Today in European history: the Knights Templar order is purged (1307)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The Knights Templar are the more famous of the two major Christian military orders that were founded during the Crusades; the other, the Knights Hospitaller, we’ve already looked at a bit more closely in talking about the failed Ottoman siege of Malta in 1565. The…

Today in European history: the Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople (1204)

The Fourth Crusade, as I’ve occasionally hinted at, is for me, in many ways, the Crusadiest of all the Crusades. Sure, the First Crusade actually achieved its goal, which you can’t really say about any of the others in any serious sense, and other Crusades produced quintessential Crusading figures like Richard the Lionheart and Saint… Continue reading Today in European history: the Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople (1204)

Today in Middle East history: Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim destroys the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (1009)

First of all, a disclaimer: I am terrified that somebody’s going to read the title of this post, on Twitter probably, not notice the (1009) part or the “Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim” part, and start some kind of nutjob avalanche of reports that the modern Church of the Holy Sepulchre has just been destroyed. Don’t worry,… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim destroys the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (1009)

Today in Middle Eastern History: The Siege of Antioch Ends, kind of (1098)

The Crusades, historically, are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, you can trace medieval Europe’s commercial development and, eventually, its itch to explore the world in part to the East-West cultural exchange that was boosted by the Crusades, and the wealth of Arab learning that was transmitted back to Europe (including… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern History: The Siege of Antioch Ends, kind of (1098)