Monthly Archives: May 2017

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the great persuader

Bernard was a younger son in a noble family of Burgundy. His normal lot would have been war training for knighthood, but Bernard was clearly a scholarly, literary child who preferred the Church, so they sent him to school. As … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Uncategorized | Comments Off on St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the great persuader

The Komnenos Family, 1118-1146

The Byzantine Empire was central to all of these events, but we often overlook their role in the Crusader kingdoms since the Franks were so often opposed to the Greeks. The Crusaders acted alone most of the time, after the … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Muslim Empire | Comments Off on The Komnenos Family, 1118-1146

The Rise of Zengi, 1127-1146

  The mass migration of Turks from Central Asia into the Middle East brought to an end the early and intermediate periods of Islam, when its main divisions were about theology or ideology. While individual Turks may have been as … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Muslim Empire | Comments Off on The Rise of Zengi, 1127-1146

Melisende and Fulk

Melisende was named for the Countess of Rethel, Baldwin II’s mother; it’s a variant of Millicent, an old Germanic compound name. Now it has become the name of a fairy-tale heroine of an opera, so it sounds fanciful, but when … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Women | Comments Off on Melisende and Fulk

Alice, Princess of Antioch, 1126-1136

Alice began her married life conventionally enough by bearing a daughter in the first two years. But her course of life was derailed when Bohemund II died in battle with the Danishmends (the same tribe that had taken his father … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Women | Comments Off on Alice, Princess of Antioch, 1126-1136

Baldwin’s Feminist Daughters

I’ve described King Baldwin II as a family man, the fact that sets him apart from the other First Crusaders. Coming with the Boulogne brothers as a landless knight, he had inherited Edessa and immediately married Morphia, the heiress of … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Women | Comments Off on Baldwin’s Feminist Daughters

Knights of Temple and Hospital, circa 1118

In the first year of King Baldwin II, a knight named Hugues (Hugh, Hugo) proposed the creation of a new monastic order. He had probably come to Jerusalem in 1114, on pilgrimage with the Count of Champagne. Hugues chose to … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Muslim Empire | Comments Off on Knights of Temple and Hospital, circa 1118

King Sigurd the Crusader, 1107-13

Norway decided to participate in the Crusade on its own schedule; it was at the outer rim of Christendom, so news arrived there slowly. Pilgrimages appealed to Scandinavians very much, since long voyages were part of their culture. At the … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades | Comments Off on King Sigurd the Crusader, 1107-13

death of King Baldwin I, 1118

In 1115, King Baldwin I sent a general invitation to Syrian Christians to come resettle in Jerusalem. The city’s economy was very thin, since the Crusaders had killed so many of the residents in their original assault. The ensuing years … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Muslim Empire, Uncategorized | Comments Off on death of King Baldwin I, 1118

Life of Tancred, 1097-1112

Tancred was a young man of about 20 when Pope Urban preached the Crusade. His grandfather had conquered Sicily, so he was looking for a new frontier. The Crusade was perfect for him, since he already spoke some Arabic. He … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Muslim Empire | Comments Off on Life of Tancred, 1097-1112