You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The First Crusade, 1095-99

5. Why did the First Crusade Succeed?

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about why the First Crusade succeeded, focusing in particular on: (i) the reasons why we might have expected the First Crusade to fail: the distance the crusaders were from home, the logistical challenges of moving such a large army, the lack of harmony between different commanders, etc.; (ii) the course of the First Crusade: Peter the Hermit and the First Crusade; the arrival of the main army; the siege and capture of Antioch; and conquest of Jerusalem; (iii) the extent to which the leaders of the First Crusade were able to co-operate; (iv) the success of the Frankish armies against their Turkish counterparts; (v) the importance of Bohemond of Taranto as a field commander; (vi) the extent to which the crusaders managed to adapt to the Turkish style of warfare; (vii) the religious conviction of the crusaders; (viii) the extent to which the crusaders were helped – or at least not hindered – by groups in the region, e.g. the Armenians, the Arab Muslims, etc.; (ix) the military experience and esprit de corps felt by the crusaders after several year of fighting side by side; and (x) the extent to which the crusaders made agreements with different peoples in the region.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) explores the First Crusade, a massive military campaign in the Near East which ended with the Crusaders' capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The course begins by considering the nature of the sources at our disposal when thinking about the Crusades: in the first module, we consider the Western sources, and in the second, the non-Western ones. After that, we consider the motivations of the Crusaders for making the long and extremely dangerous journey to the East, before moving on in the fourth module to think about what the situation was in the Near East in the years immediately before the Crusaders' arrival. In the fifth module, we think about why it was that the First Crusade was a success, despite the apparently overwhelming odds against it, before turning in the sixth and final module to consider whether the First Crusade should be thought of as a conflict between Christians and Muslims, as has commonly been supposed.


Dr Nicholas Morton is a specialist in the history of crusading and the Medieval Mediterranean between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. More recently he has begun to focus specifically upon the theme of inter-faith relations between Christianity and Islam in this region. He has published extensively on topics connected to this subject area, writing a range of monographs and scholarly articles. He is also an editor for the Ashgate series Rulers of the Latin East.

Currently Dr Morton is completing a monograph exploring the First Crusaders' attitudes and behaviour towards the various non-Christian peoples they encountered during their campaign. This will be a highly revisionist work addressing many key scholarly and public orthodoxies surrounding the nature of Christian/Islamic interaction during the crusade.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morton, N. (2018, August 15). The First Crusade, 1095-99 - Why did the First Crusade Succeed? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The First Crusade, 1095-99 – Why did the First Crusade Succeed?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 5,800 lectures