Lisbon captured by the Portuguese, Tarragona and Tortosa captured by the Catalans. Wagria and Polabia captured by the Saxon Crusaders. The Second Crusade (1147-1150) was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144 to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade (1096-1099) by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1098. While it was the first Crusader state to be founded, it was also the first to fall. The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe. After crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. The main Western Christian sources, Odo of Deuil, and Syriac Christian sources claim that the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos secretly hindered the crusaders' progress, particularly in Anatolia, where he is alleged to have deliberately ordered Turks to attack them. However, this alleged sabotage of the Crusade by the Byzantines was likely fabricated by Odo, who saw the Empire as an obstacle, and moreover Emperor Manuel had no political reason to do so.
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Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and participated in 1148 in an ill-advised attack on Damascus, which ended in their retreat. In the end, the crusades in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately have a key influence on the fall of Jerusalem and give rise to the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century. While the Second Crusade failed to achieve its goals in the Holy Land, the crusaders did see victories elsewhere. The most significant of these came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Traveling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish occupants. After the First Crusade and the minor Crusade of 1101, there were three crusader states established in the east: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch and the County of Edessa. A fourth, the County of Tripoli, was established in 1109. Edessa was the most northerly of these, and also the weakest and least populated; as such, it was subject to frequent attacks from the surrounding Muslim states ruled by the Ortoqids, Danishmends and Seljuq Turks.
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Baldwin II, then count of Edessa, and future count Joscelin of Courtenay were taken captive after their defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104. Baldwin and Joscelin were both captured a second time in 1122, and although Edessa recovered somewhat after the Battle of Azaz in 1125, Joscelin was killed in battle in 1131. His successor Joscelin II was forced into an alliance with the Byzantine Empire, but in 1143 both the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus and the King of Jerusalem Fulk of Anjou died. Joscelin had also quarreled with the Count of Tripoli and the Prince of Antioch, leaving Edessa with no powerful allies. Meanwhile, Zengi, atabeg of Mosul, had added Aleppo to his rule in 1128, the key to power in Syria, contested between Mosul and Damascus. In late 1144, Joscelin II allied with the Ortoqids and marched out of Edessa with almost his entire army to support the Ortoqid army against Aleppo. Zengi, already seeking to take advantage of Fulk's death in 1143, hurried north to besiege Edessa, which fell to him after a month on 24 December 1144. Manasses of Hierges, Philip of Milly and others were sent from Jerusalem to assist, but arrived too late. Joscelin II continued to rule the remnants of the county from Turbessel, but little by little the rest of the territory was captured by Muslims or sold to the Byzantines. Zengi himself was praised throughout Islam as "defender of the faith" and al-Malik al-Mansur, "the victorious king".
However, he was assassinated by a slave in 1146 and was succeeded in Aleppo by his son Nur ad-Din.
He did not pursue an attack on the remaining territory of Edessa, or the Principality of Antioch, as was feared. Events in Mosul compelled him to return home, and he once again set his sights on Damascus. However, he was assassinated by a slave in 1146 and was succeeded in Aleppo by his son Nur ad-Din. The news of the fall of Edessa was brought back to Europe first by pilgrims early in 1145, and then by embassies from Antioch, Jerusalem and Armenia. Bishop Hugh of Jabala reported the news to Pope Eugene III, who issued the bull Quantum praedecessores on 1 December of that year, calling for a second crusade. Hugh also told the Pope of an eastern Christian king, who, it was hoped, would bring relief to the crusader states: this is the first documented mention of Prester John. Second Crusade was meant to be more organized and centrally controlled than the First: the armies would be led by the strongest kings of Europe and a route would be planned beforehand. The initial response to the new crusade bull was poor, and it in fact had to be reissued when it was clear that Louis VII of France would be taking part in the expedition. Louis VII had also been considering a new expedition independently of the Pope, which he announced to his Christmas court at Bourges in 1145. It is debatable whether Louis was planning a crusade of his own or in fact a pilgrimage, as he wanted to fulfill a vow made by his dead brother Philip to go to the Holy Land.
It is probable that Louis had made this decision independently of hearing about Quantum Praedecessores. In any case, Abbot Suger and other nobles were not in favor of Louis's plans, as he would be gone from the kingdom for several years. Louis consulted Bernard of Clairvaux, who referred him back to Eugene. By now Louis would have definitely heard about the papal bull, and Eugene enthusiastically supported Louis's crusade. The bull was reissued on 1 March 1146, and Eugene authorized Bernard to preach the news throughout France. The Pope commissioned French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux to preach the Second Crusade, and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade. A parliament was convoked at Vezelay in Burgundy in 1146, and Bernard preached before the assembly on 31 March. Louis VII of France, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the princes and lords present prostrated themselves at the feet of Bernard to receive the pilgrims' cross. Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step contributed to the success of his mission.
Bernard then found Rudolf in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.
At Speyer, Conrad III of Germany and his nephew, later Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard. Pope Eugene came in person to France to encourage the enterprise. For all his overmastering zeal, Bernard was by nature neither a bigot nor a persecutor. As in the First Crusade, the preaching inadvertently led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Rudolf was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms and Speyer, with Rudolf claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. Bernards; Arnold I, the Archbishop of Cologne; and Henry I, the Archbishop of Mainz, were vehemently opposed to these attacks, and so Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problem and quiet the mobs. Bernard then found Rudolf in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery. When the Second Crusade was called, many south Germans volunteered to crusade in the Holy Land.
The north German Saxons were reluctant. They told St Bernard of their desire to campaign against pagan Slavs at an Imperial Diet meeting in Frankfurt on 13 March 1147. Approving of the Saxons' plan, Eugenius issued a papal bull known as the Divina dispensationale on 13 April. This bull stated that there was to be no difference between the spiritual rewards of the different crusaders. The Papal legate, Anselm of Havelberg, was placed in overall command. The campaign itself was led by Saxon families such as the Ascanians, Wettin and Schauenburgers. Upset by German participation in the crusades, the Obotrites preemptively invaded Wagria in Holstein in June 1147, leading to the march of the crusaders in late summer 1147. After expelling the Obodrites from Christian territory, the crusaders targeted the Obodrite fort at Dobin and the Liutizian fort at Demmin. The forces attacking Dobin included those of the Danes Canute V and Sweyn III, Adalbert II, Archbishop of Bremen and Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony. The Saxon army under Henry the Lion withdrew after the pagan chief, Niklot, agreed to have Dobin's garrison undergo baptism. After an unsuccessful siege of Demmin, a contingent of crusaders was diverted by the margraves to attack Pomerania instead. They reached the already Christian city Stettin, whereupon the crusaders dispersed after meeting with Bishop Adalbert of Pomerania and Prince Ratibor I of Pomerania. According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the goal of the crusade was to battle the pagan Slavs "until such a time as, by God's help, they shall either be converted or deleted". However, the crusade failed to achieve the conversion of most of the Wends.
The Saxons achieved mostly token conversions at Dobin, as the Slavs resorted to their pagan beliefs once the Christian armies dispersed. By the end of the crusade, the countryside of Mecklenburg and Pomerania was plundered and depopulated with much bloodshed, especially by the troops of Henry the Lion. This was to help bring about more Christian victories in the future decades. The Slavic inhabitants also lost much of their methods of production, limiting their resistance in the future. In the spring of 1147, the Pope authorized the expansion of the crusade into the Iberian peninsula, in the context of the Reconquista. He also authorized Alfonso VII of León and Castile to equate his campaigns against the Moors with the rest of the Second Crusade. In May 1147, the first contingents of crusaders left from Dartmouth in England for the Holy Land. Bad weather forced the ships to stop on the Portuguese coast, at the northern city of Porto on 16 June 1147. There they were convinced to meet with King Afonso I of Portugal. The crusaders agreed to help the King attack Lisbon, with a solemn agreement that offered to them the pillage of the city's goods and the ransom money for expected prisoners. The siege of Lisbon of 1147 lasted from 1 July to 25 October when, after four months, the Moorish rulers agreed to surrender, primarily due to hunger within the city.
Most of the crusaders settled in the newly captured city, but some of them set sail and continued to the Holy Land. Some of them, who had departed earlier, helped capture Santarém earlier in the same year. Later they also helped to conquer Sintra, Almada, Palmela and Setúbal, and they were allowed to stay in the conquered lands, where they settled down and had offspring. Elsewhere on the Iberian peninsula, almost at the same time, King Alfonso VII of León, Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona, and others led a mixed army of Catalan, Leonese, Castilian and French crusaders against the rich port city of Almería. Ramon Berenguer then invaded the lands of the Almoravid taifa kingdom of Valencia and Murcia. The fraction of the crusading forces which had aided the Portuguese in the capture of Lisbon were encouraged to participate in the proposed siege of Tortosa (1148) by the Count of Barcelona and the English Papal envoy Nicholas Breakspear. In December 1148, he captured Tortosa after a five-month siege again with the help of French, Rhenish, Flemish, Anglo-Normans and Genoese crusaders. A large number of crusader forces were rewarded with lands inside and in the vicinity of the newly captured city. The next year, Fraga, Lleida and Mequinenza in the confluence of the Segre and Ebro rivers fell to his army. The professional soldiers of the Muslim states, who were usually ethnic Turks, tended to be very well-trained and equipped. The basis of the military system in the Islamic Middle East was the iqta' system of fiefs, which supported a certain number of troops in every district.