The Crusades, The Knights and the Code of Chivalry (The Long Bows)

This page is about the Crusades, the Knights, and the code of chivalry. The purpose of this page is to enlighten the reader about many aspects of each of these categories. This page will explore each category to a certain degree of depth, and will contain many links for further reading on many people and locations.
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The Crusades

There were 10 crusades in total, counting the Children's Crusade. The point of the crusades were to take the holy land, especially Jerusalem, back from the Saracens and return it to the Christians.The first was started in 1095 due to the preaching of Pope Claremont. The term "Saracen" was used to describe a Muslim during the Crusades. Pope Claremont's preaching led to thousands putting the cross on their garments. The Crusades got its name from the French word "crois" meaning "cross". These were great military expeditions to rescue the Holy Places from the Mohammedans.

The First Crusade 1107-1110

In 1095, Pope Urban II called upon all christians to join in an effort to liberate the Holy Land from the Saracens. He promised that if anyone died attempting this, that they would be immediately forgiven for all of their sins. This led to an army led by Walter Sans Avoir and Peter the Hermit. The army consisted of poor men, women and children. This army lasted about six months, but was ultimately killed by the saracens. Shortly after, the official papally ordained army marched to Constantinople, where the Byzantine emperor welcomed them. They pledged to take back lost territory and were then supplied and transported to Anatolia, where they sieged Nicea. Nicea was easily taken as the man in charge was away fighting.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II

They marched on, depraved of food and water, across Anatolia and to the city Antioch. This was a strongly protected Turkish city. With a seven month siege they eventually conquered Antioch,and massacred all Saracens inside the city, as was military standard. Shortly after this victory, a Saracen army led by Kerbogha attacked the crusaders at Antioch, but were defeated. Tired and hungry, the army continued to march towards Jerusalem, but with reduced numbers. The Saracens and Jews fought together to defend Jerusalem, but failed. The Christians then proceeded with massacre of the Jews and Saracens and pillaged Jerusalem. They estimated as many as around 70,000 were killed. They were noted to have committed great atrocities, cannibalism being one.

The Second Crusade 1147-1149

The Christians and Saracens managed to live peacefully together in Jerusalem up until the Saracens conquered the city of
Edessa. The entire population was massacred or sold into slavery. After this many preachers, especially Bernard of Clairvaux, called for a second crusade. King Louis VII, the King of France, and Conrad III, the Emperor of Germany, sent armies to attack Jerusalem and Damascus, but didn't come out victorious. Damascus eventually fell to the crusader's main enemy, Nur ad-Din Zangi. Although, after meeting with Afonso I of Portugal, they managed to retake Lisbon from the Saracen. This crusade really didn't accomplish anything.

The Third Crusade 1187-1192

In 1187, the Sultan of Egypt, Saladin, conquered Jerusalem. Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade, which ended up being led by Philip II of France,

Richard I of England, and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Making his way to Jerusalem, Richard I managed to conquer Cyprus, which would would serve as a base for years to come. He also recaptured Acre, Arsuf, and Jaffa. By the time he made it to
Jerusalem, though, he realized that the Christians would never be able to hold Jerusalem since the soldiers would immediately return to Europe, so he called off the crusade.

On the way home, Richard I ship wrecked off the coast of Adriatic. Traveling through Austria, his enemy, Duke Leopold, captured and delivered him to Henry VI who held him for ransom. By 1197, Richard I was ready for another crusade, but died of malaria.

The Fourth Crusade 1202-1204

The Fourth Crusade was started by Pope Innocent III who planned to attack the Holy Land through Egypt. No emperor or king answered his summon. The crusaders lacked the funds, but they were contracted by the Venetians, and Doge Enrico Dandolo enlisted them to restore the city of Zadar to obedience. the Venetians agreed to transport the 33,500 crusaders by ships, which took a year or so to make. The leaders decided to go to Constantinople and eventually conquered the city, establishing the Latin Empire and several other crusader states.

Children's Crusade 1212

The Children's Crusade could either be fictitious or misinterpreted. Apparently, two kids named Stephen and Nicholas led 37,000 children to the Holy Land. They never made it to the Holy Land, and those who did not return home or settle along the route either died or were sold into slavery.

Fifth Crusade 1217-1221

In 1217, the church and the Fourth Council of the Lateran devised a plan to recapture the Holy Land. They conquered Damietta , which took the crusaders many months and thousands of lives to enter, and launched an attack on Cairo, but failed due to lack of supplies. The crusaders were caught at the Nile River when it flooded. At night time, the Egyptian ruler Al-Kamil defeated the retreating army, which was trying to go home. Only brave soldiers prevented the army from being completely annihilated. He agreed to an eight year peace.

Sixth Crusade 1228-1229

Emperor Frederick II kept promising a crusade, but never lived up to his word and was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX. Although he was excommunicated, he still sailed to Saint-Jean d'Acre and unexpectedly captured Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. In 1229 when he failed to captured Egypt, he made a treaty with Al-Kamil that let Christians rule over Jerusalem, but the Saracens had control over the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Seventh Crusade 1248-1254

After Egypt reconquered Jerusalem, Louis IX of France launched a crusade on the Egyptians. They ultimately failed and Louis IX remained in Acre.

Eighth Crusade 1270

Louis IX once again launched a crusade to aid crusaders in Syria, but was diverted to Tunis, where he only spent to months before he died. For his efforts, he was later canonised.

Ninth Crusade 1271-1272

The future Edward I of England launched a Crusade in 1271, but ultimately failed. The only hope for Christians to keep control was to team with the Franco-Mongol alliance. They were only able to get to Damascus.

After the fall of Antioch, Tripoli, and Acre, the Christians who were unable to leave were enslaved and any trace of christian rule in Levant disappeared.

The Crusades in Popular Culture

The Crusades have spawned many books, operas, paintings, a movie called Kingdom of Heaven and the first video game in the Assassin's Creed series.

The Knights

The knights were the military order in the medieval days. They protected the peace and upheld a strict code of chivalry. They were high-esteemed people who were considered noble and brave most of the time. During the Crusades, there were three main orders of knights; the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights Teutonic, and the Knights Templar.

Flag of the Knights Hospitaller
Flag of the Knights Hospitaller

Flag of the Knights Teutonic
Flag of the Knights Teutonic

Flag of the Knights Templar
Flag of the Knights Templar

The Knights Hospitaller

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The Knights Hospitaller were founded around the work on a hospital in Jerusalem. They were founded in 1023 and provided care for sick, injured and poor pilgrims to the Holy Land. This group joined the Knights Templar in becoming a powerful, centralized body of monastic soldiers which became the basis of the Crusading Army and the Crusading Movement itself. They spawned two major forms of chivalry; the Order of Saint Lazarusand the and the Order of the Knights of St. John, which collectively became the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. After the First Crusade, they became a religious organization and military order under their own charter and were charged with the protection of the Holy Land. After the Saracens retook the Holy Land though, they operated from Rhodes, and then later Malta.
They were later weakened after Napoleon's capture of Malta in 1798. They still survive today through Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which is headquartered in Rome.

The Knights Teutonic

The Knights Teutonic were a German Catholic religious order that provided aid for Christians on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land and established hospitals. There were very small in membership, and most the time when they needed to fight, volunteers and mercenaries were the main forces.

They survive today through the Chivalric German Order. They managed to survive by moving to Austria, out of Napoleon's reach. They were also suppressed by Nazi Germany after they annexed Austria. Although they were suppressed, Hitler still used Teutonic symbols as Nazi symbolism.

The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar were great in number and were one of the most experienced military forces during the Crusades. Members who didn't fight built economic infrastructures, started an early form of banking, and build fortifications across the Holy Land.

The secret initiation of the Knights Templar gave rise to much suspicion and created mistrust. Philip IV of France was in debt to the Knights Templar and took advantage of the situation. He arrested members and tortured them into giving false confessions of committing apostasy, idolatry, heresy, homosexuality, sodomy, fraud, and secrecy. They were burned at the stake. Under the pressure of Philip IV, Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312.

The order is widely accepted as being disbanded to this day, but many conspiracy theorists believe that they live through the Freemasons to this day due to the Freemason using Templar imagery.

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The Code of Chivalry

The code of chivalry was a code of etiquette which was popular during the medieval times. Those who withheld the code of chivalry treated people with utmost respect. But not only was it a social code, it was also a religious code, where the person would respect and obey their religion and it's hierarchy.

Nowadays, people say the phrase "chivalry is dead". What this basically means is that men have forgot how to respect women, but can also refer to respect to anybody in general.