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Eighth Crusade, 1270

Eighth Crusade, 1270

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Eighth Crusade, 1270

The last major crusade aimed at the Holy Land, and an failure that well symbolises the end of the crusades. In the previous twenty years, the remaining crusader states had become increasingly powerless pawns while tides of Mongol and then Mameluke conquests swept across the area. Louis IX of France, in an attempt to restore the situation, decided to go back on crusade after nearly twenty years, but mislead by the idea that the Bey of Tunis could be converted to Christianity, he decided to land first in Tunisia, then march across Egypt to the Holy Land. However, once he arrived in Tunisia, it was clear that this was not the case, and he had to besiege Tunis. Louis then died in an epidemic, to be replaced by his brother Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily, and a reluctant crusader, who negotiated terms with the Bey, who paid tribute to him and France, after which the crusade ended. After the crusade was over, the future Edward I of England arrived, and finding the crusade over, journeyed on himself to the Holy Land, where the powerful crusader fortress of Krak had just been captured by Baibars, where he campaigned until 1272, when the death of his father Henry III forced him to return to England. The crusading era in the Holy Land ended in 1291, with the fall of Acre, the last crusader base in Palestine.

The Eighth Crusade (1270)

Before returning home after the Seventh Crusade, Louis established a standing French garrison at Acre, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. While many considered Louis a saint, his crusade was ultimately a failure. He enjoyed increasing fame, which placed him in better favor than the Holy Roman Emperor when he came home. In 1270, he attempted another crusade, but this too, was not a success.

Overall, the Seventh Crusade ended in a significant victory for the Muslim. About 50,000 gold pieces equal to the entire annual revenue of France was paid to get King Louis and thousands of his troops back after they were captured and defeated by the Egyptian army led by the Ayyubid Sultan Turanshah.

When it comes to the Eighth Crusade, there is usually controversy surrounded its legitimacy and whether or not it was simply part of the Seventh. In 1270, the King of France, Louis IX launched this crusade , still reeling from the failure of his last attempt. He had grown increasingly concerned with the events taking place in Syria, where the Mamluk sultan Baibars had made it a habit to attack what was left of the Crusader states.

A war that broke out between Venice and Genoa (which lasted from 1256 to 1260) provided Baibars with the opportunity to capture cities left vulnerable by the fighting. By the time 1265 had arrived, Baibars had claimed Haifa, Toron, Nazareth, and Arsuf. The nominal king of Jerusalem (Hugh III of Cyprus) reached Acre to defend the city, while Baibars marched towards Armenia, which was under Mongol control at the time.

Louis called for a new crusade in 1267, but he did not receive an overwhelming response. He even got the cold shoulder from Jean de Joinville, the chronicler who accompanied Louis on the Seventh Crusade. At the suggestion of his brother, Charles of Anjou, he agreed to first attack Tunis, which would provide him with a strong base for when he was ready to attack Egypt.
The King of Sicily, Charles, was also interested in lands of the Mediterranean and agreed to help.

Louis reached the coast of Africa in 1270. It was July and he had chosen a rather unpleasant time of the year to make his arrival. The majority of his army got sick because the drinking water was not of good quality. Even his son John Sorrow died in the beginning of August. Three weeks later, Louis was taken by ‘flux of the stomach’ and died one day after Charles arrived. Charles proclaimed Louis’ son Philip III the new king, but the boy was too young to rule, so Charles was deemed the leader of the crusade.

Disease played an important role in the Eighth Crusade, which forced the crusaders to end their siege of Tunis. The army retreated by the end of October and an agreement was signed with the sultan, where the Christians gained free trade with Tunis. A place to live was guaranteed for the monks and priests in the city. This allowed them to view the crusade as a partial success.

8 The First Crusade (1095-1101)

In March 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, ambassadors sent by Byzantine emperor Alexius I called for help with defending his empire against the Seljuk Turks. Later that year, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Turks, promising an indulgence for those who died in the service of the army.

Crusader armies managed to defeat two substantial Turkish forces at Dorylaeum and at Antioch, finally marching to Jerusalem with only a fraction of their original forces. In 1099, they took Jerusalem by assault and created small crusader states which were the Kingdom of Jerusalem.


Philip was born in Poissy on 1 May 1245, [3] the second son of King Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence. [4] As a younger son, Philip was not expected to rule France. At the death of his older brother Louis in 1260, he became the heir apparent to the throne. [5]

Philip's mother Margaret made him promise to remain under her tutelage until the age of 30, however Pope Urban IV released him from this oath on 6 June 1263. [6] From that moment on, Pierre de la Broce, a royal favourite and household official of Louis IX, was Philip's mentor. [7] His father, Louis, also provided him with advice, writing in particular the Enseignements, which inculcated the notion of justice as the first duty of a king. [8]

According to the terms of the Treaty of Corbeil (1258), concluded on 11 March 1258 between Louis IX and James I of Aragon, [9] Philip was married in 1262 to Isabella of Aragon in Clermont by the archbishop of Rouen, Eudes Rigaud. [10]

As Count of Orléans, Philip accompanied his father on the Eighth Crusade to Tunis in 1270. Shortly before his departure, Louis IX had given the regency of the kingdom into the hands of Mathieu de Vendôme and Simon II, Count of Clermont, to whom he had also entrusted the royal seal. [11] After taking Carthage, the army was struck by an epidemic of dysentery, which spared neither Philip nor his family. His brother John Tristan, Count of Valois died first, on 3 August, [12] and on 25 August the King died. [c] [13] To prevent putrefaction of his remains, it was decided to carry out mos Teutonicus, the process of rendering the flesh from the bones so as to make transporting the remains feasible. [14]

Philip, only 25 years old and stricken with dysentery, was proclaimed king in Tunis. [15] His uncle, Charles I of Naples, negotiated with Muhammad I al-Mustansir, Hafsid Caliph of Tunis. [16] A treaty was concluded 5 November 1270 between the kings of France, Sicily and Navarre and the Caliph of Tunis. [17]

Other deaths followed this debacle. In December, in Trapani, Sicily, Philip's brother-in-law, King Theobald II of Navarre, died. [18] He was followed in February by Philip's wife, Isabella, who fell off her horse while pregnant with their fifth child. [19] She died in Cozenza (Calabria). [19] In April, Theobald's widow and Philip's sister, Isabella, also died. [20]

Philip III arrived in Paris on 21 May 1271, and paid tribute to the deceased. [21] The next day the funeral of his father was held. [22] The new sovereign was crowned king of France in Reims on 15 August 1271. [23]

Philip maintained most of his father's domestic policies. [24] He followed in his father's footsteps concerning Jews in France, [25] claiming piety as his motivation. [26] Upon his return to Paris 23 September 1271, Philip reenacted his father's order that Jews wear badges. [27] His charter in 1283 banned the construction and repair of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, [28] banned Jews from employing Christians, and sought to restrain Jewish strepiti (chanting too loudly [29] ). [30]

On 21 August 1271, Philip's uncle, Alphonse, Count of Poitiers and Toulouse, died childless in Savona. [31] Philip inherited Alphonse's lands and united them with the royal domain. This inheritance included a portion of Auvergne, later the Duchy of Auvergne and the Agenais. In accordance with the wishes of Alphonse, Philip granted the Comtat Venaissin to Pope Gregory X in 1274. [32] Several years later the Treaty of Amiens (1279) with King Edward I restored Agenais to the English. [32]

On 19 September 1271, Philip commanded the Seneschal of Toulouse to record oaths of loyalty from nobles and town councils. [31] The following year, Roger-Bernard III, Count of Foix, invaded the County of Toulouse, killed several royal officials, [31] and captured the town of Sombuy. [33] Philip's royal seneschal, Eustache de Beaumarchès, led a counter-attack into the County of Foix, until ordered by Philip to withdraw. [31] Philip and his army arrived at Toulouse on 25 May 1272, [31] and on 1 June at Boulbonne met James I of Aragon, who attempted to mediate the issue, but this was rejected by Roger-Bernard. [33] Philip then proceeded on a campaign to devastate and depopulate the County of Foix. [34] By 5 June Roger-Bernard had surrendered, was incarcerated at Carcassone, [33] and placed in chains. [34] Philip imprisoned him for a year, but then freed him and restored his lands. [35]

Following the death of King Henry I of Navarre in 1274, Alfonso X of Castile attempted to gain the crown of Navarre from Henry's heiress, Joan. [36] Ferdinand de la Cerda, the son of Alfonso X, arrived at Viana with an army. At the same time, Alfonso sought papal approval for a marriage between one of his grandsons and Joan. [36] Henry's widow, Blanche of Artois, was also receiving marriage proposals for Joan from England and Aragon. [36] Faced with an invading army and foreign proposals, Blanche sought assistance from her cousin, Philip. [36] Philip saw a territorial gain, while Joan would have the military assistance to protect her kingdom. [37] The Treaty of Orléans of 1275, between Philip and Blanche, arranged the marriage between a son of Philip (Louis or Philip) and Blanche's daughter, Joan. [37] The treaty indicated that Navarre would be administered from Paris by appointed governors. [37] By May 1276, French governors were traveling throughout Navarre collecting oaths of fealty to the young Queen. [38] The Navarrese populace, unhappy with the pro-French treaty and French governors, formed two rebellious factions, one pro-Castilian, the other pro-Aragonese. [38]

Navarrese revolt Edit

In September 1276, Philip, faced with open rebellion, sent Robert II, Count of Artois to Pamplona with an army. [39] Philip arrived in Bearn in November 1276 with another army, by which time Robert had pacified the situation and extracted oaths of homage from Navarrese nobles and castellans. [40] Despite the revolt being quickly pacified, it was not until the spring of 1277 that the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon renounced their intentions of matrimony. [40]

In 1282, King Peter III of Aragon invaded Sicily, [41] instigating the Sicilian Vespers rebellion against King Charles I of Naples, [42] Philip's uncle. The success of the rebellion and invasion led to the coronation of Peter as king of Sicily on 4 September 1282. [43] Pope Martin IV excommunicated Peter and declared his kingdom forfeit. [44] Martin then granted Aragon to Philip's son, Charles, Count of Valois. [45] Philip's brother, Peter, Count of Perche, who had joined Charles to suppress the rebellion, was killed in Reggio Calabria. [46] He died without issue and the County of Alençon returned to the royal domain in 1286. [47]

Aragonese Crusade and death Edit

Philip, at the urging of his wife, Marie of Brabant, and his uncle, Charles of Naples, launched a war against the Kingdom of Aragon. [48] The war took the name "Aragonese Crusade" from its papal sanction nevertheless, one historian labelled it "perhaps the most unjust, unnecessary and calamitous enterprise ever undertaken by the Capetian monarchy." [49] Philip, accompanied by his sons, entered Roussillon at the head of a large army. [50] By 26 June 1285, he had entrenched his army before Girona and besieged the city. [50] Despite strong resistance, Philip took Girona on 7 September 1285. [50] Philip quickly experienced a reversal, as an epidemic of dysentery hit the French camp [50] and afflicted Philip personally. The French had started a withdrawal when the Aragonese attacked and easily defeated the former at the Battle of the Col de Panissars on 1 October. [51] Philip died of dysentery in Perpignan on 5 October 1285. [48] His son, Philip the Fair, succeeded him as king of France. Following the mos Teutonicus custom, his body was divided in several parts, each buried in different places the flesh was sent to the Narbonne Cathedral, the entrails to La Noë Abbey in Normandy, his heart to the now-demolished Church of the Couvent des Jacobins in Paris and his bones to Basilica of St Denis, at the time north of Paris. [52]

On 28 May 1262, Philip married Isabella, daughter of King James I of Aragon and his second wife Yolande of Hungary. [53] They had the following children:

    (1264 - May 1276). [54]
  1. Philip IV of France (1268 – 29 November 1314), his successor, married Joan I of Navarre[55]
  2. Robert (1269–1271) [56]
  3. Charles, Count of Valois (12 March 1270 – 16 December 1325), [57] Count of Valois from 1284, married first to Margaret of Anjou in 1290, second to Catherine I of Courtenay in 1302, and last to Mahaut of Chatillon in 1308
  4. Stillborn son (1271) [58]

After the death of Queen Isabella, he married on 21 August 1274 Marie, [53] daughter of the late Henry III, Duke of Brabant, and Adelaide of Burgundy, Duchess of Brabant. [59] Their children were:

    (May 1276 – 19 May 1319), Count of Évreux from 1298, [57] married Margaret of Artois[60] (1278 – 19 March 1305, Vienna), married Duke, the future king Rudolf I of Bohemia and Poland, on 25 May 1300. [60] (1282 – 14 February 1318), married King Edward I of England on 8 September 1299 [61]

During Philip's reign the royal domain expanded, acquiring the County of Guînes in 1281, [62] the County of Toulouse in 1271, the County of Alençon in 1286, the Duchy of Auvergne in 1271, and through the marriage of his son Philip, the Kingdom of Navarre. [37] He largely continued his father's policies and left his father's administrators in place. His attempt to conquer Aragon nearly bankrupted the French monarchy, causing financial challenges for his successor. [63]

In the Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante envisions the spirit of Philip outside the gates of Purgatory with a number of other contemporary European rulers. Dante does not name Philip directly, but refers to him as "the small-nosed" [64] and "the father of the Pest of France," a reference to King Philip IV of France. [65]

Eighth Crusade, 1270 - History

From 1095 until well into the 15th Century the popes regularly proclaimed a series of Crusades --"Holy Wars"-- against various enemies of the Church. The victims of such were initially non-Christians, that is Moslems and pagans, but later Crusades were preached against Christian heretics, and even against quite orthodox folks who happened to have political disputes with the current pope. Cynics have observed that Crusades were the papacy's way of keeping the knights and nobles distracted, les tthey decide to help themselves to the ever-growing wealth and property of the Church. More charitable types have observed that the Crusades exported the most rambuntious nobles and other folks from Europe, leaving the stay-behinds a much more peaceful environment, and don't discount the religious dimension, in a era of extraordinary faith..

At first the object of the Crusades was to recover the Holy Places in what are now Israel and Jordan from the Moslems, who had seized them by force of arms in the 7th Century. The Arabs had been rather tolerant of Christian visitors to the Holy Places, but when the Holy Land fell into Saracen (i.e., Turkish) hands the new overlords had begun to make difficulties. As a result, it did not take much encouragement to send Christian armies off to the Holy Land, in search of salvation, loot, and new lands to rule.

After a false start (the "Beggars' Crusade"), the First Crusade (1095-1099) managed to capture Jerusalem and much else beside, setting up a series of Crusader states to protect their gains. These managed pretty well until 1144, when the counterattacking Moslems took a couple of important Christian strongholds, leading to the Second Crusade (1147-1149), which was a total flop. The Moslem counteroffensive continued, and in 1187 the great Saladin Ayubi recovered Jerusalem for the Sons of the Prophet, sparking the Third Crusade (1189-1192), the most famous --and most effective-- leader of which was England's Richard the Lionhearted. Richard didn't actually recover Jerusalem, but he got on so well with Saladin that the latter agreed to permit unmolested Christian visits to the Holy Places. Unfortunately, Saladin died the following year, and his successors soon began creating problems again. The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) followed, a most disgraceful affair which ended with the Crusaders capturing and sacking Christian cities, including Constantniople itself, where they set up their own rump version of the Byzantine Empire, which hung on for about 50 years. Things went downhill from there.

Children's Crusade (1212): a spontaneous mass movement of children who thought they could take the Holy Places back with God's help, and mostly ended up as slaves all over the Moslem world.

Fifth Crusade (1217-1221): landed in Egypt (which controlled the Holy Land) and accomplished nothing.

Sixth Crusade (1228-1229): led by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen, against the Pope's wishes (Frederick and the pope didn't get along). This was actually a peaceful visit, which led to an agreement permitting Christians free access to the Holy Places.

Seventh Crusade (1248-1254): resulted when the Egyptians Mamelukes routed a local Christian army in 1244. led by Louis IX of France ("Saint Louis"), this also attacked Egypt, but failed amid great suffering.

Eighth Crusade (1270): Louis' second attempt to invade Muslim Africa, which ended in failure when he died.

Ninth Crusade (1271-1272): never actually reached the Holy Land, despite being led by Prince Edward of England (later Edward I).

Acre (modern Akko, in Israel), the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell in 1291. Although several popes preached renewed cursades to liberate the Holy Land, they were mostly unsuccessful. The last expedition generally regarded as a crusade occurred in 1399, when a Christian army marched into the Balkans. After some successes, they were totally routed at Nikopolis, northwest of Constantinople.

The favorite objectives of Crusades were:

Jerusalem. The supreme Holy Place for all Christians.

Egypt, to help liberate Jerusalem, which during this period was under Egyptian political control. In additino, Egypt was a very wealthy place, and provided a good base from which to advance on Jerusalem.

Constantinople, to help fight the Turks, and then go on to bigger things (Jerusalem).

Tunis, to supress Islamic piracy

Spain, a perennial favorite, helping to beat back the infidel, a process that had been going on since the early 8th century, though quiet in this period: Granada is still Muslim.

Crusades were also preached against the remaining pagan tribes in Europe, the Wends, Prussians, and Lithuanians. These began early in the 13th century when the pope authorized the Teutonic Order to "convert" the heathen Slav and Balt tribes to the east. This was an ongoing crusade, with operations nearly every year. The crusaders often did little more than raid into Slav and Balt populated areas, gaining loot and combat experience in the process. Some of the tribes under this attack disappeared (like the original Prussians, a Slavic tribe.) Others converted to Christianity and survived (the Wends are a pocket of Slavs that exist to this day near Berlin.) The Teutonic knights were eager to have knights from other parts of Europe come up and help out. European warriors were equally willing to go crusading against the Slavs and this became something of a rite of passage for many German, English and French knights. It was "great sport" as the Slavs and Balts were not nearly as well organized as the Turks or Arabs. In the 15th century the Slavs and Balts did get organized and dealt the Teutonic order several smashing defeats. The Germans still made attempts to "Drang nach Osten" (move to the east), an attitude that did not come to a halt until Russian troops occupied Berlin in 1945 (and didn't leave until 1994). Many Slavs and Balts are still not sure what what Herman von Salza and his Teutonic knights began in 1226 is truly over. After all, the "crusade" went on for over 700 years.

The most curious crusades were those preached against several enemies of the papacy, most notably against Frederick II von Hohenstaufen . In the 14th century, the French popes in Avignon raised several crusading armies to campaign in Italy against those who supported German, rather than papal, rule. Through this period, the French popes had taken refuge in Avignon, the political situation in the Italian Papal States being too hostile to allow the popes and their servants to live in Rome.


Crusades , a series of military campaigns that the Christian countries of Europe waged to conquer the Holy Land from the Muslims. The name came from the Latin crux (cross), and referred to the emblem worn by the warriors. The Muslims called the Crusaders "Franks," even though they came not only from France but from many other parts of Europe as well. The Muslims were known to the Crusaders as "Saracens," which is Greek for "Easterners."

There were eight major Crusades, which are referred to by number, and there were lesser ones as well. The First Crusade began in 1096, the Eighth in 1270. The Crusaders won some early victories but were eventually driven from the Holy Land.

The Crusades contributed to many social and political changes that were taking place in Europe. Western peoples gained geographical knowledge of the East. Contact with Arab culture encouraged the intellectual awakening that was already under way. Europeans gained Eastern products and plants, adopted Arabic words, and benefited from Arab learning in such fields as mathematics and astronomy. Commerce and trade expanded.

The Crusades were one phase of the long struggle between Christians and Muslims. This period came after centuries of Muslim advance, during which time many Christian lands had been overrun by successive invasions of Arabs and Seljuk Turks.

There were various reasons for the Crusades. They started as a result of a proclamation by Pope Urban II in 1095, declaring holy war against the Muslims in an effort to free Palestine from their control. The pope's proclamation came in response to an appeal by Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, for military aid against the Seljuk Turks, who had conquered much of the Byzantine Empire.

Local church officials made impassioned pleas for volunteers. People joined the Crusades for a variety of reasons. Some joined out of religious devotion. Others joined for the prospect of military glory. Still others joined for the chance of acquiring loot or land.

Peasants' Crusade

(1096). Peter the Hermit, a French monk, recruited thousands of peasants for a march on the Saracens. His forces were reduced on the march to Constantinople as a result of hunger, disease, and skirmishes with Bulgarians. At Constantinople, Peter joined his forces with a band led by Walter the Penniless, a knight. Against Peter's advice, the Crusaders crossed the Bosporus. They were slaughtered by Seljuk Turks at Nicaea.

First Crusade

(1096-99). This expedition was led by feudal lords, most of whom were French. The chief, leaders were Bohemund of Taranto, Robert of Flanders, Robert of Normandy, Raymond of Toulouse, and Godfrey of Bouillon. Their forces defeated the Turks, captured Antioch, and in 1099 took Jerusalem.

The victors created the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the lesser states of Antioch, Tripoli, and Edessa. The Byzantine Empire regained much of Asia Minor. The Turks were disorganized and poorly led, but the Muslims continued the struggle over the Holy Land. The European feudal lords quarreled among themselves and with the Byzantine emperor. The religious military orders, the Hospitalers (Knights of the Hospital of St. John) and the Templars (Knights of the Temple), protected Palestine but were bitter rivals.

Second Crusade

(1147-49). When the Muslims captured Edessa in 1144, Bernard of Clairvaux. an influential French monk, led the call for a new Crusade. Conrad III of Germany and Louis MI of France led the campaign. This Crusade collapsed after its siege of Damascus failed.

Third Crusade

(1189-92). The Muslims, led by Saladin, had recaptured Jerusalem after the Battle of Hattin in 1187. This defeat inspired a new expedition, led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), Richard the Lion-Hearted of England, and Philip Augustus of France. Frederick died in Asia Minor, and Richard became the leader of the expedition. His forces captured the port of Acre in 1191. Saladin then granted Richard a truce that permitted Christians to visit Jerusalem.

Fourth Crusade

(1202-04). This campaign was intended to strengthen Crusader positions at Acre On their way to Acre, however, the Crusaders, prompted by their desire for loot and new lands to rule, decided to sack Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. They captured the city and established the Latin Kingdom of Constantinople, which lasted until 1261.

Children's Crusade

(1212). Two bands of children were organized, one French, the other German. Many thousands died of hardships, and others were sold into slavery. Both bands were destroyed before they reached Constantinople.

Fifth Crusade

(1218-21). This Crusade attacked the center of Muslim power in Egypt. The Muslims held off the attackers.

Sixth Crusade

(1228-29). Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire led this expedition, and by negotiation won control of Jerusalem.

Seventh Crusade

(1248-54). In 1244 the Muslims recaptured Jerusalem. Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) organized a new expedition that attacked Egypt. The French king was captured and forced to pay a heavy ransom.

Eighth Crusade

(1270). In 1268 the Muslims captured Antioch, which the Crusaders had held since 1098. Louis IX then organized his second Crusade, which attacked Tunis in North Africa. This campaign ended when the French king died of the plague.

Other Crusades were planned but never carried out. When the Muslims captured Acre in 1291, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was ended.

Eighth Crusade, 1270 - History


xxxxx As we have seen, in 1248 Louis IX of France was defeated and captured when he took the Seventh Crusade to Egypt. Undeterred, in 1270 he mustered the Eighth Crusade and led an attack upon Tunisia. This also met with disaster. Soon after arriving, he and his son died of disease, and the whole enterprise was abandoned. Prince Edward of England, arriving late, took his force on to the Holy Land but could do little. By that time nearly all the English enclaves had been attacked and destroyed by the Mamluk leader Baybars. Indeed, as we shall see, the fall of Acre twenty years later in 1291 (E1) virtually put an end to the crusading movement.

xxxxx As we have seen, the Seventh Crusade of 1248 , like the fifth, was directed against Egypt and proved an even greater disaster. Launched in response to the Muslim occupation of Jerusalem in 1244, it succeeded in taking Damietta, but the attack on Cairo ended in total defeat. The crusade’s leader, Louis IX of France, was captured together with much of his army, and a huge ransom had to be paid to gain the king's release.

xxxxx Undeterred, in 1270 Louis led another expedition, the Eighth Crusade, this time aimed at the Muslims in Tunisia. But his army was under- strength and depleted by sickness. When Louis and his son suddenly died of disease at Tunis in the summer of 1270 ( illustrated ), the enterprise was abandoned. A latecomer to this, the last of the Crusades, was Prince Edward of England, heir to the throne. He had intended to join the French forces, but was delayed by shortage of funds. He eventually led an expedition to the Holy Land, arriving at Acre in 1271, but he could achieve nothing of importance.

xxxxx By this time the Crusader states in Palestine and Syria had all but disappeared, overrun and devastated by a new Egyptian dynasty known as the Mamluks. Under one of their most able leaders, Sultan Baybars, - who earlier, as a military commander, had captured Louis IX during the seventh crusade - the Christian enclaves had been ruthlessly destroyed. By 1271 Caesarea, Haifa, Arsuf, Galilee, Antioch and Jaffa had been captured and their inhabitants massacred. All that remained of the Christian domains were a few precarious outposts scattered along the Mediterranean coast. As we shall see, the fall of Acre in 1291 (E1) virtually marked the end of the crusading movement.

xxxxx Despite his failures in the Seventh and Eighth Crusades, first in Egypt and then in Tunisia, Louis IX (1214- 1270) is regarded as one of the most popular French kings. He was a sound administrator and an able soldier. He was also a pious, devout Christian who defended his clergy against excessive papal demands and believed passionately in the cause of the Crusades. It is hardly surprising that after his death he was canonized (made a Saint), the only French king to be so honoured. His friend and advisor, Jean de Joinville (1224- 1317), who accompanied him on the seventh crusade, later produced a work entitled Histoire de Saint- Louis , completed in 1309, in which he wrote not only about the king, but also about the extremely harsh conditions endured by the Crusader army.

xxxxx Incidentally , in 1239 Louis bought from the Byzantine Empire, then on the verge of bankruptcy, two relics purported to be from Christ’s crucifixion - his crown of thorns and a piece of the cross upon which he died. These were brought to Paris where Louis had a special chapel built to house them. Constructed in the grounds of his palace, then on the Ile de la Cité , this Holy Chapel ( Sainte Chapelle ) was completed in 1248. Regarded today as an exquisite example of Gothic architecture, it contains two chapels in fact, a lower one for the king’s servants and a higher one for the royal family. Because of its three walls of stained glass windows, over 50 feet in height and dating from the 13th century, in bright weather the upper section is flooded with coloured light and has been likened to a jewel box. The building was damaged by fire in the 17th century, and ransacked during the French Revolution, but completely restored during the reign of Louis- Philippe. The relics, which were bought for more than three times the actual cost of building the chapel, are now kept in the treasury in Notre Dame Cathedral.

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xxxxx As you many recall, the First Crusade was called for in November 1095 and proved a resounding success. Deeply troubled by the advance of the Seljuk Turks in the Middle East and the loss of Syria and Palestine to the infidel, the Christian kingdoms of Western Europe amassed a large army and by July 1099 had recaptured the Holy City of Jerusalem and set up four Christian states in the area, the largest being the Kingdom of Jerusalem. This was the high- tide of Christian success and it was never to be reached again over the next 800 years and more.

xxxxx The Second Crusade got off to a promising start in 1145, led by the French and German kings, but it ended in failure and humiliation. The German army was virtually annihilated on reaching Anatolia, and the French force, having suffered heavy loses on the way, failed to capture Damascus and decided to return home.

xxxxx By the time of the Third Crusade in 1189, the Muslims had become united under the leadership of their able leader Saladin and were a force to be reckoned with. When Jerusalem fell to the Muslims in 1187 it was inevitable that the West would send a military expedition. On the face of it, this force was a powerful one, led by the kings of Germany, France and England, but what they had in strength they lacked in unity. The Germans went their own way and returned home when their king, Barbarossa, died in Anatolia. The French and English argued over strategy until Philip Augustus, more concerned with the defence of his own territories in Europe, took most of his army back to France. By negotiating a peace settlement with Saladin, Richard did manage to retain a Latin Kingdom in a slither of land along the Palestinian coast, but Jerusalem remained firmly in the hands of the Muslims.

xxxxx The Fourth Crusade was a crusade in name only. It started out with high hopes in 1202 but, becoming embroiled in Venetian politics, it ended up attacking and sacking Constantinople and replacing the Christian Byzantine Empire with a Latin Kingdom. This survived for less than sixty years and made no contribution to the cause of the Crusaders.

xxxxx In 1208 a crusade was launched within Europe. Directed at the Albigensians (or Cathars), a religious sect in southern France which posed a threat to orthodox views, thousands of these heretics were killed and much damage was done to the local economy during a campaign which lasted for more than twenty years. Those who did survive eventually became victims of the Inquisition. And it was during this campaign that the tragic event known as the Children's Crusade was carried out.

xxxxx The Fifth Crusade , beginning in 1217 and led by Andrew of Hungary, was directed towards Egypt. It was argued that if Cairo could be captured and then control secured over the Sinai peninsula, the Muslims to the north would be cut off from the support and - equally important - the vital grain supplies that they received from Egypt. It was doubtless a sound strategy, but the Crusaders were too weak to put it into practice. They failed to take Cairo and when promised reinforcements never showed up, they were forced to surrender up Damietta, captured earlier, and abandon the expedition.

xxxxx The Sixth Crusade was really not a crusade at all, unless we see it as a “diplomatic” crusade. Emperor Frederick II of Germany led out an expedition in 1228 but, on arriving in Egypt, negotiated a agreement with the Sultan whereby the Christians not only regained possession of Jerusalem, but also the cities of Bethlehem and Nazareth. Indeed, Frederick was crowned king of Jerusalem the following year. The holy city was, in fact, recaptured by the Muslims in 1244, but it was nevertheless a diplomatic coup on the part of the German Emperor.

xxxxx As we have seen above, the last two major crusades were led by Louis IX of France. The Seventh Crusade , launched against Egypt in 1249, was soundly defeated outside Cairo, and the Eighth, directed at Tunisia, was abandoned following the death of Louis in 1270.

Eighth Crusade : from Les Grandes Chroniques de France , illuminated by the French painter Jean Fouquet, 15th Century – National Library of France, Paris. Ecce Homo : by the Italian painter Guido Reni (1575- 1642) – The Louvre, Paris. Sainte- Chapelle : engraving of 1855, artist unknown – Brown University Library, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

Saladin’s Army : from Histoire d’Outremer by Guillaume de Tyr (C1130- 1184), 12th century, artist unknown – National Library of France, Paris. Siege of Damietta : 15th century illustrated manuscript, artist unknown.

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xxxxx There is always a danger of exaggerating the results of the Crusades, but, spread as they were over two centuries, they clearly had some important, wide- ranging repercussions. This may not apply so much to Syria and Palestine, where little remains apart from the ruins of the churches and strongholds abandoned by the Christians, but in Europe they certainly had an impact.

xxxxx One of their most enduring legacies was the boost they gave to trade, not only for the Italian cities, but also for the bustling ports and markets of the Middle East. Crusaders brought home a variety of spices, colourful textiles, and various items of hardware. These had been available earlier through other channels, of course, but never on so large a scale. There were, too, the fiscal implications. The Italian banking system was given an enormous boost, and became more streamlined to meet the needs of these colossal undertakings, whilst Kings and Popes alike were obliged to introduce more efficient means of raising funds, including direct taxation. And the shipping industry also benefited from the increased demand within the Mediterranean.

xxxxx The military failure associated with all but one of these Crusades also had an effect. Not only did it undermine the authority of the Pope, but it clearly showed the disunity which existed within the Christian Church itself. National armies had often acted alone - with dire consequences - or failed miserably to work with their allies in support of the common cause. As we have seen, in one instance a crusade destined for the Holy Land was turned loose on Constantinople, a Christian city, whilst, in another, the Italian possessions of a monarch who was leading a crusade were attacked on the orders of the Pope. It could well be asked whether this lack of unity was not an open invitation to the fanatical infidel, be he a Mamluk Egyptian of the day or an Ottoman Turk of the future.

xxxxx Some joined the ranks of the Crusaders out of sheer greed, hoping to gain from the booty of war, whilst others were genuinely committed to the Christian cause, or saw their involvement as an expedient means of gaining salvation. There was, too, a large number of men who went in search of new horizons, and it was this spirit of adventure, awakened in the hearts of so many men at this time, which was later to play so prominent a part in the discovery of the New World.

xxxxx There was, too, some spin- off in art, literature and architecture, but the Crusades were hardly the vehicles for a trade in the humanities. In fact, Byzantine and Muslim culture had already had their outlets into Europe via Sicily and Spain and were not in need of much reinforcement.

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Oxford University Press, 2018. 216 p.

Research output : Book/Report › Book

T1 - The tunis crusade of 1270

T2 - A mediterranean history

N2 - Why did the last of the major European campaigns to reclaim Jerusalem wind up attacking Tunis, a peaceful North African port city thousands of miles from the Holy Land? In the first book-length study of the campaign in English, Michael Lower tells the story of how the classic era of crusading came to such an unexpected end. Unfolding against a backdrop of conflict and collaboration that extended from England to Inner Asia, the Tunis Crusade entangled people from every corner of the Mediterranean world. Within this expansive geographical playing field, the ambitions of four powerful Mediterranean dynasts would collide. While the slave-boy-turned-sultan Baybars of Egypt and the saint-king Louis IX of France waged a bitter battle for Syria, al-Mustansir of Tunis and Louis’s younger brother Charles of Anjou struggled for control of the Sicilian Straits. When the conflicts over Syria and Sicily became intertwined in the late 1260s, the Tunis Crusade was the shocking result. While the history of the crusades is often told only from the crusaders’ perspective, in The Tunis Crusade of 1270, Lower brings Arabic and European-language sources together to offer a panoramic view of these complex multilateral conflicts. Standing at the intersection of two established bodies of scholarship–European History and Near Eastern Studies–The Tunis Crusade of 1270, contributes to both by opening up a new conversation about the place of crusading in medieval Mediterranean culture.

AB - Why did the last of the major European campaigns to reclaim Jerusalem wind up attacking Tunis, a peaceful North African port city thousands of miles from the Holy Land? In the first book-length study of the campaign in English, Michael Lower tells the story of how the classic era of crusading came to such an unexpected end. Unfolding against a backdrop of conflict and collaboration that extended from England to Inner Asia, the Tunis Crusade entangled people from every corner of the Mediterranean world. Within this expansive geographical playing field, the ambitions of four powerful Mediterranean dynasts would collide. While the slave-boy-turned-sultan Baybars of Egypt and the saint-king Louis IX of France waged a bitter battle for Syria, al-Mustansir of Tunis and Louis’s younger brother Charles of Anjou struggled for control of the Sicilian Straits. When the conflicts over Syria and Sicily became intertwined in the late 1260s, the Tunis Crusade was the shocking result. While the history of the crusades is often told only from the crusaders’ perspective, in The Tunis Crusade of 1270, Lower brings Arabic and European-language sources together to offer a panoramic view of these complex multilateral conflicts. Standing at the intersection of two established bodies of scholarship–European History and Near Eastern Studies–The Tunis Crusade of 1270, contributes to both by opening up a new conversation about the place of crusading in medieval Mediterranean culture.


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Crusades, military expeditions, beginning in the late 11th century, that were organized by western European Christians in response to centuries of Muslim wars of expansion. Their objectives were to check the spread of Islam, to retake control of the Holy Land in the eastern Mediterranean, to conquer pagan areas, and to recapture formerly Christian territories they were seen by many of their participants as a means of redemption and expiation for sins. Between 1095, when the First Crusade was launched, and 1291, when the Latin Christians were finally expelled from their kingdom in Syria, there were numerous expeditions to the Holy Land, to Spain, and even to the Baltic the Crusades continued for several centuries after 1291. Crusading declined rapidly during the 16th century with the advent of the Protestant Reformation and the decline of papal authority.

How many Crusades were there, and when did they take place?

There were at least eight Crusades. The First Crusade lasted from 1096 to 1099. The Second Crusade began in 1147 and ended in 1149. The Third Crusade started in 1189 and was concluded in 1192. The Fourth Crusade got underway in 1202 and ended in 1204. The Fifth Crusade lasted from 1217 until 1221. The Sixth Crusade occurred in 1228–29. The Seventh Crusade began in 1248 and ended in 1254. And the Eighth Crusade took place in 1270. There were also smaller Crusades against dissident Christian sects within Europe, including the Albigensian Crusade (1209–29). The so-called People’s Crusade occurred in response to Pope Urban II’s call for the First Crusade, and the Children’s Crusade took place in 1212.

What was the purpose of the Crusades?

The Crusades were organized by western European Christians after centuries of Muslim wars of expansion. Their primary objectives were to stop the expansion of Muslim states, to reclaim for Christianity the Holy Land in the Middle East, and to recapture territories that had formerly been Christian. Many participants also believed that undertaking what they saw as holy war was a means of redemption and a way of achieving expiation of sins.

Who were the leaders of the Crusades?

The First Crusade was led by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Godrey of Bouillon, Hugh of Vermandois, Bohemond of Otranto, and Robert of Flanders, and the People’s Crusade followed Peter the Hermit. The Second Crusade was headed by King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany. Leaders of the Third Crusade included the Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Phillip II Augustus of France, and especially Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) of England. Various French noblemen responded to Pope Innocent III’s call for the Fourth Crusade. The soldiers of the Fifth Crusade followed Andrew II of Hungary and the French count John of Brienne, titular king of Jerusalem. The Holy Roman emperor Frederick II led the Sixth Crusade, and King Louis IX of France (St. Louis) led the last two Crusades.

Were the Crusades successful?

The First Crusade, called in response to a request for help from the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus, was astonishingly successful. The Crusaders conquered Nicaea (in Turkey) and Antioch and then went on to seize Jerusalem, and they established a string of Crusader-ruled states. However, after the Muslim leader Zangī captured one of them, the Second Crusade, called in response, was defeated at Dorylaeum (near Nicaea) and failed in an attempt to conquer Damascus. The Third Crusade, called after the sultan Saladin conquered the Crusader state of Jerusalem, resulted in the capture of Cyprus and the successful siege of Acre (now in Israel), and Richard I’s forces defeated those of Saladin at the Battle of Arsūf and at Jaffa. Richard signed a peace treaty with Saladin allowing Christians access to Jerusalem. The Fourth Crusade—rather than attacking Egypt, then the centre of Muslim power—sacked the Byzantine Christian city of Constantinople. None of the following Crusades were successful. The capture of Acre in 1291 by the Māmluk sultan al-Ashraf Khalil marked the end of Crusader rule in the Middle East.

Were there lasting results from the Crusades?

The Crusades slowed the advance of Islamic power and may have prevented western Europe from falling under Muslim suzerainty. The Crusader states extended trade with the Muslim world, bringing new tastes and foods to Europe. The Crusades had a marked impact on the development of Western historical literature, bringing a plethora of chronicles and eyewitness accounts. However, Constantinople never returned to its former glory after being sacked by the Fourth Crusade, and the schism between Eastern and Roman Catholic Christianity was further entrenched. The Islamic world saw the Crusaders as cruel invaders, which helped engender distrust and resentment toward the Christian world.

Approximately two-thirds of the ancient Christian world had been conquered by Muslims by the end of the 11th century, including the important regions of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia. The Crusades, attempting to check this advance, initially enjoyed success, founding a Christian state in Palestine and Syria, but the continued growth of Islamic states ultimately reversed those gains. By the 14th century the Ottoman Turks had established themselves in the Balkans and would penetrate deeper into Europe despite repeated efforts to repulse them.

The Crusades constitute a controversial chapter in the history of Christianity, and their excesses have been the subject of centuries of historiography. The Crusades also played an integral role in the expansion of medieval Europe.

Eighth Crusade, 1270 - History

Eighth and Ninth Crusades: 1270 to 1291 in a nutshell:
Charles of Anjou and Edward I Longshanks give it one last try
Acre taken by the Moslems
Mamelukes drive Christians from Palestine
Kings of Jerusalem: Hugh I, Charles of Anjou, John II, Henry II
Byzantine Emperors: Michael VIII Palaeologus, Andronicus II

1270 Jun - Louis IX sailed from Cagliari in Sicily to attack Tunis, landing on the African coast in July, a very bad time for landing, and much of the army became sick due to poor drinking water.

1270 Aug - Louis died from a "flux in the stomach" one day after the arrival of Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily, and after the death of his son, John Tristan. His dying word was "Jerusalem." Charles proclaimed Louis' son Philip III the new king, but due to his youth, Charles became the actual leader of the crusade.

1270 Oct - Charles makes an agreement with the sultan in Tunis, trade is allowed, Christian monks and priests are allowed residency. Meanwhile, King Edward I Longshanks of England arrives but continues on to Acre, along with Charles.

1271 - Edward launches the Ninth Crusade, traveling to Tunis to meet Louis, too late. Edward continues to the Holy Land. Hugh I of Cyprus is now the nominal king of Jerusalem in Acre. Edward ends up simply mediating for Hugh and his knights from the Cyprus Ibelin family.

1272 - Edward heads home when his father, Henry III dies, and is crowned King of England. Charles remains behind and takes advantage of disputes between Hugh, the Templars and the Venetians to get Acre under control.

1282 - Michael VIII Palaeologus, Emperor of Constatinople dies, leaving the empire to his son, Andronicus II.

1284 - Hugh I died, Charles of Anjou ruling since 1277

1287 Oct 19 - Bohemond VII dies, Tripoli belongs to his sister Lucia, absent in Italy. The Barons of Tripoli offer the crown to Sybilla of Armenia, she installs Bishop Bartholomew, who is hated by the Templars. Lucia arrives to take her throne in 1288 backed by the Venetians and the Templars. A mysterious envoy of Christians ask Sultan Kalaun in Egypt to intervene, arguing Egyptain trade was about to be cut off. 10,000 Moslems take Tripoli in Mar 1289, Venetians evacuate to Cyprus. Almaric of Cyprus fled with the Templar marshal De Vanadac and Lucia, leaving Templar De Modaco who was slaughtered and Kalaun destroyed the city.

Christians attacked a Syrian caravan and killed 19 Muslim merchants. Venetians move to Acre, fight with the Moslems in a bloody mess, Moslems go home to complain to Kalaun. He demands the guilty be turned over, Venetians say no, long time ally Templar De Beaujeu says "yes, keep the peace" but is called a coward. Kalaun builds a war machine but dies before he can use it. His son, Ashraf Khalil, leads the attack in the April of 1291 with 160,000 men, De Beaujeu resigns before the battle starts, but soon dies in the battle.

"One evening the St. Lazarus Gate quietly opened and the silence was replaced with the hoof beats of 300 Templar war horses tearing off into the Moslem camp. Unfortunately the cover of darkness meant to provide cover did not provide the Templars with enough visibility to be effective. The horses tripped on tent ropes and the fallen Templars were slaughtered where they stood. The Hospitallers set out to show the Templars how to do the job and on another evening they charged off under the cover of darkness from the St. Anthony Gate to finish the job the Templars had started. This time the Moslems decided to throw a little light on the issue and set brush afire. The Hospitallers seeing there was no chance of success beat a hasty retreat back through St. Anthony's Gate eating a little crow on the journey. Thus ended the nightly forays into the sultan's camp." http://www.templarhistory.com/acre.html

Amalric and many others flee, the city falls save the Templar tower, held by Peter de Severy who agrees to a promise of safety. The Moslems enter and break their promise, the Templars close the door and the fighting is on again. In the night, Tibauld de Gaudin, the Temple's treasurer loads women, children and treasure onto a gallery and heads for Sidon.

The next morning, the Sultan offers apologies, Peter de Severy falls for it again, goes out of the tower and is beheaded. 2000 Moslems attack the tower and bring it down, killing both the remaining Templars and the attackers. De Gaudin learns he is the new Grand Master, heads for Cyprus and sends out word for help that never comes. The Hospitallers fled to Cyprus. Ironically, the Templars were the last to fight, yet they would be blamed for loss of the Holy Land.

1291 - Mamelukes - Muslem warriors from Egypt - drive Crusaders out of the Land of Israel. Arab speaking Muslims populate Jerusalem. The crusaders left Palestine for good when the Muslims captured Acre, but to protect themselves from ongoing raids the Turks depopulated and impoverished the coast of Palestine for hundreds of years.

Watch the video: The Crusades in 5 Minutes (May 2022).


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