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Talk:The Crusades

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My good lord, this is perhaps the greatest whitewashing of historical fact I have ever seen. Where is the information about the power crazed Pope? What about the slaughter of entire towns and the sacking of Constantinople? This page's analysis is a joke and thus, it has been deleted. There are barely any references at all on a subject that still affects us today. -Xenuite

'...greatest whitewashing of historical fact I have ever seen...' Don't get out much do you? For what it shows it is pretty straightforward, and evenhanded. It can be expanded. Learn together 14:40, 15 February 2008 (EST)
xenuites dramatic flare aside. what he saying is true. this article doesn't mention any of the atrocities of the crusades. when the crusaders took Jerusalem they slaughtered the whole city, Muslim, Christian, and Jew alike. the crusaders were not noble in the slightest. a good way to think of crusaders would be to compare them to modern day Jihadis. crazed fighters unafraid to kill innocents because they believe there on a mission from god to "kill the infidel". anyone who identifies with a crusader is either ignorant of a fool. these were not good people! Gailim 01:04, 24 February 2008 (EST)
I disagree. There were atrocities, but Jerusalem was hardly the only city ever taken and many other places did not receive the same treatment. They were upset at a population that was fighting for the forces of Islam which had originally conquered the lands by the sword. In the Crusaders eyes, they were the liberators. The Crusades were fought over a couple of hundred years. To take isolated examples and make them the sole norm of what the Crusades were is unfair to the overall reality of what occurred. Learn together 18:10, 24 February 2008 (EST)
I don't know much about the crusades, but be careful using the logic of "in the Crusaders eyes, they were the liberators". The Nazi's had a pretty high opinion of themselves as well. HelpJazz 18:27, 24 February 2008 (EST)
If the Crusaders acted like the Nazis, then I would agree. But too much of what is being taught about the Crusades today fixates on points/places in time (yes there were atrocities) and misses the total picture. The truth is they were a mixed lot fighting over a very complex issue. If your land is taken by force do you have the right later on to take it back? If so, after how much time has passed? Why is the original forced conquest barely mentioned and only the reconquest condemned? At the time the Crusades started, the Muslim Empire was twice the size of Christian Europe, and it had spread entirely by the sword (and would again a couple of centuries after the Crusades under the Ottomans). Was it wrong to harness the fighting spirit that was common during that time period and turn it against an outside threat? There are no easy answers, and certainly no definitive 'bad guys'. Learn together 18:36, 29 February 2008 (EST)
I would like to point out that king Richard and Saladin did not have that much respect for each other as the article claims. When Richard first captured acre he held 3000 muslims hostage and demanded an obscene amount of gold and the release of several christian prisoners of war including a number of select prisoners. Saladin paid the ransom except for a few of the select prisoners and Richard (after receiving the ransom) Saw this as a breach of the agreement and slaugthered the prisoners, most of them civilians -toby
Time and resources were on the side of Saladin. Saladin wanted to keep Richard from advancing and knew he could not do so with his prisoners. He stalled to get Richard to run out of supplies and give himself time to mount a defense and Richard showed him he was serious the way that they would in that time period. In the end Richard was unable to take Jerusalem when Saladin continued to attack that same weakness by retreating with a "scorched earth" policy including poisoning all wells so Richard would run out of food and water. Their admiration was seen in their coming to an arrangement to end the Crusade after personally talking with each other, an arrangement that both men trusted and honored. Learn together 03:20, 8 March 2008 (EST)


There are many reasons to favor the information as written. 1) Durant barely mentions him 2) He operated quickly; nobles take time to gather an army as did the others who actually answered the call 3) He is never given a title, unlike Count Emicho right under him 4) He did not fight in the Holy Land, an oddity for a noble with an army of 10,000 -- which would have been one of the largest assembled. 5) He should have been sought after extensively to join the Crusade -- he was not

All indications point to the idea that your source is embellishing. It's not the first time a writer of a book has done so. Learn together 21:14, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

I'll drop the whole Gottschalk thing, although Thomas Asbridge in The First Crusade writes, "Historians long believed that these atrocities were the work of uncontrolled peasant mobs, a vile distortion of the crusading ideal at the hands of the illiterate, undisciplined masses. The unsettling reality is that, although peasants did make up a large portion of the People's [Crusade's] expedition, most contingents... were led by knights. ... Certainly no rabble, this contingent, thousands strong, was a potent military force.... The pogroms of 1096 were not simply random, rogue incidents, nor were they necessarily misrepresentative of the ideals that drove the First Crusaders." You'll forgive the ramshackle quote; it's a long section. Perhaps we can compromise and change it from the current version:

A smaller group of peasants led by Gottschalk took out their fervor on a more local target, Jews along their path. Their actions were condemned by the Church and the local populace.[1][2] A much larger threat against Jews took the form of a larger mob led by Count Emico of Leiningen, who was more organized and more brutal. Already a man with a sullied reputation, he ignored the pleas of the Bishops in town after town to desist. Apart from being hidden by the local populace when they heard Emico was coming, there was little the Jews could do. Previously in Europe, local difficulties against Jewish communities would rise from time to time in various places, but would be isolated to that local area. This started a phase not previously seen, a systematic effort to weed out and attack Jewish communities.

To this version:

Smaller forces led by local noblemen took out their fervor on a more local target, Jews along their path. Their actions were condemned by the Church and the local populace.[3][2] A much larger threat against Jews took the form of a larger mob led by Count Emico of Leiningen, who was more organized and more brutal. Already a man with a sullied reputation, he ignored the pleas of the Bishops in town after town to desist. Apart from being hidden by the local populace when they heard Emico was coming, there was little the Jews could do. Previously in Europe, local difficulties against Jewish communities would rise from time to time in various places, but would be isolated to that local area. This started a phase not previously seen, a systematic effort to weed out and attack Jewish communities with brutal pogroms.

I think this small change would satisfy us both, yes?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 17:36, 6 June 2008 (EDT)

Actually Tom, this is the type of thing that I wish to avoid. The number of nobles in Germany, using the word in its loosest form, could not have been fit in a football stadium. But when we use the word, our readers will assume we are talking about men of prestige, renown, and power. The leaders of the peasants' cruade and their positions are unclear, except for such prominent men as Count Emico. Based on the lack of food and general disorganization, it does not match what would be expected if "nobles" (as the word is usually used) are in charge in any type of meaningful way.
Pogroms is similar. As usually envisioned, it implies a government that is giving either its formal or unspoken consent -- neither of which applies in this case. The word will be misinterpreted. Learn together 03:42, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

A Few Issues

I'm not sure about the ettiquette for making revisions, so I feel I should just see what people think beforehand. There's a couple of erroneous statements in the article that should probably be altered. Firstly,

"the crusades in southern Spain, southern Italy, and Sicily were militarily successful"

The successful campaigns against the Saracens in Sicily and the south of Italy were not crusades, nor were they declared as such - indeed, they were initiated by the Byzantines and by local lords, who later lost control of their own lands to the Norman mercenaries they hired to deal with the Saracens and their own internecine conflicts. I think ""the crusades in southern Spain were militarily successful" is sufficient, as the conflict in Italy was another issue entirely, and never recieved papal sponsorship or had any religious element to it. It was a territorial war, not a crusade.

"spontaneous cries of "God wills it!""

I feel ""spontaneous cries of "Deus le vult!" ("God wills it!")" would be more accurate and encyclopediac in nature. Anyone agree?

Bohemund of Taranto is referred to as "Duke", this is not correct, as he lost his inheritance in Greece and renounced his claim to the Duchy of Apulia in 1087.

On Gottschalk and Emico, it's worth mentioning that this violence occured in Lotharingia, (now the Rhineland) as the article omits the location. I think this just adds clarity.

"they continued onward and took Edessa and then besieged Antioch" is also not entirely true, the army split into two - one went to Edessa and one to Antioch. Edessa was also an Armenian (Christian) city at the time. This is important for three reasons (1) It cost the Crusaders the potential of support from the local Armenian populace (2) it was the first time the Crusaders actually fought eachother, Baldwin and Tancred's men clashing and (3) Kerbogha only reached Antioch late because he spent three weeks fruitlessly besieging Edessa.

It's also worth noting that the "Battle of Orontes" (a name I have never heard used before, is there a source for this?) was not a battle so much as Kerbogha being betrayed and abandoned by his so-called allies. This isn't reflected in the article.

Also, are there sources for the numbers used? 50,000 at Ascalon seems like a lot, and it should be pointed out that that was an ambush on the Fatimid camp, as opposed to a pitched battle. And more detail should be there on the founding of the Military Orders (NOT "Crusading Orders" as they are dubbed in the article)

Finally, on the first Crusade, no mention is made of the Papal Legate, Adhemar of le Puy, who basically held the whole thing together on repeated occasions.

The other sections need fleshing out too, I can do these if you want. Can people let me know if the above is okay? If there's no reply in the next while I'll make the edits anyway and we'll go from there. Aplogies for the length of this, but this article is in serious need of work, and since this is supposed to be an educational resource, I think it should be done.

Forwearemany 18:48, 16 August 2008 (EDT)

Your early change seem appropriate; I would make some reference to ex-Duke instead of removing the knowledge that he was once a Duke. This is assuming you will provide sources. The Battle of the Orontes (I left out the word the) and the count at Ascalon are both discussed in the Encyclopedia of Military History. Also, the battles are discussed and do not match the changes that you state above. For instance in The Battle of Orontes, the Moslem army was defeated due to being hemmed in between the river and the nearby mountains from successful counterattacks by Bohemund after Kerboga's initial attacks were repulsed. Unable to maneuver or stand against the charge, where the Crusader armor certainly made them superior man for man, they broke and fled. Learn together 14:11, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
I agree on the ex-Duke thing and will agree on the use of Orontes and the numbers at Ascalon. On the battle of Orontes itself, while the Crusaders did engage and defeat a portion of the army (the part under the direct command of Kerbogha), the vast majority of Muslim potentates who had been basically forced against their will into riding with Kerbogha abandoned him, not wishing to see him triumph. Source for this is Steven Runicman's A History of the Crusades Volume I: The First Crusade, pp. 247-250, especially p. 248. For the surprise attack on the camp at Ascalon as opposed to a pitched battle, see the same book, pp. 296-7. I would aslo question the estimation of Kerbogha's force to be 75,000, as little to no evidence exists, and the most generous estimates of size I can find seem to be around 30,000-35,000, considering by comparison that the forces of the entired Byzantine Empire, the most heavily populated state in the world, had a total force of 70,000 men. That said, if you have a source I do not, I will defer on this issue. Forwearemany 12:44, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
The Byzantines traditionally had 150,000 men under arms, smaller than the Roman Empire before them, but they weren't really a military empire and preferred to spend their money in other ways. They counted on quality of troops above quantity. It is possible their numbers were down significantly after Manzikert, as they no longer had the rich lands of Anatolia from which to raise armies - an area where at one time they could raise up to 120,000 men when pressed to do so. The 75,000 men number in the battle comes from the Encylopedia of Military History. Remember that the Byzantine army that was coming to help turned away believing the situation was hopeless, an unlikely move if there were only 30,000 men coming to enforce the siege. If you have extra information on the Battle of Ascalon, then you are welcome to add it. Learn together 13:39, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
To this I would say that since Alexius had been informed by Stephen of Blois that Antioch had fallen to Kerbogha, his decision to turn around was influenced by the assumption that he would have to assault the walls and engage in a protracted siege, leaving Constantinople vulnerable to assault, rather than being scared off by numbers. Both Runciman and Hans Eberhard Mayer take this view. However since it is an issue of contention, I'm willing to leave it and go ahead with the other alterations as soon as I have the wording right. Forwearemany 15:17, 19 August 2008 (EDT)


! Part of this article was copied from Citizendium and Wikipedia but the copied text was originally written by me, RJJensen (under the name Richard Jensen and rjensen) and does not include alterations made by others on that site. Conservlogo.png
RJJensen 19:48, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
  1. The Age of Faith, Will Durant, 1950, Pg. 589
  2. 2.0 2.1 Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: a History. 2005: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0300101287
  3. The Age of Faith, Will Durant, 1950, Pg. 589