Peoples Crusade 1096 – Shocking and Tragic!

The Shocking and Tragic Peoples Crusade Overview

Many commoner’s, Paupers and Peasants ‘Every Day People were involved in this Crusade as this is why it was named ‘The Peoples Crusade.

However many high ranking people of Medieval Society were also involved in the People’s Crusade – there were also knights that tried to train and organize various groups of people.

The ‘Peoples crusade’ was the lead up to the ‘First Crusade’ some people think that the ‘First Crusade and the ‘People’s Crusade were the same but this is not correct.

So the ‘peoples crusade’ preceded the more important and official ‘first crusade

The Peoples Crusade was not an organized ‘official’ Crusade like the ‘First Crusade’ and as such was much more disorganized and haphazard in nature.

The Crusade started around April 1096 and lasted around six months until October of the same year.

There is some debate amongst historians as to whether it was instigated by ‘Peter the Hermit’ or Pope Urban II. But we do know that the soldiers for this conflict were provided by ‘Walter Sans Avoir’.

As with many of the Crusades ‘the Peoples Crusade ended in failure and the Crusaders forces were ultimately destroyed at northwestern Anatolia by the Seljuk forces of Kilij Arslan

It was the year 1096 when the Pope was preparing a great Crusade to the Holy Lands and was gathering together Knights, warriors and supplies for the great crusade to follow.

News spread among the common medieval people, who imagined the Crusades to be a fantastic opportunity and a great adventure and they wanted to join the mission.

The news of the great Crusade spread through medieval towns, villages and cities like wild fire creating a momentum of great excitement.

Little Peter ‘Peter the Hermit’

The people of medieval times who wanted to join the crusade had chosen a leader to lead them called “Little Peter” or Peter the Hermit it was Little Peter who was to lead this group of commoners on what they thought was going to be a great adventure!

However the people were uneducated and had little knowledge of what they would require for the journey ahead.

The one thing they did realize however was that they needed money for the journey and many Jewish people who were known to be wealthy at the time were killed throughout Europe, their Gold stolen from them by people wanting to join what became known as the People’s crusade.

Peoples Crusade Massacre

100,000 people join the peoples Crusade

100,000 People Turned Up!

Around 100,000 people joined the People’s crusade, however although the number of people joining the crusade was large they were a very disorganized and uneducated bunch of commoners who in reality stood no chance against an organized army.

As the people of the People’s Crusade traveled towards Jerusalem they they left a trail of havoc behind them as they robbed food and treasures from people in the towns or villages.

They also became more violent as the journey progressed, due to their needs to survive and by the  time they reached Byzantine lands, the people’s crusading army were described as being ‘like a pack of wild animals’.

The Crusade Reaches Byzantine Empire

As the commoners of the ‘people’s crusade’ reached Byzantine lands they were like a pack of wild animals, however the Emperor Comena could see that they would be a terrifying sight for the Muslim Turk armies and decided to help “Little Peters” People’s army through his country and guide them towards Jerusalem and the Turkish army.

End of the People’s crusade

As soon as the wild, disorganized army of “Little Peters”, reached the much better equipped and organized armies of the Muslim Turks they were quickly defeated bringing to a swift end to the People’s Crusades.

Most of the people who were part of the People’s Crusade were killed and others who survived were sold into slavery.