This marked the beginning of the Crusades.
And, indeed, for centuries Jerusalem, sacred to Jew, Christian and Muslim alike, had been the center of attention for a succession of conquering armies—which made life anything but a paradise for its populace. The summer of saw the much-fought-over fortress city in Egyptian hands.
Many months of political and diplomatic maneuvering with the Franj Franks—the Arabic term used for all Western European Crusaders and the Rumi Romans—actually the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire had not gotten the vizier the concessions he wanted, so he simply had sent Emir al-Afdal to seize the city the Crusaders were coming to capture, thereby presenting the Franj invaders with a fait accompli.
In the months ahead, the Shiite Muslim poets of the Fatimid court would work diligently to compose great eulogies to the man who had wrested Jerusalem from the Sunni Seljuk heretics. The poetry ended in Januarywhen the Franj departed Antioch to resume their southward march.
Since then, waves of zealots had made their way toward their ultimate goal—Jerusalem—but the road had been far from easy. Indeed, many of the survivors who tramped their way along that final leg of their journey regarded the incidents that had occurred along the way as a series of trials to weed out all but the most worthy soldiers of the cross.
InGerman Crusaders, led by the Swabian Count Emich von Leiningen, vented their religious zeal on unarmed Jews, murdering thousands until they ran afoul of King Kolomon of Hungary, whose army killed some 10, of them and drove the rest from his country.
Others, led by Peter the Hermit, became so unruly that they were set upon by the Byzantine soldiers who were ostensibly to have escorted them to Constantinople.
Thousands of others were slaughtered in their first encounter with the Seljuk Turks, at Civitot on October 21, see Military History, February Raymond conceded possession of Antioch to Bohemund and agreed to lead the Crusaders onward.
It was a smaller army that marched on Jerusalem, but its soldiers were much tougher. The Crusaders seldom encountered resistance. Many local emirs, guided by the Arab proverb, Kiss any arm you cannot break—and pray to God to break it, aided the Christian host just to ensure that it would move on.
When the Normans denounced Peter as a fraud and questioned the authenticity of the holy lance, he offered to undergo a trial by fire, declaring that God would allow him to pass through the flames unharmed. A gantlet of flames was duly prepared and blessed by the bishops, after which Peter ran through the blaze and emerged badly burned, dying in agony 12 days later.
|European Middle Ages: feudalism and serfdom||Those who joined the armed pilgrimage wore a cross as a symbol of the Church.|
After abandoning their siege of Arqa, the Crusaders marched easily through the more compliant cities of Tripoli, Beirut and Acre. It would take months to raise a suitable army to relieve a siege of Jerusalem, and he sent an emissary to Emperor Alexius I Comnenus at Constantinople, asking him to delay the invaders.
Alexius asked the Europeans to wait until he could join them. But they had come to distrust the man whose request for assistance in restoring the Holy Land to Christian rule had led to the Crusades, and their response was scathing: We will go all of us to Jerusalem, in combat formation, our lances raised!
The defense of the great honey-colored fortress was now in the hands of Fatimid governor Iftikhar al-Daula Pride of State. The walls were in good condition, and his garrison of Arab cavalry and Sudanese archers was strong.
Iftikhar was a good general who inspired heroism, and his army was intensely loyal to him. Also, an Egyptian relief column was on its way, and there were ample provisions available until it arrived. As the Crusaders drew near Jerusalem, the governor blocked or poisoned all wells that lay outside the walls, moved all animals inside and expelled all Christians, regardless of denomination.
Most of the Jews also left, except for those of a sect for whom it was mandatory to reside in the Holy City. The Franj force that approached Jerusalem numbered little more than 15, people, including women and children, and only about 1, of them were knights. Starvation had made them rail thin, and hardship had made them strong.
An eclipse of the moon on June 5 was seen as a favorable sign from God, and their morale was high on the 7th, when they first spotted the domes and walls of Jerusalem from the Mosque of the Prophet Samuel atop the hill normally referred to by pilgrims as Montonjoie, the Joyous Mountain.
The Crusaders were too few to invest the entire city, so they concentrated their forces where they could come nearest the walls. Robert of Flanders was to his right at the Gate of the Column, also known as St.
Godfrey of Lorraine took position at the northwest angle of the city as far as the Jaffa Gate, with Raymond of Toulouse to his south. Tancred later joined Godfrey, bringing with him flocks of sheep that he had taken on his march from Bethlehem.
Raymond found that the valley lying between his position and the Jaffa Gate kept him too far from the walls, so after two or three days he moved his forces onto Mount Zion. The eastern and southeastern approaches to Jerusalem were not guarded at all. The advantage was with Iftikhar. He had a steady supply of water, much more food than the invaders and better weapons.The First Crusade In autumn of , Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade by calling upon his fellow Christians to reclaim the Holy City of Jerusalem, and to seek revenge on the followers of Islam, whom he accused of committing horrendous crimes against Christendom (Asbridge 16).
‘Jerusalem is the navel of the world, a land which is fruitful above all others, like another paradise of delights, wrote Robert the Monk in Historia Hierosolymitana.
And, indeed, for centuries Jerusalem, sacred to Jew, Christian and Muslim alike, had been the center of attention for a succession. The Siege of Jerusalem was conducted June 7 to July 15, , during the First Crusade (). Beginning in and lasting for three years, the First Crusade involved the march of four armies from Western Europe against Muslims in the Holy Land.
According to adriaticoutfitters.com, the Crusade began after Pope Urban II made a plea to go to war. During the First Crusade, Christian knights from Europe capture Jerusalem after seven weeks of siege and begin massacring the city’s Muslim and Jewish adriaticoutfitters.coming in the 11th century.
The Siege of Jerusalem took place from June 7 to July 15, during the First Crusade. During it, the Crusaders stormed and captured the city from Fatimid Egypt. The Siege is notable for the massacre that followed, during which much of Jerusalem's population was slaughtered.