The Crusades

It is widely believed that the Crusades were a clash of civilisations. But a closer examination reveals a complexity that has eluded many historians.

Pope Urban II preaches the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont.

To be a pilgrim - a choice that led not to contemplation but to holy war in the climate of 11th century Europe. Marcus Bull asks why.

Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade, which lasted from 1096 to 1099. Jonathan Phillips examines the origins and motives of the first Crusaders.

The popular image of crusading is derived almost entirely from western accounts of the victorious First Crusade. Yet when historians examine Byzantine sources about the campaign a very different picture emerges, argues Peter Frankopan.

John France recounts the against-the-odds narrative of the capture of the Holy City by the forces of the First Crusade.

The Kharāghān twin towers, built in 1053 in Iran, as the burial place of Seljuq princes.

Robert Irwin on how Islam saw the Christian invaders.

A 12th-century French map of Jerusalem showing the main religious sites and crusaders chasing out the infidel.

Outremer, the crusader kingdom, and its capital Jerusalem entered a golden age during the 1130s. Simon Sebag Montefiore portrays its extraordinary cast of kings, queens, conquerors and criminals.

The Dome of the Treasury in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, was built in 789. Photo by Roberta F.

Jonathan Phillips explains how Damascus, ‘Paradise of the Orient’ and a spiritual home for Muslims, became a major battleground of the Second Crusade.

William of Tyre discovers Baldwin's first symptoms of leprosy (MS of L'Estoire d'Eracles (French translation of William of Tyre's Historia), painted in France, 1250s.

Peter Edbury profiles medieval Christendom's militant apologist.

The Battle of Hattin, from a 15th-century manuscript.

Frankish disunity and impetuosity produced a disaster that lost Christendom the holy city of Jerusalem.