Portal:Crusades

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THE CRUSADES PORTAL

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Crusader siege of Antioch

The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal threats. Crusades were fought against Muslims, pagan Slavs, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Jews, and political enemies of the popes. Crusaders took vows and were granted an indulgence for past sins.

The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted in territories outside the Levant usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons. Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade.

The Crusades had far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts, some of which have lasted into contemporary times. Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions were diverted from their original aim, such as the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Christian Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders.

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Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests (632–732), (Arabic: فتح‎, Fataḥ, literally opening,) also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests[1], of non-Arab peoples began after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified political polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.

They grew well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

"Under the last of the Ommiades, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Qur'an were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris."

The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another.

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Richard I of England
Credit: Tagishsimon

This bronze equestrian statue of the crusader Richard I of England brandishing his sword by Carlo Marochetti stands outside the Palace of Westminster in London.

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Battle of Varna by Jan Matejko

Selected biography

Joshua Prawer November 22, 1917–April 30, 1990) was a notable Israeli historian and a scholar of the Crusades and Kingdom of Jerusalem. Prawer was part of a cadre of historians, including Claude Cahen and Jean Richard, who freed crusader studies from the old conception of crusader society as an exemplar of pure, unchanging feudalism that spontaneously emerged from the conquest. This view, which originated with feudal jurists in the thirteenth century, was held to by modern historians since the early thirties. Through the work of Prawer, particularly his two papers from the fifties, and his colleagues, crusader society began to be seen as dynamic, with the nobility gradually putting checks on the monarchy. The combined efforts of these historians led to a surge of new research into crusader society. Prawer's research extended to a wide variety of other aspects of the crusader states. Among the topics he addressed were land development projects and urban settlement, agriculture, the Italian quarters of port cities, the types of landed property, and legal issues in the Assises des Bourgeois.

One of Prawer's best known works is the Histoire du Royaume Latin de Jérusalem, which won him the Prix Gustave Schlumberger of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. The two-volume work presents the crusader states as a working immigrant society, and shows the importance of immigration and labor shortages. Another book by Prawer, The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: European Colonialism in the Middle Ages, which was intended for a larger audience, was more controversial. The 1980 book Crusader Institutions collected a number of his earlier publications and expanded upon them with revisions and new chapters. In his last years, he published a book on a topic of especial interest to him, The History of the Jews in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, which examined the tightly-knit isolated Jewish communities of the Levant, the Jewish philosophical feuds they engaged in, and their dreams of restoring Israel.

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The Crusades

Background: PilgrimageHoly LandChurch of the Holy SepulchreGreat German Pilgrimage of 1064–65Theology of sacred violenceBattle of ManzikertCouncil of PiacenzaCouncil of ClermontJihad

Realms and dynasties: Great Seljuq EmpireFatimid CaliphateKingdom of JerusalemPrincipality of AntiochCounty of TripoliCounty of EdessaKingdom of CyprusArmenian Kingdom of CiliciaVassals of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of CyprusAyyubid dynastyAlmohad CaliphateLatin EmpireMonastic state of the Teutonic KnightsMamluksMongol EmpireHouse of LusignanDuchy of AthensDuchy of the ArchipelagoRise of the Ottoman EmpireHoly LeagueLatin Patriarchate of JerusalemArchdiocese of TyreArchdiocese of NazarethArchdiocese of CaesareaArchdiocese of PetraLatin Patriarchate of AntiochLatin Patriarchate of Constantinople

Cities and castles: JerusalemCitadel of Salah Ed-DinConstantinopleAcreKrak des ChevaliersFamagusta

Campaigns and battles: First CrusadeSiege of JerusalemSeljuk–Crusader WarReconquistaSecond CrusadeSiege of DamascusNorthern CrusadesBattle of HattinThird CrusadeBattle of ArsufLivonian CrusadeGerman CrusadeCrusades in ItalyFourth CrusadeAlbigensian CrusadeBattle of Las Navas de TolosaChildren's CrusadeFifth CrusadeSiege of DamiettaPrussian CrusadeSixth CrusadeSeventh CrusadeBattle of Al MansurahShepherds' CrusadeEighth CrusadeNinth CrusadeAragonese CrusadeAlexandrian CrusadeCrusades of the Western SchismBattle of NicopolisHussite WarsCrusade of VarnaFall of ConstantinopleSiege of BelgradeOttoman invasion of OtrantoFall of RhodesOttoman–Venetian WarsOttoman–Habsburg warsBattle of MohácsBattle of LepantoSpanish ArmadaBattle of Vienna

People: al-Hakim bi-Amr AllahAlexios I KomnenosPope Urban IIGodfrey of BouillonBernard of ClairvauxBaldwin of ExeterSaladinRichard I of EnglandLouis IX of FranceGuy of LusignanJames I of AragonMarino Sanuto the ElderPope Clement VITimurJohn HunyadiMuhammad XII of GranadaThomas Stukleyal-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

Military orders: Knights TemplarHistory of the Knights TemplarKnights HospitallerMilitary orders of the ReconquistaTeutonic Knights

Legacy: History of the Jews and the CrusadesCriticism of the CrusadesTrade and the CrusadesMedieval Christian missions to AsiaSovereign Military Order of Malta

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# Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din
# Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani
# Baha ad-Din
# Children's Crusade

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  1. ^ Martin Sicker (2000), The Islamic World in Ascendancy: From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna, 'Praeger.