The Middle Ages Crusades were a succession of holy wars initiated by the European Christian states against the Saracens i.e. The Moslem during this period. These holy wars were known as crusades because the term was derived from a French old word that means the cross. While the crusades are classified into two major categories, they began in 1095 when Pope Claremont preached at the council of Claremont. The two categories of the crusades were the Principal Crusades i.e. The first four holy wars and the Minor Crusades i.e. The last four wars.
Causes and Objectives of the Crusades:
The Middle Ages Crusades were great military expeditions conducted by Christian nations within the European region to rescue Palestine's holy places from the control of Mohammedans ("The Crusades" par, 1). Therefore, the main cause of the crusades was war between Christian and Moslems that focused on the city of Jerusalem. The other cause of the crusades can be attributed to the massacre of 3000 Christians in 1065 when Jerusalem was taken by the Turks, which led to a series of events that culminated in the wars. The initial objective of the Middle Ages Crusades was to release or secure the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, from Moslems.
Results of the Middle Ages Crusades:
While these Crusades failed to permanently accomplish their specific objectives, they cannot be disregarded as mere adventures ("The Middle Ages" par, 12). This is largely because the influence and impact of these crusades expanded over a wider geographical area beyond the Holy Land. The Principal Crusades strengthened the moral leadership of the papacy within the European region. On the contrary, the Minor Crusades weakened the respect for the papacy and the crusading ideal as they included preaching against political opponents and Christian heretics. Notably, when these crusades are politically analyzed, they contributed to the weakening and eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire. While their economic impacts are easy to exaggerate, the Middle Ages Crusades contributed to the re-opening of eastern Mediterranean to Western commerce.
The Seventh Crusade:
The Seventh Crusade was among the last two Minor Crusades that originated from the France and headed by King Louis IX from 1249 to 1254. Unlike some previous Crusades, the Seventh Crusade was not initiated by any Pope but by the King, who was commonly known as Saint Louis, because of his great devotion to God. King Louis IX announced the Seventh Crusade in 1245 AD following the Mamluks capture of Jerusalem the previous year. As this leader raised money from church tithes, the crusade was directed towards attacking Egypt from Cyprus where the King had sailed to in 1248 (Carr par, 2).
Following his attack, the King captured the Egyptian port of Damietta, which had caused many problems in the Fifth Crusade and used it as a base for attacking Cairo. However, the Seventh Crusade was a total failure because the Mamluks arrived in Egypt and defeated Saint Louis. King Louis IX was then taken as a prisoner with the need for France to give Damietta back and may a lot of gold in order to get him back. Following his capture in 1250 on his way to Cairo, Louis paid a grand ransom for the freedom of his army and then sailed to Acre where he stayed until 1254 ("The Crusades to the Holy Land" par, 71). During his stay in Acre, King Louis strengthened his defenses and organized effective government for Jerusalem's Kingdom.
Analysis of the Seventh Crusade:
Since the Fifth Crusade, the Seventh Crusade was the biggest exertion of military power as its leader was persuaded by the prevailing disastrous situation. While Saint Louis quickly captured the Egyptian port of Damietta, managing the march towards Cairo was the main challenge that confounded this crusade like the previous one (Housley, p. 71). Due to various reasons, the Seventh Crusade is one of the favorite Middle Ages Crusade to many historians, particularly French historians. This is because the Seventh Crusade was mainly a French enterprise that was initiated by a leader who is regarded as medieval France's most brilliant and charismatic ruler. Through his personal humility, the charismatic ruler was not only an important crusader but he also acted as king of France.
As one of the last major crusades, the Seventh Crusade was completely based on the entire work of King Louis IX. Louis conducted the crusade largely upon his personal initiative, set the objectives, raised its finances through the French crown, and brought it to an end when he decided to go back home (Knox par, 1). This crusade shares some attributes with the Sixth Crusade especially that of being under control of a specific monarch. Similar to the Sixth Crusade, the Seventh Crusade clearly demonstrates the papacy's lost of control of the crusading movement. Moreover, this crusade also shows that the crusading movement was unable to stimulate interest throughout Europe. This is largely because the crusades were almost becoming instruments of national policy rather than initiatives to accomplish their specific objectives.
Even though Saint Louis was universally respected, the effects of the Seventh Crusade were more profound than the previous immediate crusades. While there were no internal rivalries within the Crusader camp, Louis was greatly depressed over the failure of this crusade. Some of the effects of the Seventh Crusade included the loss of many people including King Louis' brother and several friends.
Arguments on the Seventh Crusade:
The arguments on the Seventh Crusade are based on its impact and whether it achieved its specific objective. On one hand, this crusade is considered as a significant achievement because it helped King Louis to save Crusader states from the disaster at Mansourah. Through his presence in Outremer, King Louis saved the Crusader states by effectively dealing with Mamluks at Cairo and Ayubites at Damascus. He also saved these states by maintaining good order within the barons of Outremer and by obtaining their respect. During his stay in Acre, Louis mediated a quarrel at Antioch and other successive delicate issues regarding the crown of Jerusalem itself.
Similar to other crusades, the Seventh Crusade was significant because it's one of the important chains of events in the Middle Ages. According to earlier reports by some historians, together with other crusades, the Seventh Crusade contributed to significant changes in the structure of the European society during the 12th and 13th centuries (Snell par, 12). This crusade stimulated the country's economy because of the attempts of raising armies and offering supplies. Once the Crusader States was established, trade benefited which helped in stimulating its economy and contributing to great changes.
Regardless of the positive impacts of the Seventh Crusade, it was a huge failure like all other crusades except the First Crusade. This failure is because it failed to accomplish its specific objective, ended in defeat, had no impact in France, and had unintended outcomes in Outremer. Since a united Christendom was crucial for the success of the wars, the Seventh Crusade failed because of the inability of eastern and western Europe to co-operate and support it ("The End of the Medieval Crusades" par, 3). The lack of support for the Seventh Crusade from a united Christendom is evident from the fact that this campaign was almost entirely based on the work of King Louis IX.
Most importantly, the Seventh Crusade failed miserably to achieve its objective of spreading the Gospel because it was much more violent. Actually, this crusade is considered as the biggest exertion of military power more than a campaign for spreading the Gospel. The main objective of the campaign was to attack the Turkish Muslims who had conquered Jerusalem and killed many innocent lives. Since the Holy Land was completely Muslim by the time the Seventh Crusade was initiated, Christians were no longer safe in the region. The ideal crusading enthusiasm of preaching the Gospel as demonstrated in the First Crusade had lost its spell by the time of the Seventh Crusades as the campaigns took a military dimension. The Seventh Crusade didn't help in spreading the Gospel since it was mainly centered on military exertion of power rather than preaching.
The Eighth Crusade:
Similar to the Seventh Crusade, the Eighth Crusade was initiated by King Louis of France sixteen years after the previous campaign. During the time it was launched in 1270, the Mamluks were not only capturing all the small territories left of the crusaders but they were also powerful in the Middle East ("The Eighth Crusade" par, 1). Following persuasion by his brother, Charles of Anjou, King Louis decided to attack Tunis for the purpose of commanding the ports and conquering Egypt.
Notably, this crusade was organized by the King when he was sailing from Aigues-Mortes to initially help the remnants of the crusader states in Syria. However, it was later re-directed to Tunis where King Louis stayed for only two months before his death (Frater par, 11). In addition to Louis death, the army was sick upon their arrival…