The Crusades

The Fifth Crusade


The issuing of the Quia Maior by Pope Innocent in 1213 for another military campaign to retake the Holy Land proved the first step for a fifth crusade. In November 1215 a gathering of 71 patriarchs and metropolitan bishops, 412 ordinary bishops, the majority of key monarchs and over 900 priors and abbots at the Fourth Council of the Lateran laid out a formulated plan for another military campaign. Due to the time lag in setting out the council, the turnout was more significant than in previous years, allowing for a more thought out operation.

As usual, the objective was the retaking of Jerusalem, this time involving armies led by Andrew II of Hungary and Duke Leopold VI of Austria. Although attempts to take the Holy City failed, the crusaders successfully conquered Damietta in Egypt in 1219. The papal reaction to the coup was enormous, leading to pressure to take Cairo. Two years later, an ill-advised mission to Cairo failed due to a lack of supplies, followed by the crusader armies being massacred by the ruler of Egypt, Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamil, leading to their retreat. In the aftermath, the Sultan agreed an eight-year peace with the Europeans.