The First Crusade
The First Crusade was a war against the
Muslims who occupied the holy lands,
including the city of Jerusalem. Word got
to the pope, by way of Constantinople, that
the muslims were not allowing the Christian
pilgrims to enter Jerusalem. Pope Urban II
gave a speech at Clermont to rally the
Western Europeans into an army that would
crush the Muslim forces.
When Peter the Hermit and his army reached
Constantinople, they were kept outside the city
walls by Emperor Alexius and his army. Peter's
army, while being Christian Crusaders, were not
above stealing what they needed from the locals.
Peter moved on towards Nicaea and Turkish
raiders took their toll on Peter and his army. He
petitioned Alexius for regular troops as
reinforcements. In the meantime, however,
Peter had trouble keeping his army from stealing
and plundering, so they moved on towards Nicaea.
On the way, they reached a wooded valley. Turks
killed the knights' horses in the front, sending the
knights running back into the rest of the army,
causing confusion. Then the Turks attacked. Out
of the twenty-two thousand that went into the
valley, only about three thousand escaped. This
victory allowed Kilij Arslan, the sultan of the
Turks, to greatly underestimate the next wave
of Frankish forces. This led to a great disaster
for the Saracens.