Medieval Warfare

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Medieval Warfare:

Medieval Warfare By Jamie O’Dwyer


Contents Introduction to Medieval Warfare Strategy and Tactics Countries of the Middle Ages Weapons and Armor Significant Battles and Wars Bibliography

Introduction to Medieval Warfare :

Introduction to Medieval Warfare Medieval warfare is the warfare of the middle ages. Technological , cultural and social developments forced a huge transformation in warfare. The change in military tactics, from the masses of infantry and to the heavily armed cavalry. Most people believe that medieval warfare is all about massive armies fighting in open plains, although this is true it didn’t happen very often. This was because these fights were very expensive and resulted in a lot of soldiers dieing. Most medieval warfare was actually made up of sieges. Armies would move around trying to avoid these conflicts and take important enemy towns or castles.

Strategy and Tactics :

Strategy and Tactics Tactics Archer/Missile Troop Tactics Cavalry Tactics Infantry Tactics Strategy Deployment of Forces Fortifications


Tactics Medieval battles evolved slowly from clashes of poorly organized war bands into battles where tactics and manoeuvres were used . The early armies of the Dark Ages were mobs of foot soldiers. With the rise of heavy cavalry, the best armies became mobs of knights. Foot soldiers were brought along to devastate farmlands and do the heavy work in sieges. In battle, however, foot soldiers stood no chance against heavy cavalry . Archers were useful in sieges as well, but also at risk of being killed by the cavalry. By the late 1400's commanders were making better progress in disciplining their knights and getting their armies to work as a team. In the English army, knights gave their unwilling respect to the longbowmen , after the archers demonstrated their value on so many battlefields. Discipline improved also as more and more knights fought for pay and less for honour and glory. By that time soldiers of all ranks were assets not to be discarded lightly.

Archer/missile Troop Tactics:

Archer/missile Troop Tactics During the middle ages archers used several different types of bow. At first this was the short bow, then the crossbow and longbow. Archers had the advantage of being able to kill and wound enemies from a distance . The value of these troops was well known, but were temporarily not used in the Dark Ages. The land-controlling warrior knights were supreme in the early Middle Ages and their code demanded hand-to-hand combat with a worthy enemy. Killing with arrows from a distance was dishonourable to the knights so the kings and nobles did little to develop this weapon and use it effectively . Foot archers fought in formations of hundreds or even thousands of men. When within a eighty meters of the enemy, both crossbow and longbow shots could penetrate armor. At this range, archers shot at individual targets.. In an ideal situation, archers would disrupted the enemy formation by shooting into it for some time. The enemy would be safe from cavalry behind stakes, but it could not block all the arrows or bolts coming in. If the enemy left the protection of the stakes and charged at the archers, friendly heavy cavalry would respond. If the enemy formation just stood its ground, the friendly cavalry would be able to flank the enemy and destroy them. Crossbowmen became important in mainland armies, especially in militia and professional forces that protected towns . With a minimum of training, a crossbowmen became a very effective soldier.

Archer/missile Troop Tactics:

Archer/missile Troop Tactics The difficulty in using archers was protecting them while they shot. To be effective they had to be fairly close to the enemy. English longbowmen carried stakes onto the battlefield that they pounded into the ground. These stakes gave them some protection from enemy cavalry , while t hey relied on their firepower to fight off enemy archers. They were at a disadvantage if attacked by enemy foot soldiers because if they got in close the enemy foot soldiers could kill the longbowmen before they could shoot them . By the fourteenth century the first handguns were appearing on the battlefield. When the y worked, they were even more powerful than cross bows or longbows . By the end of the middle ages , missile troops and pikemen were working together in combined formations. The pike men kept enemy hand-to-hand troops away while the missile troops (crossbowmen or gunpowder troops ) fired into the enemy formations. These mixed formations eventually learned how to move and attack effectively . Enemy cavalry had to withdraw in the face of a disciplined mixed force of pikemen and missile troops . If the enemy could not respond with missiles and pikes of their own, the battle was probably lost.

Cavalry Tactics:

Cavalry Tactics Cavalry was divided usually into three groups, to be sent into battle one after another. The first wave would either break through or disrupt the enemy so that the second or third wave could break through. Once the enemy was running, the real killing could take place. In practice, knights followed personal agendas to the detriment of any commander's plan. The knights were interested primarily in honour and glory and fought for positions in the first rank of the first division. Overall victory on the field was a secondary concern to personal glory. In battle after battle, the knights charged as soon as they saw the enemy, dissolving any plan. Commanders dismounted their knights as a way to better control them. This was a popular option with the smaller army that had little hope in a contest of charges. Dismounted knights bolstered the fighting power and morale of common foot troops. The dismounted knights and other foot soldiers fought from behind stakes or other battlefield constructions designed to minimize the impact of enemy cavalry charges. By the end of the Middle Ages, the value heavy cavalry had been reduced to roughly equal in comparison to missile and foot troops. By this time, the ineffectiveness of charging well-emplaced and disciplined infantry was well understood. The rules had changed. Stakes, horse traps, and trenches were employed by armies to protect against cavalry charges. Charges against massed ranks of pikemen and missile troops left only a pile of broken horses and men. Knights were forced to fight on foot or wait for the right opportunity to charge. Devastating charges were still possible, but only when the enemy was in flight, disorganized, or out from behind their battlefield defences.

Infantry Tactics:

Infantry Tactics The tactic s of foot soldiers in the Dark Ages was simply to close with the enemy and start swinging . Soldiers relied on strength and ferocity to win a battle . The rise of knights concealed the effectiveness of infantry on the battlefield, mainly because disciplined and well-trained infantry did not exist. The foot soldiers of early medieval armies were mainly peasants who were poorly armed and trained. The Saxons and Vikings developed a defensive posture called the shield-wall. The men stood adjacent and held their long shields together to form a barrier. This helped to protect them from archers and cavalry, both of which their armies didn’t have . Infantry was revived in areas that could not used heavy cavalry , such as hilly countries like Scotland and Switzerland and in the fortified towns and castles . Out of necessity, these two sectors found ways to field effective armies that contained little or no cavalry. They discovered that horses would not charge into a barrier of stakes or pikes . A disciplined force of pike men could stop the heavy cavalry of the richer nations and lords, for a just a fraction of the cost of a heavy cavalry force.

Strategy :

Strategy Strategy was concerned with control of the economic basis for wealth, or the ability to put armies on the field. At the start of the middle ages this meant primarily raiding or defending the countryside because all wealth originated in the fields and pastures. As the age progressed, towns became important control points as a lot of wealth came from trade and manufacturing. Defending and taking castles was a key element of medieval warfare because they defended farmland. The soldiers who occupants the castle controlled the surrounding farmland . As towns grew they were fortified also. Defending and taking towns became more important than fighting for castles. Field armies manoeuvred to take the key fortified points and raid the countryside, or to prevent the enemy from conducting such a campaign. Pitched battles were fought to end the destruction of enemy invasions. F or example , The Battle of Hastings in 1066, was fought by the Anglo-Saxons to stop an invasion by the Normans.

Deployment of Forces:

Deployment of Forces During the middle ages how an army was deployed played a big part in most battles. Most armies would use three groups. A vanguard, a center and a rearguard. The vanguard was usually composed of ranged weapons such as archers and sometimes small catapults. The vanguard would usually be deployed on the right of the battlefield. The center was composed of infantry and heavily armored cavalry they were deployed in the middle of the battlefield. The rearguard was deployed on the right of the battlefield. It was composed of light and agile cavalry and was capable of quickly flanking an enemy. There was many different formation used in the middle ages. Most infantry forces used a block formation because it was strong and was easily defended and there was soldiers behind if someone was killed. A line formations was mostly used by cavalry and as sometimes used by infantry when there was no enemy cavalry on the field. The line formation makes every one join the battle. The use of this formation by cavalry made the amount of damage inflicted much greater. The wedge formation was often used by infantry against cavalry so they could defend there position, but then flank the cavalry as they came through. The flanking formation was used mostly by cavalry. They would come in two groups and then they would attack from the side.

Fortifications :

Fortifications There were many different types of medieval fortifications. The most common fortification was a tower. They were easy to build and provided some protection form invaders by having vertical slits for archers to fire at the enemy and being protected from enemy fire. Defensive walls were built around cities to provide protection for civilians. Early city walls were usually made out of wood and only protected against small forces of infantry. These were only made out of wood because it was easy harvest and put together and didn’t take much time to put together. As stone became more readily available, defensive walls stronger and able to withstand attacking armies as the only way to get inside was to use siege weapons, which were not in use until later on. This made defensive walls a very good form of defence.


Fortifications A harbour or some sort of access to a river was necessary for the construction of any medieval fortification. It provided fresh water and a way to get more food when they are under siege. More troops and supplies could be carried up the river to resupply the fortification. This is very useful in building the fortification because they wouldn’t have to wait for supplies because it was quicker to move them by boat than on land. A moat was usually added to most fortifications. A moat made ladders and siege towers useless because they couldn’t get close enough to use them. In some cases natural rivers were used as moats . Castles were built to provide protection and a secure base from which local military forces could operate. The obvious defensive value of a castle obscures the fact that it was primarily an offensive instrument. It functioned as a base for professional soldiers, mainly cavalry, which controlled the nearby countryside. At a time when the centralized authority of kings was weak for a number of reasons, a network of castles and the military forces they supported provided relative political stability.

Countries of the Middle ages:

Countries of the Middle ages The Britons Byzantine Empire The Celts The Chinese The Franks The Goths The Huns The Japanese The Koreans The Mongols The Persians The Saracens The Seljuk Turks The Ottoman Turks The Vikings

The Britons:

The Britons After the withdrawal of the Roman s to Gaul or modern France around 400, the British Isles fell into a dark period of several centuries from which almost no written records survive. The Romano-British culture that had existed after 400 years of Roman rule disappeared under the invasion and migration of barbarians. Celts came over from Ireland while Saxons and Angles came from Germany,. By 600 AD , the Angles and Saxons controlled most of modern England. By 800 AD , modern Wales and Scotland was all that remained under the control of the Celt s . In 865 AD the peace fullness of England was shattered by a new invasion. The Vikings who had been raiding France and Germany formed a great army and turned on the English. Within 10 years, most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had fallen or surrendered. Only the West Saxons (modern Wessex) held , under the rule of Alfred the great , the only English ruler to be called "the Great." England was divided among the Vikings, the West Saxons, and a small amount of other English kingdoms for nearly 200 years. The Viking half was called the Dane law. The Vikings collected a large payment, called the Danegeld, to be peaceful. The Vikings became Christians and gradually became more settled. In time the English turned on the Vikings , and in 954 AD the last Viking king of York was killed. England was united for the first time under an English king from Wessex.

The Britons:

The Britons In 1066 the crown was offered to Harold, son of the Earl of Wessex. Two others claimed the throne: Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, and Duke William of Normandy. The Norwegian army landed first, near York, but was defeated by Harold at the battle of Stamford Bridge. Immediately after the victory, Harold marched his army south to meet William at Hastings. William won the battle after Harold was Wounded after be hit in the eye with an arrow. Over the next two years, William the Conqueror, conquered England. During the remainder of the Middle Ages, England and France were at war . Each country tried to expand and conquer the other. The Hundred Years War between England and France was an on-and-off conflict that stretched from 1337 to 1453. It was triggered by an English king's claim to the throne of France, thanks to family inter - marriages. The war was also fought over control of the wool trade and French support for Scotland's independence. During the early part of the war the English won every battle thanks to the their longbowmen. The English could not completely totally win the war . Inspired by Joan of Arc the French rallied and fought back , ending the war with the capture of Bordeaux in 1453.

Byzantine Empire:

Byzantine Empire The Byzantines took their name from Byzantium, an ancient city on the Bosphorus, the strategic waterway linking the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. The Roman Emperor Constantine had renamed this city Constantinople in the fourth century. This eastern part of the Roman Empire outlived the western part by a thousand years, defending Europe against invasions from the east by Persians, Arabs, and Turks. The Byzantine economy was the richest in Europe for many centuries because Constantinople was ideally situated on trade routes between Asia, Europe, the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea. It was an important destination point for the Silk Road from China. Constantinople's strategic position attracted the envy and hostility of the Italian ’s and other close countries.

Byzantine Empire:

Byzantine Empire A biggest strength of the Byzantine Empire was its superior army that drew on the best elements of the Roman, Greek, Gothic, and Middle Eastern experience in war. The core of the army was a shock force of heavy cavalry supported by both archers and heavy armoured swordsmen. The army was organized into groups and trained in tactics and different manoeuvres. Officers were taught about military history and theory. Although the Byzantine army was usually outnumbered by armies of untrained warriors, it overcome its foes thanks to intelligent tactics and good discipline. The army was backed by a network of spies that provided information about their enemy plans In the fourteenth century, the Turks invaded Europe and captured Adrianople but bypass ed Constantinople. They settled the Balkans in large numbers and defeated a large crusader army at Nicopolis in 1396. In May 1453, Turkish sultan Mehmet II captured a weakly defended Constantinople with the aid of the heavy cannon. The fall of Constantinople brought an end to the Byzantine Empire .

The Celts:

The Celts The Celts (pronounced "kelts") were the ancient inhabitants of Northern Europe and the builders of Stonehenge 5000 years ago. Julius Caesar battled them during his conquest of Gaul (modern France) . The Romans eventually took most of Britain and the Iberian Peninsula from them as well. At the end of the ancient Roman Empire, the Celts occupied only parts of north western France, Ireland, Wales, and parts of Scotland. During the course of the Middle Ages, they strengthened their hold on Scotland and made several attempts to take more of England. An Irish tribe called the Scotti invaded what is now southern Scotland during the early Middle Ages, settling permanently and giving the land its name. They pushed back and absorbed the native Picts who had harassed the Romans to the south. The Scottish kingdom took its present shape during the eleventh century but attracted English interference. The Scots responded with the alliance with France, which became the foundation of their diplomacy for many centuries to come. Edward I of England took control of Scotland in 1296 AD . William Wallace (Braveheart) led a revolt of Scotland, almost winning independence at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 AD, but was defeated the next year at Falkirk, Wallace waged a guerrilla war until he was betrayed, captured, and executed in 1305 AD . Robert the Bruce then declared himself king of Scotland after murdering his rival. He drove the English out of Scotland after winning the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 AD . Edward III of England recognized Scotland's independence in 1328 AD , but the war between the Scots and English continued for several more centuries. The two countries joined together in 1603 AD , long after the Middle Ages were over.

The Chinese:

The Chinese China was reunited in 581 AD after a long period of internal war by the founders of the Sui dynasty. For most of the 1000 years that followed, China was one of the largest and most advanced civilization in the world. China was isolated from the West, which meant it was able to develop and maintain a unique culture . The T'ang dynasty ruled China from 618 AD to 907 AD . China under the rule of the T'ang dynasty was a very wealthy and powerful country . The years from 907 AD to 960 AD were known as the Five Dynasties period. Northern China was held by barbarians, and southern China split into 10 rival states. From one of these states , an army general named Zhao Kuang-ying seized power and unified the southern states, founding the Song dynasty. His descendants reunited China within the next 20 years. The wealth of China attracted many enemies , the Mongols began attacks in 1206 AD . By 1279 the Mongols had completed the conquest of southern China and moved toward Beijing. The dramatic economic improvement of the Song dynasty ended w hen the Mongol conquer ed China . The Mongol Yuan dynasty reunited China and re-established it as a great military and world power. The Chinese influence began to spread throughout Asia . Trade with India, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf was developed .

The Franks:

The Franks The Franks were one of the German barbarian tribes known to the Romans. In the early part of the fifth century, they began expanding south from their homeland along the Rhine River into Roman-controlled Gaul (modern France). Unlike other German tribes, they did not move out of their homelands but, rather, added to them. Clovis, a Frankish chieftain, defeated the last Roman armies in Gaul and united the Franks by 509 AD , becoming the ruler of much of western Europe. During the next 1000 years, this Frankish kingdom gradually became the modern nation of France . In the early eighth century, Charles Martel became mayor of the palace, the ruler behind the throne. He converted the Franks into a cavalry force and fought so well that his enemies gave him the name of Charles the Hammer. In 732 AD the Frankish cavalry defeated Muslim invaders moving north from Spain at the Battle of Poitiers, stopping the advance of Islam from the southwest. Charles Martel's son, Pepin, was made king of the Franks by the pope in return for helping to defend Italy from the Lombards. Pepin founded the dynasty of the Carolingians, and the greatest of these rulers was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, who ruled from 768 AD to 814 AD . He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire and was responsible for a rebirth of culture and learning in the West. From 1337 AD to 1453 AD France and England fought the Hundred Years War to decide ownership of lands in France that had been inherited by English kings. The eventual French victory confirmed the king as the most powerful political force in France.

The Goths:

The Goths The Goths were a German tribe on the Danube River known to the Romans from the first century AD. W hen the Huns moved west out of Central Asia, the Goths felt threatened and moved west into Europe to escape from the Huns . After taking part in the fall of Rome, they competed with other barbarians for the remains of the Western Roman Empire. The Goths originated on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, and split into two groups as they migrated south across Central Europe. The Visigoths, or West Goths, settled in modern Romania during the second century. The Ostrogoths, or East Goths, settled further to the east on the northwest coast of the Black Sea. In 376 AD the Visigoths were driven from modern Romania by the Huns and moved south across the Danube. They defeated a Roman army from Constantinople and settled briefly south of the Danube, and then pushed into Italy. In 409 they sacked Rome under their king Alaric and then moved north into Gaul. The Romans gave them south western Gaul. From there they eventually extended their rule into all of modern Spain and Portugal.

The Goths:

The Goths T he Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnish rule and followed their cousins into Italy late in the fifth century. Using a struggle for succession as an excuse, the Byzantines sent an army to Italy in 536 led by their great general Belisarius. The Byzantines hoped to regain Italy and restore the old Roman Empire in the West . In 552 AD the Ostrogoths were defeated in Italy . The Visigoth kingdom lasted somewhat longer. In the late fifth century Clovis of the Franks forced the Visigoths out of France and over the Pyrenees Mountains. Following the death of Clovis , his kingdom separated and the Visigoths were left alone. In 711 AD a new threat appeared from the south. The Islamic armies from North Africa destroyed the last Gothic kingdom in four years. The Goths were the first people to raid Rome and caused the beginning of the collapse of the ancient world order in Europe. The Goths respected and admire d Rome and attempt ed to preserve it, which meant a lot of the Roman culture to survive d . For example, the modern languages of Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, are a result of later Latin settlers.

The Huns:

The Huns The Huns were a nomadic people from around Mongolia in Central Asia that began migrating toward the west in the third century. They were a horse people and very adept at mounted warfare, both with spears and bows. Moving with their families and great herds of horses and domesticated animals they migrated in search of new grasslands to settle. Due to their military prowess and discipline, they proved unstoppable, Destroying everything in their path. They set in motion a tide of migration before them as other peoples moved to get out of their way. This domino effect of large populations passed around Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire . The Huns were superb horsemen, trained from childhood, and some believe they invented the stirrup. They inspired terror in enemies due to the speed at which they could move, changing horse several times a day to maintain their speed . A second advantage was their recurved composite bow, far better than anything else used in Europe . Standing in their stirrups, they could fire forward, to the sides, and to the rear. Their tactics were surprise attacks , quick attacks, and the that their reputation had made for them terror. They were an army of light cavalry and their political structure required a strong leader to hold their civilization together.

The Huns:

The Huns The peak of Hun power came during the rule of Attila the Hun , who became a leader of the Huns in 433 AD and began a series of raids into south Russia and Persia. He then turned his attention to the Balkans, he causing enough terror and havoc on two major raids for the people to be bribed to leave. In 450 he turned to the Western Empire, crossing the Rhine , north of Mainz with perhaps 100,000 warriors. Advancing on a front of 100 miles, he sacked most of the towns in what is now northern France. The Roman general Aetius raised a Gallo-Roman army and advanced against Attila, who was laying siege to the city of Orleans. At the major battle of Chalôns, Attila ’s army was defeated, but not destroyed. The defeat at Chalôns is considered one of the decisive battles of history, one that could have meant collapse of the Christian religion in Western Europe and perhaps domination of the area by Asian peoples. Attila then invaded Italy, seeking new plunder. Though Roman forces were depleted and their main army still in Gaul, the Huns were weak as well, depleted by nonstop campaigns, disease, and famine in Italy. At a meeting with Pope Leo I, Attila agreed to withdraw from Italy . The Hun empire fall apart following the death of Attila in 453 AD with no leader able to hold the Huns together.

The Japanese:

The Japanese The Japanese played a very small part in medieval history. This was because they were not on the mainland of Asia and did not venture near the mainland. War in Japan was mainly civil. Wars between states and dynasty’s. The warriors known as Samurai, who were the equivalent to the European knight. Samurai lived by a code of the warrior, something like the European code of chivalry. The Basis of the warrior code was loyalty to the lord. The warrior expected leadership and protection. In return he obeyed his lord's commands without question and stood ready to die on his lord's behalf. He was to be firm and show no cowardice. Warriors went into battle expecting and looking to die. It was felt that a warrior hoping to live would fight poorly. T he Mongols attempted to invade Japan twice, in 1274 AD and 1281 AD , but were repelled both times. They were the only ones to try and invade Japan.

The Koreans :

The Koreans Korea was divided into three competing kingdoms , Koguryo to the north, Paekche to the southwest, and Shilla to the southeast. In an alliance with China, Shilla conquered the other two kingdoms in the 7th century and then expelled their earlier Chinese ally. The central authority of Shilla fell apart throughout the 8 th and 9 th centuries . Under pressure from local lords, Korea was unified once again as Koryo in the 10th century In 1231 AD t he Mongolian army invaded Korea , starting a 30-year struggle. The Mongols were often distracted by their wars in China , but eventually found enough power that Koryo made peace with the invaders in 1258 AD . The greatest test for Korea was invasion by samurai forces from Japan in 1592 AD that seemingly planned to conquer China. Although seven years of fighting left much of the Korean peninsula devastated, the Japanese were forced to withdraw because their fleets could not control the supply lines and reinforcement Japan at the same time . The great Korean admiral Yi Sun-Shin destroyed the Japanese at sea. The key to the Korean naval victories was their innovative turtle ships, the first cannon- wielding armoured ships in history. The Japanese could not compete with these slow but powerful weapons.

The Mongols:

The Mongols The Mongols were nomads from Central Asia. They were fierce warriors who fought each other over pasturelands and raided developed civilizations to the east and south. At the beginning of the 13 th century, the Mongol clans united and began a campaign of foreign conquest. Doing what their ancestor the Huns, had done many year before them.. The Mongols created one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. The Mongols inhabited the plains south of Lake Baikal in modern Mongolia. At its peak , the Mongolian empire stretched from Korea, across Asia, and into European Russia to the Baltic Sea coast. They held most of Asia Minor, modern Iraq, modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, parts of India, parts of Burma, all of China, and parts of Vietnam. The Mongol clans were united by Temuchin, called Genghis Khan , in the early 13 th century. His goal was to rule all lands between the oceans ( the Pacific to the Atlantic) and he nearly di d . Beginning with only around 25,000 warriors, he added strength by defeating other nomads and by attack ing northern China in 1211 AD . He took Beijing in 1215 after a campaign that cost the Chinese 30 million lives. The Mongols then turned west, capturing the great trading city of Bukhara along the Silk Road in 1220 AD . The city was burned to the ground and the people were murdered.

The Mongols:

The Mongols Following Genghis Khan's death in 1227 AD , his son Ogedei completed the conquest of northern China and advanced into Europe. He destroyed Kiev in 1240 AD and advanced into Hungary. When Ogedei died on campaign in 1241, the entire army fell back to settle the question of succession. Europe was spared as Mongol rulers concentrated their efforts against the Middle East and southern China. Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis, exterminated the Muslim forces and then took the Muslim capital of Baghdad in 1258. Most of the city's 100,000 inhabitants were murdered. In 1260 a Muslim army of Egyptian Mamelukes defeated the Mongols in Israel, this end ed the Mongol threat to Islam and its holy cities. Kublai Khan, another grandson of Genghis, completed the conquest of China in 1279 AD , establishing the Yuan dynasty. Attempted invasions of Japan were thrown back with heavy loss in 1274 AD and 1281 AD . In 1294 AD, Kublai Khan died in China, and Mongol power began to decline in Asia. In 1368 the Yuan dynasty in China was overthrown by the Ming Dynasty .

The Mongols:

The Mongols In the 1370's a Turkish-Mongol warrior Claimed to be a decendant of Genghis Khan . He fought his way to leadership of the Mongol states in Central Asia and set out to restore the Mongol Empire. His name was Timur Leng. With another army of 100,000 or so Cavalry , he swept into Russia and Persia, fighting mainly other Muslims. In 1398 he raidd Delhi, murdering 100,000 people . He then rushed west defeating an Egyptia n army in Syria. In 1402 he defeated a large Ottoman Turk army near modern Ankara. On the verge of destroying the Ottoman Empire, he turned again on China . He died in 1405 AD while marching for China. He preferred capturing wealth and engaged in large scale slaughter, without pausing to install a stable governments in his wake. Because of this, the huge empire inherited by his sons fell apart quickly after his death.

The Persians :

The Persians The Persian Empire stretched from Mesopotamia to India and from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, surrounding the modern nations of Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Persians were at war with the Romans, or Byzantines and fought for control of modern Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Arabia. The capital of the Persian Empire was Ctesiphon , which is today known as Baghdad. During the 3 rd and 4 th centuries, the Byzantine s made several attempts to destroy the Persians , but failed to do so. In 364 AD a peace treaty was signed between the m, t his allowed the Persians to Strengthen their power to the east and north. At the start of the 6 th century, the Persians started to attack the Byzantine Empire in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and modern Turkey. In 626 AD the Persians besieged Byzantium itself but failed. This meant the Byzantines were able to invade Persia with less resistance . Another peace treaty was created in 628 AD . In the 7 th century the Persians were unprepared for an attack by Islamic Arabs. The Persians did not have a capita l city with defences strong enough to withstand the attack . Muslim s conquered Persia in 651 AD .

The Saracens:

The Saracens The name Saracen applied originally to nomadic desert people from the area stretching from modern Syria to Saudi Arabia. It eventually became the name applied to all Arabs of the Middle Ages. During the 7 th century the desert nomads suddenly combined and created a n empire within 150 years . Following the prophet Mohammed, their goal was to change the religion of the world . By 613 AD the prophet Mohammed was teaching a new religion that he called Islam. Islam was ignored in his home town of Mecca, so he left and went to Medina . Mohammed built up a strong group of followers and came back to capture Mecca. After his death in 632 AD , his teachings were combined to form the Koran, the Islamic holy book. In 634 AD his followers began their own jihad, or holy war. Within five years they had captured Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. In the next 60 years, both North Africa and Persia were overcome by the Islamic warriors . In the early 8 th century, the Saracens invaded the Iberian Peninsula and destroyed the Visigoth kingdom established there after Rome had fallen . In Asia they took Asia Minor from the Byzantines and tried to capture Constantinople with a combined land an sea attack . The great walls of the city prove to much for the Saracens on land and the Saracen fleet was destroyed at sea. In the west, a Frank named Charles Martel stopped the Saracen invasion of France at Poitiers in 732 AD . Having been defeated in the west the Saracens turned there attention to the east. In 750 AD The Islamic force turned east and had conquered most of India and central Asia. In the last part of the twelfth century, the great Saracen leader named Saladin re uniting Egypt, Syria, and some other smaller states, and retook Jerusalem from the crusaders .

The Saracens:

The Saracens In 665 AD a civil war started Sunnites and the Shiites . They both different beliefs things, including who should be caliph and interpretation of the Koran. Th is result ed in a 60-year war that broke the Islamic state into pieces, some parts were governed by Sunnites (the Iberian Peninsula) and others were governed by Shiites (Egypt and modern Iraq). The se new Islamic states acted independently after this happened. The Muslim states remained independent long after the Middle Ages had finished and eventually turned into the modern Arab nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The civil war between the Sunnites and the Shiites still rages on today. Although it has died down a bit the war still goes on throughout the middle east.

The Seljuk Turks:

The Seljuk Turks The name Turk refers to two different Muslim groups of the Middle East-first the Seljuks and then the Ottomans Turks . The Seljuks were nomads from the steppes near the Caspian Sea, converted to Islam around the tenth century. Approximately 70,000 Seljuks started as mercenaries in the Islamic army of the caliph of Baghdad. These mercenaries converted to the Sunni part of Islam. In 1055 AD they became the real power behind the caliph in Baghdad and began extending their rule. In 1071 AD the Seljuks achieved a stunning victory over a Byzantine army at Malazgirt in modern Turkey, which led to Turkish capturing most of Anatolia. At nearly the same time, they successfully captured Jerusalem from its Egyptian Muslim rulers. These two events shocked the Byzantines and the Christian Europeans. This result ed in the Crusades, which went on for the next 200 years. The Seljuk Turks were worn down by the constant war s with the Crusaders,. They were threatened internally by the activities of the Assassins, a heretical sect of Islam . During this period of weakness, they were attacked suddenly by the Mongols and were destroyed . Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1258 AD and the Seljuk Empire was no more .

The Ottoman Turks:

The Ottoman Turks Islamic peoples from Anatolia were united in the early 14 th century under Sultan Osman I , and took the name Osmanli, or Ottomans. The Ottomans swore a jihad (holy war) against the exhausted Byzantine Empire and took their campaign around Constantinople into the Balkans. In 1389 AD the y defeated Serbs and i n 1396 AD a crusader army from Hungary was defeated. Ottoman successes were temporarily stopped by the Mongols under Tamerlane, but Tamerlane moved on with his army and the Ottomans recovered. Sultan Mehmed II (the Conqueror) captured Constantinople on May 29, 1453 AD . The great walls of Constantinople were battered by 70 guns for eight weeks and then 15,000 Janissaries led the assault. The Ottomans kept going on into Europe after the capture of Constantinople , but t hey were stopped by a Hungarian army at Belgrade in 1456 AD . Their attacks on Vienna were repulsed in 1529 AD and again in 1683 AD . I n the 16 th century, the Ottoman Empire reached as far as Budapest and Odessa and included all of Greece and the Balkans, the lands surrounding the Black Sea, Asia Minor, Arabia, Egypt, and most of North Africa. The Ottoman Empire remained a significant world power until World War I .

The Vikings:

The Vikings The Vikings (meaning northmen) were the last of the barbarian tribe to terrorize Europe. Spreading out from their homelands in Scandinavia, they struck suddenly across the seas from their dragon boats . They began by raiding and pillaging villages but withdrew before any serious armed resistance could be mounted .They gradually got smarter and began occupying and settling significant parts of Europe. T hey did not hesitate to kill priests and loot church s , and they were feared for their ruthlessness and ferocity. T hey were also very good craftsmen, sailors, explorers, and traders. The Viking homelands were Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They and their descendants controlled, at least temporarily, most of the Baltic Coast, some of inland Russia, Normandy in France, England, Sicily, southern Italy, and parts of Palestine. They discovered Iceland in 825 AD and settled there in 875 AD . They also settled in Greenland in 985 AD . Some people believe that the Vikings reached Newfoundland and explored part of North America . Vikings began raiding and then settling along the eastern Baltic Sea in the sixth and 7 th centuries. At the end of the 8 th century, they were making raids down the rivers of modern Russia and setting up forts along the way for defence. In the 9 th century, they were ruling Kiev and in 907 AD a force of 2000 ships and 80,000 men attacked Constantinople. The emperor of Byzantium paid them to not attack Constantinople .

The Vikings:

The Vikings Vikings struck first in the West in the late eighth century. They attacked and looted the famous island monastery at Lindisfarne on the northeast coast of England. The size and frequency of raids against England, France, and Germany increased and came close to becoming invasions. Settlements were established as base for the next raid. Viking settlements in northwestern France came to be known as Normandy and the inhabitants were called Normans. Viking raids stopped at the end of the 10 th century. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway had become kingdoms, and much of their energy was dedicated to running their land. The conquerors of England became English, the Normans became French, and the Rus became Russians.

Weapons and Armor:

Weapons and Armor Cavalry Weapons and Armor Missile Weapons and Armor Melee Soldiers Weapons and Armor Swords Maces and Hammers Axes Pole Arms Armor Shields Gunpowder Naval Warfare

Cavalry Weapons and Armor:

Cavalry Weapons and Armor A typical cavalry weapon was a spear or later on a lance. It was a ideal because they were longer than a sword and could kill infantry before they got within sword range. The spear was the weapon of choice used during a cavalry charge. Most cavalry loss there weapons during the charge which means they have to have a secondary weapon. This was usually a sword or a heavy saber because it was carried by the person and not on the horse. If the rider was dismounted he would still have a weapon to defend himself with. A sword was the most common among knights because it could be customized to suit themselves and was always on display. A good sword was also expensive and show that they were a noble. Plate armor was the most common cavalry armor. It provided the most protection from swords and arrow but still allowed them to move freely. A knights armor was very expensive. A common soldier could make a lot of money from striping the armor of a dead knight and selling it. Helmets were design and sculpted so that they deflected arrows and don’t just pierce the armor.

Missile Weapons and Armor:

Missile Weapons and Armor There was a few different types of bows , the short bow, the composite bow, and the longbow. The short bow was 3 to 4 feet long and was easy to make and use. It was the most common bow used . It had a medium range, power, and accuracy and required some experience and training to be used effectively . The composite bow was made from a composite of wood or bone strips bonded together. The lamination created a more powerful bow, but required more strength and training than a short bow . This relatively short bow was the preferred weapon of horse archers, especially the Mongols and other horse peoples from Asia because it was small but very powerful . A different variety of the composite bow was curved forward at the tips while it was being made . This recurved bow generated more power but required a higher degree of strength and skill.

Missile Weapons and Armor:

Missile Weapons and Armor The longbow was a 6-foot bow made from a single piece of wood. The longbow shot a 3-foot arrow. These were fitted with broad tips for use against infantry and narrow tips for use against armoured men. Shooting the longbow required extensive training and practice , soldiers experienced with longbow could shoot six well-aimed shots in a minute. Longbows had a very long range and were quite powerful. Large groups of experienced longbowmen were a devastating force on many battlefields of the Middle Ages. They could fire individually aimed shots or rain down a barrage of arrows into an area.

Missile Weapons and Armor:

Missile Weapons and Armor A crossbow was more powerful than most bows, but it took a lot longer to load. An average crossbowman could fire 2 shots every minute. The crossbow was a deadly weapon and was very popular for the reason that it took little training to operate. New soldiers could become proficient with a crossbow very quickly, and a well-aimed shot could kill a knight in armour who had spent a lifetime in combat training. The crossbow was considered unfair in some circles because it took so little skill. An archer wore light armor or no armor at all. They didn’t require armor because their enemies couldn’t get close enough without taking casualties so their enemies didn’t try to rush them.

Melee Soldiers Weapons and Armor:

Melee Soldiers Weapons and Armor Melee soldier used a variety of different weapons depending on the situation. T he heavy sword, which was used in hand-to-hand fighting on horse or on foot . This sword required two-hand s and took up a lot of space. Soldiers used a variety of different weapons on foot, including axes, maces, flails, and hammers. Pole arm weapons were very cheap and easy to use and were quite effective. A pole arm is essentially a spear but it could have other attachment put on it. Some of these attachment were an axe, a blade, a billhook, a hammer or spikes. These weapons were used as anti-cavalry but could be used against infantry if they had the attachments. A melee soldiers armor was usually mail armor or sometimes cheap plate armor. This armor was easy to make but there had to be a lot made to outfit an entire army. Most barbarian tribe would wear leather armor and relied more on tactics than expensive armor.


Swords There was many different types of swords. Some of these were, long swords, short swords claymores and sabers. A long swords and short swords were the most common swords among infantry. They were small and could be used with one hand allowing the soldier to use a shield as well. A saber was a heavy one handed sword and was mostly used by cavalry. A saber was the ideal cavalry sword because it was heavy and it was one sided. A claymore was a two handed sword and was very big. They required a lot of skill and training to use. They were not used as often because they provided no protection like a long sword and a shield. Long sword Claymore

Maces and Hammers:

Maces and Hammers Maces and hammers were know as blunt and crushing weapons. They inflicted quite a lot of damage without drawing a lot of blood. This made these weapons popular among priests and monks because they didn’t draw blood but still caused damage. They also wounded the enemy and weakened them in one hit. Even through armor. Towards the end of the middle ages these weapons became more popular because as armor grew better and protected more against piercing weapons such as swords. These weapons still caused damage through armor because they couldn’t make the armor strong enough without making impossible to use. War Hammer Flail Mace


Axes An axe was a deadly weapon. They could pierce armor and inflict massive wounds. There a few different types of axes. There was a broad axe, a battle axe and throwing axes. A broad axe was an axe with one blade. It was one handed and could be used with a shield. A battle axe was a two handed axe. And was usually tow sided, It wasn’t used much throughout the middle ages during battle, but was often used as a executioners weapon. A single sided battle axe was sometimes used during battle, this axe was one handed. A throwing axe was a small axe specially designed for being throw. This type of axe was used widely by the Franks to disrupt their enemies. Axes were barbarians preferred weapon. Broad Axe Single-sided Battle Axe

Pole Arms:

Pole Arms Pole arms developed from spears. They could just be a spear or a pike or they could be a spear with something to attached to the end. There was many different types of attachments, some of these were: An axe blade A hammer A bill hook Extra spikes These pole arms were used by infantry to defended against cavalry and were sometimes used against other infantry. They were effective because they were a lot longer than any other hand weapon but required a lot of skill and practice to be used effectively. A Normal Spear An axe attachment or otherwise known as a Halberd.


Armor Armor was wore by most soldiers. Armor provided some protection against most weapons. There was many different types of armor that was used throughout the middle ages. The most common were: Leather armor was the most basic armor made. It provided minimal protection against melee weapons but provided some protection from arrows. The wearer was still able to move just as freely as they would wearing no armor. This armor was usually used by archers. Chain or splint mail armor was armor made from small metal rings joined together. It provided a lot of protection from both hand weapons and arrows and still didn’t inhibit the wears mobility. Plate armor was developed later in the middle ages. It provided the best protection against arrows and swords, but was heavy and made it harder for the wearer to move. Another disadvantage was that if you were hit by a war hammer or a mace the armor would bend. This meant that the armor would be pushing against you and would hurt for a very long time. Plate Armor


Shields A shield was used by mostly infantry. They were used to defend against arrows and melee weapons. A shield could be made out wood or metal. A metal shield was stronger than wood but was a lot heavier and harder to move quickly to deflect blows. The type of shield used depended on the army. If it was an army who was paid for service under a king would usually have good weapons and a good shield (metal). Small armies or barbarians would usually use wood shields because they could make the wooden shields them selves and they didn’t have the money to buy metal shields. Round Shield Kite Shield A Knights Shield

Gunpowder Weapons:

Gunpowder Weapons It took several centuries of experimentation before gunpowder weapons became useful. One difficulty was developing gunpowder that ignited quickly and powerfully. Another was designing suitable cannons that would not break . Cannon s and gunpowder weapons were sufficiently advanced by the middle of the fifteenth century that they were recognized as important weapons. This was made clear in 1453 when huge siege bombards firing massive stone cannonballs battered the walls of Constantinople. Cannons of the Middle Ages were used in sieges to batter walls and on battlefields to fire into massed ranks of the enemy. Their ability to destroy sheer vertical walls led to refinements in castle-building. High vertical walls were replaced with low sloping walls. The usefulness of cannon on the battlefield was limited during this period because the cannons were so heavy . It was difficult to move them into new positions while on the battlefield. Cannons

Gunpowder Weapons:

Gunpowder Weapons These were weapons were made using a hollow tube blocked at one end and a hole in the side near the blocked end for igniting the powder. A a slow-burning cord was placed in the hole to ignite the powder and fire the ball that was loaded down the barrel. There was no use in attempting to aim because they didn’t have enough time after loading the weapon . They were only effective when fired in volleys at massed targets. By 1450 handguns were being used by most of the advanced European armies. Bows and crossbows continued to be use d by infantry because they were inexpensive , effective and you could fire more shot quicker . Handguns

Naval Warfare:

Naval Warfare A navy was just as essential to has as an army. A navy provided supplies to be transported from other countries and were able to protect these supplies. Until the cannon was invented naval warfare wasn’t about trying to sink the other ship it was about capturing it. Archers would fires arrows at them trying to kill the crew and when they got in close enough they could board the other ships and fight in melee combat. As technology advanced and the cannon was introduced the object of capturing enemy ships disappeared and the object became sinking the other ship before they sank you.

Siege Warfare:

Siege Warfare There was many different types of siege weapons used throughout the middle ages. The Romans and Greeks were the first to develop siege weapons. They developed the first battering rams, catapults,assault ladders and siege towers. The battering ram was a simple way of getting to a wall safely. Inside the ram they were relatively safe from arrow fire. The only problem was they it moved very slowly and could be set of fire quite easily. The siege tower was towers on wheels. They were designed so that the soldiers inside the tower were protected while moving towards the wall. A disadvantage was that they attacks at the front of the tower would usually be killed as soon as they open the door when they have reached the wall. The siege tower was countered by building a moat or ditch around the fortification.

Siege Warfare:

Siege Warfare Assault ladders were a simple means of besieging any fortification with walls. The problem with the early wooden ladders is that they could broken and pushed away from the wall by the defenders. This was countered by using heavier metal ladder which couldn’t be broken. Also when the soldiers climbed over the wall they could be easily pushed off the ladder with a spear or killed with a bow and arrow. This caused them to fall and sometimes knock other soldiers off the wall. The assault ladders was not as effective as any other siege weapon because the defenders could kill a lot of soldiers before they even get onto the wall. The mangonel and onager were medieval catapults that were used as siege weapons. That throw large rock and other projectiles to cause damage to enemy fortifications. They were sometimes used to throw projectiles at large groups of soldiers to kill or disrupt them. They were fairly easy to move but weren’t used that much.

Siege Warfare:

Siege Warfare Trebuchet were very large catapults that were developed later on in the middle ages and were used to lay siege to fortifications from a very long distance. They were very big and had to be packed to move and unpacked to be used. They were very powerful and were the most effective weapon used during a siege. Starving the population inside was also an effective way of besieging a fortification without actually damaging the walls. The attackers would block any supplies from getting inside. This would continue until the defenders surrendered or starved to death. The attackers would also catapult diseased animal and human corpses of the walls to spread disease and make the process quicker.

Significant Battles and Wars:

Significant Battles and Wars The Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Hastings The Battle of Agincourt The Hundred Years’ War The Crusades

The Battle of Stamford Bridge:

The Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Stamford Bridge in England took place on September 25, 1066 , between an invading Norwegian army under King Harald Hardrada and an English under King Harold Godwinson. The English soldiers caught Harald Hardrada’s force by surprise, which meant that the Norwegians were unarmoured. After the battle the majority of the unarmoured Norwegians were killed, along with Harald Hardrada and Earl Tostig, Harold's brother . At the start of the battle Stamford Bridge was held by an enormous Norwegian berserker, armed with an axe, and wearing no armour , he was killed when the English stabbed him with a spear. This delay tactic gave Harald Hardrada time to form his army in a circle on high ground and let the English approach uphill with their backs to the river. The battle was over when majority of the unarmoured Norwegians had been killed and Harald Hardrada and Earl Tostig, ( Harold Godwinson’s brother were dead). The battle of Stamford Bridge lead to the English defeat against the Normans at the Battle of Hastings.

The Battle of Hastings:

The Battle of Hastings The Battle of Hastings was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman conquest of England. The location was Senlac Hill, approximately six miles north of Hastings . The battle took place on October 14, 1066, between the Norman army of Duke William of Normandy, and the English army led by Harold Godwinson . Harold was killed during the battle, it is believed he was shot through the eye with an arrow. Although there was further English resistance for some time , this battle is seen as the point at which William gained control of England. The English defeat might have been avoided if they had not faced the Vikings at the battle of Stamford bridge. It is said that parts of the Norman army began to flee and left William and his knights on their own because they couldn’t breach the English shield wall. William’s horse was killed and fell on top of him, the rest of his army thought he was dead and began to flee as well. This drew out the English from behind their shield wall. William got up and rallied his knights and cut down the English infantry.

The Battle of Agincourt:

The Battle of Agincourt The Battle of Agincourt was fought on 25 October 1415 , in northern France as part of the Hundred Years' War. The armies involved were those of the English King Henry V and Charles VI of France . The battle is notable for the use of the English longbow, which the English used in very large numbers, with longbowmen forming the vast majority of their army. It is said that the size of the two armies vary from 6,000 to 9,000 for the English, and from about 15,000 to about 36,000 for the French . Henry deployed his army (approximately 900 men-at-arms and 5,000 longbowmen) across a 750 yard part of the defile. It is likely that the English adopted their usual battle line of longbowmen on either flank, men-at-arms and knights in the centre, and at the very centre roughly 200 archers. The English men-at-arms in plate and mail were placed shoulder to shoulder four deep. The English archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes called palings into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. The English victory at Agincourt was won by the longbowmen because the French kept charging and were being cut down by volleys of arrows. This victory displayed the usefulness of the longbow.

The Hundred Years’ War:

The Hundred Years’ War The Hundred Years' War was a conflict between France and England, lasting 116 years from 1337 to 1453. It was fought over claims by the English kings to the French throne and was interrupted by two long periods of peace before it finally ended when the English were driven out of France. The Hundred Years' War was a time of military evolution. Weapons, tactics and the structure of an army. Before the Hundred Years' War, heavy cavalry was considered the most powerful unit in an army, but by the end of the war this was no longer true . The French heavy cavalry forces were being destroyed by English longbow s and fixed defensive positions of foot soldiers , these tactics lead the English to victor y of the French at Crécy and Agincourt. Learning from the Scots, the English began using lightly armoured, mounted troops, who would dismount and fight on foot during battle. At the end of the Hundred Years' War the heavily armored , highly trained cavalry were no longer around .

The Crusades:

The Crusades First Crusade 1096–1099 In March 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, ambassadors sent by Byzantine Emperor Alexius I called for help with defending his empire against the Seljuk Turks. Later that year, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called all Christians to join a war against the Turks, promising those who died in the endeavour would receive immediate remission of their sins. Crusader armies managed to defeat two substantial Turkish forces at Dorylaeum and at Antioch, finally marching to Jerusalem with only a fraction of their original forces. In 1099, during the Siege of Jerusalem, the Crusader army took Jerusalem by assault and massacred the population. As a result of the First Crusade, several small Crusader states were created, notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Second Crusade 1147–1148 After a period of relative peace in which Christians and Muslims co-existed in the Holy Land, Muslims conquered the town of Edessa. A new crusade was called for by various preachers, most notably by Bernard of Clairvaux. French and South German armies, under the Kings Louis VII and Conrad III respectively, marched to Jerusalem in 1147 but failed to win any major victories, launching a failed pre-emptive siege of Damascus, an independent city that would soon fall into the hands of Nur al Din, the main enemy of the Crusaders. On the other side of the Mediterranean, however, the Second Crusade met with great success as a group of Northern European Crusaders stopped in Portugal, allied with the Portuguese, and retook Lisbon from the Muslims in 1147. In the Holy Land by 1150, both the kings of France and Germany had returned to their countries without any result. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who in his preachings had encouraged the Second Crusade, was upset with the amount of misdirected violence and slaughter of the Jewish population of the Rhineland .

The Crusades:

The Crusades Third Crusade 1189–1192 In 1187, Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, recaptured Jerusalem, following the Battle of Hattin. Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade, which was led by several of Europe's most important leaders: Philip II of France, Richard I of England (Richard the Lion Heart), and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick drowned in Cilicia in 1190, leaving an unstable alliance between the English and the French. Before his arrival in the Holy Land Richard captured the island of Cyprus from the Byzantines in 1191. Cyprus would serve as a Crusader base for centuries to come, and would remain in Western European hands until the Ottoman Empire conquered the island from Venice in 1571. Philip left, in 1191, after the Crusaders had recaptured Acre from the Muslims. The Crusader army headed south along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They defeated the Muslims near Arsuf, recaptured the port city of Jaffa, and were in sight of Jerusalem. However, Richard did not believe he would be able to hold Jerusalem once it was captured, as the majority of Crusaders would then return to Europe, and the crusade ended without the taking of Jerusalem. Richard left the following year after establishing a truce with Saladin.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Fourth Crusade 1200–1204 The Fourth Crusade was initiated in 1202 by Pope Innocent III, with the intention of invading the Holy Land through Egypt. Because the Crusaders lacked the funds to pay for the fleet and provisions that they had contracted from the Venetians, Doge Enrico Dandolo, enlisted the crusaders to restore the Christian city of Zara. Because they subsequently lacked provisions and time on their vessel lease the leaders decided to go to Constantinople, where they attempted to place a Byzantine exile on the throne. After a series of misunderstandings and outbreaks of violence, the crusaders sacked the city in 1204.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Fifth Crusade 1217–1221 By processions, prayers, and preaching, the Church attempted to call another crusade, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) formulated a plan for the recovery of the Holy Land. In the first phase, a crusading force from Hungary and Austria joined the forces of the king of Jerusalem and the prince of Antioch to take back Jerusalem. In the second phase, crusader forces achieved a remarkable feat in the capture of Damietta in Egypt in 1219, but under the urgent insistence of the papal legate, Pelagius, they then launched a foolhardy attack on Cairo in July of 1221. The crusaders were turned back after their dwindling supplies led to a forced retreat. A night time attack by the ruler of Egypt, the powerful Sultan Al-Kamil, resulted in a great number of crusader losses and eventually in the surrender of the army. Al-Kamil agreed to an eight-year peace agreement with Europe.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Sixth Crusade 1228–1229 Emperor Frederick II had repeatedly vowed a crusade but failed to live up to his words, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. He set sail from Brindisi, landed in Palestine, and through diplomacy he achieved unexpected success . Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem were given to the crusaders for a period of ten years.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Seventh Crusade 1248–1254 The papal interests represented by the Templars brought on a conflict with Egypt in 1243, and in the following year a Khwarezmian force summoned by the latter stormed Jerusalem. The crusaders were drawn into battle at La Forbie in Gaza. The crusader army and its Bedouin mercenaries were outnumbered by Baibars' force of Khwarezmian tribesmen and were completely defeated within forty-eight hours. This battle is considered by many historians to have been the death knell to the Kingdom of Outremer. Although this provoked no widespread outrage in Europe as the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 had done, Louis IX of France organized a crusade against Egypt from 1248 to 1254, leaving from the newly constructed port of Aigues-Mortes in southern France. It was a failure, and Louis spent much of the crusade living at the court of the crusader kingdom in Acre.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Eighth Crusade 1270 The eighth Crusade was organized by Louis IX in 1270, again sailing from Aigues-Mortes, initially to come to the aid of the remnants of the crusader states in Syria. However, the crusade was diverted to Tunis, where Louis spent only two months before dying.The Eighth Crusade is sometimes counted as the Seventh, if the Fifth and Sixth Crusades are counted as a single crusade. The Ninth Crusade is sometimes also counted as part of the Eighth.

The Crusades:

The Crusades Ninth Crusade 1271–1272 The future Edward I of England undertook another expedition in 1271, after having accompanied Louis on the Eighth Crusade. He accomplished very little in Syria and retired the following year after a truce. In their later years, faced with the threat of the Egyptian Mamluks, the Crusaders' hopes rested with a Franco-Mongol alliance. The Mongols were thought to be sympathetic to Christianity, and the Frankish princes were most effective in gathering their help, engineering their invasions of the Middle East on several occasions. Although the Mongols successfully attacked as far south as Damascus on these campaigns, the ability to effectively coordinate with Crusades from the west was repeatedly frustrated most notably at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. The Mamluks eventually made good their pledge to cleanse the entire Middle East of the infidel Franks. With the fall of Antioch (1268), Tripoli (1289), and Acre (1291), the last traces of the Christian rule in Syria disappeared.



The End:

The End