The Great SchismThis was a break between now the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The Orthodox church believed the Holy Spirit came from the Father alone whereas the Catholic church believed it came from the Father and the Son. Urban was keen to heal this schism and this became a motivator for him calling the First Crusade.
Investiture Contest/ControversyThe Pope was the known spiritual leader, however people were beginning to debate whether he had earthly power (particularly over Kings). Therefore, there was debate over whether the Pope ruled over the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV too. The Investiture Contest was a disagreement over whether the nobility could elect people into church positions: was this down to the King or the Pope? This was a start for the papacy attempting to gain more earthly power: something which Pope Urban wanted to assert.
Aug 26, 1071
The Battle of ManzikertAlp Aslan and the Seljuk Turks crushed Emperor Romanos Diogenes' Byzantine army in eastern Asia Minor. He had underestimated the size of the Turkish army, he was captured and blinded so he could no longer rule. The Turks gained most of Anatolia, causing a mass influx of Byzantines into Constantinople. 'The Seljuqs crushed an imperial army... and though historians no longer consider this to have been an utterly cataclysmic reversal for the Greeks, it still was a stinging setback.' - Asbridge
Henry IV's ExcommunicationPope Gregory VII excommunicated Henry (the Holy Roman Emperor) from the Church due to the Investiture Controversy because Henry resisted his reforms. Henry believed that he was able to invest clergymen, which was tradition for the King to have the right to do, despite the papal decree given by Gregory in which it was the Pope's right.
Mar 12, 1088
Urban II Becomes PopeFollowing Gregory VII's death in 1084, Rome wasn't in a good state. Gregory had needed the help of the Normans which was disapproved and Clement III was trying to install himself as the antipope. Victor III lasted until Urban become Pope in 1088. He was a Gregorian Reformer (believed the clergy should anoint the Pope rather then he King). This was the start of the Church having more power than the Crown. By 1095, Urban had stablised the position of Rome and improved relationships with Byzantium.
Nov 19, 1092
Malik Shah DiesMalik Shah was the Sultan of the Seljuks. He was the son of Alp Arslan who was victorious over the Byzantines in the Battle of Manzikert. Upon his death, the Seljuq Empire fell into chaos as rival successors waged war against each other. Also, Alexius had lost a valuable ally, as he had recognized the potential for disaster in Anatolia.
'The success of the First Crusade was is at least in part attributable to the political confusion which resulted from Malik-Shah's death' - Jonathan Riley-Smith
Mar 1, 1095
Alexius' Plea for Help to the Council of PiacenzaAlexius had sent an appeal to the West asking for military aid to help in dealing with the Turks in Anatolia. He hoped only for a small army of Frankish mercenaries. Urban II was the Pope and head of the council at Piacenza. Erdmann suggests this was the main reason for the Crusade.
Nov 27, 1095
Pope Urban Preaches at the Council of ClermontThe council consisted of over 300 clerics throughout France and Urban urged them to fight against the Muslims who were attacking the Eastern Empire. He also discussed Jerusalem, which wasn't something Alexius had mentioned in his appeal for mercenaries. The call for the Crusade was 'proactive rather than reactive' (to meet the needs of the Papacy) - Asbridge
Departure of the People's CrusadeThe People's/Peasant's Crusade was not part of the Church expeditions to the Holy Land. It was led by Peter the Hermit, a monk known for dressing simply and riding a donkey. The crusaders committed riots attacking the Jews. This was not supported by the Church. Upon reaching Constantinople, Alexius was surprised at the army of peasants that had arrived.
'As if he had sounded a divine voice in the hearts of all, Peter the Hermit inspired the Franks from everywhere' - Greek Contemporary
Jan 11, 1096
Crusader Armies Start to Arrive at ConstantinopleHugh of Vermandois' army was the first to arrive. Godfrey of Bouillon's army arrives in December, the Normans of Southern Italy (Bohemond and Tancred) and Robert of Toulouse in April and the Northern French army (Stephen of Blois, Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy) arrives in May.
All of the leaders accepted Alexius' oath to return lands captured to Byzantium except from Raymond, who instead said his oath was with God.
They were all quickly shipped across the Bosphorus.
Sep 1, 1096
People's Crusade DefeatedThe people's crusade was defeated in Nicaea and Xerigordon by Kilij Arslan's army of Seljuk Turks. Peter the Hermit had travelled back to Constantinople and so survived. The only people to survive were the peasants who were protected by the Byzantine army who came to the rescue of the crusaders later in the battle.
Jun 19, 1097
Capture of Nicaea in Asia MinorThe People's Crusade attempted to take Nicaea before being destroyed by the Turks. As a result, Kilij Arslan felt that the second wave of crusaders were not a threat. He left his family behind in Nicaea to fight the Danishmends. Alexius wanted the land returned to Byzantium. The walls were surrounded (except from one which faced a lake which Byzantium delivered supplies by) and siege engines were built. Alexius convinced the city to surrender to him secretly to ensure got his lands back.
Jul 1, 1097
Battle of Dorylaeum, Asia MinorAfter Nicaea, the crusaders travelled towards Dorylaeum in two groups. Bohemond's camp was attacked by Turkish archers, and Kilij Arslan had the advantage with the element of surprise. Bohemond and Robert of Normandy worked together to hold off the Muslims until reinforcements arrived. They made a makeshift camp and put the knights in a close formation, who called out morale boosting religious phrases. They won.
'An extraordinary feat of martial discipline and inspired generalship' - Asbridge
Oct 1, 1097
Siege of Antioch BeginsAntioch had to be taken to secure the path to Jerusalem. The crusaders were starving by January. Alexius never supplied soldiers to aid them. In February, Bohemond, Robert and Stephen were outnumbered by Ridwan's army but were successful. Bohemond had convinced a guard on one of the walls of Antioch to let him in. It was agreed that Bohemond was to take the city if Alexius didn't arrive.
March to Jerusalem BeginsRaymond, the new leader of the crusade, next captured Maarat and in January began the march to Jerusalem, followed by Robert of Normandy and Tancred. The march went through the winter, and it is said that some crusaders turned to cannibalism in order to survive. The group of crusaders who arrived at Jerusalem in June were weary and weak.
May 21, 1098
Baldwin of Boulogne Rules EdessaBaldwin left the main crusading army and when he reached Edessa, he received an embassy from Thoros who wanted Baldwin to help him if a battle occured against Kerbogha, the atabeg of Mosul. Thoros adopted him and made him his heir, and within a few days he died, leaving Baldwin to create the first Latin state.
Jun 2, 1098
Stephen of Blois' DesertionStephen had been a strong leader in the crusade but he abandoned the other before their victory at Antioch due to the fact that Kerbogha's army was bearing down on them. He met Alexius in June and told him of the dire position at Antioch, convincing him not to go there. His wife was ashamed of him for not completing his crusading vows and sent him on the crusade of 1101, when he died.
Jun 3, 1098
Capture of the City of AntiochWith Kerbgoha's army fast approaching, Bohemond had convinced a watchman of one of the walls of Antioch to lower a rope that sixty men managed to climb and then capture three more towers. They were triumphant, however, Kerbgoha's army arrived the next day. Muslims also held the citadel and so the crusaders were in no better position.
'The calm night air was suddenly shattered as the Franks screamed out their battle cry: 'God wills it!'' - Asbridge
Jun 14, 1098
The Discovery of the Holy LanceDuring the siege of Antioch, Peter Bartholomew began to have visions, mostly of Saint Andrew. He claimed Saint Andrew took him to the Church of St. Peter, and showed him where the relic of the Holy Lance could be found. Peter found the metal tip of the spear, which raised the morale of the soldiers. This was important in defeating Kerbgoha later during the Battle at Antioch, however its importance is debated.
'The unearthing of the Lance was not the overwhelming catalyst to action' - Asbridge
Jun 28, 1098
Battle of AntiochThere was a delay between the discovery of the Holy Lance and the Battle of Antioch due to the fact that the crusaders were still waiting for reinforcements from Alexius. Due to shortages of food, the crusaders were forced to eat things such as their own shoes. The crusaders were down to only 20,000 men and were vastly outnumbered but thanks to the leaders and a well executed plan, the Franks won.
'This was the most intense and unrelenting combat the crusaders had ever experienced' - Asbridge
Aug 1, 1098
Death of Adhemar of Le PuyAfter the death of Adhemar in Antioch, probably from typhus, there was no appointed leader to follow him leaving rivalry between the leaders. Raymond and Bohemond were in argument over who controlled Antioch. This delayed the march to Jerusalem for 3 months. Bohemond stayed in Antioch and Raymond emerged as the new leader.
Jul 15, 1099
Siege of JerusalemStrong walls meant little progress for the crusaders. The arrival of a Genoese fleet carrying wood (for siege engines), visions of Adhemar (spiritual motivation) and reinforcements from Egypt meant they could launch the attack. After a procession around the Mount of Olives (where Jesus ascended), Godfrey found a weak spot in the walls. A bloodbath occurred.
'If you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain' - Fulcher of Chartres
Jul 22, 1099
Godfrey of Bouillon is Chosen to Rule Jerusalem as 'Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre'Following the battle, Godfrey of Bouillon was made Defender of the Holy Sepulchre refusing to be named king in the city where Christ had died, saying that he refused to wear a crown of gold in the city where Christ wore a crown of thorns. Raymond had refused any title at all.
Aug 12, 1099
Battle of AscalonAfter taking Jerusalem from the Fatimids of Egypt, the crusaders learnt that there was an army arriving to besiege them. Godfrey decided to act quickly an go to Ascalon to attack first. The Fatimids had a fleet and outnumbered the crusaders by many, but they were caught unprepared. However, the city and port were never actually captured by the crusaders, and so remained a threat to them. Many knights returned home to the West after this.