Friday, June 10, 2011

Crusades You Never Knew About


On paper, there are nine Crusades that took place between the 11th and 13th centuries. There were a number of official crusades that took place in between the numbered ones, like the Albigensian Crusade, the Children's Crusade and the Norwegian Crusade. The actual and technical number of crusades, depending on who you talk to, resides around 20.

There are a bunch of Crusades that happened even between the ones that are listed in history books.

Like, between the Third and Fourth Crusade, there was the Pi Crusade but it never came to anything as everyone just sort of wandered around in circles.

In 1215 there was the a crusade that followed hard on the heels of the Children's Crusade: The Young Bachelor's Crusade. Unfortunately, it only went as far as the beaches in Barcelona during Spring Break.

In 1057, before the very first Crusade, there was the Practice Crusade. A bunch of knights piled into an old Volkswagon horse buggy and went on a sight seeing trip to Constantinople and maybe as far Antioch. It's rumored that these knights were witnessed throwing some rocks at the fortress walls and yelling some unkind epithets.

During the Fall of 1286, when Crusades were falling out of vogue, another group of knights got together for one last jaunt called the "Hoorah Crusade". One early September morning, the knights left town and made it as far as MacTartan's Pub on the South Road. After 72 hours on a bender, the wives of the knights came and picked them up and took them home.

Late in the 12th century, a crusade picked up momentum in the North of France. This time the knights had a plan. This time they were focused. This time it would work. They would retake Jerusalem and set up that chain of Pastry Shops and Hair Salons like they always wanted. Sadly, by the time the group reached Tel Aviv, they were bickering and all sorts of pouty. In fact, it is noted in Gaston's diary that at one point Pierre "slapped Anton silly." Nothing ever came of their crusade.

Then there was the crusade that was headed up by legendary Sir Rock Chamberlain, the hero of the Battle of Wispy Breakfast Cereal. This was in 1108, the same year the Birmingham Rabid Ravens beat the Oslo Thin Toupees. Anyway, Sir Rock lead the ragged band of crusaders for the Holy Land. It was a little too late for the crusaders to realize that Sir Rock was directionally challenged. After three weeks of being stranded in Thule, Greenland, the unhappy band of crusaders took the first boat back home, leaving Sir Rock to figure out that "silly little compass thingy".

In 1243, Guiseppe Leuvo and his gang of thugs headed out on what was to be the biggest crusade of all. They got as far as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and told the Sultan that he was not to "cross-a da family. Da family don't do too well wid da likes of YOU comin' onto OUR turf. Youse stay offa da island Sicily." Having said their piece and had passed on the message from their Don, Guiseppe took his entourage on home. Thus ending the Sicilian Crusade.

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