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

If the Fourth Crusade’s sacking of Constantinople was the point at which the Crusading enterprise was largely discredited, the Sixth Crusade could be considered the point at which the whole thing lost its last vestiges of seriousness. It was, ironically, the only crusade apart from the First and Second Crusades to end with the Crusaders … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sixth Crusade ends (1229)

Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

In a sense, if you're into this sort of thing, the British army's capture of Jerusalem marked a very belated end to the Crusades. I mean, it took a while, but Edmund Allenby was technically a European Christian, and there he was, on December 11, 1917, marching into the city that had been the object … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

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

It would be easy to read the title of this post and think, “See? Muslims persecuting Christians; it’s been going on for over a thousand years!” But that would be unfortunate, because it wasn’t “Muslims” who ordered the destruction of the church that supposedly stands on the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and tomb. It was, … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim destroys the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (1009)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Saladin takes Jerusalem (1187)

There are plenty of things wrong with Ridley Scott’s 2005 Crusades epic Kingdom of Heaven. He makes a total hash out of the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, for one thing. In Scott’s story, Princess (later Queen) Sybilla (d. 1190) is trapped in an unhappy marriage to the malicious idiot (and later King) Guy of … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Saladin takes Jerusalem (1187)

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)