Essay;Louis and Crusade

Manuel saw the crusade as an inconvenience as it prevented him from his plans to attack Sicily, this resulted in him giving the crusade little acknowledgement. Another factor was that the Byzantium emperor had an understanding with the Turks as well as an alliance with the Sultan of Rum. All this would be under threat if he was to help the crusade so it made more sense to give the franks directions rather than supplies as this would anger the turks and could possibly start a war.

Also, during the first crusade Baldwin and Bohemond refused to restore territory to the Byzantine emperor so this removed any interest he may have had in aiding the crusade. The pillaging Greek towns led to Manuel refusing to provide supplies top aid his troops alone. This then led to Christians fighting amongst each other which then led to a weaker overall Crusader force, which resulted in the crusade lacking man power and strength. The fact that 90% of troops were wiped out at Dorylaeum certainly had an impact on the failure of the crusade as this reduced the amount of troops on the crusade significantly.

This was due to the lack of aid and ships from the Byzantine Emperor – Manuel, which then led to more troops having to travel by foot. As a result of this many troops were lost to disease as well as being sabotaged by the Turks. Overall the lack of aid from the Byzantine emperor resulted in loss of troops which then led to lack of man power on the crusade . If the Byzantium’s would have sent help and aid to the crusade, it would have meant many more troops would have survived making the crusader stronger and making them a much more powerful force.

Furthermore, the strong muslim unity was also to blame partially for the crusader failure. A reason for this was that the promotion of Jihad by Zengi and Nurreddin gave Muslims the power needed for them to strive and determined to takeover the states the Franks. Another reason for the failure was that the leaders lacked the dedication they had for the first crusade, this then resulted in the troops also lacking enthusiasm meaning the manpower was at a significantly low level during the second crusade. Also, ‘crusade’ meant a variety of different things to different religious groups.

One thing they all had in common was they all desired a spiritual reward in return for their service, not to save the East. This meant the crusaders had the wrong frame of mind to begin. This effected on the impact of the troops and the progress of the crusade as it lacked the desire to complete the crusade. Divisions in the East meant that Louis lost support of Raymond of Tripoli and Jocelyn as these remained in the North. This effected to supplies and aid that these leaders could have supplied. As well as aid they could have supplied troops which would have made the crusade much stronger as a whole.

Finally, the attack on Damascus played potentially a big part in the failure as it produced more divisions. This was due to the fact it was a politically neutral area. It was also allied to Jerusalem. The attack resulted in the Muslims uniting further making the made it more difficult for the crusade to be complete as Nuredin barred the gates after the appeal from Damascus. This decision resulted in the crusade becoming a weaker force as the Muslim forces were becoming more united and stronger resulting in them having more man power.

The final reasons for the failure of the crusade were the mistakes made by Louis VII and how they effected the overall progression of the crusade. Firstly, Louis had an unclear focus of going on the crusade. He was reluctant to embark at fist which meant he didn’t have much belief in the outcomes himself. He went to seek repentance for the massacre he had committed at Vitry, so just like most of the crusaders he was not focused on saving the East he was looking for a spiritual reward. He also failed to swear fealty to Manuel after attacking the Greeks.

This resulted in the Byzantium’s refusing to send aid to Louis after he had asked. The little help from the Byzantium’s meant that the crusade lacked the aid and support they needed to keep a large amount of their soldiers alive. This resulted in high death rates, decreasing number of troops and lack of man power. Overall Louis lacked the qualities of a leader he had poor organisation and preparation skills as well as the lack of decision making. When he decided to travel to Antioch by sea he didn’t have the supplies to do this effectively.

This meant he lost a large number of troops before even getting to the location. His poor decision making resulted in division of his own army as no one could decide on group decisions etc. This meant that the troops were not working as a team so the frame of mind was not there for them to succeed and complete the crusade. His personal life also had an effect on the crusade. He was more interested in his personal dislikes and relationship than those of the affair. This meant his decisions weren’t based on what was best for the success of the crusade but what was best for him and his personal aspects of his own life.

This shows he did not prioritise the crusade so he lacked the enthusiasm that would have rubbed off onto his troops. Finally, when he attacked Damascus he lost the only Muslim ally of the Crusader states. This meant he lost out on supplies and aid the city would have provided as well as uniting the Muslim states even more. In conclusion, all three points had some sort of effect on the failure of the 2nd crusade but the most important was certainly Louis VII lack of leadership and enthusiasm to the crusade. If he would have planned the route and prioritised the crusade he would have gained the help from the Byzantines.

He made many wrong decisions that affected the failure because if he hadn’t of attacked Damascus he wouldn’t have lost the only Muslim ally to the Crusader states. His lack of enthusiasm meant the crusade didn’t have a specific motive or aim which meant that the crusaders were not as interested or dedicated to completing the crusade. His lack of organisation resulted in stronger forces of the muslims which resulted with his force being much weaker than those he was crusading against. If a dedicated leader would have led the 2nd crusade it would have been a much greater success as it would have been planned and organised.