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The Sixth Crusade (The Crusades)


The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, failed to lead the Fifth Crusade. He felt guilty for the crushing defeat the Christian armies suffered against the Egyptian sultan, so he decided to launch a new crusade paid entirely with the Holy Roman Empire funds to recover Jerusalem.

The pope, who feared Frederick's growing power, excommunicated the emperor for failing his vow to launch a crusade - this wasn't true, but rather an excuse by the pope to somehow diminish Frederick's growing popularity. It worked as Frederick's support slowly declined due to his excommunication. Nevertheless, without the pope's blessing Frederick recruited an enormous army and sailed to Syria in 1228, arriving at Acre.

Frederick sailed to the island of Cyprus to gain a strong base before attacking Egypt. However a dispute with John of Ibelin further reduced Frederick's popularity and forced him to leave earlier than expected. Despite this drawback, Frederick sailed to the Holy Land shortly thereafter. His army was much smaller than the one of the Fifth Crusade and he realized that engaging the powerful Ayyubid Empire in battle would be a tactical mistake. Instead, he marched toward the sultan of Egypt, Al-Kamil, pretending to have a larger army with the hope of gaining Jerusalem through diplomacy. It worked, the sultan who was busy with a rebellion in Syria, ceded Jerusalem, Nazareth and other smaller towns in exchange for a ten-year truce.

Frederick entered Jerusalem on 17 March 1229 and accomplished what four previous crusades failed to do: recover the Holy Land. Even though he was excommunicated, he accomplished more than the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth crusades combined. Many in Europe viewed him as godly inspired and the pope lifted the excommunication shortly.

The Sixth Crusade had many historical accomplishments. The most important being that the Papacy's power decline was now evident. Frederick also set the pace for the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth crusades as these were led by single kingdoms rather than an union of several ones, such as all the first crusades.

Jerusalem fell to the Turks only fifteen years later when the Turks successfully conquered it in 1244. However, the Christians had by then assimilated much of the Middle Eastern culture greatly influencing medieval life.

 
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