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Pope Urban II’s speech at the Council of Clermont (27 November 1095) officially launched and defined the crusading movement. Four independent reports by auditors of the Pope’s speech, Baldric of Dol, Guibert, Fulcher, and Robert the Monk, have been preserved. They differ much in phraseology, but they agree in substance and thus supply an authoritative statement of the purpose and motives of the Crusade. Their evidence is confirmed by the aims and ideals of the crusaders as these are expressed in the literature of the following period. All Christendom, the Pope declared, is disgraced by the triumphs and supremacy of the Muslims in the East. The Eastern Churches have asked repeatedly for help. The Holy Land, which is dear to all Christian hearts and rightfully a Christian possession, is profaned and enslaved by infidel rulers. Christian kings should therefore turn their weapons against these enemies of God, in place of warring with one another as they do. They ought to rescue the Holy Land and the Holy City, they ought to roll away the reproach of Christendom and destroy forever the power of Muslim attack. The war to which they are called is a Holy War and Deus volt is its fitting battle-cry. Those who lose their lives in such an enterprise will gain Paradise and the remission of their sins.


In conception and in fact the First Crusade aimed at rescuing the Christians of the East, and more especially the sacred cities of Palestine, from Muslim domination. It was an enterprise for the conquest of Syria and its permanent occupation by a Christian power. The armies of Europe were set in motion by the head of the Church, and religious considerations determined the goal of their enterprise. But there is a national and racial aspect of the contest, even more fundamental than the religious sentiment, which gives color to the whole surface of the movement. The Crusades are the second stage in a long-continued and still unfinished military struggle between Christendom and Islam, between Asia and Europe, which began when the hardy tribes of Arabia swept through Syria and North Africa into Spain in the seventh and eighth centuries. The Muslim attack on southern Europe, from the eighth century to the eleventh, called forth that counter-stroke which is known as the First Crusade. The main springs of the movement, therefore, are not an enlarged conception of Christian duty nor a quickened sense of religious opportunity. The direct line of approach to the history of the crusading movement is a survey of the Muslim attack on Western Europe which was a sequel to the great Arabian uprising of the seventh century.

After the Muslim conquest of North Africa, Spain (eighth century), and Sicily (ninth century), all the southern coast of France and the western coast of Italy, with the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, lay at the mercy of hostile fleets and of the forces which they landed from time to time. The territories and suburbs of Genoa, of Pisa, and of Rome itself were raided and plundered. The Italian cities of the north had as yet no fleets, and the Muslims held command of the sea. In the south of Italy and in southern France Muslim colonies established themselves and were the terror of their Christian neighbors. During the tenth century the Byzantine Emperors made vain attempts to shield their possessions in South Italy, and were actually compelled to pay tribute to the emirs of Sicily. The defeat of the Emperor Otto II near Rossano in 982 marked the failure of the imperial power of the West in its traditional part of political defender of the faith. On the other hand the Muslims had already occupied lands more extensive than their numbers as yet permitted them to hold securely. They were weakened by political divisions and by frequent dynastic changes in North Africa, which was the chief seat of their power. The Muslim settlers in the south of France were expelled by the year 975 and those in South Italy, excluding Sicily, never gained more than a temporary and precarious foothold. In North Italy, Genoa and Pisa began to build ships to protect their coasts, and to further a com­mercial policy in which Venice, on the Adriatic shore, already led the way. In the early part of the eleventh century there was civil war amongst the Muslims in Africa, Spain, and Sicily, and the balance of power began significantly to alter. The occupation of Sardinia by the Muslims from Spain, and their descent from there on Luni in the gulf of Spezia, drove Genoa and Pisa into an alliance which was crowned with success. Sardinia was recovered, and a first clear step was taken in asserting the Italian mastery of the Tyrrhenian Sea (1015-1017). Italian fleets now ravaged the coast of Africa and imposed treaties in furtherance of their growing commercial interests. Mahdiyah, the capital of the Muslims in Tunis and the chief harbor of their fleets, was menaced as Genoa and Pisa had been a hundred years before. In South Italy the Byzantine generals were still unsuccessful against Muslim raids, but their place was being taken by an ever-increasing number of Norman knights (from AD 1017 onwards). The victories of the Normans over the Greeks in this period were supplemented by successful war against the Muslims. When Sicily was finally plunged into a state of complete anarchy, the Normans began to make conquests there also (1060). The capture of Palermo (1072) was a significant token of their progress. Italian fleets co-operated in these Norman enterprises. When Genoa and Pisa in 1087 made a joint expedition, for the second time, against Mahdiyah, captured the town, burned the ships in its harbor, and imposed terms of peace on its ruler, the command of the Western Mediterranean passed finally to the Italian republics. The event is a landmark in the history of the medieval struggle between Islam and Christendom. Even the final conquest of Sicily by the Normans, which followed it very closely (1091), is not so important. In Spain the same work of reconquest made steady progress after the middle of the century. Here too Norman valour and Norman swords played an efficient part. Expeditions from South France, and probably also ships from Italy (1092-1093), joined in the war. Normans, Italians, and southern French, were thus already practically leagued in warfare against the common foe. The First Crusade joined to these allies other peoples, more widely separated, and bore the contest from the Western to the Eastern Mediterranean. But the contest remained the same, and the chief combatants on the Christian side were still Normans, Italians, and Frenchmen.

The recovery of Italy and Sicily and a large part of Spain from Muslim rule gave an impulse to the victors which could not fail to carry them to further enterprises. The defeated enemy had territory in Africa and the nearer East which invited attack. Pisa and Genoa were engaged in an oversea traffic which beckoned them eastwards. Sicily, in Christian hands, offered them ports of call and harbors of refuge on their way. Amalfi already traded actively with Syria, Egypt, and North Africa; Venice more particularly with the possessions of the Greek Empire. Italian commerce had everything to gain from Christian settlements in the East. An enterprise for the conquest of Syria and of Egypt was assured of the welcome and support of the Italian republics. The adventurous Normans too, as they spread from land to land with never-failing audacity and success, had found the Muslim East, had seen its treasures, and had heard its call. Their conquest of Muslim Sicily gave them a stepping-stone to Egypt and to Syria. From Italy they were already overleaping the narrow sea which separated them from the Greek Empire. War with the Muslim East may well have lain within their destiny independently of Pope Urban’s summons, to which they so willingly responded.

The relation of the Popes to the age-long Muslim war is easily understood and simply stated. As the primates of the Church their most sacred interests were always imperiled by Muslim victory. Inevitably their authority and influence were cast into the balance against the spoilers of the Church's patrimony. No partial triumph could extinguish their hostility, least of all while the holy places of the faith remained an infidel possession. Direct political interest also for a time stimulated their activity. But at the period of their greatest political power they were influenced chiefly by the hope of realizing their far-reaching vision of a universal Church. In the ninth century and in the early part of the tenth century, Rome was within the territory threatened by the Muslim invaders of Italy, and local circumstances drove the Popes to concert measures against them. Gregory IV (827-844), Leo IV (847-855), John VIII (872-882), and John X (914-928), all took an active part in the Muslim war. Their successors in the eleventh century were not, in all probability, the actual instigators of the Norman and Italian enterprises of the period, as some of the chroniclers assert, but at least they gave them every countenance and support. Benedict VIII (1012-1024), an Italian count and successful soldier before his consecration, approved and assisted the expeditions against the Muslim conquerors of Sardinia in 1015-1016. Gregory VII (1073-1085), by his advocacy of the cause of the Greek Empire, prepared the way for more distant enterprises. Victor III blessed the standard of the expedition against Mahdiyah (1087) and declared remission of sin to all who took part in it. From the middle of the century, under the guidance of the great Hildebrand, both before and after he became Pope Gregory VII, the Papacy asserted and in a measure secured its claim to be the ecclesiastical emperor of Christendom. Granted that all secular power was subject to the control of the Church for ecclesiastical ends, the Pope became the predestined head of any great united enterprise against the Muslims. The part played by Pope Urban in rousing Europe to the First Crusade was suggested from the outside, and actually became a means of realizing the papal claims. Still, the suggestion that he should take action was made because he actually represented the unity of Christendom and alone could issue an appeal which would be listened to with general respect. The Pope was an international power much more truly than the Emperor. He controlled an organization through which he could exert influence upon every country from within. He best could maintain the “truce of God”, which secured peace at home while the crusaders were absent on their enterprise. It is not clear that the Pope's initiative was essential to the starting of the First Crusade, but his intervention at some point was inevitable and his authority was one of the great forces which maintained the movement.

The date at which Europe became ready for a united attack on the Muslim East cannot be put earlier than the last quarter of the eleventh century. The enemy were then at last driven out of the home lands, excepting Spain, and the Western Mediterranean was again a Christian sea. As long as the struggle in the West was proceeding, schemes for the conquest of Palestine were impracticable. These facts must be kept in mind in any consideration of the alleged bull of Sergius IV (1009-1012), in which he announces the recent destruction of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (September 1009) and declares his wish to overthrow the Muslims and restore the Sepulchre. His intention is to equip a thousand ships for the purpose of his expedition, and he says that word has already come from the Italian coast towns to the effect that preparations there have been begun. Assuming the genuineness of the document, which is seriously disputed, it may be noted that the preparations reported may not really have been carried very far, nor indeed even commenced, and that the circumstances which suggested the expedition were very transitory. The reported destruction of the Holy Sepulchre was indeed an event likely to awaken the resentment of Christendom, and it may possibly have originated the earliest formulation of the crusading idea that has been preserved. But nothing came of Pope Sergius’ intention; the Italian cities were not yet able to fit out the armada he proposed, and the Sepulchre, only partially injured, was soon restored without Western intervention. Neither the alleged destruction of the Sepulchre nor the Pope's daring thought, if it actually was his, had any direct influence on the origin of the First Crusade. At most they may have increased the animosity of war in the West and stirred the Christians there to renewed exertions.

The feature of the First Crusade that most struck the imagination and stirred the fervor of its supporters was its declared purpose of delivering Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels. Extreme veneration for Jerusalem and its sacred sites was fostered by the whole system of Latin Christianity, and especially by its encouragement of pilgrimages. Frequent pilgrimages to local and national shrines were crowned by the necessarily less frequent pilgrimage to Palestine. In the eleventh century pilgrimages en masse, in which hundreds journeyed together to Jerusalem, led by some bishop or noble, were not unknown. One such notable pilgrimage was from Normandy in 1064; another was headed by Count Robert I of Flanders (1088-1089). Individual pilgrimages also grew more frequent as the century advanced and the way became easier. The Cluniac revival gave fresh life to this part also of the Church's ancient practice. Devotion to the cradle of Christianity was nurtured and stimulated even amongst those who never adventured on the distant journey. The indignities which Christians suffered in Jerusalem at the hands of the Muslims thus became familiar in Western Europe. It is not likely that the occupation of Jerusalem by the Turks (1071) stirred feeling in any special manner. But the capture of Antioch from the Greeks (1085) may have done so. Some part of its former population seems to have reached Europe, and to have roused animosity against the Turks by a recital of its misfortunes. In this and other ways the victories of the Turks over the Greek Empire influenced popular feeling and at the same time the policy of those at the helm of state. It was the situation of the Greek Empire and the advance of the Turks in Asia Minor which finally called Europe to arms on behalf of Jerusalem and the Eastern Churches. A sense of obligation to the Holy City and to Christians in the East, long expressed in other ways, now took the form of the First Crusade.


Peril of the Eastern Empire


The long history of warfare between the Muslims and the Byzantine Empire has been told in another volume of this work. In the crisis which followed the fatal battle of Manzikert (26 August 1071), the Emperor Michael VII conceived the idea of calling to his assistance his Christian brethren of the West. His appeal was directed to Pope Gregory VII, as the supreme representative of Western Christianity and more truly its common head than the greatest of its secular potentates. The Emperor’s petition fell on willing ears, for Gregory saw in it an opportunity of restoring the East to the Roman obedience, and at the same time of practically realizing his great principle that the kings of Christendom are the liege servants of the Church. For several months the Pope was full of the project of a mighty expedition to the East, in which he thought of personally taking part, and for which his letters claim that he received substantial promises of support (1074). But preoccupations in Italy made it impossible for him to carry out his intention. The Greek Emperor was left to wage an unequal war with the Turkish invaders of his dominions. They overran Asia Minor and came within striking distance of Constantinople itself. The Emperor Alexius (1081-1118) saved a part of his Asiatic territory by acknowledging defeat and making what terms of peace he could. His position was weakened by the frequent wars he had to wage with the vassals of the Empire in Europe. When at length these wars were ended (1094) and the recovery of lost Byzantine territory in Asia became again feasible, it is not sur­prising that Alexius bethought himself of the powerful help which had once been so nearly granted to his predecessor. In 1090 he had been assisted against the Turks by Count Robert of Flanders. Such another expedition, but on a considerably larger scale, was no doubt what he desired and hoped for. His appeal was directed to Pope Urban II, Gregory’s successor in spirit as well as in office (1088-1099). Once more the Byzantine proposal was favorably received, and on this occasion nothing intervened to prevent the Pope from executing his resolve. At his summons Western Europe eagerly prepared to make war with the Muslim East.

The First Crusade by proceeding through Constantinople and Asia Minor accomplished for Alexius even more than he can originally have expected to obtain from his Western allies. Not the least achievement of the crusading movement, considered in its ultimate results, was that it postponed the Turkish capture of Constantinople for 300 years. But the crusaders never regarded themselves as the mere auxiliaries of the Greek Empire, nor was their chief purpose to aid the Emperor against his Muslim enemies. Pope Urban’s official utterance declared the general purpose of the Crusade to be the deliverance of the Christians of the East. The danger of the Greek Empire is therefore one motive to action, explicitly stated, but much more stress is laid on the situation in Palestine. There and not in Asia Minor lay the supreme object of the enterprise for the peoples of the West. Their conception of the Crusade may be said to differ from that of the Emperor only in the emphasis which they laid on one part of a complex whole. Alexius’ appeal, in general terms indeed, was also doubtless on behalf of the Christians of the East, and possibly his ambassadors spoke of the deliverance of Jerusalem as something to be aimed at ultimately by the allied forces. But the mere change of emphasis exercised a transforming influence. Very quickly it appeared that all the Latin interests, religious, com­mercial, and political, lay in these remoter achievements in which the Emperor had no direct concern. Thus the Crusade had one aspect for the Latins and another for the Greeks. The two parties were engaged in appearance in a common enterprise. Each quickly found the other disloyal to the common cause, because their conception of that cause was not the same. All the history of the relations between the Greeks and the Latins, in the First Crusade and afterwards, must be read in the light of this fundamental discrepancy.

Assuming now that a proposed expedition on behalf of the Greek Empire and the Eastern Churches could thus become one for the deliverance of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, we can better estimate the significance of Pope Gregory VII’s scheme in 1074. It has been argued that his intention was quite different from that of the crusaders of 1096, and that if his project had been realized there would have been an expedition to the assistance of the Greeks but no crusade. In reality the comparison in these words does not lie between two quite disconnected schemes, and it seems more than probable that, if events had progressed further in Gregory’s time, they would have taken the course they did afterwards in Urban’s. It is significant that one of Gregory’s letters shows that Palestine was thought of as the goal 0f his enterprise. It is true that this goal is not yet the chief object which he has in view. But neither was it so at first in the time of Urban. It was only after consideration, and when it had been decided to inaugurate a great international enterprise (i.e. between the dates of the Councils of Piacenza and Clermont), that Pope Urban and his councilors began to define the issue in a specially Latin sense. It is not extravagant to suppose that Gregory would also finally have done the same. Still, it remains to the credit of Urban and his advisers that they saw there was a distinctive Latin view which it was for them to enunciate, and that this was done in the Pope’s great speech at Clermont.

It must be added that the part played by Alexius in the inception of the Crusade has been variously estimated, and that recent writers of authority have denied it altogether. These writers are entirely justified when they insist that the number of the crusaders was a cause of surprise and of serious trouble and anxiety to the Emperor, and that he did not propose a crusade in the sense of the actual movement, if that be defined as “a religious war, properly so called, induced by the assurance of spiritual privilege and undertaken for the recovery of the holy places”. Admitting this, however, it may still be asserted that letters of the Emperor to the Pope formulated the first draft, as it were, of a scheme for which the West had long been ripening, and which came into being in the shape of the First Crusade. Ekkehard and Bernold of St Blaise supply the necessary proof so far. If so, the Turkish advance and the need of the Greek Empire must be included amongst the determining causes of the crusading movement. The expedition of Robert of Flanders, recorded by Anna Comnena and already referred to, then also becomes a precursor of the First Crusade. The alleged letter of the Emperor to Robert, asking for help, may or may not be genuine in its present form. The supposition to which recent critics incline, that it is a modified edition of the original letter, seems best to account for its conflicting features. But that some such letter was written by the Emperor to Robert is both credible and probable.

Pope Urban’s first public appeal on behalf of the Christians in the East was made at the Council of Piacenza in March 1095. The humiliation of the Eastern Church and the danger of Constantinople were described to the Pope and the Council by ambassadors from the Greek Emperor. Urban espoused their cause so warmly that some pledged themselves at once to go to the rescue of the imperial city. There is no allusion to the Holy Land in the one report (that of Bernold) which we have of these events. The decision to rouse Christendom to a united attack on Islam must have been arrived at in the summer months which followed the Council of Piacenza. The direction of such an enterprise, its prospects of success, and the motives to which it might appeal for support, must all have been considered. In this interval, we may suppose, Jerusalem became the hoped-for prize of the Muslim war and the chief incentive to it. There are indications that even certain details had been arranged before the Council of Clermont, e.g. the time of starting, the declaration of a three years’ truce for the security of the crusaders’ homes and property, and their solemn pledge, marked by the assumption of a cross on the cloak or tunic. It can hardly be doubted that the Pope had assurance of influential support before he delivered his speech at Clermont. The circumstances of the adhesion of Raymond of Toulouse imply that he was previously aware of the Pope's intention and had been invited to join the movement. Thus prepared for, Pope Urban’s eloquent speech on 27 November 1095 met with an enthusiastic reception and definitely committed the Church to a movement in full accord with its genius and history. On the following day, in a council of the bishops, Ademar of Puy was chosen to be the papal representative during the Crusade. Other matters connected with its organization were doubtless at the same time provided for. During the next six months a host of preachers, both official and voluntary, carried the Pope’s appeal into every part of France and even beyond its borders. Urban’s personal share in this missionary work cannot be too highly estimated. His association with the Cluniac movement, his French nationality, his eloquence and energy and organizing power, were all of conspicuous influence in determining the result. For nine months he travelled from place to place with the special purpose of stirring enthu­siasm for the Crusade. He traversed Western France as far as Le Mans. At Tours he held a synod from 16 to 23 March 1096. From there he turned southward to Bordeaux and then eastward through Toulouse, Montpellier, and Nimes. He did not return to Italy until the month of September 1096. The first proclamation of the Crusade at Clermont, the ensuing journey of the Pope through France, and the enthusiasm with which he was received, account in large measure for the extent to which the Crusades became and continued to be a French national movement.


Leaders of the Crusade 


Neither King Philip of France nor the Emperor Henry IV was on such terms with the papal court as to make it possible for them to join the First Crusade. None of the great nobles who therefore became its chiefs had any good claim to authority over the others. Ademar of Puy was the principal ecclesiastic in the army but not its military commander. As a Provencal bishop he was in fact a vassal of Raymond of Toulouse. The composite character of the Crusade, its association of men of different nationalities, naturally suspicious of and hostile to one another and without any supreme leader, thus provided sure causes of disunion and discord. Even the common purpose of the national chiefs, their intention to conquer and occupy Syria or Palestine, was a further cause of separation. Those at least who intended to settle in the East were prospective rivals in the apportionment of the conquered territory. Thus when the crusaders assembled at Constantinople they did not become one united army, but remained a loose confederation of forces, whose individual characters and rivalries did much to determine the subsequent failures of the First Crusade, and indeed of the whole crusading movement.

A brief notice of each of the more important leaders will therefore suitably clear the way to an understanding of the events of the Crusade. Hugh, Count of Vermandois, brother of the French king, was in some degree his royal brother’s representative. But neither his army nor his war-chest were commensurate with his apparent rank, and he did not play a distinguished part during the Crusade. He intended to settle in Palestine, although he did not carry out his intention. The oldest and the wealthiest of the crusading leaders was Raymond of Saint Gilles, Count of Toulouse since 1093. His army was from the first probably the most considerable and his wealth enabled him to maintain its strength. He had fought with the Muslims in Spain, and his third wife was Elvira of Castile. During the Crusade he claimed a foremost place, and doubt­less expected to become a prince in the Latin East. With him went Ademar of Puy. Robert of Normandy, son of the Conqueror, was fitted for leadership neither by character nor by military capacity, but was of importance because of the number of Norman nobles who followed him. Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, had similar resources to those of Robert, but in character and capacity he stood much higher. His dukedom was a barren title, and he sold his small estates to provide himself with means for the Crusade. He is described as being equally fit to be the light of a monastery or the leader of an army. During the Crusade he distinguished himself as a brave soldier, although in no sense, of course, its supreme commander. His brothers Baldwin and Eustace gave added strength to his position. The latter had already been an ally of Robert of Normandy against William Rufus. Robert II of Flanders (1093-1111) was pre-eminent for his soldierly qualities and had greater monetary resources than either Robert or Godfrey; but as a leader of the Crusade he stood in the second rank. By far the most able of the crusading chiefs and the best fitted to establish a Latin princedom in Syria was Bohemond of Taranto. The Norman knights from Southern Italy who accompanied him, including his bold nephew Tancred, were sufficient in numbers to make his force important apart even from his own capacity. There is strong reason to suspect that he was resolved from the first, by one means or another, to make himself lord of Antioch. He had Muslim troops in his army, and Tancred, if not Bohemond also, could speak Arabic. Having experience already in Muslim warfare, he displayed during the Crusade a resourcefulness and a military capacity in which he had no equal.

Three chief ways to Constantinople were open to the crusaders. One starting from the Rhine passed by Nuremberg and Ratisbon, down the valley of the Danube, and through Hungary. It was already a pilgrim road familiar to many. Another passed through Dalmatia, and was accessible from the north of Italy and the south of France. The third was the ancient Appian Way through the centre of Italy, and involved a short sea passage from Bari or some other Italian coast town. Each of these was used by some of the numerous bands and armies which inarched to Constantinople from the spring of 1096 to the spring of 1097. None of the leaders whose names have been enumerated started before 15 August 1096. This was the date fixed for the departure of Ademar of Puy, and had been announced to others as an indication of the time when they should be ready. But the spring of 1096 may have been named by some of the earlier preachers, and by that date a popular movement, for which little preparation was required, was already afoot. The first crusaders whose start can be dated were Frenchmen from districts visited by Peter the Hermit. They left home in March, and seem to have included only eight who could be ranked as knights. Five of these were of one family, Walter Sansavoir (the Penniless) of Poissy on the Seine, with his uncle and three brothers. They are said by Orderic Vitalis to have been a part of Peter's own expedition as far as Cologne and to have separated from him there. In Christian Hungary they were well received by King Koloman and passed through his territories without any special incident. At Belgrade, which lay just on the Bulgarian frontier, the account that they gave of themselves was disbelieved and they were refused provisions. This led to a general plundering of the district by the crusaders and to severe retaliation by the Bulgarians. Walter hurriedly fled as far as Nis, where the Greek governor of the province was stationed and where he was recompensed for his losses and given a safe-conduct for the remainder of the journey. It is calculated that he arrived in Constantinople soon after the middle of July.

Peter the Hermit was one of the most successful of the preachers who stirred enthusiasm after the Council of Clermont. He preached at first in Berry in central France, and afterwards, perhaps, chiefly in the districts to the north and north-east of his starting-point. He, like Walter, made his way to Constantinople through Germany and Hungary. He is known to have passed Treves on 10 April 1096, but before he finally turned eastwards he preached the Crusade for a week at Cologne (12-19 April). In South Germany he and his French followers were joined by considerable numbers of Germans gathered from those districts which favored the Pope in his quarrel with the Emperor. Walter of Teck and Hugh of Tubingen, Count-Palatine of Swabia, are two of some twenty knights who were their leaders. Whatever authority Peter may have enjoyed among the French peasantry, whom he had stirred by his preaching, it cannot be supposed that he was in any way recognized as a leader by this German contingent. Possibly the Germans followed at some distance, even some days’ march, behind Peter’s Frenchmen. Albert of Aix's history, our only source, refers chiefly to the latter. Hungary was traversed peacefully and uneventfully as far as Semlin (Malevilla), just on the Bulgarian border. Here the French crusaders stormed and plundered the town, on the alleged ground of injuries recently done to stragglers in Walter's army. In Bulgaria, which they now entered, they were beyond the reach of Hungarian retaliation, and having given hostages to Nikita, its governor, they were permitted to purchase provisions in Nis. Here again, however, trouble arose, owing, it is said, to the burning of some mills and houses by a party of Germans. Peter’s baggage train, including his money-box, was completely plundered by the Bulgarians, numbers of women and children were taken captive, and Peter himself and his followers were driven in headlong flight into the woods. In Sofia the fugitives found a harbor of refuge, and were overjoyed to receive a message from the Emperor to the effect that they had already suffered sufficiently for their wantonness and that they might be assured of his protection during their further journey. They reached Constanti­nople and encamped alongside of Walter's followers on 1 August 1096.

The trans-shipment, five days later, to the coast of Asia Minor of all the crusaders who had now reached Constantinople, was no doubt at the instance of the Emperor Alexius. He may already, in this short time, have had experience of conflicts arising between the Greeks and the Latins. At least he foresaw that they were sure to arise. There is no ground for the suspicion that the Emperor showed unfriendliness by his action and deliberately sent the crusaders to meet their doom on the other side. Provisions were regularly supplied to their camp at Cibotus, and if the pilgrims had remained quietly there until reinforcements arrived, as they were advised to do, they would have been undisturbed by the Muslims. About the middle of September, however, first a party of Frenchmen ravaged the neighborhood of Nicaea, and then an expedition of Germans followed and captured a castle close at hand (Xerigordon). Daud Qilij-Arslan, Sultan of Rum, after a week’s siege recaptured the castle (7 October), and then, having made the necessary preparations, led an army against the Latins at Cibotus. The crusaders marched out against him as he approached and were utterly defeated (21 October). More than half the Latin knights were slain. Hugh of Tubingen, Walter of Teck, Walter Sansavoir and two of his brothers, were amongst the number. Most of those who escaped took refuge in the citadel at Cibotus, from which they were rescued by Greek ships. The more important of the survivors afterwards joined the forces of Godfrey of Bouillon. Many sold their weapons and gave up the crusade altogether.

Following Peter’s expedition came several bands which did not reach their destination at all. One passed through Saxony and Bohemia, headed by a priest named Volkmar. It may be identified with those crusaders who persecuted the Jewish colony at Prague (30 May). Further on, at Nyitra (Neutra) in Hungary, most probably owing to their own excesses, they were attacked by the Hungarians and completely dispersed. The survivors probably returned home. The identification of Volkmar with Fulcher of Orleans, afterwards referred to as one of Peter's companions, is too precarious to be relied on.

Another German expedition from the Rhine had been stirred by Peter's preaching and by that of a priest, Gottschalk by name, who marched with it. Inspired no doubt by what had already taken place, as we shall see, in the cities on the Rhine, they commenced a persecution of the Jews at Ratisbon (23 May). They were well treated by the Hungarians in Wieselburg (Meseburg), but behaved so badly there that they were attacked some distance farther on by the orders of the Hungarian king and utterly cut to pieces. Very few of them escaped.


Persecution of Jews on the Rhine 


From the valley of the Rhine also, somewhat later, came an expedition whose chief leader was Eurico, Count of Leiningen, between Worms and Spires. He made himself notorious by commencing a persecution of the Jews in the Rhine cities. Previous to the crusades the Jews had been living on quite friendly terms with their Christian neighbors, and although the new movement had stirred religious animosity against them they had not hitherto been molested. Count Eurico was most likely chiefly influenced by the hopes of the plunder which he secured in the Jewish quarters of Spires (3 May), Worms (18-20 May), and Mainz (27 May). He initiated a persecution which extended to other cities. That in Treves (1 June) is attributed by the Jewish contemporary account to the agency of visitors from the towns just mentioned. The synagogues and Jewish houses in Cologne were plundered by crusaders chiefly from Lorraine, on their way up the Rhine to join Eurico (early in June). The Jews of Cologne took refuge in the country villages roundabout and it was in them that the worst massacres took place (end of June). The crusaders whose evil work this was may have come from France or from Flanders and Lorraine, and they must ultimately have joined Eurico on the borders of Hungary. Eurico’s army included finally a considerable number of Frenchmen, in addition to his own German followers. Amongst these were Clarebold of Vendeuil, Drogo of Nesle, and perhaps William of Melun, known as Charpentier, “the carpenter”, because of his fighting prowess. This expedition found its progress barred at the Hungarian frontier by King Koloman, who was posted with an army in the strongly fortified city of Wieselburg (middle of June). The king's hostile attitude is fully explained by his recent experiences, not to mention the reputation of Enrico’s followers which had probably been reported to him. The crusaders besieged Wieselburg for six weeks with an increasing prospect of success, until one day, as they pressed their attack, a sudden sally of the besieged threw them into a panic. They were quickly routed and completely dispersed (beginning of August). Eurico escaped and returned home. Others joined the army of Godfrey, which was now advancing. Some of the French knights made their way into Italy and there joined the forces of Hugh of Vermandois.

The incredible estimates of the numbers of those who joined in the First Crusade still given in modern histories of deserved repute make it necessary to discuss this subject specially and somewhat fully. At this point it will be sufficient to indicate the nature of the evidence in the case of the disastrous expeditions of which an account has just been given. The statements of our sources to the effect that Walter had 15,000 followers and Peter 40,000, or that the crusaders when encamped at Cibotus numbered 25,000, are to be regarded as possessing no evidential value at all. Such numbers in medieval sources when they can be brought to a definite test are invariably proved to be unreliable. Albert of Aix is our chief authority for the events in question, and his use of numbers may be illustrated from one chapter in his history. There we read that Peter's host of 40,000 was dispersed by the Bulgarians, that only a party of 500 remained with Peter and the other leaders, that these by making signals and blowing horns reassembled 3000 more by evening, and that after three days 30,000 men, showing a loss of 10,000, resumed their march together. Such an account only tells us that the crusaders were routed and scattered and gradually reassembled, and that they lost a large part (one quarter) of their total number. Even in this form the narrative may not be reliable history. But in any case the numbers are not records based on observation or tradition, nor even of the nature of statistical estimates. They are a mere fashion of speech intended to express proportions and relations, and may be called illustrative or pictorial numbers. In another chapter there is a good illustration of the merely pictorial use of a number. Instead of relating how a band of hot-headed youths made an unjustified attack on Nis and were immediately joined in their attack by another similar band, the writer states that the attack was made by 1000 men, and that these were immediately followed by another thousand like them. Here 1000 is used where another writer would consider 500 or 300 appropriate. Almost everything depends on the numerical scale in use, almost nothing on the actual figures. These may be quite unknown to the writer, and then of course cannot influence his choice of a number. Those who recognize that such numbers are unreliable often say that they are “exaggerated”. This criticism does not go far enough if it implies or is understood to imply that the numbers bear some proportion to reality and may be taken as a starting-point for an estimate of the actual numbers. Pictorial numbers in most writers are essentially fictitious, and are only at best of occasional use to the historian by setting an upper limit to the figures which he is in search of.

Any estimate given of the numbers, say of Walter’s followers or of Peter’s, must start from another kind of evidence. Some of the experiences of the crusaders indicate their relatively small numbers. Walter’s followers were put to flight by a force of which the greater part seems to have consisted of the garrison of Belgrade; Peter's host was easily dispersed by the troops assembled in Nis. Both expeditions seem to have obtained sufficient supplies of food without difficulty from the markets of the towns they passed through. Even allowing in the one case for the presence of undisciplined peasant pilgrims, with some proportion of women and children, and in the other for provisions carried with them, these facts are significant. If the first narrative summarized above be historical at all, it cannot describe what happened to 40,000 people, nor even to 10,000. Only by making it refer to Peter’s own French followers and by numbering these in hundreds instead of in thousands do the difficulties disappear. If the number of knights be taken, as it usually may, to be an indication of the number of efficient soldiers in the two expeditions, we reach a total of a very few thousands as our maximum. The defeat of the crusaders at Cibotus by an army such as that of Qilij-Arslan is also an evidence of numerical weakness. In conclusion, however, we can only guess at the numbers who marched through Hungary with Peter and Walter. If the guess be made of 4000 to 5000 for Walter and 6000 to 7000 for Peter, these figures are maxima which may still be much too high. They are large in proportion to the numbers of the disciplined armies which followed, under Godfrey and the other leaders, of which a better estimate can be given1. By the end of October Alexius was fully informed of the magnitude of the crusading movement and had decided what policy to follow. His first aim was to minimize the disturbance and loss of property which the march of the crusaders through his European territories necessarily involved. This he sought to do by giving a friendly reception on the borders to each fresh arrival, and by provision of supplies to the various armies on the march. At the same time he posted troops along every line of approach to Constantinople with instructions to deal severely with plunderers and to repel force by force. Alexius had also reason to fear that the leaders of the Crusade might not respect his claims to the countries they were about to reconquer from the Muslims. Bohemond, at least, who had been a recent invader of his territory, was certainly not to be trusted. If the Latins chose to act in combination they were formidable enemies and perhaps irresistible. But they came professedly as friends. The circumstances thus pointed to a definite agreement with them as a solution of this part of the Emperor's difficulties. It may be supposed that he was indifferent regarding the future government of Palestine. But Asia Minor and Northern Syria were, in virtue of tradition and long association, essential parts of the Empire and could not be alienated voluntarily. On the other hand, guidance through an unknown country, abundance of provisions up to a certain point, subsidies of money, the use of Constantinople as a starting-point for the march through Asia Minor, possibly the assistance of Greek troops and ships and a free hand in Palestine, were all substantial advantages which could be offered in exchange for a recognition of imperial claims. Taking advantage of Western feudal customs, Alexius decided to demand from each crusading chief an oath of allegiance and a promise that the ancient possessions of the Empire which might be reconquered should be restored to him. Of course the oath of allegiance could only apply to the crusaders as holders of land in the East, which they were to occupy as the Emperor’s vassals. So understood, it was a reasonable settlement of the future relations between the Latin settlers and the Greek Empire, assuming, that is, that they really came to deliver the Christians of the East and therefore the recently enslaved lands of the Empire. Of course if the crusaders fought merely for their own gain and recognized no obligation to the Emperor, they might well regard Alexius’ proposal as unwarrantably to his own advantage. But this was not the footing on which they presented themselves. They were permitted to enter Greek territory only as allies, already bound implicitly to render assistance to the Greeks against their Turkish enemies. The Emperor’s proposal when it was put before them was received with dislike by some; but most seem to have recognized that it was a proper way of making definite the understanding created by their presence and of regulating their future relationship. If the Emperor continued the support he had already commenced to give, they were prepared to regard their conquests as ultimately a part of the Greek Empire. It was indispensable that many of the Latin knights should settle in the East, and it was agreed that they should do so as vassals of the Empire and not as independent Latin rulers. The special promise to restore the lost lands of the Empire to Alexius was no doubt intended to be realized in large measure by the establishment of Latin fiefs, and thus was not an irreconcilable alternative to the Latin occupation of Syria.

Obviously the foregoing interpretation and estimate of Alexius’ policy depend to a considerable extent on the view taken of the origin and purpose of the Crusade. It has been argued by some modern writers that the Emperor should have welcomed the establishment of the Latins in Syria on any terms, that he tried to impose impossible conditions upon them, and that he roused their enmity by his jealous and suspicious conduct. Such criticism assumes that the Crusade was not organized even in part on behalf of the Empire, and ignores the almost complete certainty of friction and discord arising in any case. It also, in particular, undervalues the importance of Antioch for the Empire, and underestimates the danger arising from the establishment there of an independent Norman state.

Hugh of Vermandois was the first crusader of the highest rank to reach Constantinople. He came through Italy, and crossed from Bari to Durazzo probably before the end of October 1096. Many of the French knights who might have accompanied him marched through Germany and Hungary. Others were lost in a storm during the crossing from Italy, and those who remained were few in number. Hugh received, nevertheless, a cordial reception from the Emperor and gifts in due proportion to his rank. In return he took the oath of allegiance which Alexius desired. Some sources suggest that he was practically compelled to take the oath. But such compulsion, however small Hugh’s following, was neither politic nor possible.


Godfrey of Bouillon


The next arrival was Godfrey of Bouillon. He left home about the middle of August and reached Tuln, near Vienna, soon after Eurico’s defeat. There he spent three weeks negotiating with the Hungarian king regarding his further progress. Koloman agreed to allow him to proceed if he gave sufficient hostages for the good behavior of his troops. Godfrey's brother Baldwin and his family having been accepted as hostages, the crusaders marched through Hungary under strict discipline and closely watched by the king in person. Provisions were abundantly supplied, and at the frontier Baldwin and his family were released. At Belgrade Godfrey received assurances from Alexius that the crusaders would find abundant markets open to them on their route if they refrained from ravaging his country. The Emperor kept his word and all went well as far as Silivri (Selymbria), two days’ march from Constantinople. There the Latins encamped for a week, and the country was laid waste by Godfrey's orders. The explanation of the Latin historian Albert is that Hugh of Vermandois was a prisoner and that the Emperor had given no satisfaction to an embassy which Godfrey sent to him from Philippopolis. He further states that Godfrey’s action secured Hugh's release. Evidently, as Godfrey approached Constantinople he became suspicious of the Emperor’s good faith, and possibly he made some demand which Alexius refused. When he encamped outside the gates of the Greek capital and was met by Hugh and repre­sentatives of the Emperor (23 December), his suspicions remained and he refused the Emperor’s invitation to an interview. Anna’s narrative suggests that the cause was his unwillingness to take the oath of allegiance required of him. Albert indicates rather a general suspicion of the Emperor’s good faith. Reading between the lines, in the light of the final issue, we may conjecture that Godfrey at this stage asked for hostages as a guarantee of his safety, and that the Emperor considered this demand an insult to his dignity. Rather than have the surrounding country plundered by the Latins, Alexius continued his permission to them to purchase provisions, and four days after Christmas he invited them to leave their tents and take shelter in a suburb of the city. As the weather was inclement, this proposal of the Emperor was accepted. An interchange of messages went on until the middle of January 1097, Greek soldiers all the time keeping strict watch to see that the Latins did not issue out to plunder. The conflict which ensued was inevitable in the circumstances and is not to be attributed to a deliberate act of policy on either side. The sources disagree, of course, as to which party was the aggressor. The Latins burned the suburb in which they were quartered and took up their position under the walls of the city. From there they plundered the country round for a week. But both sides had reason to desire peace, and quickly came to terms. The view we take of the cause of this dispute decides the question of which side now yielded most to the other. The Emperor sent his son John as a hostage, and at the interview which followed Godfrey took the required oath of allegiance (latter part of January 1097). Hugh of Vermandois assisted in bringing matters to this conclusion, and the royal hostage was released immediately after the interview. Some weeks later the Latins were transported to a camp on the opposite coast, no doubt in order to make room for other crusaders, who were now at hand (end of the third week in February). In their new quarters they were still supplied with provisions by the Emperor, and the poor among them were substantially helped by his bounty.


Bohemond of Taranto


Bohemond was the next to arrive in Constantinople with a few knights (beginning of April). He seems to have crossed from Italy at the end of October 1096. But his forces followed slowly in separate bands for which he waited, and the united army was just at Castoria by Christmas. They crossed the river Vardar, not much farther on, on 18 February. Here there was a skirmish with Greek troops, who attacked them pre­sumably because of their previous depredations. From this point they were under the guidance of a high official sent from Constantinople, and by his care obtained abundance of supplies. Rusa was reached on 1 April, and there Bohemond left his army for Constantinople. Tancred remained in command, and finally crossed into Asia Minor without entering Constantinople. Bohemond was an hereditary enemy of the Greek Empire, and now as at all times ready to take up arms against Alexius if he saw any advantage in doing so. He intended to secure a princedom in the East, and most probably had already fixed his choice on Antioch. Before taking the oath of allegiance he endeavored to obtain a promise from the Emperor to support his scheme. Alexius’ answer no doubt was that such requests were premature, and that everything would depend on the issue of the Crusade. It is unlikely, in spite of the definite statement of the Gesta Francorum, that Bohemond was now promised territory in the neighborhood of Antioch. At most the Emperor may have indicated that he would afterwards consider favorably such claims as the Norman chief might be able to present.

Robert of Flanders accomplished the first part of his journey through France and Italy in the company of Robert of Normandy. He crossed from Apulia in December 1096, and did not advance farther towards Constantinople until the spring. He arrived later than Bohemond, and readily took the oath of allegiance.


Raymond of Toulouse


Raymond of Toulouse, having left home, perhaps, about the end of October 1096, came by the north of Italy and the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Passing through Dalmatia in the winter, his army suffered from the inclemency of the season, from scarcity of food, and from the attacks of the inhabitants of the country, so that large numbers of the crusaders lost their lives. At Durazzo messengers from the Emperor brought assurances of friendship and promised supplies. Beyond this point, however, there was frequent fighting between the crusaders and the Greek mercenaries who watched their progress. The Provençals considered themselves the aggrieved parties, and retaliated by destroying the suburbs of Rusa and plundering the town. At Rodosto, four days’ journey from Constantinople, Raymond received a request from the Latin leaders already in Constantinople to hurry on, because they were preparing to start and were making arrangements with the Emperor to which it was desirable that he should be a party. When he reached Constantinople (perhaps in the third week of April), he decisively refused to take the now customary oath of allegiance. If the Emperor put him­self at the head of the expedition and came with them, he would become his follower, he said, not otherwise. News of a shameful defeat of his army in a conflict in which they were afterwards judged to have been in the wrong only increased his determination not to yield. Finally, under pressure, he only consented to take an oath that he would do nothing against the life and honor of the Emperor. In consequence of his attitude he received, as the Provencal historian notes, little of the Emperor's bounty.

Last of all came Robert of Normandy with his powerful brother-in-law, Stephen of Blois and with Godfrey’s brother Eustace, Count of Boulogne. Their army included the first expedition of Englishmen and Britons to join in the Crusade. Robert left home in September and had spent the winter in the south of Italy. He embarked at Brindisi on 5 April 1097, and reached Constantinople about the middle of May. After spending a fortnight in the Greek capital he proceeded to the siege of Nicaea, which had already begun.

The Emperor Alexius had good reason to be satisfied with the initial result of his negotiations with the Latins. Formally, at least, he had secured from the leaders of the Crusade the acknowledgment he desired. Even Raymond of Toulouse seems finally to have admitted the Emperor's claims in Asia Minor and Syria. An agreement so important and so intricate must have been put in writing and signed by the contracting parties. If it did not specify all the lands which the Emperor claimed, it probably named at least the territories and towns in which he desired to place Greek governors, and some also of those which might be held by the Latins in fief. The plunder of all the captured cities may have been assigned to the Latins, and the Emperor certainly promised military assistance to his allies. The obligations of the Latin feudatories must have been defined, and, it may be, also the conditions on which they would obtain recognition as lords of the conquered territory. Of course the adherence of the crusaders to this agreement depended entirely on the Emperor’s fulfillment of his promise to render them further assistance. If he failed in this obligation, the Latins were inevitably released from their pledges to him. But meantime the leaders were won partly by the personal charm and lavish gifts of the Emperor, partly, it may be added, by the reasonable character of his proposals, so that they judged their treaty with him to be of value to their enterprise. It is true that there was at the same time, especially among the rank and file, a strong undercurrent of suspicion and hatred of the Greeks. Godfrey’s troops and Raymond’s had already been engaged in serious fighting with them.

The Normans were really bitter and contemptuous enemies of the Greeks, although Bohemond judged it to be expedient to acquiesce in a general treaty, and required Tancred, much against his will, to take the common oath of allegiance. At the same time the marked hostility of the Western sources to the Emperor in their narratives of these events reflects largely the anger and disappointment of a later period. The Greeks and Latins had important interests in common, and it is likely that the policy inaugurated by the Emperor would have held them together until at least the foundations were laid in Syria of one Greco-Latin state. It was Alexius’ own failure to implement his promise that finally turned the Latins into declared and irreconcilable enemies.


The siege of Nicaea


Before the Latins left Constantinople, their route through Asia Minor and their plan of operations had been decided on. In the first place the Muslim capital of Nicaea, about six days’ march overland from Scutari, was to be taken. The Emperor provided siege engines and food supplies but only a small detachment of troops. Nicaea was very strongly fortified and was protected on the west side by the waters of a lake. The disposition of the crusading army illustrates the separation caused by national divisions. Bohemond’s forces encamped on the north, Godfrey and the Germans on the east of the city (6 May 1097). When Raymond’s troops arrived they occupied the south side (16 May). On the day of Raymond’s arrival a small force of Muslims attempted to throw themselves into the city and were beaten off. Robert of Normandy and his men joined the besiegers on 1 June; their position also was on the south side. The siege operations, begun on 14 May, were pressed strenuously with little result for nearly five weeks. At length the ruin by Raymond's engineers of a large tower on the south side brightened the prospects of the besiegers. This and the launching on the lake of Greek vessels, brought from the sea, decided the defenders to surrender. They opened negotiations with the Greek commander, and capitulated to him on condition that their lives should be spared (19 June 1097). Most likely they were allowed to remain undisturbed in their homes if they chose to transfer their allegiance to the Emperor. In order to prevent wanton plundering and destruction, the Latins were allowed to enter the city as visitors only and in small parties. As previously arranged, the spoil of the town, or its equivalent, was distributed among the crusaders, and their leaders received in addition handsome gifts from Alexius. No doubt the sparing of the lives of infidels became a cause of reproach to the Emperor in the Latin camp, and perhaps the precautions taken to protect the city from plundering were resented. But the Latins do not seem, on this occasion, to have been unfairly treated, and some of them settled in Nicaea as the Emperor's subjects.

After the capture of Nicaea the proximate goal of the crusaders’ march was Antioch on the Orontes. It may be assumed that Alexius urged the siege and capture of a city which had been for a century an outpost of the Empire, and the occupation of which would be an important initial step in the conquest of Syria. Besides, the “deliverance” of Antioch had been from the first one of the specific objects of the Crusade. The way through Asia Minor was familiar to the Greeks and in any case easily found and followed. It leads through Dorylaeum and Iconium and then over the passes of the Taurus into Cilicia. But in order to rescue Armenia Minor from the Muslim yoke and to secure for themselves friendly support in a district near Antioch, the main body of the crusaders kept eastwards to the anti-Taurus mountains, and then came southward to Antioch by way of Geuksun (Coxon) and Marash. Cilicia, in which there was also a friendly Armenian population, was secured by Tancred and by Godfrey’s brother Baldwin. The Latins sent letters to the Armenians of Euphratesia, most probably from Nicaea, and Baldwin was joined there by an Armenian exile who accompanied and advised him during the march through Asia Minor. This alliance with the Armenians was afterwards of great value during the siege of Antioch, and by it the crusaders were enabled to make their first settlements in the East.

When the Latins left Nicaea—those who moved first started on 27 June—some cherished the hope that they might reach Jerusalem in five weeks, if Antioch did not prove a serious obstacle in their way. It was three months before they approached Antioch and nearly two years before any of them reached Jerusalem. Qilij-Arslan, having assembled his army too late to save Nicaea, attacked the Latins near Dorylaeum on 1 July. The crusaders were in two divisions, two miles apart, on separate roads. The first encounter was between the whole Turkish army, which consisted exclusively of horsemen armed with bows, and the smaller part of the Latin host, which included the Normans only, under Bohemond, Tancred, and Robert of Normandy. An attack of the Norman knights was repulsed by the Turks, whose advance, in turn, was checked by the spears and bows of the Latin infantry, upon whom the knights fell back. The encircling Muslims now employed their usual elusive and harassing tactics and the Normans fought a desperate battle, until they were relieved by the arrival, in successive bands, of Godfrey and the other leaders. The Turks having retreated on to a hill-side, the crusaders formed themselves into line of battle and broke and scattered their opponents by one irresistible charge. In the shock of direct encounter the light Turkish horsemen had no chance of success. The fight before Godfrey’s arrival may have lasted two or three hours and the second stage of the battle, including the pursuit, three hours more. The enemy was pursued for several miles, and great booty was obtained from the captured Muslim camp.


Alliance with the Armenians 


During the march beyond Dorylaeum the Latins found the country laid waste for a considerable distance, and suffered greatly from want of food and water as well as from the excessive heat. They lost a large number of their horses and baggage animals. Most probably the crusaders now marched in one main force, where all the baggage was placed, and in several smaller forces under independent leaders such as Tancred and Baldwin. From Iconium eastwards the conditions seem to have improved, and of course in Armenia Minor the friendship of the Christian population made the way easy. The Muslims were nowhere in sufficient force to venture a further attack after their defeat at Dorylaeum. In Armenia Minor the Turkish garrisons, which had not long been in possession, were expelled and Armenian supremacy was restored. Several Western knights settled in the conquered strongholds, but the only leader of importance to remain in the district was Baldwin, Godfrey’s brother, afterwards his successor in Jerusalem. Baldwin was the founder of the first of the crusading states in the East. After passing, as we shall see, through Cilicia he reached the main army at Marash. But while it went on to Antioch he remained to establish a Latin princedom in Euphratesia. His first capital was Tell-bashir (October 1097). Afterwards, when he became ruler of Edessa (spring of 1098), he made that city his capital. His forces in themselves were not at first large, but the friendship of the Armenian princes secured his position. After the fall of Antioch, Godfrey came to his assistance, and from that time he was quite able to maintain himself. Undoubtedly, if the Latins had continued to co-operate with the Armenians, this northern state would have been a much more effective bulwark of their power than it ultimately proved to be.

No doubt Baldwin’s settlement in Edessa was made with the consent and approval of the Latin leaders. It was in some measure due to him, since he had recently resigned to Tancred his claim on Cilicia. As the crusaders arrived in the districts where the first permanent conquests were attempted, it became perfectly clear that each leader fought not merely for the common cause but also for a share in the territory that was being conquered. In the smaller undertakings each national army made its own conquests and of course claimed to retain what it thus won. The events in Cilicia are narrated at full length by the sources, and may be taken as the best available illustration of what has just been said. The occupation of this province was probably part of a general scheme suggested by Armenians who accompanied the crusaders from Nicaea, and it may have been included in the plans of the leaders from the time they left that city. But since Baldwin and Tancred were rivals in their operations in that province from the first, it is not hazardous to conclude that one at least was deputed to protect national interests against the action of the other. Tancred left the main army at Heraclea and made directly for Tarsus, which he hoped to gain with the help of Armenian friends. He had encamped beside the town and was negotiating its surrender, with every prospect of success, when Baldwin came on the scene with much larger forces. It is uncertain whether Baldwin had left the main army at Heraclea, or had separated from it much earlier than Tancred and had reached Tarsus by a different road. The result of his arrival was that the Turkish garrison deserted the town and the inhabitants prepared to surrender formally to Tancred. Baldwin, in virtue of his superior strength, required them, however, to surrender to him, and Tancred retired in anger without fighting. At Adana he found the Turks already driven out and an Armenian governor installed, from whom he received a welcome. Mamistra, the next town on the way, was occupied without difficulty, for the garrison fled almost as soon as Tancred approached the city. Meantime Baldwin was joined at Tarsus by a fleet of Flemings and Frisians, which had been cruising for some years in the Mediterranean and was commanded by a certain Winemar of Boulogne. Having left a garrison in Tarsus, Baldwin marched on to Mamistra, where he encamped outside the walls. Either party may have been the aggressor in the fighting which followed. But Baldwin had now designs further east, so that peace was quickly re-established and Tancred was left in possession. Before the Norman leader left Cilicia, he had established a claim to possession which Bohemond and he, as princes of Antioch, afterwards strenuously maintained against the armies of the Empire. Meantime most of the population favored the Latins, and the small Turkish garrisons were cowed by the numbers of their opponents. Only a fortnight or three weeks were required to subdue the principal towns of the province. Three or four weeks more were spent in the neighborhood of Antioch, subduing castles there. Iskanderun (Alexandretta) was one of Tancred’s acquisitions and probably became his headquarters. It is significant that Raymond of Toulouse and Robert of Flanders also sent on a part of their forces to make conquests in Northern Syria before the main body of the army arrived. Each leader was thus fighting for his own hand and anxious not to be outdone by his rivals. The result was that before the siege of Antioch began the Latins had gained a secure footing in Syria and Euphratesia. These preliminary conquests, and especially the establishment of friendly relations with the native Christian population, were the essential conditions of further success. It was perfectly evident soon after the main army reached Antioch (21 October 1097) that the crusaders were not able to press the siege of such a strongly fortified city. Lack of siege engines and the moderate number of efficient fighting men in the army may have been contributory causes. No attempt was made to undermine the walls or to take the town by storm. For four or five months the city could not even be said to be strictly invested. The Latins were encamped together, with the exception of one small party under Tancred, just on the side where they had reached the town. The besieged still had almost complete liberty of exit, especi­ally by the river gate on the north side. The fighting was only a series of skirmishes on the plains to the north of the Orontes, and on the roads eastward to Harim and westward to St Simeon. Although the Turkish garrison was not more than 5000 strong, and the auxiliary troops cannot have been numerous, the Latin army was evidently not the overwhelming force dreamed of by poets and imaginative historians. Still the chief cause of the weakness of the Latin army was its deficiency in supplies. In December 1097 and in the earlier months of 1098 the number of horses, so vital to the strength of the army, was reduced to a dangerously low figure. The privations of the crusaders themselves would have been intolerable but for the assistance of their Armenian and other native Christian allies. As many as could be spared from active service were dispersed through the conquered towns and castles of Cilicia along the coast and the neighboring country. It was not until fleets from England and other countries arrived in the spring that the strain of the situation was relieved. On the other hand, during the winter the Muslim garrison does not appear to have suffered much from lack of provisions. A large part of the non-combatant population, especially Armenian and Syrian Christians, were dismissed at the beginning of the siege. In early spring the Muslims were still able to pasture their horses in relays outside the city. It was only from March or April that the besieged began to suffer serious privation. Their numbers were then reduced not only by death but by desertion. Finally, it was the treachery of a discontented soldier which secured an entrance for the enemy (3 June 1098).

The chief events of the siege were the battles which the crusaders fought with the relief armies of other Syrian emirs. Yaghi Bassan, the Turkish governor of Antioch, had no reason to expect cordial assistance from his neighbors. They did not desert him altogether, but the ease with which they were repulsed is as much an indication of their lukewarmness as of the superiority of the Latin arms. In November, raiders who probably came from Harim, a strong castle on the way to Aleppo, were ambushed and severely defeated by Bohemond, Robert of Normandy, and Robert of Flanders. These same leaders were sent out in December to bring in supplies, and at Al-Barah they encountered and repulsed troops from Damascus and Homs which were on their way to relieve Antioch (31 December 1097). In the beginning of February 1098 the Latins learned that a Muslim army, consisting chiefly of troops from Aleppo, was close at hand. It was decided that they should be met a few miles away at a narrow point on the road by the full force of the Latin cavalry, 700 strong. The foot-soldiers and unmounted men were left to guard the camp. The Muslims were attacked where they could not employ their customary enveloping tactics, and their crowded rear increased the confusion rather than the strength of the ranks in front. The first charge of the crusaders was checked, but the onset of the reserve under Bohemond was irresistible. The Latin victory (9 February 1098) was especially welcome because it secured fresh supplies of provisions and of horses, and was followed im­mediately by the surrender of the strong castle of Harim.

As already observed, the investment of Antioch by the crusaders was not complete until March or even April. The city lay at this time wholly on the south bank of the Orontes, with its northern wall running roughly parallel to the river. The Latin camp was on the same side of the Orontes, round the north-east corner of the wall. In this position the crusaders blockaded three of the city gates, which opened here on the northern and eastern sides. They built a bridge of boats across the river to be a means of communication with the plain on the other side, in front of the city, and later a fort on the hill slopes beside them to protect their exposed flank on the south. Tancred remained separate from the main army in occupation of a monastery on the west side of the city, no doubt in order to maintain communication with the sea and the port of St Simeon, ten miles away. The gate in the centre of the north wall, where it approached the river most closely, was the principal gate of the city and opened onto a bridge over the Orontes. By this the Muslim garrison issued out to intercept the provision trains, which began to come more frequently in spring from St Simeon to the Latin camp. In front of the bridge was a low mound with a mosque and a burying-ground upon it. In order to frustrate the sallies of the garrison, the crusaders at length determined to seize and fortify this post. On 1 March Bohemond and Raymond rode with a strong escort to St Simeon in order to obtain workers and tools for the fortification of the mound, and with the intention of escorting a provision train on its way to the camp. A party of the garrison set an ambush for them as they marched back (5 March). The knights seem to have saved themselves at the expense of their companions, many of whom lost their lives. Meantime Godfrey and the other leaders in the camp had become aware of what was happening, and prepared to intercept the victorious Muslims. Bohemond and his horsemen joined the main army in time to share in this counter-attack. The garrison attempted to reinforce their comrades, but this only increased the magnitude of their disaster. Next day the work of fortifying the rising ground in front of the river gate was begun. The gravestones on the hill supplied welcome material to the builders. The graves themselves were desecrated, to the distress and indignation of the Muslim spectators. After the fort was completed it was occupied by Raymond’s troops. Early in April Tancred’s position was strengthened, and the only other important gate, that on the western side, was now completely blocked. The garrison was quite unable to dislodge the crusaders from their new position, and provisions could no longer be brought into the beleaguered city.


Surrender of Antioch and Battle with Karbogha


In May 1098 word reached the crusading chiefs that a great army under the command of Karbogha of Mosul, with the approval of the Caliph of Baghdad, was on its way to the relief of Antioch. The Latin position was now extremely perilous. Fortunately Bohemond was already in communication with an officer who commanded one of the western towers, and through him the Latins gained an easy entrance into the city on the night of 3 June. Although the citadel at the southern extremity of the town did not surrender, the crusaders were now protected by the walls of Antioch itself against the army of Karbogha. On 5 June the Muslim host encamped at the “Iron Bridge”, eight miles away, and that same day, or the day before, a party of their horsemen was seen from the walls of Antioch and skirmished with the Latins. From 8 June to 28 June the crusaders were besieged in Antioch. Some of the nobles lost heart at once and deserted their comrades. The ships in the harbor of St Simeon began to set sail, crowded with fugitives. Had Karbogha’s army arrived four days sooner, it is not improbable that the crusading movement would have been extinguished at the gates of Antioch. As it was, the Latins endured three weeks of continuous fighting and terrible privation.

In these circumstances the crusaders took an unprecedented step. Neither on the march to Antioch nor during the siege had their operations been controlled by one supreme commander. The current modern belief that Godfrey of Bouillon was the leader of the whole Crusade has no foundation in fact. But now it was decided that one chief should take command and the choice of the leaders fell on Bohemond. Enthusiasm had already been stirred by supernatural visions and by the finding of the Holy Lance (14 June), and thus encouraged the leaders had decided to put all to the hazard of a single battle. Bohemond’s part was to direct the preparations, to marshal the army, and to exercise the chief com­mand during the fight. His supreme authority was to remain intact for a fortnight beyond the day of battle. It is probably not accidental that the chosen day (28 June) was a Monday, the second octave of the finding of the Holy Lance.

The hazardous operation of crossing the bridge into the plain north of the Orontes, where the Muslims lay, was accomplished without dangerous interference from the enemy. Karbogha’s army included the troops of the brothers Duqaq of Damascus and Ridwan of Aleppo, who were deadly rivals, and Arab forces upon whom small reliance could be placed. When it was known that the Latins intended to march out from the city, there was hot debate regarding how they should be met. Those who wished that they should be attacked as they issued from the bridge were overruled, and some in consequence rode away almost before the fight began. The Latins took up their position in the plain, with their front to the east, in three divisions, stretching from the river to the hills. Bohemond with strong forces posted himself in the rear, facing westward. It is not clear that the Muslims had a well-arranged plan of battle. Evidently the Syrian, Mesopotamian, and Anatolian troops operated separately, and their chief attack was from the west and north-west, although their main strength faced the Latins on the east. The crusaders, therefore, were able to transfer reinforcements from the east front to the west, and to rout the enemy in the rear before they began their decisive movement forward. Karbogha, who was posted on the right Hank of the Muslim army, remained strangely inactive. When he saw that the attack from the west had failed, he drew back to his camp, set fire to his tents, and made off in hasty flight. The number of the Muslim slain does not seem to have been large. Yet the Latin victory was the turning-point in the history of the First Crusade and decisive of its ultimate success. The defenders of the citadel of Antioch now made overtures of surrender, and the Latins took possession in the beginning of the following week. It was determined in council that the march on Jerusalem should not be resumed until 1 November.


Bohemond, Prince of Antioch


The final disposal of Antioch after its capture was complicated by jealousies and rivalries and doubtful questions of interpretation. Certainly it had been assigned by treaty to Alexius, but only on condition that he brought in person a sufficient army to help the crusaders. What period might he claim for the fulfillment of this promise? In 1097 and 1098 the naval and military forces of the Empire were chiefly engaged in subduing Muslim towns in the west of Asia Minor. But in June 1098 Alexius had already marched with a considerable army half way to Antioch, following the road traversed in the previous year by the crusaders themselves. Unfortunately for all concerned, he listened at Philomelium to the alarmist stories of Stephen of Blois and the other fugitives from Antioch who met him there. They probably told him that the crusading host had been irretrievably defeated, and that a Turkish army was already marching against him. He turned back to protect his recent conquests in Asia Minor. Naturally this action was judged by most to be a surrender of the Latin cause. At the best Alexius was now in a position hard to retrieve. There are two accounts of the message which the crusaders sent him in July. Albert of Aix says that the envoys were instructed to tell the Emperor that he had been untrue to his promise, and thus had nullified his treaty. This may have been the opinion of most of the Latin leaders, but, as their attitude in November showed, they were not yet prepared completely to break off relations with the Emperor. The Gesta Francorum says that the envoys were told to invite Alexius to fulfill his promise and come to receive possession of Antioch. It may be that something of this kind was said, with qualifications, setting a limit to the delay which would be considered reasonable, and referring to the Emperors recent retreat. Presumably the envoys were empowered to adhere in substance to the original treaty, provided the Emperor agreed to carry out his engagements effectively and quickly. It is not known what reply Alexius sent to this communication. It may be that he felt the difficulty of his position so keenly that he sent no immediate reply. In the spring of 1099 he promised to join the crusaders with an army on St John’s day (24 June), if they would wait for him until then. Perhaps he was encouraged by the support of Raymond of Toulouse. But his proposal came too late. The Crusade was nearing a successful conclusion without the Emperor’s assistance. All the leaders except Raymond now held that the treaty had lapsed, and that the Emperor had not fulfilled his obligation.

Bohemond, Prince of Antioch as he now became, profited most by the Emperor's mistake. Before the capture of the city he had maneuvered dexterously to establish his claim to it. Under pressure of Karbogha’s approach, the leaders had reluctantly assented to his proposal that the lordship of Antioch should fall to anyone who secured its capture or be­trayal. Before Bohemond made this proposal he had arranged for the betrayal of the town. Of course the rights of the Emperor were duly reserved, but after the defeat of Karbogha’s army Bohemond was practically ruler of Antioch. In November he urged that the Emperor's claim had already lapsed. The other leaders would not yet make the declaration he desired, but Raymond was the only one to maintain that Alexius’ right was beyond dispute. Provencal troops held strong posts in Antioch until January 1099. Their ejection in that month marked Bohemond1s final triumph.

The six months that followed Karbogha’s defeat were spent by the crusaders partly in recuperating their strength, partly in extending their conquests. Baldwin of Edessa gained especially by the help which he received at this time from Godfrey and other crusaders. Bohemond strengthened his position in Cilicia. Raymond, and no doubt other leaders also, sought to occupy the Muslim castles on the way to Aleppo and in the valley of the Orontes. Plague raged in Antioch and St Simeon for several months, so that few remained there of choice; its most distin­guished victim was Ademar, Bishop of Puy. The quarrel between Bohemond and Raymond regarding the lordship of Antioch further delayed the march of the Crusade. At last Raymond in despair yielded to the clamor of his Provencals and started for Jerusalem, accompanied by Tancred and Robert of Normandy (13 January 1099). They marched slowly as far as Arqah near Tripolis, to which they laid siege (14 February), and where they were joined by Godfrey and Robert of Flanders a month later. Here, on 8 April, the unfortunate finder of the Holy Lance, Peter Bartholomew, submitted himself to an ordeal by fire. When he died, after twelve days, the nature and cause of his injuries were a matter of dispute between the believers and the unbelievers. The siege of Arqah was abandoned in the middle of May (13 May), and the remainder of the march to Jerusalem by the coast route was accomplished without any special incident. Ramlah, between Jaffa and Jerusalem, was occupied on 3 June, and on the morning of 7 June the crusading army at length encamped outside the walls of the Holy City.

The arrival of the crusaders at their destination obviously put fresh heart into the rank and file and fresh energy into the action of their leaders. Jerusalem was strongly fortified and well supplied with mangonels, and its garrison of 1000 men fought bravely. Perhaps, indeed, the civilian population was ill-disposed to their Egyptian governor or was intimidated by the numbers and the reputation of the Latins, and so did not second the efforts of the garrison. At all events the siege was quickly brought to a successful issue. The first attempt to storm the city failed because the besiegers were not equipped with the necessary ladders and siege-engines (13 June). Two siege-towers, a huge battering-ram, and a quantity of mangonels were constructed before the next attack was made. Some Genoese ships which reached Jaffa on 17 June brought a welcome supply of provisions and also workers skilled in the construction of siege material. The scarcity of water was the chief inconvenience from which the Latins suffered. A solemn procession round the town, when the preparations were nearly complete (8 July), raised general enthusiasm. The second assault was begun late on 13 July, was continued next day, and was finally successful on 15 July. Godfrey’s men were the first to storm the walls, with the help of a siege-tower at the north-east corner. Ray­mond on the south was less successful, but the great “tower of David”, in which the Egyptian commandant was stationed, surrendered to him. The celebration in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, where men wept together for joy and grief, and the merciless slaughter of the inhabitants, well express, in combination, the spirit of the Crusade. Raymond, however, at the cost of some opprobrium, escorted safely on the way to Ascalon those who had surrendered to him.


Godfrey, Prince of Jerusalem


A prince to rule Jerusalem and the south of Palestine had now to be chosen. On 22 July the crusading chiefs met for this purpose. Some of the clergy thought that a high dignitary of the Church should be the only ruler in Jerusalem, and Raymond favored their view. Raymond himself was the first to be offered the princedom, but declined it because of his ecclesiastical sympathies. Finally, Godfrey of Bouillon, rather unwillingly, accepted the distinguished and difficult post, and thus became Defender of the Holy Sepulchre (Advocatus Sancti Sepulcri). He was always addressed as dux or princeps, never as king. But his successors were crowned as kings, and so he may be called the first ruler of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.

The defeat of an Egyptian army near Ascalon on 12 August may be reckoned as the last achievement of the First Crusade. Palestine was then governed in part by Turkish emirs and in part by representatives of the Egyptian Caliph. Jerusalem and Ascalon were subject to the same Egyptian governor. The Muslim army, which the Latins now defeated, was probably levied to protect the Holy City when the final movement of the crusaders from Arqah became known in Egypt. The Egyptians, seem to have put forward their full strength, and so may possibly have mustered an army of 20,000 men. Godfrey’s troops may be reckoned at half that number. By taking the initiative he probably forced the Egyptians to an engagement before they were quite ready. The extension of the Latin line from the shore to the hills, in three divisions, neutralized the numerical superiority of their opponents. The left wing, which Godfrey commanded, was echeloned behind the other divisions as a reserve. An attempt of the Muslims to envelope the Latins from the side of the hills was frustrated. The decisive movement was the charge of the knights of the Latin centre, which completely broke the opposing line. The battle was over in less than an hour. The victors gained great spoil of provisions and animals, especially sheep and camels. But the prestige of the victory was of much greater value. It was several years before any considerable movement was again attempted by the Egyptians against the newly-established state.

The statements of the best contemporary sources regarding the number of men bearing arms who joined the First Crusade1 are quite irreconcilable. These discrepancies and the estimates of Muslim armies that the same sources give, which are impossible, make it clear, as already explained, that all these general estimates are merely pictorial in character. Even the lowest of them, if that be 60,000, cannot be admitted to be approximately correct merely because it is the lowest. 60,000 is a stereotyped expression used by writers of the period for a very large number.

On the other hand, scattered through the sources there is a considerable amount of what may be accepted as approximately accurate information about the numbers of the crusaders engaged in particular fights or slain on particular occasions, and about the numbers of the knights and men who served individual leaders. From such details a reliable estimate of the military efficiency and numerical strength of the Crusade may be obtained, and the partial figures when taken in combination indicate a range within which the grand total probably lies. Raymond d’Agiles supplies more material of this kind than any other writer, and his general consistency is itself evidence of considerable value. He uses pictorial numbers occasionally, especially in reports of rhetorical speeches and in estimates of Muslim armies. But most of his figures harmonize with their context and present an appearance of tolerable exactness. His general narrative also is particularly clear and convincing and full of detail. His account of the three battles fought during the siege of Antioch may be referred to in illustration of the moderate numerical estimates which are characteristic of him. It must be remembered that he speaks only of the knights who fought in these battles, and also that the number of these able to take the field at the time was greatly reduced by the dearth of horses. Besides, as already explained, the total strength of the crusaders was never gathered at any one time in the camp at Antioch. Still, it is noteworthy that the knights in these engagements are numbered by hundreds and not by thousands. The scale thus provided is amply confirmed by what we are bound to suppose were the numbers of the Muslims. An expedition from Aleppo or Damascus might number 500 horsemen or 1000 or 1500, very rarely more. These figures set a clear upper limit to the numbers of the Latins on the supposition that the Muslims were superior to them in number.

Such being the character of Raymond’s history, great importance must attach to his making what may be regarded as a serious attempt to estimate the number of the crusading army during the siege of Jerusalem. Excluding non-combatants, his total is 12,000 of whom 1200-1300 were knights. Now this implies that the more important leaders had an average of something like 2000-3000 men including 200-300 knights. This agrees with all the estimates of the forces of these leaders in which any confidence can be placed. Reference may be made to one of these. Albert of Aix’s narrative, in spite of its defects, contains a great deal of exact information, especially about Godfrey of Bouillon. Now Albert says that Godfrey commanded 2000 men during the battle against Karbogha. In this battle there were five or six leaders whose forces, on an average, would be equal to Godfrey’s. Thus the army of the crusaders at Antioch would be similar in size to Raymond's estimate of that which besieged Jerusalem. In both cases the estimate is rather too high than too low. The numbers in Karbogha’s army supply a vague standard of comparison. If it numbered 12,000 it was a large army for the circumstances of the time. It is unlikely that the Latins were as numerous. Perhaps at this time the crusaders actually under arms in Syria, Cilicia, and Edessa numbered 12,000-15,000 men.

In estimating the sum total of those who joined the Crusade, we have to add such as lost their lives or deserted the cause during the siege of Antioch and the march through Asia Minor. Non-combatant priests and women and various ineffectives have also to be allowed for. But this latter class cannot have been so great as to prejudice the military effectiveness of the Crusade. Perhaps it is not too great a venture to suggest that 25,000 or 30,000, all told, marched through Asia Minor to Antioch; and it seems to the writer that this estimate is more likely to be above reality than below it. Of course many left their homes who never reached Constantinople, and those who accompanied Walter and Peter suffered heavy loss in Asia Minor before the arrival of the organized expeditions. Something has been said of their numbers already. But to attempt an estimate of all the men and women and even children (?) who left their homes in Western Europe for the Crusade would be merely to pile conjecture upon conjecture. Yet perhaps this may safely be said: that the number, if stated at all, should be in tens of thousands and not in hundreds of thousands.

As Peter the Hermit still plays an important part in the popular accounts of the origin of the First Crusade, some additional observations regarding him may be permitted in conclusion. His actual role as an early and successful preacher of the Crusade has already been indicated. His legendary history originated, we must suppose, amongst those who were stirred by his preaching, and who knew him as the originator of their crusade. Along with other legends it was elaborated in the popular songs of the period, the chansons de geste. From there it made a partial entrance into the narrative of Albert of Aix, and in a more developed form entered the history of William of Tyre. Through William of Tyre it has so fixed itself in modern literature that no historian of mere fact seems able to root it out.

According to legend Peter stirred the Pope and all Western Europe to the First Crusade. The four writers who were present at the Council of Clermont report Pope Urban’s words in terms which are quite inconsistent with this representation. Besides, the chief authorities for the history of the Crusade make it clear that Peter began his preaching after the council and in consequence of it. His journey as far as Con­stantinople has already been related. In the later stages of the Crusade he appears as a personage of some influence among the poorer classes, but not as one whom the leaders particularly respected. His volunteering, with a comrade, to take a message to Karbogha in July 1098, has no clear significance. Perhaps it was simply a reaction from his failure in the beginning of the year, when for a time he was a deserter. In March 1099 the duty of distributing alms to the Provençal poor was entrusted to him. In August 1099 he was one of those who organized processions and services of intercession for the victory of the Latins before their battle with the Egyptians. Between Nicaea and Jerusalem he plays a recorded part five times in all. This minor figure is not even an appropriate symbol or representation of the mighty forces, religious, political, and economic, that created the First Crusade.