Battle of Civetot

Battle of Civetot
Date21 October 1096
Result Seljuk Turks victory.
Seljuk Turks Crusading Peasants
Commanders and leaders
Kılıçarslan I Walter Sans-Avoir
Geoffrei Burel
5,000 20,000
Casualties and losses
50 17,000

The Battle of Civetot occurred in 1096, and brought an end to the People's Crusade.[1] After the disastrous defeat for the Crusaders in the Siege of Xerigordon, two Turkish spies spread a rumor that the Germans who had taken Xerigordon had also taken Nicaea, which caused excitement to get there as soon as possible to share in the looting. The Turks were waiting on the road to Nicaea. Peter the Hermit had gone back to Constantinople to arrange for supplies and was due back soon, and most of the leaders argued to wait for him to return (which he never did). However, Geoffrey Burel, who had taken command, argued that it would be cowardly to wait, and they should move against the Turks right away.[2] His will prevailed and, on the morning of October 21, the entire army of 20,000 marched out toward Nicaea, leaving women, children, the old and the sick behind at the camp.[2]

Three miles from the camp, where the road entered a narrow, wooded valley near the village of Dracon, the Turkish army was waiting. When approaching the valley, the crusaders marched noisily and were immediately subjected to a hail of arrows.[2] Panic set in immediately and within minutes, the army was in full rout back to the camp. Most of the crusaders were slaughtered (upwards of 60,000 by some accounts[3]); however, women, children, and those who surrendered were spared. Three thousand, including Geoffrey Burel, were able to obtain refuge in an abandoned castle.[2]:132 Eventually the Byzantines under Constantine Katakalon sailed over and raised the siege;[4] these few thousand returned to Constantinople, the only survivors of the People's Crusade.


  1. Bradbury, Jim (2004). The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare. Routledge. p. 194. ISBN 9780203644669. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Runciman, Steven (1987). A History of the Crusades, Volume 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780521347709. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  3. Kostick, Conor (2008). The Social Structure of the First Crusade (Illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 109. ISBN 9789004166653. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  4. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
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