Learn about the history and timeline of the First Crusades from 1096
There were many Crusades to re-capture the Holylands over many centuries and the First Crusade would be one of the most successful of them all.
First Crusade Map *Leaders and Route to Jerusalem
The First Crusade would be led by important Nobles from across Europe and not by Kings as was the case in many of the later crusades of the medieval period.
The 1st Crusade 1096
The 1st crusade to the Holy Land was led by Bishop Adhemar also known as Adémar or Aimar under the instruction of Pope Urban II.
Adhemar was one of the most important figures of the first crusades and was heavily involved in important crusader victories such as the Siege of Antioch and the Battle of Dorylaeum.
There were five main bodies of troops for the first crusade and each army was led by a nobleman. There were many wealthy noblemen across Europe that were sympathetic to the Christian cause of reclaiming the Holylands from Muslim rule.
It was therefore easy to recruit armies to fight for the Christian cause during the first crusade.
First Crusade Army
Many people wanted to be soldiers in the first crusade and there were many volunteers. The Pope had told criminals and ex-communicated people that they would be given a pardon if they came back alive from fighting the Muslim armies in the first crusade.
There were criminals. knights and former barbarian soldiers among others within the first crusade armies.
First Crusades Battle
First Crusade *Main Battle
The armies of the 1st crusade were truly heroic and fought against almost impossible odds. Just 30,000 crusaders troops were commanded by a warrior named Bohemond, under his direction these first crusade armies were able to keep at bay a much larger army of Muslim Turks.
The Crusader armies were very disciplined and organized and fought as one, however, the Turkish armies were disorganized and undisciplined and there was much infighting within the Muslim armies’ ranks.
First crusade *Holy lance
During the first crusade, the Crusader armies were under immense pressure from the sheer numbers of Muslim Turk soldiers, and at one point they were struggling to hold them back.
Legend has it that in a particularly bad point of the battle for the crusader armies the holy lance that pierced the body of Jesus when he was crucified was found
this was considered to be a miracle among the Christian troops and this renewed and strengthen their resolve to win the battle.
First Crusade *Infighting
There was a lot of rivalry and infighting among the Muslim armies who throughout history have never trusted one another.
Before the Christian crusaders could even reach the walls of Jerusalem, the Muslim Turks who were in control of Jerusalem at that time had been defeated in battle by Fatimid Muslims
First Crusade *Fatimid Muslims
The 1st crusade had been started to reclaim the Holy lands from Muslim Turks, it had not been decided to fight all Muslims many of whom had very different views on the world.
Portrait of the great Muslim leader Saladin
In fact, the Fatimid Muslims were quite tolerant of Christian people are more willing to share the Holy city with the crusaders and give them safe passage to Jerusalem and Mount Zion Fatimid Muslims.
The battle hardened crusaders however were in no mood for negotiation and decided that they would capture the Holy lands of Jerusalem for the Christian faith against all Muslims, this would escalate the first crusades into a Holy war against all Muslims and the Islamic religion.
First Crusade | Taking of Jerusalem
In 1099 the Christian crusaders were finally at the walls of Jerusalem and were in no mood to take any prisoners . The crusaders used battering Rams and Siege towers to break through and scale the walls of Jerusalem.
Once inside the walls the crusaders went on a rampage slaughtering everyone in their path, it is described as being a bloodbath with bodies knee deep and blood everywhere.
At the end of the battle over 70,000 Muslims and Jews had been killed and Jerusalem was now officially a Christian city.