Second Crusade in Medieval History

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In medieval times there were military expeditions called crusades (Currie). The purpose of these crusades was to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. Known as the Second Crusade the expedition was started for the purpose of reclaiming the city of Edessa. Although they had the necessary forces to achieve this feat it had ultimately fallen flat due to failure to have success in their battles (Combee and Thompson ). Previously in the First Crusade, the Christian forces had reclaimed Jerusalem, which suppressed the Muslim forces.

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The Second Crusade started in 1147 when the Muslims of the Middle East started reasserting their supremacy over the region. Due to this reassertion, the pope at the time called upon a monk named Bernard of Clairvaux to preach to the people of the need of another crusade. The purpose of this crusade was to recapture the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia. The city had recently been in Christian hands due to the First Crusade but had fallen to the Muslim Seljuk Turks in 1144 (Cartwright).

The crusade was to be led by two of the most powerful monarchs at the time, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany (Combee and Thompson ). The Second Battle of Dorylaeum was one of the first battles of the crusade. The battle took place sometime in October and consisted of a series of battles over a number of days. The assault started when the German Crusaders under Conrad III had stopped to rest at Dorylaeum (Williams). While they were in the city they had been ambushed by the Turks. The attack ended with the Crusaders getting completely annihilated by the Turks with only a few surviving. Out of the total 113 men in the army, 22 were reported dead, 42 surviving, and 49 men unaccounted for. (Nicolle).This had been a devastating defeat at the site of a great Christian victory in the prior crusade. After the devastating defeat of Conrad’s army, Louis and Conrad managed to assemble their armies at Jerusalem. Their plan was to attack the Syrian stronghold of Damascus with an army of 50,000 soldiers (Tsai). The attack had commenced and the ruler of Damascus was forced to call for aid. Soon after the call for help Muslim reinforcements had arrived. With the combined power of the Muslim forces, they were able to overpower Louis and Conrad and dealt another humiliating defeat to the Crusaders (Editors).

The humiliating loss of this battle had decisively ended the Second Crusade. The Crusaders had been defeated before they had even reached the Holy Land. Due to this, there was no attempt made to recover the city of Edessa (Combee and Thompson ). In conclusion, the Second Crusade was a Holy war that intended to recover the city of Edessa, but was ultimately a failure. The failure was due to multiple losses. Such as The Second Battle of Dorylaeum, and the attack on the stronghold of Damascus. The result of these losses led to neither armies even making it to the Holy land, effectively collapsing the Second Crusade.

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Second Crusade in Medieval History. (2021, May 27). Retrieved from