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How the Crusades Changed History

Immerse yourself in the riveting narrative and historical consequences of the Crusades and gain a better understanding of this controversial period of history.
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Overview

The centuries of medieval warfare we collectively call the Crusades continue to hold powerful sway over our modern world and the tense conflicts between religions and entire civilizations. Immerse yourself in the riveting narrative and historical consequences of the Crusades and gain a better understanding of this controversial period of history.

About

Philip Daileader

Making courses over the years has been an honor, and I'd like to think that as The Teaching Company has grown and developed, I've developed with it.

INSTITUTION

William & Mary

Philip Daileader is a Professor of History at William & Mary. He earned his PhD in History from Harvard University. He is the author of two historical monographs: True Citizens: Violence, Memory, and Identity in the Medieval Community of Perpignan, 1162–1397, and the award-winning Saint Vincent Ferrer, His World and Life: Religion and Society in Late Medieval Europe. He is the coeditor of French Historians 1900–2000: New Historical Writing in Twentieth-Century France, and The Princeton Review named him one of the 300 best professors in the US.

By This Professor

The Early Middle Ages
854
Charlemagne: Father of Europe
854
How the Crusades Changed History
854
What Were the Crusades?

01: What Were the Crusades?

Why do the Crusades still matter, more than 900 years after they began? Here, take a close look at the word “crusade” itself, and some of the many ways it is invoked today. Then, explore some religious ideas that paved the way for the crusading environment and discover who “invented” this fusion of pilgrimage and holy war.

31 min
Before the Crusades—Deep Background

02: Before the Crusades—Deep Background

Examine the long-term historical developments (led by Pope Urban II) that launched the First Crusade in 1095. Make sense of the fragmented politics of the Byzantine Empire and medieval Europe; chart the remarkable expansion and conquests of the Islamic Empire; ponder Islamic and Christian conceptions of holy war; and more.

28 min
Before the Crusades—Immediate Circumstances

03: Before the Crusades—Immediate Circumstances

Turn to the immediate events that destabilized peace between the Islamic and Byzantine empires and medieval Europe. Focus on the uncontrolled Turkish migration and Byzantine territorial losses that led to Pope Urban II’s call for a crusade. Also, consider the reasons everyday people responded—and why Jerusalem became the ultimate goal.

27 min
The First Crusade and Conquest of Jerusalem

04: The First Crusade and Conquest of Jerusalem

The First Crusade was, in a sense, a success—but a messy one. Professor Daileader takes you from the apocalyptic expectations triggered by the expedition and the loosely coordinated waves of Europeans who participated in the critical conquests of Nicaea and Antioch, to the capture of Jerusalem and the massacre of thousands of its inhabitants in 1099.

30 min
The Rise of the Templars

05: The Rise of the Templars

Encounter a great institutional innovation to arise from the First Crusade: the Templar Order. You’ll learn how the Templars fused the ethics of knighthood and monasticism; how they amassed wealth and property by building churches and acquiring holy relics; and how they came into sometimes vicious conflict with other military orders, including the Hospitallers.

28 min
Defending the Crusader States, 1099–1144

06: Defending the Crusader States, 1099–1144

Jerusalem. Antioch. Edessa. Tripoli. Investigate the early history of these four crusader states (without which there would have been no subsequent crusades). Some states faced Byzantine diplomatic pressure; all faced the threat of an Islamic counterattack. The lecture ends with the Muslim leader Zengi’s fateful capture of Edessa in December 1144.

31 min
The Second Crusade—False Steps and Failure

07: The Second Crusade—False Steps and Failure

The story continues with a look at the tumultuous Second Crusade. Why did this campaign to rescue the crusader states fail? How did Bernard of Clairvaux inspire this next wave of crusaders? How did tangled geopolitics steer where crusading troops traveled? What made the dramatic siege of Damascus such a military debacle?

29 min
Saladin—General and Sultan

08: Saladin—General and Sultan

Meet Saladin, the sultan who became one of the most enigmatic figures in the saga of the Crusades. Chart his rise within the ranks of power in Egypt and Syria, witness his conquest of Jerusalem in 1187, and learn how this victory irrevocably changed the geopolitical landscape of the Near East.

29 min
The Third Crusade—We Three Kings

09: The Third Crusade—We Three Kings

Go inside the drama of the crusade that pitted two titans of the Middle Ages against one another: Saladin and King Richard the Lionheart of England. As you’ll discover, the aftermath—with Jerusalem still in Saladin’s hands but with surrounding territory restored to Christendom—only escalated tensions even further.

31 min
The Fourth Crusade—Conquest of Constantinople

10: The Fourth Crusade—Conquest of Constantinople

Why is the Fourth Crusade considered by historians to be so controversial? How did the expedition get its start? What made the conquest of Constantinople such an unprecedented military success? How did it exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions between Europeans and Byzantines? Find answers to these and other questions here.

31 min
Crusades in Spain

11: Crusades in Spain

Travel to the Iberian Peninsula to see the influence of the Crusades in Spain. You’ll learn why the Spanish elevated their wars to the status of “crusades”; how this hurt crusading projects in the Near East; how the crusading attitude shaped the Christian Reconquista of Spain’s Muslims and Jews; and more.

30 min
The Northern Crusades

12: The Northern Crusades

Follow the spread of crusading fever to the frontiers of central and northeastern Europe. In what would come to be known as the Northern Crusades, Christian warriors clashed not with Muslims but with the region’s pagan Slavs and Balts in a long, grinding, and brutal affair that would last centuries.

29 min
The Children’s and Albigensian Crusades

13: The Children’s and Albigensian Crusades

Continue looking at the crusading movement in Europe with a close look at two intriguing campaigns and their aftershocks. The first is the Albigensian Crusade, fought in southern France against heretics. The second is the Children’s Crusade of 1212, a youthful and almost completely peaceful crusade that fizzled after just months.

29 min
Fifth and Sixth Crusades—Tragedy and Oddity

14: Fifth and Sixth Crusades—Tragedy and Oddity

Turn now to the Fifth and Sixth Crusades in the eastern Mediterranean. You’ll examine why the Fifth Crusade was defeated in a way no Eastern crusade had been before; how the Sixth Crusade gained the (short-lived) recovery of Jerusalem with little fighting; and how both created deep rifts between political and religious leaders.

30 min
Louis IX—The Crusader Saint

15: Louis IX—The Crusader Saint

Make sense of the Seventh and Eighth Crusades of King Louis IX of France. As you’ll learn, both Eastern crusades, despite excellent funding and organization, failed; the Seventh Crusade with the capture of the king in Egypt in 1250, and the Eighth Crusade with his death near Tunis in 1270.

29 min
The Hohenstaufen and Shepherds’ Crusades

16: The Hohenstaufen and Shepherds’ Crusades

Investigate the continued proliferation of crusades to the European interior. Your focus here is the crusade against the Hohenstaufen rulers of Germany (which lasted almost 30 years) and two illicit outbursts of popular crusading enthusiasm against the clergy known as the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320.

31 min
The Fall—1291

17: The Fall—1291

Professor Daileader takes you inside the eventual downfall of each of the crusader states. How did the situation deteriorate so quickly? Why were the Seventh and Eighth Crusades such lackluster failures for crusading troops? Why is 1291 the perfect point at which to assess the consequences and legacy of the Crusades?

29 min
The Crusades and Their Critics

18: The Crusades and Their Critics

Almost from their start, the Crusades had their critics. Here, explore contemporary criticism of these military campaigns and the effects (or lack thereof) on the medieval world. You’ll also learn how such criticism helped pave the way for historical events such as the suppression of the Templars.

30 min
War and Travel—The Experience of Crusading

19: War and Travel—The Experience of Crusading

What was going on a crusade actually like? This lecture reveals what it was like for the average crusader to set out for the Holy Land. You’ll see how crusaders dealt with fear, illness, and financial problems—but also found camaraderie and were changed by their encounters with new places, peoples, and cultures.

31 min
Life in the Crusader East

20: Life in the Crusader East

Turn now to the experiences of those individuals who lived in the crusader states. You’ll examine the cordial and tense relations between Frankish settlers and local peoples; see how legal distinctions were drawn between Catholic Franks and their descendants; and consider whether the Crusades should be considered a colonial enterprise.

30 min
Cultural Contact and Exchange

21: Cultural Contact and Exchange

Learn how the Crusades actually worked to promote cultural exchange and exploration between East and West. As you’ll discover, Westerners began to understand the prevalence of Islam throughout the world, which changed previously held notions of geopolitical power. But they also overcame their fear of Islamic culture and embraced aspects of it.

30 min
Crusade and Mission

22: Crusade and Mission

Another aspect of the clash between East and West: European missionary efforts among Muslims. Join the contemporary debate over the nature and purpose of missionizing while crusading. Were they a part of the same project or not? Should they be? What was the ultimate decision reached by the Catholic Church?

31 min
The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 1

23: The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 1

In the first of two lectures on the legacy of the Crusades, examine how these controversial campaigns shaped the political, religious, and cultural configuration of southeastern Europe and the Near East—specifically through the emergence of the Ottoman Empire and the final collapse of the Byzantine Empire.

30 min
The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 2

24: The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 2

The spiritual and political influence of indulgences is an often overlooked consequence of the Crusades. Here, see how their corruptive use for personal gain—which skyrocketed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries—spurred the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent period that historians call the Age of Religious Wars.

32 min

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