Crusader: Godfrey de Bouillon


Godfrey de Bouillon

Godfrey de Bouillon, born in 1060 to parents Eustace II, Count of Boulogne and Ida, daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine at Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Godfrey de Bouillon, was one of the first European nobles, to answer the call, and arm thyself, departing on the First Crusade in August of 1096, to the Holy Land, with a force of 10,000 knights and 30,000 foot soldiers.

Godfrey de Bouillon along with Tancred de Hauntville achieved victory at the Siege of Antioch (October 1097-June1098).

On the morning of the 15th July, Godfrey and Tancred, stood side by side; they being among the first Christian warriors, to mount the ramparts, leading to the capture of Jerusalem.

On the 22nd July 1099, Godfrey de Bouillon was elected to the post of; King of Jerusalem.  He declared to the people of Jerusalem, that he would never wear the gold crown, in a city where his lord and master, wore a crown of thorns.

On the 12th August 1099, Godfrey took on the mighty Muslim army at Ascalon, and were victorious.

On the 18th July 1100, Godfrey de Bouillon died.

Dagobert of Pisa, head of the church in Jerusalem, claimed he should be the new King.

Baldwin of Edessa, Godfrey’s brother arrived in Jerusalem with a force of hardened warriors to claim the throne by right of heritage, and was crowned King of Jerusalem on the 25th December 1100.

Wikipedia Image


First Crusade: French Crusader’s

Saint-Michel at Le Puy Chapel in France.jpg

Chapel of Saint-Michel

The Romanesque designed chapel of Saint-Michel, located 275 feet above the valley floor at Le Puy in the Auvergne region of France.  Access was by way of a staircase, set amongst a collection of medieval houses, at the foot of the rock.

Le Puy was one of many recruiting centres across Europe, where would be crusaders would step forward, take the cross and make their vows before Bishop Adhemar.  He who had been appointed the spiritual leader of the crusade by Pope Urban II.

The crusade attracted powerful princes from the Christian world:

Hugh, Count of Vermandois, youngest son of Henry I of France, departed for Italy in August 1096 with a small army.


Godfrey of Bouillon

Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, mortgaged his entire estate to the Bishops of Liege and Verdun and with younger brother Baldwin raised a sizeable army.  Eustace III, Count of Boulogne, their other brother joined the crusade at a later date, bringing with him a small army.

Stephen of Blois, married to Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror, joined up with Duke Robert of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror and Count Robert of Flanders.

Crusaders drew up agreements with the church; many mortgaged their estates, for the duration they fought in the Holy Land.  Failure to return saw many estates fall into the hands of the church.

Godfrey of Bouillon, headed towards Jerusalem by passing through Hungary, and King Colman held Baldwin and his family as hostages, on the promise they would pass through without incident.

Robert of Normandy, Robert of Flanders and Stephen of Blois forces marched across France, crossing into Southern Italy.  Pope Urban II met these crusaders at Lucca, giving them his blessing.

Pope Urban II

Pope Urban II

Nicaea with its ancient churches and palaces had been captured by the Turks at the “Battle of Manzikert” in 1071.  French Crusaders caught the Sultan off guard, as he was away putting down another Muslim force.  When the Sultan’s force returned, they were greeted by a besieged city.

Crusader’s crossed the Anatolian plateau and onto Palestine, where the army split into two forces.

By now Crusader’s were considered serious warriors by the Turk’s and Sultan’s.  On the 1st July, Sultan Kilij Arslan and Turks attacked the crusader camp near Dorylaeum.  What had hoped to be a decisive win turned to disaster as the other half of the crusader army, attacked from high up in the mountain ridges, located behind them.

Crusader’s reached Heraclea (Eregli), where upon Turkish forces attacked, but victory was achieved swiftly as crusaders sent the Turks packing.

Baldwin rode one-hundred and fifty miles with eighty knights across the Euphrates River, to the city of Edessa in the east.  Baldwin was received by Prince Thoros, but very quickly Thoros was murdered and Baldwin installed as Count Baldwin of Edessa.

Antioch, Alexandra, Constantinople and Rome, were fabled cities adorned with luxurious palaces and villas.

Antioch; enclosed by an eighteen mile wall with 450 towers stood between the crusaders and victory.  The crusader’s set up camp, waiting for the order to attack.  In 1098, as supplies got low, an English fleet commanded by Edgar Atheling arrived.  With fresh manpower and supplies, two fortresses were constructed, outside the wall, thus tightening the blockade.

On the 2nd June 1098, word was received as a traitor in the city, lowered a rope ladder from the Tower of the Two sisters, allowing sixty crusader’s to reach the ramparts.  Christians assisted the crusaders and the large gates were opened, as the crusader army burst through killing the Turks.  Antioch had finally been captured and restored as a Christian city.

A few days later Kerbogha’s forces arrived to take back the city… those crusaders within were doomed, or were they?

One Peter Bartholomew, a peasant told of his vision to Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy, and the hiding place of the Holy Lance, used to pierce Jesus Christ upon the cross.

Peter Bartholomew dug up the Holy Lance from the floor of the Cathedral of St.Peter.

Against overwhelming odds, crusaders withstood famine and siege for eight and a half months, against a mighty Muslim army, only to be saved from death, by barefooted priests carrying the Holy Lance… Kerbogha’s army fled…

Wikipedia Images

The First Crusade

First Crusade

The First Crusade

In 1095, Emperor Alexius I of the Byzantine Empire called upon the West for help against Muslim forces in the Holy Land.  He sent envoys, pleading for mercenary troops from the West to confront these Seljuk Turks.

In November of 1095, Pope Urban II called for a Crusade, for Western Christians to take up arms and recapture the Holy Land, from these Muslims at the Council of Clermont in Southern France.

We had the Pope and Normans, wanting to safeguard pilgrim routes to Jerusalem, saving holy places of interest for the Christian World.  Protecting it, against invasion and destruction by these Seljuk Turks.  By offering assistance to the Byzantine Empire, they believed they could unite both the Christian Churches of the East and West into one.

Words spoken by Pope Urban II, when he called for a crusade, included:

“Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked.  Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ.  Wear his cross as your badge.  If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.”

Thousand’s answered the call to take up arms.  Many were true Christians, who believed it was right to reclaim Jerusalem for the Christian World.  Others had committed sin in the past, and believed God might forgive them if they took part.  They had been told if they died in battle doing God’s work, they would go to heaven.  Others saw it as a way of getting rich, hoping to find treasures.

An early group of Crusader’s consisting of knights and commoners led by Peter the Hermit, known as the “People’s Crusade” left a wake of destruction in their path, as they crossed the Byzantine Empire.  They met Turkish forces at Cibotus where they were crushed.

Four armies departed for Byzantium in the August of 1096, led by ; Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Godfrey of Bouillon, Hugh of Vermandois and Bohemond of Taranto.

In 1097 some 10,000 knights, nobles and churchmen gathered at Constantinople for the journey to the Holy Land… to push the Turks out.

The Norman’s were highly enthusiastic supporters of this Holy War.  Of the eight leaders, five were Norman or had Norman connections, like Robert, the Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror.

The first target for these crusaders, eager for battle was the fortress city of Nicea, which was taken with ease.

The second target was Antioch, a strongly protected Turkish city, which took seven months to crack.  The city of Antioch was developed into a Norman State within the Holy Land.

In the summer of 1099, the campaign to re-take Jerusalem commenced, with its well defended and high walls surrounding the city.

It is believed some 70,000 people died during a massacre of Jews and Muslims after the city had been taken by the Crusader’s.  The streets of Jerusalem, were said to run red with blood.  The city was ransacked for treasure.

After the success of the Crusader’s regaining the city of Jerusalem, many knights returned home, having achieved their goal, by saving Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was created with Godfrey of Bouillon as its first King.  Upon his death, he was succeeded by his brother; Baldwin of Boulogne in 1100.

Four large settlements; Jerusalem, Edessa, Antioch and Tripoli were established, each guarded by castles, giving the Crusader’s the upper hand in the region.  This lasted until the fall of Edessa in 1144.

(Image) The First Crusade: Wikipedia