Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Eighth and Ninth Crusades

Welcome back to Crusades Month, where they, just like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only got worse and worse as they continued to churn them out! Here is a history of the last two "numbered" crusades, which came to an end not just due to ambivalence about restoring Christianity to the Holy Land, but also because you were lucky to find someone from the time period that could count any higher than nine.

Fig.1: Even this guy was dead a 
hundred years before the Eighth 
and Ninth Crusades.
By the late 1200s, the crusading spirit had been alive in Europe for nearly two hundred years, and like many other things that are that old, it was really starting to get rotten and moldy. No crusade had seen any long-term military success since the First one, and those guys were long dead (with or without the abbreviated lifespan of the Medieval Age). The Crusader Kingdoms that were left behind were falling apart; the Kingdom of Jerusalem had not even included the city of Jerusalem since 1187, with Acre remaining as the only stable Christian city in the Holy Land. Even the Byzantine Empire that was destroyed by the wayward Fourth Crusade had come back to reclaim Constantinople in 1261, meaning the Crusaders couldn't even hold on to places were Christianity already reigned supreme. Nevertheless, Europeans still longed to see the land they read about (or, let's be honest, accepted their seemingly infallible priest's word about) in the Bible be rid of the scourge of Islam. (Not that I think there's anything wrong with Islam! So please don't hurt me!) And so two more numbered crusades would be called in the late 1260s by two European kings. Unfortunately they would be half-hearted crusades, so they will each be half-heartedly discussed in the same history (hey, if they're not going to put everything they have into this, why should I?).