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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

XIII: The Crusade of Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall, 1239-1241,   pp. 463-486 PDF (9.1 MB)

Page 464

their young king's father and guardian, the Hohenstaufen Frederick II. In
short, if one wished to write a burlesque of the crusades, one could do no
better than to give an accurate account of this expedi tion. Yet this crusade
accomplished more for the Christian cause in terms of lands and fortresses
recovered from the Moslems than any other except the First Crusade. One can
easily understand why Armand of Perigord, master of the Knights Templar,
called the outcome a pure miracle wrought by God. 
 The background of every crusade consisted of three chief ele ments —
the situation in the Holy Land, the policy and actions of the pope and the
secular princes of Europe, and the motives, resources, ability, character,
and political position of the crusaders. The third of these elements was
always complicated, but the first two were often fairly simple. In the case
of the expedition of 1239— 1241 all three were truly magnificent mixtures
of confusion, un certainty, and cross-purposes. 1 
 In November 1225 emperor Frederick II had married Isabel of Brienne, queen
of Jerusalem, daughter of Mary of Montferrat and John of Brienne. Isabel
had died in 1228 leaving her son Conrad as heir to the throne under the guardianship
of his father. In 1229 Frederick had concluded a truce for ten years with
al-Kämil, sultan of Egypt, by which he had obtained possession of Jerusalem,
Bethlehem, and Nazareth with corridors connecting these places with the sea-coast.
But Frederick had no intention of contenting himself with the carefully limited
suzerainty enjoyed by the kings of Jerusalem. As a result he had soon fallen
out, before leaving Syria for the west in 1229, with most of the prelates
and barons of the kingdom. The quarrel had grown more bitter when Frederick
seized control of Cyprus by replacing John of Ibelin, lord of Beirut and
regent for the young king Henry of Lusignan, with Cypriote lords who supported
the imperial cause. John — the ablest, most influential, and most powerful
of the barons of Jerusalem — re conquered Cyprus in 1 233 after a long
and savage war.2 Until his death in 1236 he led the opposition to Frederick,
who was far too occupied at home to give adequate support to his agents in
the Levant. In the Holy Land itself, the Christians were thus divided not
only by the chronic quarrels between the Templars and Hos pitallers but also
by those between the barons of the kingdom and the agents of Frederick II.
 1 The major part of the material for the discussion of the background of
the crusade has been drawn from the Registres de Grégoire IX (ed.
Lucien Auvray, Bibliothéque des Ecoles françaises d'Athènes
et de Rome, 2nd series). 
 2 On the kingdom of Cyprus during this period, see below, chapter XVII,
pp. 612-613. 

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