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

There’s plenty of irony to go around when you’re talking about the Crusades, but it is especially apparent 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” … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Arsuf (1191)

As we’ve noted elsewhere, the Third Crusade is harder to assess than most of the other Crusades. The First Crusade was a pretty clear success. The Second Crusade was an unmitigated failure. The Fourth Crusade was completely absurd. And so forth. But the outcome of the Third Crusade is mixed. On the one hand, the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Arsuf (1191)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1191)

The Siege of Acre marks both the end of Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Third Crusade, which was supposed to undo that conquest. When it concluded in 1191, after Philip II of France and Richard I of England had arrived and assumed command, it also marked the beginning of the end … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1191)

Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Some days there are a bunch of little historical anniversaries to commemorate, but none that of themselves seem to warrant their own post. June 10 is one of those days. We’ve got four different anniversaries to note, so let’s take them in chronological order. This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the … Continue reading Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Today in Middle Eastern history: a bad day for the Crusades

May 18 was a really bad day for the Crusades. There are no fewer than three Crusades-related events we can talk about today that either involve Crusader crimes against humanity or major Crusader losses. Let’s go in chronological order. This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the rest please check out my … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: a bad day for the Crusades

Today in Middle Eastern history: Conrad I of Jerusalem is assassinated (1192)

The leaders of the medieval Islamic spiritual order known as the Assassins were certainly not the first people to come up with the idea of murdering one's political opponents. But the reason why the murder of a political leader is known as an "assassination" today is because these guys were very, very good at it. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Conrad I of Jerusalem is assassinated (1192)

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

The Fourth Crusade 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 heroes like Richard the Lionheart and Saint Louis. But overall the Crusades … Continue reading Today in European history: the Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople (1204)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Fariskur (1250)

Here is the eagerly (?) awaited conclusion to February’s story of the Seventh Crusade’s Battle of Mansurah. When last we left our plucky yet doomed Crusaders, under the command of the very willing but not really able Louis IX of France (d. 1270), they’d suffered a decisive defeat at Mansurah and were sent scrambling back across … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Fariskur (1250)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sixth Crusade ends (1229)

If it's fair to say that the Fourth Crusade's sacking of Constantinople discredited the whole enterprise, and in my opinion it is, the Sixth Crusade wrung the last vestiges of seriousness out of the movement. Ironically, of the numbered Crusades it was one of the more successful--certainly more successful than the disastrous Second, Fifth, Seventh, … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sixth Crusade ends (1229)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Mansurah begins (1250)

Before King Louis IX of France (d. 1270) led the weirdly conceived and badly failed Eighth Crusade against Tunis, he earned his Crusader bona fides on the better conceived but still badly failed Seventh Crusade, which is our subject today. As I wrote when we talked about the Eighth Crusade, if medieval BuzzFeed had put together a … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Mansurah begins (1250)