The First Crusade


The First CrusadeThe situation of the Levant in the period leading up to the First Crusade had a great role in the success of this campaign in achieving its objectives. But the Arabs and Muslims were able to expel them from these Frankish occupiers who were known as the Crusaders.

General Conditions in the Arab Islamic Caliphate:

The lands of the Islamic Arab caliphate at the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth century AH, were subject to multiple forces are incompatible, there was a conflict between them, so each of them worked to expand its lands fighting each other’s, at the top of these forces:

The Abbasid Caliphate:

Its successors were located in the city of Baghdad and accepted to be ruled nominally after the majority of the lands of the Islamic caliphate came out of their power. And the remainder of their lands was only Baghdad and the surrounding area, and the command and final say in this spot are for the Seljuk sultans of Baghdad.

The Seljuk:

Their power gradually expanded to include most areas of the Eastern Abbasid caliphate to protect the lands of the Islamic Arab Caliphate. They prove that they were the swords of Islam. They rose to stand against the Byzantines and expanded westward at the Byzantines’ lands.

The power of the Seljuk did not continue to rise; their power was disintegrated after the death of King Shah in 485 AH / 1902-1903 AD.

The Seljuk were divided over themselves, and wars broke out between them. The Seljuk state was divided into five rival kingdoms: Persia, Khorasan and beyond, the Kingdom of Aleppo, the Kingdom of Damascus, and finally the Seljuk of the Roman Empire.

The Fatimid Caliphate:

The Fatimid wanted to exploit Levant Troubled situations to recover their influence in the Levant. A Fatimid army led by Fatimid leader Ben Badr al-Jamali came out from Egypt to besiege Jerusalem, so its Artuqid rulers were forced to retreat in August 1098.

Palestine later fell into the hands of the Fatimid, and although the Fatimid were able to restore Palestine, they were passing through signs of weakness due to the following factors:

  1. The multiplicity of races comprising the Fatimid army from Moroccans, Turks, and Sudan, and the conflict between these elements.
  2. In the second period of their rule, the succession of the Fatimid Caliphate was young, so The viziers singled out the ruling without them until the second Fatimid era was known as the era of the great ministers.
  3. The economic downturn in Egypt many Times due to the decrease in the water level of the Nile several times This was accompanied by famine and epidemics, which led to poor general conditions
  4. The ideological schism had occurred among the Fatimid after the death of Caliph “Mustansir Be Allah” in 487 AH / 1094 AD.

Conditions of the Levant:

Before the arrival of the First Crusade, the Levant lived in a dark Period Since the Seljuk control, Chaos prevailed and The new rulers did not rule directly but accepted the existence of local families gave them allegiance, and those local families at odds among themselves reached the extent of fighting sometimes and the country suffered a light that has not seen before.

The rupture of the Levant was not confined to the political sphere but also extended to the sectarian scope. While the people of Damascus were Sunni, The Twelver Shiite-dominated Aleppo. Also, There were many Shiites and doctrines have been alienated outside those two cities. The Druze band has appeared, Nizariya (the followers of Hassan bin Sabah) became active and spread their authority over a number of Forts and castles.

Causes of the Crusades:

In fact, these wars were the result of the interaction of multiple factors religious, political, economic and social:

  • Religious factors:
    • Crusades pretended by the appearance of religion, carried the emblem of the cross, and claimed that their goal was to save the Holy Land from the hands of Muslims.
  • Economic factors:
    • The commercial activity of Arab Muslims has irritated the Italian republics that wanted to monopolize the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Natural and economic calamities suffered by the Western European at the time. People in the region lived in poverty, deprivation, and fear.
  • Political factors:
    • The papacy clung to the idea of the papal void which created by the defeat of the Byzantines in the position of Malakirid in 463 AH / 1071 AD, Because of the Seljuk invasion of the Byzantine territories, and the inability of the Byzantines to repel them, they saw that Western Europe would be able to defend this region and its European pilgrims by occupying the Levant.
    • directing cavalry to fight Muslims instead of going to internal wars
    • The ambitions of some princes and nobles whose circumstances did not allow them to establish emirates in Europe, and the desire of those who had emirates to establish others in the East.
    • The Pope’s desire to unite the Eastern and Western Churches under his control.
  • Social factors:
    • The vast majority of the lower classes of European society lived a life of misery and curse under the feudal system, epidemics and famines had spread, and this was due to the harsh conditions experienced by the peasants in Western Europe at the time.


Preparing for the First Crusade:

Pope Urban II held a meeting in Clermont in November 1095 AD, it was attended by princes from all over Europe of different desires Also attended by a number of clerics, The Pope rose to stir up the enthusiasm of those present to fight the Muslims in his wailing manner and his dependence on the tendon of material and religious interests, As well as the potential of Islamic lands to be provided to poor Christian knights, The audience responded, and the chanting in the congregation began with the words (“Thus God wanted”).

The attendants took the cross as a badge for them, which called for the naming of these wars in the name of the Crusades, and those who carry them in the name of the Crusaders.

In 489 AH / 1096 – 1097 AD, a date for the launch of the Crusaders, and made Constantinople a center for the meeting of their groups to arrange the plan of attack on Minor Asia and the Levant.

The pope not only did so, but he traveled among European cities calling for the Crusades. He succeeded with the accession of a number of princes, especially from the provinces of France, as well as the support of the city of Genoa which became the center of Crusader wars.

Events of the First Crusade:

The first crusade consisted of two sections, the first part being the Public, and the second the princes.

The public campaign led by Peter the Hermit and another leader, Walter, numbered around 15,000. Some took their women and children and took the road through Hungary and then the Byzantine territories.

Those who claimed to have gone out to protect the Christians committed a terrible massacre in Hungary in which about 4,000 innocent Christians were killed, along with looting and robbing all that reached to their hands.

It was not expected that those Public people who were ignorant of the methods of war and the use of arms would withstand the Seljuk, and they were thrown into a huge pile of rubble, near Nicea in October 1096 AD.

The regular section of the First Crusade, the princes’ section, was well prepared and consisted of several groups, each of which had its distinctive character.

Three large Groups Were Formed Directed to the east:

  • The first is headed by Godfarwadi Boyon, accompanied by his brother Baldwin, who are knights of the Lorraine.
  • The second is headed by “Bohemond” and his nephew “Tankard”, both Norman.

The third group is headed by Raymond de Toulouse, a knight of the province of Provence and accompanied by Bishop Adhamar to be a representative of the Papacy in the leadership of the Crusaders in the East, along with other leaders.

These three groups met in Constantinople.

The Crusader forces were estimated between 60,000 and 100,000. These forces were not limited to infantry, cavalry, barricades, arrows, and the workers needed by the campaign to fight and prepare for it, but also included a large number of women, children, elders, priests, and bishops. It was more like a popular emigration, and it focused itself on stability by force of arms as colonial communities.

All the leaders of the first Crusade, except Raimontokard, swore allegiance and loyalty to the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Kominin and pledged to return all the ancient Byzantine possessions they could recover from the Seljuks, from Nicaea to Antioch.

In contrast, the Byzantine emperor pledged to help the Crusaders in their mission with all his strength, to provide them with supplies, and to contribute in the Crusade to provide teams of his army by land and sea in the case that he cannot accompany them personally.

The men of the campaign crossed Anatolia under the rule of the Seljuks of the Roman Empire, occupied Nicea, defeated the Seljuks, and drew the whole area west of Anatolia.

The Crusaders then crossed the Taurus Mountains and divided into two parts, one headed by Baldwin and Tankard and headed toward the northeast, while the rest of the Crusaders, led by the Papal Delegate, Godfruwa, Bohemian and Raymond, took the Levant route.

When the Crusaders arrived under the leadership of “Baldwin” to the villages and the Armenian Farms, welcomed by the Armenians, and by their help they captured the city of Al-Raha, in which established the first Crusader Emirates in the east by Baldwin in 491 AH / 1098 AD.

The Armenians had multiple motives for handing over the city in this way

On top of which it was threatened by the Seljuks, in addition to the old age of its Armenian ruler, and the lack of heirs in the emirate.

The other part of the French army marched on the north of the Levant for Antioch, he captured On his way to Marash and Fort Fares, and the citadel of Arthah

The Crusader armies besieged the city of Antioch, which was in the hands of the Seljuks, and was ruled by “Yaghi Sian”, who stood up defending the city alone against the siege of the Crusaders for nine months until the most of Crusaders died

He also sought the help of his neighbors, the Muslim princes of the region, and the help of the Abbasid caliph, Seljuk Fares, did not receive urgent aid.

As a result of the terrible resistance that the Crusaders faced in front of the gates of Antioch, some of them tried to flee, headed by “Peter the Hermit”, but Bohemond believed that the rest of the Crusaders would be brought under his command and use them to achieve his goals of establishing an emirate for himself.

Pohimond’s policy of conquering Antioch:

  • He worked to prevent all supplying reaching them and accused the Byzantines to conspire with the Seljuks against the Crusaders to get rid of the promises made by himself to them.
  • He worked on the alliance with the Fatimids in Egypt and promised them that he would Deliver them Jerusalem in return for leaving his free hand in Antioch.
  • Worked to take advantage of the rupture of the political situation of the Levant in that period, and wrote “Dakak bin Titch” reassuring him, and his brother, “Radwan.”

This plan succeeded with some princes and failed with each other, where “Radwan,” the governor of Aleppo decided to send rescue to Antioch because it is considered his property, and some local princes joined.

These United forces met in Harem City, and were in contact with the Prince of Antioch “Yaghi Sian”, and agreed “Radwan” and “Yagi Sian” on the appropriate plan, But the betrayal of some of the Crusaders and Armenians in the region failed the plan, and seized “Bohemond” haraam as a result, and received sufficient supplies encouraged him to pursue the siege.

Buhaimund worked hard to end the siege. He built a castle overlooking the city where Muslims were buried, using the stones of the tombs.his good fortune of the arrival of an English fleet inadequate timely manner carrying arms and siege machines, changing the balance of power in favor of the Franks.

Crusaders besieged Antioch made a contact with one of the defaults of the towers, and they gave him money and feudalism in return for helping them open the door to enter the city, so he agreed, thus allowing the Crusaders to enter the city. So they rose up with their habit of killing, plundering and looting, and they took everything in it, they also killed her prince, “Yaghi Sian”, and estimated the number of Muslims slaughtered by the Crusaders in Antioch ten thousand Muslims.

The thinking of the Crusaders goes after the opening of Antioch towards Jerusalem, they held a council in Muharram in 492 AH / 5 November 1098 in St. Peter’s Church in Antioch, where the leaders gathered to resume the march towards Jerusalem.

Buhaimund left behind the campaign, preferring to stay in Antioch, and Baldwin, Prince of El-Rio, because they obtained what they wanted from the establishment of an emirate of their own, although they agreed to participate in it.

Raymond led the Crusaders to Jerusalem in January 1099 AD. The Crusaders then invaded the Levant and were walking in the west, Avoiding the big internal cities like Aleppo and Damascus.

The burden of defending these areas fell on the local forces, many of which could not stand alone against the Crusader’s legions, which led them to peace under the threat of using weapons in their faces but others have not been intimidated and made every effort to stop this crawl also the contact between  the Crusaders and  the rulers of Homs, Tripoli and Shizar Facilitated this, as they pledged not to attack them if they provided supply  to the Franks and help, they received a response with aagreement,thus making the Crusaders occupation of the fortress of the Kurds.

Some areas, such as Arqa and Sidonwere hard to be captured, Some cities have had individual agreements. , As happened with the judge Jibla, who promised to pay a tribute of money and horses, in exchange for leaving, as well as the people of Beirut.

The Crusaders occupied the cities of Lod, Ramleh and Bethlehem, where they left for Jerusalem. The Fatimid ruler took all the precautions he found to protect the Holy City and relied on a large garrison of Egyptian and Sudanese soldiers.

The Crusaders attacked the city of Jerusalem in June 1099 AD After less than a week of siege, they received human, military and food supplies, and their morale rose by the occupation of Jaffa

The siege of Jerusalem lasted for two months, during which the Franks made two towers, using them to view the wall of the city. They used it to throw the leper. This led to the defeat of the Muslims. On the night of 14 July 1099 AD, the defenders of the city fled to take refuge in the Aqsa Mosque and defend it, entered the Crusaders city and stormed the mosque, and caused a terrible massacre.

The fall of Jerusalem has caused a wave of terror in the hearts of the people of the neighboring cities and villages. They have lost their defenders, and the Crusaders have taken these cities one by one.

Thus, the Crusaders established the third emirate in Jerusalem and followed it with the establishment of the fourth in Tripoli. This don’t mean that the Muslim Arabs left the crusaders free to work in the region without resistance, and that all those who faced the Crusaders surrendered. There were individual championships, but they were not enough to deter the aggressor.



(*) Source: Journal of Arab Strategic Thought, No. 2, pp. 181-204

[1] Hernsho, History, Translated by Abdul Hamid Abadi (Cairo: Committee on the Author, Translation and Publishing, 1944), p.

[2] Ibid., P. 114.

[3] Ibid., P. 109.

[4] Ibid., P.

[5] About the Battle of Manad Kord

  • Ibn al-Atheer, full in history, ((accidents year 463 e)).
  • The Rundi, The Rest of the Verses and the Pleasure of the Prophets, published and corrected by Muhammad Iqbal (Leiden: D, 1921), p. 118 et seq.
  • Asad Rustom, Roman in their politics, culture, religion, culture and connections to the West, c2 (Beirut: Dar al-Makshof, 1956) pp.
  • Suhail Zoukar, Introduction to the History of the Crusades (Damascus: Dar al-Resalah, 1972), p. 138 et seq.
  • Renseman, History of the Crusades, p. 96 et seq.

[6] Ibn al-Atheer, previous source, ((accidents of the years: 485-486 – 487 e)).

  • The Rwandese, former source, pp. 143-143.

[7] – Ibn al-Ather, a previous source, accidents in the year 490 e.

  • Said Abdel Fattah Ashour, The Crusader Movement (Cairo, The Anglo-Egyptian Library, 1963), pp. 114-311.

[8] Abdulnaim Hassanein, Seljuks of Iran and Iraq (Cairo: The Egyptian Renaissance Library, 1959), p. 90.

[9] The state of Bani Mzaiz al-Shi’a on the West Bank of the Euphrates River from Hit to Kufa and Wasit, which became a threat to the threatened Seljuk Turks, and prevented their continued control in large areas of Iraq. Look:

  • Said Ashour, former source, 1, p. 114.
  • Amina Bitar, the position of the Arab princes of Sham and Iraq of the Fatimids until the end of the fifth century AH. (Damascus: Damascus House, 1980), p. 357 and beyond.

[10] ((Atabak)) Turkish word consisting of ((ATA)) ie the father educator, ((and you)) the Prince. This means that he is the prince’s or king’s breeder.

[11] Ibid., P.

[12] Said Ashour, former source, C1, pp. 116-117.

[13] Ibn al-Qulansi, History of Damascus, p. 135.

  • Al-Maqrizi, Al-Hafah, with the news of the Fatimid imams of the caliphate, C3 (Cairo: Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, d.
  • Ibn al-Athir, former source, C1, p. 283, mention that in Sha’ban 489 AH.

[14] Ibn Wasel, Mufruj al-Karub in the news of Bani Ayoub, c.

[15] Al-Maqrizi, previous source, c. 2, p. 332.

[16] Amina al-Bitar, former source, p. 247, 286 and beyond.

[17] Suhail Zikar, former source, p. 159.

[18] Ibn Shaddad, the serious links in the mention of the princes of the Levant and the island, C3, fthe irst section (Damascus: Ministry of Culture, 1978), pp. 402-403.

[19] Ibn al-Qulansi, previous source, pp. 124-133.

[20] Mr. Al-Baz Al-Qarini, Egypt in the Ayyubid Age (Cairo: Little Kilani Press, D), pp. 5-6.

[21] On the ruins see: Ibn Shaddad, previous source, c. 3, section II.

[22] The Works of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, translated by Hassan Habashi (Cairo: Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi, 1958), p. 19.

[23] Ibid., P.

[24] Hassan Habashi, The First Crusade (Cairo: Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi, 1958), p. 59.

[25] The Works of the Franciscans and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, ibid., P.

[26] Ibid., P. 5.

[27] Ibid., P. 7.

[28] Said Ashour, Medieval Europe, C1, I6 (Cairo: DN, 1975), p. 429.

[29] Said Ashour, Crusade, C1, previous source, p. 129.

[30] Ibid., C1, pp. 131-132.

[31] Said Ashour, Medieval Europe, former source, p. 429.

[32] Rafiq al-Tamimi, The Crusades (Damascus: Al-Quds al-Qudsi Press, 1945), pp. 27-28.

[33] Ibid., P.

[34] Mr. Al-Baz al-Qurini, former source, p.

[35] See: Said Ashour, New Lights on the Crusades (D, D, D), pp. 24-25.

[36] Hassan Habashi, former source, p. 85.

[37] – The Works of the Franks, former source, pp. 30-31.

  • Said Ashour, Crusade, C1, previous source, pp. 163- 164.

[38] Hassan Habashi, former source, p. 61.

[39] Said Ashour, Crusade, C1, previous source, pp. 165-65.

[40] Asad Rustom, former source, c. 2, p. 129.

[41] Said Ashour, Crusade, C1, previous source, p. 184.

[42] See Ibn al-Qulansi, previous source, p. 132.

[43] – Ibn al-Athir, former source, c. 1, p. 274.

Facebook Facebook logo Abu Fida. The Manual in Human News, c 2, p. 210.

[44] See: Said Ashour. Crusade, c. 1, previous source, p. 193.

[47] Pohimund removed the Byzantine commander who accompanied the crusade during the siege of Antioch after accusing him of cowardice. See: Asad Rustam, former source, c. 2, pp. 129- 130.

[46] Ibn Taghri Bardi, The Glorious Stars in the Kings of Egypt and Cairo, C5 (Cairo: The Egyptian Book House, 1929), p. 147.

[47] Ibn al-Qulansi, previous source, p. 135.

  • Ibn al-Atheer, former source, c 1, p. 275.

[48] Said Ashour, Crusader Movement, C1, previous source, p. 205.

[49] Ibid., C1, p. 221.

[50] Ibid., C1, p. 221.

[51] Ibid., C1, pp. 240-238.

[52] Ibid., C1, p. 241.

[53] Ibid., P. 1, pp. 244-244, quoted by William Suri.

[54] The Works of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, ibid., Pp. 119-120.

[55] Ibn al-Ather, former source, c 1, p. 283- 284.

[56] Said Ashour, New Lights on the Crusader Movement, previous source, pp. 26-28.

[57] Ibn al-Adeeem, milking butter in the history of Aleppo, c 2, p. 350.

[58] Ibn al-Athir, former source, c 8, p. 186.

[59] The Acts of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, ibid., P. 66.

[60] Said Ashour, Crusade, C1, previous source, p.

[61] The Works of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, former source, pp. 74-75.

[62] Ibid., P. 74.

[63] Ibid., P.

[64] See:

  • Ibn al-Atheer, former source, C1, pp. 276-277.
  • Abu al-Fida, previous source, c2, pp. 210-211.

[65] See Ibn al-Ather, ibid., P. 1, pp. 276-277.

[66] Said Ashour, The Crusader Movement, previous source, pp. 275- 276- 294- 295-96-300.

[67] See: The Works of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, ibid., Pp. 72-73.

[68] Hassan Habashi, former source, p. 106.

[69] The Works of the Franks and the Pilgrims of Jerusalem, ibid., P. 107.

[70] Ibid., P. 109.

[71] Ibid., P. 113.

[72] Ibid., P. 110.

[73] Hassan Habashi, former source, p. 108, footnote 1.

Written by: Rabab Ramadan


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