The crusade against the odds

Powerful foes, chronic starvation, hostile landscapes – the First Crusade, an 11th-century armed pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem, overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges. In today’s long read, Emily Briffett draws on the expertise of leading medieval historians to reveal how zeal, strategy, and sheer luck secured military success for this ambitious campaign.    HistoryExtra Long Reads brings you the best articles from BBC History Magazine, direct to your ears. Today’s feature originally appeared in the December 2023 issue, and has been voiced in partnership with the RNIB. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Om Podcasten

Take a deep dive into the past as we bring you the very best of BBC History Magazine, Britain’s bestselling history magazine. With a new episode released every Monday, enjoy fascinating and enlightening articles from leading historical experts, covering a broad sweep of the centuries – from the scandals of Georgian society to the horrors of the First World War, revolutions, rebellions, and more.