Course Content
Environmental Studies
English Language and Linguistics
Private: BA English
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Unit 3

Learning Outcomes

Upon the completion of the unit, the learner will be:

  • introduced to the history of the Crusades and the role of Britain in the cru- sades.
  • made aware of the impact of the Crusades on Europe.
  • familiarise with the effects of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England.


During the 1300s there were many military sanctions led by the Latin Roman Catholic Church. Based out of Europe, the Crusades were led by people known as crusaders who would do everything in their power to protect the church. People joined the crusades as an act of finding a place in heaven. Many of the things they specifically did were reclaiming land that belonged to the church, specifically Jerusalem. In 1095 the pope issued the first crusade to reclaim the holy land, Jerusalem. The Middle Ages is known for its many battles between the Christian crusaders vs. the Muslims and the effects those sides had on religion during those time periods. The Christian crusades battles vs. the Muslims were very similar to the 100 years’ war. Beginning in 1337 and lasting until 1453, the house of Plantagenet, ruler of England, engaged in battle after tensions rose. Both of these events hold a unique place in the history of Europe, with their ramifications visible outside the continent. The feudal order became stagnant after these events. In this unit, we look at how the crusades and the 100 years’ war influenced the Middle Ages European scenario.

Crusades, Holy Land, Hundred years war, Seljuk dynasty, Byzantine Empire, Jerusalem, Bretigny treaty

2.3.1 Crusades
The Crusades were a series of Christian military expeditions fought against the Muslims for Holy Lands, especially for Jerusalem, between the years of 1095 and 1291. There were eight crusades fought between the Christians and the Muslims. The word “crusade” comes from the Latin word ‘crux’ meaning cross, and “to take up the cross”, meant to become a crusader. To identify themselves, crusaders sewed symbols of the cross of Christ onto their clothing and painted crosses on their shields.
Three major religious groups all claimed Jerusalem, in the land of Palestine, as their holy city – Jews, Christians and Muslims. To the Christians, Jerusalem was the place where Jesus was crucified, arose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. To the Jews, Abraham was given this land by God, and to the Muslims, it was from Jerusalem that Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven to meet God.
The three religions intersect and intertwine in the maze of streets that run through Jerusalem’s Old City. The Temple Mount, a large stone plaza in the Old City, is the site of Judaism’s First Temple, built by King Solomon and destroyed in 587 BCE. It is now the site of the Dome of the Rock, the iconic gold-domed Islamic mosque completed in 691 CE, and the whole complex is referred to by the Muslims as Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Christian sites in the city include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which broke ground in 236 CE on the site of Jesus’s burial and resurrection. Background
Muslims occupied Jerusalem in 638 CE, during the time of Caliph Umar, after a strong battle with the Byzantine Empire. By the time of the First Crusade (1095), Muslims had tremendous territorial possessions throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and even Europe itself. The Muslim rulers had allowed Christians and Jews to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem and they enjoyed religious freedom. But by the end of the 11th Century CE, a new group of Muslims called Seljuk Turks took control over the Holy Lands, including Jerusalem, and closed it to all Jewish and Christian pilgrims. The closure of Jerusalem for the Christian pilgrims by the Seljuk Turks had a profound impact on the Christian world. The turmoil of these years disrupted normal political life and made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem difficult and often impossible. It was against this backdrop that the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus appealed for help against the Seljuk Turks to Pope Urban II in 1095 CE. Now let’s examine some of the important Crusades. First Crusade (1095-1099)
In November 1095, at the Council of Clermont in France, Pope Urban II gave a public speech calling on Western Christians to give aid to their Eastern Christian brethren. The Pope exhorted for the liberation of the Holy Lands, which had been under Muslim control for 400 years. In various letters written after the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II explained his reasons for launching the crusade. One such letter goes thus: “We know you have already heard from the testimony of many that the frenzy of the barbarians has devastated the churches of God in the east, and has even – shame to say- seized into slavery the holy city of Christ, Jerusalem. Grieving in pious contemplation of this disaster, we visited France and strongly urged the princes and people of that land to work for the liberation of the Eastern Church.”
In August 1096, a vast Crusader army began the arduous journey from Europe to Constantinople. The army was led by prominent leaders like Godfrey of Bouillon (Duke of Lower Lorraine), Raymond (Count of Toulouse), Robert (Duke of Normandy and son of William the Conqueror) and Robert II (Count of Flanders). In 1097, the Crusader army captured Nicaea, the capital of the Seljuk Sultan, Kilij Arslan. They captured Antioch and many parts of Syria in 1098. The following year (1099), the crusaders captured the greatest prize of all, Jerusalem. In the first crusade, the western force could achieve a crucial victory over the Muslims. After this tremendous victory, the Crusaders established four Christian Kingdoms in the Holy Lands. Second Crusade (1145-1148)
The immediate reason for the second crusade was that the Muslim forces had recaptured most of the territories that they had lost in the First Crusade. On December 24, 1144, the Turkish army seized the city of Edessa and murdered all of the inhabitants. It was the first major loss of a territory won by the Crusader armies in the First Crusade. In 1145, Pope Eugenius III appealed for a second crusade. But the response from the western world was lukewarm. However, Bernard of Clairvaux, the greatest churchman of his era, began preaching and writing in favour of the new crusade. Up to 50,000 volunteers responded to the call from France alone. What the Pope Couldn’t do, Bernard was able to – the second Crusade was born. The two important military leaders of the Second Crusade were Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Due to the disunity between them, they couldn’t achieve victory in this war. Their army was thoroughly beaten in 1147 and 1148. So the Second Crusade was considered an ignominious failure for the Crusaders. Richard I of England and Third Crusade (1187- 1192)
The Third Crusade was very important in the history of Britain. It was in the Third Crusade that England first joined the Crusade. Richard I, the king of England, actively participated in the war and achieved commendable early victories over the Muslim troops. In the 1170s, the greatest enemy of the Crusaders, namely Saladin (Salahuddin Ayyubi), became the ruler of Egypt and the Holy Lands. In 1187, Saladin defeated crusader armies at the Battle of Hattin and captured many provinces. On October 2, 1187, Saladin seized Jerusalem. In two years, Saladin took 50 crusader castles. The Christian world was alarmed. They wanted to retaliate against Saladin and recapture Jerusalem. Pope Gregory VIII and the archbishop of Tyre issued appeals for help against Saladin. Three of the most famous Christian figures of Crusaders responded to that appeal – Richard I of England, Philip Augustus II of France, and Frederick Barbarossa of Germany. This crusade had an unfortunate start for the Westerners. In June 1190, Frederick Barbarossa drowned in a river on his way to the Holy Lands.
Richard and Philip captured Acre (Acre is a city in Israel) in 1191 after a long siege. As part of the negotiated settlement, the Muslims were forced to give back the relic of the ‘True Cross’, seized by Saladin’s troops in 1187, and some Christian prisoners. In the meantime, Philip II returned to France due to some problems with Richard. Now Richard became the sole representative of the Christian world and fought bravely. Richard quickly went on to capture Arsuf (Sept.1191), where he gained the nickname the Lion Heart. Richard moved to Jerusalem. But there, he received the news that his brother John was plotting with King Philip II of France against him. Immediately Richard signed a three-year truce with Saladin on September 2, 1192. The truce with Saladin resulted in great achievement for the Christian world. Although Jerusalem remained under Muslim control, the treaty allowed the Christians permission for trading and pilgrimage. After the treaty, Richard started back for England. On the way, he was captured by Leopold, Duke of Austria, and handed over to the Holy Roman emperor Henry VI. Richard was kept in captivity until 1194 when he was released for ransom and returned to England. He died in a battle in France at the age of 41.
The Third Crusade, while not as effective as the First Crusade, was the first significant gain of territory by the Christian crusaders after 1000 years. Richard I cemented his place in history as the greatest of the Crusader Kings. Results of the Crusades
The Crusades kept Europe tumultuous for two centuries. It resulted in the death of a lot of people. Some estimate this loss of life at a minimum of one million over the two centuries. The Crusades affected English society in many ways. The exhortation of holy war by the Pope had a great influence on the people. From the Third Crusades onwards, most English people, from kings to serfs, actively participated in the war. To meet the war expenses, English monarchs collected special taxes from the subjects; one such tax realised during the time of Henry II was called Saladin Tithe.
The crusades had an unfavourable impact on feudalism. The crusades helped to undermine feudalism. Thousands of barons and knights sold their lands in order to raise money for going on the crusading expedition. Thousands of feudal lords were killed in the Crusades, and their estates were confiscated by the crown. Their decline in both numbers and influence caused the growth of royal authority and power. All these contributed to the decline of feudalism in England.
One of the most important effects of the crusades was on trade and commerce. The crusades created a constant demand for the transportation of men and supplies. It encouraged shipbuilding and extended the market for eastern goods in Europe. The products of Damascus, Mosul, Alexandria, Cairo and other important eastern cities were carried across the Mediterranean to the Italian seaports, from where they reached all European lands. The east was abundant in luxury goods. The luxurious goods of the east, like silks, tapestries, precious stones, perfumes, spices, pearls, and ivory, had great demand in Western Europe during the course of the Crusades.
The influence of the Crusades on the intellectual development of Europe was also very important. The East, at the time of the Middle Ages, surpassed the West in civilization. The crusaders enjoyed the advantages which came from travelling in strange lands and among unfamiliar peoples. They went out from their castles or villages to see great cities, marble palaces, superb dress, and elegant manners of the East. The crusaders returned to their land with finer tastes, broader ideas, and wider sympathies. The crusades opened up a new world. The knowledge of the science and learning of the East gained by the crusaders during wartime greatly stimulated the Latin intellect. It helped to awaken Western Europe and finally resulted in the great intellectual outburst known as the Revival of Learning and the Renaissance period.
2.3.2 Hundred Years’ War Causes of the War
The Hundred Year’s War was an intermittent military conflict between England and France, lasting from 1337 to 1453. It had a profound impact on the futures of the countries on either side. It originated in a dispute regarding English monarchs’ claim over certain territories in France. The question of the legitimate succession to the French crown also led to the war between France and England. From the 12th century onwards, the Norman kings of England focused primarily on expanding their hold on the continent, especially in France. The complicated political relationship that existed between France and England in the first half of the 14th century had a long history. It can be traced back to the period of William the Conqueror, the first King of England to hold the title of the Duke of Normandy and thus was a vassal of the French King. When Henry II became the King of England in 1154, he was also the Duke of Normandy, Duke of Anjou and Duke of Aquitaine, all provinces in France. This resulted naturally in a long but intermittent armed conflict between the two nations in which the French kings succeeded in weakening the English possessions in France. The struggle involved several generations of English and French claimants to the crown and occupied more than 100 years. Long before the start of the Hundred Years’ war, England had thus lost many of her territories in France. In 1204, King John lost Normandy to Philip II of France and in 1214 and almost all of his possessions were in France. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris ratified by Henry III and Louis IX of France in 1259. As per the treaty, Henry III was allowed to retain the Duchy of Guyenne, which was a considerably reduced territory carved out from Aquitaine but had to give up his claim on Normandy,Anjou and other territories that his ancestor Henry II possessed. By this treaty, Henry III was forced to acknowledge that he was a vassal of France. While Louis IX and Henry III were ready to respect the terms of the treaty as they admired each other and were married to sisters. But it was clear that this would pose problems in the future. Throughout the 13th century, the kings of England paid homage to the kings of France. It preserved peace but established French supremacy over English monarchs. Course of the War
After the accession of Edward III as English monarch in 1327, the problem between France and England worsened. It was against the backdrop of a conflict over the French succession after the death of Charles IV. Charles IV, the French king, died on February 1, 1328, leaving no male heir. The two principal claimants to the throne were Edward III of England, who derived his claim through his mother, Isabella, sister of Charles IV, and Philip, count of Valois, son of Philip IV’s brother Charles. The French assembly decided to favour Philip, the count of Valois, who became king as Philip VI. Relations between France and England soured quickly. Edward III protested vigorously and threatened to defend his rights by every possible means. A battle broke out, and as his rival got some early success, Edward withdrew his claim and was obliged to renew his homage on the French king’s terms in 1331.
Anglo-French relations remained cordial for more than two years. But in 1334, Edward III offered refuge to Robert III (grandson of Philip IV’s cousin), who had quarrelled with French King Philip VI and claimed the throne. Philip, who was provoked, threatened to attack the duchy of Aquitaine. Edward III proclaimed he was the rightful King of France and declared war against the French monarch. When Edward III declared war on France to begin the Hundred Years’ war, his goal was to obtain full sovereignty over the duchy of Aquitaine. He wanted to eliminate French interference in its governance. Edward concluded an alliance with landowners from Flanders and Germany and started the Hundred Years’ War on a strong English footing. The war was started on May 24, 1337, with the capture of the English-controlled duchy of Guyenne by French King Philip VI. Meanwhile, Edward’s ships defeated the French fleet at sea, followed by a crucial victory in the Battle of Sluis on June 24, 1340. After this victory, a treaty was signed between France and England on September 25, 1340, and both monarchs temporarily suspended hostilities. In September 1356, Edward the Black Prince (son of King Edward III) and King John II of France fought at Poitiers (Poitiers Campaign). The battle was an astonishing win for the English. The English army captivated King John and three of his sons. At Brétigny, peace talks were held, and an agreement was reached on May 8, 1360. By this treaty, France ceded the whole of the old Aquitaine and also, in northern France, Calais and Guînes in full sovereignty to the English.
The Treaty of Bretigny provided English monarchs with a great political and military triumph. After the death of King John, his son Charles V became the French monarch in 1364. He was not ready to agree to the provisions of the Treaty of Bretigny and wanted to recapture the lost territories. His armies recovered much of the territory held by the English and successfully reversed the military losses of his predecessors. This created a war situation between England and France again during the reign of Henry IV, and Charles VI. Henry IV wanted to resume the Hundred Years’ War and take advantage of Charles VI’s mental illness and France’s civil war. His successor Henry V achieved overwhelming victories against France at Agincourt in 1415 and Verneuil in 1424. However, the emergence of Joan of Arc boosted French morale and prevented the victory of England. The siege of Orleans in 1429 marked the beginning of the end of English hopes of French conquest. The siege of Orleans was the watershed of the Hundred Years’ War. The French royal army’s first major military victory after the crushing defeat at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. After Orleans, the French army achieved a series of crucial victories against the English army at Formigny in 1450 and Gascony in 1453. In 1453 the Hundred Years’ War concluded in favour of the French monarchs. England permanently lost most of its continental possessions, with only Calais remaining under her control. Impact of Hundred Years’ War
The Hundred Years’ War made England almost bankrupt and left the victorious French Crown in total control of all of France except Calais. War destroyed the English dream of a joint monarchy comprising the whole of Great Britain and France. England suffered a devastating defeat in the Hundred Years’ War. The post-war period witnessed a series of civil wars in England. A brutal civil war occurred between the houses of Lancaster and York, both claiming the English throne. In this civil war (1455-1485), Lancastrian nobleman Henry Tudor defeated the Yorkist King Richard III at Bosworth and started the Tudor dynasty. The war produced long-lasting and iconic national heroes, notably Henry V of England and Joan of Arc in France. The most lasting impact of the war in England was the emergence of a greater sense of patriotism and national identity.
England suffered a decline in trade, especially wool and Gascon wine. The war also witnessed developments in weapons technology, such as cannons and English- Longbows. English common people suffered a lot during wartime. The monarchs imposed heavy taxes to meet the war expenses, especially under Richard II. English Peasants’ revolt in 1381, during Richard II’s administration, was the direct impact of heavy taxes imposed at the time of the Hundred Years’ War. The most obvious result of the Hundred Years’ War was that both France and England were determined to avoid a revival of such a conflict in which both sides wasted their manpower and resources without much benefit. The English defeat in the Hundred Years’ War seems to be a blessing in disguise really. In England, rulers and the populace alike eagerly turned their energies to other projects. England turned her attention to becoming a sea power and gave up her attempts at expansion on the Continent. In the course of time, England became a great naval and colonial power. England’s control over seas and international trade expanded at great length in the forthcoming centuries.
The revival of the English Language was another important impact of the Hundred Years’ War. Famous writer Rosanna E. Lortz (The author of I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, a historical adventure/romance set about the Hundred Years’ War) through her article titled ‘English v/s French: The Hundred Years’ war and its effects on Language’ argued that “the change in language effected by the Hundred Years’ War was radical”. Before the war began in 1337, French was the language of literature and the language of the aristocracy in England.
Historian Elizabeth Hallam writes that “Although in 14th century England everyone spoke some form of English, French was still the language of polite society, the country gentry and the middle class continued to use French. There are almost no extant English letters before 1400. Proclamations in London were still made in French, which was also the language of the law….” (Elizabeth Hallam, Chronicles of the Age of Chivalry) This situation changed during the Hundred Years’ War, and the English language gained ascendancy over the French. This can be identified with the emergence of a greater sense of patriotism and national identity in England during the war period. Hallam hypothesised that “the transformation was almost certainly a result of the surge of patriotism and nationalism associated with the Hundred Years’ war: the French language came to be associated with the enemy”. During the same period, schools in England began to use English in the classrooms as a medium with which to teach Latin. And in 1363, “parliament was opened by a declaration of summons in the native tongue.”, something that had previously always been done in French.
According to the philologist Oliver Farrar Emerson, “soon English petitions to parliament, English wills, letters, and gild statutes appear.” (Oliver Farrar Emerson, English or French in the Time of Edward III, Romanic Review). Because of the war with France, the English language was used by all levels of English society for all purposes. In short, the revival of the English language in 14th century England-replacing French- was due to the national and patriotic feeling generated by the Hundred Years’ War.

  • There were eight crusades fought between the Christians and the Muslims. f
  • Three major religious groups all claimed Jerusalem, in the land of Pales-tine, as their holy city – Jews, Christians and Muslims.
  • First Crusade (1095-1099): In November 1095, Pope Urban II – called on Western Christians to aid their Eastern Christian brethren – the Crusaders established four Christian Kingdoms in the Holy Lands.
  • Second Crusade (1145-1148): The Muslim forces had recaptured most of the territories that they had lost in the First Crusade – the Turkish army seized the city of Edessa on December 24, 1144 – failure of the crusaders.
  • Third Crusade (1187- 1192): England first joined the Crusade -Saladin seized Jerusalem – the Muslims were forced to give back the relic of the ‘True Cross – Victory of the Christian crusaders.
  • Hundred Years’ War: intermittent military conflict between kingdoms of England and France, lasting from 1337 to 1453 – the question of the legiti- mate succession to the French crown.
  • By the Bretigny treaty, France ceded the whole of the old Aquitaine and also, in northern France, Calais and Guînes in full sovereignty to the English, political and military triumph for English monarchs.
  • After his father’s death, Charles V became the French monarch in 1364.
  • Impact of 100 years’ war – the revival of the English language.

Objective Type Questions

1. When did Pope Urban II call on Western Christians to aid their Eastern Chris- tian brethren?
2. When did the Crusader army begin the arduous journey from Europe to Con- stantinople?
3. What was the crusaders’ greatest prize during the first crusade?
4. What was the time period of the first crusade?
5. In which crusade did England first join?
6. When did Saladin conquer Jerusalem?
7. Who was regarded as the greatest crusader king?
8. Who became the French monarch after King John’s death?
9. Who defeated the Yorkish King Richard III during the civil war (1455-1485)? 10. When did the Hundred Years’ War end?

Answers to Objective Type Questions

1. 1095
2. 1096
3. Capturing of Jerusalem in the year 1099 4. 1095-1099 CE
5. Third crusade
6. October 2, 1187
7. Richard I
8. Charles V
9. Henry Tudor
10. 1453


1. Discuss the economic consequences of the Crusades on Europe.
2. Examine the consequences of the hundred years’ of war on England. 3. Describe the role of Britain in the crusades and the hundred years’ war.

Suggested Readings

1. Dale, Stephen.F, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids and the Mu- ghals, CUP, 2010.
2. Faroqhi. Suraiya. The Ottoman Empire: A Short History, Princeton, 2004.
3. Bennet , Judith. Medieval Europe, A Short History, Mc-GrawHill, 2010.
4. Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades, CUP, 1987.