The Epic of the Crusades by Rene Groussett

JoanOfArc007

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Dec 2015
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Well I am pumped up to have my new history book, The Epic of the Crusades by Rene Groussett. Groussett was a world renown French Historian writing in the early 20th century. Grousset was a member of the celebrated Academie Francaise.

I am very pleased with The Epic of The Crusades so far. The Book discusses all of the so called Crusades. Its a great piece of work, I fully recommend it to everyone. Allow me to share some of Groussets work in this post. I am about 35 pages in so far... the beginning of the book covers people such as Peter the Hermit, Godfrey of Boullion, and some of the #s from various battles that had to do with the First Crusade. I will comment on what I have read so far.. I am just about to get into learning about Baldwin of Boullion, so I will provide what Grousset had to say of Peter the Hermit, Godfrey, as well as the general life in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Peter the Hermit is provided in a good light by Grousset which runs against the unproven allegations agaisnt Peter the Hermit on wikipedia for example. Peter was said to be a pious Christian, perhaps to pious as Peter was willing to take on criminals, criminals that hoped to attain salvation on the road to the Holy Land. Peter may have thought that some of the criminals that joined the peoples Crusade would change for the better, and surely many did but unfortunately not all did.

Unfortunately some of Peters followers gave in to there old ways, robbing and looting for example in Hungary and in Byzantine areas. These actions upset The King of Hungary Coloman... and the Emperor of Byzantine Alexius Comnenus and btw some of those followers of Peter the Hermit were punished by the Hungarian King and Byzantine Emperor. That said, when the Peoples Crusade finally reached Byzantine on Aug 1 1096, Emperor Comnenus told the Catholics to wait for the Backup of the professional Christian armies led by the 4 barons such as Godfrey, even Peter the Hermit told his followers to wait to march against the Turks...but zeal and selfishness perhaps took over and without Peter the Hermit about 25,000 men, many non Knights but with a few Knights, set off and crossed the Bosphorus to battle the Turks. By Oct 21 1096 decided to do something remarkable, without a central leadership but with faith in Christ marched on to Nicaea the Turkish capital. The peoples crusade was crushed, and of the 25,000 men, only 3,000 would return alive in retreat back to the Byzantine Empire.

And btw Grousset praised Peter the Hermit, where Peter went wrong was perhaps not having a background check on those that took up the peoples Crusade. Or perhaps Rather Peter should have tried to have tighter control over his followers. After all it was men such as Emich of Leisingen whom was anti Jewish, indeed it was reported that Emich terribly mistreated Jews. Otoh I can also comment on the character and behavior of other Christian leaders of the so called First Crusade. Grousset points out that w of those 25,000 men there were some bad eggs, but not all were bad. There would have been good everyday people in the Peoples Crusade, one can imagine the Good Catholics probably tried to physically prevent the bad Catholics from mistreating others. In every war it seems there are crimes of course.

Anyway Grousset says the following of Godfrey, and this is a total turnaround from how Grousset views Emich,

During the Crusades he(Godfrey) was to prove a pious pilgrim, full of good grace, gentleness, charity and Christian humility.


Godfrey was so capable that he was able to reassure the very Hungarians whom were mistreated by some of those of the Peoples Crusade. And Godfrey and his army marched right through Hungary toward the Holy Land with no issue.

I will say page 31 of The Epic of the Crusades actually brings up the bloodshed at Jerusalem. We even get to hear the famous William of Tyre providing a bloody description of the Battle of Jerusalem. But I suppose as we know this was 1,000 years ago, and Jews and Muslims also took part in violent wars. By July 1099, Jerusalem was in Catholic hands again. Btw Godfrey was a very important military leader. Only three weeks after Taking Jerusalem , a huge Muslim army from Egypt which had entered Palestine led by the Vizier Al Afdal threatened to destroy the Catholic Kingdom of Jerusalem. At the time there were various disagreements between Godfrey and other Catholic leaders that could have brought down the Kingdom amid an invasion. But because of Godfreys honor and pious behavior, Christians that were in argument with Godfrey such as Raymond of Saint Gilles set aside there differences.... and united to save Jerusalem. Al Afdal sent in a huge forces which outnumbered the Crusaders greatly, but the Valiant Godfrey and his men surprised Al Afdal at the Battle of Ascalon resulting in a Christian victory and the security of Jerusalem for decades to come.


Numerous accounts suggest that Godfrey actually meant with Muslims peacefully during the time of the Kingdom of Jerusalem..that speaks volumes to me. Pages 34-35 of The Epic of the Crusades talks at length about the respect that Muslims had for Godfrey. Godfrey due to his soft spoken and pious and kind nature, reminded the Muslims of none other then Muhammad himself. Arab Muslims and European Catholics in The new Kingdom had conversations with each other, they learned more and more about each other. Arabs and Franks would take up friendships with each other in The Kingdom of Jerusalem.

This is again the beginning of the book I am discussing. Later on when I get into the 3rd, 5th and 6th Crusade and so on I will provide more information.
 
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JoanOfArc007

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Dec 2015
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I will also in the next few days provide more information about Godfrey and his journey to Jerusalem as provided by The Epic of the Crusades By Rene Groussett.
 

JoanOfArc007

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Dec 2015
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I would like to firstly discuss the brief commentary that Grousset provides on the Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces, whom Grousset identifies as a glorious sovereign. By 975 and 125 years before the rise of the European Catholic movement of the first Crusade fellow Christians such as Tzimisces were battling the Muslim expansion that saw in 400 years a growth from Arabia into Spain...covering half of the area that was once the Roman Empire. But it was under Tzimisces, that the Byzantine Empire regained lost land, recovering Antioch from the Arab Muslims in 969...and by 975 John had "victoriously traversed the whole of Syria". From Damascus Tzimisces would go on to the land of the Galilee , but seeing a strong and well defended Arab Jerusalem...Tzimisces turned around and went back to Constantinople so close to liberating Jerusalem but unable to free the Holy City. Tzimisces came close , 125 years before the Western Catholics...of securing Jerusalem for Christian rule...and history could have perhaps been totally different had it been the Byzantines under Tzimisces that had liberated Jerusalem in 975. Nonetheless, Eastern Christians reportedly took a part in the fighting and preaching of the First Crusade in 1099. It was not only Western Catholics that had liberated Jerusalem in July of 1099, some Eastern Christians were a part of the liberation of Jerusalem and perhaps they had in mind the great Emperor John Tzimisces. After all even without Jerusalem John Tzimisces had regained so much lost land for his Empire.

Unfortunately some of the gains made of Tzimisces would be lost by the brave Emperor Romanus Diogens. But by 1071 the Arabs were no longer the preeminent Muslim power in the middle east, it was the Seljuk Turks led by Alp Arslan. Diogens set off in the spring of 1071 with 100,000 men that included hired Norman soldiers... to regain Armenia from the Turks. By Aug 19, 1071 Arslan and his army would meet Diogens and his army by Manzikert. But there was to be no massive clash as Diogens would be betrayed by one of his officers. Only a small group of soldiers remained loyal to Diogens whom along with Diogens himself fought with courage and bravery against a fierce Seljuk Turkish army led by Arslan... eventually they would be defeated by Arslan. Arslan took Diogens prisoner and Grousset reports that in the proper Islamic fashion, Diogens was treated well as a POW by Arslan. By the time Diogens gained his freedom and was back in the Byzantine Emperor, Diogens would have has eyes cut out by Byzantine officials whom were not in favor of Diogens.

This defeat at Manzikert was reported by Grousset to be one of the worst defeats in European history at the hands of the Muslims. After Manzikert , within the next ten years 3/4s of Asia minor would come under Control of the Seljuk Empire....what in some part led to this Turkish conquest was arguments and differences between Byzantine leaders vying for power at the time. And growing up during this rise of Turk Muslims, was none other then Pope Urban II whom at the time was a simple Monk..whom Grousset suggests it was at this time that Urban began to realize the serious threat of the Seljuk Turks... The possibility of the Turks invading all of Europe and taking over much of if not all of the Christian world. These real threats would eventually lead to Urban II as Pope to call upon Christians all over Europe to rise up and fight a preventive war against the expansion of the Seljuk Turks. More to come in the next few days.
 
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Kirialax

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Dec 2009
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I would like to firstly discuss the brief commentary that Grousset provides on the Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces, whom Grousset identifies as a glorious sovereign. By 975 and 125 years before the rise of the European Catholic movement of the first Crusade fellow Christians such as Tzimisces were battling the Muslim expansion that saw in 400 years a growth from Arabia into Spain...covering half of the area that was once the Roman Empire. But it was under Tzimisces, that the Byzantine Empire regained lost land, recovering Antioch from the Arab Muslims in 969...and by 975 John had "victoriously traversed the whole of Syria". From Damascus Tzimisces would go on to the land of the Galilee , but seeing a strong and well defended Arab Jerusalem...Tzimisces turned around and went back to Constantinople so close to liberating Jerusalem but unable to free the Holy City. Tzimisces came close , 125 years before the Western Catholics...of securing Jerusalem for Christian rule...and history could have perhaps been totally different had it been the Byzantines under Tzimisces that had liberated Jerusalem in 975. Nonetheless, Eastern Christians reportedly took a part in the fighting and preaching of the First Crusade in 1099. It was not only Western Catholics that had liberated Jerusalem in July of 1099, some Eastern Christians were a part of the liberation of Jerusalem and perhaps they had in mind the great Emperor John Tzimisces. After all even without Jerusalem John Tzimisces had regained so much lost land for his Empire.
This is out of date, and uses an Armenian source that probably reflects Byzantine propaganda. John marched around Syria, to be sure, and received some nominal surrenders (=acknowledgement of the Byzantine emperor's superiority, rather than the Fatimid caliph's) but the campaign involved little annexation. The most recent summary of this can be found in Kaldellis, Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood, but the main arguments were originally made by Walker, Paul. “The `Crusade’ of John Tzimisces in the Light of New Arabic Evidence.” Byzantion 47 (1977): 301–27.

After Manzikert , within the next ten years 3/4s of Asia minor would come under Control of the Seljuk Empire....what in some part led to this Turkish conquest was arguments and differences between Byzantine leaders vying for power at the time.
Grousset is quite out of date with this. While it's true that Constantinople lost authority over most of Asia Minor in the decade after Manzikert, the Seljuk Empire had little to no authority over the Turkish polities established there.

And growing up during this rise of Turk Muslims, was none other then Pope Urban II whom at the time was a simple Monk..whom Grousset suggests it was at this time that Urban began to realize the serious threat of the Seljuk Turks...
I think Urban was more concerned about the Normans and that there was another pope in Rome while he was out preaching the crusades.
 
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JoanOfArc007

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This is out of date, and uses an Armenian source that probably reflects Byzantine propaganda. John marched around Syria, to be sure, and received some nominal surrenders (=acknowledgement of the Byzantine emperor's superiority, rather than the Fatimid caliph's) but the campaign involved little annexation. The most recent summary of this can be found in Kaldellis, Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood, but the main arguments were originally made by Walker, Paul. “The `Crusade’ of John Tzimisces in the Light of New Arabic Evidence.” Byzantion 47 (1977): 301–27.



Grousset is quite out of date with this. While it's true that Constantinople lost authority over most of Asia Minor in the decade after Manzikert, the Seljuk Empire had little to no authority over the Turkish polities established there.



I think Urban was more concerned about the Normans and that there was another pope in Rome while he was out preaching the crusades.
Hello Kirialax, thank you for the response.

Why would you suggest Grousset is quite out of date? Grousset is a renown historian and was a member of the esteemed Academie Francaise. At this point what one can do is compare what historians other then Grousset have to say about the various topics presented itt. As Grousset is 100% qualified to be itt. Grousset was a qualified historian and I will continue talking about this excellent and informative book The Epic of the Crusades itt. And btw I posted Grousset providing a positive view not only to Western Catholic leaders, but also Eastern Christians and I thought you would find that interesting. There is a massive amount of information in the Epic of the Crusades, perhaps you could agree with Grousset in other areas. Surely you respect some of what Grousset has to say? If I may ask have you read part of or all of The Epic of the Crusades? Thank you, and have a nice day.
 
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Jun 2017
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maine
While it's true that Constantinople lost authority over most of Asia Minor in the decade after Manzikert, the Seljuk Empire had little to no authority over the Turkish polities established there.
I am confused. Wasn't the Seljuk Empire one of the combatants at Manzikert? The map below (which I found on Wikipedia) shows Seljuk holdings in 1092. Magnification indicates that most of Anatolia came under Seljuk control in 1071. I always thought that Manzikert was a real turning point and I always thought that the Seljuks WERE Turks. Not so?
1564786452315.png
 

Futurist

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I've got a question--did the Crusaders believe that some giant divine event--such as the Rapture or the Apocalypse--would occur once they captured Jerusalem? I believe that I read something like that in the book Armies of Heaven for one of my university history classes four years ago.
 
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Futurist

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JoanOfArc007

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I've got a question--did the Crusaders believe that some giant divine event--such as the Rapture or the Apocalypse--would occur once they captured Jerusalem? I believe that I read something like that in the book Armies of Heaven for one of my university history classes four years ago.
Yes thanks good point to bring up. I have not read of the book you bring up but I have heard some(not all important to keep in mind) of the Christians of the so called First Crusade believed the world was coming to an end. That allegation is for example made on Wikipedia but I have only seen it on the wiki page of Emich(whose wiki page is controversial and debatable). But If I come across such a point in The Epic of The Crusades I will post it here.
 

Futurist

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Yes thanks good point to bring up. I have not read of the book you bring up but I have heard some(not all important to keep in mind) of the Christians of the so called First Crusade believed the world was coming to an end. That allegation is for example made on Wikipedia but I have only seen it on the wiki page of Emich(whose wiki page is controversial and debatable). But If I come across such a point in The Epic of The Crusades I will post it here.
Please do tell us what you will find in regards to this topic in this book!