What were the Popular Crusades?

Introduction The popular crusades were several movements “animated by crusading enthusiasm” but unsanctioned by the Church. Background They contrast with the “official crusades” authorised by the Papacy. While the latter consisted of professional armies led by apostolic legates, the popular crusades were generally disorganised and consisted of peasants, artisans and only the occasional knight. The… Read More


What was the People’s Crusade (1096)?

Introduction The People’s Crusade was the first, largest, and most well-documented of the popular crusades. It lasted roughly six months from April to October 1096, and is categorised either as a prelude to the First Crusade, or, as a distinct part of the First Crusade to be distinguished from the “Princes’ Crusade” which was much… Read More

What was the Battle of Civetot (1096)?

Introduction The Battle of Civetot occurred in 1096, and brought an end to the People’s Crusade, which was a poorly-armed movement of lower-class pilgrims of the First Crusade, but, distinct from the subsequent and much more well-known Princes’ Crusade. Background After the disastrous defeat for the Crusaders in the Siege of Xerigordos, two Turkish spies… Read More

What was the Siege of Arqa (1099)?

Introduction The First Crusade march down the Mediterranean coast, from recently taken Antioch to Jerusalem, started on 13 January 1099. During the march the Crusaders encountered little resistance, as local rulers preferred to make peace with them and furnish them with supplies rather than fight, with a notable exception of the aborted siege of Arqa.… Read More

What was the Siege of Ma’arra (1098)?

Introduction The Siege of Maarat, or Ma’arra, occurred in late 1098 in the city of Ma’arrat al-Numan, in what is modern-day Syria, during the First Crusade. It is infamous for the claims of widespread cannibalism displayed by the Crusaders. Background After the Crusaders, led by Raymond de Saint Gilles and Bohemond of Taranto, successfully besieged… Read More

What was the Battle of Ascalon (1099)?

Introduction The Battle of Ascalon took place on 12 August 1099 shortly after the capture of Jerusalem, and is often 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… Read More

What was the Siege of Jerusalem (1099)?

Introduction The Siege of Jerusalem took place from 07 June to 15 July 1099, during the First Crusade. The climax of the First Crusade, the successful siege saw the Crusaders take Jerusalem from the Fatimid Caliphate and laid the foundations for the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The siege is notable for the mass slaughter of Muslims… Read More