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The Crusades

(1095 - 1291)

The First Crusades
The Second Crusades
The Third Crusades & After
Significance of the Crusades
The Eight Crusades


The Crusades were a series of military expeditions conducted by European Christians in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries to conquer the land of Israel from the Muslims or to repel their counterattacks.

The explicit cause was the reports received from Jerusalem concerning the maltreatment of Christian pilgrims and the way their access to the Holy Places was obstructed. In many of these reports, the malevolence of the Jews was also stressed, so that from the beginning the ground was prepared for including the Jews in the freshly stimulated animosity against the unbelievers: indeed, at the period of the analogous expeditions of French knights to assist the Spanish Christians against the Moors (c. 1065), the Jews of Narbonne and elsewhere had been attacked notwithstanding the admonitions of Pope Alexander II. It was originally intended that the Crusaders should concern themselves solely with the success of their expedition overseas, without intervening in the affairs of the Christian countries of Europe. However, precisely because the Crusaders ignored this stipulation, the Crusade was partially deflected from its initial course, with tragic consequences for the Jews of Europe.

For 200 years, Palestine was dominated by the Crusaders, who, following an appeal by Pope Urban II on November 27, 1095, came from Europe to recover the Holy Land from the infidels. At the Council of Clermont, in France, Urban called for a war to take back Jerusalem from the Muslims. Between 60,000 and 100,000 people answered the call, though some were less interested in spreading the Gospel than the prospect of enriching themselves through conquest. European nobles killed many people during their march to the Holy Land, seizing the possessions of anyone they considered an opponent of their cause.

on July14-15, 1099, after a five-week siege, the knights of the First Crusade and their rabble army captured Jerusalem, massacring most of the city’s non-Christian inhabitants. Barricaded in their synagogues, the Jews defended their quarter, only to be burnt to death or sold into slavery. During the next few decades, the Crusaders extended their power over the rest of the country, through treaties and agreements, but mostly by bloody military victories. The Latin Kingdom of the Crusaders was that of a conquering minority confined mainly to fortified cities and castles.

When the Crusaders opened transportation routes from Europe, pilgrimages to the Holy Land became popular and, at the same time, increasing numbers of Jews sought to return to their homeland. Documents of the period indicate that 300 rabbis from France and England arrived in a group, with some settling in Acro (Akko), others in Jerusalem.

Historian Bernard Lewis observed that the Crusades are sometimes characterized as “an unwarranted act of aggression a peaceful Muslim world,” but that was not the case.

The first papal call for a crusade occurred in 846 C.E., when an Arab expedition from Sicily sailed up the Tiber and sacked St. Peter’s in Rome. A synod in France issued an appeal to Christian sovereigns to rally against “the enemies of Christ,” and the Pope, Leo IV, offered a heavenly reward to those who died fighting the Muslims. A century and a half and many battles later, in 1096, the Crusaders arrived in the Middle East. The Crusades were a late, limited, and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad–an attempt to recover by holy war what had been lost by holy war. It failed, and it was not followed up.

After the overthrow of the Crusaders by a Muslim army under Saladin (1187), the Jews were again accorded a certain measure of freedom, including the right to live in Jerusalem. Although the Crusaders regained a foothold in the country after Saladin’s death (1193), their presence was limited to a network of fortified castles. Crusader authority in the Land ended after a final defeat (1291) by the Mamluks, a Muslim military class which had come to power in Egypt.

The First Crusade

Pope Urban II preached the Crusade at Clermont-Ferrand (subsequently referred to as Har Afel, “the mount of gloom,” by Jewish chroniclers of the Crusades) on November 27, 1095, at the close of a council that had convened there. Those who obeyed the call affixed crosses to their outer garments, thus the name croisés, crociati, or Crusaders. The Jews termed them to’im (“[misguided] wanderers”). At the outset, nothing in the proclamation of Urban II seemed to threaten the Jews, but it would appear that the Jews in France sensed danger since they sent emissaries to the Rhine communities to warn them of the possible threat. The first group of Crusaders gathered in France on their way to Germany. They may already have attacked some Jewish communities on their way, possibly in Rouen and more certainly in Lorraine. It was already clear that the Crusaders, or at least some of them, were gathering in the Rhine Valley to follow the traditional route to the Orient along the Rhine and Danube rivers. The community of Mainz was more troubled about the French communities and thought those in the Rhineland had no reason for concern on their account. However, their sense of security was soon to be brutally shaken shortly after the first muster of the Crusaders and before the Jewish communities of Germany could take whatever precautions were open to them. The sight of the wealthy Rhenish communities incentivized the Crusaders, who decided to punish “the murderers of Christ” wherever they passed before encountering their official enemies, the Muslims. Soon it was rumored that Godfrey of Bouillon himself had vowed that he would not set out for the Crusade until he had avenged the crucifixion by spilling the blood of the Jews, declaring that he could not tolerate that even one man calling himself a Jew should continue to live.

The first bands of Crusaders arrived outside Cologne on April 12, 1096. For a month, they left the Jews in peace, perhaps because the Jews of France had given Peter the Hermit a letter asking the Jewish communities he passed through on his journey to supply him and his followers with all the food they required in exchange for Peter’s undertaking to use his influence in their favor. However, the swelling throng of Crusaders, which surpassed all expectations, and the religious frenzy preceding the army's departure rapidly induced a change of mood, rendering Peter the Hermit's influence ineffectual. Aware of the inherent danger in the situation, the leaders of the Mainz community hastily dispatched a delegation to Emperor Henry IV, who wrote immediately to the princes, bishops, and counts of the empire to forbid them from harming the Jews. Godfrey himself replied that he had never had any such intention. For their greater security, the communities of Cologne and Mainz each presented him with a gift of 500 pieces of silver, and he promised to leave them in peace, which he did.

Meanwhile, the Crusade had evolved into a ponderous machine of various elements: the greater nobility, the lesser nobles such as Count Emicho of Leiningen, and the people. It was the last element that proved particularly receptive to the anti-Jewish slogans spreading rapidly among its ranks and was less amenable to discipline. Although the bishops and prominent nobles were generally opposed to such ideas, they had no wish to see Christians fight Christians over the Jews. Frequently their assistance to the attacked Jews was passive at most. In the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, it was in the region where the Crusaders assembled that violence broke out. The rioting continued until Tammuz (June–July).

On the eighth of Iyyar (May 3, 1096), the Crusaders surrounded the synagogue of Speyer; unable to break into it, they attacked any Jews they could find outside the synagogue, killing eleven of them. One of the victims, a woman preferring death to conversion, the only choice left open by the Crusaders, inaugurated the tradition of freely accepted martyrdom. Kiddush ha-Shem, martyrdom for the glory of God, thus became the definitive answer of Jews threatened in their life and faith by the Crusaders.

On the 23rd of Iyyar (May 18, 1096), Worms suffered a similar fate. The Crusaders first massacred the Jews who had remained in their houses, then, eight days later, those who had sought an illusory refuge in the bishop’s castle. The victims numbered about 800; only a few accepted conversion and survived, the great majority choosing to be killed or suicide rather than commit apostasy. Hearing of the massacre, the Jews of Mainz asked for the bishop’s protection, paying him 400 pieces of silver to this end. When the Crusaders, led by Emicho, arrived outside the town on the third of Sivan (May 27, 1096), the burghers hastened to open the gates. The Jews took up arms under the leadership of Kalonymus b. Meshullam. Weakened through fasting, for they had hoped to avert the disaster through exemplary piety, the Jews had to retreat to the bishop’s castle; however, the latter could do nothing for them, as he had to flee before the combined assault of Crusaders and burghers. After a brief struggle, a wholesale massacre ensued. More than 1,000 Jews met their deaths, either at the enemy’s hands or their own. Those who managed to escape were overtaken; almost no one survived. A comparable disaster occurred in Cologne, where the community was attacked on the sixth of Sivan (May 30, 1096). The bishop dispersed the town’s Jews to hide them in nearby localities: at Neuss, Wevelinghofen, Eller, Xanten, Mehr, Kerpen, Geldern, and Ellen. The Crusaders located them, and a bloodbath followed. At Trier, the bishop could not protect his Jews, as he had to go into hiding and consequently advised them to become Christians. The great majority refused, preferring suicide. All the Jews were dragged to the Danube at Regensburg, all the Jews were dragged to the Danube, where they were flung into the water and forced to accept baptism. At Metz, Prague, and throughout Bohemia, one massacre followed another. These ended when Emicho’s Crusaders were decisively halted and crushed by the Hungarians, who, incensed by their excesses when they poured through the country, had risen against them. Seeing in this the hand of God, the Jews promptly set about reconstructing their ruined communities. There had been more than 5,000 victims.

The Jews who had been baptized under duress generally continued to practice Judaism in secret. As early as 1097, Emperor Henry IV allowed them openly to return to their former faith, an action which was strongly condemned by the antipope Clement III. Henry also ordered in May 1098 an inquiry into the disposal of the property of massacred Jews in Mainz, thus provoking the displeasure of the local bishop. In about 1100, Jews returned to Mainz, but their position was not yet entirely secure, and the Jews of the upper town could scarcely communicate with those in the lower. In 1103, Henry IV and the imperial lords finally proclaimed a truce that, among other things, guaranteed the peace of the Jews.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders had reached Jerusalem (June 7, 1099), and the siege had begun. The city was captured on July 15, with Godfrey entering it through the Jewish quarter, where inhabitants defended themselves alongside their Muslim neighbors, finally seeking refuge in the synagogues set on fire by the attackers. A terrible massacre ensued; the survivors were sold as slaves; some later redeemed by Jewish communities in Italy. The Jewish community of Jerusalem ended and was not reconstituted for many years, but the Jewish centers in Galilee went unscathed. However, the great community of Ramleh dispersed, as did that of Jaffa, so that the Jewish community in the Holy Land was greatly diminished.

The Second Crusade

On the loss of Edessa by the Crusaders (1144), the West became troubled over the fate of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and a new Crusade to save it was preached by Pope Eugene III. The popes attempted to encourage the Crusaders at the Jews’ expense. Innocent III in 1198 ordered that no interest should be chargeable during the absence of Crusaders on debts they incurred to the Jews and that anything already received should be returned. Since the return of a crusader was problematical, this restriction, when it was observed, implied at best the immobility of Jewish capital over prolonged periods, at worst the possibility of total confiscation (which was to become more widespread with the extension from the 13th century of the term “Crusade” to any campaign in any part of the world in which the popes might be politically interested). Naturally, this caused great difficulties for their Jewish creditors. In one way or another, as soon as the Second Crusade was announced, the clouds began gathering more over the Jews of Europe. As early as the summer of 1146, while preaching the Crusade, a Cistercian monk, Radulph, violently attacked the Rhineland's Jewish communities, exhorting the Crusaders to avenge themselves on “those who had crucified Jesus” before setting out to fight the Muslims. The spiritual leader of the Crusade, Bernard of Clairvaux, pointed out the theological error in his arguments, strictly forbidding any excess against the Jews, who were to be neither killed nor expelled. Although the anti-Jewish riots had begun before his intervention, he prevented them from spreading so that, in the final count, they were far less extensive than those in the First Crusade. The persecution began in Elul (August–September). A few isolated Jews were put to death. At Cologne, the Jews bought the protection of the bishop and managed to find refuge in the fortress of Walkenburg. The bishop even went as far as having the leader of a mob blinded for killing several Jews. There were few victims at Worms and Mainz, but more than 20 at Wuerzburg. Scores of Jews sought refuge in the castles and the mountains. About 150 lost their lives in Bohemia, and victims were equally numerous in Halle and Carinthia. As in the First Crusade, the community of France suffered less than the Rhineland communities. Jacob b. Meir Tam was set upon a group of Crusaders, who stabbed him in five places in memory of the wounds suffered by Jesus, but he succeeded in escaping with the help of a knight with whom he was acquainted. In England, the Jews were left in peace. Jews who had been converted by force were allowed to return to Judaism undisturbed. By the following summer, the order had been restored, and the Jewish communities had everywhere recovered.

In the Holy Land, the Second Crusade concluded with the conquest of Ashkelon by the Crusaders. Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg, who visited the crusading kingdom around 1160 and 1180, respectively, found well-established Jewish communities in Ashkelon, Ramleh, Caesarea, Tiberias, and Acre, among other localities, with scattered individuals living elsewhere: it seems that the Jewish settlement of Jerusalem was restricted to a handful of individuals, though a few years later Judah Al?arizi (1216) found a prosperous community there. The Samaritans seem to have remained undisturbed in Nablus and Ashkelon and Caesarea. It would therefore appear that the warriors of the Second Crusade left the Jewish communities relatively undisturbed.

Meanwhile, the Latin Kingdom had begun to crumble under the blows of its enemies. When Jerusalem fell to Saladin in 1187, the Jews of Europe suffered the consequences of this defeat. It had already become habitual to harass the Jews whenever a Crusade was in the offing. In 1182, Emperor Frederick I took the Jews of the empire under his protection, receiving, as was customary, substantial payment for his pains. As soon as the news of the fall of Jerusalem reached Europe, he forbade all anti-Jewish sermons and renewed his promise of protection. At the beginning of 1188, a tragedy was narrowly averted in Mainz. Drawing a lesson from experience, the Jews of Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, Worms, Wuerzburg, and elsewhere left their towns to seek refuge in the nearby fortified castles. The few Jews who remained at Mainz owed their lives to the Diet, which had convened there; during the proceedings, the emperor and his son forbade any interference with the Jews on direct penalties, threatening death to anyone who killed a Jew. These warnings were echoed by the bishops, who threatened excommunication for those who persecuted Jews. All this had cost the Jews of the empire huge sums, and, more than ever before, they became dependent on the favors and the passing whims of their masters.

The Third Crusade and After

In England, the Third Crusade had the most savage repercussions. England had taken little interest, and no part in the first two Crusades, but her zeal was nonetheless intense when Richard the Lion-hearted decided to take part in person in the third. In January, the first abuses struck the port of Lynn, where the bulk of the Jewish community was massacred. The same occurred in Norwich and Stamford. At Lincoln, the Jews were saved through the intervention of royal agents. The worst outrage took place in York, where several local nobles, in heavy debt to the Jews, seized the opportunity to rid themselves of their burden. When attacked, the Jews took refuge in the Castle Keep, which the guard had opened for them; those who remained in the town were slaughtered. On their refusal to allow access to the keep, the Jews were besieged. On March 16, on the eve of Passover, the rabbi, Yom Tov b. Isaac of Joigny, realizing that all hope was lost, asked his brethren to choose suicide rather than submit to baptism. First setting fire to their possessions, one after the other killed himself. More than 150 died in this way, and the few survivors were murdered by the mob, who also destroyed the register of debts to the Jews. In Bury St. Edmunds 57 Jews were put to death. As the king was out of the country, where he neither could nor cared to intervene too vigorously, the perpetrators of the massacres also left England for the Crusade. There is little doubt that the Jews in England lost faith in the prospect of their continued survival in the West. The emigration in 1211 of 300 rabbis from Western Europe to the Holy Land may be connected with this general disillusionment. As the enthusiasm of the masses waned, the Jews in Western Europe were little troubled during the 13th-century Crusades. However, a massacre apparently occurred in central France around 1236 during the preparations for a Crusade; in fact, Pope Gregory IX accused the Crusaders of having slaughtered over 2,500 Jews.

Yet, at the very moment when the great wave of Crusades was ebbing, the Jewish community in France suffered most acutely from a popular Crusade, that of the Pastoureaux (1320). Forty thousand of these “shepherds,” aged on an average around 16 and without any designated leader, marched through France from north to south. Although Pope John XXII excommunicated all who set forth on this unauthorized march, this did not hinder the new Crusaders from hurling themselves at the Jews like their predecessors. Their savagery was especially marked south of the River Loire, where they destroyed some 120 communities. Hoping to be protected there by the authorities, numbers of isolated Jews and small communities took refuge in the larger towns. Five hundred who had sought safety in the town of Verdun sur-Garonne found death there. At Toulouse, there were 115 victims. In the Comtat Venaissin, a direct papal dependency, there were many cases of forced conversion; the subsequent attempt to return to Judaism provoked the prompt intervention of the Inquisition. Meanwhile, the very abuses of the Pastoureaux aroused a violent reaction on the part of the Christian authorities: the governor of Carcassonne even had some of the ringleaders executed. Those who had crossed the Pyrenees into Spain were routed by James II of Aragon and forced to disperse. Nevertheless, this uprising had struck a savage blow at the Jewish communities in the Midi and northern Spain.

The long era of the Crusades undoubtedly marked a turning point in the history of the Jews in medieval Western Europe. The Church herself was forced to reexamine and define its position of the problem posed by the large-scale persecution of the Jews. Clearly, the situation of the Jews before the Crusades was not always free from danger: the animosity of the Christians toward the Jews was nothing new, and the Crusades did not lead to any reappraisal of Christian doctrine. However, it was probably in the wake of the First Crusade that Pope Calixtus II (1119–24) promulgated the bull Sicut Judaeis, which was renewed after the Second and Third Crusades and on at least five other occasions between 1199 and 1250. It stipulated that although no new privileges should be granted to the Jews, they should not be deprived of a single one of their rights. Christians should take special care not to endanger the lives of Jews, not to baptize them by force, and not to desecrate their cemeteries. Naturally, papal protection was not extended to Jews who plotted against the Christian faith. It was sufficient for the Church to protect them from the excesses of the Crusaders, especially since the latter, from the moment they took up the standard of the cross, were themselves placed under the jurisdiction of the Church. The Jews, therefore, requested the popes to intervene on their behalf. Thus, Innocent III ordered the French bishops to take particular care that the Crusaders did not harm the Jews. As mentioned, Gregory IX later (1236) accused the Crusaders of conspiring to murder the Jews: such a crime committed in the name of sanctity could not be allowed to go unpunished. However, it would appear these directives were in vain, although it is difficult to assess with any precision the measures relating to the Jews.

The Significance of the Crusades

In the memory of the Jews, the Crusades became the symbol of the opposition between Christianity and Judaism, and the tension aroused by the persecutions was far more severe than that which had existed since the origins of Christianity. The debate ceased to be theological to the extent that this had ever been the case. The Christians saw the Jews as the implacable enemies of their faith, and the blood libel became widespread in this climate. From the 12th century comes the first expression of the idea of a Jewish plot against the Christian world: it was alleged that the Jews had to sacrifice one Christian each year and held an annual council to decide the site of the sacrifice and the name of the victim. At Blois in 1171, all Jewish community members were burned at the stake following such an accusation, and from the 13th century, similar charges were raised in Germany.

The Jewish community found a source of inspiration in the memory of the martyrs. There being no hope of immediate vengeance, the massacre of the innocents was glorified and compared to the sacrifice of Isaac. The suicide of the martyrs was seen as a collective act for the sanctification of the Divine Name. Rather than a bitter memory of cruel affliction, it became an example of true piety and submission to the will of God. The martyrs were an object of admiration and envy for the succeeding generations, for they had been the generation whom God had put to the test and had proved themselves worthy. A man of true faith could achieve no more than to be their equal. It, therefore, became important for the Jews to cherish their sacrifice's memory, retell it, and be inspired by it. Several piyyutim on the subject were incorporated into the liturgy, especially for the Ninth of Av. It became customary in Western communities which had been closest to the massacres to recite the prayer of the martyrs, Av ha-Rachamim, on the Sabbath before Shavuot and, especially, to remember their sacrifice in the fast of the Ninth of Av, which had fallen during the time of the massacres. The period of the counting of the omer acquired an exceedingly sorrowful significance.

It was probably this era that gave rise to the custom, originating in Mainz, of reciting in public the deeds of the martyrs on the anniversary of their sacrifice and recording their names and dates in a Memorbuch, which was kept in the synagogue. The most widely known martyrs and the most severely affected communities and regions figured in the Memorbuecher of all communities. The martyrs became a symbol for the whole people, not just for their own communities; more than simply an object of pride, they became a common ideal in which the whole Jewish community, despite all its humiliations, could find inspiration. Their martyrdom was transformed into victory, for they had defied torture, finding in their faith the necessary strength for preferring death to apostasy. They had chosen death rather than conversion, even though the latter need probably have been only temporary. In their martyrdom lay the very justification of the sufferings of the Jewish people. Spiritual power proved the strongest force of all, and the martyrs were seen as a demonstration of the absolute truth of Judaism.

Yet, the massacres attendant on the Crusades were far from being the worst persecutions that befell the Jews. The communities destroyed in the Rhine Valley were quickly reestablished: Worms, Speyer, Mainz, Cologne, and Treves rapidly regained their former importance. The Jewish community in the kingdom of France proper, or at least in the north, hardly suffered throughout the course of the era. Italy and Spain were almost untouched. In England, the royal authorities speedily put an end to local disorders. There is nothing to suggest that during this period the Jews in Western Europe lost their sense of security in the localities where they were living: no great exodus took place in 1096 or in 1146. The majority of those converted by force, at least until the Crusade of the Pastoureaux, were able easily to return to Judaism. The actual number of Jews in Western Europe increased in this era and several communities became larger and more populous. For Jewish scholarship, the 12th century was one of the most glorious in the West: it was the age of the Tosafists, renowned throughout France and Germany. Personal relationships between Jews and Christians apparently changed little; it was only at the beginning of the 13th century that they took a new turn. The Crusades themselves did not play a decisive role in the evolution of the condition of the Jews in Europe. Placed in a larger context, they are only an element in the whole, though a far from negligible one.

At all events, the Crusades revealed the physical danger in which the Jewish communities stood and the impotence of their ecclesiastical protectors to defend them. On the outbreak of an actual attack, they pushed the Jews into the arms of the only powers capable of protecting them: the duke, king, or emperor, and these secular protectors considered that they had a duty to protect the Jews only to the extent that they derived some benefit from them. The Crusades also encouraged the Jews to move to fortified cities, where they would be less vulnerable in the event of an attack. The reactions on Jewish economic life were in their way disastrous. The former unique position of the Jews as intermediaries between East and West was undermined; henceforth, it was commonplace for Western merchants to travel backward and forward between the two worlds, while at the same time, the stimulation of religious fanaticism made the path of the Jewish merchant more dangerous. Hence it was the Crusades which marked the end of the heyday – at one time quasi-monopoly – of the international Jewish merchant. At the same time, they gave a stimulus ipso facto to the economic degradation of the Jew and his transformation, so far as Western Europe was concerned, into the recognized moneylender of the Christian world (see moneylending). Partly this was due to the imperative necessity of finding a new outlet for their capital; partly to the increased demands on the part of the Crusaders for ready cash to equip themselves and to carry with them on their travels. From now on therefore the Jewish moneylender became the typical Jewish figure of the Western European scene.

The Crusades and their attendant degradation were firmly imprinted on the historic consciousness of the Jews. This period became singled out in the popular mind as the start of, and explanation for the misfortunes of the Jews, although in fact the excesses were only symptomatic of a process which had already been set in motion earlier. The Crusades marked in various ways a turning point in the history of the Western world, and this was reflected also in Jewish history. Indeed, it is from this point only that the history of the Jews in the Rhineland and Central Europe may be said to acquire continuity: whereas before the general picture has had to be constructed from scattered fragments and documents, henceforth the record is more or less sustained and complete. As in the case to some extent with general historiography, it is only at this period, with the remarkably graphic and moving records of the Rhineland massacres in 1096, that consistent Jewish historiography, or at least chronography, begins to be preserved, even though there are fragmentary records written earlier. The history that now unfolded was predominantly a tragic one. Whereas in European Jewish history before this date episodes of violence and persecution are occasionally known, there now began a period of intermittently recurring massacre and persecution which colored European Jewish experience for centuries to come. The heightened religiosity of the age resulted in the sharpening of the system of anti-Jewish discrimination and of Jewish humiliation, culminating in the legislation of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. The chronicles of Solomon b. Samson, Eliezer b. Nathan of Mainz, Ephraim b. Jacob of Bonn, Eleazar b. Judah of Worms, and many others whose names are not known, described the events of the Crusades, the scenes of the massacres, and the martyrs. They are also to be regarded as basic sources from which statistical accounts of the Crusades must start. Through capturing these events they magnified their significance, but thereby furnished an ideal of conduct which was constantly recalled whenever severe persecutions befell the Jews.

The Eight Crusades

The First Crusade: 1096-1099

  • Alexus Comnenus asked for mercenaries to defend Constantinople. Instead, he received perhaps 12,000 commoners intent on liberating Jerusalem. The European nobility marched on Jerusalem and captured it after a siege in 1099.

The Second Crusade: 1147-1149

  • Originally preached by Bernard of Clairvaux. Only a few Greek islands were taken.

The Third Crusade: 1189-1192

  • Led by Frederick Barbarosa, Richard I of England and Philip II of France. Results in a truce that gives Christians access to Jerusalem and the Holy Places.

The Fourth Crusade: 1202-1204

  • Instead of marching on Jerusalem, this crusade was diverted to Constantinople. The city remained in Latin hands until 1261.

The Albigensian Crusade: 1208

  • Preached by Pope Innocent III against the Albigensian heretics in southern France.

The Children's Crusade: 1212

  • Preached by Stephan of Vendome and by Nicholas of Koln. One group reached Marseilles and was sold into slavery; the other turned back.

The Fifth Crusade: 1218-1221

  • An attack on Egypt.

The Sixth Crusade: 1228-1229

  • Led by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. He negotiated a treaty that led to Christian control of several important holy sites, including Jerusalem. Jerusalem was retaken by Muslim mercenaries in 1244.

The Seventh Crusade: 1248-1254

  • Led by King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis). He captured the Egyptian city of Damietta, but was himself taken captive in the battle for Cairo. He was eventually ransomed.

The Eighth Crusade: 1270

  • An unsuccessful attack on Tunis.


Graetz, Hist, index; Baron, Social2, index; A.M. Habermann, Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-?arefat (1946); Prawer, ?albanim; Germ Jud, 1 (1963); S. Grayzel, The Church and the Jews in the 13th Century (19662), index; Roth, England; H. Liebeschuetz, in: jjs, 10 (1959), 97–111 incl. bibl. notes; S. Runciman, History of the Crusades, (3 vols., 1951–54); J. Katz, in: Sefer… Y. Baer (1961); idem, Exclusiveness and Tolerance (1969), 67–92; Baer in: Sefer Assaf, 110–26; S.D. Goitein, Mikhtavim me-Ere? Yisrael mi-Tekufat ha-?albanim; Neubauer-Stern, Hebraeische Berichte ueber die Judenverfolgung waehrend der Kreuzzuege (1892); Salfeld, Martyrol; N. Golb, in: PAAJR, 34 (1966), 1–63; M.N. Adler, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela; Hacker, in: Zion (1966); M. Benvenisti, Crusaders in the Holy Land (1970). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Prawer, The History of the Jews in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1988).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
Israeli Foreign Ministry.
WebChronology Project.
Pope Urban II orders first Crusade, History, (November 23, 2020).

Photo: 14th-century miniature from William of Tyre’s Histoire dOutremer of a battle during the Second Crusade. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.