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King Conrad
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The Second Crusade >> King Conrad

King Conrad had a huge army, drawn from the whole empire, numbering approximately 20,000. He left in late May of 1147 and followed the route of the First Crusade, up the Rhine River to Ratisbon and down the Danube River. In his company was the future emperor, Frederick I, at the time only a teenager yet already being entrusted by his uncle with official duties.

The Germans arrived at Constantinople in September. They had passed peaceably through Hungary, but in Byzantine territory there were quarrels over supplies and a few incidents of fighting. Once again, the westerners had created an unfavorable impression of themselves, and once again the Greeks had made themselves seem untrustworthy.

At Constantinople there were further incidents, even to the point that Conrad threatened to return from the crusade and take the city by force. In the end, though, the Germans agreed to cross the Bosporus quickly, as the first French contingents were beginning to arrive and quarrels were beginning to break out amongst them.

Emperor Manuel gave as a guide to the crusaders the head of his Varangian Guard. At Nicaea, Conrad divided his army, sending most of the non-combatants down the coast, in imperial territory, while he and the main fighting force went through the interior. 

They set out on October 15 and passed into Turkish territory a few days later.

Conrad's Defeat

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Rampart of black and yellow shields