The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal Christian states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land, and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area. The name also refers to other territorial gains (often small and short-lived) made by medieval Christendom against Muslim and pagan adversaries.
Feudalism was a combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. Although derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Middle Ages. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity as its official religion and often has a state church, which is a Christian denomination that supports the government and is supported by the government.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2016. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.
The Crusader states in the Levant, collectively known as Outremer,were the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the County of Edessa (in addition to the Kingdom of Cyprus). The people of the Crusader states were generally referred to as "Latins", a common demonym among the followers of the Latin Church as opposed to indigenous followers of Eastern Christianity.
The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.
The (Latin) Kingdom of Jerusalem was a crusader state established in the Southern Levant by Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks. Its history is divided into two distinct periods. The sometimes so-called First Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted from 1099 to 1187, when it was almost entirely overrun by Saladin. After the subsequent Third Crusade, the kingdom was re-established in Acre in 1192, and lasted until that city's destruction in 1291, except for a brief two decades in which Frederick II of Hohenstaufen reclaimed Jerusalem back into Christian hands after the Sixth Crusade. This second kingdom is sometimes called the Second Kingdom of Jerusalem or the Kingdom of Acre, after its new capital. Most of the crusaders who settled there were of French origin.
The Principality of Antioch was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade which included parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria. The principality was much smaller than the County of Edessa or the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It extended around the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, bordering the County of Tripoli to the south, Edessa to the east, and the Byzantine Empire or the Kingdom of Armenia to the northwest, depending on the date.
Beginning in the 7th century, Muslim rulers began expanding their territories into Christian Roman/Byzantine lands, conquering Egypt and the Levant, and gradually taking over all of North Africa, much of Southwest Asia, and most of the Iberian Peninsula. The Eastern Romans, or Byzantines, partially recovered lost territory on numerous occasions but gradually lost all but Anatolia and parts of Thrace and the Balkans. In the West, the Roman Catholic kingdoms of northern Iberia launched campaigns known as the Reconquista to reconquer the peninsula from the Arabized Berbers known as Moors (who called it al-Andalus). The conquered Iberian principalities are not customarily called Crusader states, except for the Kingdom of Valencia, despite fitting the criteria.
The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.
The Reconquista is a name used in English to describe the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1491. The completed conquest of Granada was the context of the Spanish voyages of discovery and conquest, and the Americas—the "New World"—ushered in the era of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires.
The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.
Malcolm Barber, a British scholar of medieval history, indicates that, in the Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem the Holy Sepulchre was added to in the 7th century and rebuilt in 1022, "after a previous collapse". "In 691–2 Caliph Abd al Malik had built a great dome over the rock here, a place sacred to all three great religions".
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, at a place known as "Calvary" or "Golgotha", and Jesus' empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by the 19th-century shrine called the Aedicule (Edicule). The Status Quo, a 260-year-old understanding between religious communities, applies to the site.
ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam was the fifth Umayyad caliph, ruling from 685 until his death. At the time of his accession, Umayyad authority had disintegrated throughout the caliphate and had begun to be reconstituted in Syria and Egypt during the short reign of his father, Caliph Marwan I. Abd al-Malik's early focus was to consolidate Syria before attempting to reconquer the remainder of the caliphate from his principal rival, the Mecca-based caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. To that end, he concluded an unfavorable truce with a reinvigorated Byzantine Empire in 689, fended off a coup attempt in Damascus by his kinsman the following year and reconciled with the disaffected Qaysi tribes of Upper Mesopotamia in 691. He subsequently conquered Zubayrid Iraq and dispatched one of his generals, al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, to Mecca where he killed Ibn al-Zubayr and restored Umayyad rule in Arabia by late 692. Al-Hajjaj ultimately became the caliph's viceroy in the east and firmly established Abd al-Malik's authority in Iraq and Khurasan, having stamped out opposition by the Kharijites and the Arab tribal nobility by 702. In the west, Abd al-Malik's brother, Abd al-Aziz, maintained peace and stability in Egypt while his troops retook Qayrawan, which served as the launchpad for the conquests of western North Africa and Hispania under the caliph's sons and successors.
The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691–92 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The Dome of the Rock is in its core one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture.
In 1071, the Byzantine army was defeated by the Muslim Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert, resulting in the loss of most of Asia Minor. The situation was a serious threat to the future of the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The Emperor sent a plea to the Pope in Rome to send military aid to restore the lost territories to Christian rule. The result was a series of western European military campaigns into the eastern Mediterranean, known as the Crusades. Unfortunately for the Byzantines, the crusaders had no allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor and established their own states in the conquered regions, including the heart of the Byzantine Empire.
The Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Empire on 26 August 1071 near Manzikert, theme of Iberia. The decisive defeat of the Byzantine army and the capture of the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes played an important role in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and allowed for the gradual Turkification of Anatolia. Many of the Turks, who had been, during the 11th century, travelling westward, saw the victory at Manzikert as an entrance to Asia Minor.
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical exonyms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
The first four Crusader states were created in the Levant immediately after the First Crusade:
The First Crusade (1095–1099) was the first of a number of crusades that attempted to recapture the Holy Land, called for by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Urban called for a military expedition to aid the Byzantine Empire, which had recently lost most of Anatolia to the Seljuq Turks. The resulting military expedition of primarily Frankish nobles, known as the Princes' Crusade, not only re-captured Anatolia but went on to conquer the Holy Land, which had fallen to Islamic expansion as early as the 7th century, and culminated in July 1099 in the re-conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
After the First Crusade's capture of Jerusalem and victory at Ascalon the majority of the Crusaders considered their pilgrimage complete and returned to Europe. Godfrey was left with only 300 knights and 2,000 infantry to defend the territory won in the Eastern Mediterranean. Only Tancred of the crusader princes remained with the aim of establishing his own lordship.At this point the Franks held only Jerusalem and two great Syrian cities; Antioch and Edessa but not the surrounding country. Jerusalem remained economically sterile despite the advantages of being the centre of administration of church and state and benefitting from streams of pilgrims.
Consolidation in the first half of the 12th-century established four Crusader states: the County of Edessa (1098–1149), the Principality of Antioch (1098–1268), the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099–1291), and the County of Tripoli (1104–1289, although the city of Tripoli itself remained in Muslim control until 1109).These states were the first examples of "Europe overseas". They are generally known as outremer, from the French outre-mer ("overseas" in English).
Largely based in the ports of Acre and Tyre; Italian, Provencal and Spanish communes provided a significant characteristic of Crusader social stratification and political organisation. Separate from the Frankish nobles or burgesses, the communes were autonomous political entities closely linked to their countries of origin. This gave the inhabitants the ability to monopolise foreign trade and almost all banking and shipping in the Crusader states. Every opportunity to extend trade privileges was taken. One such example was the case of the Venetian Doge receiving one third of Tyre, its territories and exemption from all taxes after participating in the successful 1124 siege of the city. However, despite all efforts the two ports were unable to replace Alexandria and Constantinople as the primary centres of commerce in the region.Instead, the communes competed with the Crown and each other to maintain economic advantage. Power derived from the support of the communards' native cities rather than their number, which never reached more than several hundred. Through this, by the middle of the 13th-century, the rulers of the communes were barely required to recognise the authority of the crusaders and divided Acre into a number of fortified miniature republics.
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia had its origins before the Crusades, but was granted the status of a kingdom by Pope Innocent III, and later became fully westernized by the (French) Lusignan dynasty.
During the Third Crusade, the Crusaders founded the Kingdom of Cyprus. Richard I of England conquered Cyprus on his way to Holy Land. He subsequently sold the island to the Knights Templar who were unable to maintain their hold because of a lack of resources and a rapacious attitude towards the local population which led to a series of popular uprisings. The Templars promptly returned the island to Richard who resold it to the displaced King of Jerusalem Guy of Lusignan in 1192. Guy went on to found a dynasty that lasted until 1489, when the widow of James II The Bastard, Queen Catherine Cornaro, a native of Venice, abdicated her throne in favour of the Republic of Venice, which annexed the island.For much of its history under the Lusignan Kings, Cyprus was a prosperous Medieval Kingdom, a commercial and trading hub of Western Christendom in the Middle East. The Kingdom's decline began when it became embroiled in the dispute between the Italian Merchant Republics of Genoa and Venice. Indeed, the Kingdom's decline can be traced to a disastrous war with Genoa in 1373–74 which ended with the Genoese occupying the principal port City of Famagusta. Eventually with the help of Venice, the Kingdom recovered Famagusta but by then it was too late and in any event, the Venetians had their own designs on the island. Venetian rule over Cyprus lasted for just over 80 years until 1571, when the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim II Sarkhosh invaded and captured the entire island. The battle for Cyprus between Venice and the Ottoman Empire was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play Othello, most of which is set in the port city of Famagusta on the eastern shores of the island.
After the Fourth Crusade, the territories of the Byzantine Empire were divided into several states, beginning the so-called "Francocracy" (Greek : Φραγκοκρατία) period:
Several islands, most notably Crete (1204–1669), Euboea (Negroponte, until 1470), and the Ionian Islands (until 1797) came under the rule of Venice.
These states faced the attacks of the Byzantine Greek successor states of Nicaea and Epirus, as well as Bulgaria. Thessalonica and the Latin Empire were reconquered by the Byzantine Greeks by 1261. Descendants of the Crusaders continued to rule in Athens and the Peloponnesus (Morea) until the 15th century when the area was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
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The emblem used on the seals of the rulers of Jerusalem during the 12th century was a simplified depiction of the city itself, showing the tower of David between the Dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by the city walls. The coins minted in Jerusalem during the 12th century show patriarchal crosses with various modifications. Coins minted under Henry I (r. 1192–1197) show a cross with four dots in the four quarters, but the Jerusalem cross proper appears only on a coin minted under John II (r. 1284/5).
The crescent in pellet symbol is used in Crusader coins of the 12th century, in some cases duplicated in the four corners of a cross, as a variant of the cross-and-crosslets ("Jerusalem cross"). –1160s show an "eight-rayed star with pellets above crescent".Many Crusader seals and coins show a crescent and a star (or blazing Sun) on either side of the ruler's head (as in the tradition of Sassanid coins), e.g. Bohemond III of Antioch, Richard I of England, Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse. At the same time, the star in crescent is found on the obverse of Crusader coins, e.g. in coins of the County of Tripoli minted under Raymond II or III c. 1140s
In the Baltic region, the indigenous tribes in the Middle Ages at first staunchly refused Christianity. In 1193, Pope Celestine III urged Christians to have a crusade against the heathens which included the Old Prussians, the Lithuanians and other tribes inhabiting Estonia, Latvia and East Prussia. This period of warfare is called the Northern Crusades.
In the aftermath of Northern Crusades William of Modena as Papal legate solved the disputes between the crusaders in Livonia and Prussia.
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century. Its seat was the city of Edessa.
The County of Tripoli (1109–1289) was the last of the Crusader states. It was founded in the Levant in the modern-day region of Tripoli, northern Lebanon and parts of western Syria which supported an indigenous population of Christians, Druze and Muslims. When the Christian Crusaders – mostly Frankish forces – captured the region in 1109, Bertrand of Toulouse became the first Count of Tripoli as a vassal of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. From that time, the rule of the county was decided not strictly by inheritance but by factors such as military force, favour and negotiation. In 1289 the County of Tripoli fell to Sultan Qalawun of the Muslim Mamluks of Cairo. The county was absorbed into Mamluk Egypt.
Bohemond III of Antioch, also known as Bohemond the Child or the Stammerer, was Prince of Antioch from 1163 to 1201. He was the elder son of Constance of Antioch and her first husband, Raymond of Poitiers. Bohemond ascended to the throne after the Antiochene noblemen dethroned his mother with the assistance of Thoros II, Lord of Armenian Cilicia. He fell into captivity in the Battle of Artah in 1164, but the victorious Nur ad-Din, atabeg of Aleppo released him to avoid coming into conflict with the Byzantine Empire. Bohemond went to Constantinople to pay homage to Manuel I Komnenos, who persuaded him to install a Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Antioch. The Latin Patriarch of Antioch, Aimery of Limoges, placed Antioch under interdict. Bohemond restored Aimery only after the Greek patriarch died during an earthquake in 1170.
Bohemond IV of Antioch, also known as Bohemond the One-Eyed, was Count of Tripoli from 1187 to 1233, and Prince of Antioch from 1201 to 1216 and from 1219 to 1233. He was the younger son of Bohemond III of Antioch. The dying Raymond III of Tripoli offered his county to Bohemond's elder brother, Raymond, but their father sent Bohemond to Tripoli in late 1187. Saladin, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt and Syria, conquered the county, save for the capital and two fortresses, in summer 1188.
The Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, created in 1099, was divided into a number of smaller seigneuries.
The star and crescent is an iconographic symbol used in various historical contexts but most well known today as a symbol of the former Ottoman Empire and, by popular extension, the Islamic world. It develops in the iconography of the Hellenistic period in the Kingdom of Pontus, the Bosporan Kingdom and notably the city of Byzantium by the 2nd century BCE. It is the conjoined representation of the crescent and a star, both of which constituent elements have a long prior history in the iconography of the Ancient Near East as representing either Sun and Moon or Moon and Morning Star. Coins with crescent and star symbols represented separately have a longer history, with possible ties to older Mesopotamian iconography. The star, or Sun, is often shown within the arc of the crescent ; In numismatics in particular, the term crescent and pellet is used in cases where the star is simplified to a single dot.
In the Middle Ages, the term bezant was used in Western Europe to describe several gold coins of the east, all derived ultimately from the Roman solidus. The word itself comes from the Greek Byzantion, ancient name of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, also known as the Cilician Armenia, Lesser Armenia, or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuq invasion of Armenia. Located outside the Armenian Highland and distinct from the Armenian Kingdom of antiquity, it was centered in the Cilicia region northwest of the Gulf of Alexandretta.
Roger of Salerno was regent of the Principality of Antioch from 1112 to 1119. He was the son of Richard of the Principate and the 2nd cousin of Tancred, Prince of Galilee, both participants on the First Crusade. He became regent of Antioch when Tancred died in 1112; the actual prince, Bohemund II, was still a child. Like Tancred, Roger was almost constantly at war with the nearby Muslim states such as Aleppo. In 1114 there was an earthquake that destroyed many of the fortifications of the principality, and Roger took great care to rebuild them, especially those near the frontier.
Baldwin of Ibelin, also known as Baldwin II of Ramla, was an important noble of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 12th century. He was the second son of Barisan of Ibelin, and was the younger brother of Hugh of Ibelin and older brother of Balian of Ibelin. He first appears in the historical record as a witness to charters in 1148.
Hugh, Count of Brienne and Lecce was the second surviving son of Count Walter IV of Brienne and Marie de Lusignan of Cyprus.
The Principality of Galilee was one of the four major seigneuries of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin. The direct holdings of the principality centred around Tiberias, in Galilee proper, but with all its vassals, the lordship covered all Galilee and southern Phoenicia. The independent Sidon was located between Galilee's holdings. The Principality also had its own vassals: the Lordships of Beirut, Nazareth, and Haifa.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.
The Frankokratia, also known as Latinokratia and, for the Venetian domains, Venetokratia or Enetokratia, was the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire.
Aimery or Aymery of Limoges, also Aimericus in Latin, Aimerikos in Greek and Hemri in Armenian, was a Roman Catholic ecclesiarch in Frankish Outremer and the fourth Latin Patriarch of Antioch from c. 1140 until his death. Throughout his lengthy episcopate he was the most powerful figure in the Principality of Antioch after the princes, and often entered into conflict with them. He was also one of the most notable intellectuals to rise in the Latin East.
The Lordship of Tyre was a semi-independent domain in the Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1246 to 1291.
Of the enormous literature which the crusades inspired in Europe, only one poem of any importance was actually written in the Holy Land, or Outremer as the Latins called it: the so-called Chanson des Chetifs, produced at Antioch a little before 1149.
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