Saladin, King Richard, & The Crusades

Week 13: Saladin, King Richard, & The Crusades

Read K – 8: The Golden City by Neil Waldman & NOTE (see below)


The Crusades were a series of religious wars in which Christians fought to free the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule. During the 600’s armies of Muslim Arabs captured the Holy Land and made it part of their Arab Empire. Jerusalem was a Holy City to them, believing that Muhammad had ascended to heaven from Mount Moriah. However, knowing that the city was also Holy to both Jews and Christians, they continued to allow pilgrims from both religions to visit the city.
However, in the 1000’s Muslim Turks blocked pilgrimage routes and attacked the Byzantine Empire. The leader of the Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus asked the Pope, Urban II, to raise an army to defend his empire.
Pope Urban promised forgiveness of all sins for all knights and warriors who sought to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. He called the war a “Holy War”, but the wars eventually came to be called “The Crusades”. (Crusade is Latin for the word “cross”.) Those knights who participated in The Crusades wore the symbol of a red cross on their shields. They also carried a religious relic with them on their conquests, a fragment of wood which they believed was a part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
There were 4 major Crusades:
1st Crusade: Christian Crusaders captured Jerusalem and killed all who lived there, including Muslims, Jews, and even other Christians. The Holy Land was divided into 4 regions. (Edessa, Antioch, Jerusalem, & Tripoli.) These lands remained under Christian control for almost 100 years.
2nd Crusade: Muslims took control of the area of Edessa. Christian Crusaders fought against them to regain control but were unsuccessful.
3rd Crusade: Muslim leader Saladin fought against Crusaders to recapture the city of Jerusalem. His chief opponent from Europe was King Richard “The Lionhearted.” Both were brilliant military commanders and leaders. In the end, after much bloodshed, Saladin gained control of Jerusalem but allowed Christians to make pilgrimages to the Holy City.
4th Crusade: Christian Crusaders tried once again to recapture Jerusalem, but were unsuccessful.

The stories of Robin Hood came from the Crusades. King Richard taxed the people heavily in order to pay for the war. His brother, John, ruled in his place while he fought in the Holy Land. From a military perspective, the Crusades were not a success for Christian Europe. The Holy Lands stayed in Muslim hands, and many, many lives were lost. But from a commercial perspective, the Crusades brought about the exchange of many new goods and ideas.


  • What “Golden City” is the city of great significance to 3 major religions? (Jerusalem)
  • Name the three religious groups that have wanted possession of it? (Jews, Christians, & Muslims)
  • Why is the city important to Jews? (city of David, location of Mount Moriah where God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, city of Solomon and the first magnificent temple.)
  • Why is the city important to Christians? (Jesus, the Messiah, taught there and was crucified there.)
  • Why is the city important to Muslims? (Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad had ascended to heaven from Mount Moriah, located within the city.)
  • Who had control of Jerusalem during Jesus’s time? (The Romans)
  • After Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, what did Christians build in the city? (churches at places where Jesus had walked)
  • What Islamic group conquered a huge territory of land from Spain to India after the collapse of the Roman Empire? (The Arabs)
  • What buildings of prayer did the Muslims build in Jerusalem? (mosques)
  • Who were the Crusaders? (Knights and common people who fought to free the Holy City from Muslim rule)
  • Who sent the Crusaders? (Pope Urban II)
  • Were the Crusaders successful? (yes, for about 100 years)
  • Later, what powerful Arab ruler restored Muslim rule to the city? (Saladin)
  • What religious group currently controls Jerusalem? (The Jews)
  • What religious pilgrims currently come to visit Jerusalem each year? (Jews, Christians, & Muslims)
    Questions on Note:
  • Why did the Crusades begin? (Muslim Turks stopped allowing pilgrims to visit the Holy Lands and attacked the Byzantine Empire.)
  • What did Pope Urban promise to all men who fought in the Crusades? (forgiveness of all sins)
  • What does the word “Crusade” mean? (cross)
  • What was the symbol of the Crusades? (red cross)
  • Were any of the Crusades successful for European Christians? (yes)  Which one? (the first)
  • What powerful Muslim leader fought against the Crusaders and gained control of Jerusalem in the 3rd Crusade? (Saladin)
  • What “Lion-hearted” general was his chief rival? (King Richard)
  • What popular story began around the time of the Crusades? (Robin Hood)
  • Overall, were the Crusades successful wars for the Europeans? (no)
  • Did any good come from the Crusades? (exchange of many new goods and ideas)

Activities: K – 3: Coloring page:
4 – 8: Crusades Crossword puzzle.  Click here: CRUSADES Crossword  (This crossword puzzle is two pages; please scroll down to find the crossword clues.)

Teachers, click here for the answer key: CRUSADES ANSWER KEY

Copyright September 11, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Dark & Middle Ages

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