Warfare between the Byzantine and Seljuk empires initiates Christian crusades to recover territory from Islamic control.


Emperor Constantine VIII

1025 CE: Emperor Basil II dies in Constantinople after ruling the Byzantine Empire for 50 years. The unmarried ruler is succeeded by his brother and co-emperor Constantine VIII.

Empress Zoë

1028 CE: Emperor Constantine VIII dies at Constantinople without a male heir. His eldest daughter, Zoë Porphyrogenita, succeeds him and marries nobleman Romanos III.

Emperor Michael IV

1034 CE: Romanos III is found dead in his bath. He is likely killed by Empress Zoe and/or her lover Michael. Michael marries Zoe and becomes emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantium Revolt

Emperor Michael worries that Zoe will betray him and confines her to her quarters. However, a popular revolt dethrones Michael. Zoe and her sister Theodora become joint empresses of the empire.

Tugrul & Chaghri

1038 CE: Muslim brothers Tughril and Chaghri unite Turkmen tribes related to their grandfather Seljuk in Central Asia. They conquer the city of Merv from the Muslim Ghaznavid Dynasty.

Battle of Dandanaqan

1040 CE: The Ghaznavids organize an army of 50,000 soldiers and many war elephants to retake Merv. However, the Seljuk brothers defeat their forces and establish their own dominion.

Byzantine Decline

 Royal conflicts weaken the economy and force the Byzantines to reduce military spending to save money. However, it leaves their territory in Anatolia vulnerable to Seljuk invasion from the east.

Battle of Kapetron

1048 CE: The Seljuks expand into Byzantine territory on the outskirts of the Iberian Peninsula. They lose a major battle against the Byzantine army in Armenia, but are able to withdraw to safety.

Islamic rulers began using the title of Sultan around this time. The term is derived from an Arabic word meaning strength or authority.

Emperor Romanos IV

1068 CE: Military noble Romanos IV becomes emperor of Byzantine and initiates military reforms. He assembles a large army to defend their Anatolian border from the Seljuks.

Battle of Manzikert

1071 CE: Emperor Romanus personally leads a military campaign to recapture a fortress from the Seljuk Empire. However, the Byzantine force is defeated and Romanus is captured.

War of Succession

With the capture of Romanus, a civil war for the Byzantine throne erupts between nobles and generals. Meanwhile, an uprising emerges in Bulgaria for independence. 

Muslim Anatolia

Civil war and uprisings in the Byzantine Empire leaves its borders mostly undefended. The Seljuks capture much of Anatolia and make the city of Nicaea its provincial capital on the peninsula.

Anatolia transitions from a Christian and Greek-speaking peninsula to a Muslim and Turkish-speaking region.

Anti-Seljuk Sentiments

The Seljuks adopt feudalism and impose heavy taxes. The people become increasingly dissatisfied with the oppressive Seljuk Empire and resistance movements emerge.

Capture of Alamut Fortress

1090 CE: Muslim Missionary Hassan-i Shabbah covertly captures the Alamut fortress in the Persian mountains. He establishes the small anti-Seljuk State of Alamut.

Order of Assassins

Not having a strong military, the State of Alamut uses espionage and assassination against Seljuk rivals. They become known as the Ḥashashiyan, which is Persian for Assassins.

Seljuk Civil War

1092: Sultan Malik-Shah dies by poisoning and the Seljuk Empire splinters as his brother and four sons fight over succession. Governors also attempt to gain control of their local territory.

The Hashashiyan and the Alamut novel inspired the Assassin’s Creed video game series.


Call to Arms

1095 CE: Byzantine Emperor Comnenus requests aid against the Seljuks. Pope Urban II calls Christians to organize and fight the Muslim Seljuks oppressing Christian people in Anatolia.

People’s Crusade

1096 CE: Inspired by Pope Urban, Charismatic monk Peter the Hermit organizes 100,000 peasants for a crusade. Although inexperienced soldiers, the large mob catches the Seljuks off guard in Anatolia.

Siege of Xerigordos 

About 6000 peasants from the People’s Crusade capture the Seljuk Fort of Xerigordos. However, a Seljuk force soon arrives and crushes the peasants. Many are killed, though some convert to Islam.

Battle of Civetot

The Seljuks, confident after their victory at Xerigordos, ambush the inexperienced peasant army. Nearly 60,000 are slaughtered, which brings the People Crusade to an end. 

The First Crusade

1097-1098 CE: French nobles organize an official army to invade Anatolia. The Crusaders proceed to capture Nicaea and Antioch from the Seljuks who are still divided by civil war.

County of Edessa

A Crusader-run state is formed around the city of Edessa on the border of the Anatolian Peninsula. French Crusader Baldwin of Boulogne becomes the first count of the state.

Expulsion from Jerusalem

1099 CE: North African Muslims, known as the Fatimids, capture Jerusalem from the weakened Turko-Persian Seljuks. The Fatimids proceed to expel Christians from the city.

Siege of Jerusalem

Following their success in Anatolia, the Crusaders continue to the Holy Land and capture the city of Jerusalem from the Fatimids. They engage in a mass slaughter of Muslims and Jews.

The First Crusade began with Pope Urban II’s call to arms in 1095 and ended with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099.

Principality of Antioch

While many crusaders return home, some remain and establish additional heavily fortified states. A small state is formed around the city of Antioch next to the crusader state of Edessa.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem

A prominent Crusader state is formed around Jerusalem and Baldwin of Boulogne becomes its king. Most Crusaders are from France and French becomes the primary language of the Crusader states.

Knights Hospitaller

Saint John’s hospital cares for sick and injured Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem. A papal charter establishes the monastic group as a military order to protect the holy land.

Port-City of Acre

1104 CE: King Baldwin of Jerusalem, after a four year siege, captures the city Acre on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. It becomes a prominent port for Crusader deployment and trade.

The Saint John Ambulance organization traces back to the Knights Hospitaller.

County of Tripoli

1109 CE: A Crusader state was founded around the port-city of Tripoli in Northern Lebanon. Following a war of succession, it becomes a vassal state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Highway Robbery

With the capture of Jerusalem, Christians make pilgrimages to the Holy Land. However, the surrounding countryside is not secure and bandits often rob or even murder traveling pilgrims.

Knights Templar

1119 CE: French knight Hugues de Payens establishes an order of knights to protect christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. They are granted a base on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Crusader Castles

Surrounded by a hostile population, Crusader States and knightly orders build a large number of castles to defend their territory in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The full name of the Templars was the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.


Greco-Roman Revival

An increasing number of Greco-Roman works are discovered in Arabic libraries and translated into Latin. It revitalizes philosophical, scientific, and political thought in Western Europe.


There are many contradictory ideas in Greek philosophy and early Christian theology. Using logical arguments and counterarguments, scholars attempt to reconcile the discrepancies.

Peter Abelard

French Peter Abelard becomes a prominent scholastic philosopher and theologian. He gives many lectures in Paris and soon becomes head of the school in a small Romanesque cathedral.

The Héloïse Affair

1115 CE: Peter Abelard has an affair with a brilliant young student named Héloïse d’Argenteuil. Héloïse’s uncle attempts to stop the affair and hires bandits to castrate the philosopher.

Peter Abelard is considered one of the most prominent philosophers and theologians of the 12th Century.

Maritime Republics

Powerful mediterranean city-states emerge around Italy, including Venice, Pisa, and Genoa. They build strong naval fleets and establish large trade networks in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Venetian Crusade

The Republic of Venice initiates their own crusade in the holy land and proceeds to capture the port city of Tyre. The Mediterranean city-state expands its trading routes significantly.

Sweet Salt

Honey is the only sweetener used in Europe. However, Crusaders find caravans carrying what they call sweet salt. Sugar is first discovered by Europeans and is soon imported from Arabic territories.

Venice Sugar

Venice establishes sugarcane plantations in villages near Tyre, which becomes a leading source of sugar for Europe. However, sugar is extremely expensive and mostly used by the upper class.

Italian City-States frequently trade in gold and mint the first gold coins. The coins become universally accepted currency.

The Concordat of Worms

1122 CE: Emperor Henry V and Pope Callixtus sign a treaty near the city of Worms. It reduces the Emperor’s power in selecting church officials. It ends a 50-year church and state power struggle.

The First Lateran Council

1123 CE: The Lateran Palace in south-east Rome is the main residence of the Pope. Pope Callixtus II holds a council of nearly 1000 clergy at the palace, which confirms the Concordat of Worms.

Death of Henry V

1125 CE: Roman-German Emperor Henry V dies at the age of 39 without an heir. A civil war emerges in the empire between the grandsons of Emperor Henry VI and a Saxon Duke.

The Hohenstaufen Dynasty

1138 CE: Conrad III Hohenstaufen, ruler of the Duchy of Swabia, becomes Emperor of the Roman-German Empire. The Hohenstaufen’s German dialect influences the German language.

The Hohenstaufen family resides in a castle on a cone-shaped hill. Hohenstaufen means high chalice and likely refers to the shape of the hill.

The Lateran Palace in south-east Rome was the main residence of the Pope from about 313 to 1361. It was gifted to the Bishop of Rome by Constantine the Great. 

Templar Papal Bulls

1139-1145 CE: The Pope issues several public decrees which gives increasing privileges to the Knights Templar. They are allowed to own territory, build churches, and collect taxes.

Templar Construction

The Templars gradually build hundreds of castles, fortifications and cathedrals throughout Europe and the Crusader States. They also establish their own fleet and become involved in trade.

Templar Financing

The Templars create a wide financial network throughout Christendom. They protect the assets of individuals participating in military campaigns and issue cheques to travelers to limit robbery.

Templar Knights

The Templars become highly trained knights. The monk-like warriors are forbidden from marrying, holding individual property, or retreating from battle unless significantly outnumbered.

The Knights Templar developed one of earliest forms of banking and are considered one of the earliest multinational corporations.

Fall of Edessa

1144 CE: While its ruler is away fighting on another front, Seljuk Zengi swiftly lays siege to and captures the Crusader State of Edessa. Most of its residents are trampled, slaughtered, or executed.

Quantum Praedecessores

1145 CE: Due to the fall of Edessa, Pope Eugenius III issues a papal bull calling for another crusade. It promises the remission of sins for those who take part in the new crusade.

Second Crusade

1147 CE: France and Germany march separate armies across Anatolia. However, overestimating Byzantine and Crusader control of the peninsula, both armies are weakened in battles against the Seljuks.

Siege of Damacus

1148 CE: The Crusaders lay siege to Damascus. Disagreements and disorganization between French, German, Byzantine, and Jerusalem armies cause the attack to fail, which brings the crusade to an end.

The average march from Europe to the Holy Land would be around 4000km (2500 miles). It took the Crusaders an average of nine months to reach their destination. 

Legal Glossators

Law students at the University of Bologna study, interpret, and annotate the contradictory Roman legal texts. They become known as glossators, which evolved from Latin and means commentary.

Decretum Gratiani

1150 CE: Bologna Law Expert Gratian compiles laws from the Bible, Roman texts, and Church councils into a single legal textbook. It becomes an influential European work for church and civil laws.

The University of Paris

A student-teacher corporation at Notre-Dame cathedral school establish a university in Paris, France. It initially has four faculties: Arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology.

Academic Dress

University students are members of the clergy and usually wear a clerical robe, hood, and cap. It gradually evolves into an academic dress worn by those who attain an academic degree.

Decretum Gratiani is the first comprehensive law book in history.

The University of Paris is the second oldest university in Europe. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 CE.

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa

1152-1155 CE: Duke Frederick of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty is crowned king of Germany and Italy. He is then crowned emperor of the Roman-German Empire by Pope Adrian IV. 

Holy Empire

1157 CE: Frederick comes into a land conflict with the Papacy. Wanting to overshadow the religious prestige of Italy and the Papacy, he renames the Roman-German Empire as the Holy Empire.

Raids of Italy

1158-1162 CE: Emperor Frederick claims his divine right to rule according to Roman law. He raids and subdues towns in Northern Italy. Italians call him Barbarossa, which means Red Beard.

Notre-Dame Construction

1163 CE: Bishop Maurice de Sully decides to build a new and larger church in Paris in the Gothic Style. King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III observe the laying of its cornerstone.

Barbarossa founded what will become the Holy Roman Empire. Its rulers were never given the title of holy, but English historians often use the title to distinguish between a Roman Emperor and a Roman-German Emperor.

The construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral takes nearly 100 years.

The Lombard League

1167 CE: Emperor Frederick continues to raid Northern Italy. Venice and other Lombard-speaking cities establish an alliance to oppose Barbarossa and his Holy Empire.

Anti-Pope Callixtus

1168 CE: The Lombard League is backed by contentiously elected Pope Alexander III. In response, Emperor Barbarossa establishes Callixtus III as a rival Pope of the Roman Church.

Battle of Legnano

1176 CE: Frederick’s 2500 professional knights engage the Lombard League’s inexperienced militia of 12,000 foot soldiers. The Lombards emerge victorious, but with heavy losses.

Peace of Venice

1177 CE: The Lombard League and the Holy Empire meet in Venice and agree to a six-year peace treaty. Emperor Frederick acknowledges Alexander III as the official pope.

Jousting Tournaments

Jousting between knights becomes increasingly popular. The Old French word of tornier means to turn and comes to refer to jousting, but gradually becomes the general term for tournament.

Chivalry Code

Knights develop an informal code of conduct. It includes such virtues as honor, courtesy, hardiness, generosity, and piety. They also swear to defend Christianity.

Chivalric Romance

Stories featuring the mythical adventures of a chivalrous knight become increasingly common and popular. The writings often focus on courtly manners and love affairs.

King Arthur

French writer Chretien de Troyes popularizes British King Arthur and may have invented the character of Lancelot. King Arthur’s court becomes a popular topic of chivalric romance.

The tales of King Arthur are a mix of history and medieval fantasy. The details can be found in the King Arthur Section.


Vizier Saladin

Military officer Saladin successfully defends Egypt against Crusader attacks. Despite being a Sunni Muslim, he is promoted to Vizier in the Shia Fatimid Caliphate by Caliph al-Adid. 

Sultan Saladin

 When Caliph al-Adid dies, Saladin uses diplomacy and a small but strong strike force to bring many Islamic territories under his Sunni rule. Saladin founds the Ayyubid Dynasty in Egypt and Arabia.

Battle of Montgisard

1077 CE: Having secured his rule, Saladin invades the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Despite outnumbering the Crusaders, Saladin is defeated by the highly trained Templars and forced to retreat.

Crusader-Ayyudib Truce

1180 CE: Saladin and the Crusaders engage in a few more battles with heavy casualties on both sides. Due to droughts and poor harvests, a seven year truce is established.

The Ayyubid Dynasty lasted from 1171 to 1260 CE.

Latin Trade Dominance

The maritime city-states of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa continue to dominate trade. Western Latin merchants gain an increasing stranglehold over trade in the eastern Greek city of Constantinople.

Latin Regent

1180 CE: Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos dies and is succeeded by his infant son Alexios II Komnenos. His mother, Latin princess Maria of Antioch, acts as regent for the infant.

Byzantine Coup

1182 CE: Regent Maria shows heavy favoritism towards Latin traders. Military general Andronicus I Comnenus initiates a coup against the Latin princess and succeeds as Byzantine emperor.

Massacre of the Latins

 During the Byzantine coup, there is also a major rebellion against Latin traders in Constantinople. About 60,000 Latins are either massacred or forced to flee the Byzantine capital.

The Massacre of the Latins contributed to the later separation of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

Battle of Hattin

1187 CE: After the truce ends, Saladin captures Tiberias near Jerusalem. Due to disunity between King Guy and other leaders, Saladin destroys the Crusader Force sent to relieve the city.

Siege of Jerusalem

Saladin lays siege to a minimally defended Jerusalem and the Crusader State is soon forced to surrender. Saladin captures King Guy and executes many Templar and Hospitaller knights.

Defense of Tyre

Saladin lays siege to Tyre, a major stronghold of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. However, the port-city is successfully defended by noble Conrad of Montferrat and the remaining Crusader forces.

A Dismissed Guy

1188 CE: Discovering that King Guy is a terrible leader, Saladin releases him to cause strife in the Crusader forces. Guy attempts to enter Tyre and reclaim his rule, but he is refused by Conrad.

The Third Crusade

1189 CE: Pope Gregory VIII decrees another crusade. Rulers of England, France, and the Holy Empire join forces and assemble a massive army to reconquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Death of Barbarossa

An aging Emperor Frederick I leads the Holy Empire’s forces in the Crusade. However, he drowns while traversing a river in Anatolia and most of the grief stricken Holy Roman army returns home.

King Conrad of Jerusalem

1190 CE: Many members of the royal family of Jerusalem die from an epidemic. Conrad of Montferrat marries Isabella, a surviving princess, and becomes the heir to the kingdom of Jerusalem.

Kingdom of Acre

King Richard of England leads the Crusaders in many victories against Saladin, but falls ill before laying siege to Jerusalem. The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem becomes centered around the port-city Acre.

Treaty of Jaffa

1192 CE: Sultan Saladin and King Richard sign a three-year truce between Crusader and Islamic forces in the Holy Land. It guarantees safe passage for Christian and Muslim pilgrims.

The Teutonic Knights

Many pilgrims to the Holy Land are German and do not speak Latin. Initially a suborder of the Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights emerge in Acre to aid German Christians in the holy land.

Assassination of Conrad

The Hashashiyan disguise themselves as monks and assassinate Conrad of Montferrat in Acre. King Richard, who had supported the reinstatement of King Guy, is implicated in the murder.

Death of Saladin

1193 CE: Saladin dies of a fever soon after the Treaty of Jaffa. Saladin’s fifteen sons and local princes quarrel over the division of territory and soon break into civil war.

The term assassination is based on the tactics used by the Ḥashashiyan.


The Fourth Crusade

1202 CE: Pope Innocent III calls for another Crusade to capture Jerusalem. However, a plan is made to attack Egypt and cripple Saladin’s Ayyubid Dynasty that controls the Holy Land.

Venice Agreement

Venice builds ships and train seamen to sail 33,500 Crusaders to Egypt. However, the Crusaders are unable to raise all the funds to pay off the cost of 85,000 silver marks. 

Siege of Zara

To help pay off the cost of their fleet, Venice hires the Crusaders to attack the rival port city of Zara. The Crusaders proceed to conquer the port and bring it under Venetian control.

Excommunicated Crusaders

The Pope forbids the Crusader attack on a fellow Christian city, but the message may have come too late. The Pope excommunicates any Crusader that took part in the battle.

Eighty thousand silver marks equals about three million U.S. dollars.

The Prince’s Promise

Prince Alexius IV, the son of recently deposed Emperor Isaac II, hires the Crusaders to reclaim Constantinople. He promises financial support and the reunification of Roman churches.

The Siege of Constantinople

1203 CE: The Crusaders capture Constantinople after a month-long siege. Alexius and Isaac become Byzantine co-emperors. However, there are increasing riots between residents and invaders.

Latin Constantinople

1204 CE: Alexios overestimated Constantinople’s finances and is unable to pay back the Crusaders. Crusader and Venetian forces pillage and occupy the capital. Latin rule is established over Byzantine.

Nicene Empire & Epirus Despotate

Many Greek nobles flee Constantinople and reorganize the Byzantine Empire in Nicaea in north-western Anatolia. However, a competing Greek state also emerges in Epirus in Western Greece.

The Sack of Constantinople is a major turning point in medieval history. Ironically, it weakened a major Christian center and allowed Islam to ultimately expand into Eastern Europe.


Francis of Assisi 

Italian Francis of Assisi is the spoiled son of a wealthy silk merchant. While on a military expedition, he is captured and soon becomes ill in captivity. It starts a religious transformation.

Mendicant Orders

Inspired by John the Baptist, Roman Christian orders emerge that adopt a nomadic lifestyle of poverty and preaching rather than monastic seclusion. Mendicant means beggar in Latin.

The Franciscans

Francis of Assisi adopts the nomadic lifestyle and forms three mendicant orders. The Franciscans for men, the Poor Clares for women, and the Franciscan Third Order for married couples.

The Rosary

Early Christian nomads, known as the Desert Fathers, used knotted prayer ropes to keep track of prayers. The Mendicant Dominicans may have helped revive the practice with a focus on the Virgin Mary.

Francis of Assisi was sainted by the Roman church in 1228 and becomes one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity. San Francisco is named after the saint.


A Gnostic revival movement emerges in Southern Europe. The Cathars believe in two Gods: The good spiritual god of the New Testament and the evil physical god of the Old Testament.

Cathar Crusade

1209 CE: When peaceful persuasion fails to disband Catharism, Pope Innocent III initiates a crusade against the movement. Several thousand Cathars are massacred over the next 20 years.

The Great Council

1215 CE: A large council is held at the Lateran Palace. The meeting defines transubstantiation, penalties for heretics, proclaims papal primacy, and calls for another Crusade.

Jewish & Muslim Regulation

The Great Council requires Jews and Muslims to wear special distinguishing clothing. Furthermore, they are not allowed to hold public office in the Holy Empire.


The Fifth Crusade

1217 CE: King Andrew II of Hungary invades The Holy Land to recapture Jerusalem. Despite some success, his army is unable to break Muslim defenses in Lebanon. He soon falls ill and returns home.

Invasion of Egypt

1218-1219 CE: Crusaders from the Holy Empire invade Egypt to attack the Ayyubid dynasty directly. They proceed to conquer the city of Damietta and gain a foothold over the Nile river.

Conversion Attempt

Francis of Assisi travels to Egypt in an attempt to convert Sultan Al-Kamil, the nephew of Saladin, and bring an end to the Crusade. Although the monk is welcomed, he fails to convert the Muslim ruler.

The Great Flood

The Crusaders reject peace attempts from Sultan Al-Kamil and march on Cairo. However, the Sultan opens a dam on the Nile River and floods the invaders. They suffer many losses in their exodus.

The Fifth Crusade is considered the last major crusade. Subsequent Crusades become increasingly smaller.

Emperor Frederick II

1220 CE: Frederick II, grandson of Frederick I Barbarossa, becomes Roman-German Emperor. He is an avid learner and speaks six languages: Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek, and Arabic.

The First Nativity Scene

1223 CE: Francis of Assisi creates a nativity scene in Italy. It is in an attempt to place the emphasis of Christmas upon the worship of Christ rather than upon secular materialism and gift giving.

University of Naples

1224 CE: Emperor Frederick founds the University of Naples in Italy. A state-supported school, it is the first public university in history. Thomas Aquinus soon becomes a pupil at the school.

Death of Saint Francis

1226 CE: Francis of Assisi dies at the age of 44 in Italy. He had written several influential works. His Canticle of the Sun, written in a Central Italian dialect, is one of the first Italian-language poems.

Sixth Crusade

1228 CE: Emperor Frederick II promised the Pope that he would join the crusade after his coronation, but it ended shortly after his crowning. He now begins a new crusade to the Holy Land.

Diplomatic Resolution

1229 CE: Emperor Frederick II has a small army, but Sultan al-Kamil is preoccupied with a rebellion. The Crusaders are given some control of Jerusalem in exchange for 10 years of peace.

Papal Inquisition

1233 CE: Townspeople increasingly mob and burn alleged heretics. Pope Gregory IX appoints inquisitors from Mendicant orders to investigate alleged heretics and bring order to the proceedings.

Baron’s Crusade

1239-1241 CE: Pope Gregory IX calls for another Crusade in the Holy Land. With Muslims in the Holy Land preoccupied with civil war, the noble-led Crusade gains more territory through diplomacy.

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II’s Sixth Crusade is sometimes considered the continuation of the Fifth Crusade. Because of this, the three subsequent Crusades are occasionally numbered differently.

Ransack of Jerusalem

1244 CE: Turkish Muslims are displaced by the expanding Mongol Empire. They overrun and ransack Crusader-held Jerusalem. Christian and Jewish populations are either killed or expelled.

Inquisition Torture

1252 CE: Inquisitor Peter of Verona is murdered by a Cathar assassin. In response, Pope Innocent IV issues a public decree that authorizes limited use of torture during Inquisition interrogations.

Seventh Crusade

1248–1254 CE: King Louis IX of France desires to convert Muslims to Christianity and initiates a Crusade in Egypt. He manages to recapture Damietta and gain a foothold of the Nile.

The Ransom of King Louis

The French Crusader force is crushed by a Mamluk counter-attack and King Louis is captured. Damietta is abandoned and about 800,000 bezants are paid in ransom for the King’s release.

Jerusalem will remain under Muslim control until it is captured by the British in 1917 during World War I. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and attacked 52 times.

Population Apex

European populations have been increasing in the stable warm climate and flourishing economy. Europe reaches a population of about 100 million. The world population is about 400 million.

Epirus-Nicaean Conflict

The Byzantine-based Nicene Empire and Epirus Despotate continue to battle over territory. The Greek Epirus forms an alliance against Nicea with vassal states of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.

Battle of Pelagonia

1259 CE: Noble Michael Palaiologos succeeds as emperor and goes on an offensive against Epirus. When the Epirus-Latin alliance unravels, the Nicean armies crush their forces and conquer their territory.

Reconquest of Constantinople

1261 CE: Having conquered Epirus and weakened Latin armies, Emperor Palaiologos proceeds to reconquer Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire is restored to Greek control.

The Palaiologos Dynasty rules over Constantinople until the city is conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 CE. 

The Mamluk Sultanate

Muslim slave soldiers gradually unite and form their own military orders. A faction becomes especially powerful in Egypt and establishes their own Mamluk Sultanate. Mamluk means property in Arabic.

The War of Saint Sabas

1256-1270 CE: A war breaks out between Venice and Genoa over the port-city of Acre. The Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar also get involved in the war, which weakens the Crusader States.

Fall of Antioch

1268 CE: The Mamluk Sultanate captures the city of Antioch with little resistance and soon conquers Northern Syria. The Crusader State known as the Principality of Antioch comes to an end.

Eight Crusade

1270 CE: King Louis IX of France leads a Crusade in North Africa and captures the city of Tunis. However, an outbreak of dysentery kills the king and many soldiers. The campaign comes to an abrupt end.

King Louis becomes sainted and many places are subsequently named after him, including Saint Louis, Missouri.

Ninth Crusade

1271–1272 CE: Prince Edward I of England leads a Crusade into the Holy Land. While achieving some success, Edward’s father dies and he is forced to return home to be crowned king.

King Philip the Fair

1285 CE: Philip IV succeeds as king of France. He tightens French rule over the subordinate County of Flanders. Philip, a rigid and handsome ruler, is given the nicknames of The Iron King and The Fair.

Fall of Tripoli

1289 CE: The Mamluks capture the County of Tripoli after a month-long siege and the remaining Crusaders are massacred. The last remaining Crusader State falls.

Fall of Acre

1291 CE: The Mamluks capture the port-city of Acre. Losing their last major outpost in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the few remaining Crusaders retreat to the small island of Ruad.

The Ninth Crusade was the last of the Medieval Crusades.

Franco-Flemish War

1297-1305 CE: While France is at war with England, Flanders rebels and allies itself with the English. The expensive wars cause King Philip to become heavily indebted to Templar banks.

Fall of Ruad

1302 CE: The Mamluks dispatch a fleet of sixteen ships and capture the Isle of Ruad in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Crusaders lose their last outpost in the Holy Land.

The Pope’s Request

1305 CE: The Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller can no longer serve their purpose of protecting the Holy Land. The Pope strongly suggests that the two orders merge, but the idea is refused.

Fall of the Templars

1307 CE: To escape his military debts, King Philip accusses the Templars of heresy and homosexuality. Many Templars are arrested on Friday, October 13th and tortured to give a false confession.

The Templar Order was officially disbanded through public decree by Pope Clement in 1312 CE.

The 1955 Accursed Kings novel by French Author Maurice Druon about the Templar Arrests may have popularized the modern Friday the 13th superstition.


The Crusades and Crusader States come to an end with Jerusalem and the Holy Land firmly under Islamic control.