1096 to 1099
by Something Something
The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The initial objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Islamic rule. These campaigns were subsequently given the name crusades. The earliest initiative for the First Crusade began in 1095 when the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I Komnenos, requested military support from the Council of Piacenza in the Byzantine Empire's conflict with the Seljuk-led Turks. This was followed later in the Year by the Council of Clermont, during which Pope Urban II supported the Byzantine request for military assistance and also urged faithful Christians to undertake an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Table of Contents / Timeline
1095 Jan 1 -
The causes of the First Crusade are widely debated among historians. The motivation of the Crusaders is unknown.
Situation in Europe
By the start of the 11th century, the influence of the papacy had declined to that of little more than a localised bishopric.
Situation in the East
Compared with Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world were historic centres of wealth, culture and military power. The first waves of Turkic migration into the Middle East enjoined Arab and Turkic history from the 9th century. The status quo in Western Asia was challenged by later waves of Turkish migration, particularly the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the 10th century.
The Byzantine Emperor asks for help
1095 Mar 1 -
The Battle of Manzikert
Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos, worried about the advances of the Seljuqs in the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert, who had reached as far west as Nicaea, sent envoys to the Council of Piacenza in March 1095 to ask Pope Urban II for aid against the invading Turks.
Council of Clermont
1095 Nov 27 -
The People's Crusade
1096 Apr 12 -
Several groups organically formed and headed their own crusader 'armies' (or mob) and headed towards the holy land by way of the Balkans. A charismatic monk and powerful orator named Peter the Hermit of Amiens was the spiritual leader of the movement. Peter gathered his army at Cologne on 12 April 1096. There were also many knights among the peasants, including Walter Sans Avoir, who was lieutenant to Peter and led a separate army.
The Rhineland massacres
1096 May 1 -
Cologne to Hungary
1096 May 8 -
The voyage towards Constantinople started peaceful but met with some conflicts in Hungary, Serbia, Nis. King Coloman the Learned, had to deal with the problems that the armies of the First Crusade caused during their march across Hungary towards the Holy Land in 1096. He defeated and massacred two crusader hordes to prevent their pillaging raids in Kingdom of Hungary. Emicho's army eventually continued into Hungary but was defeated by the army of Coloman. Emicho's followers dispersed; some eventually joined the main armies, although Emicho himself went home.
Walter Sans Avoir
1096 May 10 -
Walter Sans Avoir, a few thousand French crusaders left before Peter and reached Hungary on 8 May, passing through Hungary without incident and arriving at the river Sava at the border of the Byzantine territory at Belgrade. The Belgrade commander was taken by surprise, having no orders on what to do with them, and refused entry, forcing the crusaders to pillage the countryside for food. This resulted in skirmishes with the Belgrade garrison and, to make matters worse, sixteen of Walter's men had tried to rob a market in Zemun across the river in Hungary and were stripped of their armor and clothing, which was hung from the castle walls.
Trouble in Belgrade
1096 Jun 26 -
Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia
In Zemun, the crusaders became suspicious, seeing Walter's sixteen suits of armor hanging from the walls, and eventually a dispute over the price of a pair of shoes in the market led to a riot, which then turned into an all-out assault on the city by the crusaders, in which 4,000 Hungarians were killed. The crusaders then fled across the river Sava to Belgrade, but only after skirmishing with Belgrade troops. The residents of Belgrade fled, and the crusaders pillaged and burned the city.
Trouble at Niš
1096 Jul 3 -
Then they marched for seven days, arriving at Niš on 3 July. There, the commander of Niš promised to provide escort for Peter's army to Constantinople as well as food, if he would leave right away. Peter obliged, and the next morning he set out. However, a few Germans got into a dispute with some locals along the road and set fire to a mill, which escalated out of Peter's control until Niš sent out its entire garrison against the crusaders. The crusaders were completely routed, losing about 10,000 (a quarter of their number), the remainder regrouping further on at Bela Palanka. When they reached Sofia on 12 July they met their Byzantine escort, which brought them safely the rest of the way to Constantinople by 1 August.
The People's Crusade in Constantinople
1096 Aug 1 -
They reached Constantinople by 1 August. Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, not knowing what else to do with such an unusual and unexpected "army", quickly ferried all 30,000 across the Bosporus by 6 August. Alexius warned Peter not to engage the Turks, whom he believed to be superior to Peter's motley army, and to wait for the main body of crusaders, which was still on the way.
The People's Crusade in Asia Minor
1096 Sep 1 -
Nicomedia (Izmit), Turkey
Peter was rejoined by the French under Walter Sans-Avoir and a number of bands of Italian crusaders who had arrived at the same time. Once in Asia Minor, they began to pillage towns and villages until they reached Nicomedia, where an argument broke out between the Germans and Italians on one side and the French on the other. The Germans and Italians split off and elected a new leader, an Italian named Rainald, while for the French, Geoffrey Burel took command. Peter had effectively lost control of the crusade.
Battle of Civetot
1096 Oct 21 -
Back at the main crusaders' camp, two Turkish spies had spread rumors that the Germans who had taken Xerigordos had also taken Nicaea, which caused excitement to get there as soon as possible to share in the looting. Three miles from the camp, where the road entered a narrow, wooded valley near the village of Dracon, the Turkish army was waiting. When approaching the valley, the crusaders marched noisily and were immediately subjected to a hail of arrows. Panic set in immediately and within minutes, the army was in full rout back to the camp. Most of the crusaders were slaughtered; however, women, children, and those who surrendered were spared. Eventually the Byzantines under Constantine Katakalon sailed over and raised the siege; these few thousand returned to Constantinople, the only survivors of the People's Crusade.
1096 Nov 1 -
Siege of Nicaea
1097 Jun 1 -
Battle of Dorylaeum
1097 Jul 1 -
The crusaders had left Nicaea on 26 June 1097, with a deep distrust of the Byzantines, who had taken the city without their knowledge after the lengthy siege of Nicaea. In order to simplify the problem of supplies, the Crusader army had split into two groups; the weaker led by Bohemond of Taranto, his nephew Tancred, Robert Curthose, Robert of Flanders, and the Byzantine general Tatikios in the vanguard, and Godfrey of Bouillon, his brother Baldwin of Boulogne, Raymond IV of Toulouse, Stephen II of Blois, and Hugh of Vermandois in the rear.
On 29 June, they learnt that the Turks were planning an ambush near Dorylaeum (Bohemond noticed that his army was being shadowed by Turkish scouts). The Turkish force, consisting of Kilij Arslan and his ally Hasan of Cappadocia, along with help from the Danishmends, led by the Turkish prince Gazi Gümüshtigin. Contemporary figures place the number of Turks as between 25,000–30,000, with more recent estimates are between 6,000 and 8,000 men.
The Battle of Dorylaeum took place during the First Crusade on 1 July 1097, between the Seljuk Turks and the Crusaders, near the city of Dorylaeum in Anatolia. Despite the Turkish forces of Kilij Arslan almost destroying the Crusader contingent of Bohemond, other Crusaders arrived just in time for a very close victory.
The crusaders did indeed become rich, at least for a short time, after capturing Kilij Arslan's treasury. The Turks fled and Arslan turned to other concerns in his eastern territory.
Siege of Antioch
1097 Oct 21 -
Baldwin captures Edessa
1098 Jan 1 -
Bohemond takes Antioch
1098 Jun 2 -
Bohemond persuaded the other leaders that if Antioch fell he would keep it for himself and that an Armenian commander of a section of the cities walls had agreed to enable the crusaders to enter. Stephen of Blois had been his only competitor and while deserting his message to Alexius that the cause was lost persuaded the Emperor to halt his advance through Anatolia at Philomelium before returning to Constantinople. Alexius failure to reach the siege was used by Bohemond to rationalise his refusal to return the city to the Empire as promised. The Armenian, Firouz, helped Bohemond and a small party enter the city on the 2nd June and open a gate at which point horns were sounded, the city's Christian majority opened the other gates and the crusaders entered. In the sack they killed most of the Muslim inhabitants and many Christian Greeks, Syrians and Armenians in the confusion.
The besiegers have become the besieged
1098 Jun 4 -
The besiegers have become the besieged. On 4 June the vanguard of Kerbogha's 40,000 strong army arrived surrounding the Franks. From 10 June for 4 days waves of Kerbogha's men assailed the city walls from dawn until dusk. Bohemond and Adhemar barred the city gates to prevent mass desertions and managed to hold out. Kerbogha then changed tactics to trying to starve the crusaders out.
The Battle of Antioch
1098 Jun 28 -
Morale inside the city was low and defeat looked imminent but a peasant visionary called Peter Bartholomew claimed the apostle St Andrew came to him to show the location of the Holy Lance that had pierced Christ on the cross. This supposedly encouraged the crusaders but the accounts are misleading as it was two weeks before the final battle for the city. On 24 June the Franks sought terms for surrender that were refused. On 28 June 1098 at dawn the Franks marched out of the city in four battle groups to engage the enemy. Kerbogha allowed them to deploy with the aim of destroying them in the open. However the discipline of the Muslim army did not hold and a disorderly attack was launched. Unable to overrun a bedraggled force they outnumbered two to one Muslims attacking the Bridge Gate fled through the advancing main body of the Muslim army. With very few casualties the Muslim army broke and fled the battle.
Siege of Jerusalem
1099 Jun 13 -
Supplies and siege weapons arrive
1099 Jun 17 -
Jaffa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
1099 Jul 10 -
Siege of Jerusalem: The Final Assault
1099 Jul 14 -
Siege of Jerusalem: Massacre
1099 Jul 15 -
The Kingdom of Jerusalem
1099 Jul 22 -
Battle of Ascalon
1099 Aug 12 -
1100 Jan 1 -
The majority of crusaders now considered their pilgrimage complete and returned home. Only 300 knights and 2,000 infantry remained to defend Palestine. Relations between the newly created Crusader states of the County of Edessa and Principality of Antioch were variable. The Franks became fully engaged in Near East politics with the result that Muslims and Christians often fought each other. Antioch's territorial expansion ended in 1119 with a major defeat to the Turks at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, the Field of Blood.
- Asbridge, Thomas (2012). The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84983-688-3.
- Frankopan, Peter (2012). The First Crusade: The Call from the East. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-05994-8.
- Gil, Moshe (1997) . A History of Palestine, 634–1099. Translated by Ethel Broido. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59984-9.
- Madden, Thomas (2005). New Concise History of the Crusades. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-3822-2.
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