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Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Citation for Crusades
Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd
Trumpbour, John . “Crusades.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic
Studies Online. Aug 17, 2017. .
Trumpbour, John . “Crusades.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic
Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e0875 (accessed Aug 17,
A form of religious warfare initiated by the Papacy in 1095 and pursued actively for the next two
centuries, the Crusades sought to confront the rise of Islam by restoring Christian control over
Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher. Crusading also encompassed Papal authorizations for
campaigns designed to extirpate heresy and paganism in Europe from the eleventh to the sixteenth
centuries, including at various times the Iberian peninsula and the Baltic region, as well as southern
France and Italy. Historians are, however, divided between “traditionalists,” who designate as
Crusades primarily the campaigns in the Holy Land and the East, and “pluralists,” who place special
stress on religious crusades throughout Europe. This article deals with Crusader campaigns in the
Holy Land.
The term “Crusade” is derived (through a Romance language or languages) from the Latin word
crux (cross), a symbol prominently displayed on the military regalia of Crusaders. Many Muslim
chroniclers of the medieval era preferred “Frankish invasions,” a term that used the Arabic word alifranj, designating specifically the French but often applied generally to Westerners.
Muslims and others in the Middle East regard the Crusades as invasions by Europeans motivated
by greed and by scorn for Islam, establishing a paradigm for the perception of future Western
incursions into the Muslim world. European colonialism and the modern “war on terror” are seen by
many as extensions of the original Crusader impulse.
Historical Prelude.
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
In 638, the Muslim armies of the caliph ʿUmar secured a series of victories that led the Patriarch
Sophronius to surrender the keys of Jerusalem. Though a variety of Christian sects and
communities survived under Muslim rule in subsequent centuries, the leadership of Eastern
Byzantine Christendom based in Constantinople requested assistance from Rome in the eleventh
century to defend against the Seljuk Turks, who were accused of disrupting the travels of medieval
pilgrims to the Holy Land. Prominent Western historians such as Hans Eberhard Mayer question
whether the Seljuks attacked pilgrims, but there were incidents in which other Muslim groups
harmed unarmed Christian travelers en route to Jerusalem. More significantly, in the late eleventh
century, the Seljuk Turks had wrested most of Asia Minor away from the Byzantine Empire.
Even without Seljuk expansion and provocation, western Christians were growing more assertive in
the international arena and had overcome several long-standing obstacles to civilizational
resurgence, including attacks by Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Maghreb
Muslims from the south. Growing population, agricultural output, trade, and movements of people,
including the expansion of saintly pilgrimage routes, may also have contributed to Europe ‘s renewed
In 1095 at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called for a combination of warrior commitment
and pilgrim piety that would restore the Holy Land to Christian rule. The Pope had five initial aims:
1. curtailing the internal warfare that had wracked parts of Europe by directing military activities
outside Christian communities;
2. asserting Papal supremacy over secular kings who had recently challenged papal authority over
such matters as lay investiture;
3. ending the disruption of pilgrimages;
4. healing the East-West schism, which had been made official in 1054, by assisting
Constantinople to regain control of cities such as Antioch and perhaps bringing Eastern Orthodoxy
back into the Roman fold.
5. continuing to reverse the expansion of Islam, following Iberian Muslim defeat in Toledo in 1085,
which secured northern and central Spain for Christians, and the Norman defeat of Muslims in Sicily
in 1091.
History of the Crusades.
Crusader campaigns are traditionally identified by historians by Roman numerical titles, Crusades I–
V, or, in some accounts, Crusades I–IX. Though conceding that the numerical titles are too neat and
despite many variations, most scholars will not dispense with this classification system. Historians
frequently list the five Crusades numerically and then add the two crusades of King Louis IX and the
final defeat of the Western invaders in 1291 known as “The Fall of Acre.”
The First Crusade, 1095–1099.
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Leaders of this Crusade promoted an ideal that combined saintly pilgrimage with chivalric warrior
values, although it was marked by atrocities from the outset. Rogue bands of ill-equipped
Crusaders, for example, sacked several cities of the German Rhineland and massacred thousands
of Jews in 1096. Archbishop Ruthard of Mainz, Archbishop Hermann III in Cologne, and eventually
the Papacy itself fiercely denounced the Crusader orgy of terror in the Rhineland.
Jews and Muslims fought together, though unsuccessfully, to repel invading Crusaders at
Jerusalem. As Crusader forces poured into the breached fortresses of Jerusalem in 1099, Muslim
women and children were hacked to death, and Jews perished in a synagogue fire set by exultant
Christian warriors. By 1109, the Christians had established four Levantine Crusader states (also
known by their collective French name, Outremer (overseas): the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County
of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Tripoli.
The Second Crusade, 1145–1149.
Edessa was the first place to have been seized from Muslim control by the Crusaders, and it was
the first to fall. In 1144, Imād al-Dīn Zangī, the Seljuk Turkish ruler of Mosul and conqueror of
Aleppo, met Christian talk of holy war with a new spirit of Islamic unity and jihād. The Second
Crusade was called by Pope Eugenius III and the Cistercian monk Bernard of Clairvaux to reverse
the gains of Zangī: its attack on Damascus failed.
Although murdered in 1146 by a disgruntled slave, Zangī had inspired a new tradition of counterCrusaders led by his son Nūr al-Dīn and his Kurdish general Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn, known in the West as
Saladin. Saladin had unified Egypt and Syria, effectively surrounding the Crusader states. His forces
took back Jerusalem in 1187, securing his legend as a hero and chivalric figure who honored
treaties and treated even his enemies fairly.
The Third Crusade, 1189–1192.
Probably the most legendary of the Crusades because of the participation of three major European
monarchs—Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip II Augustus of France, and Frederick
Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire—the Third Crusade sought to reverse the triumph of Saladin.
This crusade delivered only modest gains, a treaty with Saladin allowing unarmed pilgrims access to
Jerusalem and Crusader control over Cyprus. In the early phases, the septuagenarian Frederick
Barbarossa drowned crossing a river in Anatolia. Richard then decided against attacking the Muslim
forces holding Jerusalem. He preferred to negotiate a treaty with Saladin, who retained control over
Jerusalem but allowed access to Christian pilgrims. His forces did seize Cyprus, providing the
Crusaders an operational base that might prove valuable in future wars.
The Fourth Crusade, 1201–1204.
With the ascent to the Papacy in 1198 of Innocent III, who stood at the zenith of medieval Papal
power, Europeans remained determined to reverse the victories of Saladin. The previous crusade
had established the primacy of sea power in transporting Crusaders to the Levant, as overland
travel had resulted in tremendous losses from disease and from attacks during the passage through
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Anatolia. As far back as the First Crusade, ill-provisioned Christian Crusaders wracked with
starvation had resorted to cannibalism by pulling slain Turkish troops out of swamps near Maʿarrah,
a ghoulish scenario that figured prominently in the chronicles of Raymond of Aguilers and later in
Muslim oral traditions.
During the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine emperor had agreed to pay substantial sums to Venice for
supplying ships for fighting and transport. When the emperor failed to deliver the promised
payments, Crusader armies received permission to sack the great city of Constantinople. This
poisoned relations between the Christian East and West, with some of the city ‘s inhabitants averring
that they would prefer to live under the Turkish sultan than submit to Crusader rule. The rampant
pillaging further tarnished the honor of the Crusaders in the view of Muslims.
The Fifth Crusade, 1217–1221, and the Crusade of Frederick II, 1228–1229.
Accusing the Venetians of having hijacked the Fourth Crusade, Innocent III sought to restore Papal
control of the Crusading movement in 1213 with the bull Quia maior, a document that also stipulated
the conflict with Islam as the movement ‘s primary raison dʾêtre.
The Fifth Crusade tried to reorient Crusader strategy by attacking Egypt to gain access to
Jerusalem. When the Egyptian ruler al-Kāmil Muḥammad al-Malik offered the city of Jerusalem to
the Crusaders during 1219 in exchange for ending the siege of the Egyptian city of Damietta, the
papal legate Pelagius refused, believing that his forces could achieve a greater victory. This bold
refusal backfired when al-Kāmil in 1221 breached the levees of the Nile, flooding the Crusaders
bound for Cairo. Al-Kāmil then reached an agreement in 1229 with the invading Frederick II, King of
Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor, allowing Christian rule over most of Jerusalem for the next ten
years. Muslims opposed this concession to the invaders, and certain Crusaders railed against the
provisions forbidding them from fortifying the city ‘s walls. In 1244, Muslim forces took back control of
The Crusades of Louis IX, 1248–1254 and 1270.
Louis IX brought the considerable resources of France to support his Crusaders but was
unsuccessful in his attempt to subdue Egypt, and his forces eventually had to ransom him from his
Muslim captors. During the 1250s, he reinforced fortifications in the Crusader-held towns of Acre,
Caesarea, Jaffa, and Sidon; but his invasion of Tunis in 1270 failed, and he and many of his troops
succumbed to disease.
In 1258, the Mongols rampaged through Baghdad, destroying a city that many regarded as the jewel
of the Islamic world. The Mamluk general Ẓāhir Baybars halted the march of these nomadic invaders
at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.
The fall of Acre, 1291.
Baybars and his successors obstructed the Mongols, a people once thought invincible. Baybars
exhibited a ruthlessness shocking to many Muslims who had accepted a measure of coexistence
with Christians and Jews. During 1268, he sacked Jaffa and then ran riot in Antioch, where
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
thousands of women and children were put to the sword in what historian Thomas F. Madden
considers the greatest atrocity of the Crusades.
In 1290, newly arrived Crusader troops in Acre killed several Muslim merchants. When the
Christians declined to turn over to the Mamluk authorities the soldiers responsible for the murders,
alleging that the merchants had provoked the attacks, the Egyptian sultan Qalāwūn assembled one
of the Crusade era ‘s largest armies to retake Acre. The military orders of Hospitalers, Templars, and
Teutonic Knights made their last stand. Acre fell to the Mamluk forces—as did the rest of Louis IX ‘s
carefully constructed fortifications throughout the region—and the age of the Crusaders in the Holy
Land was over.
Results of the Crusades.
In his three-volume history of the Crusades, Sir Steven Runciman asserts that among the most
devastating results of crusading was its damage to Byzantine civilization, which was weakened and
subjected to further Islamic penetration. Early twenty-first century historians have countered
Runciman by observing that Islamic expansion may have been crucial to halting the Mongols who, if
unchecked, could have delivered fatal damage to Byzantine and Latin Christian civilizations.
Meanwhile, the Europeans ’ introduction to the Mongols forced them to rethink their civilizational
assumptions. The philosopher and scientist Roger Bacon (d. 1219) observed that before the
Mongols, Europeans believed that Islam represented perhaps a third or half of the world, and
Christians close to the other half. With an empire stretching from Beijing to the borderlands of
Bulgaria, the Mongols gave Europeans a sense of their shrinking status in the world. As has been
documented by the medievalist R. W. Southern, Bacon suggested that Christians would have to
become familiar with many more languages, cultures, and peoples in order to spread the Gospel.
Others retorted with calls for redoubled holy war, a more resolute militarism, and fanaticism to
subdue Christianity ‘s teeming enemies.
The Crusades left a lasting impression on the Muslim world. The brutality of their campaigns,
particularly in comparison with the noble reputation of Saladin, continues to color Muslim
perceptions of the Christian West. Historians sympathetic to the Christian West on occasion rebuke
Islamic scholars for their fiercer condemnation of Crusaders than of the bloodstained Mongols, who
set fire to Baghdad, killed 90,000 inhabitants, and tossed the caliph in a sack to be trampled to
death by teams of horses. But key Mongols converted to Islam and expressed horror at their
cousins ’ destruction of Baghdad as a seat of learning. Crusaders generally felt no remorse, and it
was only in the late twentieth century that Pope John Paul II issued an apology to Muslims and Jews
for the desecration of their holy sites and killing of whole communities.
The Muslim world often views Europe ‘s later colonial conquests as a continuation of the Crusader
impulses, beginning with the conquistadores in the New World, many of whom had been profoundly
influenced by the reconquista in Spain. Ranging from Columbus—whose frequent calls for a return
to Jerusalem revealed the inspiration of his life ‘s work—to Emperor Charles V, who launched a
victorious crusading-style assault on Tunis in 1535, the Crusader filiation is sometimes further
extended to the British, French, Italian, Russian, and Dutch colonialists of subsequent centuries.
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Certain Muslims see Israel, established as a state in 1948, as a modern-day Outremer and part of
the crusading heritage, and some Muslim radicals believe that the Crusades and contemporary
conflicts are part of an endless continuum of fighting. Finding ideological potency in visions of
inevitable confrontation, many extremists, both Islamic and Western, seem reluctant to part with the
Crusades, thus keeping them an active, volatile component of contemporary political life.
Abu-Lughod, Janet L.Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1989. Provides background on the expansion of Mediterranean and
world trade.
Daniel, Norman. Islam and the West: The Making of an Image. Rev. ed.Oxford, 1993. Surveys
Western fears of Muslims.
Gabrieli, Francesco. Arab Historians of the Crusades. Translated from the Italian by E. J. Costello.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. A selection of key Arab texts by a leading
Crusade historiographer.
Halliday, Fred. Islam and the Myth of Confrontation. London: I. B. Tauris, 1996. Primarily
contemporary history, this work dismantles many long-held mythologies. A new edition was
published in 2003.
Hillenbrand, Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2000. The most
detailed study in English of Muslim views on the Crusades.
Housley, Norman. The Later Crusades, 1274–1580: From Lyons to Alcazar. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1992. A representative work by a leading “pluralist” on the proliferating
crusades against heresy in late medieval and early modern Europe.
Madden, Thomas F.A Concise History of the Crusades. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999. A
model of clarity on the major phases of crusading. An updated edition was published in 2005.
Mayer, Hans Eberhard. The Crusades. Translated from the German by John Gillingham. London:
Oxford University Press, 1972. Makes the case for the traditionalist view of the primacy of the
Holy Land in defining crusading.
Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History. 2d ed.New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. An
overview promoting the “pluralist” interpretation.
Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1951–1954. A historical classic that is being challenged for its pronounced Hellenic sympathies.
Southern, R. W.Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 1962. A distinguished British medievalist briefly explores Roger Bacon and other
commentators on Islam.
Tyerman, Christopher. God ‘s War: A New History of the Crusades. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap
Press of Harvard University Press, 2006. A single-volume work on the Crusades that is a useful
Crusades – Oxford Islamic Studies Online
counterpoint to the Runciman standard.
Tyerman, Christopher. Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2004. A short work that challenges contemporaries on the uses and misuses of
the Crusades in political debate.
© Oxford University Press 2007-2008. All Rights Reserved
Journal Title: The Mongols
Call #: DS1 9 M67 1986
Month/Year: 1986
Pages: 49-73
Item #:
Article Author: Morgan

Article Title: Khan and the founding of the
Mongol Empire



Nomads of the Steppe: Asia before Chingiz Khän
been a grim irony, but in fact there seems to be no real basis for
the accusation.
Further west again, the successors of Saladin ruled in Syria
and Egypt, and fought among themselves and against the
remnants of the Crusading states that maintained a precarious
foothold on the Syrian coast. In Anatolia the Saljuq (Seljük)
sultanate of Rum, last representative of a once great and farflung dynasty, disputed territory with a Byzantine Empire that
was shortly to fall victim to its friends from the Christian west
in the Fourth Crusade.26 Apart from those few who took Prester
John seriously, none of the contenders in the political mael
strom of western Asia gave a thought to events in the Far East
whose consequences were soon to engulf most of them: just as,
when an earlier disaster befell that same part of the wo …
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