious History of the Dynasties.
II. The documents bearing on the history of the Crusades and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem are various. Under the head of charters come the Regesta regni Hierosolymitani, published by Röhricht, Innsbruck, 1893 (with an Additamentum in 1904); the Cartulaire générale des Hospitaliers, by Delaville Leroulx (Paris, 1894 onwards); and the Cartulaire de l’église du St Sépulcre, by de Rozière (Paris, 1849). Under the head of laws come the assizes of the Kingdom, edited by Beugnot in the Recueil des historiens des croisades; and the assizes of Antioch, printed at Venice in 1876. G. Schlumberger has written on the coins and seals of the Latin East in various publications; while Rey has written an Étude sur les monuments de l’architecture militaire (Paris, 1871). The genealogy of the Levant is given in Le Livre des lignages d’outre-mer (published along with the assizes).
Bibliographies.—The best modern account of the original authorities for the Crusades is that of A. Molinier, Les Sources de l’histoire de France, vols. ii. and iii. W. Wattenbach’s Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen gives an account of Albert of Aix (vol. ii., ed. 1894, pp. 170-180) and of Ekkehard of Aura (ibid. pp. 189-198). Von Sybel’s Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzüges contains a full study of the authorities for the First Crusade; while the prefaces to Hagenmeyer’s editions of the Gesta and of Ekkehard are also valuable. Gaston Dodu, in the work mentioned below, begins by a brief account of the original authorities, which is chiefly of value so far as it deals with William of Tyre and the history of the assizes; and H. Prutz has also a short account of some of the historians of the Crusades (Kulturgeschichte, pp. 453-469). Finally reference may be made to the works of Kugler and Klimke above mentioned, and to J. F. Michaud’s Bibliographie des croisades (Paris, 1822).
Modern Writers.—The various works of R. Röhricht present the soundest, if not the brightest, account of the Crusades. There is a Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzugs (Innsbruck, 1901), a Geschichte des Königreichs Jerusalem (ibid. 1898) and a Geschichte der Kreuzzüge in Umris (ibid. 1898). For the First Crusade von Sybel’s work and Chalandon’s Alexis Ier Comnène may also be mentioned; for the Fourth A. Luchaire’s volume on Innocent III: La Question d’Orient; while for the whole of the Crusades Norden’s Papstum und Byzanz is of value. B. Kugler’s Geschichte der Kreuzzüge (in Oncken’s series) still remains a suggestive and valuable work; and L. Bréhier’s L’Église et l’orient au moyen âge (Paris, 1907) contains not only an up-to-date account of the Crusades, but also a full and useful bibliography, which should be consulted for fuller information. On points of chronology, and on the relations between the crusaders and their Mahommedan neighbours, W. B. Stevenson’s The Crusaders in the East (Cambridge, 1907) is very valuable. On the constitutional and social history of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem Dodu’s Histoire des institutions du royaume latin de Jérusalem is very useful; E. G. Rey’s Les Colonies franques en Syrie contains many interesting details; and Prutz’s Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzüge contains both an account of the Latin East and an attempt to sketch the effects of the Crusades on the progress of civilization. The works of Gmelin and J. Delaville-Leroulx on the Templars and Hospitallers respectively are worth consulting; while for Eastern affairs the English reader may be referred to G. Lestrange’s Palestine under the Moslem, and to Stanley Lane-Poole’s Life of Saladin and his Mahommedan Dynasties (the latter a valuable work of reference). (E. Br.)
- Fulcher of Chartres, 1, i. For what follows, with regard to the Church’s conversion of guerra into the Holy War, cf. especially the passage—“Procedant contra infideles ad pugnam jam incipi dignam ... qui abusive privatum certamen contra fideles consuescebant distendere quondam.”
- Tradition credits a pope still earlier than Gregory VII. with the idea of a crusade. Silvester II. is said to have preached a general expedition for the recovery of Jerusalem; and the same preaching is attributed to Sergius IV. in 1011. But the supposed letter of Silvester is a later forgery; and in 1000 the way of the Christian to Jerusalem was still free and open.
- The comte de Riant impugned the authenticity of Alexius’ letter to the count of Flanders. It is very probable that the versions of this letter which we possess, and which are to be found only in later writings like Guibert de Nogent, are apocryphal; Alexius can hardly have held out the bait of the beauty of Greek women, or have written that he preferred to fall under the yoke of the Latins rather than that of the Turks. But it is also probable that these apocryphal versions are based on a genuine original.
- Ekkehard, Chronica, p. 213.
- The Chanson de Roland, which cannot be posterior to the First Crusade—for the poem never alludes to it—already contains the idea of the Holy War against Islam. The idea of the crusade had thus already ripened in French poetry, before Urban preached his sermon.
- Book i. c. iii. (in Muratori, S.R.I., v. 550).
- Ekkehard, Chronica, 214.
- Later legend ascribed the origin of the First Crusade to the preaching of Peter the Hermit. The legend has been followed by modern historians; but in point of fact Peter is a figure of secondary importance. (See Peter the Hermit.)
- Godfrey’s army numbered some 30,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry (Röhricht, Erst. Kreuzz. 61): Urban II. reckons Bohemund’s knights as 7000 in number (ibid. 71, n. 7).
- The Genoese had been invited by Urban II. in September 1096 “to go with their gallies to Eastern parts in order to set free the path to the Lord’s Sepulchre.”
- Thus already on the First Crusade the path of negotiation is attempted simultaneously with the Holy War. On the Third Crusade, and above all on the Sixth, this path was still more seriously attempted. It is interesting, too, to notice the part which the laity already plays in directing the course of the Crusade. From the first the Crusade, however clerical in its conception, was largely secular in its conduct; and thus, somewhat paradoxically, a religious enterprise aided the growth of the secular motive, and contributed to the escape of the laity from that tendency towards a papal theocracy, which was evident in the pontificate of Gregory VII.
- Before he left, Raymund had played in Jerusalem the same part of dog in the manger which he had also played at Antioch, and had given Godfrey considerable trouble. See the articles, Godfrey of Bouillon and Raymund of Toulouse.
- For an account of the kings of Jerusalem see the articles on the five Baldwins, on the two Amalrics, on Fulk and John of Brienne and on the Lusignan (family).
- The genuineness of the letter (on which, by the way, depends the story of Godfrey’s agreement with Dagobert) has been impeached by Prutz and Kugler, and doubted by Röhricht. It is accepted by von Sybel and Hagenmeyer.
- Yet the north always continued to be more populous than the south; and the Latins maintained themselves in Antioch and Tripoli a century after the loss of Jerusalem. The land was richer in the north: it was protected by its connexion with Cyprus and Armenia: it was more remote from Egypt—the basis of Mahommedan power from the reign of Saladin onwards.
- Pisa naturally connected itself with Antioch, because Antioch was hostile to Constantinople, and Pisa cherished the same hostility, since Alexius I. had in 1080 given preferential treatment to Venice, the enemy of Pisa.
- This is the year in which the kingdom may be regarded as definitely founded. The period of conquest practically ends at this date, though isolated gains were afterwards made. The year 1110 is additionally important by reason of the accession of Maudud al Mosul, which marks the beginning of a Moslem reaction.
- Ilghazi died in 1122. His successor was Balak, who ruled from 1122 to 1124, and succeeded in capturing in 1123 Baldwin II. of Jerusalem. The union of Mardin and Aleppo under the sway of these two amirs, connecting as it did Mesopotamia with Syria, marks an important stage in the revival of Mahommedan power (Stevenson, Crusades in the East, p. 109).
- Maudud (the brother of the sultan Mahommed) may be regarded as the first to begin the jihad, or counter-crusade, and his attack expedition of 1113, which carried him so far into the heart of Palestine, may be considered as the first act of the jihad (Stevenson, op. cit. pp. 87, 96).
- Aleppo had passed from the rule of Timurtash (son of Ilghazi and successor of Balak) into the possession of Aksunkur, 1125.
- Stevenson, however, believes that Zengi was not animated by the idea of recovering Jerusalem. He thinks that his principal aim was simply the formation of a compact Mahommedan state, which was, indeed, in the issue destined to be the instrument of the jihad, but was not so intended by Zengi (op. cit. pp. 123-124).
- There are certain connexions and analogies between the kingdom of Sicily and that of Jerusalem during the twelfth century. In either case there is an importation of Western feudalism into a country originally possessed of Byzantine institutions, but affected by an Arabic occupation. The subject deserves investigation.
- The holders of fiefs (sodeers) both held fiefs of land and received pay; the paid force of soudoyers only received pay. An instance of the latter is furnished by John of Margat, a vassal of the seignory of Arsuf. He has 200 bezants, along with a quantity of wheat, barley, lentils and oil; and in return he must march with four horses (Rey, Les Colonies franques en Syrie, p. 24).
- For the history of the orders see the articles on the Templars; St John of Jerusalem, Knights of; Knights, and the Teutonic Order. The Templars were founded about the year 1118 by a Burgundian knight, Hugh de Paganis; the Hospitallers sprang from a foundation in Jerusalem erected by merchants of Amalfi before the First Crusade, and were reorganized under Gerard le Puy, master until 1120. The Teutonic knights date from the Third Crusade.
- As was noticed above, there were apparently separate assizes for the three principalities, in addition to the assizes of the kingdom. The assizes of Antioch have been discovered and published. The assizes of the kingdom itself are twofold—the assizes of the high court and the assizes of the court of burgesses. (1) The assizes of the high court are preserved for us in works by legists—John of Ibelin, Philip of Novara and Geoffrey of Tort—composed in the 13th century. We possess, in other words, law-books (like Bracton’s treatise De legibus), but not laws—and law-books made after the loss of the kingdom to which the laws belonged. There are two vexed questions with regard to these law-books. (a) The first concerns the origin and character of the laws which the law-books profess to expound. According to the story of the legists who wrote these books—e.g. John of Ibelin—the laws of the kingdom were laid down by Godfrey, who is thus regarded as the great νομοθέτης of the kingdom. These laws (progressively modified, it is admitted) were kept in Jerusalem, under the name of “Letters of the Sepulchre,” until 1187. In that year they were lost; and the legists tell us that they are attempting to reconstruct par oir dire the gist of the lost archetype. The story of the legists is now generally rejected. Godfrey never legislated: the customs of the kingdom gradually grew, and were gradually defined, especially under kings like Baldwin III. and Amalric I. If there was thus only a customary and unwritten law (and William of Tyre definitely speaks of a jus consuetudinarium under Baldwin III., quo regnum regebatur), then the “Letters of the Sepulchre” are a myth—or rather, if they ever existed, they existed not as a code of written law, but, perhaps, as a register of fiefs, like the Sicilian Defetarii. Thus the story of the legists shrinks down to the regular myth of the primitive legislator, used to give an air of respectability to law-books, which really record an unwritten custom. The fact is that until the 13th century the Franks lived consuetudinibus antiquis et jure non scripto. They preferred an unwritten law, as Prutz suggests, partly because it suited the barristers (who often belonged to the baronage, for the Frankish nobles were “great pleaders in court and out of court”), and partly because the high court was left unbound so long as there was no written code. In the 13th century it became necessary for the legists to codify, as it were, the unwritten law, because the upheavals of the times necessitated the fixing of some rules in writing, and especially because it was necessary to oppose a definite custom of the kingdom to Frederick II., who sought, as king of Jerusalem, to take advantage of the want of a written law, to substitute his own conceptions of law in the teeth of the high court. (b) The second difficulty concerns the text of the law-books themselves. The text of Ibelin became a textus receptus—but it also became overlaid by glosses, for it was used as authoritative in the kingdom of Cyprus after the loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and it needed expounding. Recensions and revisions were twice made, in 1368 and 1531; but how far the true Ibelin was recovered, and what additions or alterations were made at these two dates, we cannot tell. We can only say that we have the text of Ibelin which was used in Cyprus in the later middle ages. At the same time, if our text is thus late, it must be remembered that its content gives us the earliest and purest exposition of French feudalism, and describes for us the organization of a kingdom, where all rights and duties were connected with the fief, and the monarch was only a suzerain of feudatories. (2) The assizes of the court of burgesses became the basis of a treatise at an earlier date than the assizes of the high court. The date of the redaction (which was probably made by some learned burgess) may well have been the reign of Baldwin III., as Kugler suggests: he was the first native king, and a king learned in the law; but Beugnot would refer the assizes to the years immediately preceding Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem. These assizes do not, of course, appear in Ibelin, who was only concerned with the feudal law of the high court. They were used, like the assizes of the high court, in Cyprus; and, like the other assizes, they were made the subject of investigation in 1531, with the object of discovering a good text. The law which is expounded in these assizes is a mixture of Frankish law with the Graeco-Roman law of the Eastern empire which prevailed among the native population of Syria. In regard to both assizes, it is most important to bear in mind that we possess not laws, but law-books or custumals—records made by lawyers for their fellows of what they conceived to be the law, and supported by legal arguments and citations of cases. But, as Prutz remarks, Philip of Novara lehrt nicht die Wissenschaft des Rechts, sondern die des Unrechts: he does not explain the law so much as the ways of getting round it.
- For instance, the abbey of Mount Sion had large possessions, not only in the Holy Land (at Ascalon, Jaffa, Acre, Tyre, Caesarea and Tarsus), but also in Sicily, Calabria, Lombardy, Spain and France (at Orleans, Bourges and Poitiers).
- One must remember that these reinforcements would often consist of desperate characters. It was one of the misfortunes of Palestine that it served as a Botany Bay, to which the criminals of the West were transported for penance. The natives, already prone to the immorality which must infect a mixed population living under a hot sun, the immorality which still infects a place like Aden, were not improved by the addition of convicts.
- The manorial system in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem was a continuation of the village system as it had existed under the Arabs. In each village (casale) the rustici were grouped in families (foci): the tenants paid from 1 to 1 of the crop, besides a poll-tax and labour-dues. The villages were mostly inhabited by Syrians: it was rarely that Franks settled down as tillers of the soil. Prutz regards the manorial system as oppressive. Absentee landlords, he thinks, rack-rented the soil (p. 167), while the “inhuman severity” of their treatment of villeins led to a progressive decay of agriculture, destroyed the economic basis of the Latin kingdom, and led the natives to welcome the invasion of Saladin (pp. 327-331).
The French writers Rey and Dodu are more kind to the Franks; and the testimony of contemporary Arabic writers, who seem favourably impressed by the treatment of their subjects by the Franks, bears out their view, while the tone of the assizes is admittedly favourable to the Syrians. One must not forget that there was a brisk native manufacture of carpets, pottery, ironwork, gold-work and soap; or that the Syrians of the towns had a definite legal position.
- After 1143 one may therefore speak of the period of the Epigoni—the native Franks, ready to view the Moslems as joint occupants of Syria, and to imitate the dress and habits of their neighbours.
- Doubt has been cast on the view that a troubled conscience drove Louis to take the cross; and his action has been ascribed to simple religious zeal (cf. Lavisse, Histoire de France, iii. 12).
- We speak of First, Second and Third Crusades, but, more exactly, the Crusades were one continuous process. Scarcely a year passed in which new bands did not come to the Holy Land. We have already noticed the great if disastrous Crusade of 1100–1101, and the Venetian Crusade of 1123–1124; and we may also refer to the Crusade of Henry the Lion in 1172, and to that of Edward I. in 1271–1272—all famous Crusades, which are not reckoned in the usual numbering. Crusades appear to have been dignified by numbers when they followed some crushing disaster—the loss of Edessa in 1144, or the fall of Jerusalem in 1187—and were led by kings and emperors; or when, like the Fourth and Fifth Crusades, they achieved some conspicuous success or failure. But it is important to bear in mind the continuity of the Crusades—the constant flow of new forces eastward and back again westward; for this alone explains why the Crusades formed a great epoch in civilization, familiarizing, as they did, the West with the East.
- This body of crusaders ultimately reached the Holy Land, where it joined Conrad (who had lost his own original forces), and helped in the fruitless siege of Damascus. The services which it rendered to Portugal were repeated by later crusaders. Crusaders from the Low Countries, England and the Scandinavian north took the coast route round western Europe; and it was natural that, landing for provisions and water, they should be asked, and should consent, to lend their aid to the natives against the Moors. Such aid is recorded to have been given on the Third and the Fifth Crusades.
- Manuel was an ambitious sovereign, apparently aiming at a world-monarchy, such as was afterwards attempted from the other side by Henry VI. As Henry VI. had designs on Constantinople and the Eastern empire, so Manuel cherished the ambition of acquiring Italy and the Western empire, and he negotiated with Alexander III. to that end in 1167 and 1169: cf. the life of Alexander III. in Muratori, S. R. I. iii. 460.
- The prize was won by Raynald of Chatillon (q.v.).
- Nureddin, unlike his father, was definitely animated by a religious motive: he fought first and foremost against the Latins (and not, like his father, against Moslem states), and he did so as a matter of religious duty.
- Henry II., as an Angevin, was the natural heir of the kingdom of Jerusalem on the extinction of the line descended from Fulk of Anjou. This explains the part played by Richard I. in deciding the question of the succession during the Third Crusade.
- The taxation levied in the West was also attempted in the East, and in 1183 a universal tax was levied in the kingdom of Jerusalem, at the rate of 1% on movables and 2% on rents and revenues. Cf. Dr A. Cartellieri, Philipp II. August, ii. pp. 3-18 and p. 85.
- Stevenson argues (op. cit. p. 240) that this truce was already practically dissolved before Raynald struck, and that Raynald’s “action may reasonably be viewed as the practical outcome of the feeling of a party.”
- The “economic” motive for taking the cross was strengthened by the papal regulations in favour of debtors who joined the Crusade. Thousands must have joined the Third Crusade in order to escape paying either their taxes or the interest on their debts; and the atmosphere of the gold-digger’s camp (or of the cave of Adullam) must have begun more than ever to characterize the crusading armies.
- The Crusades in their course established a number of new states or kingdoms. The First Crusade established the kingdom of Jerusalem (1100); the Third, the kingdom of Cyprus (1195); the Fourth, the Latin empire of Constantinople (1204); while the long Crusade of the Teutonic knights on the coast of the Baltic led to the rise of a new state east of the Vistula. The kingdom of Lesser Armenia, established in 1195, may also be regarded as a result of the Crusades. The history of the kingdom of Jerusalem is part of the history of the Crusades: the history of the other kingdoms or states touches the history of the Crusades less vitally. But the history of Cyprus is particularly important—and for two reasons. In the first place, Cyprus was a natural and excellent basis of operations; it sent provisions to the crusaders in 1191, and again at the siege of Damietta in 1219, while its advantages as a strategic basis were proved by the exploits of Peter of Cyprus in the 14th century. In the second place, as the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem fell, its institutions and assizes were transplanted bodily to Cyprus, where they survived until the island was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. But the monarchy was stronger in Cyprus than in Jerusalem: the fiefs were distributed by the monarch, and were smaller in extent; while the feudatories had neither the collective powers of the haute cour of Jerusalem, nor the individual privileges (such as jurisdiction over the bourgeoisie), which had been enjoyed by the feudatories of the old kingdom. Till 1489 the kingdom of Cyprus survived as an independent monarchy, and its capital, Famagusta, was an important centre of trade after the loss of the coast-towns in the kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1489 it was acquired by Venice, which claimed the island on the death of the last king, having adopted his widow (a Venetian lady named Catarina Cornaro) as a daughter of the republic. On the history of Cyprus, see Stubbs, Lectures on Medieval and Modern History, 156-208. The history of the kingdom of Armenia is closely connected with that of Cyprus. The Armenians in the south-east of Asia Minor borrowed feudal institutions from the Franks and the feudal vocabulary itself. The kingdom was involved in a struggle with Antioch in the early part of the 13th century. Later, it allied itself with the Mongols and fought against the Mamelukes, to whom, however, it finally succumbed in 1375.
- The kingdom of Jerusalem is thus from 1192 to its final fall a strip of coast, to which it is the object of kings and crusaders to annex Jerusalem and a line of communication connecting it with the coast. This was practically the aim of Richard I.’s negotiations; and this was what Frederick II. for a time secured.
- M. Luchaire, in the volume of his biography of Innocent III. called La Question d’Orient, shows how, in spite of the pope, the Fourth Crusade was in its very beginnings a lay enterprise. The crusading barons of France chose their own leader, and determined their own route, without consulting Innocent.
- As a matter of fact, there is some doubt whether Alexius arrived in Germany before the spring of 1202. But there seems to be little doubt of Philip’s complicity in the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople (cf. M. Luchaire, La Question d’Orient, pp. 84-86).
- It is true that in 1208 Venice received commercial concessions from the court of Cairo. But this ex post facto argument is the sole proof of this view; and it is quite insufficient to prove the accusation. Venice is not the primary agent in the deflection of the Fourth Crusade.
- Already under Innocent III. the benefits of the Crusade were promised to those who went to the assistance of the Latin empire of the East.
- In 1208 Innocent excommunicated Raymund VI. of Toulouse on account of the murder of a papal legate who was attempting to suppress Manichaeism, and offered all Catholics the right to occupy and guard his territories. Thus was begun the First Crusade against heresy. Raymund at once submitted to the pope, but the Crusade continued none the less, because, as Luchaire says, “the baronage of the north and centre of France had finished their preparations,” and were resolved to annex the rich lands of the south. In this way land-hunger exploited the Albigensian, as political and commercial motives had helped to exploit the Fourth Crusade; and in the former, as in the latter, Innocent had reluctantly to consent to the results of the secular motives which had infected a spiritual enterprise. The Albigensian Crusades, however, belong to French history; and it can only be noted here that their ultimate result was the absorption of the fertile lands, and the extinction of the peculiar civilization, of southern France by the northern monarchy. (See the article Albigenses.)
- A canon of the third Lateran council (1179) forbade traffic with the Saracens in munitions of war; and this canon had been renewed by Innocent in the beginning of his pontificate.
- He had promised the pope, at his coronation in 1220, to begin his Crusade in August 1221. But he declared himself exhausted by the expenses of his coronation; and Honorius III. consented to defer his Crusade until March 1222. The letter of the pope informing Pelagius of this delay is dated the 20th of June: it would probably reach his hands after his departure from Damietta; and thus the Cardinal gave the signal for the march, when, as he thought, the emperor’s coming was imminent.
- Joinville, ch. x.
- John of Brienne had only ruled in right of his wife Mary. On her death (1212) John might be regarded as only ruling “by the courtesy of the kingdom” until her daughter Isabella was married, when the husband would succeed. That, at any rate, was the view Frederick II. took.
- Amalric I. of Cyprus had done homage to Henry VI., from whom he had received the title of king (1195).
- It may be argued that the Crusade against a revolted Christian like Frederick II. was not misplaced, and that the pope had a true sense of religious values when he attacked Frederick. The answer is partly that men like St Louis did think that the Crusade was misplaced, and partly that Frederick was really attacked not as a revolted Christian, but as the would-be unifier of Italy, the enemy of the states of the church.
- The following table of the Ayyubite rulers serves to illustrate the text:—
Ayyub. (both generals in the army of the Atabegs of Mosul)
Sultan of Egypt
Sultan of Damascus,
Malik-al-Ashraf, ruler of Khelat, and after 1227 of Damascus,
Malik-al-Salih Isma’il, sultan of Damascus, 1237–1244. From him Damascus passed to Malik-al-Salih Ayyub of Egypt at the battle of Gaza.
al-din Ayyub, sultan of Egypt, and after 1244 of Damascus,
Turanshah, deposed 1250, and succeeded by the Mameluke Aibek.
- Though Europe indulged in dreams of Mongol aid, the eventual results of the extension of the Mongol Empire were prejudicial to the Latin East. The sultans of Egypt were stirred to fresh activity by the attacks of the Mongols; and as Syria became the battleground of the two, the Latin principalities of Syria were fated to fall as the prize of victory to one or other of the combatants.
- Of the four Latin principalities of the East, Edessa was the first to fall, being extinguished between 1144 and 1150. Antioch fell in 1268; Tripoli in 1289; and the kingdom itself may be said to end with the capture of Acre, 1291.
- Michael Palaeologus had actually appealed to Louis IX. against Charles of Anjou, who in 1270 had actively begun preparations for the attack on Constantinople.
- The dream of a Crusade to Jerusalem survived de Mézières; a society which read “romaunts” of the Crusades, could not but dream the dream. Henry V., whose father had fought with the Teutonic knights on the Baltic, dreamed of a voyage to Jerusalem.
- The union of 1274, conceded by the Palaeologi at the council of Lyons in order to defeat the plans of Charles of Anjou, had only been temporary.
- Bréhier, L’Église et l’Orient, p. 347.
- Cambridge Modern History, i. 11. It is perhaps worth remarking that something of the old crusading spirit seems still to linger in the movement of Russia towards Constantinople.
- While from this point of view the Crusades appear as a failure, it must not be forgotten that elsewhere than in the East Crusades did attain some success. A Crusade won for Christianity the coast of the eastern Baltic (see Teutonic Order); and the centuries of the Spanish Crusade ended in the conquest of the whole of Spain for Christianity.
- Authors like Heeren (Versuch einer Entwickelung der Folgen der Kreuzzüge) and Michaud (in the last volume of his Histoire des croisades) fall into the error of assigning all things to the Crusades. Even Prutz, in his Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzüge, over-estimates the influence of the Crusades as a chapter in the history of civilization. He depreciates unduly the Western civilization of the early middle ages, and exalts the civilization of the Arabs; and starting from these two premises, he concludes that modern civilization is the offspring of the Crusades, which first brought East and West together.
- It is difficult to decide how far Arabic models influenced ecclesiastical architecture in the West as a result of the Crusades. Greater freedom of moulding and the use of trefoil and cinquefoil may be, but need not be, explained in this way. The pointed arch owes nothing to the Arabs; it is already used in England in early Norman work. Generally, one may say that Western architecture is independent of the East.
- His somewhat legendary treatise, De liberatione civitatum Orientis, was only composed about 1155.
- There is also an Inventaire critique of these letters by the comte de Riant (Paris, 1880).
- Von Sybel’s view must be modified by that of Kugler, to which a scholar like Hagenmeyer has to some extent given his adhesion (cf. his edition of the Gesta, pp. 62-68). Hagenmeyer inclines to believe in an original author, distinct from Albert the copyist; and he thinks that this original author (whether or no he was present during the Crusade) used the Gesta and also Fulcher, though he had probably also “eigene Notizen und Aufzeichnungen.”
- See Pigonneau, Le Cycle de la croisade, &c. (Paris, 1877); and Hagenmeyer, Peter der Eremite (Leipzig, 1879).
- On the bibliography of the Second Crusade see Kugler, Studien zur Geschichte des zweiten Kreuzzüges (Stuttgart, 1866).
- Of these writers see Archer’s Crusade of Richard I., Appendix (in Nutt’s series of Histories from Contemporary Writers).
- The bibliography of the Fourth Crusade is discussed in Klimke, Die Quellen zur Geschichte des vierten Kreuzzüges (Breslau, 1875).