This artistic interpretation, depicting Godfrey of Bouillon—leader of the first crusade—is from a fresco created by Giacomo Jaquerio. It is located at Manta Castle, in the town of Saluzzo (situated in the province of Cuneo, in the Piedmont region of Italy).


On the 6th of June, 1099, the First Crusaders finally reached Jerusalem.

Godfrey (a Charlemagne descendant for whom there really was no future in Europe since Emperor Henry IV had confiscated his lands) had been the first to put together an army. He and his men (including his brother Baldwin, an intelligent man educated at the cathedral school in Reims) left Europe in August of 1096.

When they arrived at the Italian port of Brindisi, in September of that year, they were joined by Count Bohemund of Taranto and his nephew, Tancred. All would play prominent roles in the battle for Jerusalem. All were French.

As Bohemund reportedly said, when he decided to join with Godfrey:

Are we not Franks? [He was actually a Norman who had adopted a Frank identity.] Did not our ancestors come here from Francia and liberate this land with arms? What a disgrace! Will our blood relatives and brothers go to martyrdom and indeed to paradise without us?

The Muslims holding Jerusalem that summer were well-armed and prepared.

The Crusaders had been through enormous struggles, costly victories and deprivation. They had lived, according to Jonathan Riley-Smith, “in an alien, suffering world of their own.” But now they had reached the point of their destination. They were hearing the Muslim call to prayer inside “the holy city.”

Would they be able to fulfill the destiny Pope Urban II had envisioned?

After they built two siege towers, the whole army marched around the city walls seven times (akin to Joshua’s march around the walls of Jericho). The walls failed to fall, and the city’s defenders must have been astonished by the Europeans’ efforts.

A five-week siege ensued.

On the 15th of July, however, the Crusaders found a way to penetrate Jerusalem’s defenses. Godfrey had fulfilled his mission. Tancred, one of the first to enter the city, tried (without success) to spare the lives of some of the inhabitants.

About 40,000 Jews and Muslims were killed in two days.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Jul 27, 2019

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"SLAUGHTER IN JERUSALEM" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2005. Jan 19, 2020.
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