Study Crusader Syria as a feudal military frontier. Identify the principle weaknesses of the Crusader states. How were these weaknesses overcome?

Essay by Axis_of_EvilUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2003

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The Latin states established during the First Crusade were under constant attack from the invading Islams from the east; therefore, causing the organization of military forces on the Syrian frontier to adapt. The most pressing concern for the Christian cause was manpower--and what manpower was readily available was usually of little military value. Europeans crusaded in great numbers, eager to fight for the Holy Land, but very few Europeans actually stayed behind or emigrated to the East to actually develop Christian settlements. Therefore, the raising of feudal armies became difficult because of a lack of Christian pool from which to pull, and the Christians that were already present had for so long been subjugated by the Muslims that they were completely passive--seldomly contributing any military value to the Frankish cause.

This lack of manpower altered the course of army building and eventually the type of warfare conducted in the Christian Latin states (referring to the influx of siege warfare because "knights were precious commodities not lightly exposed to damage....[and

their being killed or captured] must always have been prominent in the thoughts of commanders" (Beeler 130). The armored cavalry was still the main effort and strong point of the European commanders; however, lack of emigration meant lack of nobility, and in essence, a reduction of the amount of knights available on the battlefield. As Beeler pointed out, "it has been estimated that the short-lived county of Edessa never attracted more than 100 European noble and knightly families" (123), and further estimation reveals that had the entire army in Jerusalem been assembled, only about 1,800 knights would be present--supported by a mere 10,000 infantry.

Unfortunately for the Christians, this lack of manpower did not decrease, and in fact, because of persistent attacks by Islamic armies, it continued to increase. After...