Monthly Archives: April 2014

Three Armenian rulers, 1097-8

When the Princes’ Crusade arrived in Armenian Cilicia, the Armenian Prince of Cilicia welcomed them with enthusiasm. Until a few decades earlier, Armenia’s capital city was Ani, now a ruin near the borders of Turkey, Georgia and Armenia. Ani was … Continue reading

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Geography of Paul’s Asia Minor

Names and borders in the area now known as Turkey have changed so many times that it’s difficult at first to understand the region that the Crusaders were approaching. The few educated priests among them probably knew the New Testament … Continue reading

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Crossing Anatolia

When the Byzantines and Crusaders besieged Nicaea, the Seljuk Turks saw that they were a serious invasion force. Kilij Arslan was fighting another tribe of invading Turks to the east. He had only just declared independence for “Rum,” that is, … Continue reading

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Princes’ Crusade: first victory

Around the same time that Peter the Hermit and Walter Sans Avoir were arriving in Constantinople, four official organized armies left Europe. As these armies traveled, the disorganized Peoples’ Crusade met thorough defeat in Anatolia. Only a few weeks after … Continue reading

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Assassins in a land of divisions

Muslim regions were no longer unified in any real way, by the time the real Crusaders arrived. I’ve previously explained the three most significant blows to Muslim unity: Fatimid evangelism, North African puritanism, and the rapid conquest of Turks from … Continue reading

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The end of the popular Crusade

About five waves of disorganized pilgrims set out to cross Hungary on foot in 1096. In the first wave, they split up as they reached the Danube, some going by boat, some walking to a better ford. Walter Sans-Avoir was … Continue reading

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Massacre of Jews

In 1096, many of Germany’s Jews were massacred by the minor knights and paupers gathering for “pilgrimage.” When we look back from the 21st century, the event doesn’t seem surprising because we know the end of the story. But that’s … Continue reading

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Crusade evangelism

A century before, when the year changed from 999 to 1000, many people had anticipated the end of the world. Coming up to 1100, the same expectation was in the air. In the months surrounding Pope Urban II’s call to … Continue reading

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Maps in the Middle Ages

Geographical maps are extremely important in our world. Everyone owns some kind of map, even a redneck yahoo with a state map in his glove compartment. Maps have been part of our culture so long that we can’t conceive of … Continue reading

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Spiritual vacuum among the people

We’ve been talking about 11th century Europe in terms of its political strife and church reform movements at the top. To understand the next event in the new Crusade, we have to look at the vacuum left among the common … Continue reading

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