09/17/14

ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE – THE CRUSADERS PART II

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Although Simon de Montfort had slighted the fortifications of Toulouse in 1216, the city still managed to hold out against his forces from October 1217 to the beginning of July l2l8. The inhabitants of Toulouse rallied behind their returned count, Raymond VI, and rebuilt the fortifications as best as they could, supplementing them with ditches and palisades to prevent the crusaders getting near the walls. When his direct assaults failed, Simon de Montfort ordered the construction of ‘cats’ (mobile shelters, shown here) to protect his troops so that they could get close to the walls to undermine the defences. It was whilst he was trying to protect one of these shelters from a sortie by the defenders of Toulouse that Montfort was killed on 25 June 1217. Simon is shown being hit in the head by a stone thrown by a mangonel (in the bottom left); his brother Guy has already been shot from his horse by a crossbowman and lies on the ground to Simon’s right.

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08/18/14

Peipus 1242 Repulse of the “Baby-Burners”

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How you know the Germans are Bad Men: they toss naked babies into fire. After the Nazi war of extermination 1941+ not so far from the truth. From a memorable Russian film made in 1938 by Sergei Eisenstein

The battle of Lake Peipus (mod. Peipsi Järv, Estonia, Chudskoe Ozero, Russia) is more significant for its place in the national consciousness of Russia than as a military episode. In fact the battle itself was a small-scale affair, but it came to epitomize Russia’s struggle against Western interference. Similarly, the victory of a Russian Orthodox army over a force of Latin (i. e., Roman Catholic) crusaders became a symbol of the Orthodox determination to retain a distinct identity.

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08/12/14

King Richard – prepares for the Crusade

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Richard stood over his father’s corpse in silence. He looked down at a face marked by nearly half a century of trouble and glory. Henry II had died a miserable death: abandoned and embittered. The last words he had spoken to Richard were a vicious hiss in his ear as the two men embraced in a kiss of peace following the humiliating peace at Ballan: ‘God grant that I may not die until I have my revenge on you.’ But God had granted no such thing. Since 1187 Richard, in alliance with Philip II, had taken much of his royal inheritance – Maine, Touraine and many of the castles of Anjou – by force of arms. After Henry’s death the rest passed to him by right of law.

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07/31/14

THE THIRD CRUSADE

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The Siege of Acre was the first major confrontation of the Third Crusade

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Philip II depicted arriving in Palestine

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The new Crusade began in disjointed fashion. The English and the French had first to settle several bitter disputes. Then Henry II died and his son Richard (already known as the Lionhearted) was crowned king of England. Richard had also taken the cross, so the English commitment to the Crusade remained. But because the English crown still had huge holdings in France (the entire Atlantic coast was theirs), he and Philip II had much to negotiate before they could head east. Meanwhile, Frederick Barbarossa began marching to the Holy Land.

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