“Onward Christian Soldiers!”
“We'll' get there next time!”
“Lick my sword, UnHoly Ones!!”
The Crusades was an early attempt by the Europeans to expand to the Middle East. These were not wars about oil but about gold, silk stockings, modern bathing facilities and aphrodisiacs (otherwise known as spices) to cheer up a draughty castle back home. It also came 'guilt free' as the Crusaders were 'liberating excess luxuries' from God's enemies. Originally only Muslims (officially) and Jews (unofficially) were classified as the enemy but this was later broadened to the Orthodox Christians (Greek schismatics), Lapsed Catholics (heretics), Pagans (wooden penis worshippers) and eventually to supporters of the 'Wrong Pope' (Rome v Avignon v Pisa) and people you didn't like but couldn't fit them in all the previous categories.
There were nine official Crusades between 1095 and 1271. Some received Papal backing/sponsorship, others relied on national leaders to get their women folk to sew crosses on their surcoats and abstain from sex whilst on active duty. Most missed the Holy Land by some considerable margin, ending up in Constantinople, Alexandria, Tunis and er...St.Tropez.
|Year||Crusade Number||Image||Holy Objective||Leaders||What Happened?||Result||Who got screwed??|
|1096||Zero Crusade.||Image||Jerusalem.||Peter the Hermit, Walter the Penniless, Self-catering Christians. More of a mob than an army.||Failure! Everyone dies except Peter the Hermit. Very convenient. He later turns up outside Antioch to join the First Crusade.||Muslims Win!||Byzantine Greeks, Jews, Anyone who looked loaded.|
|1099||First Crusade.||Image||Jerusalem.||Robert Duke of Normandy, Geoffrey Duke of Bouillion, Raymond Count of Toulouse, Baldwin of Flanders, Bohemond of Mafia (Sicily).||The Holy City Taken! Lot of blood shed. Bells rung, new real estate claimed for God. Relics found en route are a rack of Holy Spears in Antioch.||Christians Win!||Jews, Muslims.|
|1101||First Crusade (Millennium Edition: 1.5).||Image||Jerusalem..er..no wait..where's Wally?||Stephen Duke of Blois, Anslem 'Fighting Bishop' of Milan. Others who missed the First Crusade.||Disaster! No one knows where they are going. Byzantines blamed for supplying bad maps.||Muslims Win!||The crusaders themselves. Very few make it back, thank god.|
|1147||Second Crusade.||Image||Edessa (where's that?) and then Damascus.||King Louis VII of France, wife Queen Eleanor. King Conrad II of Germany and King of the Romans.||Fiasco! Conrad goes down with food poisoning in Turkey. Eleanor dresses like an amazon, baring her breasts to the enemy. Louis sulks, starts divorce proceedings. Edessa remains lost but Lisbon gained in compensation. This is thanks to a fleet of English and Flemish crusaders who drop by in Portugal and are encouraged to help the ruler there Duke Henry to capture Lisbon from the Muslims. These particular crusaders are happy with the loot and return home, their crusader vows fulfilled. Where's Edessa again?||Draw!||Jews (in Germany). Muslims in Portugal.|
|1189||Third Crusade.||Image||Jerusalem (lost in 1187 to Saladin).||King Richard the Lionheart of England, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, King Philip II of France.||Dismal! Frederick drowns in Turkey (not a very Christian-holiday friendly country). Richard and Philip argue about their economic credit ratings. The French leave, it's England alone against the Muslims. Richard wants to get back to England quickly, leaves army behind. Foolish move.||Muslims Win!||Jews in England. Richard the Lionheart for losing his Crusading Immunity Status in Austria. England for paying a ransom to Germany.|
|1202||Fourth Crusade (Death to Schismatics edition).||Image||Jerusalem then Constantinople as it was cheaper to get to.||Count Baldwin of Flanders, Doge Enrico Dandolo of Venice. 1st Sponsored Crusade by Pope Innocent III||Oops! Crusade diverted from Jerusalem and told to sail to Constantinople to refuel on holy zeal. Venetian credit cards swallowed by broke Greek banks so the crusaders sack the Byzantine capital. Pope Innocent sent message that the sponsorship deal was off and told the crusaders to take off the Papal logo. Too late. 800 years later Pope John-Paul II had to apologise to the Greeks in person.||Christians (Catholic) Win!||The Byzantines. Served them right for being schismatic sneaks on earlier crusades.|
|1209||Albigensian Crusade (Death to Heretics edition).||Image||Toulouse||Simon De Montfort Senior, King Philip II of France, King Louis VIII of France. 2nd Sponsored Crusade by Pope Innocent III.||Fire! First the Greeks and now the Southern French for breaking away from the Catholic church. This crusade lasts 20 years as luggage lost in the baggage hall.||Christians (Catholic) Win!||Southern French, troubadours, heretics, non-smokers, vegans, virgins.|
|1212||Children's Crusade (Junior Edition).||Image||Jerusalem, X-Box, Playstation, Plasma TV.||A German kid called Nick and a French urchin known as Stephan.||Slavery! Kiddie crusaders Nick and Stephan agree to conquer the world for free games and hamburgers. Unable to get their shit together (their parents hide their trainers), the two boys lead separate armies of children towards to where they think the Holy Land is. Nick's boy soldiers are eaten in Italy by starving peasants whilst in France Stephan's gang are sold off as slaves in Marseilles. Stephan also claims he has a letter from Jesus outlining how to crash Muslim-run websites. Last seen looking for trolls in Cannes.||Children Haters Win!||The Kids on the Street. Save the Children.|
|1217||Fifth Crusade (Part 1:In Search for Salvation).||Image||Jerusalem and Egypt (looked a good place to add to the trip list).||King Andrew of Hungary, Duke Leopold of Austria, Eustace of Boulogne.||Diversion? A reboot of the original series that had 'lost its way' after the Third Crusade, the warriors for Christ could walked right into Jerusalem as the Muslims had demolished the walls. But that's too easy. So the crusaders invade Egypt but forget to pack enough provisions. However the Muslims mess up too and lose the port of Damietta to the christian army.||Christians Win!||A rare mess-up by the Muslims in Egypt. The crusaders have a city and can come back anytime. Jerusalem forgotten in the excitement.|
|1221||Fifth Crusade (Part 2:Stuck in the Nile).||Image||Cairo||King John Brienne of Jerusalem, Pelagius (Papal envoy), Earl of Chester, St.Francis of Assisi.||Flood! Crusaders with a large English contingent arrive. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II expected but a no show. English largely leave as does St.Francis goes when the Egyptian Sultan declines to 'do a Constantine'. Decision to attack Cairo but army gets lost and surrenders. Give up Damietta to get out of Egypt.||Muslims Win!||Egyptian locals. The Crusaders buggered up the local harvests.|
|1228||Sixth Crusade (Excommunicated Edition).||Image||Jerusalem||Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Germany.||Success! Frederick in sole command of this crusade, no more sharing with other kings, crackpots, religious loons or gangsters. The Muslims hand over Jerusalem without a fight. Frederick crowns himself King of Jerusalem as Pope Gregory IX had already excommunicated the emperor (i.e. changed his pin number) for not going on the Fifth Crusade. No pleasing a pope!||Christians Win!||Those crusaders who believed they had to kill Muslims to get into heaven.|
|1248||Seventh Crusade (Egyptian Gold Edition).||Image||Jerusalem (Lost in 1244 over a disputed restaurant bill) via Egypt (Again!)||King Louis IX of France.||Captured! Emperor Frederick tells everyone that he has 'done with crusading for now'. King Louis of France volunteers and lands in Egypt. French try and find the rest of the country (without maps) and are surrounded. Louis IX and others ransomed. Rest killed or enslaved.||Muslims Win!||Louis IX but he takes the setback as part of God's plan.|
|1270||Eighth Crusade (Plague on you Christian dogs edition).||Image||Jerusalem via Tunis, Egypt etc..etc..||King Louis IX of France. King Charles I of Sicily.||Disease! The Crusader states were fast shrinking and Louis wanted to prove that he could recapture Jerusalem. His brother Charles fooled his saintly brother that if they took Tunis it would be couscous all the way to Jerusalem.||Muslims Win!||Louis as he died in Tunis. Sainted by the Catholic Church for not getting within 200 miles of Jerusalem! Very funny!!|
|1271||Ninth Crusade (Collectors edition).||Image||Jerusalem or anywhere in the area.||King Charles I of Sicily, Prince Edward of England.||The French and Sicilians leave Tunis and join the English in the Holy Land, skipping Egypt this time. The Muslims led by former slave Baibars Not-An-Elephant. Some victories but Jerusalem too far to get to. Charles suggests they sack Constantinople again on the return journey but Edward goes back to England when he receives news that his father King Henry III has died. Last major crusade with the ambition to retake Jerusalem. Edward takes back some lessons in brutality from Baibars and tries that out on the Welsh, Scots and traitors.||Draw!||The crusaders still hanging on to their castles and towns in the Holy Land. They lose the lot by 1291.|
The following Crusades are classified as rip-offs, fakes etc.
|Year||Crusade Number||Image||Holy Objective||Leaders||What Happened?||Result||Who got screwed??|
|1365||The Commercial Gain Crusade.||Image||Alexandria||King Peter of Cyprus, Knights of St.John, Venetians.||Success! Alexandria wasted, permanently. So a victory if total destruction was the intention.||Christians win.||Muslims, civilisation, books.|
|1396||The Complete Balls Up Crusade.||Image||Nicopolis (where?)||King Sigismund of Hungary, John the Fearless of Burgundy, Assorted others.||Bloody Shambles. English invited but failed to turn. French try to run the crusade and charge without waiting for anyone else. Sigismund flees by boat. John captured and ransomed for an enormous amount. Rest of army killed and impaled!||Muslim Turks Win!||Byzantines (again), Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks.|