Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Mansurah begins (1250)

Before King Louis IX of France (d. 1270) led the weirdly conceived and badly failed Eighth Crusade against Tunis, he earned his Crusader bona fides on the better conceived but still badly failed Seventh Crusade, which is our subject today. As I wrote when we talked about the Eighth Crusade, if medieval BuzzFeed had put together a list of the ten most swag Crusade leaders or whatever, Louis would have been near the top of the list if not right at the top. His piety was the stuff of legend and his commitment to the Crusading cause was unmatched even by his fellow luminary Richard the Lionheart. He was as central to the later Crusades movement as Godfrey of Bouillon (the first Crusader ruler of Jerusalem) was to the early Crusades movement. The thing is, though, while Godfrey was clearly successful and Richard was kind of successful, Louis was most definitely not successful. At all. Twice. But at least he was committed to the cause, and on the Seventh Crusade he brought along a very capable biographer, the famous chronicler Jean de Joinville.

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