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The Second Crusade, 1144-48

4. The Failure of the Second Crusade

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In this module, we think about the end of the Second Crusade, from the 1148 Council of Acre to the return of Conrad III and Louis VII to Europe in 1149. In particular, we focus on: (i) the Council of Acre and the decision to advance of the city of Damascus (as opposed to other potential targets such as the city of Ascalon); (ii) the progress of the Siege of Damascus, including: the relatively easy progress of the crusading army to the city itself; their initial position to the west of Damascus; the decision to move forces to the north of city, which was less well-supplied and where the city's fortifications were stronger; the withdrawal of the army from Damascus; (iii) the question of why the Siege of Damascus failed, including: the divisive figure of Thierry, Count of Flanders; the possibility that some parts of the crusading army were bribed to move the army into a bad position then withdraw; the effect of the sheer size of Damascus; (iv) the question of why the armies of Conrad III and Louis VII fared so badly when crossing Turkish-held Anatolia, including Louis VII's weakness as a military commander.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) explores the Second Crusade (1144-48). We start by thinking about the origins of the Second Crusade, focusing in particular on the fall of Edessa at the hands of Zengi. In the second module, we think about launch of the Second Crusade, before turning in the third module to think about the (separate) progress of Conrad III of Germany and Louis VII of France from Europe to the Crusader states. In the fourth module, we think about the Siege of Damascus and the failure of the Second Crusade, before turning in the fifth and final module to other frontiers of the Second Crusade, including the conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian peninsula, and the so-called Wendish Crusade.


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 Second Crusade, 1144-48 - The Failure of the Second Crusade [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Second Crusade, 1144-48 – The Failure of the Second Crusade." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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