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The Founding of the Crusader States, 1099-1124

4. The Franks' Enemies: Turks and Fatimids

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In this module, we think about why the three main powers in the Near East – Turkish Aleppo, Turkish Damascus and Fatimid Egypt – were unable to prevent the establishment and growth of the Crusader States, focusing in particular on: (i) the fracturing of the Seljuk Empire following the death of Malik-Shah I, including the emergence of quasi-independent magnates such as Ridwan of Aleppo and Duqaq of Damascus: (ii) the figure of Ridwan of Aleppo, including his rivalry with Duqaq, and his resistance to attempts by the Seljuk sultanate to bring Aleppo back into the fold; (iii) the recency of the Turks' conquest of the Near East, and their unpopularity with local populations – particularly the Arabs, Armenian Christians and Bedouin; (iv) the figure of Toghtekin, including his apparent unwillingness to engage in military actions against Frankish armies; (vi) Fatimid Egypt, including: their frequent invasions of the Crusader States; their relative lack of success; and the reasons for this lack of success.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) explores the foundation of the Crusader states in the decades following the First Crusade. In the first module, we think about some of the impacts of the First Crusade – the theological impact of a wholly unexpected victory against a heathen enemy, the commercial impact of newly-opened markets in the New East, and so on. After that, we think about why it was that the Crusader states were not able to survive in the decade following the First Crusade, but actually to grow and prosper, despite being surrounded by hostile forces. In the third module, we turn to the Crusader states' attempts to push inland, focusing in particular on the Battle of the Field of Blood, before moving on in the fourth module to think about the reaction to the Crusader states from the points of view of the Franks' enemies: the Turks in Aleppo and Damascus, and the Fatimids in Egypt.


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 Founding of the Crusader States, 1099-1124 - The Franks' Enemies: Turks and Fatimids [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Founding of the Crusader States, 1099-1124 – The Franks' Enemies: Turks and Fatimids." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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