Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

There’s plenty of irony to go around when you’re talking about the Crusades, but it is especially apparent on those occasions when our intrepid armed pilgrims to the Holy Land wound up making their mark somewhere else. Obviously the best example here is the Fourth Crusade, when instead of marching off to once again “liberate” Jerusalem from its Muslim overlords the Crusaders went broke and then hired themselves out as mercenaries to sack the very non-Muslim city of Constantinople on behalf of Venice. The Eighth Crusade isn’t bad for this either, unless “dying of dysentery outside the walls of Tunis” was actually their goal. Then there’s also the Second Crusade, which is a bit less ironic than the others. Sure, it failed miserably in the Middle East, but it actually succeeded wildly in Iberia. Yes, Iberia is a ways off from Jerusalem, but in their defense (and in marked contrast to the Fourth Crusade) at least the city these guys besieged was actually controlled by Muslims.

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