Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Contempt, Jeremiah 1:17-19, Mark 6:17-29 St Sabina, Basilica Santa Sabina, Fall Series: Second Crusade

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Contempt, Jeremiah 1:17-19, Mark 6:17-29
St Sabina,  Basilica Santa Sabina, Fall Series: Second Crusade

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  contempt   con·tempt [kuhn-tempt]

Origin:  1350–1400; Middle English  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin contemptus  a slighting = contemn(ere)  to despise, scorn ( see contemn) + -tus  suffix of v. action (with loss of n  and intrusive p )

1. the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
2. the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.
3. Law .

a. willful disobedience to or open disrespect for the rules or orders of a court (contempt of court)  or legislative body.
b. an act showing such disrespect.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Jeremiah 1:17-19

17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up and tell them all I command you. Have no fear of them and in their presence I will make you fearless.
18 For look, today I have made you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze to stand against the whole country: the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests and the people of the country.
19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you, Yahweh declares, to rescue you.'


Today's Gospel Reading - Mark 6:17-29

Beheading of John The Baptist
Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, 'It is against the law for you to have your brother's wife.' As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him, but she was not able to do so, because Herod was in awe of John, knowing him to be a good and upright man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him. An opportunity came on Herod's birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, 'Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.' And he swore on her oath, 'I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.' She went out and said to her mother, 'What shall I ask for?' She replied, 'The head of John the Baptist.' The girl at once rushed back to the king and made her request, 'I want you to give me John the Baptist's head, immediately, on a dish.' The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests; he was reluctant to break his word to her. At once the king sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John's head. The man went off and beheaded him in the prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John's disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
• Today we commemorate the martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist. The Gospel gives a description of how John the Baptist was killed, without a process, during a banquet, victim of the corruption and arrogance of Herod and of his court.

• Mark 6, 17-20. The cause of the imprisonment and murdering of John. Herod was an employee of the Roman Empire, who commanded in Palestine since the year 63 before Christ. Caesar was the Emperor of Rome. He insisted above all, in an efficient administration which would provide revenue for the Empire and for him. The concern of Herod was his own promotion and his security. This is why he repressed any type of corruption. He liked to be called the benefactor of the people, but in reality he was a tyrant (cf. Lk 22, 25). Flavio Giuseppe, a writer of that time, informs that the reason for the imprisonment of John the Baptist was the fear that Herod had of a popular uprising or revolt. The denunciation of John the Baptist’s against the depraved morality of Herod (Mk 6, 18), was the drop which made the glass overflow, and John was imprisoned.

• Mark 6, 21-29: The plot of the murderer. The anniversary and banquet of the feast, with dancing and orgy were the occasion for the murdering of John. It was an environment in which the powerful of the kingdom met together and in which the alliances were formed. In the feast participated “the great of the court, two officials and two important persons from Galilee”. This was the environment in which the murdering of John the Baptist was decided. John, the prophet, was a living denunciation of that corrupt system, and this is why he was eliminated under the pretext of a personal vengeance. All this reveals the moral weakness of Herod. So much power accumulated in the hands of one man who had no control of self. In the enthusiasm of the feast, of the celebration and of wine, Herod makes a promise by oath to a young girl, a dancer. Superstitious as he was, he thought that he had to keep the promise made by oath. For Herod, the life of the subjects was worthless. This is how Mark gives an account of the fact as it happened and leaves the communities the task of drawing the conclusion.

• Between lines, the Gospel today gives much information on the time in which Jesus lived and on the way in which the power was exercised on the part of the powerful of that time. Galilee, the land of Jesus, was governed by Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, the Great, from the year 4 before Christ until the year 39 after Christ, 43 years! During the whole time of the life of Jesus on earth there was no change of Government in Galilee! Herod was absolute lord of everything, and did not render an account to anyone, he did as he pleased. In him there was arrogance, lack of ethics, absolute power, without any control on the part of the people!

• Herod constructed a new capital, called Tiberiades. Seffori the ancient capital, was destroyed by the Romans in retaliation against the popular revolt. This happened when Jesus was about seven years old. Tiberiade, the new capital, was inaugurated thirteen years later, when Jesus was approximately 20 years old. The capital was given that name in order to please Tiberius, the Emperor of Rome. Tiberiade was a strange place in Galilee. That was the place where the king, “the great of the court”, the officials, the important people of Galilee lived (Mc 6, 21). The landowners, the soldiers, the policemen lived there and also the judges, who, many times were insensitive, and indifferent (Lk 18, 1-4). The taxes and tributes and the products of the people were channelled there. It was there that Herod held his orgies of death (Mk 6, 21-29). The Gospel does not say the Jesus entered the city.

During the 43 years of the government of Herod, a class of officials, faithful to the project of the king, was created: the Scribes, the merchants, the landowners, the tax collectors on the market, the tax collectors or publicans, the militia, policemen, judges, promoters, local heads. The majority of these persons lived in the capital and enjoyed the privileges which Herod offered, for example exemption from taxes. Others lived in the villages. In every village or city there was a group of persons who supported the government. Several Scribes and Pharisees were bound to the system and to the politics of the Government. In the Gospels, the Pharisees appear together with the Herodians (Mk 3, 6; 8, 15; 12, 13), and this shows the existing alliance between the religious and the civil powers. The life of the people in the villages of Galilee was very controlled, both by the government and by religion. Much courage was necessary to begin something new, as John and Jesus did! It was the same thing as to attract on oneself the anger of the privileged ones, both those of the religious power as those of the civil power, both at local and state levels.
Personal questions
• Do you know any persons who died victims of corruption and the dominion of the powerful? And here, among us, in our community and in the Church, are there some victims of authoritarianism or of the excess of power? Give an example.
• Superstition, corruption, cowardice marked the exercise of power of Herod. Compare this with the exercise of religious and civil power today, in the various levels both of society and of the Church.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Sabina

Saint Sabina, matron and martyr from Rome. The widow of Senator Valentinus[1] and daughter of Herod Metallarius. After her female slave Saint Serapia (who had converted her) was denounced as a witch and beheaded, Sabina rescued her slave's remains and had them interred in the family mausoleum where she also expected to be buried. Denounced as a criminal, Sabina was condemned for her act of charity to her slave. She was accused of being a Christian by Elpidio the Perfect. She was thereupon martyred in the year 125 AD in the city of Vindena in the state of Umbria, Italy.

Sabina was later canonized as a saint, her feast day being celebrated on August 29. In 430 her relics were brought to the Aventine Hill, to a specially built basilica—the Santa Sabina—on the site of her house, originally situated near a temple of Juno. This house may also have formed an early Christian titular church. The church was initially dedicated to both Sabina and Serapia, though the dedication was later limited to Sabina.


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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company

Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet : Basilica of Santa Sabina

Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine, Rome
The Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Sabinae, Italian: Basilica di Santa Sabina all'Aventino) is a titular minor basilica and mother church of the Roman Catholic Dominican order in Rome, Italy. Santa Sabina lies high on the Aventine Hill, beside the Tiber, close to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta. Santa Sabina is an early basilica (5th century), with a classical rectangular plan and columns. The decorations have been restored to their original modesty, mostly white. Together with the light pouring in from the windows, this makes the Santa Sabina an airy and roomy place. Other basilicas, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, are often heavily and gaudily decorated. Because of its simplicity, the Santa Sabina represents the crossover from a roofed Roman forum to the churches of Christendom. Its Cardinal Priest is Jozef Tomko. It is the stational church for Ash Wednesday.


Crucifixion on wooden door of Santa Sabina.
One of the earliest surviving low relief
 of the crucifixion of Christ
Santa Sabina was built by Priest Petrus of Illyria, a Dalmatian priest, between 422 and 432 on the site of the house of the Roman matron Sabina, who was later declared a Christian saint. It was originally near a temple of Juno. Pope Honorius III approved in 1216 the Order of Preachers, now commonly known as the Dominicans, which was "the first order instituted by the Church with an academic mission". Honorius III invited Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, to take up residence at the church of Santa Sabina in 1220. The official foundation of the Dominican convent at Santa Sabina with its studium conventuale, the first Dominican studium in Rome, occurred with the legal transfer of property from Honorius III to the Order of Preachers on June 5, 1222 though the brethren had taken up residence there already in 1220. This foundation would eventually develop into the College of Saint Thomas (Latin: Collegium Divi Thomæ) located at the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva,and then the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum now housed in the former Dominican convent at the Church of Saints Dominic and Sixtus.

Some scholars have written that Honorius III was a member of the Savelli family and that the church and associated buildings formed part of the holdings of the Savelli, thereby explaining why Honorius III donated Santa Sabina to the Dominicans.  In fact, Honorius III was not a Savelli. These scholars may have confused later Pope Honorius IV, who was a Savelli, and Honorius III. In any case, the church was given over to the Dominicans and it has since then served as their headquarters in Rome.


The exterior of the church, with its large windows made of selenite, not glass, looks much as it did when it was built in the 5th century. The wooden door of the basilica is generally agreed to be the original door from 430-32, although it was apparently not constructed for this doorway. Eighteen of its wooden panels survive — all but one depicting scenes from the Bible. Most famous among these is one of the earliest certain depictions of Christ's crucifixion, although other panels have also been the subjects of extensive analysis because of their importance for the study of Christian iconography.  Above the doorway, the interior preserves an original dedication in Latin hexameters. The campanile (bell tower) dates from the 10th century.


Santa Sabina interior.
The original 5th-century apse mosaic was replaced in 1559 by a very similar fresco by Taddeo Zuccari. The composition probably remained unchanged: Christ is flanked by a good thief and a bad thief, seated on a hill while lambs drink from a stream at its base. The iconography of the mosaic was very similar to another 5th-century mosaic, destroyed in the 17th century, in Sant'Andrea in Catabarbara. An interesting feature of the interior is a framed hole in the floor, exposing a Roman era temple column that pre-dates Santa Sabina. This appears to be the remnant of the Temple of Juno erected on the hilltop site during Roman times, which was likely razed to allow construction of Santa Sabina. The tall, spacious nave has 24 columns of Proconnesian marble with perfectly matched Corinthian columns and bases, which were reused from the Temple of Juno.

The Monastery of Santa Sabina

Saint Dominic, Pope Saint Pius V, Saint Celsus, Saint Hyacinth and St Thomas Aquinas are among those who have lived in the monastery adjacent to the church. The interior cells for the Dominican friars are little changed since the earliest days of the Order of Preachers. The cell of St. Dominic is still identified, though it has since been enlarged and converted to a chapel. Also, the original dining room still remains, in which St. Thomas Aquinas would dine when he came to Rome.


      1. Pirerre Mandonnet, "Order of Preachers" Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913;
      2. The Order of the Preachers. "General Curia". Retrieved 2009-01-29.
      3. Pierre Mandonnet, O.P., St. Dominic and His Work, Translated by Sister Mary Benedicta Larkin, O.P., B. Herder Book Co., St. Louis/London, 1948, Chapt. III, note 50: "If the installation at Santa Sabina does not date from 1220, at least it is from 1221. The official grant was made only in June, 1222 (Bullarium O.P., I, 15). But the terms of the bull show that there had been a concession earlier. Before that concession the Pope said that the friars had no hospitium in Rome. At that time St. Sixtus was no longer theirs; Conrad of Metz could not have alluded to St. Sixtus, therefore, when he said in 1221: "the Pope has conferred on them a house in Rome" (Laurent no. 136). It is possible that the Pope was waiting for the completion of the building that he was having done at Santa Sabina, before giving the title to the property, on June 5, 1222, to the new Master of the Order, elected not many days before." Accessed 2012-5-20.
      4. J. J. Berthier, L'Eglise de Sainte-Sabine a Rome (Rome: M. Bretschneider, 1910).
      5. Joan Barclay Lloyd, "Medieval Dominican Architecture at Santa Sabina in Rome, c. 1219-c. 1320." Papers of the British School at Rome. 2004. v 72, p 231-292, 379.


      • Krautheimer, Richard (1984). Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 171–174. ISB 0-300-05294-4.
      • Richard Delbrueck. "Notes on the Wooden Doors of Santa Sabina", The Art Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 2. (Jun., 1952), pp. 139–145.
      • Ernst H. Kantorowicz, "The 'King's Advent': And The Enigmatic Panels in the Doors of Santa Sabina", The Art Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 4. (Dec., 1944), pp. 207–231.
      • Alexander Coburn Soper. "The Italo-Gallic School of Early Christian Art", The Art Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1938), pp. 145–192.
      • Richard Delbrueck. "The Acclamation Scene on the Doors of Santa Sabina" (in Notes), The Art Bulletin, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1949), pp. 215–217.


            Fall Series : Crusades - Second Crusade (1145-1149)

            The Fall of Edessa
            The Second Crusade (1145–1149) was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade (1096–1099) by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098. While it was the first Crusader state to be founded, it was also the first to fall.

            The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe. After crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuq Turks. The main Western Christian source, Odo of Deuil, and Syriac Christian sources claim that the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus secretly hindered the crusaders' progress, particularly in Anatolia where he is alleged to have deliberately ordered Turks to attack them. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and, in 1148, participated in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately have a key influence on the fall of Jerusalem and give rise to the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.

            The only success of the Second Crusade came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish.

            Background: the fall of Edessa

            After the First Crusade and the minor Crusade of 1101 there were three crusader states established in the east: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Edessa. A fourth, the County of Tripoli, was established in 1109. Edessa was the most northerly of these, and also the weakest and least populated; as such, it was subject to frequent attacks from the surrounding Muslim states ruled by the Ortoqids, Danishmends, and Seljuq Turks. Count Baldwin II and future count Joscelin of Courtenay were taken captive after their defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104. Baldwin and Joscelin were both captured a second time in 1122, and although Edessa recovered somewhat after the Battle of Azaz in 1125, Joscelin was killed in battle in 1131. His successor Joscelin II was forced into an alliance with the Byzantine Empire, but in 1143 both the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus and the King of Jerusalem Fulk of Anjou died. Joscelin had also quarreled with the Count of Tripoli and the Prince of Antioch, leaving Edessa with no powerful allies.

            Meanwhile, the Seljuq Zengi, Atabeg of Mosul, had added Aleppo to his rule in 1128. Aleppo was the key to power in Syria, contested between the rulers of Mosul and Damascus. Both Zengi and King Baldwin II turned their attention towards Damascus; Baldwin was defeated outside the city in 1129. Damascus, ruled by the Burid Dynasty, later allied with King Fulk when Zengi besieged the city in 1139 and 1140; the alliance was negotiated by the chronicler Usamah ibn Munqidh.

            In late 1144, Joscelin II allied with the Ortoqids and marched out of Edessa with almost his entire army to support the Ortoqid army against Aleppo. Zengi, already seeking to take advantage of Fulk's death in 1143, hurried north to besiege Edessa, which fell to him after a month on 24 December 1144. Manasses of Hierges, Philip of Milly and others were sent from Jerusalem to assist, but arrived too late. Joscelin II continued to rule the remnants of the county from Turbessel, but little by little the rest of the territory was captured by Muslims or sold to the Byzantines. Zengi himself was praised throughout Islam as "defender of the faith" and al-Malik al-Mansur, "the victorious king". He did not pursue an attack on the remaining territory of Edessa, or the Principality of Antioch, as was feared. Events in Mosul compelled him to return home, and he once again set his sights on Damascus. However, he was assassinated by a slave in 1146 and was succeeded in Aleppo by his son Nur ad-Din.

            Quantum praedecessores

            The news of the fall of Edessa was brought back to Europe first by pilgrims early in 1145, and then by embassies from Antioch, Jerusalem, and Armenia. Bishop Hugh of Jabala reported the news to Pope Eugene III, who issued the bull Quantum praedecessores on 1 December of that year, calling for a second crusade. Hugh also told the Pope of an eastern Christian king, who, it was hoped, would bring relief to the crusader states: this is the first documented mention of Prester John. Eugene did not control Rome and lived instead at Viterbo, but nevertheless the crusade was meant to be more organized and centrally controlled than the First Crusade: the armies would be led by the strongest kings of Europe and a route would be planned beforehand. The initial response to the new crusade bull was poor, and it in fact had to be reissued when it was clear that Louis VII would be taking part in the expedition. Louis VII of France had also been considering a new expedition independently of the Pope, which he announced to his Christmas court at Bourges in 1145. It is debatable whether Louis was planning a crusade of his own or in fact a pilgrimage, as he wanted to fulfil a vow made by his brother Philip to go to the Holy Land, as he had been prevented by death. It is probable that Louis had made this decision independently of hearing about Quantum Praedecessores. In any case, Abbot Suger and other nobles were not in favour of Louis' plans, as he would be gone from the kingdom for several years. Louis consulted Bernard of Clairvaux, who referred him back to Eugene. Now Louis would have definitely heard about the papal bull, and Eugene enthusiastically supported Louis' crusade. The bull was reissued on 1 March 1146, and Eugene authorized Bernard to preach the news throughout France.

            Bernard of Clairvaux

            Stained glass image of a kneeling man with a halo holding an open book and a staff.
            St Bernard in stained glass. From the Upper Rhine, ca. 1450.
            The Pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade. A parliament was convoked at Vezelay in Burgundy in 1146, and Bernard preached before the assembly on March 31. Louis VII of France, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the princes and lords present prostrated themselves at the feet of Bernard to receive the pilgrims' cross. Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step undoubtedly contributed to the success of his mission. At Speyer, Conrad III of Germany and his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard. Pope Eugene came in person to France to encourage the enterprise.

            For all his overmastering zeal, Bernard was by nature neither a bigot nor a persecutor. As in the First Crusade, the preaching inadvertently led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Rudolf was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, with Rudolf claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. Bernard, the Archbishop of Cologne and the Archbishop of Mainz were vehemently opposed to these attacks, and so Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problem and quiet the mobs. Bernard then found Rudolf in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.

            Wendish Crusade

            When the Second Crusade was called, many south Germans volunteered to crusade in the Holy Land. The north German Saxons were reluctant. They told St Bernard of their desire to campaign against the Slavs at a Reichstag meeting in Frankfurt on 13 March 1147. Approving of the Saxons' plan, Eugenius issued a papal bull known as the Divina dispensatione on 13 April. This bull stated that there was to be no difference between the spiritual rewards of the different crusaders. Those who volunteered to crusade against the Slavs were primarily Danes, Saxons, and Poles, although there were also some Bohemians. The Papal legate, Anselm of Havelberg, was placed in overall command. The campaign itself was led by Saxon families such as the Ascanians, Wettin, and Schauenburgers.

            Upset by German participation in the crusade, the Obotrites preemptively invaded Wagria in June 1147, leading to the march of the crusaders in late summer 1147. After expelling the Obodrites from Christian territory, the crusaders targeted the Obodrite fort at Dobin and the Liutizian fort at Demmin. The forces attacking Dobin included those of the Danes Canute V and Sweyn III, Adalbert II, Archbishop of Bremen, and Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony. When some crusaders advocated ravaging the countryside, others objected by asking, "Is not the land we are devastating our land, and the people we are fighting our people?"[18] The Saxon army under Henry the Lion withdrew after the pagan chief, Niklot, agreed to have Dobin's garrison undergo baptism. After an unsuccessful siege of Demmin, a contingent of crusaders was diverted by the margraves to attack Pomerania instead. They reached the already Christian city Stettin, whereupon the crusaders dispersed after meeting with Bishop Albert of Pomerania and Prince Ratibor I of Pomerania. According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the goal of the crusade was to battle the pagan Slavs "until such a time as, by God's help, they shall either be converted or deleted". However, the crusade failed to achieve the conversion of most of the Wends. The Saxons achieved largely token conversions at Dobin, as the Slavs resorted to their pagan beliefs once the Christian armies dispersed. Albert of Pomerania explained, "If they had come to strengthen the Christian faith ... they should do so by preaching, not by arms".

            By the end of the crusade, the countryside of Mecklenburg and Pomerania was plundered and depopulated with much bloodshed, especially by the troops of Henry the Lion. This was to help bring about more Christian victories in the future decades. The Slavic inhabitants also lost much of their methods of production, limiting their resistance in the future.

            Reconquista and the fall of Lisbon

            Painting of a group of men clustered around a seated man in armor wearing a crown. Kneeling before the seated man is another man, with a third man standing between the two men and pointing at the kneeling man.
            The Siege of Lisbon by D. Afonso Henriques by Joaquim Rodrigues Braga (1840)
            In the spring of 1147, the Pope authorized the expansion of the crusade into the Iberian peninsula, in the context of the Reconquista. He also authorized Alfonso VII of León and Castile to equate his campaigns against the Moors with the rest of the Second Crusade. In May 1147, the first contingents of crusaders left from Dartmouth in England for the Holy Land. Bad weather forced the ships to stop on the Portuguese coast, at the northern city of Porto on 16 June 1147. There they were convinced to meet with King Afonso I of Portugal.

            The crusaders agreed to help the King attack Lisbon, with a solemn agreement that offered to them the pillage of the city's goods and the ransom money for expected prisoners. The Siege of Lisbon lasted from 1 July to 25 October 1147 when, after four months, the Moorish rulers agreed to surrender, primarily due to hunger within the city. Most of the crusaders settled in the newly captured city, but some of them set sail and continued to the Holy Land. Some of them, who had departed earlier, helped capture Santarém earlier in the same year. Later they also helped to conquer Sintra, Almada, Palmela and Setúbal, and they were allowed to stay in the conquered lands, where they settled down and had offspring.

            Elsewhere on the Iberian Peninsula at almost at the same time, Alfonso VII of León, Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, and others led a mixed army of Catalan and French crusaders against the rich port city of Almería. With support from a Genoese–Pisan navy, the city was occupied in October 1147. Ramon Berenger then invaded the lands of the Almoravid taifa kingdom of Valencia and Murcia. In December 1148, he captured Tortosa after a five-month siege again with the help of French, Anglo-Normans, and Genoese crusaders. The next year, Fraga, Lleida and Mequinenza in the confluence of the Segre and Ebro rivers fell to his army.



            Muslim forces in this period comprised small bodies of professional troops, which were augmented by volunteers and conscripts in times of war. The largest of the Muslim states at the time, the Great Seljuk Sultanate, which ruled most of what is modern Iran and Iraq had about 10,000 full-term soldiers. The number of troops available to the Syrian states was much smaller. The core of the professional troops were the ghulam or mamluk, who were trained for war since childhood. The cost of raising and training a mamluk was about 30 dinars (by contrast, a good horse in Syria went for about 100 dinars). To compensate for their quantitative weaknesses, the Muslim states compensated by seeking qualitative superiority. The professional soldiers of the Muslim states, who were usually ethnic Turks, tended to be very well-trained and equipped. The basis of the military system in the Islamic Middle East was 'iqta system of fiefs, which supported a certain number of troops in every district. In the event of war, the ahdath militias based in the cities under the command of the ra’is (mayor), and who were usually ethnic Arabs, were called upon to increase the number of troops. The ahdath militia, through less well trained than the Turkish professional troops, were often very strongly motivated by religion, especially the concept of jihad. Further support came from Turcoman and Kurdish auxiliaries, who could be called upon in times of war, through these forces were prone to indiscipline.

            The principal Islamic commander was Mu'in al-Din Abu Mansur Anur, the atabeg of Damascus from 1138 to 1149. Damascus was supposedly ruled by the Burid amirs of Damascus, but Anur who commanded the military was the real ruler of the city. The historian David Nicolle described Anur as an able general and diplomat who was well known as the patron of the arts. Because the Burid dynasty was displaced in 1154 by the Zangid dynasty, Anur's role in repulsing the Second Crusade has been largely erased with historians and chroniclers loyal to the Zangids giving the credit to Anur's rival, Mahmud Ibn Zangi Abu'l-Qasim al-Malik al-'Adil Nur al-Din, the amir of Aleppo.


            The German contingent comprised about 2, 000 knights while the French contingent had about 700 knights from the king’s lands while the nobility raised smaller numbers of knights. The Kingdom of Jerusalem had about 550 knights and 6, 000 infantrymen. Both the French and German contingents were followed by huge numbers of camp followers, most of whom did not survive the Crusade. As the monk, Odo of Deuil noted "the weak and helpless are always a burden to their commanders and a source of prey to their enemies". The French knights preferred to fight while riding while the German knights liked to fight on foot. The Roman chronicler John Kinnamos wrote "the French are particularly capable of riding horseback in good order and attacking with the spear, and their cavalry surpasses that of the Germans in speed. The Germans, however, are able to fight on foot better than the French and excel in using the great sword". Konrad III was considered to be a brave knight, through often described as indecisive at moments of crisis. Louis VII was a devout Christian with a sensitive side who was often attacked by contemporaries like Bernard of Clairvaux for being more in love with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine than being interested in war or politics.

            Crusade in the East

            A map of the major battles of the Second Crusade in the Levant, located in the eastern Mediterranean. The major conflict locations and the routes of the Second Crusade are marked. To the north are the Byzantine Empire and the Armenian Cilicia. The Seljuq Turks are located across the east side of the map. To the left of the Seljuqs are, from north to south, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. To the south are the Fatimids, mainly located in the Sinai Peninsula and modern-day Egypt.
            Map of the Second Crusade in the Levant
            Joscelin tried to take back Edessa following Zengi's murder, but Nur ad-Din defeated him in November 1146. On 16 February 1147 the French crusaders met at Étampes to discuss their route. The Germans had already decided to travel overland through Hungary, as the sea route was politically impractical because Roger II, King of Sicily, was an enemy of Conrad. Many of the French nobles distrusted the land route, which would take them through the Byzantine Empire, the reputation of which still suffered from the accounts of the First Crusaders. Nevertheless it was decided to follow Conrad, and to set out on 15 June. Roger II was offended and refused to participate any longer. In France, Abbot Suger and Count William II of Nevers were elected as regents while the king would be on crusade. In Germany, further preaching was done by Adam of Ebrach, and Otto of Freising also took the cross. The Germans planned to set out at Easter, but did not leave until May.

            German route

            The German crusaders, accompanied by the papal legate and cardinal Theodwin, intended to meet the French in Constantinople. Ottokar III of Styria joined Conrad at Vienna, and Conrad's enemy Géza II of Hungary allowed them to pass through unharmed. When the German army of 20,000 men arrived in Byzantine territory, Manuel feared they were going to attack him, and Byzantine troops were posted to ensure that there was no trouble. There was a brief skirmish with some of the more unruly Germans near Philippopolis and in Adrianople, where the Byzantine general Prosouch fought with Conrad's nephew, the future emperor Frederick. To make matters worse, some of the German soldiers were killed in a flood at the beginning of September. On 10 September, however, they arrived at Constantinople, where relations with Manuel were poor and the Germans were convinced to cross into Asia Minor as quickly as possible. Manuel wanted Conrad to leave some of his troops behind, to assist in defending against attacks from Roger II, who had taken the opportunity to plunder the cities of Greece, but Conrad did not agree, despite being a fellow enemy of Roger.  In Asia Minor, Conrad decided not to wait for the French, and marched towards Iconium, capital of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm. Conrad split his army into two divisions. Much of the authority of the Eastern Roman Empire in the western provinces of Asia Minor was more nominal than real with much of the provinces being a no-man's land controlled by Turkish nomads. Conrad who underestimated the length of the march against Anatolia, and anyhow assumed that the authority of Emperor Manuel was greater in Anatolia than was in fact the case. Conrad took the knights and the best troop with himself to march overland while sending the camp followers with Otto of Freising to follow the coastal road. The king led one of these, which was almost totally destroyed by the Seljuqs on 25 October 1147 at the second battle of Dorylaeum.

            In battle, the Turks used their typical tactic of pretending to retreat, and then returning to attack the small force of German cavalry which had separated from the main army to chase them. Conrad began a slow retreat back to Constantinople, and his army was harassed daily by the Turks, who attacked stragglers and defeated the rearguard. Even Conrad was wounded in a skirmish with them. The other division, led by the King's half-brother, Bishop Otto of Freising, had marched south to the Mediterranean coast and was similarly defeated early in 1148. The force led by Otto ran out of food while crossing inhospitable countryside and was ambushed by the Seluq Turks near Laodicea on 16 November 1147. The majority of Otto's force were either killed in battle or captured and sold into slavery.

            French route

            The French crusaders had departed from Metz in June 1147, led by Louis, Thierry of Alsace, Renaut I of Bar, Amadeus III, Count of Savoy and his half-brother William V of Montferrat, William VII of Auvergne, and others, along with armies from Lorraine, Brittany, Burgundy, and Aquitaine. A force from Provence, led by Alphonse of Toulouse, chose to wait until August, and to cross by sea. At Worms, Louis joined with crusaders from Normandy and England. They followed Conrad's route fairly peacefully, although Louis came into conflict with Geza of Hungary when Geza discovered Louis had allowed an attempted Hungarian usurper to join his army. Relations within Byzantine territory were also grim, and the Lorrainers, who had marched ahead of the rest of the French, also came into conflict with the slower Germans whom they met on the way.

            A standing male, dressed in elaborate robes with a fancy hat. He has a halo around his head and is holding a long staff in one hand.
            Emperor Manuel I
            Since the original negotiations between Louis and Manuel, Manuel had broken off his military campaign against the Sultanate of Rûm, signing a truce with his enemy Sultan Mesud I. This was done so that Manuel would be free to concentrate on defending his empire from the Crusaders, who had gained a reputation for theft and treachery since the First Crusade and were widely suspected of harbouring sinister designs on Constantinople. Nevertheless, Manuel's relations with the French army were somewhat better than with the Germans, and Louis was entertained lavishly in Constantinople. Some of the French were outraged by Manuel's truce with the Seljuqs and called for an alliance with Roger II and an attack on Constantinople, but they were restrained by Louis.

            When the armies from Savoy, Auvergne, and Montferrat joined Louis in Constantinople, having taken the land route through Italy and crossing from Brindisi to Durazzo, the entire army was shipped across the Bosporus to Asia Minor. The Greeks were encouraged by rumours that the Germans had captured Iconium, but Manuel refused to give Louis any Byzantine troops. Byzantium had just been invaded by Roger II of Sicily, and all of Manuel's army was needed in the Peloponnese. Both the Germans and French therefore entered Asia without any Byzantine assistance, unlike the armies of the First Crusade. In the tradition set by his grandfather Alexios I, Manuel also had the French swear to return to the Empire any territory they captured.[41] The French met the remnants of Conrad's army at Nicaea, and Conrad joined Louis' force. They followed Otto of Freising's route, moving closer to the Mediterranean coast, and they arrived at Ephesus in December, where they learned that the Turks were preparing to attack them. Manuel also sent ambassadors complaining about the pillaging and plundering that Louis had done along the way, and there was no guarantee that the Byzantines would assist them against the Turks. Meanwhile Conrad fell sick and returned to Constantinople, where Manuel attended to him personally, and Louis, paying no attention to the warnings of a Turkish attack, marched out from Ephesus with the French and German survivors. The Turks were indeed waiting to attack, but in a small battle outside Ephesus, the French were victorious.[42] The French fended off another Turkish ambush at the Meander River.
            They reached Laodicea early in January 1148, around the same time Otto of Freising's army had been destroyed in the same area. Resuming the march, the vanguard under Amadeus of Savoy became separated from the rest of the army at Mount Cadmus, and Louis’ troops suffered heavy losses from the Turks. Louis himself, according to Odo of Deuil, climbed a rock and was ignored by the Turks, who did not recognize him. The Turks did not bother to attack further and the French marched on to Adalia, continually harassed from afar by the Turks, who had also burned the land to prevent the French from replenishing their food, both for themselves and their horses. Louis no longer wanted to continue by land, and it was decided to gather a fleet at Adalia and sail for Antioch. After being delayed for a month by storms, most of the promised ships did not arrive at all. Louis and his associates claimed the ships for themselves, while the rest of the army had to resume the long march to Antioch. The army was almost entirely destroyed, either by the Turks or by sickness.

            Journey to Jerusalem

            Painting of two men meeting in front of a city gate. Both men are in front of crowds of other people. The one on the left is bareheaded and holds his hat in one hand while he bows to the other figure, who is dressed in blue embroidered robes and wears a crown.
            Raymond of Poitiers, Louis VII, Antioch.

            Louis eventually arrived in Antioch on March 19 after being delayed by storms; Amadeus of Savoy had died on Cyprus along the way. Louis was welcomed by Eleanor's uncle Raymond of Poitiers. Raymond expected him to help defend against the Turks and to accompany him on an expedition against Aleppo, the Muslim city that was the gateway to Edessa, but Louis refused, preferring instead to finish his pilgrimage to Jerusalem rather than focus on the military aspect of the crusade. Eleanor enjoyed her stay, but her uncle implored her to remain to enlarge family lands and divorce Louis if the king refused to help what was assuredly the military cause of the Crusade. During this period, there were rumours of an affair between Raymond and Eleanor, which caused tensions in the marriage between Louis and Eleanor. Louis quickly left Antioch for Tripoli with Eleanor in arrest. Meanwhile, Otto of Freising and the remnant of his troops arrived in Jerusalem early in April, and Conrad soon after. Fulk, Patriarch of Jerusalem, was sent to invite Louis to join them. The fleet that had stopped at Lisbon arrived around this time, as well as the Provençals who had left Europe under the command of Alfonso Jordan, Count of Toulouse. Alphonso himself did not make it to Jerusalem as he died at Caesarea. He was supposedly poisoned by Raymond II of Tripoli, the nephew who feared his political aspirations in the county. The claim that Raymond had poisoned Alphonso caused much of the Provençal force to turn back and go home. The original focus of the crusade was Edessa, but the preferred target of King Baldwin III and the Knights Templar was Damascus.

            In response to the arrival of the Crusaders, the ruler of Damascus, Mu'in al-Din Anur started making feverish preparations for war, strengthening the fortifications of Damascus, ordering troops to his city and having the water sources along the road to Damascus destroyed or diverted. Anur sought help from the Zangid rulers of Aleppo and Mosul (who were normally his rivals), through forces from these states did not arrive in time to see combat outside of Damascus. It is almost certain that the Zangid rulers delayed sending troops to Damascus out of the hope that their rival Anur might lose his city to the Crusaders.

            Council of Acre

            The nobility of Jerusalem welcomed the arrival of troops from Europe, and it was announced that a council should meet to decide on the best target for the crusaders. This took place on 24 June 1148, when the Haute Cour of Jerusalem met with the recently arrived crusaders from Europe at Palmarea, near Acre, a major city of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. This was the most spectacular meeting of the Court in its existence. "it seems well worth while and quite in harmony with the present history that the names of the nobles who were present at the council...should be recorded here for the benefit of posterity." He lists these and numerous others; "to name each one individually would take far too long."

            In the end, the decision was made to attack the city of Damascus, a former ally of the Kingdom of Jerusalem that had shifted its allegiance to that of the Zengids and attacked the Kingdom's allied city of Bosra in 1147. Historians have long seen the decision to besige Damascus rather than Edessa as "an act of inexplicable folly". Noting the tensions between Anur, the atabeg of Damascus and the growing power of the Zangids, many historians have argued that it would better for the Crusaders to focus their energy against the Zangids. More recently, historians such as David Nicolle have defended the decision to attack Damascus, arguing that Damascus was the most powerful Muslim state in southern Syria, and that if the Christians held Damascus, they would have been in a better position to resist the rising power of Nur al-Din. Since Anur was clearly the weaker of the two Muslim rulers, it was believed that it was inevitable that Nur al-Din would take Damascus sometime in the near future, and thus it was better for the Crusaders to hold that city rather than the Zangids. In July their armies assembled at Tiberias and marched to Damascus, around the Sea of Galilee by way of Banyas. There were perhaps 50,000 troops in total.

            Siege of Damascus

            The crusaders decided to attack Damascus from the west, where orchards would provide them with a constant food supply. They arrived at Daraiya on 23 July. The following day, the Muslims were prepared for the attack and constantly attacked the army advancing through the orchards outside Damascus. The defenders had sought help from Saif ad-Din Ghazi I of Mosul and Nur ad-Din of Aleppo, who personally led an attack on the crusader camp. The crusaders were pushed back from the walls into the orchards, where they were prone to ambushes and guerrilla attacks.

            According to William of Tyre, on 27 July the crusaders decided to move to the plain on the eastern side of the city, which was less heavily fortified but had much less food and water. It was recorded by some that Unur had bribed the leaders to move to a less defensible position, and that Unur had promised to break off his alliance with Nur ad-Din if the crusaders went home. Meanwhile Nur ad-Din and Saif ad-Din had by now arrived. With Nur ad-Din in the field it was impossible to return to their better position. The local crusader lords refused to carry on with the siege, and the three kings had no choice but to abandon the city. First Conrad, then the rest of the army, decided to retreat back to Jerusalem on 28 July, though for their entire retreat they were followed by Turkish archers who constantly harassed them.


            Map showing the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Along the west and southwest coasts is the Muwahid Caliphate. The Zangid Sultanate covers most of the southeast coast and the inland areas from the east coast, which is occupied by the Crusader States. The Byzantine Empire covers most of the northeast coast and inland areas. The center of the north coast is held by the Holy Roman Empire and the northwest coast is held by the kingdoms of France and Aragon.

            Each of the Christian forces felt betrayed by the other. A new plan was made to attack Ascalon and Conrad took his troops there, but no further help arrived, due to the lack of trust that had resulted from the failed siege. This mutual distrust would linger for a generation due to the defeat, to the ruin of the Christian kingdoms in the Holy Land. After quitting Ascalon, Conrad returned to Constantinople to further his alliance with Manuel. Louis remained behind in Jerusalem until 1149. The discord also extended to marriage of Louis and Eleanor, which had been falling apart during the course of the Crusade. In April 1149, Louis and Eleanor, who were barely on speaking terms by this time, pointedly boarded separate ships to take them back to France.

            Back in Europe, Bernard of Clairvaux was humiliated by the defeat. Bernard considered it his duty to send an apology to the Pope and it is inserted in the second part of his Book of Consideration.

            There he explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures. When his attempt to call a new crusade failed, he tried to disassociate himself from the fiasco of the Second Crusade altogether. He would die in 1153.

            In Germany, the Crusade was seen as a huge debacle with many monks writing that it could only have been the work of the Devil. The anonymous monk who wrote the Annales Herbipolenses chronicle in Würzburg mentioned that for decades afterwards noble families in Germany were ransoming back knights who had been taken prisoner in Anatolia using Armenian middle-men. The camp followers who taken been prisoner and sold into slavery by the Turks were not so luckily. Of the 113 individuals known by name to been involved in the Crusade, 22 died, 42 returned home while the fate of the last 49 is a mystery. Despite the distaste for the memory of the Second Crusade, the experience of the crusade had notable impact on German literature with many epic poems of the late 12th century featuring battle scenes clearly inspired by the fighting in the crusade. The cultural impact of the Second Crusade was even greater in France with many troubadours fascinated by the alleged affair between Eleanor and Raymond, which helped to feed the theme of courtly love. Unlike Conrad, the image of Louis was improved by the Crusade with many of the French seeing him as a suffering pilgrim king who quiently bore God's punishments.

            Relations between the Eastern Roman Empire and the French were badly damaged by the Crusade. Louis and other French leaders openly accused the Emperor Manuel of colluding with Turkish attacks on them during the march across Asia Minor. The memory of the Second Crusade was to color French views of the Byzantines for the rest of the 12th and 13th centuries. Within the empire itself, the crusade was remembered as a triumph of diplomacy. In the eulogy for the Emperor Manuel by Archbishop Eustathious of Thessalonika, it was declared:
            "He was able to deal with his enemies with enviable skill, playing off one against the other with the aim of bringing peace and tranquility".
            The Wendish Crusade achieved mixed results. While the Saxons affirmed their possession of Wagria and Polabia, pagans retained control of the Obodrite land east of Lübeck. The Saxons also received tribute from Chief Niklot, enabled the colonization of the Bishopric of Havelberg, and freed some Danish prisoners. However, the disparate Christian leaders regarded their counterparts with suspicion and accused each other of sabotaging the campaign. In Iberia, the campaigns in Spain, along with the siege of Lisbon, were some of the few Christian victories of the Second Crusade. They are seen as pivotal battles of the wider Reconquista, which would be completed in 1492.

            In the East the situation was much darker for the Christians. In the Holy Land, the Second Crusade had disastrous long-term consequences for Jerusalem. In 1149, the atabeg Anur died, at which point the amir Abu Sa'id Mujir al-Din Abaq Ibn Muhammad finally began to rule. The ra'is of Damascus and commander of the ahdath milita Mu'ayad al-Dawhal Ibn al-Sufi feel that since his ahdath had played a major role in defeating the Second Crusade that he deserved a greater share of the power, and within two months of Anur's death was leading a rebellion against Abaq. The in-fighting within Damascus was to lead to the end of the Burid state within five years. Damascus no longer trusted the crusader kingdom, and taken by Nur ad-Din after a short siege in 1154. Baldwin III finally seized Ascalon in 1153, which brought Egypt into the sphere of conflict. Jerusalem was able to make further advances into Egypt, briefly occupying Cairo in the 1160s. However, relations with the Byzantine Empire were mixed, and reinforcements from Europe were sparse after the disaster of the Second Crusade. King  of Jerusalem allied with the Byzantines and participated in a combined invasion of Egypt in 1169, but the expedition ultimately failed. In 1171, Saladin, nephew of one of Nur ad-Din's generals, was proclaimed Sultan of Egypt, uniting Egypt and Syria and completely surrounding the crusader kingdom. Meanwhile the Byzantine alliance ended with the death of emperor Manuel I in 1180, and in 1187, Jerusalem capitulated to Saladin. His forces then spread north to capture all but the capital cities of the Crusader States, precipitating the Third Crusade.


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