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People's Crusade

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Previous: Anglo-Scottish Wars, Conquests of Jalal I, Burgundian Rebellion
Concurrent: First Crusade, Reconquista
Next: Crusade of 1101
People's Crusade
Xerigordo
Date: October 1096
Place: Turkey, Middle East
Outcome: Turkish victory
Major Battles: Battle of Nish
Battle of Xerigordo
Battle of Kibotos
Combatants

Flag of Louisiana Boissy-sans-Avoir
Flag of Louisiana Etampes
Flag of Louisiana Epernay
Burgundy Bretuil
Burgundy Chartres

Islam Danishmends
Islam Great Seljuk Empire
Byzantines Byzantine Empire

Commanders

Peter the Hermit
Walter Sans-Avoir
Godfrey Burel of Etampes
Reynald of Broyes
Walter Fitz Waleran
Fulcher of Chartres

Kilij Arslan I
Nicetas

The People's Crusade was a campaign of the First Crusade, considered "the first wave" in 1096, with 40,000 Franks answering the call to arms spread by Peter the Hermit, invading Turkey, but were defeated at Xerigordo and Kibotos, with casualties near total.

Background

By the time Peter the Hermit entered Cologne on 12 April 1096, Easter Saturday, considerable numbers from northern and eastern France, Lorraine and the Rhineland were already mobilized. Walter lord of Boissy-sans-Avoir in the Ile de France was preparing to leave the city immediately after Easter; on 15 April he set out on the traditional pilgrim route up the Rhine and Neckar to Regensberg and down th eDanube to Hungary and the Balkan routes to Constantinople. With him was an infantry force, mainly French, led by eight knights, seemingly an advance guard for Peter's larger army of levies raised on his march from Berry through the Ile de France and Champagne to the Moselle and the Rhine. Already, Peter had attracted a smattering of French nobles and volunteers from the towns he had visited. Apart from Walter Sans Avoir, Peter established a military command under Godfrey Burel of Etampes, Reynald of Broyes from Epernay, Walter Fitz Waleran of Bretuil in the Beauvaisis and Fulcher, brother of the vidame of Chartres. The crusaders bullied the local Jewish populations, with the Jewish Pogroms of 1096 occurring under Emich of Flonheim.

War

Invasion of Byzantium

Nish

Battle of Nish, 1096

After the Semlin affair, the Greeks were put on their guard, evacuating Belgrade, leaving it open to plunder. After a forced crossing of the river Save, the pilgirms reached Nish, the provinical capital, on 27 June, where the crisis of supplies became critical. The Byzantine governor Nicetas negotiated a market for Peter's men in returrn for hostages, significantly including the military commanders Godfrey Burel and Walter Fitz Waleran. When this broke down, Nicetas imposed order by force, and Peter's troops were scattered by a concerted Greek assault. Chastened, Peter led the survivors along the road to Sofia; at the evacuated town of Bela Palanka they regrouped and gathered the local harvest. The battle at Nish cost Peter 13,333 killed or deserted, and Alexius made sure that the crusaders never stopped anywhere for more than three days. 

Campaign with the Turks

Xerigordo

Battle of Xerigordo, 1096

The crusaders proceeded to besiege the Turkish stronghold of Nicaea, a former Byzantine city, with a siege camp at Kibotos, where their mercenary allies were encamped. 6,000 Germans and Italians under Rainaldo seized a castle at Xerigordo, where they were trapped and massacred by The Turks, who let only those who surrendered and embraced Islam live, including Rainaldo. 

Soon after, on October 21, Walter Sans Avoir and Reynald of Broyes' force of Christian knights was attacked in a series of fast-moving engagements by the Turks, and Walter was pierced by seven arrows and Reynald slain by the Islamic footsoldiers, and the camp at Kibotos was overrun, lifting the planned siege of Nicaea. 

Hungary

A fellow crusader army led by priest Gottschalk was attacked by Coloman I of Hungary's Hungarian army, who did not take kindly to trespassers. Gottschalk's army was destroyed at the beginning of July and Volkmar's force was dispersed at Nitra in the north after a career of persecuting Jews in Bohemia. This was the end of the crusade.

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