The 1st Crusade

Pulling together all the resources on this wiki, and some others, as a study guide for the First Crusade:

The 1st Crusade Gallery
The Crusades
Terry Jone's Crusades videos
The History Chanel
The Crusader States in 1135
Military Orders

6 versions of Urban II's text from Clermont

Other resources you should consult:

Visit the Wikipedia page for The First Crusade
Our YouTube Playlist for the 1st Crusade
Our Pinterest page for the First Crusades (which bookmarks most of the external resources linked on this page)

"Crusaders in Crisis: Towards the reassessment of the origins and nature of the "People's Crusade" of 1095-1096" by Philip Slavin, McGill University, May 2009

Add these files to Google Earth on your computer


For a little background, listen to

The First Crusade

- from the BBC series What If,Thursday 4 April 2002
Listen to the episode on the web site. Professor Chris Andrew poses the quite plausible hypothesis that the First Crusade did indeed fail. What would have been the consequences of such an outcome? Renowned expert on the Crusades, Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, editor of The Oxford Illustrated Guide to the Crusades explains that, had they failed to take Jerusalem, there would have been no Crusading movement. He goes further: a victory for Islam might well have encouraged the Seljuk Turks to invade Europe with greater success than they achieved in later centuries.

The First Crusade - from the NPR series Talk of the Nation,(2004) This episode features an interview with Professor Thomas Asbridge, senior lecturer in Medieval History at the University of London. Author ofThe First Crusade: A New History the Roots of Conflict Between Christianity and Islam.
. You can also listen and download the file on the podcast page.

God Wills It!

This is the first lecture from the Modern Scholar course God Wills It!: Understanding the Crusades taught by Professor Thomas F. Madden, available for purchase at
"This lecture focuses on the history of Christianity from its humble beginnings to its rise to prominence in the Roman Empire with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, the development of the Papacy, and the formation of the Byzantine Empire. It's an informative lecture covering a lot of Christian history from the time of Christ to the start of the First Crusade in the 11th century."

The Crusades

from the BBC series The Long View, this episode examines the First and Second Crusade. Listen to the episode on the web site.

The Middle East and the West: A Troubled History

from National Public Radio, this six-part series includes sections on the Crusades and the Rise of the Ottoman Empire
Listen to the first episode The Middle East and the West: The Crusades on All Things Considered.

"When President Bush first declared the war on terrorism soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, he made the mistake of using the word "crusade" to describe it. That was much condemned in the Arab world, where the Crusades are often cited as emblematic of Western designs on the Middle East....NPR's Mike Shuster begins a special six-part series on the long and turbulent history of Western involvement in the Middle East with a look at the Christian Crusades." |


Click to go to a timeline of the First Crusade

Map of the 1st Crusade



There are no written commentaries from before, or during the Crusade.

1. In the Beginning

The setting

  • Peace of god, truce of god
  • Reform movement - investiture controversy (Pope Gregory VII)
  • Motives - Canterbury-type Tales - why go ….

The First Crusade - Terry Jones

The Crusades , Crescent and the Cross Part 1 of 2

The History Channel: Pint Size History - The Crusades

The Crusades - Pilgrimage or Holy War?: Crash Course World History #15

Jerusalem Explained
Archaeology grad student Nir Ortal explains the brief 3000 year old history of The Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites in the world.

November 1095

Call to Action

Pope Urban II arriving and speaking at Claremont
Pope Urban II arriving and speaking at Claremont

Pope Urban II arriving and speaking at Claremont
Pope Urban II arriving and speaking at Claremont

The Emperor Alexius I Comnenus portrayed in a mosaic in the church of Agia Sophia, Constantinople.
The Emperor Alexius I Comnenus portrayed in a mosaic in the church of Agia Sophia, Constantinople.

Crusades: Holy War with Thomas Asbridge

See page

Bishob Ademar
The death of Ademar
Raymond of Toulouse taking the oath to liberate Jerusalem

Pope on Tour

  • Creating enthusiasm
  • Salted audience - claquesringers
  • Growing crowd of followers - nobles and peasants


2. Preparations for action

Peasants - 1095

Read the fascinating story of Peter the Hermit: Straddling the boundaries of lordship, millennialism, and heresy. By Stelios Vasilis Perdios. Master’s Thesis, Iowa State University, 2012

From the Roman du Chevalier du Cygne Illuminated manuscript, parchment about 1270

  • Thousands of followers (see the Canterbury crowd above)
ReadCrusaders in Crisis: Towards the Re-assessment of the Origins and Nature of the “People’s Crusade” of 1095-1096. By Philip Slavin, Imago temporis: medium Aevum, Vol.4 (2010)

Military - nobles, armies, Spring 1096

Mortgage the lands to raise the cash, arrange for care of souls if returning dead.

Noble Personalities

Read God, Gold, or Glory: Norman Piety and the First Crusade. By Samuel Andrew Bartlett, Master’s Thesis, University of North Florida, 2008

Listen to these interviews with students taking the part of Robert of Normandy, and Mrs. Davidson.

En Route

  • Jewish Pogroms by peasants
Burning_Jews.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

Read (the Abstract and Introduction): The Preaching of the First Crusade and the Persecutions of the Jews, By Shmuel Shepkaru, Medieval Encounters, Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

  • Ravaging of the land - upsetting the locals - Peasants
  • Organized ravaging by nobles

3. Constantinople

Are we there yet?

  • Peasant rebel were quickly moved on across the water into Asia Minor
  • Nobels meet and greet by Emperor
  • Nobel swear oaths to Emperor
  • Byzantines weary of Bohemond (they’d seen him before) - in the Alexiad

Arrival at Constantinople
  • Success!!


4. Antioch

Heading for Antioch


Arrival at Antioch

Great Battles: The First Crusade Three Battles for Latin Christendom

Great Battles: The First Crusade
Lecture by Jessica Goldberg
Given on January 16, 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

  • 8 month siege
  • Dissent among crusaders
  • Discovery of the Holy Lance buried in the church of St. Peter in Antioch
  • Bishop dies
  • Muslims mobilize
  • Final victory for crusaders - Bohemond stays behind as Prince of Antioch

5 Jerusalem

March to Jerusalem

The conquest of Jerusalem in the First Crusade (1099). Illustration from a ms. of Guillaume de Tyr, Histoire d'Outremer, Bibliothèque municipale, Lyon (or BNF?); reproduced in Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon

Jerusalem is captured July 1099

Read: The assault and capture of the Christian "Navel of the World" The Crusaders Capture Jerusalem, 1099

from Cox, George, W, The Crusades (1886); Laffan, R.G.D (ed. and trans.), Select Documents of European History 800 - 1492, (1929)
  • Godfrey breaches the wall with his bow
  • Siege engines are useful
  • Massacre of all inhabitants

6. Homeward bound!

  • Most go home, some stay
  • Crusaders States are established - on the pattern of European
Monarchy and nobility in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1131: establishment and origins
By Alan V. Murray
PhD Dissertation, University of St Andrews, 1988
Abstract: The starting-point of this thesis is the question of the origin of the nobility in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem up to 1131. This is discussed in parallel with the question of the origins of the monarchy itself and that of relations between the two institutions.



After it’s all over

People start to write about it; some eyewitnesses of Pope’s speech, some on Crusade itself