The so-called Sixth Crusade was one of the most confusing of all the numbered crusades. It was explicitly condemned by the Pope and was led by a man who had been excommunicated, yet it temporarily restored Jerusalem to Christian control. It was a bloodless campaign that ended with the leader of the crusade laying siege to the Templar headquarters in Acre -- and being pelted by ofal by the furious residents of Outremer. In short, while historians generally praise this bloodless crusade, contemporaries -- from the Pope to the common people -- were critical of it. Furthermore, while the crusade itself was bloodless, it was the spark that set off a bloody civil war in the crusader states. In two essays, I examine the Sixth Crusade starting today with the events leading up to it.
What actually happened when Frederick II set sail for the Holy Land is the subject of next week's entry. Meanwhile: