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Jerusalem Falls
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The First Crusade >> Jerusalem Falls

There now began an orgy of killing. The Crusaders went on a rampage, killing everyone they met. They went into houses and dragged out the inhabitants to kill them. They stole everything they found. The princes lost all control.

Muslim refugees had taken refuge in the Dome of the Rock, the mosque of al-Aqsa, the one Tancred had taken. Despite his banner flying above, on the morning of the 16th a group of Crusaders broke in and slaughtered everyone inside. Similarly, the Jews of the city fled to their synagogue, only to have the Crusaders set it on fire, killing everyone.

The chroniclers tell of streets running with blood and of horses splashing blood up onto their riders' leggings. Order returned on July 17th, not so much because the commanders regained control as there was simply no one left to kill. All the Jews of Jerusalem were dead. All the Muslims were dead. The Christians had been expelled before the siege began. The city was empty of all save its conquerors.

The western sources are briskly uncontrite in their descriptions of the carnage, indicating that the chroniclers were no more dismayed than were the perpetrators. But the Muslim world would never forget or forgive the Crusaders' behavior. Jerusalem was a holy city to the Muslims as much as it was to the Christians. The looting of sacred shrines and the slaughter of innocents confirmed the general Muslim opinion that the Westerners were savage barbarians with no faith at all save in blood and wealth.

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Rampart of black and yellow shields