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Epiloge
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The Second Crusade >> Epiloge ~ End Of The Second Crusade

King Conrad went home almost immediately. He had political trouble at home to tend to, and there seemed to be nothing further he could do. King Louis stayed longer. He took part in some desultory fighting, and stayed long enough to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem in 1149. Then he, too, went home. Almost none of the Crusader knights remained in the Holy Land.

The  Second Crusade was an enormous undertaking. There had been crusades in Spain, activity in Portugal, and a crusade against the Slavs in Germany, all in addition to the main expedition to Palestine. Only the un-planned capture of Lisbon yielded any permanent gains. Kings had raised armies for this. The Church had called upon all its resource, put one of its greatest preachers in the field, and had staked its reputation on the outcome.

When the pitiable results were known, there was a widespread reaction against crusading as a large-scale movement. There were recriminations for everyone, but in truth no one really understood why there had been so much activity for so little result. But they were sure they did not want to go to such lengths again.

Over the next forty years, there were no more crusades and few calls for one. The armed pilgrimage had not lost its allure, nor the promise of remission of sins. But now, crusaders went in small bands, led by local nobles on their own initiative. Over and over, representatives came from Jerusalem to beg for large armies. What they got was an army from Brabant here, a fleet from Pisa there, and little more. Nothing coordinated and nothing on the scale needed.

Ironically, "crusading" had become what it was in theory: a pilgrimage of arms. Bands of people came to Jerusalem in order to visit the holy places and to do battle with the infidel, and then to return home again. Once in a while, someone came looking to enter the Templars, or to marry into the local nobility, but most visited for a season and then left. The Palestinian barons came to understand that they must survive largely on their own resources and through alliances with local powers.

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