The Second Crusade (1147 to 1149)

As a response to the fall of the County of Edessa, the Second Crusade was called for, but did not actually take off until 1147. The fighting involved the Near East, Iberia, and Egypt. The announcement of the Second Crusade came from Pope Eugene III, making the mission the first of the crusade that had the leadership of European kings, such as Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany.

Many other significant European nobles played a role in the mission, but it was the armies of the two kings that marched separately across Europe. The Second Crusade wound up including the assistance of 20,000 Germans and 15,000 French.

Commander Spotlight: Toros II the Great

A notable commander involved in the Second Crusade was Toros II the Great, an Armenian prince who became the sixth lord of Armenian Cilicia (also known as “Lord of the Mountains”). However, in 1137, Thoros (along with his father and brother) were taken prosioner in Constantinople after the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus held a campaign against Cilicia and the Principality of Antioch. For eight years, the Cilicia was forced to follow Byzantine rule.

Thoros was able to survive his imprisonment in Constantinople, and escaped in 1143. When he returned to Cilicia, he found many Greek garrisons occupying the land. He was able to rally the Armenians in the eastern parts of Cilicia to follow his lead and after a successful battle against the Greeks, he was victorious in removing the Byzantine garrisons from Vahka, Sis, Mamistra, and other regions, such as Tarsus. His victories were mainly made possible because Muslim attacks were low at the time, and the Greeks and Crusaders were still licking their wounds from the loss of Edessa.

Many Disappointments

The Second Crusade brought many disappointments. By 1150, both kings from Germany and France had returned to their respective countries without any triumph to share with their people. For example, during the 1147 failed Wendish Crusaders, the North Germans and Danes launched an attack that didn’t amount to anything. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who had backed the Second Crusade in his preachings, was also angry with the amount of misdirected violence of the Jews that lived in the Rhineland.

The End Result

The end result of the Second Crusade included a crucial Saracen victory. This round led to an increase in hostility between Crusader states and the Muslim empires. The tension also increased between the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders. However, a peace treaty between Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turks was solidified. The collapse of Almoravids was marked and the rise of the Almohads took place during this time. The second wave also brought on the beginning of Crusader advances into Egypt.

During the Second Crusade, the Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders combined forces by accident in 1147. As they were traveling from England on ships heading to the Holy Land, the army stopped and assisted the Portuguese in the capture of Lisbon , thus expelling the Moors in the process.