Most competent leader of the early 12th century?

JoanOfArc007

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Dec 2015
3,909
USA
One great leader of the 12th century was Godfrey of Bouillon. Godfrey was a leader of the First Crusade and was instrumental in winning numerous battles such as at Dorylaeum in 1097 against a fierce and much larger Force of Seljuk Turks that 3 decades earlier scored a massive victory against the Byzantine Empire @ The Battle of Manzikert which saw the Turks gain significant lands from the Byzantine forces.

Godfrey Also presided over Jerusalem as its first Christian Head of State for the first time in centuries. From a perspective of before the modern times(make no mistake Godfrey is admired to this day), even during the Victorian and WW1 era, there were scholars whom wrote in great praise of the European Catholic movement. Godfrey was said to be a great warrior, a very pious Christian and a man of diversity and friendly values. There were Byzantine soldiers that respected and fought under the banner of Godfrey. While there were Christians that sought money and fame in the movement to secure the Holy Land, Godfrey was truly interested in recapturing The Holy land out of noble values. The First Crusade was so very important in not only halting the much vaunted Seljuk Turks from taking over Europe...but also the First Crusade saw Europeans acquiring lands in the middle east that would go on to be in Catholic hands for centuries.
 
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johnincornwall

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Nov 2010
7,809
Cornwall
Stepping back a bit - I've been away - El Cid is the greatest for me of his age. The only downside was the smaller size of armies in that sphere. He probably had 2-3000 'lances' in his private army, but being completely 'professional knights' this was obviously superior to much larger forces of random make-up eg Aragon/Leida, Almoravids etc. Cuarte, Bairen and Pina de Tevar were all quite phenomenal victories really - combining tactical brilliance, physical bravery and strength, as were some of his other exploits in Zaragoza service

But he was exceedingly cruel - maybe they go together - especially at Valencia (siege and executions) and when he devastated 'set to fire' the Riojan lands of his old Castillian Arch-enemy Garcia Ordonez. The Song of Cid is mostly romantic claptrap but I find the most reliable source as Martinez Diez's effort the best (El Cid Historico) based on all available sources especially Historia Rodericii. Contrary to Hollywood opinion, Martinez Diez finds that El Cid's two exiles were not for the clash with Garcia Ordonez and co about the tributes of Sevilla and Granada, neither the mythical oath of Gadea but:
1) Toledo having fallen into Castillian hands, some raiders from the area, probably simple bandits and criminals, attacked El Cid's lands to the north. He raided very cruelly Toledan territory, now citizens of Alfonso and specifically forbidden
2) Failure to link up with with Alfonso's army for the abortive Aledo campaign. No one knows why and the best guess is a simple misunderstanding of time and place.

Oddly, just after Cid's destruction of Ordonez's Rioja lands, Alfonso VI and him made up like best buddies. Personally I don't subscribe to the Hollywood of ever-loyal to Castilla. He was quite a self-serving, egotistical and money-grabbing man - after his death most of his nobles ended up in the service of Aragon, although they were mostly Castillian. My own theory is that at that awful time in the 1090s, Alfonso needed the aid of the all-powerful Cid miltarily, economically and as a strong bulwark in Valencia against the Almoravids to prevent expansion toward Zaragoza - which of course eventually happened after his death

Contrary to my old friend Tulius opinion - I don't rate Alfonso VI at all militarily. Strategically his campaign to wear down Toledo economically bit by bit was superb. He was trying the same with all the other Sultans until the Almoravid intervention. But faced with the Almoravids he - and his generals like Alvar Fanez - became serial losers. At Barajas, Almodovar del Rio, Consuegra, Ucles - hopeless routs. If the heavy cavalry charge didn't worked they were royally f****d. This was another thing that made Cid different - an ability to think originally out of the box, the only person to repeatedly defeat the Almoravids

However back to the early-mid 12th century - surely Abd Al Mu'min, all-conquering first Caliph of the Almohads - top man
 
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stevev

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Apr 2017
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Las Vegas, NV USA
Pope Alexander III who made Frederick Barbarossa walk barefoot in the snow.:freeze:
 
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Larrey

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Sep 2011
5,832
Pope Alexander III who made Frederick Barbarossa walk barefoot in the snow.:freeze:
Ah well, that was Henry IV, in the 11th c, at Canossa, where Henry walked the last bit barefoot in the snow.

Barbarossa had a similar conflict, and had to reconcile with the pope, but that occurred in Venice. In a symbolic act of subjugation Fredrick had to hold the stirrup of the Papal legate as he mounted his horse.
 
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stevev

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Apr 2017
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Las Vegas, NV USA
Ah well, that was Henry IV, in the 11th c, at Canossa, where Henry walked the last bit barefoot in the snow.

Barbarossa had a similar conflict, and had to reconcile with the pope, but that occurred in Venice. In a symbolic act of subjugation Fredrick had to hold the stirrup of the Papal legate as he mounted his horse.
Thank you. I think Barbarossa's walk in the snow was some later (16th century) fiction. However he did agree to a formal submission to the Pope as you say.
 
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