*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The first of several religious wars in the Middle East among Christians and Muslims, the First Crusade created a rift between two cultures that continues to this day. On July 15, 1099, at the end of a bloody siege on Jerusalem, knights from Europe launched a massive assault on both sides of the city, meeting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, bringing the Holy War to a close.
More than a month before, the Crusaders had arrived on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Having faced little in the way of resistance while moving along the coast of the Mediterranean, many of the knights cried tears of joy when finally laying eyes upon their stated goal. On June 7th, the siege unofficially began, despite the fact many of the Europeans were wary of the dry, open plain and a severe lack of water and food.
Less than 12,000 men had survived the long journey from Europe and, of those that did, deep tensions existed due to the wide variety of nationalities present. Armies of Godfrey du Bouillon and Tancred of Taranto set up camp on the northern edge, with Raymond of Toulouse and his men settling on the opposite side. It would take six days for the first assault to be launched – one that would not include the southern contingent for unknown reasons. Though the first wave managed to scale the external wall of the city, the ruling Muslims soon pushed them out. …(Read more)