An unmitigated disaster. After the success of the 1st Crusade, everybody expected the second one to go well. When it didn't, nobody really understood why, and various excuses were made up. These are still trotted out as the reason in modern accounts of the crusade:
- the gallant crusaders were confused by having to attack Damascus through an orchard
- the Turks fought dishonourably, running away and luring the crusaders into an ambush
- Eleanor of Aquitaine spent her time shagging her uncle instead of encouraging the troops
The fact of the matter is that the First Crusade succeeded because it was unexpected and the enemy were too busy fighting each other to take the westerners seriously. By the time of the Second Crusade, there was a single Muslim ruler of the area who led a unified defense.
The First Crusade and its Outcome
This First Crusade (1098?) was an unexpected triumph for the West and disaster for the Turks who were the rulers of the Middle East. A massive army of western Europeans travelled to the Middle East and took the lands there from the local people. They did this in the name of 'liberating the Holy Land from the infidel' (Muslims), although the areas concerned were a mixture of Muslims and Christians living peacefully together, with Muslim overlords.
After the First Crusade, the countries concerned were inhabited by local Christians with foreign Christian overlords (the Westerners).
There were four main countries:
Antioch - this city was virtually impregnable due to its huge walls and strategic location between an unscalable mountain and a deep river. It countrolled the land around it.
Edessa - the first crusader state, situated not on the Mediterranean but further inland. Today it is in modern Southeast Turkey and is known as Şanlıurfa. It was conquered by the Crusdaders in 1098, but taken back by the Turks in 1144. (Zangi / Zengui)
Tripoli - a city on the coast, in what is now Lebanon.
Kingdom of Jerusalem - nominally the overlord of all the other kingdoms.
The Loss of Edessa
The Loss of the Rest
Krak des Chevaliers and the Militant Priests
The Second Crusade
Enlisting - two kings, or a king and an emperor
Travelling to the Holy Land - the slaughter of central Anatolia
The Shagging of Eleanor
The Siege of Damascus