Crusade of 1101, Kilij Arslan I defeats the combined Crusader armies in the Battle of Mersivan

Today on November 15 in 1100 CE, Pope Paschal II, the successor to Pope Urban II, preached a new Crusade at the Council of Poitiers threatening his fellow Christians with excommunication for failure to fulfill their vows. As a result, combined forces of Lombards, Byzantines, Frenchs, Burgundians, and Germans met Seljuq Sultan of Rum Kilij Arslan I in the Battle of Mersivan in early August.

The combined Crusader army consisted of about 16,000 people while the Seljuqs had around 4000 – 6000 cavalrymen. The battle lasted for several days but the main fight occurred on the fourth day. The crusader army attacked the Turks in five separate divisions, but each was defeated in turn and the crusader encampment besieged.

Battle of Mersivan

The Battle of Mersivan was fought near modern-day Merzifon, Amasya Province, in Central Anatolia. Kilij Arslan’s victory over the Crusaders allowed him to establish his capital at Konya. Previously, in the Battle of Dorylaeum against the Crusaders, Seljuq Capital of Rum, Iznik (Nicaea) was lost in 1097 CE. Therefore, Konya became the new capital.

People’s Crusade

Back in 1096 CE, Kilij Arslan defeated the People’s Crusade in the Battle of Civetot, which proved to be a very destructive battle to the Crusaders and brought an end to the People’s Crusade.

When the Christian Knights were summoned in Europe to take the Holy City from the Muslims, it had been intended for disciplined warriors led by Europe’s nobility. Instead, a poorly disciplined mob of peasant zealots set out and declared war on the Muslims. But they were easily crushed by the Seljuqs of Rum.

Love history? Become one of our patrons by pledging just $1/month and support the historical gems of Islamicate history and Muslim culture we uncover on a daily basis.