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Leaders of the Crusades

Below is an article that will describe the leaders that led every Christian crusade. The Crusades were a series of Christian wars against the Muslims to acquire the Holy Land of Jerusalem. The Crusades were called upon or announced by the high ranking clergymen of Europe, that is, the Pope and led by the Kings along with the Crusaders.

Let us see the different leaders of the 9 Christian Crusades in History in terms of leaders of the Crusaders that were European Monarchs and their Generals and Commanders against the Muslim Emperors from the East.

The First Crusade:


The First Crusade that went on for 4 years, was called upon by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in France. It began in 1095 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

From the Southern French Contingent came Raymond IV of Toulouse and Adhemer of Le Puy. From the North of France and from the Flemish Region – one of the 3 main kingdoms of Belgium, the leaders were – Godfrey of Bouillon, Baldwin of Boulogne, Hugh I of Vermandois, Stephen II of Blois, Robert II of Flanders and Robert II of Normandy.

From the Norman Italian Contingent, there were namely Bohemond of Taranto, Tancred of Hauteville, and Richard of Salerno. The Eastern Leaders included Alexios I Komnenos, Tatikios, Manuel Boutoumites, and Constantine of Armenia. The Tatikios was also known as Taticius and was a Byzantine General Officer.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

The leaders of the Muslim empire were Kilij Arslan I, Yaghi-Siyan, Kerbogha, Duqaq, and Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan. They led the Seljuq empire. The Danishmends, a Turkish dynasty was led by Ghazi ibn Danishmend.

The Fatimids – an Islamic Caliphate that was spread over a large area in North of Africa. They were led by Iftikhar ad-Daula, Al-Afdal Shahanshah.

The Second Crusade:

The Second Crusade that went on for 3 years, was called upon by Pope Eugene III with the help of many European Nobles. It began in 1147 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

One of the main leaders of the Second Crusade from Europe was Louis VII of France, who was assisted by a number of commanders and generals namely – Robert I of Dreux, Peter I of Courtenay, Raoul I of Vermandois, Thierry of Alsace, Alphonse I of Toulouse, Roger I Trencavel, Raymond I Trencavel, Raynald of Châtillon, Enguerrand II, Lord of Coucy, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry I of Champagne, William de Warenne, Hugh VII of Lusignan , Renaut I of Bar, Amadeus III of Savoy, William V of Montferrat and William VII of Auvergne, Odo of Deuil.

The King Conrad III of Germany was assisted by Frederick II, Duke of Swabia, Otto of Freising, Ottokar III of Styria, Henry II of Austria, Herman III, Margrave of Baden, Roger de Beaumont and 2nd Earl of Warwick.

The Crusader states were led by Baldwin III of Jerusalem, Amalric, Count of Jaffa, Melisende of Jerusalem, Philip of Milly, Manasses of Hierges, Robert of Craon, Raymond du Puy de Provence, Humphrey II of Toron, Walter Grenier, Barisan of Ibelin.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

From the Eastern Front of the Muslim Frontier fought Mesud I, Imad ad-Din Zengi, Nur ad-Din, Saif ad-Din Ghazi I, Al-Muqtafi, and Al-Hafiz.

From the Western Front King Tashfin ibn Ali, and his son Ibrahim ibn Tashfin, Ishaq ibn Ali, Abd al-Mu’min.

The total strength of the Muslim Army was 20000 men.

The Third Crusade:

The Third Crusade that went on for 3 years, was called upon by Pope Gregory VIII after the death of Pope Eugene III who died of the shock of the loss of the second Crusade. It began in 1189 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

From England, the leader was Richard I of England and from France, it was King Philip II under whose leadership was Hugh III of Burgundy, Theobald V of Blois, Henry II of Champagne and Philip I of Flanders.

The King of Italy and elected King of Germany – Frederick I Barbarossa was the leading the other crusaders namely Frederick VI of Swabia, Leopold V of Austria, Conrad of Montferrat, Depolt of Bohemia, Markward von Annweiler, Albert II of Brandenburg. The youngest son of King Geza II of Hungary – Prince Geza joined from Hungarian frontiers.

The Crusader army was so powerful that they had many Kings and leaders joining from the Levantine regions as well. Guy I of Jerusalem, Humphrey IV of Toron, Balian of Ibelin, Raymond III of Tripoli, Joscelin III of Edessa were some of them.

Leo I of Armenia joined from the Eastern Christian Allies.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

The total number of Ayyubids was 25000 men. Their leaders included Saladin himself, accompanied by Kilij Arslan I and Rashid ad-Din Sinan.

There were Eastern Christian opponents for the Crusaders as well. They were led by Isaac II Angelos, Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus.

The Fourth Crusade:

The Fourth Crusade that went on for 2 years, was called upon by Pope Innocent III who motivated the Crusaders to defeat the Egyptian Ayyubid Sultanate, the most powerful Muslim empire of all time. It began in 1202 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

The Crusaders were led by Enrico Dandolo – the Doge of Venice, Boniface I of Montferrat – Marquess of Montferrat, Theobald III of Champagne, Baldwin of Flanders, Louis I of Blois, Hugh IV of Saint-Pol, Conrad of Halberstadt, Martin of Paris, and Alexios IV Angelos

Leaders of the Byzantine Frontier

The Byzantine Emperors – Alexios III Angelos and Alexios V Doukas led the battle from the Byzantine empire.

The Fifth Crusade:

The Fifth Crusade that went on for 4 years, was called upon by Pope Honorius III with the help of his predecessor Pope Innocent III. It began in 1217 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

The Fifth Crusade was led by John of Brienne, Bohemond IV, Hugh I, Kaykaus I, Frederick II, Leopold VI, Albert IV, Ludwig I, Louis IV, Otto I, Pedro de Montaigu, Hermann von Salza, Guérin de Montaigu, Andrew II William I , Phillip II , Henry I of Rodez and Pelagio Galvani. They were a total of 32000 men.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

The Muslim forces were led by Al-Kamil, Al-Mu’azzam (Kurdish ruler), Al-Mujahid (grandson of a second cousin of Saladin), Al-Muzaffar Mahmud and Al-Aziz Muhammad Bahramshah.

The Sixth Crusade:

The Sixth Crusade that went on for one year, was led by Frederick II. This Crusade involved less of fighting and turned out to be a diplomatic win for the Crusaders.

The leader of this crusade was Frederick II, supported by Hermann von Salza, a German ruler. They signed a treaty after a diplomatic discussion with Muslim leader Sultan Al Kamil.

This Crusade was proof that a crusade can be won over without a battle and without the support of the Catholic Papacy and the support of the military.

The Seventh Crusade:

The Seventh Crusade that went on for 6 years, was called upon by Pope Gregory IX after the expiration of the 10-year long treaty signed by Frederick II and Sultan Al Kamil. It began in 1248 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

The Crusaders were led by King Louis IX of France. France was the strongest nation of Europe in the 12th century. Louis collected the ecclesiastical tenth (church tithes) for 3 years and by the year 1248, he collected enough money to afford an army with the strength of 15000 men. They included 3000 knights and more than 5000 crossbowmen that sailed their way on 36 ships.

The other leaders that Louis IX was accompanied by were Alfonso, Charles I, Robert I, Guillaume de Sonnac, Renaud de Vichiers and William II Longespée.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

As-Salih Ayyub was the leader of the Muslim frontier. He was the Kurdish Ayyubid ruler of Egypt from 1240 – 1249 AD. Other supporting leaders were Shajar al-Durr, Faris ad-Din Aktai, Qutuz – Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Fakhr-ad-Din Yussuf, Aybak – first Mamluk Sultan of Egypt from the Turkic line, Baibars – fourth Sultan of Egypt and a commander of the crusade.

The Eighth Crusade:

The Eighth Crusade that went on for a year, was called upon by Louis IX of France against the city of Tunis – the capital of Tunisia. It began and ended in the same year of 1270 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

There were kingdoms that were majorly involved in this Crusade. They were the Kingdom of France, Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Navarre. The main leader was King Louis IX of France along with Charles I of Sicily, and Theobald II of Navarre.

The main leader was Muhammad I al-Mustansir – the second ruler of Hafsid dynasty and the

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

first to ever claim the title of ‘Khalif’.

 The Ninth Crusade:

The Ninth Crusade that went on for 2 years, was called upon by Edward I of England – son of Henry III of England after the failure of the Eighth Crusade. It began in 1271 AD.

Leaders of the Crusaders

It was called and led by Prince Edward of England and supported by other Kings – Charles I of Naples, Leo II of Armenia, Hugh III of Cyprus, Bohemond VI of Antioch, Abaqa Khan – a Mongol ruler and Samagar – a Mongol General.

Leaders of the Muslim Frontier

It was led by Baibar – the fourth Sultan of Egypt in the Mamluk Bahri Dynasty.


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