The Crusades

At the height of papal rule in the middle of the Dark Ages, the Roman Church decided to restore Christian access to holy places in and around Jerusalem. Following the first crusade six additional major crusades followed and numerous minor ones directed against what the Church regarded as her heretical enemies: the Albigensian Cathars of southern France, the Hussites in Bohemia, the Waldenses in the Alps. These were all Christians but rejected Roman's teachings. For this she "made war with the saints."

• 1095 The First Crusade was launched by pope Urban II. [1] pp. 11-41
• June 12 Crusaders reach Wieselburg/Hungary where thousands are slain. By June 24 they are in Semlin, Hungary where thousands more are killed. [1] p. 23.
• September 9 they are in Nikaia and on the 26th Xerigordon (both in Turkey), thousands killed in each town. [1] pp. 25-27
• By January 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles were conquered (number of slain unknown). [1] p. 30
• June 3, 1098 Antioch, Turkey conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. On June 28 100,000 Turks including women and children were killed. [1] pp. 32-35. Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [2] p. 60
• December 11, 1098 at Marra (Maraat an-numan) thousands were killed. Then, because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [1] p. 36

• July 15, 1099 Jerusalem was finally conquered killing more than 60,000 victims (Jewish, Muslim, men, women, and children. In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour's tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude") [1] pp. 37-40

• The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [3] p. 79
• Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". There was an estimated one million victims of the first crusade alone. [1] p. 41
• August 12, 1099, in the Battle of Askalon, 200,000 "heathens" were reportedly slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ".[1] p. 45
• April 12, 1204 The Fourth crusade sacked Constantinople, the Muslim capitol, where the exact number of victims is unknown, but numerous thousands, many of them Christian, died. [1] pp. 141-148
• The remaining Crusades ending with the fall of Akkon in 1291 resulted in the death of an estimated 20 million victims.[1] p. 224


[1] H.Wollschlger: Die bewaffneten Wallfahrten gen Jerusalem, Zrich 1973. (In German and out of print. But includes a full list of original medieval Christian chroniclers' writings).
[2] P.W.Edbury, Crusade and Settlement, Cardiff Univ. Press 1985.
[3] F.Turner, Beyond Geography, New York 1980.