The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns; these were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont, he encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia. One of Urban's aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the Eastern Mediterranean holy sites that were under Muslim control but scholars disagree as to whether this was the primary motive for Urban or those who heeded his call.
Urban's strategy may have been to unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, divided since the East–West Schism of 1054 and to establish himself as head of the unified Church. The initial success of the Crusade established the first four Crusader states in the Eastern Mediterranean: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli; the enthusiastic response to Urban's preaching from all classes in Western Europe established a precedent for other Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the Church; some were hoping for a mass ascension into heaven at Jerusalem or God's forgiveness for all their sins. Others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, obtain glory and honour or to seek economic and political gain; the two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291, there were no more Crusades.
The Wendish Crusade and those of the Archbishop of Bremen brought all the North-East Baltic and the tribes of Mecklenburg and Lusatia under Catholic control in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century the Teutonic Order created a Crusader state in Prussia and the French monarchy used the Albigensian Crusade to extend the kingdom to the Mediterranean Sea; the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century prompted a Catholic response which led to further defeats at Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444. Catholic Europe was in chaos and the final pivot of Christian–Islamic relations was marked by two seismic events: the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 and a final conclusive victory for the Spanish over the Moors with the conquest of Granada in 1492; the idea of Crusading continued, not least in the form of the Knights Hospitaller, until the end of the 18th-century but the focus of Western European interest moved to the New World. Modern historians hold varying opinions of the Crusaders.
To some, their conduct was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy, as evidenced by the fact that on occasion the Pope excommunicated Crusaders. Crusaders pillaged as they travelled, their leaders retained control of captured territory instead of returning it to the Byzantines. During the People's Crusade, thousands of Jews were murdered in what is now called the Rhineland massacres. Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade. However, the Crusades had a profound impact on Western civilisation: Italian city-states gained considerable concessions in return for assisting the Crusaders and established colonies which allowed trade with the eastern markets in the Ottoman period, allowing Genoa and Venice to flourish; the Crusades reinforced a connection between Western Christendom and militarism. The term crusade used in modern historiography at first referred to the wars in the Holy Land beginning in 1095, but the range of events to which the term has been applied has been extended, so that its use can create a misleading impression of coherence regarding the early Crusades.
The term used for the campaign of the First Crusade was iter "journey" or peregrinatio "pilgrimage". The terminology of crusading remained indistinguishable from that of pilgrimage during the 12th century, reflecting the reality of the first century of crusading where not all armed pilgrims fought, not all who fought had taken the cross, it was not until the late 12th to early 13th centuries that a more specific "language of crusading" emerged. Pope Innocent III used the term negotium crucis "affair of the cross" for the Eastern Mediterranean crusade, but was reluctant to apply crusading terminology to the Albigensian crusade; the Song of the Albigensian Crusade from about 1213 contains the first recorded vernacular use of the Occitan crozada. This term was adopted into French as croisade and in English as crusade; the modern spelling crusade dates to c. 1760. Sinibaldo Fieschi used the terms crux transmarina for crusades in Outremer against Muslims and crux cismarina for crusades in Europe against other enemies of the church.
The Crusades in the Holy Land are traditionally counted as nine distinct campaigns, numbered from the First Crusade of 1095–99 to the Ninth Crusade of 1271–72. This conv
Baldwin III of Jerusalem
Baldwin III was King of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163. He was the eldest son of Fulk of Jerusalem, he became king while still a child, was at first overshadowed by his mother Melisende, whom he defeated in a civil war. During his reign Jerusalem became more allied with the Byzantine Empire, the Second Crusade tried and failed to conquer Damascus. Baldwin captured the important Egyptian fortress of Ascalon, but had to deal with the increasing power of Nur ad-Din in Syria, he was succeeded by his brother Amalric. Baldwin III was born in 1130, during the reign of his maternal grandfather Baldwin II, one of the original crusaders; this made him the third generation to rule Jerusalem. Baldwin's mother Princess Melisende was heiress to Baldwin II King of Jerusalem. Baldwin III's father was Fulk of the former Count of Anjou. King Baldwin II died at the age of 60 when his grandson was a year old, which led to a power struggle between Melisende and Fulk. Melisende asserted her right to rule as successor to her father, Melisende and Fulk reconciled and conceived a second child, Baldwin III's brother Amalric.
Baldwin III was 13 years old when his father Fulk died in a hunting accident in 1143, Baldwin III was crowned as co-ruler alongside his mother, echoing Melisende's own crowning alongside her father as his heir. Yet Baldwin showed little interest in the intricacies of governance. With a woman and a child ruling Jerusalem, the political situation was somewhat tense. In the Muslim world, Zengi ruled northern Syria from the cities of Mosul and Aleppo, desired to add Damascus in the south to his control. In 1144, Zengi captured Edessa, which led to the Second Crusade; this crusade did not reach Jerusalem until 1148, in the meantime Zengi was assassinated in 1146. He was succeeded by his son Nur ad-Din, just as eager to bring Damascus under his control. To counter this and Damascus had made an alliance for their mutual protection. However, in 1147 Nur ad-Din and Mu'in ad-Din Unur, the governor of Damascus, made an alliance against Jerusalem, as the kingdom had broken the treaty by allying with one of Unur's rebellious vassals.
Baldwin marched out from Jerusalem and attempted to capture the Muslim fortress Bosra, but Nur ad-Din arrived with his army and forced the Crusaders to withdraw. As the Crusaders marched back toward their own territory they were attacked by Nur ad-Din's cavalry, but Baldwin III's generalship combined with the martial prowess of his knights managed to throw off the Muslim assault. Jerusalem's truce with Damascus was restored. In 1148 the crusade arrived in Jerusalem, led by Louis VII of France, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, Conrad III of Germany. Baldwin held a council at Acre in 1148 to decide on a target. Damascus was considered more important in the history of Christianity than Aleppo and Edessa. Baldwin agreed to the plan to attack Damascus, but the ensuing siege ended in defeat after only four days; the city fell under Nur ad-Din's control in 1154, the loss of a Muslim counterweight to Nur ad-Din was a diplomatic disaster. By 1149 the crusaders had returned to Europe. Nur ad-Din took advantage of the crusader defeat to invade Antioch, Prince Raymond was killed in the subsequent Battle of Inab.
Baldwin III hurried north to take up the regency of the principality. Raymond's wife, was Baldwin's cousin through his mother and heiress of Antioch by right of her father. Baldwin unsuccessfully tried to marry her to an ally. In the north, Baldwin was unable to help defend Turbessel, the last remnant of the County of Edessa, was forced to cede it to Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus in August 1150, he evacuated Turbessel's Latin Christian residents despite being attacked by Nur ad-Din in the Battle of Aintab. In 1152 Baldwin and his mother were called to intervene in a dispute between Baldwin's aunt Hodierna of Tripoli and her husband Count Raymond II; when the matter was settled, Hodierna was about to return to Jerusalem with them, when Raymond was murdered by the Hashshashin. Baldwin remained behind to settle the affairs of Tripoli, while Hodierna took up the regency for her young son Raymond III. By 1152 Baldwin had been of age to rule by himself for seven years, he began to assert himself in political affairs.
Though he had not expressed an interest in the administration of the country, he now demanded more authority. He and his mother had become estranged since 1150, Baldwin blamed the constable Manasses for interfering with his legal succession. In early 1152 Baldwin demanded a second coronation from separate from his mother; the patriarch refused and as a kind of self-coronation Baldwin paraded through the city streets with laurel wreaths on his head. Baldwin and Melisende agreed to put the matter before the Haute Cour, or royal council; the Haute Cour returned a decision. Baldwin would retain Galilee in the north, including the cities of Acre and Tyre, while Melisende held the richer Judea and Samaria, including Nablus and Jerusalem itself. Supporting Melisende in the south were Manasses, Baldwin's younger brother Amalric, who held the County of Jaffa within Melisende's jurisdictio
The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem known as the Order of Saint John, Order of Hospitallers, Knights Hospitaller, Knights Hospitalier or Hospitallers, was a medieval and early modern Catholic military order. It was headquartered in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, on the island of Rhodes, in Malta and St Petersburg; the Hospitallers arose in the early 11th century, at the time of the great monastic reformation, as a group of individuals associated with an Amalfitan hospital in the Muristan district of Jerusalem, dedicated to John the Baptist and founded around 1023 by Gerard Thom to provide care for sick, poor or injured pilgrims coming to the Holy Land. Some scholars, consider that the Amalfitan order and hospital were different from Gerard Thom's order and its hospital. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, the organisation became a military religious order under its own Papal charter, charged with the care and defence of the Holy Land. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the knights operated from Rhodes, over which they were sovereign, from Malta, where they administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily.
The Hospitallers were the smallest group to colonise parts of the Americas: they acquired four Caribbean islands in the mid-17th century, which they turned over to France in the 1660s. The knights were weakened in the Protestant Reformation, when rich commanderies of the order in northern Germany and the Netherlands became Protestant and separated from the Roman Catholic main stem, remaining separate to this day, although ecumenical relations between the descendant chivalric orders are amicable; the order was disestablished in England, Denmark, as well as in some other parts of northern Europe, it was further damaged by Napoleon's capture of Malta in 1798, following which it became dispersed throughout Europe. In 603, Pope Gregory I commissioned the Ravennate Abbot Probus, Gregory's emissary at the Lombard court, to build a hospital in Jerusalem to treat and care for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. In 800, Emperor Charlemagne added a library to it. About 200 years in 1005, Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah destroyed the hospital and three thousand other buildings in Jerusalem.
In 1023, merchants from Amalfi and Salerno in Italy were given permission by the Caliph Ali az-Zahir of Egypt to rebuild the hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital, built on the site of the monastery of Saint John the Baptist, took in Christian pilgrims travelling to visit the Christian holy sites, it was served by the Order of Saint Benedict. The monastic hospitaller order was founded following the First Crusade by Gerard Thom, whose role as founder was confirmed by the papal bull Pie Postulatio Voluntatis issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113. Gerard acquired territory and revenues for his order throughout the Kingdom of Jerusalem and beyond. Under his successor, Raymond du Puy, the original hospice was expanded to an infirmary near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; the group cared for pilgrims in Jerusalem, but the order soon extended to providing pilgrims with an armed escort, which soon grew into a substantial force. Thus the Order of St. John imperceptibly became military without losing its charitable character.
Raymond du Puy, who succeeded Gerard as Master of the Hospital in 1118, organised a militia from the order's members, dividing the order into three ranks: knights, men at arms, chaplains. Raymond offered the service of his armed troops to Baldwin II of Jerusalem, the order from this time participated in the crusades as a military order, in particular distinguishing itself in the Siege of Ascalon of 1153. In 1130, Pope Innocent II gave the order a silver cross in a field of red; the Hospitallers and the Knights Templar became the most formidable military orders in the Holy Land. Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, pledged his protection to the Knights of St. John in a charter of privileges granted in 1185; the statutes of Roger de Moulins deal only with the service of the sick. In the latter a marked distinction is made between secular knights, externs to the order, who served only for a time, the professed knights, attached to the order by a perpetual vow, who alone enjoyed the same spiritual privileges as the other religious.
The order numbered three distinct classes of membership: the military brothers, the brothers infirmarians, the brothers chaplains, to whom was entrusted the divine service. In 1248 Pope Innocent IV approved a standard military dress for the Hospitallers to be worn during battle. Instead of a closed cape over their armour, they wore a red surcoat with a white cross emblazoned on it. Many of the more substantial Christian fortifications in the Holy Land were built by the Templars and the Hospitallers. At the height of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers held seven great forts and 140 other estates in the area; the two largest of these, their bases of power in the Kingdom and in the Principality of Antioch, were the Krak des Chevaliers and Margat in Syria. The property of the Order was divided into priories, subdivided into bailiwicks, which in turn were divided into commanderies; as early as the late 12th century the order had begun to achieve recognition in the Kingdom of England and Duchy of Normandy.
As a result, buildings such as St John's Jerusalem and the Knights Gate, Quenington i
Battle of Ager Sanguinis
In the Battle of Ager Sanguinis known as the Battle of the Field of Blood, the Battle of Sarmada, or the Battle of Balat, Roger of Salerno's Crusader army of the Principality of Antioch was annihilated by the army of Ilghazi of Mardin, the Artuqid ruler of Aleppo on June 28, 1119. Antioch and the other Crusader States were at war with the Muslim states of Northern Syria and the Jazeerah, principally Aleppo and Mosul; when Ridwan of Aleppo died in 1113, there was a period of peace, at least for a few years. However, Roger of Salerno, ruling Antioch as regent for Bohemond II, did not take advantage of Ridwan's death. In 1115, Roger defeated a Seljuk Turkish invasion force led by Bursuq ibn Bursuq at the Battle of Sarmin. In 1117 Aleppo came under the rule of the Artuqid atabeg Ilghazi. In 1118 Roger captured Azaz. Roger marched out from Artah with Bernard of the Latin Patriarch of Antioch. Bernard suggested they remain there, as Artah was a well-defended fortress only a short distance away from Antioch, Ilghazi would not be able to pass if they were stationed there.
The Patriarch advised Roger to call for help from Baldwin, now king of Jerusalem, Pons, but Roger felt he could not wait for them to arrive. Roger camped in the pass of Sarmada. A force under Robert of Vieux-Pont set out to break the siege, Ilghazi feigned a retreat, Robert's men were drawn out from the fort and ambushed. Ilghazi was waiting for reinforcements from Toghtekin, the Burid emir of Damascus, but he too was tired of waiting. Using little-used paths, his army surrounded Roger's camp during the night of June 27; the prince had recklessly chosen a campsite in a wooded valley with steep sides and few avenues of escape. Roger's army of 700 knights, 500 Armenian cavalry and 3,000 foot soldiers, including turcopoles, hastily formed into five divisions; these drew up in a V-shaped line with the tip farthest from the Muslim battle array. From left to right, the divisions were commanded by Robert of St. Lo, Prince Roger, Guy de Frenelle, Geoffrey the Monk and Peter. Meanwhile, Roger told off a sixth division under Renaud Mansoer to protect the Antiochene rear.
As the Muslim army waited, the qadi Abu al-Fadl ibn al-Khashshab, wearing his lawyer's turban but brandishing a lance, rode out in front of the troopers. At first they were incredulous at being harangued by a scholar but at the end of his passionate evocation of the duties and merits of the jihad warrior, according to Kamal ad-Din, the contemporary historian of Aleppo, these hardened professionals wept with emotion and rode into battle; that morning, June 28, the battle was begun by an archery duel between the Antiochene infantry, posted in front of the knights, the Turkish bowmen. The crusader army was at first successful when the right-hand divisions of Peter and Geoffrey the Monk attacked and defeated the Artuqids opposed to them. Guy de Frenelle's center division had some success but the battle was soon decided on the left flank. Robert of St. Lo and the Turcopoles were driven back into Roger's division. A north wind blew dust in the faces of the Antioch knights and footmen. Soon, Artuqid flanking forces enveloped the crusaders.
During the fighting, Roger was killed by a sword in the face at the foot of the great jewelled cross which had served as his standard. The rest of the army was captured. Renaud Mansoer, took refuge in the fort of Sarmada to wait for King Baldwin, but was taken captive by Ilghazi. Among the other prisoners was Walter the Chancellor, who wrote an account of the battle; the massacre led to the name of the battle, ager sanguinis, Latin for "the field of blood." The battle proved. However, Ilghazi soon went on an alcoholic binge and did not advance to Antioch, where Patriarch Bernard was organizing whatever defense he could. So, because of the loss of the Antiochene field army, Zerdana, Sarmin, Ma'arrat al-Numan and Kafr Tab fell into Muslim hands. Ilghazi was defeated by Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Count Pons at the Battle of Hab on August 14, Baldwin took over the regency of Antioch. Subsequently, Baldwin recovered some of the lost towns. So, the defeat at the Field of Blood left Antioch weakened, subject to repeated attacks by the Muslims in the following decade.
The Principality came under the influence of a resurgent Byzantine Empire. The Crusaders regained some of their influence in Syria at the Battle of Azaz six years in 1125; the description ager sanguinis is a Biblical reference to the field purchased by Judas with the money he had been given to betray Christ. The Acts of the Apostles records that Judas killed himself in the field, it was thus known as acheldemach in Aramaic, ager sanguinis in the Vulgate; the Turks captured 500 soldiers of inferior rank. The high-ranking prisoners were ransomed and 30 men who could not pay their way out were executed
The Fatimid Caliphate was a Shia Islamic caliphate that spanned a large area of North Africa, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The dynasty of Arab origin ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and made Egypt the centre of the caliphate. At its height the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sicily, the Levant, Hijaz; the Fatimids claimed descent from the daughter of Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Fatimid state took shape among the Kutama Berbers, in the West of the North African littoral, in Algeria, in 909 conquering Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 921 the Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia as their new capital. In 948 they shifted their capital near Kairouan in Tunisia. In 969 they established Cairo as the capital of their caliphate; the ruling class belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The existence of the caliphate marked the only time the descendants of Ali and Fatimah were united to any degree and the name "Fatimid" refers to Fatimah.
The different term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the caliphate's subjects. After the initial conquests, the caliphate allowed a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam, as well as to Jews, Maltese Christians, Egyptian Coptic Christians. However, its leaders made little headway in persuading the Egyptian population to adopt its religious beliefs. During the late eleventh and twelfth centuries the Fatimid caliphate declined and in 1171 Saladin invaded its territory, he incorporated the Fatimid state into the Abbasid Caliphate. The Fatimid Caliphate's religious ideology originated in an Ismaili Shia movement launched in the 9th century in Salamiyah, Syria by the eighth Ismaili Imam, Abd Allah al-Akbar, he claimed descent through Ismail, the seventh Ismaili Imam, from Fatimah and her husband ‘Alī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shī‘a Imām, whence his name al-Fātimī "the Fatimid". The eighth to tenth Ismaili Imams, (Abadullah and Husain, remained hidden and worked for the movement against the rulers of the period.
Together with his son, the 11th Imam Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, in the guise of a merchant, made his way to Sijilmasa, in present-day Morocco, fleeing persecution by the Abbasids, who found their Isma'ili Shi'ite beliefs not only unorthodox, but threatening to the status quo of their caliphate. According to legend,'Abdullah and his son were fulfilling a prophecy that the mahdi would come from Mesopotamia to Sijilmasa, they hid among the population of Sijilmasa an independent emirate, ruled by Prince Yasa' ibn Midrar. The dedicated Shi'ite Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i supported Al-Mahdi. Al-Shi ` i started his preaching; these men bragged about the country of the Kutama in western Ifriqiya, the hostility of the Kutama towards, their complete independence from, the Aghlabid rulers. This triggered al-Shi ` i to travel to the region; the Berber peasants, oppressed for decades under the corrupt Aghlabid rule, would prove themselves to be a perfect basis for sedition. Al-Shi'i began conquering cities in the region: first Mila Sétif and Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital.
In 909 Al-Shi'i sent a large expedition force to rescue the Mahdi, conquering the Khariji state of Tahert on its way there. After gaining his freedom, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah became the leader of the growing state and assumed the position of imam and caliph. Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of the Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia; the newly built city of Al-Mansuriya, or Mansuriyya, near Kairouan, served as the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate during the rule of the Imams Al-Mansur Billah and Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah. In 969 the Fatimid general Jawhar the Sicilian conquered Egypt, where he built near Fusṭāt a new palace city which he called al-Manṣūriyya. Under Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah the Fatimids conquered the Ikhshidid Wilayah, founding a new capital at al-Qāhira in 969; the name al-Qāhirah, meaning "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror", referenced the planet Mars, "The Subduer", rising in the sky at the time when the construction of the city started.
Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army - the actual administrative and economic capitals of Egypt were cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, as well as Sicily. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the centre of an empire that included at its peak parts of North Africa, Palestine, Lebanon, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah and Yemen. Egypt flourished, the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network both in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean, their trade and diplomatic ties, extending all the way to China under the Song Dynasty determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages. The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system. Al-Mahdiyya, the fir
The Venetian Crusade of 1122–24 was an expedition to the Holy Land launched by the Republic of Venice that succeeded in capturing Tyre. It was an important victory at the start of a period when the Kingdom of Jerusalem would expand to its greatest extent under King Baldwin II; the Venetians gained valuable trading concessions in Tyre. Through raids on Byzantine territory both on the way to the Holy Land and on the return journey, the Venetians forced the Byzantines to confirm, as well as extend, their trading privileges with the empire. Baldwin de Burg was a nephew of Baldwin I of Jerusalem and the Count of Edessa from 1100 to 1118. In 1118 his uncle died and he became King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. In the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, fought near Sarmada on 28 June 1119, the Franks suffered a disastrous defeat by the forces of Ilghazi, the ruler of Mardin; that year Baldwin regained some territory, but the Franks were weakened. Baldwin asked for help from Pope Callixtus II; the pope forwarded the request to Venice.
The terms of the crusade were agreed through negotiations between the envoys of Baldwin II and the doge of Venice. Once the Venetians decided to participate, Pope Callixtus II sent them his papal banner to signify his approval, At the First Council of the Lateran he confirmed that the Venetions had crusader privileges, including remission of their sins; the church extended its protection to the families and property of the crusaders. In 1122 the Doge of Venice, Domenico Michiel, launched the seaborne crusade; the Venetian fleet of more than 120 ships carrying over 15,000 men left the Venetian Lagoon on 8 August 1122. This seems to have been the first crusade, they invested Corfu a possession of the Byzantine Empire, with which Venice had a dispute over privileges. In 1123 Baldwin II was captured by Balak of Mardin, emir of Aleppo, imprisoned in Kharput. Eustace Graverius became regent of Jerusalem; the Venetians abandoned the siege of Corfu when they heard this news, reached the Palestinian coast in May 1123.
The Venetian fleet arrived at Acre at the end of May and was informed about a Fatimid fleet, of around a hundred sail, sailing towards Ascalon in order to assist the Emir Balak at his siege. Thus the Venetian fleet sailed south in order to meet it and Doge Michele ordered the division of the fleet into two parts with the weaker force at the helm and the stronger one hiding behind it. With the intent to divert the fleet off Ascalon; the Egyptians fell into the trap assuming an easy victory they were now caught between two Venetian squadrons and outnumbered. Some 4,000 Saracens were killed including the Fatimid admiral and 9 vessels captured with the Venetians adding to their triumph the capture of 10 merchant vessels en route back to Acre. Both Fulcher of Chartres and William of Tyre recorded the event. On this the other ships followed in haste and fell all the other enemy ships around. A fierce battle commenced, both sides fought with great bitterness, there were so many killed, that those who were there, most emphatically assure you as unlikely as it may sound, that the victors waded in the enemy's blood and the surrounding sea was dyed red from the blood that flowed down from the ships, up to a radius of two thousand steps.
But the shores, they say, were so thickly covered with the corpses that were ejected from the sea, that the air was tainted and the surrounding region contracted a plague. At lengths the fight continued man against man, most heatedly one side was trying to advance while the other side tried to resist. However, the Venetians were with God's help victorious On 15 February 1124 the Venetians and Franks began the siege of Tyre; the seaport of Tyre, now in Lebanon, was part of the territory of the Atabeg of Damascus. The Latin army was led by the Patriarch of Antioch, the doge of Venice, Count of Tripoli and William de Bury, the king's constable; the Venetians and Franks built siege towers and machines that could throw boulders to shatter the city walls. The defenders of Tyre built engines, hurling rocks at the siege towers; as the siege dragged out the citizens sent urgent calls for help. Balak died. Toghtekin advanced towards Tyre, but withdrew without fighting when the forces of Count Pons of Tripoli and Constable William rode to confront him.
Toghtekin sent envoys in June 1124 to negotiate peace. After lengthy and difficult discussions it was agreed that the terms of surrender would include letting those who wanted to leave the city to take their families and property with them, while those who wanted to stay would keep their houses and possessions; this was unpopular with some of the crusaders. Tyre surrendered on 29 June 1124. After the crusader forces entered the city, according to William of Tyre, "They admired the fortifications of the city, the strength of the buildings, the massive walls and lofty towers, the noble harbour so difficult of access, they had only praise for the resolute perseverance of the citizens who, despite the pressure of terrible hunger and the scarcity of supplies, had been able to ward off surrender for so long. For when our forces took possession of the place they found only five measures of wheat in the city." Baldwin II was in captivity during the conquest of Tyre, but was released that year. He broke the terms of his release.
Baldwin II granted the Venetians extensive commercial privileges in Tyre, thus ensured that they would maintain a naval presence in the Latin East. The privilege included guarantees of property rights for the heirs of Venetians who were shipwrecked or who died in Tyre. Many of the people who left Tyre
Battle of Ascalon
The Battle of Ascalon took place on 12 August 1099 shortly after the capture of Jerusalem, is considered the last action of the First Crusade. The crusader army led by Godfrey of Bouillon defeated and drove off a Fatimid army, securing the safety of Jerusalem; the Crusaders completed their primary objective of capturing Jerusalem on 15 July 1099. In early August, they learned of the invasion of a 20,000-strong Fatimid army under vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah. Under Godfrey's command the 10,200-strong Crusader army took the offensive, leaving the city on 10 August to risk everything on a great battle against the approaching Muslims; the Crusaders marched barefoot, carrying the relic of the True Cross with them, accompanied by patriarch Arnulf of Chocques. The army marched south from Jerusalem, approaching the vicinity of Ascalon on the 11th and capturing Egyptian spies who revealed al-Afdal's dispositions and strength. At dawn on 12 August, the Crusader army launched a surprise attack on the Fatimid army still sleeping in its camp outside the walls of Ascalon.
The Fatimids failed leaving only a part of their army capable of fighting. The Crusaders defeated the half-ready Fatimid infantry, while the Fatimid cavalry fought at all; the battle was over in less than an hour. The Crusader knights reached the center of the camp, capturing the vizier's standard and personal baggage, including his sword; some Fatimids fled into the trees and were killed by Crusader arrows and lances, while others begged for mercy at the Crusaders' feet and were butchered en masse. The terrified vizier fled by ship to Egypt, leaving the Crusaders to kill any survivors and gather up a vast amount of loot. Ibn al-Qalanisi estimated 12,700 Fatimid dead; the first Muslim attempt to recapture Jerusalem ended in complete defeat, but Godfrey failed to exploit the victory to take Ascalon, whose Fatimid garrison was willing to surrender only to Raymond of Toulouse, a condition Godfrey would not accept. The Fatimid base in Ascalon remained a thorn in the side of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and would not fall until 1153.
The crusaders had negotiated with the Fatimids of Egypt during their march to Jerusalem, but no satisfactory compromise could be reached — the Fatimids were willing to give up control of Syria but not the lower Levant, but this was unacceptable to the crusaders, whose goal was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was captured from the Fatimids on July 15, 1099, after a long siege, the crusaders learned that a Fatimid army was on its way to besiege them; the crusaders acted quickly. Godfrey of Bouillon was named Defender of the Holy Sepulchre on July 22, Arnulf of Chocques, named patriarch of Jerusalem on August 1, discovered a relic of the True Cross on August 5. Fatimid ambassadors arrived to order the crusaders to leave Jerusalem. On August 10 Godfrey led the remaining crusaders out of Jerusalem towards Ascalon, a day's march away, while Peter the Hermit led both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox clergy in prayers and a procession from the Holy Sepulchre to the Temple. Robert II of Flanders and Arnulf accompanied Godfrey, but Raymond IV of Toulouse and Robert of Normandy stayed behind, either out of a quarrel with Godfrey or because they preferred to hear about the Egyptian army from their own scouts.
When the Egyptian presence was confirmed, they marched out as well the next day. Near Ramla, they met Tancred and Godfrey's brother Eustace, who had left to capture Nablus earlier in the month. At the head of the army, Arnulf carried the relic of the Cross, while Raymond of Aguilers carried the relic of the Holy Lance, discovered at Antioch the previous year; the Fatimids were led by vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah, who commanded as many as 20,000 troops. His army consisted of Seljuk Turks, Persians, Armenians and Ethiopians, he was intending to besiege the crusaders in Jerusalem, although he had brought no siege machinery with him. The precise number of crusaders is unknown, but the number given by Raymond of Aguilers is 1,200 knights and 9,000 infantry; the highest estimate is 20,000 men but this is impossible at this stage of the crusade. Al-Afdal camped in the plain of al-Majdal in a valley outside Ascalon, preparing to continue on to Jerusalem and besiege the crusaders there unaware that the crusaders had left to meet him.
On August 11 the crusaders found oxen, sheep and goats, gathered there to feed the Fatimid camp, grazing outside the city. According to captives taken by Tancred in a skirmish near Ramla, the animals were there to encourage the crusaders to disperse and pillage the land, making it easier for the Fatimids to attack. However, al-Afdal did not yet know the crusaders were in the area and was not expecting them. In any case, these animals marched with them the next morning exaggerating the appearance of their army. On the morning of the 12th, crusader scouts reported the location of the Fatimid camp and the army marched towards it. During the march the crusaders had been organized into nine divisions: Godfrey led the left wing, Raymond the right, Tancred, Robert of Normandy and Gaston IV of Béarn made up the centre; this arrangement was used as the line of battle outside Ascalon, with the center of the army between the Jerusalem and Jaffa Gates, the right aligned with the Mediterranean coast, the left facing the Jaffa Gate.
According to most accounts, the Fatimids were caught unprepared and the battle was short, but Alber