Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

Irony abounds when you’re talking about the Crusades, but it especially abounds on those occasions when our intrepid armed pilgrims to the Holy Land wound up making their mark somewhere else. Obviously the best example here is the Fourth Crusade, when instead of marching off to once again “liberate” Jerusalem from its Muslim overlords the Crusaders let themselves go broke and then essentially hired themselves out as mercenaries to sack the very non-Muslim city of Constantinople on behalf of Venice. The Eighth Crusade (we’ll get to that in a few days) isn’t bad for this either, if “dying of dysentery outside the walls of Tunis” counts as “making their mark.” There’s also the Second Crusade, which may have failed miserably in the Middle East but succeeded wildly in Iberia. Yes, Iberia is a ways off from Jerusalem, but in their defense (and in marked contrast to the Fourth Crusade) at least the city these guys besieged was actually controlled by Muslims.

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

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