The Third Crusade is now live Third Crusade
This the best-known crusade besides the First. It's got Richard of England, the famous sultan Saladin, assassins and kidnapping and daring rescues. I have yet to read a good novelization of the events, but of course Runciman's recounting is pretty dramatic.
I'm just going to keep on the the crusading stuff for a while. There are the main crusades but I also have essays that trace each Crusader Kingdom individually, plus essays on things like the Albigensian Crusade, and even the fourteenth and fifteenth century crusades. At some point I'll add the Virtual Pilgrimage (whose title feels awfully dated now). So it's going to be some time before I get back to the more general European history stuff.
Another installment in my continuing series of historical essays. This one is on the Fourth Crusade, one of the strangest, most complex (you'll note I did not say Byzantine), and most widely condemned of all the crusades. Fourth Crusade, home
Don't have the time to check it out now, but will be reading it with interest.
The Fourth Crusade is arguably the most stupid 'Western' foreign policy mistake in history. Kudos to Enrico Dandolo for his persuasive power (and vigour, given he was a blind ninetysomething), but the long term consequences were less than great from a European/Christian perspective.
Totally ended any realistic hope of the Eastern Empire surviving (let alone prospering) against the Ottoman Turks. To be fair, a few more generations of Angeli misrule may've achieved the same, but the Catholic/Orthodox schism, Latin/Greek suspicion, and the ensuing Fourth Crusade was a godsend (ahem) for the Turks. Not that they were going backwards anyway, but it certainly helped.
A new article on the crusades is now live. This one is on the Fifth Crusade, Fifth Crusade
Each crusade is a strange, complicated event in itself, so it's a bit redundant to say this one is strange and complicated. Perhaps its distinguishing characteristic is that it's the closest any of the crusades came to being led by the Church.