Today in Middle Eastern history: the Crusaders capture Maʿarrat al-Nuʿman (1098)

The First Crusade's conquest of the city of Maʿarrat al-Nuʿman was noteworthy for at least two reasons, one fairly blasé and the other definitely not. On the blasé side, Maʿarrat al-Nuʿman was an important waypoint along the march from Antioch to Jerusalem, and the Crusaders couldn't get from the former to the latter without capturing … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Crusaders capture Maʿarrat al-Nuʿman (1098)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Ascalon (1099)

Most modern historians of the Crusades agree that the way we separate and number the multiple Crusade expeditions is ahistorical at best and misleading at worst. For one thing, the flow of European warriors to the Holy Land was not nearly as organized and periodic as the numbering system suggests. For another thing, treating the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Ascalon (1099)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade captures Jerusalem (1099)

One thing that sets the First Crusade apart from the rest of the Crusades, apart from it being first, is that it actually succeeded. Without qualification, without changing the conditions in the middle of the campaign, these guys accomplished what they set out to accomplish—they captured Jerusalem. Well, OK, what they officially set out to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade captures Jerusalem (1099)

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)