Second Crusade

Second Crusade
Part of the Crusades
Hand colored map of the Near East. At the top is the Byzantine Empire, which encircles the Seljuq Turks from north, west and south. Below those two groups are the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia on the west and the County of Edessa on the east. Stretching along the coast below them are the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, chief of the Catholic Crusader states. To the east of the coast is Emirate of Damascus and the Dominion of the Atabeks. At the bottom of the map is the Caliphate of Cairo.
Edessa, seen here on the right of this map (c. 1140), was captured by the Zengids. This was the primary cause of the Second Crusade.



  • Decisive Crusader victory
  • Lisbon captured by the Portuguese and Tortosa captured by the Catalans
  • Wagria and Polabia captured by Saxon Crusaders
  • Status quo ante bellum in the Levant
  • Belligerents

    Crusader States

    Military Orders


    Western front (Reconquista)

    Wendish Crusade

  • Seljuq Sultanate of Rum
  • Emirate of Zengids
  • Emirate of Damascus
  • Abbasid Caliphate
  • Fatimid Caliphate
  • Nizari Ismaili state in Syria (the Assassins)

  • Western front:


    Wendish allies:

    Commanders and leaders

    Melisende of Jerusalem
    Baldwin III of Jerusalem
    Raymond II of Tripoli
    Raymond of Poitiers
    Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine
    Thoros II of Armenia
    Raynald of Châtillon
    Afonso I of Portugal
    Alfonso VII of León and Castile
    Ramon Berenguer IV
    Conrad III of Germany
    Ottokar III of Styria
    Manuel I Komnenos
    Thierry of Alsace
    Stephen, King of England
    Geoffrey V of Anjou
    Vladislaus II of Bohemia
    Robert de Craon
    Everard des Barres
    Vladislaus II the Exile
    Henry the Lion
    Albert the Bear
    Canute V of Denmark
    Sweyn III of Denmark
    Frederick I Barbarossa
    Anselm of Havelberg
    Conrad the Great
    Otto of Freising
    Alfonso Jordan
    Matthias I
    Godfrey III
    Henry Jasomirgott
    Adolf II of Holstein

    Roger II of Sicily

    Eastern front:
    Mesud I
    Imad ad-Din Zengi
    Nur ad-Din
    Saif ad-Din Ghazi I

    Western front:
    Tashfin ibn Ali
    Ibrahim ibn Tashfin
    Ishaq ibn Ali
    Abd al-Mu'min

    Wends and allies:

    Pribislav of Wagria
    Ratibor I of Pomerania
    Germans: 20,000 men[1]
    French: 15,000 men[1]
    Casualties and losses

    The Second Crusade (1147–1149) 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 of Boulogne 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 source, 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. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and participated in 1148 in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great 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.

    The only significant Christian success of the Second Crusade came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling 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.

    Background: the fall of Edessa

    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.[2] Count Baldwin II 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.[3]

    Meanwhile, the Seljuq Zengi, Atabeg of Mosul, had added to his rule in 1128 Aleppo, the key to power in Syria, contested between the rulers of Mosul and Damascus. Both Zengi and King Baldwin II turned their attention towards Damascus; Baldwin was defeated outside the great city in 1129.[3] Damascus, ruled by the Burid Dynasty, later allied with King Fulk when Zengi besieged the city in 1139 and 1140;[4] the alliance was negotiated by the chronicler Usamah ibn Munqidh.[5]

    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". 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.[6]

    Quantum praedecessores

    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.[7] 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.[8] Eugene did not control Rome and lived instead at Viterbo,[9] but nevertheless the 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.[10]

    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 fulfil 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 favour 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.[11]

    Other Languages
    aragonés: Segunda cruzata
    asturianu: Segunda cruzada
    català: Segona croada
    Ελληνικά: Β΄ Σταυροφορία
    español: Segunda cruzada
    Bahasa Indonesia: Perang Salib Kedua
    lumbaart: Segonda Croxada
    Bahasa Melayu: Perang Salib Kedua
    Nederlands: Tweede Kruistocht
    日本語: 第2回十字軍
    norsk nynorsk: Det andre krosstoget
    português: Segunda Cruzada
    română: Cruciada a doua
    slovenščina: Druga križarska vojna
    српски / srpski: Други крсташки рат
    srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Drugi križarski rat