1902 Encyclopedia > The Crusades

The Crusades

The Crusades were a series of wars undertaken professedly for the purpose of delivering the Holy Land from the dominion of the infidel, and so named from the cross worn as a badge by those who devoted themselves to the worn as a badge by those who devoted themselves to the enterprise. These wars, it was held, were rendered necessary, not only by the profanation involved in the fact of Mahometan rule over the country which had been the birthplace and cradle of Christianity, but by the insults and injuries constantly inflicted on Christianity pilgrims. From age to age the belief had been growing that no work could conduce more to the soul’s health than a visit to the holy places of Palestine. In proportion to the rapidity with which this belief had spread over the Christian world, a feeling of vehement indignation was awakened by the likelihood, if not the certainty, that the Saracen conqueror would put his ban on the performance of that which was deemed to be an act of the highest Christian duty.

It is scarcely necessary to say that this was not a notion which can be traced back to the earliest ages of the Christian church, an that the creed of the first believers was in this respect in complete antagonism with the idea which brought the Jews year by year to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. The local ritual which belonged to the only temple known to the Jews had for them been displaced by a purely spiritual worship, which proclaimed that men were as near to God in one place as in another. In whatever channel their feelings might otherwise have run, the circumstances of the Christian church in the first century left absolutely no room for the development of local association. Yet a few years, and the history of this weary world be closed by the return of the Son of man to judgment, and by the summons which should call the dead from their graves. But the course of events which led to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman empire insured the growth of sentiment far more nearly allied to that of the Jewish pilgrims, when gathered for the great annual feast in the city of David. The Christian coverts in Rome and Corinth, in Athens and Alexandria, had been worshippers of the Capitoline Jupiter, or the Olympian Zeus, of Isis and Osiris, of Phoebus, Artemis, or Mithras. That these coverts had undergone a vast change for the better we need not and we cannot doubt ; but the framework of their old associations had not been broken, and the men who had followed the journeyings of Phoebus from his birthplace in Delos to his final home in Delphi, might now with feelings immeasurably deeper and more earnest move from the spot to spot noted in the gospel narratives, until the pilgrimage begun in the grotto of Bethelehem ended on the mount of the ascension. The whole of Palestine thus became sacred soil, but for a time the rapid growth of this local veneration called forth something like remonstrance or warning. Teacher like Augustine could remind their hearers that they were not to seek righteousness in the East, nor mercy in the West, and that a voyage to the Holy Land was a useless task for men whose faith placed them at once in the immediate presence of their Lord. But the practice of some among them was not altogether consistent with their precepts. Jerome could insists that heaven was not more easily approached from Palestine than from Britain ; but the saint had crossed the sea to take up his abode in a cave at Bethlehem, and had nor re buke to offer to the Roman ladies who followed him, partly to feast upon this eloquence, and in part to derive strength and comfort from contemplating the scenes of the Saviour’s ministry. Such feelings seldom fail to provide their own nourishment. The vehement devotion stirred by the sight of Cavalry would impart a priceless value to that instrument of punishment which by bearing the body of Jesus had become veritably a tree of life ; and in due time the yearning for this relic was rewarded by its discovery. Its genuineness had been attested by the healing a dying woman who derived no benefit from touching the crosses to which the two thieves had been fastened ; and the great churches built by the first Christian emperor and his mother over the Holy Sepulchre and the Cave of the Cave of the Nativity became sanctuaries which the Christians regarded with a devotion immeasurably more passionate than that which the Jews felt fro the temple at Jerusalem. The stream of pilgrims, which probably had long been gathering volume, now swelled into something ;like the proportions of the flood ; and each man found not merely that he could worship on spots which brought him nearer to heaven, but that the devotion of the faithful had one or was doing much to smooth the difficulties of lessen the dangers of his journey. It was not wonderful that the enthusiasm thus fostered should give birth to convictions which no calamities could destroy or even shake. According to this new belief the shirt which the pilgrim wore when the entered Jerusalem would, if used as his winding-sheet, carry him straight to heaven. His death, if it happened during his sojourn in Palestine, made him an object of envy to his kinsfolk and friends. If the returned home, he was treated as one whose sins had been washed away, and perhaps as the bearer of relics whose virtues were so potent as to make the weary journey to Jerusalem a work of supererogation.

The tide of pilgrimage thus flowing steadily onwards was first arrested by the armies of the Persian king, Khosru II., the grandson of the Nushirvan. Jerusalem was taken 611 A.D. ; 90,000 Christians, it is said, were slaughtered ; and the disaster was crowned by the carrying away of the true cross into Persia. Marching on into Egypt, Khosru received a letter from a citizen of Mecca, charging him to acknowledge Mahomet as the prophet of the one God. He tore the letter into shreds. Mahomet replied only by warning him that his treatment of the letter was a sign of the way in which his kingdom would be treated by-and-by. The punishment of Khosru was to come, however, not from Mahomet, but from the Emperor Heraclius, who, waking from the sluggish inactivity of the earlier part of his reign, defeated the Persian in the passes of Mount Taurus, and destroyed the birthplace of Zoroaster. In the end Khosru was murdered by his son Siroes, from whom Heraclius recovered the true cross by a treaty which also delivered those of his subjects who had been taken prisoners by the Persian. In the following year, 629, Heraclius himself knelt among the worshippers it the church of the Holy Sepulche. Eight years later 637, the disciples of Mahomet now lords of Damascus, laid siege to Jerusalem ; but after a blockade of four months a treaty made with the caliph Omar in person secured to the Christians not merely the safety of their persons and goods, but the free exercise of their religion, subject only to the conditions that Mahometans should have the right of admission to their churches at all hours ; that the cross should not be seen on the exterior of any building, or be carried not be seen on the exterior of any building, or be carried about the streets ; and finally, that the Christians should be disarmed, and should show respect to their conquerors by wearing a distinguishing dress and by rising up at the approached of true believers. The hardships thus imposed may have been sensibly felt ; but pilgrims and merchants still came and went practically without let or hindrance ; and even the attack of the Fatimite caliph Hakem, four centuries later, 1010, scarcely changed things for the worse. The rule of his predecessors in Egypt had for the Christians been lighter than that of the Abbasside caliphs of Baghdad ; but the object on which the man Hakem had set his heart was nothing less than the destruction of the great Christian sanctuary. Such persecution as there was fell on the Jews only, and the tax imposed on each pilgrim and levied on his entering Jerusalem was probably and resented, as a wrong. To the wealthier Christians it brought an opportunity for securing a higher degree of merit by paying the charge for their poorer brethren, while the completion of the first Christian millennium removed a burden which had lain with increasing heaviness on the spirits and energies of men, and gave a fresh, impetus to the feeling which carried the devout to the Holy Land. The end of the 10th century, it was almost university believed, would be the end of the world. The beginning of a new age relieved them of this mental incubus, and the stream of pilgrims became larger than ever. The path followed by these devotes was not always strewn with roses. Inclement seasons, poverty, and sickness proved fatal to many ; but these disasters were not caused by the attack of open eneies, and the the coversion of Hungary removed a formidable obstacle for those who had to traverse the heart of Europe in order to reach Palestine.

A few years later these fairer prospects were permanently clouded by the advance of the Seljukian Turks, who in their inroads into the Eastern empire found themselves effectually aided by the subjects of the emperor. The causes of discontent were indeed many and deep. Extortion and tyranny, both secular and ecclesiastical,. Had alienated thousands, while the population was seriously lessened by the accumulation of land in the hands of a few owners. Before the close of the 11th century, 1076, Jerusalem had opened her gates to the Seljukian themselves subjected henceforth to indefinite extortion, to wanton insult, and to masscare. The santuaries of the Christian were profaned, their worship was interrupted, their patriarchs were thrown into dangerous. The effect of these changes was felt not by the devoiut only. The supplying of their wants, had called forth the energies of merchants ; and the fleets of Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi hurried to the parts of fleets of Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi hurried to the ports of the Holy Land for the great Easter fair at Jerusalem. All these were now driven away, and there remained only the miserable train of pilgrims, who returned to Europe, if they returned at all, with tales of the indignities done to, men, women, and children alike.

The recital of these wrongs went far towards fanning into flame the feeling which the popes had hitherto failed to waken in sufficient strength. The idea of an armed host which should inflict summary vengeance on the oppressors of the Christian had already dawned on the mind of the great Hilderbrand, Gregory VII. ; it had been vehemently urged by his successor Victor III. ; but neither had struck the right chord. Such enterprises can never be set in motion with any solid results, expect when the flood tide of popular feeling gives its own weight to the flood tide of popular feeling gives its own weight to the sanction of religious authority. Nor was this result more satisfactory when, in 1081, Robert Guiscard set out from Brundusium (Brindisi) with a fleet of 150 ships and a force of 30,000 men. Guiscard himself besieged Dyrrchachium (Durazzo) in vain ; under his son Bohemond his fleet was miserably defeated. Four years later Guiscard made another attempt, which was frustrated by his death at Cefalonia (Kephallenia). But Hildebrand had been dead only ten years when a vast throng of clerks and laymen was gathered to meet Urban II. at Piacenza (Placentia). In Italy, however, Urban felt that he could not look for the enthusiasm which would justify him in making the final venture. From Piacenza he made his way to his old home in the great abbey of Cluny, and in the autumn of 1095 appeared at Clemont, in the territories of the count of Auvergne.

Here he found that there was no longer any need of holding back. To the north of the Alps the indignation of the people had been roused to fever the heat by the preaching of Peter the Hermit. With the stature and ungainliness of a dwarf, emancipated by the austerities of his self-imposed discipline, this man, who had forsaken his wife and abandoned his military standard under the counts of Boulogne, had retuned from the Holy Land with his heart on fire, not so much from the memory of the hardships which the had himself undergone as for the cruelties and tortures which he had seen inflicted on his fellow Christians. Simeon, the patriarch of Jerusalem, to whom he first betook himself, could only bewail the weakness of the emperor and of his government. "The nations of the West shall take arms in your cause," was the reply of the hermit, who soon afterwards, armed with the special blessing of Urban II., mounted his ass, and with bare head and feet, carrying a huge crucifix, traversed the Teutonic lands, rousing everywhere the uncontrollable indignation which developed his own soul. His vehemence carried all before him, none the less, perhaps, because he bade them remember that no sins were too heinous to be washed away by the waters of the Jordan, no evil habits too deadly to be condoned for the one good work which should make them champions of the cross, Urban, however, and his councellors knew well that before the fatal die could be prudently cast, a serious task lay before them. The system of feudalism substituted personal ascendancy for the dominion of law ; and whatever the personal bond failed, the resort was inevitably to private war. The practice of such wars had become virtually an organized trade; and if a large proportion of the population should be drawn away to fight against the infidel in Palestine, those who remained at home would be without defence. Such wars were therefore formally condemned ; the women and the clergy, merchants and husbandmen, were placed under the special protection of the church, and the Truce of God was solemnly confirmed. The nearer and more immediate dangers being thus guarded against, Urban from a lofty scaffold addressed the assembled multitude, dwelling in the first place, and perhaps not altogether prudently, on the cowardice of the Turks, and on the title to victory which birth in temperate climate conferred on the Christian. They were thus sure of success, and sure, too, to win an infinitely higher blessing—the remission of their sins. Sufferings and torments more excruciating than any which they could picture to themselves might indeed await them; but the agonies their bodies would redeem their souls. "Go then," he said, "on your errand of love which will put out of sight all the ties that bind you to the spots which you have called your homes. Your homes, in truth, they are not. For the Christian all the world is exile, and all the world is at the same time his country. If you leave a rich patrimony here, at a better patrimony awaits you in the Holy Land. They who die will enter the mansions of heaven, while the living shall pay their vows before the sepulcher of their Lord. Blessed are they who, taking this vow upon them, shall obtain such a recompense ; happy they who are led to such a conflict, that they may share in such rewards." With the passionate outburst," It is the will of God, it is will of God," the vast throng broke in upon the Pontiff’s words. "It is, indeed, His will," the Pope went on, "and let these words be your war-cry when you find yourselves in presence of the enemy. You are soldier of the cross ; wear then on your breast or on your shoulders the blood-red sign of him who died for the salvation of your souls."

So was sanctioned the mighty enterprise which hurled the forces of Latin Christendom on the infidels who had crushed the East under the yoke of Islam ; and so it received its name. Of the thousands who hastened to put on the badge the greater number were animate probably by the most disinterested motives, while some had their eyes fixed on the results of more politic calculations. For the multitude at large there was the paramount attraction of an enterprise which the abbot Guibert boldly, put before them as a new mode of salvation, which enabled the layman without laying aside his habits of wild licence to reach a height of perfection scarcely to be attained by the most austere monk or the most devoted priest. Nay more, the assumption of the cross set the debtor free from his creditor so long as he wore the sacred badge, opened the prison door for the malefactor, annulled the jurisdiction of the lord over the burgher or the peasant, and enabled the priest and the monk to escape from the monotony of the parish and the cloister. It might be thought that these privileges would tell hardly on the creditor, the capitalist, and usurer ; but these reaped the most solid benefits. The princes who bound themselves by the vow must provide equipment for themselves and their followers, and carry with them sums of money sufficient for their needs. These sums be raised by loan or mortgage ; and as all wished to get horses, arms and money in exchange for the lands, the former became inordinately dear, the latter absurdly cheap. Thus the real gain lay on the side of the merchant and the trader, or of the landowner who was prudent enough to add to his own domains by availing by availing himself of the necessities of his neighbour. All this, however, had been effected by the authority and sanction of the Holy See, which had taken under its protection the dominions of all crusading princess. It was for the Pope to decide whether those who had taken the vow should set off at once, whether some grace time should be allowed, or whether the vow should be remitted altogether. The Pope became therefore possessed of a dispensing power which placed him virtually above all other sovereigns. His gains, moreover were, immediate. The crusades tended, beyond doubt, to merge the smaller into larger fiefs, which again were absorbed into the royal domain, thus largely promoting that growth of the sovereign power which in the end broke up the feudal system. Those results belonged to the distant future ; but the Pope was enabled, rather he was constrained, to send his legates into every land, both to enlist soldiers under the standard of the cross, and to collect money for their support. He became thus at once the administrator of vast revenues which were raised partly by subsidies imposed as a necessary obligation on the clergy, and in part by the voluntary contributions of the laity. With the Pope the ecclesiastical body generally acquired enormous power. The lands of the church, though money might be borrowed upon them, could not alienated ; but it was only in comparatively a few instances that it was necessary to burden them at all. The monastic houses might send some of their members to the Holy Land ; the rest remained at home, and became mortragees or trustees belonging to the crusaders. If these died heirs, the guardians became absolute owners ; and of those who returned not a few withdraw into the cloister, and endowed with their worldly goods the community which they joined.

In the enterprise sanctioned by the Council Clermont, no nation, as such, took any part ; and this fact serves perhaps to explain measure of its success and its failures Had it been necessary to wait for strictly national action, the work perhaps would never have been done at all ; but had it been a national undertaking some attempt must have been made to establish a commissariat, and to insure something like harmonious and efficient generalship. As it was, the crusading army was simply a gathering of individual adventurers who depended on their own resources, or reckless pilgrims who neither possessed nor cared to provide any. The contributions made to this army by the different countries of Europe varied largely. From Italy, where the charm was in great part dispelled by the struggle between Pope and anti-Pope, few came besides the Normans who had fought under the standards of Robert Guiscard. The Spaniards were fully occupied with a crusade nearer home, which was to turn the tide of Mahometan conquest that had once passed the barriers of the Pyrenees and threatened to flow onwards to the shores of the Baltic. In Germany there was no great eagerness among partisans of emperors whom popes has sought to humble, to undertake a difficult and dangerous pilgrimage. In England the condition of things which followed the victory of William over Harold prevented both the conquerors and their subjects from commintting themselves to distant enterprises, while the Red King more anxious to have the duchy of is brother Robert in pledge than ready to run the risk of losing his own kingdom. Thus the task of reconquering Palestine fell to princes of the second order. Foremost among these was Godfrey of Bouillon in the Ardennes, duke of Lothringen (Lorraine), whose high personal character brought to his standard, we are told, not less than 10,000 horsemen and 80,000 infantry, and who was accomplished by his brothers Baldwin and Eustace count of Boulogne. Next to him, perhaps, may be place count of Boulogne. Next to him, perhaps, may be placed (1) Hugh, count of Vermandois, surnamed the Great, according to some, as being the brother of Philip I., the French king, or as others would have it, simply from his stature ; ( 2) Robert, duke of Normandy, who had pawned his duchy to his brother the English king, and who was destined to end his days in the dungeons of Cardiff castle ; (3) Robert, count of Flanders, celebrated by his followers as the Sword and Lance of the Christians ; (4) Stephen, count of Chartres, Troyes, and Blois ; (5) Adhemar (Aymer), bishop of Puy, the first of the clergy who assumed the cross, and rewarded as such with the office of Papal legate; (6) Raymond, count of Toulouse, lord of Auvergne and Languedoc, the leader, it is said, of 160,000 horse and foot, and widely known for his haughtiness and his avarice not less than fro his courage and his wisdom ; (7) the politic and ambitions Bohemond, son of Robert Guiscard, who had left to him, not his Apulian domains, but only the principality of Tarentum, to which Bohemond was resolved to add a kingdom stretching from the Dalmatian coast to the northern shores of the Aegean Sea ; (8) Tancred, son of the Marquis Odo the Good and of Emma, the sister of Robert Guiscard, the hero who beyond all his colleagues appears as the embodiment of those peculiar sentiments which gave rise to the crusades, and who approaches nearest to the idea of Chaucer’s "very perfect gentle knight."

The Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1096, had been fixed at the Council o Clermont as the day on which the crusaders should set off for Constantinople ; but the little more half the interval had gone by, when the hermit Peter undertook the task of leading to Palestine a motley crowd of men and women. Peter was accompanied as far as Cologne by Walter the Pennyless, who thence led his followers to Hungary, while another multitude marched under Emico, count of Leiningen, and a fourth followed the guidance of the monk Gotschalk. Behind those came, we are told, a throng of men, women, and children, amounting to 200,000, under standards on which were painted a goose and a goat, symbols of the mysterious faith of Gnostics and Paulicians. These undisciplined multitudes turned fiercely upon the Jews, who were massacred in the streets of Verdum, Trevers , and the great Rhenish cities, until the emperor interfered and took them under his protection. Of the followers of Peter 7000 only, it is said, reached Constantinople. These by the orders of the Emperor Alexius were at once conveyed across the Bosphorus, and there, with the bands of Walter the Pennyless, fell into a trip laid for them by the Seljukian Sultan David, surnamed Kilidj Arslan, the Sword of the Lion. A heap of bones alone remained to tell the story of their destruction, when the hosts under Godfrey came thither on their march to Palestine. These had advanced unopposed as far as the Hungarian border, where three weeks lost in negotiations with the Hungarian king, who dreaded a repetition of the violence which his people had suffered at the had suffered at the hands of the rabble led by Peter and the moneyless Walter. With Stephen of Charters, Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy, Hugh of Vermandois had set out to make his way through Italy, and taken ship at Bari. Wrecked on the coast between Palos and Durazzo, he was detained at the later place until the pleasure of the Emperor Alexius should be known. Alexius at once ordered that he should be brought to Constantinople, and so charmed his prisoner by the gracious manner which he could up on put on our off at will, that Hugh not only him homage and declared himself his man, but promised so far as he could to get his colleagues to follow his example.

The tidings of Hugh’s detention roused the wrath of Godfrey, who, having in vain demanded his release, marched from Philippolis, and appeared before the walls of Constantinople at Christmas 1096. Alexius say before Alexius saw before him a mighty host ; another not less formidable was on its way, he was told, under Bohemond and Tancred ; and Bohemond, as he knew, claimed by right of inheritance no small part of his empire. These swarms he had brought upon his land by his appeals for the aid of Western Christendom, and he was now anxious at one moment to rid himself of their presence, at another to win the submission of the crusading chiefs, and so obtain a hold on their future conquests. At length a compact was made by which they gave him their fealty so long only as they remained within his borders, and pledged themselves to restore those of their conquests which had been recently wrested from the empire, while on his part he promised to supply them with food and to protect all pilgrims passing through hi dominions. Bohemon, on reaching Constantinople, was indignant when he learnt that his colleagues had become vassals of the emperor ; but he soon found that he must at least appear to follow their example, and he was repaid by a splendid bribe from Alexius, who adopted Godfrey as his son. With Raymond of Toulouse Alexius had a harder task. This chief, who scarcely regarded himself as the vassal even of the French king, refused to do more than be the emperor’s friends on equal terms, even though Bohemond threatened that, if the quarrel came to blows, he should be on the side of Alexius. The latter, however, soon saw through the temper of Raymond ; and the harmony which followed this dispute was so thorough that Anna Comnena could speak of him as shining among the barbarians as the sun among the stars of heaven.

It was not until the Feast of Pentecost, 1097, that the last of the bands of latin pilgrims was conveyed to the Asiatic shore. During the whole interval the risk of conflict between the Latins and Greeks had been great. Between them there was in truth a radical opposition. The crusading chiefs hated the idea of central authority, and clung the right of private war as the dearest of their privileges. Of public law they could scarcely be said to know anything. The Greeks, on the other hand, were ready to put up with a large amount of corruption in their rulers so long as these secured to them the protection of person and property. Among the Latins, again, the clergy having been brought by Hildebrand and Damiani under the voke f celibacy, had become a close order or caste, which shrunk from the notion of allegiance to any temporal master, As a rule the Greek priests were married; and as they owned the authority of the emperor, they were despised by their Western brethren for their cowardice. In short, there was nothing to bring the two peoples together, and everything to exasperate the suspicion and hatred which had grown up between them.

Whatever may have been the numbers of the crusaders (and the chaplain of Count Baldwin could speak of them as six millions), they found themselves on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus confronted by a formidable adversary in Kilidj Arslan, who, retreating with his horsemen to the mountains, swooped down upon the Christians, by whom his capital city of Nice (Nikaia) was vainly invested for seven weeks. At length the city was surrendered, not to the crusaders but to Alexius, and the former, advancing on their eastward march, were again confronted by the Turks near the Phyrgian Dorylaeum. The battle, desperately contested in the complete defeat of the latter ; but the son of Kilidj Arslan, hastening on before the crusaders as they marched to Cogni, Erekli and the Pisidian Antioch, gave before the gates of each city that he was come as a conqueror. On his way he had ravaged the land ; in the towns the houses had been plundered and the granaries emptied ; and the crusaders hat to journey through a country which could supply nothing. The burning caused fatal sickness ; and as if these miseries were not enough, the acquisition of Tarsus was followed by an attempt at private war between Tancred and Baldwin, owing to a dispute for the precedence of their banners. The remissness of the enemy, which might easily have cut them off in the passes of Mount Taurus, allowed them to march safely through the defiles ; and Baldwin, Godfrey’s brother, was enabled to comply with a request for help made by the Greek or Armenian ruler of Edessa. Welcomed into the city Baldwin made himself master, and the Latin principally of Edessa thus established lasted for fifty-four or, as some have supposed, forty-seven years.

In the Syrian Antioch the crusaders hoped to win a splendid prize at the cost at little effort or none. Its walls were mostly in ruins ; but the Seljukian governor, Baghasian, had resolved on determined resistance. The siege which followed has no interest for the military historian. At no time was the blockade complete, and it was brought to a successful issue only by treachery. Three months had already passed when the crusaders found themselves in desperate straits for want of food. They had wasted with frantic folly the cattle, the corn, and the wine which had fallen into their hands ; and when this first famine was relieved by a foraging expedition under Tancred, the supplies so brought in were wasted with equal recklessness. A second famine drove away not only Taticius, the lieutenant of the Greek emperor, but William of Melun, whose sledge-hammer blows dealt in battle had won him the surname of the Carpenter, and even the hermit Peter. Taticius made his way to Cyprus ; the other two were caught and brought back to the camp by Trancred. It was at this, when the general prospect seemed so discouraging, that envoys from the Fatimite caliph of Egypt offered to guarantee to all unarmed pilgrims an unmolested sojourn of one month in Jerusalem, and to aid the crusaders on their march to the Holy City, if they would acknowledge his supremacy within the bounds of his Syrian empire. The reply of the crusaders was brief and definite. God had destined Jerusalem for Christians ; if any others held it, they were invaders who must be cast out. This defiance was followed by a victory won over some reinforcements which were hastening from Caesarea and other cities to the aid of Baghasian. But the time went on ; the siege was still protected ; and there were rumours that a Persian army was approaching. To Bohemend it seemed that there was no hope of success except from fraud, and that from fraud he might reap a goodly harvest. In a renegade Christian Phirouz he found a traitor ready to do his work ; and he as able now to announced in the council that he could place the city in their would allow him to rule in Antioch as Baldwin ruled in Edessa. In spite of a protest from Raymond of Toulouse the compact was accepted, 1098 ; and on the same night Bohemond with a few followers climbed the wall, and having seized ten tower, of which they killed all the guards, opened a gate, and admitted the Christian hosts. In the confusion which followed their entrance some of the besieged shut themselves up in the citadel. Of the rest 10,000 it is said, were massacred. Baghasian escaped beyond the besieger’s lines ; but he fell from his horse, and a Syrian Christian, cutting off his head, carried it to the camp of the crusaders, who now passed from famine to plenty, from extreme hunger to wild riot. They were commiting a blunder as well as a sin. The Persians were at hand ; and the Turks in the citadel that the crusaders lay between themselves and the hosts of Kerboga, prince of Mosul, and Kilidj Arslan. The Latin camp was again wasted with famine. Stephen of Chartres, who had deserted it before the betrayal of the city to Bohemond, had on his westward journey met the Emperor Alexius, who was marching to the aid of the crusaders with a large body of pilgrims from Europe. Stephen’s tidings were followed by an order for retreat, and the pilgrims were compelled to turn back, with their companions. Protesting in vain again this shameful breach of his duty and his vow, Guy, a brother of Bohemond, said in the vehemence of his rage that if God were all-powerful He would not suffer such things to be done.

In Antioch the desperation of the crusaders made them listen eagerly to stories of dreams and revelations from heaven. A Lombard priest had learnt in a version that the third year of the crusade should see the conquest of Jerusalem ;and those who had heard from the lips of the Saviour Himself a rebuke of the vices which had caused all their disasters, had also been assured that five days the needful help would be granted to them. The impulse, once given, gained strength. Peter Barthelemy, the chaplain of Raymond of Toulouse, related a revelation made to him by St Andrew. The steel head of the spear which had pierced the side of the Radeemer as he hung an the cross had been hidden, according to this tale, in the church of St Peter ; and the recovery of this lance would be followed by immediate and decisive success. Two days were to be spent in special devotion ; on the third they were to search for the long-lost weapon. The night had come, and their toil had thus far gone for nothing, when the priest stepped down into the pit. After some strokes of his spade he came upon the holy relic, which was carefully wrapped in a cloth of silk and gold. The priest displayed the lance head ; and in a few minutes the wonderful tidings had been spread through the city. A few months later Arnold, the chaplain of Bohemon, publicly denied the genuineness of the relic, and charged the chaplain of Raymond with deliberate imposture. Barthelemy appealed to the ordeal of fire, and passed it, to all appearance, successfully. The bystanders were loud in their exultation ; but Peter had been fatally injured, and in a few days he died.

Meanwhile the holy lance, borne by the Papal legate Adhemar, had effectually aided the crusaders in the decisive struggle with Kerboga, before whom Peter the Hermit had appeared as an envoy charged to submit to him the alternative of baptism or of retreat from a land which St Peter had bestowed upon the Christians. The answer was a curt refusal, and a battle followed in which Bohemond was severely pressed by Kilidj Arslan, and Kerboga was bearing down the forces of Godfrey and Hugh of Vermandois, when some knights, clothed in white armour and mounted on white horses, were seen riding alone the slopes of the neighbouring hills. : "the saint are come to our help," carried the Papal legate, and the imagination of the people at once beheld in these strangers the martyrs St George, St Theodore, and St Maurice. The impulse imparted by this conviction was irresistible. The complete defeat of Kerboga and Arslan was followed by the surrender of the garrison in the citadel, and Bohemond remained lord of Antioch.

The crusaders as a body wished to set off at once on their march to Jerusalem ; but their leaders shrank from the danger of traversing waterless wastes at the end of a Syrian summer. While some of the crusaders were busied with expeditions against neighbouring cities, many more were pressed by more anxious, arising from an outbreak of plague which proved fatal, among others, to the Papal legate Adhemar.

Ten months after the fall of Antioch the crusaders ; having become masters of Laodicea, were bidden by the Emperor Alexius to await his coming in June. But with him their forbearance had reached its limit, and they bade him remember, that having broken his compact, he had no longer any claim on their obedience. Marching across the plain of Berytus and along the narrow strip of country once celebrated for the wealth and splendour of the great Phoenician cities, the army at length reached Jaffa, and thence turned inland to Ramlah, a town only sixteen miles distant from Jerusalem. Two days later they came in view of holy city. At the sight of the distant walls and towers all fell on their knees, in a outburst of thankfulness which could express itself only in sighs and tears, while they stooped to kiss the sacred soil. The rest of the march they performed with bare feet and in the garb of pilgrims ; but their armour was again put on, when Raymond of Toulouse with his followers invested the city from the western side, while Godfrey and Tancred, with Robert of Normandy and Robert of Flanders, blockaded it from the north. On the fifth day a desperate attempt was made to storm the walls, with a single ladder and with no siege instruments. Its was no wonder that in spite of all their efforts the assailants should be beaten back and hurled from the ramparts. Thirty days more passed away, while Gaston of Bearn was busily occupied in directing the construction of siege engines of timber brought from the woods of Shechem. During the whole of this time the besiegers were in the greatest distress from lack of water. All the cisterns and receptacles of any kind had been carefully destroyed by the enemy, whose horsemen harassed or cut off the parties of Christians who were sent about the country to search for it. Nor was the discipline of the camp by any means what it should be ; and the phantom of Adhemar of Puy appeared, it was said, to denounce the licence which was provoking the divine judgments. But if there was wild riot in some quarters, there was devotion and enthusiasm in others. Tancred generously made up his quarrel with Bohemond, and like the Levites round the walls of Jericho, the clergy moved round the city in process singing hymns and followed by the laity. The Saracens, it is said, insulted them from the walls by throwing dirt upon crucifixes. On the second day of the final assault, when it seemed that in spite of almost superhuman efforts the crusaders most fail, a horseman was seen, waving his shield on Mount Olivet. "St George the Martyr has again come to help us," shouted Godfrey, and the cry, taken up and carried along the ranks, banished every feeling of weariness, and sent them forth with overwhelming strength for the supreme effort. It was Friday ; and at the moment in the afternoon when the last cry was uttered by the Saviour on his cross Letold of Tournay, it is said, stood on the walls of Jerusalem, followed first by his brother Engelbert, and then by Godfrey. The gate of St Stephen was stormed by Tancred ; the Provençals climbed up the ramparts by ladders ; and the city was in the hands of the Christians. So terrible, it is said, was the carnage which followed that the horses of the crusaders who rode up to the mosque of Omar were knee-deep in the stream of blood. Infants were seized by their feet and dashed against the walls or whirled over the battlements, while the Jews were all burnt alive in their synagogue. In the midst of these horrors Godfrey entered the church of the Sepulchre, clothed in a robe of pure white, but bare-footed as well as bare-headed, and knelt at the tomb to offer his thanksgiving the divine goodness which has suffered them to realize the yearning of their hearts. In the profound enthusiasm and devotion of the moment his followers held the dead take part in the solemn ritual, and heard the voice of Adhemar rejoicing in the prayers and resolutions of penitence offered by the prostrate warriors of the cross. Among the living, too, there were those who called forth the deepest gratitude; and the vast throng fell the feet of the hermit Peter, who thus saw the consummation of the enterprize which was mainly his work, and of whom after the completion of his task we hear no. On the next day the horrors of that which had preceded it were deliberately repeated on a larger scale. Tancred had given a guarantee of safety to 300 captives. In spite of almost superhuman efforts the crusaders must fail, a horseman was seen, or supposed to be seen waving his shield on Mount Olivet. "St George the Martyr has again come to help us, "shouted Godfrey, and the cry, taken up and carried along the ranks every feeling of weariness, and sent them forth with overwhelming strength for the supreme effort. It was Friday ; and at the moment in the afternoon when the last cry was uttered by the Saviour on His cross Letold of Tournay, it is said, stood on the walls of Jerusalem, followed first by his brother Engelbert, and then by Godfrey. The gate of St Stephen was stormed by Tancred ; the Provençals climbed up the ramparts by ladders; and the city was in the hands of the Christians. So terrible, it is said, was the carnage which followed that the horses of the crusaders who rode up the mosque of Omar were knee-deep in the stream of blood. Infants were seized by their feet and dashed against the walls or whirled over the battlements, while the Jews were all burnt alive in their synagogue. In the midst of these horrors Godfrey the church of the Sepulchre, clothed in a robe of pure white, but bare-footed as well as bare-headed and knelt at the tomb to offer his thanksgiving for the for the divine goodness which had suffered them to realize the yearning of their hearts. In the profound enthusiasm and devotion of the moment his followers beheld the dead take part in the solemn ritual, and heard the voice of Adhemar rejoicing the prayers and resolutions of penitence offered by the prostrate warriors of the cross. Among the living too, there were those who called forth the deepest gratitude ; and the vast throng fell at the feet of the hermit Peter, who thus saw the consummation of the enterprise which was mainly his work, and of whom after the completion of his task we hear no more. On the next day the horrors of that which had preceded it were deliberately repeated on a larger scale. Tancred had given a guarantee of safety to 300 captives. In spite of his indignant protest these were all brought out and killed ; and a massacre followed in which the bodies of men, women, and children were hacked and hewn until their fragments lay tossed together in heaps. The work of slaughter ended, the streets of the city were washed by Saracen prisoners.

So ended the first and the most important of the crusaders. Its history shows us clerly the nature of these religious wars and the mode in which they were carried on. Those which follow may be more briefly noticed, as they tend generally to assume more and more of a political character. The first crusade had to all appearance fully attained its object. Godfrey was really king of Jerusalem, although he would not bear the title in a city where his Lord hard worn the crown of thorns. His reign lasted barely one year, and this year was signalized less by his victory over the Fatimite caliph of Egypt than by the promulgation of the code of laws known as the Assize of Jerusalem. These laws embodied the main principles of feudalism, while they added a new feature in the judicial courts, the king presiding in the court of the barons, his viscount in that of the burgesses. On Godfrey’s death his brother Baldwin was summoned from his principality of Edessa, 1100, and crowned king by the Patriarch Daimbert. During his reign of eighteen years most of the old crusading chiefs passed away. Stephen of Charters was slain at Ramlah in 1101. Four years later Raymond died on the sea coast. In 1112 Trancred was cut off in the prime of manhood, three years after Bohemond had ended his stormy career and Antioch. The Emperor Alexius, the only man who derived lasting benefit from these expeditions, outlived them all. If his empire was to last, the Turks must be drawn off from the nearer regions of Asia Minor. This result the crusaders accomplished, and thus prolonged the existence of the empire for three centuries and a half. The second successor of Godfrey was his kinsman Baldwn du Bourg, in whose reign, 1118 –31, Tyre became the seat of a Latin archibishopric. After Baldwin II., the uneventful reign of Fulk of Anjou (1131 –44) was followed by that of his son Baldwin III., a boy thirteen years of age (1144 –62), in whose days the fall of Edessa called forth again the religious enterprise of the West. Of this second crusade St Bernard was the apostle, as the hermit Peter had been of the first. In the Council of Vezelai, 1146, Louis VII., the French king, put on the blood-red cross, and his example was reluctantly followed some months later by the Emperor Conrad. The story of this expedition brings before us a long series of disasters. Conrad lost thousands in an attempted march across Asia Minor ; Louis took ship at Attaleia and succeeded in making his way to Jerusalem. Conrad at length reached Ptolemais ; and the two sovereigns abandoning the project of rescuing Edessa, resolved to turn their arms against Damascus, 1148. The siege was a miserable failure brought about, it is said, by the treachery of the barons of Palestine. Bernard himself was for the moment overwhelmed by the completeness of the catastrophe ; but the conviction of the reality of his own mission soon assured him that the fault lay in the sinfulness of the pilgrims—an idea which, having fixed itself in some minds, had its issue in the pathetic and awful tragedies called the Children’s Crusades. None but innocent hands, it was thought, could accomplish the work of conquest in the Holy Land ; and in 1212 the great experiment was tried, with 30,000 children, so the tale went, under the boy Stephen, and 20,000 German boys and girls under the peasant lad Nicholas, to end in death by sea or on land, or in the more fearful horrors of the slave-market. For the present this notion was only in embryo ; and the monk John had more success in reviving old feelings by declaring that the places of the fallen angels had been filled by the spirits of those who had died as champions of the cross in Bernard’s crusades. In 1162 Baldwin III. Died at the early age of thirty-three. The great aim of his brother Amalric, who succeeded him, 1162, was to obtain possession of Egypt and thus to prevent Noureddin, the sultan of Aleppo, from establishing himself in a country which would enable him to attack the Latin kingdom from the south as he already could from the north. It may be said that nothing but his own greed for money stood in the way of his success ; and Saladin, the nephew of Noureddin, was the enabled to rise to power in Egypt, and finally, by setting aside the Fatimite caliph to put an end to a schism which had lasted 200 years. Nor was this all. Amalric’s son and successor, Baldwin IV., was a leper, who, being obliged by his disease to appoint another as his delegate, fixed on Guy of Lusignan, the husband of his sister Sibylla. For the time the arrangement came to naught ; but when in 1186 the death of Baldwin IV. was followed in a few months by that of Baldwin V., the infant son of Sibylla by her first marriage, Guy managed to establish himself by right of his wife as king of Jerusalem. Over his kingdom the storm was now ready to burst. The army of Saladin assailed Tiberias ; and Raymond, count of Tripolis, the son of Raymond of Toulouse, although he had refused to own his allegiance to Guy, hastened to Jerusalem to beg the king to confine himself to a defensive warfare, which could not fail to be crowned with success. His advice was rejected ; and the fatal battle of Tiberias, 1187, almost destroyed the army which should have defended be capital, while the true cross fell into the hands of the conquerors. Against the comparatively defenceless city Saladin now advanced ; but the pledged himself that, if it were surrendered, he would provide for the inhabitants new homes in Syria, and would supply them with money which they might need. His offer was refused, and Saladin made a vow that he would take ample vengeance. But when at length the issue was seen to be inevitable and the besieged threw themselves on his mercy, Saladin agreed that the nobles and fighting men should be sent to Tyre, and that the Latin inhabitants should be reduced to slavery, only if they failed to pay a ransom fixed according to age and sex. Having entered the city Saladin advanced to the mosque of Omar. As he approached, the cross, which still flashed on its summit, was hurled to the ground and trailed through the mire. Thus fell the Latin kingdom eighty-eight years after Godfrey became the Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. At no time had it exhibited any signs of real stability. Resting on the rule that no faith was to be kept with the unbeliever, it justified treachery. It recognized no title to property except in the Christians, and the temptation thus held out to robbery went far to demoralize the people. It kept up constant irritation by petty forays, while it did little to promote military science or discipline. Its leaders were for the most part devoid of statesmanship. As banded together rather for a religious than a political purpose, they could withdraw from the enterprise as soon as they had fulfilled their vows, and thus the cohesion needed for is permanent success was unattainable. More than all, its had to put up with, if it did not sanction, the growth of societies, each of which claimed independent jurisdiction over its own members. The great military orders of the Hospital and the Temple had come into existence ad fraternities devoted to works of mercy in behalf of poor pilgrims. But under the conditions of their sojourn in Palestine it was necessary to bear arms ; the bearing of arms involved the need of discipline ; and the military discipline of a brotherhood animated by monastic enthusiasm became formidable . These orders were further strengthened by privileges and immunities conferred, some by the kings of Jerusalem, some by the popes. Their freedom from tithe brought them into direct antagonism with the clergy, and the clergy in their turn-complained that these orders gave shelter to excommunicated persons, while the fiercest enmity of the Templar was reserved for his brother of the order of the Hospital of St John. On a kingdom composed of such elements as these the old curse of the house divided against itself cannot fail to descend.

It may have been something like the insight of statesman which led King Amalric to fix his thoughts on the conquest of Egypt, as the means, not only of preventing the co-operation of hostile powers to the north and the south of the Latin kingdom, but of opening a country of vast resources to the merchant an the trader. There can be n o doubt that these considerations prompted the Lateran Council, 1179, to declare that the first object of every crusaders should be the conquest of Damietta ; but with this determination these enterprises ceased to be strictly crusades, and the old spirit is seen again only in the royal saint Louis IX. For the time the fall of Jerusalem seemed to waken again the impulse which had stirred the hearts of Godfrey and Tancred. On the plain between Gisors and the Trie the pleadings of William, archbishop of Tyre. Prevailed with Henry II. Of England and Philip Augustus of France to assume the cross, 1188. Having thus far shown a marked reluctance to the undertaking, Henry may now have really meant to fulfill his promise ; but the quarrels and treachery of his sons interposed a fatal hindrance, and soon brought him to his grave his son and successors, Richard, the idea of rescuing the holy city from the Turk had an irresistible attraction, and his whole mind was bent on raising money for the purpose. This task done, he met the French king at Vezelai, where forty-four years ago Louis VII. Had listened to the vehement eloquence of Bernard. The two sovereigns made their way to Sicily, while the Emperor Frederick I. (Barbarossa) was advancing with his host to Constantinople. Frederick himself was drowned in a Cilician river, 1190, and of those whom he had brought across the Bosphorus not a tenth, it is said, reached Antioch. The efforts of the Latins of Palestine were now directed chiefly against Acre, which had been besieged for two years before Richard and Philip set foot on the Holy Land. The former was prostrated with fever ; but his fiery zeal proved stronger than his sickness, and Saladin was compelled, 1191, to assent to a compact which bound him to surrender the true cross, and to give hostages for the payment of 200,000 pieces of gold within forty days. The money was not paid in time, and the hostages, numbering 3000 or more, were all, it is said, slaughtered on the summit of a hill from which the tragedy might be seen in the camp of Saladin. The sequel of the story tells us of battles won and lost to little purpose. The victory of Richard at Azotus opened the road to Jaffa and Jerusalem, and the army had advanced as far as Ramlah, when the men of Pisa, with the knights of the Hospital and the Temple, insisted that the troops could never be kept together after the recovery of Jerusalem, and thus that its re-conquest would really be fatal to the crusade. In June 1192 Richard again led his forces towards the holy city, and was again foiled by the lack of a commissariat and the destruction of the wells and cisterns which for miles round had been shattered by the enemy. His prowess was signally shown in the relief of Jaffa ; but in the issue he obtained from Saladin simply a truce for three years and eight months, which insured to pilgrims the right of entering Jerusalem untaxed ; and thus, leaving the Holy Land, he set out on the homeward journey which was to be interrupted by a long captivity in a Tyrolesse castle as the prisoner of Henry VI. Although this third crusade had still secured to the Christians the possessions of a long strip of coast, bounded by two important cities, which might serve as a base of operation in future enterprises, while it had also done much to neutralize the results which Saladin had looked for from his earlier victories.

The fourth crusades may be dismissed in few words. It was an enterprise set on foot by the knights of St John, 1193, seconded by Pope Celestine III. in the hopes of getting rid of the Emperor Henry VI., the son of Barbarossa, who claimed the island of Sicily, and encouraged by Henry as a means of promoting his own designs. Henry had no intention of going on the errand himself ; but his barons with their followers defeated the Turks between Tyre and Sidon, 1163, recovered Jaffa which had been taken after Richard’s departure, obtained possession of Berytus, and lost all that they had gained by their folly and disunion in the siege of the castle of Thoron, 1197. Jaffa was again taken by the Saracens ; and the Latin kingdom became little ore than a little with which Isabella, the sister of Baldwin IV., linked that of Cyprus on her marriage with Amalric of Lusignan, who had succeeded his brother Guy as sovereign of that island.

The fifth crusade was an undertaking of vastly greater importance. Innocent III., who now sat in St Peter’s Urban II,. and he was raided to the Pontifical throne, 1198, at a time when the European world generally seemed in a state of dissolution. He saw at once how in such a state of things the crusaders had served and world served and world serve to promote the Papal power. But it the popes had thus the means and the justification for interfering in the affairs of every kingdom, and acquired the power of demanding contributions, levying subsidies, and dispensing with or enforcing vows, the mode in which the revenues so raised had been administered had roused a wide and deep suspicion which might more than counterbalance all the gains. Hence it came to pass that Innocent, even in the plentitude of his spiritual pretensions, was compelled to defend him self charges of personal corruption ; and when in Fulk of Neuilly he had found an apostle not less devoted and only less eloquent Bernard, the same suspicion came in to chill enthusiasm and lead men to criticize rather to worship. Nevertheless, a goodly company prepared for the great work was at length brought together, 1201, the most prominent among the leaders being Simon of Montfort, Walter of Brienne, and Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the historian of the crusade. But story of previous crusades had at least opened men’s eyes to the fearful risks of a march across Asia Minor, and the army wholly lacked the means of transport by sea. In this strait whither could they betake themselves but to Venice? For 85,000 silver marks the doge, Henry Dandolo, covenanted to convey them to the Holy Land ; but when the fleet was ready, 51,000 marks only were forthcoming, although the counts of Flanders and St Pol had sold all their plate and strained their credit to the utmost. To the amazement of the crusaders the doge announced that the 34,000 marks would be remitted if they would conquer for the republic the town of Zara, which had been unjustly taken from her by the Hungarian king. To Venice at this time came Alexius, the son of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac Angelus, whom his brother Alexius had blinded and thrust into a dungeon. The pleading s of the younger Alexius may have wakened of Dandolo some thought of what was soon to be achieved at Constantinople ; but for the present he stuck to his bargain about Zara with inflexible pertinacity. Zara was taken, November 15, 1202 ; and the crusaders expressed their wish to hasten at once to the Holy Land. Dandolo replied that the new conquest must be guarded against the king of Hungary, and famine in Western Asia rendered the eastward voyage during the winter impracticable. Envoys from Byzantium were also earnest in insisting that the ends of the crusades would be best promoted by placing Alexius on the imperial throne, and that the crusaders’ mission was rather the establishment of right everywhere than the wresting of a particular spot from the grasp of the Infidel. They added that the first care of Alexius would be to bring the Eastern Church into submission to the Roman See, while his second would be to provide 400,000 marks for the service of the crusaders, and to accompany them himself to the Holy Land. On hearing these tidings Innocent professed amazement and indignation ; but Dandolo was resolved that neither threats nor interdicts should interfere with the execution of his will. The Venetian fleet at length, 1203, reached Scutari, where they received a message from the usurper Alexius promising help if during their stay they would do his subjects no harm. The reply was a summons to come down from his throne ; and the appeal lay only to the sword. With ordinary courage Alexius must have carried the day ; by giving the order for retreat he sealed his own doom, and on his flight from the city the blinded Isaac Angelus, drawn from his prison, was again wrapped in the imperial robes, and his son Alexius raised to share his dignity. But fresh disappointments were in store for the crusaders. Alexius gave them to them to understand that the winter must be spent in Constantinople ; and Dandolo effectually supported him by saying that until the spring the Venetian fleet should not move. In the meantime feuds and factions were doing their old work in Constantinople. The young Alexius, offended at the plainness of speech which told him that solemn compacts must be adhered to, sent a squadron of fire against the Venetians. The project failed ; and in a little while his throne was filled by Alexius Ducas called Mourzoufle from the darkness and shagginess of his eye-brows. Dandolo insisted on the restoration of Alexius ; and Mouzoufle had him killed in prison. This dead was held to justify the crusaders in placing a Latin emperor on the Byzantine throne ; and this task was achieved after a second siege, 1204, which was followed by riot and carnage altogether disgraceful to Western chivalry. Innocent III. might well ask how the return of the Greek Church to ecclesiastical unity was to be looked for when they saw in the Latin only works of darkness for which they might justly loathe them worse than dogs. The committee of twelve—half French, half Venetian—charged with the election of an emperor, fixed their choice on Dandolo ; but the old man, who had well nigh completed his tale of a hundred winters, cared little for the office, while the Venetians had no wish to see one man at once doge and emperor. Two only remained who could well be made competitors for the throne—the marquis of Montferrat, and Baldwin of Flanders. The choice of the electors fell on the latter, who was a descendant of Charles the Great, and a cousin of the French king ; and Baldwin was crowned by the Papal legate in the great church of Justinian.

The crusaders had thus done great things, although not precisely the things which at the outset Innocent would have had them do. The old schism of the Greek Church had been brought to an end, and the dominion of the Holy See vastly enlarged. But the benefits secured to Venice were at least more enduring. The conquest of Zara was the first step only toward the establishment of a great maritime empire ; the factories at Pera were exposed only to attacks by sea, and here her ships could guard them. Her settlements were seen in the richest islands of the Aegean ; and this development of her greatness seemed to foster a spirit of independence which Innocent III. regarded with instinctive suspicion. It was the fault of the Venetians, he said, that the whole enterprise had not been brought already to a brilliant consummation. What might not an army which had done so much of Zara and Byzantium have achieved in the Holy Land?

The Latin empire thus set up was not more durable than the kingdom of Jerusalem. Baldwin, as emperor, was really nothing more than a chief among his peers ; and although he thus lacked the authority of the sovereigns whose title he bore, he attempted tasks which even they must have failed to accomplish. By the crusaders the Greek people were regarded as barbarians or heathens, and their clergy as the ministers of a false faith. The former were excluded from all offices and dignities ; the Assize of Jerusalem was substituted for the Code of Justinian ; and no native was allowed to take part in the administration of this native was allowed to take part in the administration of this low. Such changes could portend nothing but future evil ; nor were other sign of speedy downfall wanting. The conquerors began to quarrel, and Baldwin found himself at open war with Boniface of Montferrat, now lord of Thessalonica Like Boniface, the other chiefs of the crusade had been splendidly rewarded. The count of Blois received the dukedom of Nice ; and the Venetian Dandolo became the sovereign of Romania, with Geoffrey of Villehardouin as his marshal. But the power of the Eastern Caesars was rather divided than crushed. New empires sprung up at Nice, Trebizond, and Durazzo; and the Latins Bulgarian Calo-John, who ordered a massacre of the Latins in Tharce, 1205. Eager for vengeance, Baldwin marched against him; but he was taken prisoner, and the army was saved only by the skill and heroism of Villehardouin, who has left us a narrative of the campaign. The liberation of Baldwin was demanded by the Pope; the reply was that he had died. The cause was never known; and for a year his brother Henry, who was elected to succeed him, refused to take the title of emperor. The ten years of Henry’s reign, 1206-1216, stand out in pleasant contrast with the lives of the emperors who were to follow him. Henry at the least saw that his brother had made a fatal mistake in confining the work of government exclusively to the Latins. Greeks were again admitted to public offices and honours; to the impositions of a foreign liturgy or of a foreign dogma Henry offered a passive resistance, while his throne, placed on the right had of the patriarch’s chair in the church of Sancta Sophia, was significant of his thoughts on the questions of Papal supremacy. With his death the male line of the counts of Flanders came to an end. In a fatal moment the offer of his crown was accepted by Peter of Courtenay, count of Auxerre, the husband of Henry’s sister Yolande. Like Baldwin, Peter fell into the hands of his enemies on his eastward journey, and died without seeing the city of which he was the sovereign Robert, the second son of Yolande, the range of Latin dominion was rapidly narrowed. When Robert died, Baldwin, Yolande’s youngest son, was still a child only seven years old; and John of Brienne, the titular king of Jerusalem, was raised to the imperial throne. At length, after his death, the second Baldwin became emperor; but the twenty-five years of his reign he spent chiefly in distant lands, begging for help in money. In vain the Pope proclaimed a crusade in his behalf. The end was drawing nigh. The envoys sent by him to Michael Palaeologus were bidden to tell their master that he might have peace on the payment of an annual tribute amounting to the whole revenue from customs and excise at Constantinople. A few years later, 1261. Baldwin was driven from the imperial city, and spent the rest of his days wandering over Europe and telling the story of his misfortunes. So fell the Latin empire, having dealt the death-blow to the hopes which were dearest to the heart of Pope Innocent III. The reconcilement of the Eastern with the Western Church would, he knew, be best achieved by a close union between the subjects of the Eastern and the Western empires. The policy of the Latin emperors had opened a gulf of separation which has not to this day been closed, and had converted the dislike and suspicion of former generations into vehement jealously or furious hatred.

When the Latin empire fell the era of the crusades was fast drawing to its close; and the expeditions which had been undertaken before its downfall one only was prompted by the spirit which had animated the hearers of Urban III. at Clermont. The conditions of the conflict were widely changed; and the course adopted by the Christian leaders showed their conviction that the surest road to Jerusalem was by way of Egypt. Again and again this plan might have been carried our successfully; and again and again the crusaders threw the chance away. Thus, in the year 1219, the Syrian Sultan Coradin had offered peace to the besiegers of Damietta, pledging himself to surrender not merely the true cross but the whole of Palestine, with the exception of two forts for the protection of pilgrims bound to Mecca. The offer was rejected; Damietta was taken and plundered; and in the spring of 1220 the army insisted on attempting the conquest of Egypt. The Sultan Kameel offered them terms as favourable as those of Coradin, and these were also refused. The Nile rose; and the Egyptians inundated the camp of their enemies, who in their turn were compelled to sue for peace by surrendering Damietta. This disaster made the Pope Honorius III., who had been elected on the death of Innocent, still more anxious for the fulfillment of the crusading vow which had long since been taken by the Emperor Frederick II., the grandson of Barbarossa. In a conference at Ferentino, 1223, it was agreed that Frederick should marry Iolante, the daughter of the titular king of Jerusalem, and thus go forth as his heir to recover his own inheritance. Two years were allowed for preparation; but it was found necessary at San Germano to grant two more. When at length Frederick married Iolante in 1225, he declared that his father-in-law, John of Brienne was king only by right of his wife, on whose death the title had passed to her daughter, and that thus Frederick remained unfulfilled. Honorius had already been obliged to remonstrate; his successor Gregory IX., 1227, found himself constrained to use sharper weapons. The contrast between the two men was marked indeed. In Gregory IX., chosen Pope at the age of fourscore years, the ascetic severity of Gregory the Great was united with the iron will of Gregory VII. Frederick was a young man of thirty-three, born and bred in Sicily, steeped in the luxury of a gorgeous and voluptuous court, where the charms of art and the refinements of literature and philosophy in some measure redeemed the sensuous indulgence at which Gregory would have stood aghast. The Pope had indeed enough to disquiet him in the reports which came form this Sicilian paradise. Frederick was spending his days amongst a motley company gathered from all the countries of Europe,—a company in which Christians, Jews, and Saracens mingled freely. A society such as this could exist only in an atmosphere of tolerance, in Gregory’s eyes was only another name for indifference, and indifference, and indifference of heresy. The spell, therefore, must be broken; and Frederick must be sent forth to do battle in distant lands with the Infields to whom he showed so dangerous a liking in his own. At length his forces were gathered at Brindisi, 1228, but fever broke out among t hem; and Frederick, having embarked, was compelled after three days to put into the harbour of Otranto. Gregory could endure no more. Frederick was solemnly excommunicated, and the excommunication was followed by interdict. Papal messengers forbade him not to leave Italy until he had made satisfaction for his offences against the church. Frederick retorted by sending his own envoys to demand the removal of the interdict, and then sailed to Prolemains. Here he found friends in the Teutonic Knights and their grand-master Herman of Salza; and although he was ready to fight, he was still more willing to gain his ends without bloodshed. At length a treaty signed by the Sultan Kameel, 1229, surrendered to Frederick the whole of Jerusalem with the exception of the mosque of Omar, and restored to the Christians the towns of Jaffa, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. Success thus achieved exasperated rather than appeased the Pontiff. The interdict followed him to the holy city, and when he went to his coronation as king of Jerusalem in the Church of the Sepulchre, not a single priest took part in the rite, and Frederick was compelled to crown himself. The letters which he wrote to announce a success which he regarded as splendid roused only a storm of indignation. Gregory charged him with a monstrous attempt to reconcile Christ and Belial, and the set up the impostor Mahomet as an object of veneration or worship.

The treaty with Kameel, which closed the sixth crusade, was for ten years. On neither side, probably, was it strictly kept, and the injuries done to pilgrims on their way from Acre to Jerusalem were alleged as a sufficient reason for sending out the expedition headed by Richard earl of Cornwall (brother of the English Henry III., and afterwards king of the Romans). This expedition may be regarded as the seventh in the list of the crusades, and deserves notice as having been brought to an end, like that of Frederick, by a treaty, 1240. The terms of the later convent were even more favourable to the Christians; but two years later the Latin power, such as it was, was swept away by the inroad of Korasmians, pushed onwards by the hordes of Jenghiz Khan. The awful havoc thus caused was alleged by Pope Innocent IV. As a reason for again summoning Christendom to the rescue of the Holy Land. But nearly seven years passed away before the French king, Louis IX., was able to set sail fro Egypt on the eighth crusade. This royal saint, who lives for us in the quaint and graphic chronicle of his seneschal Joinville, may with truth be said to have been animated by a spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice which no other crusading leader manifested in anything like the same measure. Intolerant in theory, if he could be said to have any theory, and bigoted in language, Louis had that true charity which would make him succour his enemies not less readily than his friends. Nor was his bravery less signal than his gentleness. It was displayed, not only on the battle-field, but during the prolonged miseries of a captivity in which he underwent keener pain for the sufferings of others than for his own. He had, indeed, the highest virtues of the monk, the most ardent love of the justice and truth, the most vehement of hatred of wrong; but as he laid no claim to the qualities of a general, so most assuredly it cannot be said that he possessed them. His dauntless courage saved his army from complete destruction of Mansourah, 1249; but his offer to exchange Damietta for Jesuralem was rejected, and in the retreat, during which they were compelled to flight at desperate disadvantage, Louis was taken prisoner. With serene patience, with unwavering firmness, and with an unclouded truth in God, he underwent sufferings for which Saracens, so Joinville tells us, frankly confessed that they would have renounced Mahomet; and when the payment of his ransom set him free, he made a pilgrimage in sackcloth to Nazareth, 1250. With a firmness which nothing could shake he denied himself the solace of looking on the holy city. His sense of duty would not allow him to reap the fruits of an enterprise in which he had failed, and so to set an evil example to others. As a general he had achieved nothing, but his humiliation involved no dishonour; and the genuineness of his faith, his devotion, and his love had been fully tested in the furnace of affliction,

The crusading fire was rapidly burning itself out. In the West, there was nothing to awaken again the enthusiasm which had been stirred by Peter the Hermit and by Bernard; while in Palestine itself almost the only sign of genuine activity were furnished by the antagonism of the religious military orders. There was, in truth, disunion and schism everywhere. The relations between the Venetians and the men of Genoa and Pisa were at best those of a hollow truce; and the quarrels of the Templars and Hospitallers led in 1259 to a pitched battle, in which almost all the Templars were slain. Some eight years later the tidings that Antioch had been taken by the Infidels revived in St Louis the old yearning for the rescue of the holy places; but he modestly expressed his fear that his sins might again bring on the Christian arms the disasters of his Egyptian expedition. Cheered by the sympathy of the Pope Clement IV., he embarked with an army of 60,000 men, 1270; but a storm drove his ships to Sardinia, and thence they sailed for Tunis. They had encamped, it is said, on the site of Carthage, when a plague broke out. The saintly king was among victims; and this truest of all crusaders died uttering the words, "I will enter Thy house, O lord; I will worship in Thy sanctuary." The arrival of the English Edward, who was soon to succeed to the throne on the death of Henry III, brought about no immediate change in the circumstances of the crusades. In the following year Edward reached Acre, took Nazareth—the inhabitants of which he massacred—fell sick, and during his sickness narrowly escaped being murdered by an assassin sent by the emir of Joppa. Having made a peace for ten years, he returned to Europe; and the ninth and last crusade was at an end. An earnest attempt to renew the struggle was made in the Council of Lyons, 1274, by Gregory X., Edward’s friend; and Rodolf of Hapsburg pledged himself to join the expedition then decreed; but in less than two years Gregory died, and the scheme fell to the ground. Of the attempts made in succeeding years to rekindle the old enthusiasm it is enough to say that all proved abortive. The Holy Land could no longer, as it seemed, furnish a home even for the military orders. The Teutonic Knights made their way to Lithuania and Poland, the Hospitallers to Cyprus and to Rhodes. The Templers fell victims to a plot as iniquitous and treacherous as any that ahs disgraced the annals of mankind. When their services had ceased to be useful in Palestine the French king found that much benefit might be derived from a confiscation of their vast possessions. The proceedings against the order in England are scarcely to be compared with the surpassing honors of the proscription in France which ended in the burning of the grandmaster Du Molay; but in both countries the power of falsehood in compassing the destruction of men innocent of the particular crimes laid against them was seen as perhaps it had never been seen before. The fury with which they were persecuted was indeed a legitimate result of the crusades, for which the unbelief of the enemy supplied the primary motive. The theory of putting down error by force had received a sanction which was applied in the dealings of the popes with Albigensian and other heretics.

The narrative of the crusades brings out with sufficient clearness both their causes and their consequences. We have been that, while the popular impulse which led to them could not issue vigorous action without the sanction wholly powerless to se Latin Christendom in motion until popular indignation had reached the fever heat. We have been able to watch the effect of these enterprises in changing the face not only of the East but of the West, securing to the popes the exaction and administration of vast revenues and of a dispensing power still more momentous in its issues, strengthening, and extending royal authority by the absorption of fiefs, but for the moment increasing in incomparably larger measure the wealth and influence of the clergy. We have seen introduction of feudal principles into Jerusalem and Constantinople, and have marked the effects which followed the substitution of the Assize of Jerusalem for the Code of Justinian. The story has shown us that the contact of Western with Eastern Christendom brought about in some respects results precisely opposite to those which were anticipated from it, and that the establishment of the Latin empire of Constantinople rendered hopeless that union of the churches which have been felt from that day to the present. They failed, indeed, to establish the permanent dominion of Latin Christendom, whether in New Rome or in Jerusalem; but they prolonged for nearly four centuries the life of the Eastern empire, and by so doing they arrested the tide of Mahometan conquests as effectually as in was arrested for Western Europe by Charles Martel on the plain of Tours. They saved the Italian are perhaps even the Teutonic and the Scandinavian lands from a tyranny which has blasted the fairest regions of the earth ; and if they added fuel to the flame of theological hatred between the Orthodox and the Latin churches, if they intensified the feelings of suspicion and dislike between the Eastern and the Western Christians, they yet opened the way for an interchange of thought and learning which had its result in the revival of letters and in the religious reformation which followed that revival. If, again, of their leaders some showed themselves men of merciless cruelty and insatiable greed, there were others who like Tancred approached the ideal of the knightly chivalry of a later generation, and others again whose self-sacrifice, charity, and heroic patience furnish an example for all time. The ulterior results of the crusades were the breaking up of the feudal system the abolition of serfdom, the supremacy of a common law over the independent jurisdiction of chief who claimed the right of private wars ; and if for the time they led to deeds of iniquity which it would be monstrous even to palliate, it must be admitted that in their influence on later ages the evil has been assuredly outweighed by the good.

Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Michaud, Histoire des Croisades; Mills, History of the Crusades; William of Malmesbury; Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades of St Louis; Richard of Devizes of Vinsauf; Geoffrey of Villehardonin; Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzzüge; Haken, Gemälde der Kreuzzüge; Milman, Latin Christianity, book vii. Ch. vi.; Hallam, Middle Ages, ch. I. part I.; Mainbourg, Histoire des Croisades; Finlay, History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires, from 1057 to 1453; James de Vitry, Historia Orientalis; Choiseul d’ Aillecourt, Mémories les Croisades; Heeren, Essay on the Influence of the Crusades. (G. W. C.)

The above article was written by Rev. Sir George William Cox, Bart., M.A.; Bishop of Bloemfontein from 1886; author of The Tale of the Great Persian War, The Crusades, A History of Greece, and many other historical works.

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-14 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries