Monthly Archives: July 2017

Ahoy the Third Crusade! 1189-1190

They say the current Pope died of a stroke when he heard about the loss of Jerusalem and the True Cross relic. The new Pope Gregory VIII of course began his tenure by proclaiming a new Crusade. Loss of the … Continue reading

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Saladin takes Jerusalem, 1187

Saladin’s siege of Jerusalem was almost an anti-climax to the Battle of Hattin. He had already made a post-battle sweep of the region, seizing Nablus (where the Dowager Queen had been living), Ascalon, Acre, Jaffa, Sidon, and Beirut. In most … Continue reading

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The Jerusalem Family and Saladin, 1177-1187

The rulers of the Crusader kingdoms are difficult to track through this period without careful focus, although they helped by reliably naming the heir of Tripoli “Raymond,” of Antioch “Bohemund,” and of Jerusalem “Baldwin.” Lifespans were short, due not only … Continue reading

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Saladin builds an empire, 1171-1187

  When Saladin became Vizier of Egypt, he was technically the agent of at least two higher powers. One was Nur ad-Din, the ruler of Aleppo, Mosul and Damascus; the other was, of course, the Sunni Caliph in Baghdad, who … Continue reading

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Christendom attacks Saladin 1.0, 1169

In 1169, Nur ad-Din’s agent Saladin became Vizier to the last Fatimid Caliph in Cairo. There was one armed revolt in protest, but Saladin had already been diligently executing possible rebel commanders, so it didn’t last long. Saladin then inherited … Continue reading

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Sultan Saladin ends Shi’ite rule in Cairo, 1171

Saladin and Richard the Lion-Heart are the most famous names of the Crusades, and finally we’re getting to their stories. We met Richard via his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine; now we meet Saladin through Zengi’s successor Nur ad-Din. First, why … Continue reading

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Prester John’s Letter, 1165

“Prester John” was the unlikely name of a legendary Christian king somewhere far in the East. From century to century, people kept hearing and passing on rumors of his wealth and piety. A medievalĀ Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was thought to be … Continue reading

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Baldwin II’s daughter Hodierna of Tripoli, 1137

Note: this one should have been posted before the Second Crusade entries. Hodierna, Baldwin’s third daughter, didn’t marry until she was about 25 (in 1137). It’s not clear why she stayed home so long when her sister Alice was married … Continue reading

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Queen Eleanor of the 2nd Crusade

If you singled out just one person to stand for the Second Crusade, it should be Queen Eleanor. She was the grand-daughter of Duke William of Aquitaine, the troubadour who just barely survived the First Crusade. William had gone home … Continue reading

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Second Crusade: the kings, 1147-8

The Second Crusade consisted mainly of a huge expeditionary force led by the French King Louis VII and the German King Conrad III. Its story is one of great initial promise and high theater, ending in disappointment and disaster. It … Continue reading

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