3) The conflict between tradition and survival
As we mentioned in the earlier entry, manpower shortage had always been a ‘theme’ for the established Crusader States in Levant. But 11th century also brought forth the stricter ideals of feudalism from Europe, and combined with the military origins of many of the Crusader leaders, led to a rather ‘conservative’ social structure that was not at all conducive to the dynamic scope of the Holy Land. In essence, the Crusaders (especially in the Kingdom of Jerusalem) faced the dilemma of co-existing with their Muslim neighbors (who grew powerful and organized over time) and the indoctrinated urge to conquer more lands in the name of Christianity – which often fueled half-addressed strategies and confusing political maneuvers.
Moreover, given the hierarchical nature of feudal laws and structure of the realms, along with shortage of man-power that was rather crippling to a feudal society (thus leading to the emergence of military fiefs), many of the Crusader leaders failed to take advantage of the potential commercial aspect of their coastal domains. During the later years, when the Kingdom of Jerusalem was confined to such coastal strips, the situation became even more complex with Italian merchants controlling much of the trade and monetary benefits.