The Second Crusade (1147 .. 1149)
t the end of 1144, Zengi, the ruler of Mosul, invaded the county of Edessa and surrounded the city of the same name starting a siege that lasted only a few weeks. On Christmas Eve of 1144 the city, that had been poorly defended fell and Zengi entered. In the West there was no immediate response when the news arrived. Shortly after Eugenius III became Pope in 1145 several embassies arrived at the papal court to ask for help. One of the ambassadors sent to the Pope was Hugh, Bishop of Jabala. He arrived at Viterbo where the the new Pope, Eugenius was in residence, in the autumn of 1145. On December 1st, 1145 Eugenius issued the first cruading bull, known as the 'Quantum praedecessors' from its opening text an addressed it to King Louis VII of France.
In Bourges King Louis VII of France held a Christmas court where he devised his own plan to rescue Edessa. At the meeting Bishop Godfrey of Langres pleaded to the nobles assembled there to join their king in defending the crusader states. But enthusisam for the venture was not high. Even Aboot Sugar, the King's chief counsellor was opposed to the plan. Because of the general apathy King Louis decided to postpone further talk of the crusade until Easter of 1146 at a meeting in Vézelay. Both the Pope and the King asked Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux to attend the meeting. They both knew that the abbot had the power to enthuse to assembled crowds.
Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
In the first few months of 1146 Bernard visited both King Louis and the Pope where a series of negotiations took place. Bernard was unhappy that the crusade could be seen to be instigated by the King and he believed that it was important the the Pope should be the one to call it as Pope Urban II had done before the First Crusade. The result of these negotiations was the issuing of a second papal bull on the 1st of March. As expected the Abbot of Clairvaux's preaching at the meeting in Vézelay at Easter changed the minds of all who listened and they all took the Cross, the vow to go on Crusade, starting with King Louis.
Trouble in Italy
Pope Eugenius was unable to attend the meeting in Vézelay because he was trapped in Viterbo, some fifty miles to the north of Rome. He had been expelled from Rome by Arnold of Brescia, a canon who led an uprising against the Pope. Eugenius asked Bernard of Clairvaux not to preach in Germany as he hoped that the German king, Conrad III would help him return to Rome. But Bernard had different ideas and was preaching in Germany. Bernard met Conrad on Christmas Day at the Diet of Speyer. Within a few days the Abbot had convinced the German ruler to take the Cross and head for the Holy Land.
Event Participants and Loctions
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Last Middle Ages
Early Modern Period