Crusades

The Crusades were a series of military expeditions, launched in Europe and generally sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, that sought to regain control of Jerusalem and the Christian Holy Land from the followers of Islam. The Crusades were conducted primarily from the 11th through the 13th century, although minor Crusades took place for another 200 years. Eight major official Crusades occurred between 1095 and 1270. The Crusades met with only limited and temporal success, eventually leaving a legacy of bitterness and mistrust between two of the world’s great religions.

Sailors and marines of the powerful Venetian Navy assault the seaward wall along the Golden Horn for a second time in April 1204. The Venetians suspended gangplanks from the masts and yard-arms of their galleys that served as flying bridges for marines to use in assaulting the tops of the city's walls.

Crusades

Sack of Constantinople

By William E. Welsh

Dawn broke clear and hot over Constantinople on July 17, 1203.

All manner of war machines were clustered around the Latin crusaders’ fortified camp on a hill where the Monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian was located. Read more

The Crusader vanguard composed of French and Burgundian knights penetrates the forward position of Bayezid’s army defended by skirmishers armed with bows.

Crusades

Crusader Disaster At Nicopolis

By Louis Ciotola

In the late 14th century, a new and seemingly irresistible force was emerging in the East, the likes of which Europe had not seen for centuries. Read more

Crusades

Soldiers of God

By John Walker

In November 1177, Saladin launched his first significant military campaign against a crusader state. With 26,000 men, siege engines, a huge baggage train, and his own personal force of elite Mamluk bodyguards, Saladin marched his Ayyubid army across the Sinai Desert from Egypt into southern Palestine. Read more

Pope Eugenius III presents his pilgrim staff to King Louis VII at the Church of St. Denis. A high-ranking knight holds the Oriflamme, which was the battle standard of French kings.

Crusades

Crusader Calamity at Damascus

By William E. Welsh

The hot sun beat down on the mud-brick and wooden buildings, the lush orchards, and the patchwork of pastoral fields around the oval-shaped, walled city of Damascus in southern Syria on the morning of July 24, 1148. Read more

English King Richard I wields a broadsword against his Muslim foes in the Holy Land. His leadership in the Third Crusade ensured his place in the pantheon of great medieval commanders.

Crusades

Crusader Triumph at Arsuf

By William E. Welsh

The advance of long ranks of scimitar-wielding Nubian and robed Bedouin archers on foot signaled a dramatic change in Ayyubid Muslim tactics against the Frankish army marching south along the Palestinian coast from Acre towards Jaffa. Read more

Richard I Chateau Gaillard

Crusades

King Richard’s Chateau Gaillard

By William E. Welsh

In 1194 English King Richard I returned to England from his long absence on the Third Crusade and set about recovering the castles his younger brother John had taken in his absence. Read more

Crusades

Blood on the Cross

By William E. Welsh

The garrison soldiers of Beziers gazed down from the ramparts at the Crusader army setting up camp outside their high-walled city on July 21, 1209. Read more

Crusades

Disaster at Nicopolis

By William E. Welsh

Thick black smoke rose skyward from burning villages on the southern frontier of the Hungarian Kingdom in the spring of 1395. Read more

Crusades

Weighing the Odds of Crusader Success

The christian crusaders that marched south into Ottoman Rumelia in 1444 bet heavily that the combined power of Poland, Hungary, and Wallachia would prove sufficient to break the iron grip the Ottoman Porte had on the southern Balkans. Read more