"Crusader Background Guide edited"
VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 The Secretariat of the Fourteenth Annual Virginia International Crisis Simulation Presents: Crusader States of 1170 Chaired by James Thomas Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, email@example.com VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 Dear Delegates. Welcome to VICS XIV! My name is James Thomas, and I am a 4th-year Foreign Affairs and History double major here at the University of Virginia. My committee focuses on the Crusader States, one of the most interesting political organizations that existed during the Middle Ages, at a time when they were surrounded by hostile powers. I believe that the unique nature of the Crusader States makes them a fascinating subject for a committee. Unlike the nation-states of the modern era, these feudal domains were created entirely by military force, and their very survival was threatened on a constant basis. It was also one of the most ambitious expeditions undertaken by Europeans in the Middle Ages. Of course, the inter-faith conflicts of the Crusades era still have enormous impact on the world today. In terms of the committee structure, it will be headed by me (the King of Jerusalem), with a collection of Jerusalem’s vassals and offices, other Crusader lords, and the heads of the Knightly Military Orders. While this assemblage is largely fictitious, as Kings did not have cabinets in the same way we think of them, there were very similar gatherings of Crusader nobles that would convene and debate on courses of action to take. Delegates should primarily be familiar with the threats facing the Crusader States, as the chief goal of the committee will be to survive in a hostile political environment. Knowledge of European society, such as the basics of feudalism and the competing religions, will certainly help as well. While the committee will not be focused on the details of military tactics, the militarized nature of the Crusader States means that an elementary grasp of medieval warfare will greatly help in understanding and overcoming challenges. Also important will be a general knowledge of lands in and around the Crusader Sates. This does not mean that you need to know the name of every castle, town, river, mountain, etc. However, you should have a general idea of the names of the major countries and their locations. This will heavily influence the committee’s policy towards these areas. In terms of the positions, it is not essential that you are an expert on the individuals who historically held that post. An understanding of the issues facing the Crusader States will be much more important than acting like a particular historical personality. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, and I look forward to seeing you all at the University in March. Sincerely, James Thomas Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 enthusiasm throughout the deeply Introduction religious Roman Catholic Europe. Nobles and commoners alike decided to Palestine, known as the Holy take up the crusade and liberate the Holy Land to the Christians of Medieval Land by armed force, and thus began the Europe, had been under Muslim control First Crusade. since the Arabs conquered it from the The charismatic noblemen that Byzantines in the 7th century. The Arabs were the movement’s leaders were well allowed Christian pilgrims to visit their experienced in the art of war, and led an holy sites, and so there was no conflict army of 4,500 knights and 30,000. From between Muslims and the Christians of 1096 to 1099, this army marched Western Europe. As the Arab Empire overland through much of the Middle broke apart the region came under the East, fighting dozens of battles and control of various Arab dynasties, but sieges and traversing thousands of miles overall stability maintained. Though the of rugged terrain. Jerusalem was finally Byzantines fought many wars against the taken by siege in 1099 and most of its Arabs, a relatively stable frontier inhabitants were massacred. The developed in Eastern Asia Minor. Crusaders quickly took control of key This situation changed during the cities throughout the region, particularly 11th century, with the arrival of warlike those along the coast. Though thousands Turkic tribes into the Middle East. of soldiers died in battles or the Originally serving Arab rulers as elements, the First Crusade had achieved mercenaries, many Turkic leaders used its goal. their military abilities to create their own Palestine was brought back into states. The Turks destroyed the the European cultural sphere, and the Byzantine army at Manzikert in 1071, Europeans brought their feudal political breaking through the frontier and over system with them. The noble leaders of the next decades pillaging much of the Crusade created four major domains: Byzantine Asia Minor. Turkic forces The Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County also clashed with the Arab Fatimid of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, dynasty that controlled Egypt and much and the County of Edessa. Though each of Palestine. Chaos led to a breakdown of these were independent, many looked of law and order and travel for pilgrims to the King of Jerusalem as the most became very dangerous. The Byzantine important leader because of Jerusalem’s Empire sent emissaries to Western religious significance. These domains Europe to ask for military assistance all had their own networks of vassals. against the Turkish invaders. The regions were heavily fortified, with scores of castles to protect travel routes The Crusades to 1170 and deter Muslim raids. Travel and trade between Palestine and Europe was In 1095, Pope Urban II preached carried out by Italian shipping, and crusade against the Muslims holding pilgrims could once again visit the Jerusalem, the goals being to help Christian holy sites. Christians in the East and restore Fragmentation of the Muslim Jerusalem to Christian control. People powers prevented any unified response met his call with unprecedented to the European incursion, although Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, email@example.com VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 skirmishing and minor battles were common. The major threat to the new Crusader States was the emergence of strong Muslim leaders who could unify their people and organize a counterattack. This is precisely what happened in 1144, when Zengi, the Muslim ruler of Aleppo, conquered the entire County of Edessa and defeated several Crusader attempts to retake it. A Second Crusade came from Europe, which failed in its main goal of taking Damascus. At other times, the initiative passed back to the Crusaders. In the decade 1160 to 1170, Crusader forces from the Kingdom of Jerusalem invaded Egypt, where they became involved in a complex power struggle between native Egyptians and forces sent by Nur al-Din, the Muslim ruler of Damascus and son of Zangi. Eventually Nur al-Din’s Strategy and Warfare generals Shirkuh and Saladin forced the Crusaders to withdraw. After Shirkuh’s The Crusader States were created death, the capable Saladin became by a military expedition, and depend on vizier, and by 1170 was the real power military strength for their survival. in the country rather than the now Knights, heavily armed and riding on ceremonial Shia Caliph. With Saladin in horseback, are the backbone of Crusader Egypt and Nur al-Din in Syria, the armies, just as they are the backbone of Crusader States may find themselves in a armies in Medieval Europe. These are precarious position. supported by infantry, armed with spears, swords, bows, and other weapons, with varying degrees of armor and equipment. However, several important factors make conflicts in Palestine different from in Europe: Mobile Warfare Middle Eastern warfare is much more mobile than that conducted in Europe. Swift horse archers are a large portion of Muslim armies, which are generally less armored because of the region’s hot climate. European knights in particular have to be careful when fighting lightly armored opponents, since the superior mobility of the latter Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 allows them to use hit-and-run tactics strategic points is thus essential to the and often draw unsuspecting Crusader Crusader States security. However, troops into a trap. Crusader armies must mobile field armies are still needed to be cautious and disciplined when facing relieve sieges. highly mobile opponents. Military Orders Manpower The Crusades have also seen the High rates of casualties among creation of new Military Orders of the Crusading troops mean that their armies Roman Catholic Church, particularly the are always short of manpower. The groups now known as the Knights Crusaders depend on a constant supply Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. of reinforcements from Europe, although These organizations are unique in many European troops and their leaders blending monastic and knightly return home after the successful traditions, and for their international completion of a campaign rather than character. Rich from revenues of stay in Palestine. As in Europe, armies extensive landholdings in Europe, they are raised in a feudal fashion, each train, equip and deploy military forces to vassal responsible for supplying his lord bolster the defenses of the Crusader with a certain number of troops. States. Such forces also tend to be Mercenaries are frequently hired when highly disciplined, a quality essential in more troops are needed for a campaign. Middle Eastern warfare. Military Orders such as the Templars and Hospitallers attempt to have Europeans serve the military needs of Politics the Christians in Palestine. In general, The precarious security of the Crusader Crusader armies need to be careful when States will require that they carefully engaging in pitched battle, as they select who their enemies are, to prevent cannot afford to lose too many soldiers. being encircled by a ring of powerful foes. Contrary to first appearances, the Castles Christians and Muslims are not united Middle Ages Europe is often into two opposing sides. Rulers within associated with castles, but the the Muslim world fight amongst each Crusaders took this to a new level. other, and frequently will ally with the Given the hostile nature of their Crusaders against their rivals. Likewise neighbors, the Crusaders need a strong the Crusaders’ shared Christian heritage defense, particularly given the chronic at various times leads them to cooperate shortage of manpower for field armies. with the Byzantines, but often this The relatively small land area of becomes ignored in regional power Palestine is covered with strategic struggles. Mastery of diplomacy will be fortresses, and every town of any size is as important as anything else for the fortified. This means that conquering Crusader States to survive. any amount of territory can be very difficult, as the major fortified points need to be taken by a long siege, giving Major Powers in 1170 the defends time to call a relief army to its aid. Siege warfare and control of Byzantine Empire Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, email@example.com VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 Although now confined to the Caliphs, rivals to the Sunni Caliphs of Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, the Baghdad. Though powerful at times, the Byzantine Greeks were once the masters Fatimids cannot be expected to of most of the Near East, including cooperate with rival Muslim powers any Palestine. This is a fact that the more than they can with Christian ones. Emperors do not forget. Currently, the However, recent events could change major threat to the Byzantines is the this situation. The last decade saw the influx of the Muslim Seljiuk Turks, who rise of the Kurdish general Shirkuh and defeated the Imperial Army in 1071 and his nephew Saladin, who took advantage have been advancing into Byzantine of a chaotic political situation to become Asia Minor ever since. Byzantine pleas the dominant power in Egypt, defeated for assistance were one of the reasons native Egyptian opponents as well as the Crusades were called to begin with, Byzantine and Crusader forces. Though but this does not necessarily translate Shirkuh has recently died of natural into good relations with the Crusader causes, time will tell what his heir States. On one hand the Byzantines Saladin will do with his newfound power recognize a certain degree of mutual as the newly appointed Vizier by the Christian faith with the Crusaders, but weakening Caliphate. on the other view Western Europeans as barbarians occupying lands that The Turks rightfully belong to the world’s true Turkic tribes in Asia Minor have Christian Empire, and are especially been fighting with the Byzantines there concerned with the status of Antioch. for a century. Their influx into the While they may often cooperate with Middle East and subsequent chaos was Crusaders, it would be foolish to assume the catalyst that led the Crusades to that these proud Emperors begin in the first place. Though not united, the warlike Turks are a Muslim Syria remarkable force. The Seljiuks of Rum The chief cities of Muslim Syria in Central and Western Asia Minor have are Aleppo and Damascus, united under proven a formidable opponent even to the energetic and capable Muslim ruler the powerful Byzantines. Farther East a Nur ad-Din, who uses them as bases to rival Turkish power has arisen under the launch continuous assaults on the Danshimend Kings. Regardless of Crusader States. It was from here that affiliation, Muslim Turkish warlords are Muslim armies conquered the County of a significant threat to the Crusader Edessa in 1144. Given the proximity of States, though skillful diplomacy may these cities to Palestine and their clear induce them to stay busy fighting each hostile intentions, they are one of the other. most pressing security threats to the Crusader States. Positions Patriarch of Jerusalem Egypt The Patriarch is the head religious figure Egypt, for centuries, has been the of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and home of the Shia Muslim Fatimid regional head the Roman Catholic Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 Church apparatus founded after the First Another of the original Crusader States Crusade. He also controls the Church of and not a vassal of Jerusalem, Antioch is the Holy Sepulchre and surrounding area one of the main centers of Crusader within Jerusalem. Typically, the power. The Prince controls large Patriarch supports a strong monarch sections of Syria and a strong fortress- ahead of the rights of nobles capital. He is one of the most powerful Crusader lords and frequently looks after Constable of Jerusalem his own interests. The Constable is one of the most important positions within the Kingdom, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon and given only to capable leaders. His The County of Jaffa and Ascalon covers duties include being second-in-command the southwestern portion of the Kingdom of the army (behind the King) and of Jerusalem, including vassals in Ibelin, paying mercenaries. Rama and Mirabel. His position is strategic given Ascalon’s role as a buffer Grand Master of the Knights Templar against the power of Egypt. One of the Orders of fighting knights, the Templars control not only elite Prince of Galilee fighting units, but a widespread financial One of the largest of Jerusalem’s vassal network. The Grand Master represents states, the Prince controls substantial the interests of the Order, which is territory in the northern part of the deeply interested in defending Christians Kingdom, including areas that border and Jerusalem. Muslim Syria. The prince, centered on the fortress of Tiberias, has vassals at Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller Beirut, Nazareth and Haifa. A rival order the Templars, the Hospitallers likewise contribute to the defense of the Crusader States with both Lord of Sidon fighting forces and money. Though Sidon is a strategic port in the northern originally founded as a hospital, the part of the Kingdom. The Lordship order now also contains a military controls the important stretch of branch. The Grand Master represents Mediterranean coastline near the port. the interests of his order. Lord of Oultrejourdain Count of Tripoli One of the few Crusader outposts east of One of the original four Crusader States, the Dead Sea and Jordan River, Tripoli is technically independent of the Oultrejourdain is located in a bleak Kingdom of Jerusalem, a fact its Counts desert landscape. However, the remember. With his power centered on Lordship is of critical importance the rich port of the same name, the because it can control strategic caravan Count controls the coastal areas north of routes through the region. the Kingdom of Jerusalem and controls lucrative maritime trade routes. Lord of Arsuf Arsuf is important as a fortified port Prince of Antioch town, on the coast north of Jaffa and south of Caesarea. Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, email@example.com VICS XIV March 26th – March 29th, 2009 Lord of Bethsan Information from the Introduction, The Bethsan is located south of Galilee on Crusades to 1170 and Major Players in the West Bank of the Jordan River, a 1170 can be found in the following strategic location to defend the Kingdom work: from the East. Madden, Thomas F. Crusades: The Lord of Blanchegarde Illustrated History. Ann Arbor: The fortress of Blanchegarde lies to the University of west of Jerusalem, on the key road between Jerusalem and the border with Michigan Press, 2004. Egypt. Lord of Caesarea For information about Strategy and Caesarea is an important coastal fief, one Warfare in Medieval Palestine, as well of the main ports of the Kingdom. many useful maps, can be found in these works: Lord of Hebron Hebron is located along the Kingdom’s Brooks, Richard. Atlas of World southern border, controlling the routes to Military History. New York: Barnes the south. and Noble Inc., Lord of Montgisard 2000. Montgisard is a castle town in the southern part of the Kingdom, near Hooper, Nicholas and Matthew Bennett. Ascalon and the border with Egypt. Cambridge Illustrated Atlas: Warfare in the Viscount of Nablus A viscount under the King governs a Middle Ages 768-1487. part of the royal domain to the north of Cambridge: Cambridge University the city of Jerusalem, Nablus. Press, 1996. Lord of Scandelion Scandelion is a coastal fortification Some more useful sources about the south of Tyre and north of Acre. Crusades in general are: Hindrey, Geoffrey. The Crusades. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2003. MacEvitt, Christopher. The Crusades and the Christian World of East. Philadelphia: Sources University of Pennsylvania, 2008. Crusader States of 1170 Chair: James Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org