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Did the primary campaign affect considerably the war-making capability of states like england, west and east francia? And did later crusades impose equal burdens, or was the distribution of this burden totally different for the 2nd and third crusades?

Within the first campaign it’s speculated that between 60k and 100k europeans left for the holy land. After all a giant half weren’t troopers and even others gave up someplace earlier than Constantinople, however the numbers I’ve seen when the Prince’s Campaign will get to Nicea are over 40k troopers.

The largest armies on this campaign had been from Toulouse, Normandy and the Holy Roman Empire. So, my query is that if this marketing campaign took away France’s and HRE’s capability to lift armies. I get that at this level feudalism was extra current in Europe, so kings had much less energy and this capability had been already diminished, however did the first campaign make the scenario worse on this capability?

If sure, did later crusades alter this burden lots or, when England acquired extra invested, did Richard the LionHeart’s increased taxes assist England escape this excessive burden.

I think about that if this burden was comparable for the most important european powers, then western Europe may need been higher, peace-wise, at these epochs.

Comments ( 13 )

  1. (Not an expert.)

    I think another factor to consider was that the church was actively protecting the property of people who took the cross. That would have atleast somewhat reduced the amount of armed conflict going on within the feudal system. The church also preached peace in Christendom most times crusade letters were issue.

    Another major part of the soldier count especially for the Germans was mercenaries. As the crusades went on more and more mercenaries were employed. So that shifted things around a bit as nobles and the laity started to defer their service. The alms they paid would purchase fighting men or equipment in their stead.

  2. Yes, that was the main reason the pope called for the crusade. There were constant tiny wars going on and people were pretty over it. The Pope hoped that by creating a common enemy he could get all the Christian kingdoms to stop killing each other for 5 minutes. If a bunch of the craziest ones died fighting and you got the holy land back then all the better.

  3. If I understand you correctly you are asking if crusades reduced (potential) manpower these countries had thus weakening them vis-a-vis other European countries, their potential rivals. If so then no, not to great extent. First crusade was more noble driven and royal power wasn’t involved. That happened with later ones when the purpose was defending Jerusalem and attacks on Egypt.

    Might not answer your question directly but for a good background about recruitment, financing and such I highly recommend [God’s War: A New History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman](

  4. As LootLizard mentioned, there was actually a surplus of armed people during the 11th century which had caused major issues for the status quo of western and Central Europe.

    The first response had been the Peace of God signed in 989 and then the Truce of God in 1027 where the church attempted to limit how and when knights would wage war. This didn’t really work because an armed and violent minority needs to assert itself, especially when violence is it’s only tie to power and legitimacy.

    As the most popular and successful Crusade, the First Crusade probably had the biggest impact in changing this. Because not only did tens of thousands of men leave for Outre-mer, but it also established a consistent trickle of knights who would volunteer or join Holy Orders.

    However, European politics did not change so dramatically and war continued in much the same way. Especially after the Second Crusade. Hell, Richard the Lionheart and Phillip Auguste both were in the 3rd Crusade and went to war with each other for the rest of Richard’s reign.

  5. I think they made a profit from the crusades.

  6. Alot of european states had a increase in their war making capasity. The amount of people that went on the crusades was not even close percentage wise to the drain of manpower in the world wars so there was no shortage of men back home. There is also a huge change in castle and fort building technology that the crusaders bring back from the middle east along with valuable combat experience.

  7. East and West francia didn’t exist at the time of the first crusade, just saying.

  8. I want to highlight one of the replies here that distinguishes how the First Crusade was more *noble-driven* than *royal-driven* (see the label “Princes’ Crusade”). Indeed, one misrepresentation here is that 11th century kingdoms worked like modern states (France, HRE), centralized institutions that raised armies and sent them out. It’s not just that feudalism means kings have less power, but that the state apparatuses for raising an army are quite different and distributed to local figures (like lords). So if we’re looking at capacities for conflict, “France and HRE’s ability to raise armies” (as if the state is doing the action) should be clarified as *the monarch’s ability to organize armies* and perhaps expanded to *regional and local leaders’ ability to raise armies and engage in conflict*, since in the absence of strong state apparatuses conflict comes from leaders creating coalitions of followers and raising people loyal to them.

    But the short answer to the first question is “no.” For instance, Robert II (Normandy) returns from the Crusades and almost immediately tries to take the throne of England from King Henry I. They settle the dispute diplomatically after Robert lands in England (the Treaty of Alton, 1101), but the reasons for Robert settling are more likely related to Henry’s popularity among the English nobles and the church than any shortage of troops. Indeed, they end up fighting anyway in 1105-6, only a few years later, culminating in the Battle of Tinchebray. Robert lost, but he wasn’t necessarily short-handed. So whatever the exact numbers would’ve been, leaders of the time maintained their capacity to wage war almost immediately after the First Crusade.

  9. The first crusade came mostly from France.

    At the time, the king of France had very little power outside of his limited realm around Paris, so the country didn’t very much work at all as a “unit” (talking in late medieval terms here), for France this wouldn’t start happening again until about a century later.

    If something it probably made things a bit easier for the king of France.

  10. Real Crusades History is a pretty decent podcast that delves into some of these questions.

    [Here is a link to his YouTube channel.](

  11. Was all going fine until the Nazis and the Americans showed up and collapsed the temple

    EDIT: Oof not a lot of Indie fans here

  12. For one thing it solved the Normandy issue.

    Normandy had, after a short while of splitting domains into smaller and smaller fiefdoms, turned into a primogeniture (eldest son inherits everything). With very small and very poor fiefdoms there was also no room for most of those second, third and fourth sons in the retinues of relatives and liege lords. So Normandy turned to adventurism, where landless sons had arms and military training and went all over Europe to cause a ruckus.

    This led to both:
    1. The formation of what we think of as medieval heavy cavalry, as normandians served with the East Roman army (and learned east roman tactics). Which means we see a more combined arms army (with an increased use of professional archers and cavalry).

    2. Norman armed men all over christian Europe (except scandinavia). Establishing a kingdom in Sicily and England and going on more ill-adviced adventures elsewhere (and eventually forming a core component of the crusades).

    Now while a lot of English historians would like to put the Battle of Hastings as the opening for this new European era it’s more accurate to push that back a decade, to the Battle of Civitate 1053, or even earlier.

  13. If you look at the People’s Crusade and the Children’s Crusade it becomes apparent that all the Crusades were a farce intended to kill off Franks and replace them with Getae.

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