Second Crusade Chronology 1144 - 1150: Christianity vs. Islam

Timeline of the Second Crusade: Christianity vs. Islam

Siege of Damascus
Siege of Damascus. Kamaleddin Behzad - Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art/public doman

Launched in response to the capture of Edessa by Muslims in 1144, the Second Crusade was accepted by European leaders primarily due to the tireless effort of St. Bernard of Clairvaux who traveled across France, Germany, and Italy to exhort people to take up the cross and reassert Christian domination in the Holy Land. The kings of France and Germany answered the call but the losses to their armies were devastating and they were easily defeated.

Timeline of the Crusades: Second Crusade 1144 - 1150

December 24, 1144     Muslim forces under the command of Imad ad-Din Zengi re-capture Edessa, originally taken by Crusaders under Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098. This event makes Zengi a hero among Muslims and leads to a call for a Second Crusade in Europe.

1145 - 1149     The Second Crusade is launched to recapture territory recently lost to Muslim forces, but in the end only a few Greek islands are actually taken.

December 01, 1145     In the Bull Quantum Praedecessores, Pope Eugene III proclaims the Second Crusade in an effort to retake territory once again coming under the control of Muslim forces. This Bull was sent directly to the French King, Louis VII, and although he had been contemplating a Crusade on his own, he chose to ignore the pope's call to action at first.

1146    The Allmohads drive the Almoravids out of Andalusia. The descendants of the Amoravids can still be found in Mauretania.

March 13, 1146            Saxon nobles meeting in Frankfurt ask Bernard of Clairvaux for permission to launch a Crusade on pagan Slavs in the east.  Bernard would pass the request along to Pope Eugene III who gives his authorization for a Crusade against the Wends.

March 31, 1146            St. Bernard or Clairvaux preaches the merits and necessity of the Second Crusade at Vézelay. Bernard writes in a letter to the Templars: "The Christian who slays the unbeliever in the Holy War is sure of his reward, the more sure if he himself is slain.The Christian glories in the death of the pagan, because Christ is thereby glorified." King Louis VII of France is particularly taken by Bernard's preaching and is among the first to agree to go, along with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine.

May 01, 1146   Conrad III (first German king of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and uncle of Frederick I Barbarossa, an early leader of the Third Crusade) personally leads German forces into the Second Crusade, but his army would be almost completely destroyed during their crossing of the plains of Anatolia.

June 01, 1146  King Louis VII announces that France will join in the Second Crusade.

September 15, 1146   Imad ad-Din Zengi, founder of the Zengid Dynasty, is assassinated by a servant he had threatened to punish. Zengi's capture of Edessa from the Crusaders in 1144 had made him a hero among Muslims and led to the launching of the Second Crusade.

December 1146        Conrad III arrives at Constantinople with the remnants of his army of German Crusaders.

1147    The Almoravid (al-Murabitun) Dynasty falls from power. Taking the name "those who line up in defense of the faith," this group of fanatical Berber Muslims had ruled North Africa and Spain since 1056.

April 13, 1147  In the bull Divina dispensatione Pope Eugene III approves of the Crusading into Spain and the beyond the northeastern frontier of Germany. Bernard Clairvaux writes "We expressly forbid that for any reason whatsoever they should make a truce with these people [the Wends] ... until such time as ... either their religion or their nation be destroyed."

June 1147        German Crusaders travel through Hungary on their way to the Holy Land. On the way they would raid and pillage widely, causing a great deal of resentment.

October 1147   Lisbon is captured by Crusaders and Portuguese forces under the command of Don Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal, and Crusader Gilbert of Hastings, who becomes the first Bishop of Lisbon. In the same year the city of Almeria falls to the Spanish.

October 25, 1147         Second Battle of Dorylaeum: German Crusaders under Conrad III stop at Dorylaeum to rest and are destroyed by Saracens. So much treasure is capture that the market price of precious metals throughout the Muslim world drops.

1148    Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona, with the aid of an English fleet, captures the Moor city of Tortosa.

February 1148     German Crusaders under Conrad III who had survived the Second Battle of Dorylaeum the previous year are massacred by the Turks.

March 1148      French forces are left in Attalia by King Louis VII who purchases passage on ships for himself and a few nobles to Antioch. Muslims quickly descend upon Attalia and kill nearly every Frenchman there.

May 25, 1148   Crusaders set out to capture Damascus. The army consists of forces under the command of Baldwin III, survivors of Conrad III's trip across Anatolia, and the cavalry of Louis VII which had sailed directly to Jerusalem (his infantry was supposed to march to Palestine, but they were all killed along the way).

July 28, 1148   Crusaders are forced to withdraw from their siege of Damascus after only a week, partly as a result of the three leaders (Baldwin III, Conrad III, and Louis VII) being unable to agree on almost anything. The political divisions among the Crusaders stand in sharp contrast to the greater unity among the Muslims in the region - a unity that would only increase later under the dynamic and successful leadership of Saladin. With this, the Second Crusade is effectively finished.

1149    A Crusading army under Raymond of Antioch is destroyed by Nur ad-Din Mahmud bin Zengi (son of Imad ad-Din Zengi, founder of the Zengid Dynasty) near the Fountain of Murad. Raymond is among those killed, reportedly fighting until the very end. One of Nur ad-Din's lieutenants, Saladin (Kurdish nephew of Nur al-Din's best general, Shirkuh), would rise to prominence in the coming conflicts.

July 15, 1149   The Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulcher is officially dedicated.

1150    Fatimid rulers fortify the Egyptian city of Ascalon with 53 towers.

1151    The Toltec Empire in Mexico ended.

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