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The Crusader States

The Field of Blood: The Aftermath

The crushing defeat at the Field of Blood caused many people to ponder this troubling question: If God was truly on their side, fighting with them, why did He let them suffer defeat? No one in those days realized that the flaws in their own military strategy led to defeat. Rather, all of the blame … Continue reading »

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Roger’s Victory

Aleppo was in a state of disarray in the second decade of the 12th century. The Sultan of Baghdad, seeing that as an opportunity to enhance his power in the Middle East, funded a new invasion into Frankish Syria. This time, he placed a Persian warlord, Bursuq of Hamadan in command of the army. Luckily … Continue reading »

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The Land of Milk and Honey: The Kingdom of Jerusalem

The coastline of Ascalon. It doesn’t look nearly as desolate and brown as is depicted in popular film and literature. This is an article by co-contributor Helena Schrader. The crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem is most frequently depicted in modern literature and film as a desert wasteland dotted with massive castles on barren hills. This image … Continue reading »

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King Baldwin’s Mistake

Even though the crusader states were united, they could not repel the threat posed by their Muslim neighbours. Maudud of Mosul was determined to oust the Franks from Syria. In the spring of 1113, he raised an army, marched across the Euphrates River and joined forces with Tughtegin, the Atabeg of Damascus, at the High … Continue reading »

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Marriage Alliances: Strengthening the Bonds of Unity Between the Crusader States

Tancred’s death happened at a time when the balance of power in the Levant was shifting. This shift was brought on by dynastic succession and a series of marriage alliances, particularly in the Principalities of Antioch, Edessa and Tripoli. The Principality of Antioch was passed to Tancred’s nephew, Roger of Salerno, son of the First … Continue reading »

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Luxury Exports and Religious Tourists: The Urban Economy of the Crusader Kingdoms

This is a guest article by fellow writer, Helena Schrader. It has been estimated that roughly 50% of the Frankish population in the crusader kingdoms was urban. That represents a much higher proportion than in Western Europe at this time, and particularly in the post-Hattin era, the majority of noblemen were dependent on non-agricultural income … Continue reading »

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Tancred’s Act of Treason

In 1110, for the first time since the Franks conquered Jerusalem, the Turks planned a counter-crusade. Their goal was to re-conquer Syria and oust the Franks for good. In the spring, Muhammad the Seljuk Sultan of Baghdad raised a large Mesopotamian army and placed it under the command of Maudud, aTurkish warlord who had recently … Continue reading »

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The Grand Frankish Alliance: King Baldwin’s Attempt to Reconcile the Fighting Nobles.

To the south, in the fledgling county of Tripoli, divisions between the Christian lords threatened to destroy what Count Raymond had founded. Shortly after Raymond’s death, Raymond’s nephew, William-Jordan arrived in the Holy Land and assumed control of the county. He conquered Arqa, a city north of Tripoli, while continuing to pressure the city of … Continue reading »

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Tancred vs Baldwin le Bourcq: The Fight Over Edessa

When Bohemond left Antioch, the principality consisted of no more than the city of Antioch and it was extremely vulnerable to Muslim reoccupation. The treasury was also nearly depleted, so when Tancred assumed control over the principality, he had very little to work with. But Tancred’s ambitions knew no limits. By the second decade of … Continue reading »

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Raymond’s Prize: The City of Tripoli

The Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1102. Photo credit: Odejea. Raymond turned his attention to Tripoli once again. That city was his prize and he was determined to capture it. However, since his force was so small and since there was no Genoese fleet present to help him, Raymond was unable to lay siege to Tripoli. … Continue reading »

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