Post-classical history

The Crusades: Names and Numbers

From their inception at the Council of Clermont in 1095, crusades were referred to in various ways. Typical designations were “pilgrimage” (Lat. peregrinatio), “expedition to the Holy Land” (iter in Terram Sanctam), and “passage” ( passagium), but other terms were used. It was only toward the end of the twelfth century that specific designations for “crusade” (cruciata) and “crusader” (m. crucesignatus, f. crucesignata) were devised. Individual crusade expeditions were referred to by a variety of descriptions involving their dates, main participants, and goals; they were not designated by numbers.

It was in the eighteenth century that historians evidently first allocated numbers to individual crusades, from the first to the ninth. However, these numbers are neither consistent nor accurate. Of the identity of the First Crusade (1096— 1099) there can be no doubt, but there is no consensus about numbering after the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). The Crusade of Emperor Frederick II (1227-1229) is sometimes regarded as part of the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) and sometimes as a separate expedition. This means that the term Sixth Crusade may refer either to Frederick II’s crusade or to the first crusade of King Louis IX of France, which might also be called the Seventh Crusade. Consequently, each subsequent number after the fifth might refer to either of two different expeditions.

A much more fundamental objection to the traditional numbering of crusades is that the numbers are misleading. The historians who allocated and popularized numbers only took major expeditions to the Holy Land into account; smaller expeditions to the East and crusades to other destinations were simply not counted. Yet before the loss of the Holy Land in 1291 there had been other major expeditions with goals elsewhere, such as the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), which were never fitted into a numerical scheme. Even if discussion is confined to the Holy Land, modern historical research has established that there were far more crusades than those distinguished by individual numbers. Thus, even if the Crusade of 1101 is considered a late wave of the First Crusade, as is done by some historians, there were still other substantial crusades to the Holy Land that took place after 1101 but before the so-called Second Crusade.

It is impossible to state with accuracy how many crusades took place. Often one proclamation and its associated privileges gave rise to different expeditions. Sometimes proclamations met with little or no response, or some responses may not have found resonance in the sources. How many of all these undertakings should be counted as crusades is a matter for debate.

The only absolutely clear method of designating individual crusades is by a combination of dates and descriptive terminology relating to participation, goals, or both, and this is the solution that has been adopted in this encyclopedia. However, the names of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Crusades, which are at least unambiguous (if not accurate), have been retained, as they are now established by long tradition. The full list of crusades separately treated in the encyclopedia is given in the following Chronology. However, information on numerous other crusades can be found in articles relating to individual countries or persons.

Chronology

1096-1099

First Crusade (including the People’s Crusades)

1101

Crusade of 1101

1106/1108-1110

Crusade of Sigurd Jorsalfar

1107-1108

Crusade of Bohemund I of Antioch

1114-1115

Mallorca Crusade

1122-1124

Venetian Crusade of 1122-1124

1129

Crusade of 1129 against Damascus

1147-1149

Second Crusade (including the Wendish Crusade )

c. 1150-c. 1560

Baltic Crusades (against Livonia, Prussia, Finland, Lithuania, and Russia)

1151-1153

Crusade of Rognvald Kali Kolsson

1172

Pilgrimage of Henry the Lion

1189-1192

Third Crusade

1197-1198

Crusade of Emperor Henry VI

1202-1204

Fourth Crusade

1209-1229

Albigensian Crusade

1212

Children’s Crusade

1217-1221

Fifth Crusade

1225

Crusade of William VI of Montferrat

1227-1229

Crusade of Emperor Frederick II

1228-1232

Drenthe Crusade

1233-1234

Stedinger Crusades

1239-1241

Crusade of 1239-1241 of Thibaud IV of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall (sometimes known as Barons’ Crusade)

1248-1254

Crusade of Louis IX of France to the East

1251

First Shepherds’ Crusade

1265-1266

Crusade of Odo of Burgundy

1267

Crusade of 1267 from the Upper Rhine

1269

Crusade of Charles I of Anjou against Lucera

1269-1270

Crusade of James I of Aragon

1270

Crusade of Louis IX of France to Tunis

1270-1272

Crusade of the Lord Edward of England

1309

Crusade of 1309

1320

Second Shepherds’ Crusade

1344

Smyrna Crusade

1346

Crusade of Humbert II of Viennois

1347-1350

Crusade of Magnus II Eriksson of Sweden against Novgorod

1366-1367

Crusade of Amadeus VI of Savoy

1383

Despenser’s Crusade

1390

Mahdia Crusade

1396

Nikopolis Crusade

1420-1431

Crusades against the Hussites

1444

Varna Crusade

Individual crusades with designations as used in this encyclopedia (entry headings are indicated in boldface).

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