Part 4 The Holy Wars , God Gain and Glory : Crusades

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

Crusades were the military campaigns / migration of Eastern European nations to regain the control of “Holy Lands” motivated by the christian zeal and were sanctioned by the Catholic Church.Crusades spanned over a period of five centuries during the early middle ages.This was the revival of Eastern European powers after the the times of Roman Empire in which they wer e able to extend their dominion in  Middle East . The long lost Byzantine empire was the last Remanent of the glory of Rome . Byzantine guarded the western door of Europe for a Millennia first against the Persian empire and then against the Arab invasions of Rashidun and Omayyad period. During the late 900s Byzantine empire was unable to defend itself against the Muslim Seljuk Empire in Anatolin region , situated in modern day Turkey and looked towards their distant Catholic Brethren for help.

English: Byzantine empire before the Crusades ...

English: Byzantine empire before the Crusades Français : Empire byzantin à la veille des croisades (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catholic Church at Vatican wanted to end the schism between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.The “pilgrim politics” for holy land also affected the clergy’s decision.Another factor was the new emerging “merchandise class ” of Europe which was looking for the new markets  The previous conquests of Iberian Peninsula by the Muslim forces left Europe vulnerable.But most importantly the spirit of expansion and adventurism fueled by  hatred and religious zeal were responsible for these military campaigns. The near east at the end of first thousand years was a battlefield in which sectarian schism of Muslim world played a major role. The central Abbasid dynasty was a mere puppet by now and switched sides depending on who was in power at that time.The ethnic divide in Muslim between Arabs , Persians ,Turks and Berbers of North Africa were involved in intermittent warfare for the supremacy in Islamic World  The Muslim world at that time was gradually moving towards decentralized state in which warlord one after another were able to carve out a dynasty which left the populace destitute weak and vulnerable to foreign invasions. Crusades was the name later given by historians to these wars .Muslim called their enemies as Franks whereas Christians called their enemies as Saracens. The First Crusade

  •  Council of Clermont

Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus called upon the help of Catholic world in war against the Seljuk Empire .Pope Urban II urged the masses to raise arms against the “unjustly” occupation of “Holy Lands” and free them from the clutches of Saracens in “Council of Clermont “. 620px-Passages_d'outremer_Fr5594,_fol._19r,_Concile_de_Clermont An excerpt from the speech of Pope Urban 2 ‘s speech a the Council of Clermont ; source Wikipedia

“Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor.”

  • People’s Crusade

Peter the Hermit was a saint who gathered a large sum of people to fight and took his army of peasants for Holy lands through Byzantine territory.The people were pillaged the cities in their way but were in the end permitted through the byzantine territory. People’s crusade was an epic failure their army after the first pitched battle was brutally defeated by the Seljuk army .

409px-PeoplesCrusadeMassacre

  • Princes’ Crusades

The main army composed of four main factions led by the legendary leaders Hugh of Vermandois, Godfrey, Raymond, and Bohemond approached Byzantium capitol Conatantinole in 1607. They vowed that they will restore the Holy Lands

740px-First.Crusade.MapThese army were provided military assistance by the Alexios and were reinforced by the remaining forces of people’s crusade.

  • Siege of Nicaea
  • Battle of Dorylaeum
  • Siege of Antioch

Antioch was an important city which surrendered to crusaders and was important in gaing control of Jerusalem

  • Siege of Jerusalem

The newly found long lost holy relics were great morale boosters in European camps .The Muslims in the city were unable to defend themselves against the foreign invasion and found no help of the Fatimid of Egypt.According to Muslim sources after the conquest of  Jerusalem Muslim population in the city was massacred in the process of ethnic cleansing to establish the new Christian State of Jerusalem .

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  • Crusade of 1101

A few dukes of Christendom of who left crusade after the early difficulties and some who were inspired by the success of crusading campaigns in middle east left Europe for the nascent state of Jerusalem but were annihilated in Asia Minor by Seljuks .

The first crusade was probably the most successful campaign in all of the crusades.Crusaders were able to maintain few duchies in heart of Muslim land for next several centuries

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The Second Crusade

Pope Eugene 3 announced second crusade after the fall county of Edessa. Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany marched towards east separately.

548px-SecondCrusade_EnThe combined German and Frankish army gathered in Antioch to attack Damascus a Syrian stronghold.Zangi’s two sons Saif ud Din Ghazi , the governor of Mosul and Noor ud Dim Muhammad , the overner of Aleppo hurried to reach Damascus to defend it against crusaders.The crusading army was unable to gain any materiel gains  in Middle East .

800px-Siege_of_Damascus

The only success of this crusade was the fall of Lisbon on western front after the three centuries of Muslim rule in 1147.

Siege_of_Lisbon_-_Muslim_surrender

The Third Crusade ; The Kings Crusades

After the second crusade Zengi dynasty was able consolidate its power in Syria.Muslims were now able  to reconqure the Acre, Jaffa and most importantly the Jerusalem. After this came the staunch response of Christendom in the form of great army led by the stalwarts of Europe.

Saladin ; Sultan Salah ud Din Ayyubi 1174-93

Saladin has two aims one to unite the Islamic world  of Sunnite of Abbasids dynasty in Mesopotamia  and Shiite of Fatimid dynasty in Egypt and the second to drive out crusaders from Syria and Palestine.First he achieved with little difficulty and second he did by engulfing crusading states from Stria in north and Egypt from south.

The battle of Hittin was a turning point in crusades christian forces were defeated and Muslims recaptured Jerusalem on October 9, 1187 after a hundred year of christian rule.

Aged emperor of Germany Fredrick Barbarossa , the king of France , Philip Augutus , Richard the lion Hearted , King of England and Duke of Austria gathered the largest number of forces to attack the Muslim world.Although crusaders were able to reverse most of Saladin’s conquests but were unable to capture Jerusalem the most precious prize of  all.

\Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa was drowned while crossing the Saleph river the king drowned and most army went back disheartened at the death their liege

441px-Crusader_States_1190.svgRichard was able to capture the city of Acre even after a staunch resistance from Saladin.Richard was fairly successful in his campaign against Saladin’s forces .But the failure to capture Jerusalem caused another crusade.Both sides felt the results as unsatisfactory.But now the fate was sealed for christian middle east although the coastal states were able to maintain their presence for next few centuries  but were now no more threats to the Muslim world.

The_Crusader_States_(1200)

Fourth Crusade and Sack of Constantinople

This time a new route through Egypt was employed by the crusaders to attack Jerusalem now in Muslim hands but the goal of conquering Jerusalem turned into sack of Constantinople. The fourth crusade was the high point of eastern and western schism .The Byzantium capitol was although regained by the  Greeks after a half century but the they were never able to fully recover.

800px-Crusaders_attack_Constantinople

The Fifth Crusade

The goal was the same as always to acquire the holy lands.This time the army consisted of mostly German and Hungarian forces .Crusaders were able to acquire the guarantee of safe passage through Anatolian region controlled by Sultanate of Rum by allying them on their side.A two pronged war against Ayubids had a few successes in earlier period of the campaign but the march in Egypt was disastrous as the crusading force was decimated by the flood and surrendered to Muslims forces of Egypt.Capturing_Damiate

The Sixth Crusade

Frederick II,  the holy Roman Emperor and monarch Germany lay his claim to Kingdom of Jerusalem because of his marriage to its princess.Despite not being officially sanctioned by the Holy Roman Catholic Church Fredrick took his army Jerusalem and was able to capture the holy city . But the crusading army was not able to maintain control of the city for more than 15 years.This war showed European princely elite that individual nations can conquer orient .

Al-Kamil_Muhammad_al-Malik_and_Frederick_II_Holy_Roman_Emperor

The Seventh Crusade

Louis IX of France from 1248 to 1254 crusaded against the Islamic world though he was later proclaimed as saint by few but was utterly defeated by Ayyubid Sultanate in Egypt.1024px-Seventh_crusade

The Eighth Crusade

The French monarch  Louis IX attacked the Muslim possessions in Africa but the attack was a failure mainly due to the pandemic that left the French camp without its fighters . A truce was signed between the Muslim Ruler of Tunis and French monarch  Louis IX .

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The Ninth Crusade

Muslim world was in a precarious situation in the middle of thierteenth century .The Mongol horde was able to capture  Baghdad and Egypt faced a challenge of both crusaders and mongols whereas the reconquista in Iberian peninsula was virtually completed.If Baibars the general of the slave dynasty of Mamluks would not have defeated the Mongols and Crusaders , the whole Muslim world from east to west would have been overrun by the non believers.

640px-EdwardICrusadeMap

The last major crusade was actually the part of eighth crusade the English prince Edward I despite his few success was unable to have a lasting impact and ended in a truce .

Aftermath 

The crusades were a gory episode of religious fanaticism in middle ages .Eastern Europe motivated by the “Papal Bulls” attacked Muslim middle east  .The Seljuk were in a constant war against the Byzantium and the crusading forces.Byzantium was unable to recover from the Muslim advance into Anatolia and the aid of their fellow Christian brothers turned into their ultimate doom.The Kingdom of Castille , Aragon ,Leon and Navarre were able to drive out the Moorish occupants from Iberia.the crusades saw feudal Europe eventually transforming into a amalgam of nation states.The papal authority saw it high point in crusades and commanded the hearts and swords of Eastern Europe.The minor sects in Europe were now finally finished as part of western crusades, but at the end of crusades its become evident that the Christendom is becoming more secular.Some might argue that the crusades were the precursors of modern day colonialism.

608px-Last_Crusader

The Muslim world soon forgot the crusades and their memories faded away.Crusades were a result of the weakening of Arab hegemony in Islamic world . Arab world was unable to recover from the crusades and mongol invasion. This was the first low point of Islamic history as the second came during the colonialist era . But Muslims soon recover and the three great dynasties rose far away from the earlier power center  and these were Ottoman Empire of Anatolia and Eastern Europe , Mughal Empire in India and Safavid Empire in Persia.

Part 3 The Ballad of East and West : Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista

350px-Taifas770px-Taifas2

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

The split mandate ;The rise and fall of first Taifa Spain 

1031 -1095

By the end of 1031 Spain was divide into the petty kingdoms of both Muslims and Christians origins who were always in a constant state of warfare with each other

The Muslim Taifa States were

  • Banu Hammud of Malaga and Algeciras
  • Banu Ziri of Granada
  • Slav rulers of south eastern Spain
  • Banu hud of Sargossa
  • Banu Dhu;l –Nun of Toledo
  • Banu jahwar of cordova
  • Banu abbad of Seville

Christian kingdoms ; West to east

  • Kingdom of Galacia,
  • Kingdom of Leon,
  •  Kingdom ofCastile,
  • Kingdom ofNavarre,
  • Kingdom of Aragon
  • Kingdom of Barcelona

First round of Reconquista

Fernando  1 , the Count of Castile and king of Leon

Ferda1Leon_Sancha

  • War with Zaragoza 
  • War with Toledo
  • Reconquests in Portugal

Pope Gregory 6

Alfonso 6

Alfonso 6 and the fall of Toledo 1085

The African aid

The petty kingdoms of Spain were unable to defend themselves against their christian compatriots.They called for the help of Muslim kingdoms of North Africa.Almohad and Al Murabitun tried to halt the inevitable downfall of Muslim Spain But the northern Christendom was consistent to regain the whole peninsula in which they succeeded few centuries later.

Al-Murabitun / Almoravids Dynasty 1090-1145 and Al Mohad Dynasty 1145-1223

Battle of Sagarajas was a great success for the Muslim Spain it halted the process or reconquista for several generations

Almoravids dynasty

491px-Empire_almoravide

Another wave of North African Conquerors of

Al Mohad Dynasty 1145-1223

800px-Empire_almohade

Christian Reconquista begins again

Fall of Lisbon

Pope Eugene III authorized the crusade in the Iberian peninsula. army of the second crusade was aided the  King Afonso I of Portugal to capture Lisbon after 350 years of Muslim rule 1147

Siege_of_Lisbon_-_Muslim_surrender

Christian conquest in Eastern Spain

Conquest of Almeria,Lerida,fraga and the whole valley of Ebro.

The battle of Al Arcos

the battle was fought between Castile kingdoms and Al Mohads and resulted in Al Mohad victory and sent Shock waves through entire Spain (July 18, 1195)

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa ; Almohad defeat at al- Uqab

This was an important milestone for conquistadors as after this Andalusian Muslims were unable to call for the foreign support of their Muslim brethren. the battle was fought between the Al Mohad army  under the command of The Caliph al-Nasir (Miramamolí )Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal in battle. the battle was decisive victory for the Christian Alkalies  forces

Battle_of_Las_Navas_de_Tolosa

African conquers were unable to manage both African territories and Spain against Christians as well as Muslim rulers of Spain.Al Mohad  rulers eventually were driven out of Spain back into their African realm.

Almohads_after_1212

The third Taifa Spain

Now Christian zealot armies were invulnerable by the remaining Muslim duchies.

Reconquista completes

  • The treaty of Cazola 1179
  • The treaty of Almizra 1244

The Spanish Christians divide amongst themselves the noble ordeal of reconquering the Spain form the hand heathen moors

Portuguese Reconquest

  • Conquests of James 1

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  • Conquest of Balearics
  • Conquest of Valencia
  • The expulsion of Muslims

Ferdinand 3 and the conquest of Al-Andalus

Fernando_III_de_Castilla_02

  • Conquest of Cordova
  • Conquest of jean
  • Conquest of Seville

During the mid of thirteen century virtually the whole Iberian Peninsula was reconquered except the Nasrid kingdom of Granada

Nasrid kingdom of Granada 1232-1492

The Nasrid kingdom was the last refuge of the Muslim masses being expelled from the other parts of Spain. The rulers of Nasrid  duchy were actually the client or fiefs of the Christian neighbors. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslim Ottoman Empire this situation got worsened for them.

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Ferdinand and Isabella were joint in the wholly matrimony which also combine the two states and resulted in the modern Spain. The last of Muslim principalities surrendered in 1492,In the same year Columbus was commissioned to discover Americas .The final phase of reconquista was now completed .A new era of prosperity and riches for Spain and Portugal started after this.

CastillaLeon_1360

Finally the era of Muslim Spain was come to an end .the Muslim population was put through the notorious Spanish inquisition .The Moriscos or the tamed Muslims eventually died out in the new most Catholic Spain.

800px-La_rendición_de_Granada

The Ballad of East and West : Part 2 Islamic Invasion of Europe ; Al Andalus

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

(all the portraits used in the article are under public domain)

Arab conquest of Spain 711-714

After capturing huge territorial gains in north Africa Arabs made Qayrowan , near Tunis ,their capital of eastern realm . The Berber tribes native to these lands resented the Muslim rule and drove out Hassan Bin Noman  , the appointed governor general of Maghreb by the Omayyad Empire.

At this moment Caliph Al-Walid1 appointed an ethnic Arab Musa Bin Nusayr the commander of the eastern possessions of Omayyad Empire.Musa was an able commander  who pacified the Berber rebellion and take the control over all the northern Africa till Morocco.

Omayyad empire

Omayyad Empire

The main cause of Spanish conquest were the growing ambitions of the Arab Empire was to stretch their rule to another continent .The casus belli of this war was apparently the mistreatment of Count Juliann’s daughter.Arabs were also aware about the despotic regime of the Roderic  and the succession feud after the Witiza’s death which has created problems for the last king sons.

Florinda lost her flower ,

The king was soon repentant

But Spain lay in thrall

Because of Roderick lust

Initially caliph was reluctant to invade a new continent so Musa , now the governor general of the Maghreb of Northern Africa sent Tarif to probe the situation of the unknown country in 710. The expedition was a success Tarif returned with a large booty.

The promise of riches inspired both the Arabs and Berber tribes to invade Spain.An ethnic Berber general Tariq was commissioned to invade the Visigoth Spain.Tariq’s troop landed on southern coast of Spain , the landing site later came to be known Gibraltar Jabl Al Tariq (The Rock of Tariq) or Gibraltar.Musa reinforced Tariq’s armada with another 5000 soldiers almost all Berbers.The Spanish king gathered a huge army variously estimated from 25000 to 100,000 strong.This was the most pivotal battle in the saga of conquest of Christian Spain by the Muslim horde.

Battle of Barbarate/Battel of Guadalete July 19-26,711

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The famous speech of Tariq as reported by the Arab historians

“My men, wither can you flee? Behind you lie s the sea and the  we have burnt, while before you stand the ,strong in numbers .yet you possess something that your enemies do not ; courage and consistency. And you are present in this country poorer than orphans before a greedy guardian’s table.it will be easy tot turn this on him if you will but risk death for one instance!”the battle lasted about a weak.Spanish army was strong in numbers but weak in moral. At a critical juncture in battle Witiza’s sons deserted the king Rodrigo and joined Count Julian, now on Muslim side. This turned the tide , Muslim army vanquished Spanish army  sure of the defeat Roderick fled the battle but was never seen after probably drowned crossing the nearby river Barbate.”

Tarik_ibn_Ziyad_-

The tussle between the military commander Tariq and the governor general Musa paved the seeds of dissension amongst the Arab elite and fighting Berber faction which lasted throughout the Muslim reign in ins Spain and was probably the biggest reason behind the decline of Muslim Spain.

Tariq resumes advance , contrary to the wishes of his master who was  now envious of the successes of Tariq.Tariq divided his army into three wings and dispatched them against Malaga  on the Mediterranean coast, Cordoba on the west and other against Elvira in the south.

Conquest of Toledo; October 711

Musa joins the campaign

Musa gathered 18000 men, almost all the Arabs and landed at Tarifa near Algeciras in June,712.Musa was able to captured the cities of Medina Sidonia,Carmona and Seville in 712.Toledo, Saracus and Merida defied Arabs by putting stiff resistance against invaders but were eventually vanquished.

Conquest of south Spain.

Seville revolted but was recaptured by Musa’s son Abd al Aziz.in 713.Theodomir was a gothic count who was able to retain his army and lands after the battle of Barabarate but later on he sued for peace with Muslim forces ins pain.

Musa meets Tariq , 713

First time during the invasion both Musa and Tariq meet .Tariq defied his military commander’s orders to wait for him , Musa wanted to give him harsh punishment but spared him fearing a mutiny in the forces.

Conquest of North ; Pyreens to Galacia.

The nobles and the military  garrison were now starting to gather in the mountainous region  , to put an end to resistance Musa and Tariq both combined their forces .Tariq first subdued Guadalajara, later on the province of Saragossa signed the treaty with Moors. Tariq managed to conquer Barcelona. Musa was able to capture Gerona and Narbonne.

Musa wanted to invade France but the caliph called him to Damascus. it rounds up the first round of Arab invasion of eastern Europe of Iberian peninsula.

English: The Iberian Peninsula in 750. Español...

English: The Iberian Peninsula in 750. Español: La península ibérica en el año 750. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Omayyad Governorate of Muslim Spain

  • Abd al aziz, 714-716
  • As Samh
  • Abdur Rehman Al Ghafiqi 731-732

Arab Invasion and Defeat in France

Between the Frankish kingdom and Muslim lied three territories.

  • Septimania
  • Duchy of Aquitaine
  • Provence in southern Gaul

As-Samh subdues Septimania

Battle of Toulouse, May 721

The battle was disastrous defeat for the governorate of Spain as the appointed govern As-Samh was himself slain in this battle. After this a long civil war broke out between different Arab tribe and their compatriot Berbers.

After some time when order was restored in Muslim Spain another governor general Abdur Rahman invaded Aquitaine. Though initially successful in the pitched battles of Lyons, Besancon and Sens. now the  “Rois fainéant” ,i.e. do-nothing kings  of Merovingian dynasty stood against the Muslim Saracens  , as the French called them. But the real power lied in the hands of Charles who late assumed the title of Martel

729px-Steuben_-_Bataille_de_Poitiers

Battle of Tours October 731

The battle ended in the decisive victory for the franks and they defeated the Muslim army and killed their commander. The results were enormous for the future history of Europe. After this never were Muslims able to command such an offensive against the Western Europe unless until the times of Ottoman Empire. Christendom was saved by the Saracens by the true son of Europe Charles Martel.

Vasconia_wide_740_3_-_80

The next few governors were able to maintain their presence in southern France. The Berber revolt in North Africa and growing dissension against the Omayyad elite in Middle East left the governors unable to pursue further advance in Europe, from the Muslim perspective this was just another defeat on the ongoing battle saga to build an empire. Omayyad rule stretched from Spain to Indian Sind the huge distances made it difficult for the Arabs to rule.

Princely state of Spain under Omayyad rule

Abd Ar-Rhaman 1 757-788

After the fall of Omayyad dynasty in the heartland of Muslim world a young prince survived the massacre and made to western outposts of the Islamic empire .He rallied Arabs around him put an end to civil war in Muslim Spain and rule the Iberian  peninsula as a princely state independent of Muslim center first  time in the history.

A poem is attributed to him

I, and I alone, driven by consuming anger, bared a two edged sword,

Crossed the dessert and furrowed the sea , mastering waves and waste-land

I won a kingdom, gave it strength and built a mosque for prayer:

I rallied a disbanded army and peopled deserted cities.

Timeline of Omayyad rulers in Spain

Hisahm Bin Abd Ar –Rahman  788-796

Akam 1   796-822

Abd ar-Rahman 2   822-852

Muhammad 1 852-866

Munzir 886-888

Abdullah

The grand rebel Umar ibn Hufsan

Abd a Rahman 3  912-961

Abr ar –Rahamn 3 was the first ruler of Spain who formally seceded frpm the central lands of Muslim and established a formal kingdom of Muslim Spain.

Al Hakam 2 961-976

Hisham 2 and the Prime Minister Hajib al-Mansur 967 -1009

Al Mansur was an ambitious minister he not only subdued the rival Christian kingdoms with both his military prowess and cruelty, but he was also the virtual rule of emirate or kingdom of Muslim Spain. The unpopularity  of Al Mansur took the dynasty into a new low which caused the eventual fall of Omayyad Spain.

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civil war and the collapse of the Omyyad dynasty

1002-1009

This was the end of the glorious period of the Muslim empire in Spain .Now the tide was turn in favor of Christian kingdom of Spain. The reconquista started in the new millennium which ended in 1492 after the capitulation of the last Muslim stronghold of Nasird duchy.