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Crusader States (Outremer)
1099 - 1147

Crusader States (Outremer)

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COVER ART: Osprey Publishing

The Crusader States, also known as Outremer, were four Roman Catholic realms in the Middle East that lasted from 1098 to 1291. These feudal polities were created by the Latin Catholic leaders of the First Crusade through conquest and political intrigue. The four states were the County of Edessa (1098–1150), the Principality of Antioch (1098–1287), the County of Tripoli (1102–1289), and the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099–1291). The kingdom of Jerusalem covered what is now Israel and Palestine, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and adjacent areas. The other northern states covered what are now Syria, south-eastern Turkey, and Lebanon. The description "Crusader states" can be misleading, as from 1130 very few of the Frankish population were crusaders. The term Outremer, used by medieval and modern writers as a synonym, is derived from the French for overseas.

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Baldwin I takes Arsuf and Caesarea

1101 Apr 29

Caesarea, Israel

Always in need of funds, Baldwin concluded an alliance with the commanders of a Genoese fleet, offering commercial privileges and booty to them in the towns that he would capture with their support. They first attacked Arsuf, which surrendered without resistance on 29 April, securing a safe passage for the townspeople to Ascalon. The Egyptian garrison at Caesarea resisted, but the town fell on 17 May. Baldwin's soldiers pillaged Caesarea and massacred the majority of the adult local population. The Genoese received one third of the booty, but Baldwin did not grant areas in the captured towns to them.

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Crusade of 1101

1101 Jun 1

Anatolia, Antalya, Turkey

The Crusade of 1101 was initiated by Paschal II when he learned of the precarious position of the remaining forces in the Holy Land. The host consisted of four separate armies, sometimes regarded as a second wave following the First Crusade. The first army was Lombardy, led by Anselm, archbishop of Milan. They were joined by a force led by Conrad, constable to the German emperor, Henry IV. A second army, the Nivernois, was commanded by William II of Nevers. The third group from northern France was led by Stephen of Blois and Stephen of Burgundy. They were joined by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, now in the service of the emperor. The fourth army was led by William IX of Aquitaine and Welf IV of Bavaria. The Crusaders faced their old enemy Kilij Arslan and his Seljuk forces first met the Lombard and French contingents in August 1101 at the Battle of Mersivan, with the crusader camp captured. The Nivernois contingent was decimated that same month at Heraclea, with nearly the entire force wiped out, except for the count William and a few of his men. The Aquitainians and Bavarians reached Heraclea in September where again the Crusaders were massacred. The Crusade of 1101 was a total disaster both militarily and politically, showing the Muslims that the Crusaders were not invincible.

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First Battle of Ramla

1101 Sep 7

Ramla, Israel

While Baldwin and the Genoese were besieging Caesarea, the Egyptian vizier, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, started mustering troops at Ascalon. Baldwin moved his headquarters to nearby Jaffa and fortified Ramla to hinder any attempt at a surprise attack against Jerusalem.

The First Battle of Ramla took place between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Fatimids of Egypt. The town of Ramla lay on the road from Jerusalem to Ascalon, the latter of which was the largest Fatimid fortress in Palestine. According to;Fulcher of Chartres, who was present at the battle, the Fatimids lost around 5,000 men in the battle, including their general Saad al-Daulah. However, Crusader losses were heavy too, losing 80 knights and a large amount of infantry.

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Rise of the Artuqids

1102 Jan 1

Hasankeyf, Batman, Turkey

The Artuqid dynasty was a Turkoman dynasty originated from Döğer tribe that ruled in eastern Anatolia, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. The Artuqid dynasty took its name from its founder, Artuk Bey, who was of the Döger branch of the Oghuz Turks and ruled one of the Turkmen beyliks of the Seljuk Empire. Artuk's sons and descendants ruled the three branches in the region: Sökmen's descendants ruled the region around Hasankeyf between 1102 and 1231; Ilghazi's branch ruled from Mardin and Mayyafariqin between 1106 and 1186 (until 1409 as vassals) and Aleppo from 1117–1128; and the Harput line starting in 1112 under the Sökmen branch, and was independent between 1185 and 1233.

Second  Battle of Ramla


Second Battle of Ramla

1102 May 17

Ramla, Israel

Due to faulty reconnaissance Baldwin severely underestimated the size of the Egyptian army, believing it to be no more than a minor expeditionary force, and rode to face an army of several thousand with only two hundred mounted knights and no infantry.

Realizing his error too late and already cut off from escape, Baldwin and his army were charged by the Egyptian forces and many were quickly slaughtered, although Baldwin and a handful of others managed to barricade themselves in Ramla's single tower. Baldwin was left with no other option than to flee and escaped the tower under the cover of night with just his scribe and a single knight, Hugh of Brulis, who is never mentioned in any source afterwards. Baldwin spent the next two days evading Fatimid search parties until he arrived exhausted, starved, and parched in the reasonably safe haven of Arsuf on May 19.

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Crusaders take Acre
A siege tower in action; French depiction of the 19th century


Crusaders take Acre

1104 May 6

Acre, Israel

The Siege of Acre took place in May 1104. It was of great importance for the consolidation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been founded only a few years earlier. With the help of a Genoese fleet, King Baldwin I forced the surrender of the important port city after a siege that lasted only twenty days. Although all defenders and residents wishing to leave the city had been assured by the king that they would be free to leave, taking their chattels with them, many of them had been massacred by the Genoese as they left the city. Moreover, the attackers had also sacked the city itself.

Soon after its conquest, Acre became the main trading center and main port of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in which it can transport merchandise from Damascus to the West. With Acre being heavily fortified, the kingdom now had a safe harbor in all weathers. Although Jaffa was much closer to Jerusalem, it was only an open roadstead and too shallow for large ships. Passengers and cargo could only be brought ashore or unloaded there with the help of small ferry boats, which was a particularly dangerous undertaking in stormy seas. Although Haifa's roadstead was deeper and protected from south and west winds by Mount Carmel, it was particularly exposed to north winds.

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Battle of Harran

1104 May 7

Harran, Şanlıurfa, Turkey

During the battle itself, Baldwin's troops were completely routed, with Baldwin and Joscelin captured by the Turks. The Antiochene troops along with Bohemond were able to escape to Edessa. However, Jikirmish had only taken a small amount of booty, so he purloined Baldwin from Sokman's camp. Although a ransom was paid, Joscelin and Baldwin were not released until sometime before 1108, and 1109 respectively.

The battle was one of the first decisive Crusader defeats with severe consequences to the Principality of Antioch. The Byzantine Empire took advantage of the defeat to impose their claims on Antioch, and recaptured Latakia and parts of Cilicia. Many of the towns ruled by Antioch revolted and were re-occupied by Muslim forces from Aleppo. Armenian territories also revolted in favour of the Byzantines or Armenia. Furthermore, these events caused Bohemund to return to Italy to recruit more troops, leaving Tancred as regent of Antioch. Edessa never really recovered and survived until 1144 but only because of divisions among the Muslims.

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Tancred recovers lost ground

1105 Apr 20

Reyhanlı, Hatay, Turkey

After the great Crusader defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104, all of Antioch's strongholds east of the Orontes River were abandoned. In order to raise additional Crusader reinforcements, Bohemond of Taranto embarked for Europe, leaving Tancred as regent in Antioch. The new regent began to patiently recover the lost castles and walled towns.

In mid-spring 1105, the inhabitants of Artah, which is located 25 miles (40 km) east-northeast of Antioch, may have expelled Antioch's garrison from the fortress and allied with Ridwan or surrendered to the latter upon his approach to the fortress. Artah was the last Crusader-held fortress east of the city of Antioch and its loss could result in a direct threat to the city by Muslim forces. It is unclear if Ridwan thereafter garrisoned Artah.

With a force of 1,000 cavalry and 9,000 infantry, Tancred laid siege to the castle of Artah. Ridwan of Aleppo tried to interfere with the operation, gathering a host of 7,000 infantry and an unknown number of cavalry. 3,000 of the Muslim infantrymen were volunteers. Tancred gave battle and defeated the army of Aleppo. The Latin prince is supposed to have won by his "skillful use of ground." Tancred proceeded to consolidate the Principality's control of its eastern frontier regions, precipitating the flight of local Muslims from the areas of the Jazr and Loulon, although several were slain by Tancred's forces. After his victory, Tancred expanded his conquests east of the Orontes with only minor opposition.

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Third Battle of Ramla
Bataille de Ramla (1105)


Third Battle of Ramla

1105 Aug 27

Ramla, Israel

As at Ramla in 1101, in 1105 the Crusaders had both cavalry and infantry under the leadership of Baldwin I. At the third battle, however, the Egyptians were reinforced by a Seljuk Turkish force from Damascus, including mounted archery, the great menace of the Crusaders. After they withstood the initial Frankish cavalry charge the battle raged for most of the day. Although Baldwin was once again able to drive the Egyptians from the field of battle and loot the enemy camp he was unable to pursue them any further: "the Franks appear to have owed their victory to the activity of Baldwin. He vanquished the Turks when they were becoming a serious threat to his rear, and returned to the main battle to lead the decisive charge which defeated the Egyptians

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Norwegian Crusade

1107 Jan 1


The Norwegian Crusade, led by Norwegian King Sigurd I, was a crusade or a pilgrimage (sources differ) that lasted from 1107 to 1111, in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The Norwegian Crusade marks the first time a European king personally went to the Holy Land.

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New Crusader State: County of Tripoli
Fakhr al-Mulk ibn Ammar submitting to Bertrand of Toulouse,


New Crusader State: County of Tripoli

1109 Jul 12

Tripoli, Lebanon

The Franks besieged Tripoli, led by Baldwin I of Jerusalem, Baldwin II of Edessa, Tancred, regent of Antioch, William-Jordan, and Raymond IV's eldest son Bertrand of Toulouse, who had recently arrived with fresh Genoan, Pisan and Provençal troops. Tripoli waited in vain for reinforcements from Egypt.

The city crumbled on July 12, and was sacked by the crusaders. The Egyptian fleet arrived eight hours too late. Most of the inhabitants were enslaved, the others were deprived of their possessions and expelled. Bertrand, Raymond IV's illegitimate son, had William-Jordan assassinated in 1110 and claimed two-thirds of the city for himself, with the other third falling to the Genoans. The rest of the Mediterranean coast had already fallen to the crusaders or would pass to them within the next few years, with the capture of Sidon in 1110 and Tyre in 1124. This led to the establishment of the fourth crusader state, the County of Tripoli.

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Sultan declares Jihad

1110 Jan 1


The fall of Tripoli prompted Sultan Muhammad Tapar to appoint the atabeg of Mosul, Mawdud, to wage jihad against the Franks. Between 1110 and 1113, Mawdud mounted four campaigns in Mesopotamia and Syria, but rivalry among his heterogeneous armies' commanders forced him to abandon the offensive on each occasion. As Edessa was Mosul's chief rival, Mawdud directed two campaigns against the city. They caused havoc, and the county's eastern region could never recover. The Syrian Muslim rulers saw the Sultan's intervention as a threat to their autonomy and collaborated with the Franks. After an assassin, likely a Nizari, murdered Mawdud, Muhammad Tapar dispatched two armies to Syria, but both campaigns failed.


Siege of Beirut

1110 Mar 13

Beirut, Lebanon

By 1101, the Crusaders had controlled the southern ports including Jaffa, Haifa, Arsuf and Caesarea, hence they managed to cut off the northern ports including Beirut from Fatimid support by land. In addition, the Fatimids had to disperse their forces including 2,000 soldiers and 20 ships in each of the remaining ports, until the main support could arrive from Egypt. Beginning on 15 February 1102, the Crusaders began harassing Beirut, until the Fatimid army arrived in early May.

In late autumn 1102, ships carrying Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land were forced by storm to land in the vicinity of Ascalon, Sidon and Tyre. The pilgrims were either slain or taken as slaves to Egypt. Hence, controlling the ports became urgent for the safety of pilgrims, in addition to the arrival of men and supply from Europe.

The siege of Beirut was an event in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The coastal city of Beirut was captured from the Fatimids by the forces of Baldwin I of Jerusalem on 13 May 1110, with the assistance of Bertrand of Toulouse and a Genoese fleet.

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Siege of Sidon
King Sigurd and King Baldwin ride from Jerusalem to the river Jordan


Siege of Sidon

1110 Oct 19

Sidon, Lebanon

In the summer of 1110, a Norwegian fleet of 60 ships arrived in the Levant under the command of King Sigurd. Arriving in Acre he was received by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem. Together they made a journey to the river Jordan, after which Baldwin asked for help in capturing Muslim-held ports on the coast. Sigurd's answer was that "they had come for the purpose of devoting themselves to the service of Christ", and accompanied him to take the city of Sidon, which had been re-fortified by the Fatimids in 1098.

Baldwin's army besieged the city by land, while the Norwegians came by sea. A naval force was needed to prevent assistance from the;Fatimid fleet;at;Tyre. Repelling it was however only made possible with the fortunate arrival of a Venetian fleet. The city fell after 47 days.

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Battle of Shaizar
John II Komnenos negotiating with the Emir of Shaizar, 13th-century French manuscript


Battle of Shaizar

1111 Sep 13

Shaizar, Muhradah, Syria

Beginning in 1110 and lasting until 1115, the Seljuk Sultan Muhammad I in Baghdad launched annual invasions of the Crusader states. The first year's attack on Edessa was repelled. Prodded by the pleas of some citizens of Aleppo and spurred by the Byzantines, the Sultan ordered a major offensive against the Frankish possessions in northern Syria for the year 1111. The Sultan appointed Mawdud ibn Altuntash, governor of Mosul, to command the army. The composite force included contingents from Diyarbakir and Ahlat under Sökmen al-Kutbi, from Hamadan led by Bursuq ibn Bursuq, and from Mesopotamia under Ahmadil and other emirs.

In the Battle of Shaizar in 1111, a Crusader army commanded by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem and a Seljuk army led by Mawdud ibn Altuntash of Mosul fought to a tactical draw, but a withdrawal of Crusader forces. This allowed King Baldwin I and Tancred to successfully defend the Principality of Antioch. No Crusader towns or castles fell to the Seljuk Turks during the campaign.;

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Knights Hospitaller formed

1113 Jan 1

Jerusalem, Israel

The monastic hospitaller order was created following the First Crusade by Blessed Gerard de Martigues whose role as founder was confirmed by the papal bull Pie postulatio voluntatis issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113.Gerard acquired territory and revenues for his order throughout the Kingdom of Jerusalem and beyond. Under his successor, Raymond du Puy, the original hospice was expanded to an infirmarynear the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Initially, the group cared for pilgrims in Jerusalem, but the order soon extended to provide pilgrims with an armed escort before eventually becoming a significant military force. Thus the Order of St. John imperceptibly became militaristic without losing its charitable character.

Raymond du Puy, who succeeded Gerard as Master of the Hospital in 1118, organized a militia from the order's members, dividing the order into three ranks: knights, men at arms, and chaplains. Raymond offered the service of his armed troops to Baldwin II of Jerusalem, and the order from this time participated in the crusades as a military order, in particular distinguishing itself in the Siege of Ascalon of 1153. In 1130, Pope Innocent II gave the order its coat of arms, a silver cross in a field of red (gueulles).

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Battle of al-Sannabra

1113 Jun 28

Beit Yerah, Israel

In 1113, Mawdud joined Toghtekin of Damascus and their combined army aimed to cross the Jordan River south of the Sea of Galilee. Baldwin I offered battle near the bridge of al-Sannabra. Mawdud used the device of a feigned flight to entice Baldwin I into rashly ordering a charge. The Frankish army was surprised and beaten when it unexpectedly ran into the main Turkish army.

The surviving Crusaders kept their cohesion and fell back to a hill west of the inland sea where they fortified their camp. In this position they were reinforced from Tripoli and Antioch but remained inert. Unable to annihilate the Crusaders, Mawdud watched them with his main army while sending raiding columns to ravage the countryside and sack the town of Nablus. In this, Mawdud anticipated the strategy of Saladin. As in these campaigns, the Frankish field army could oppose the main Muslim army, but it could not stop raiding forces from doing great damage to crops and towns. While the Turkish raiders roamed freely through Crusader lands, the local Muslim farmers entered into friendly relations with them. This deeply troubled the Frankish land magnates, who ultimately depended upon rents from cultivators of the soil. Mawdud was unable to make any permanent conquests after his victory. Soon afterward, he was assassinated and Aq-Sunqur Bursuqi took command of the failed attempt against Edessa in 1114.

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Battle of Sarmin

1115 Sep 14

Sarmin, Syria

In 1115, the Seljuk sultan Muhammad I Tapar sent Bursuq against Antioch. Jealous that their authority would be diminished if the Sultan's forces proved victorious, several Syrian Muslim princes allied themselves with the Latins.

Early on September 14, Roger received intelligence that his opponents were carelessly going into camp at the Tell Danith watering point, near Sarmin. He rapidly advanced and took Bursuq's army by complete surprise. As the Crusaders launched their attack, some Turkish soldiers were still straggling into the camp. Roger marshalled the Frankish army into left, center, and right divisions. Baldwin, Count of Edessa led the left wing while Prince Roger personally commanded the center. The Crusaders attacked in echelon with the left wing leading. On the Frankish right, the Turcopoles, who were employed as archers, were thrown back by a Seljuk counterattack. This disrupted the knights who faced tough fighting before repulsing their enemies on this part of the field. Roger decisively defeated Bursuq's army, ending the long campaign. At least 3,000 Turks were killed and many captured, along with property worth 300,000 bezants. Frankish losses were probably light. Roger's victory preserved the Crusader hold on Antioch.

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Baldwin I of Jerusalem dies

1118 Apr 2

El-Arish, Oula Al Haram, El Om

Baldwin fell seriously ill in late 1116. Thinking that he was dying, he ordered that all his debts be paid off and he started to distribute his money and goods, but he recovered at the start of the following year. To strengthen the defence of the southern frontier, he launched an expedition against Egypt in March 1118. He seized Farama on the Nile Delta without a fight as the townspeople had fled in panic before he reached the town. Baldwin's retainers urged him to attack Cairo, but the old wound that he had received in 1103 suddenly re-opened.

Dying, Baldwin was carried back as far as Al-Arish on the frontier of the Fatimid Empire. On his deathbed, he named Eustace III of Boulogne as his successor, but also authorised the barons to offer the throne to Baldwin of Edessa or "someone else who would rule the Christian people and defend the churches", if his brother did not accept the crown. Baldwin died on 2 April 1118.

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Field of Blood

1119 Jun 28

Sarmadā, Syria

In 1118 Roger captured Azaz, which left Aleppo open to attack from the Crusaders; in response, Ilghazi invaded the Principality in 1119. Roger marched out from Artah with Bernard of Valence, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch. Bernard suggested they remain there, as Artah was a well-defended fortress only a short distance away from Antioch, and Ilghazi would not be able to pass if they were stationed there. The Patriarch also advised Roger to call for help from Baldwin, now king of Jerusalem, and Pons, but Roger felt he could not wait for them to arrive.

Roger camped in the pass of Sarmada, while Ilghazi besieged the fort of al-Atharib. Ilghazi was also waiting for reinforcements from Toghtekin, the Burid emir of Damascus, but he too was tired of waiting. Using little-used paths, his army quickly surrounded Roger's camp during the night of June 27. The prince had recklessly chosen a campsite in a wooded valley with steep sides and few avenues of escape. Roger's army of 700 knights, 500 Armenian cavalry and 3,000 foot soldiers, including turcopoles, hastily formed into five divisions. During the battle, Roger was killed by a sword in the face at the foot of the great jewelled cross which had served as his standard. The rest of the army was killed or captured; only two knights survived. Renaud Mansoer took refuge in the fort of Sarmada to wait for King Baldwin, but was later taken captive by Ilghazi. Among the other prisoners was likely Walter the Chancellor, who later wrote an account of the battle. The massacre led to the name of the battle, ager sanguinis, Latin for "the field of blood."

Ilghazi was defeated by Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Count Pons at the Battle of Hab on August 14, and Baldwin took over the regency of Antioch. Subsequently, Baldwin recovered some of the lost towns. Even so, the defeat at the Field of Blood left Antioch severely weakened, and subject to repeated attacks by the Muslims in the following decade. Eventually, the Principality came under the influence of a resurgent Byzantine Empire.

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Battle of Hab

1119 Aug 14

Ariha, Syria

After his great victory at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, Ilghazi's Turco-Syrian army captured a number of strongholds in the Latin principality. As soon as he heard the news, King Baldwin II brought a force north from his Kingdom of Jerusalem to rescue Antioch. On the way, he picked up a contingent from the County of Tripoli under Count Pons. Baldwin assembled the remnants of Antioch's army and added them to his own soldiers. Then he moved toward Zerdana, 65 kilometers east-southeast of Antioch, which was besieged by Ilghazi.

With adroit use of his reserve knights, Baldwin saved the day. By intervening at each threatened sector, he held his army together during the long and bitter fight. Eventually, the Artuqids admitted defeat and withdrew from the battlefield. Strategically, it was a Christian victory which preserved the Principality of Antioch for several generations. Baldwin II managed to re-take all of the castles conquered by Ilghazi and prevented him from marching on Antioch.

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The Knights Templar founded

1120 Jan 1


After the Franks in the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Fatimid Caliphate in 1099 A.D., many Christians made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in the Holy Land. Although the city of Jerusalem was relatively secure under Christian control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits and marauding highwaymen preyed upon these Christian pilgrims, who were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa through to the interior of the Holy Land.

In 1119, the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request, probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120, and the king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and from this location the new order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasizing the order's poverty

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Siege of Aleppo

1124 Jan 1

Aleppo, Syria

Baldwin II decided to attack Aleppo to free the hostages, including Baldwin's youngest daughter Ioveta, who were handed over to Timurtash to secure the release payment. Therefore, he made an alliance with Joscelin I of Edessa, a Bedouin leader, Dubais ibn Sadaqa from Banu Mazyad and two Seljuq princes, Sultan Shah and Toghrul Arslan. He laid siege to the town on 6 October 1124. In the meantime, the qadi of Aleppo, Ibn al-Khashshab, approached Aqsunqur al-Bursuqi, atabeg of Mosul, seeking his assistance. Upon hearing of al-Bursuqi's arrival, Dubais ibn Sadaqa withdrew from Aleppo, which forced Baldwin to lift the siege on 25 January 1125.

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Battle of Azaz

1125 Jun 11

Azaz, Syria

Al-Bursuqi besieged the town of Azaz, to the north of Aleppo, in territory belonging to the County of Edessa. Baldwin II, Leo I of Armenia, Joscelin I, and Pons of Tripoli, with a force of 1,100 knights from their respective territories (including knights from Antioch, where Baldwin was regent), as well as 2,000 infantry, met al-Bursuqi outside Azaz, where the Seljuk atabeg had gathered his much larger force. Baldwin pretended to retreat, thereby drawing the Seljuks away from Azaz into the open where they were surrounded. After a long and bloody battle, the Seljuks were defeated and their camp captured by Baldwin, who took enough loot to ransom the prisoners taken by the Seljuks (including the future Joscelin II of Edessa).

The number of Muslim troops killed was more than 1,000, according to Ibn al-Athir. William of Tyre gave 24 dead for the Crusaders and 2,000 for the Muslims. Apart from relieving Azaz, this victory allowed the Crusaders to regain much of the influence they had lost after their defeat at Ager Sanguinis in 1119.

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The Rise of the Zengids

1127 Jan 1

Damascus, Syria

Zengi, son of Aq Sunqur al-Hajib, became the Seljuk atabeg of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief Turkic potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqids in 1128 and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders after the siege of Edessa in 1144.

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Zengids take Aleppo

1128 Jan 1

The new;atabeg;of Mosul;Imad al-Din Zengi;seized Aleppo in 1128. The two major Muslim centres' union was especially dangerous for the neighbouring Edessa, but it also worried Damascus's new ruler, Taj al-Muluk Buri. He quickly became the chief Turkic potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq.


Battle of Ba'rin

1137 Jan 1

Baarin, Syria

In early 1137, Zengi invested the castle of Ba'rin, about 10 miles northwest of Homs. When King Fulk marched with his host to raise the siege, his army was attacked and scattered by Zengi's forces.;After their defeat, Fulk and some of the survivors took refuge in Montferrand castle, which Zengi surrounded again. "When they ran out of food they ate their horses, and then they were forced to ask for terms." Meanwhile, large numbers of Christian pilgrims had rallied to the army of Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus, Raymond of Antioch and Joscelin II of Edessa. With this host approaching the castle, Zengi suddenly granted Fulk and the other besieged Franks terms. In return for their freedom and evacuation of the castle, a ransom was set at 50000 dinar. The Franks, unaware of the imminent arrival of the large relieving army, accepted Zengi's offer. Ba'rin was never recovered by the Franks.

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Byzantines takes Armenian Cilicia

1137 Jan 1

Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey

In the Levant, the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus sought to reinforce Byzantine claims to suzerainty over the Crusader States and to assert his rights over Antioch. These rights dated back to the;Treaty of Devol;of 1108, though Byzantium had not been in a position to enforce them. In 1137 he conquered Tarsus, Adana, and Mopsuestia from the Principality of Armenian Cilicia, and in 1138 Prince Levon I of Armenia and most of his family were brought as captives to Constantinople. This opened the route to the Principality of Antioch, where Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, and Joscelin II, Count of Edessa, recognized themselves as vassals of the emperor in 1137. Even Raymond II, the Count of Tripoli, hastened northwards to pay homage to John, repeating the homage that his predecessor had given John's father in 1109.

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Byzantine Siege of Shaizar
John II directs the siege of Shaizar while his allies sit inactive in their camp, French manuscript 1338.


Byzantine Siege of Shaizar

1138 Apr 28

Shaizar, Muhradah, Syria

Freed from immediate external threats in the Balkans or in Anatolia, having defeated the Hungarians in 1129, and having forced the Anatolian Turks on the defensive, the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos could direct his attention to the Levant, where he sought to reinforce Byzantium's claims to suzerainty over the Crusader States and to assert his rights and authority over Antioch.

Control of Cilicia opened the route to the Principality of Antioch for the Byzantines. Faced with the approach of the formidable Byzantine army, Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, and Joscelin II, count of Edessa, hastened to acknowledge the Emperor's overlordship. John demanded the unconditional surrender of Antioch and, after asking the permission of Fulk, King of Jerusalem, Raymond of Poitiers agreed to surrender the city to John.

The siege of Shaizar took place from April 28 to May 21, 1138. The allied forces of the Byzantine Empire, Principality of Antioch and County of Edessa invaded Muslim Syria. Having been repulsed from their main objective, the city of Aleppo, the combined Christian armies took a number of fortified settlements by assault and finally besieged Shaizar, the capital of the Munqidhite Emirate. The siege captured the city, but failed to take the citadel; it resulted in the Emir of Shaizar paying an indemnity and becoming the vassal of the Byzantine emperor. The forces of Zengi, the greatest Muslim prince of the region, skirmished with the allied army but it was too strong for them to risk battle. The campaign underlined the limited nature of Byzantine suzerainty over the northern Crusader states and the lack of common purpose between the Latin princes and the Byzantine emperor.

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The Loss of Crusader State of Edessa

1144 Nov 28

Şanlıurfa, Turkey

The County of Edessa was the first of the crusader states to be established during and after the First Crusade. It dates from 1098 when Baldwin of Boulogne left the main army of the First Crusade and founded his own principality. Edessa was the most northerly, the weakest, and the least populated; as such, it was subject to frequent attacks from the surrounding Muslim states ruled by the Ortoqids, Danishmends, and Seljuk Turks. Count Baldwin II and future count Joscelin of Courtenay were taken captive after their defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104. Joscelin was captured a second time in 1122, and although Edessa recovered somewhat after the Battle of Azaz in 1125, Joscelin was killed in battle in 1131. His successor Joscelin II was forced into an alliance with the Byzantine Empire, but in 1143 both the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus and the King of Jerusalem Fulk of Anjou died. Joscelin had also quarreled with Raymond II of Tripoli and Raymond of Poitiers, leaving Edessa with no powerful allies.

Zengi, already seeking to take advantage of Fulk's death in 1143, hurried north to besiege Edessa, arriving on November 28. The city had been warned of his arrival and was prepared for a siege, but there was little they could do while Joscelin and the army were elsewhere. Zengi surrounded the entire city, realizing that there was no army defending it. He built siege engines and began to mine the walls, while his forces were joined by Kurdish and Turcoman reinforcements. The inhabitants of Edessa resisted as much as they could, but had no experience in siege warfare; the city's numerous towers remained unmanned. They also had no knowledge of counter-mining, and part of the wall near the Gate of the Hours collapsed on December 24. Zengi's troops rushed into the city, killing all those who were unable to flee to the Citadel of Maniaces.

News of the fall of Edessa reached Europe, and Raymond of Poitiers had already sent a delegation including Hugh, Bishop of Jabala, to seek aid from Pope Eugene III. On December 1, 1145, Eugene issued the papal bull Quantum praedecessores calling for the Second Crusade.

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