Siege of Jerusalem, 9 June-18 July 1099

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The culmination of the First Crusade. Having fought their way through the Turks, the Crusaders found themselves faced at Jerusalem by the Fatamids of Egypt, a much less dangerous foe, whose armies were weaker man for man than either the Turks or the Crusaders. Even so, the Crusaders found themselves facing a stronger force, protected by the walls of Jerusalem. Moreover, the defenders had access to the only sources of water in the vicinity, and the Crusaders soon ran short of food. Worse, their numbers were no longer large enough to allow a proper blockade of the city, and their camp only faced the more accessible northern wall of Jerusalem. The Crusaders were thus forced to plan an assault, and perhaps because some of the more disruptive elements in the army had remained at Antioch, for once a proper plan was put into place. The Crusaders built siege towers, and after marching round the city behind their priests, launched their main attack, under Godfrey of Bouillon and his brother Baldwin, at St. Stephen's Gate in the north wall, and a second attack, under Count Raymond at the Jaffa Gate in the west wall. Both assaults were successful, and the city quickly fell. There then followed a massacre, of unusual ferocity even for the times, although some sources suggest that the city was almost empty at the time. However, most sources suggest that the Muslim, Jewish and even some Christian occupants of Jerusalem were killed in the first rush of blood lust. Like at Antioch, a Muslim relief force was on its way, but this time the Crusaders went on the attack, and after it's defeat at Ascalon (12 August), the success of the First Crusade was secure.
READING
Bradbury, Jim, The Medieval Siege , Boydell Press, 2002, 378 pages. A much needed survey of the most important form of warfare in the middle ages, a period that saw far more sieges than battles. cover cover cover

Nicolle, David, The First Crusade 1096-1099: Conquest of the Holy Land , Osprey Campaign Series, vol 132. The Osprey volume for the first crusade. Nicolle had a great depth of knowledge of middle-eastern history, which is reflected in this book. cover cover cover

Crusades Subject Index - Books on the Middle Ages

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (2 April 2001), Siege of Jerusalem, 9 June-18 July 1099, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_jerusalem1099.html

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