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§ 53. The Third Crusade. 1189–1192.


For Richard I.: Itinerarium perigrinorum et gesta regis Ricardi, ed. by Stubbs, London, 1864, Rolls Series, formerly ascribed to Geoffrey de Vinsauf, but, since Stubbs, to Richard de Templo or left anonymous. Trans. in Chronicles of the Crusades, Bohn’s Libr., 1870. The author accompanied the Crusade.—De Hoveden, ed. by Stubbs, 4 vols., London, 1868–1871; Engl. trans. by Riley, vol. II. pp. 63–270.—Giraldus Cambrensis: Itinerarium Cambriae, ed. by Brewer and Dimock, London, 7 vols. 1861–1877, vol. VI., trans. by R. C. Hoare, London, 1806.—Richard De Devizes: Chronicon de rebus gestis Ricardi, etc., London, 1838, trans. in Bohn’s Chron. of the Crusades.—Roger Wendover.—De Joinville: Crusade of St. Louis, trans. in Chron. of the Crus.

For full list of authorities on Richard see art. Richard by Archer in Dict. of Vat. Biog. — G. P. R. James: Hist. of the Life of B. Coeur de Lion, new ed. 2 vols. London, 1854. —T. A. Archer: The Crusade of Richard I., being a collation of Richard de Devizes, etc., London, 1868.—Gruhn: Der Kreuzzug Richard I., Berlin, 1892.

For Frederick Barbarossa: Ansbert, an eye-witness: Hist. de expeditione Frid., 1187–1196, ed. by Jos. Dobrowsky, Prague, 1827.—For other sources, see Wattenbach: Deutsche Geschichtsquellen, II. 303 sqq., and Potthast: Bibl. Hist., II. 1014, 1045, etc.—Karl Fischer: Gesch. des Kreuzzugs Fried. I., Leipzig, 1870.—H. Prutz: Kaiser Fried. I., 3 vols. Dantzig, 1871–1873.—Von Raumer: Gesch. der Hohenstaufen, vol. II. 5th ed. Leipzig, 1878.—Giesebrecht: Deutsche Kaiserzeit, vol. V.

For Saladin: Baha-ed-din, a member of Saladin’s court, 1145–1234, the best Arabic Life, in the Recueil, Histt. Orientaux, etc., III., 1884, and in Palestine, Pilgrim’s Text Soc., ed. by Sir C. W. Wilson, London, 1897.—Marin: Hist. de Saladin, sulthan d’Égypte et de Syrie, Paris, 1758.—Lane-Poole: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem, New York, 1898, a full list and an estimate of Arab authorities are given, pp. iii-xvi.

See also the general Histories of the Crusades and Ranke: Weltgesch., VIII.


The Third Crusade was undertaken to regain Jerusalem, which had been lost to Saladin, 1187. It enjoys the distinction of having had for its leaders the three most powerful princess of Western Europe, the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Philip Augustus, king of France, and the English king Richard I., surnamed Coeur de Lion, or the Lion-hearted.407407    The story of Richard’s seizing a lion and tearing out its throbbing heart was a subject of English romance in the fourteenth century and probably of French romance in the thirteenth century. in romance than any of the other Crusades, from the songs of the mediaeval minstrels to Lessing in his Nathan the Wise and Walter Scott in Talisman. But in spite of the splendid armaments, the expedition was almost a complete failure.

On the news of Saladin’s victories, Urban III. is alleged to have died of grief.408408    It required at least fifteen days for a ship to go from Acre to Marseilles, and about the same time for news to reach Rome from Jerusalem. The indulgences offered to Crusaders by Alexander III., on the news of Saladin’s conquests in Egypt and his defeat of the Christians at Banias, 1181, are quoted by Gottlob, 119 sq. Alexander appealed to the examples of Urban II, and Eugenius III.n readiness for a new expedition. A hundred years had elapsed since the First Crusade, and its leaders were already invested with a halo of romance and glory. The aged Gregory VIII., whose reign lasted less than two months, 1187, spent his expiring breath in an appeal to the princes to desist from their feuds. Under the influence of William, archbishop of Tyre, and the archbishop of Rouen, Philip Augustus of France and Henry II. of England laid aside their quarrels and took the cross. At Henry’s death his son Richard, then thirty-two years of age, set about with impassioned zeal to make preparations for the Crusade. The treasure which Henry had left, Richard augmented by sums secured from the sale of castles and bishoprics.409409    He sold the archbishopric of York for 3,000 pounds. Henry is reported to have left 900,000 pounds in gold and silver. Rog. of Wendover, an. 1180.sed William of Scotland from homage, and he would have sold London itself, so he said, if a purchaser rich enough had offered himself.410410    Richard of Devizes, X.d the expedition.411411    Giraldus Cambrensis accompanied the archbishop and gathered the materials for his itinerary on the way.

Richard and Philip met at Vézelai. Among the great lords who joined them were Hugh, duke of Burgundy, Henry II., count of Champagne, and Philip of Flanders. As a badge for himself and his men, the French king chose a red cross, Richard a white cross, and the duke of Flanders a green cross.

In the meantime Frederick Barbarossa, who was on the verge of seventy, had reached the Bosphorus. Mindful of his experiences with Konrad III., whom he accompanied on the Second Crusade, he avoided the mixed character of Konrad’s army by admitting to the ranks only those who were physically strong and had at least three marks. The army numbered one hundred thousand, of whom fifty thousand sat in the saddle. Frederick of Swabia accompanied his father, the emperor.

Setting forth from Ratisbon in May, 1189, the German army had proceeded by way of Hungary to Constantinople. The Greek emperor, Isaac Angelus, far from regarding the Crusaders’ approach with favor, threw Barbarossa’s commissioners into prison and made a treaty with Saladin.412412    Frederick announced his expedition in a letter to Saladin, in which he enumerated the tribes that were to take part in it, from the "tall Bavarian" to the sailors of Venice and Pisa. See Itin. reg. Ricardi de Hoveden, etc.unity was afforded Frederick of uniting the East and West once more under a single sceptre. Wallachians and Servians promised him their support if he would dethrone Isaac and take the crown. But though there was provocation enough, Frederick refused to turn aside from his purpose, the reconquest of Jerusalem,413413    Ranke, VIII. 246 sqq., spicily speculates upon the possible consequences of Isaac’s dethronement, and, as a German, regrets that Frederick did not take the prize, Es war ein Moment das nicht so leicht wieder kommen konnte.adnus river into which he had plunged to cool himself.414414    Another account by one who accompanied the expedition was that in his impatience to proceed, Barbarossa strove to swim the river and was drowned. Ranke, VIII. 249, regards the view taken in the text as the better one. the mighty monarch, and far removed from those of his great predecessor, Charlemagne at Aachen! Scarcely ever has a life so eminent had such a tragic and deplored ending. In right imperial fashion, Frederick had sent messengers ahead, calling upon Saladin to abandon Jerusalem and deliver up the true cross. With a demoralized contingent, Frederick of Swabia reached the walls of Acre, where he soon after became a victim of the plague, October, 1190.

Philip and Richard reached the Holy Land by the Mediterranean. They sailed for Sicily, 1190, Philip from Genoa, Richard from Marseilles. Richard found employment on the island in asserting the rights of his sister Joan, widow of William II. of Sicily, who had been robbed of her dower by William’s illegitimate son, Tancred. "Quicker than priest can chant matins did King Richard take Messina."415415    Itinerary, III. 16.ent was one that only knights and the clergy were to be allowed to play games for money, and the amount staked on any one day was not to exceed twenty shillings.

Leaving Sicily,416416    Richard’s fleet, when he sailed from Messina, consisted of one hundred and fifty large ships and fifty-three galleys.nd as a punishment for the ill treatment of pilgrims and the stranding of his vessels, he wrested the kingdom in a three weeks’ campaign from Isaac Comnenus. The English at their occupation of Cyprus, 1878, might well have recalled Richard’s conquest. On the island, Richard’s nuptials were consummated with Berengaria of Navarre, whom he preferred to Philip’s sister Alice, to whom he had been betrothed. In June he reached Acre. "For joy at his coming," says Baha-ed-din, the Arab historian, "the Franks broke forth in rejoicing, and lit fires in their camps all night through. The hosts of the Mussulmans were filled with fear and dread."417417    The Itinerary, III. 2, says Richard’s arrival was welcomed with transports of joy, shoutings, and blowing of trumpets. He was taken ashore as if the desired of all nations had come, and the night was made so bright with wax torches and flaming lights "that it seemed to be usurped by the brightness of the day, and the Turks thought the whole valley was on fire." Richard of Devizes, LXIII., says, "The besiegers received Richard with as much joy as if it had been Christ who had come again."

Acre, or Ptolemais, under Mount Carmel, had become the metropolis of the Crusaders, as it was the key to the Holy Land. Christendom had few capitals so gay in its fashions and thronged with such diverse types of nationality. Merchants were there from the great commercial marts of Europe. The houses, placed among gardens, were rich with painted glass. The Hospitallers and Templars had extensive establishments.

Against Acre, Guy of Lusignan had been laying siege for two years. Released by Saladin upon condition of renouncing all claim to his crown and going beyond the seas, he had secured easy absolution from the priest from this solemn oath. Baldwin of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, bishop of Salisbury, and the justiciar Ranulf of Glanvill had arrived on the scene before Richard. "We found our army," wrote the archbishop’s chaplain,418418    The Itinerary, I., 66, says Baldwin was made sick unto death when he saw "the army altogether dissolute and given up to drinking, women, and dice." ease and lust, rather than encouraging virtue. The Lord is not in the camp. Neither chastity, solemnity, faith, nor charity are there—a state of things which, I call God to witness, I would not have believed if I had not seen it with my own eyes."

Saladin was watching the besiegers and protecting the garrison. The horrors of the siege made it one of the memorable sieges of the Middle Ages.419419    The loss before Acre was very heavy. The Itinerary gives a list of 6 archbishops, 12 bishops, 40 counts, and 500 knights who lost their lives. IV. 6. De Hoveden also gives a formidable list, in which are included the names of the dukes of Swabia, Flanders, and Burgundy, the archbishops of Besançon, Arles, Montreal, etc. Baldwin died Nov. 19, 1190. The Itinerary compares the siege of Acre to the siege of Troy, and says. (I. 32) "it would certainly obtain eternal fame as a city for which the whole world contended."420420    The Itinerary and other documents make frequent reference to its deadly use. Among the machines used on both sides were the petrariae, which hurled stones, and mangonels used for hurling stones and other missiles. Itinerary, III. 7, etc. One of the grappling machines was called a "cat." The battering ram was also used, and the sow, a covering under which the assailants made their approach to the walls. King Richard was an expert in the use of the arbalest, or cross-bow.truggle was participated in by women as well as the men. Some Crusaders apostatized to get the means for prolonging life.421421    The price of a loaf of bread rose from a penny to 40 shillings, and a horseload of corn was sold for 60 marks. De Hoveden, etc. Horse flesh was greedily eaten, even to the intestines, which were sold for 10 sols. Even grass was sought after to appease hunger. A vivid description of the pitiful sufferings from famine is given in the Itinerary, I. 67-83. to surrender, July, 1191. By the terms of the capitulation the city’s stores, two hundred thousand pieces of gold, fifteen hundred prisoners, and the true cross were to pass into the hands of the Crusaders.

The advance upon Jerusalem was delayed by rivalries between the armies and their leaders. Richard’s prowess, large means, and personal popularity threw Philip into the shade, and he was soon on his way back to France, leaving the duke of Burgundy as leader of the French. The French and Germans also quarrelled.422422    Itinerary, I. 44.ne, the nephew of both Richard and Philip Augustus, as king of Jerusalem.

A dark blot rests upon Richard’s memory for the murder in cold blood of twenty-seven hundred prisoners in the full sight of Saladin’s troops and as a punishment for the non-payment of the ransom money. The massacre, a few days before, of Christian captives, if it really occurred, in part explains but cannot condone the crime.423423    This pretext is upon the sole authority of de Hoveden, an. 1191. He says, however, that Saladin did not execute the Christian captives until Richard had declined to withdraw his threat and to give more time for the payment of the ransom money and the delivery of the true cross. Archer, Hist. of the Crusades, p. 331, thinks that Baba-ed-din’s account implies Saladin’s massacre; but Lane-Poole, Life of Saladin, p. 307, is of the contrary opinion. The Itinerary, IV. 4, states that Richard’s followers, leapt forward to fulfil his commands, thankful to the divine grace for the permission to take such vengeance for the Christians whom the captives had slain with bolts and arrows."It has nothing to say of a massacre by Saladin. Lane-Poole, carried away by admiration for Saladin, takes occasion at this point to say that " in the struggle of the Crusades the virtues of civilization, magnanimity, toleration, real chivalry, and gentle culture were an on the side of the Saracens."The duke of Burgundy was party to the massacre of the Turkish captives.

Jaffa and Ascalon became the next points of the Crusaders’ attack, the operations being drawn out to a wearisome length. Richard’s feats of physical strength and martial skill are vouched for by eye-witnesses, who speak of him as cutting swathes through the enemy with his sword and mowing them down, "as the reapers mow down the corn with their sickles." So mighty was his strength that, when a Turkish admiral rode at him in full charge, Richard severed his neck and one shoulder by a single blow. But the king’s dauntless though coarse courage was not joined to the gifts of a leader fit for such a campaign.424424    Itinerary, VI. 23. Here is a description of one of Richard’s frequent frays as given in the Itinerary, VI. 4: "Richard was conspicuous above all the rest by his royal bearing. He was mounted on a tall charger and charged the enemy singly. His ashen lance was shivered by his repeated blows; but instantly drawing his sword, he pressed upon the fugitive Turks and mowed them down, sweeping away the hindmost and subduing the foremost. Thus he thundered on, cutting and hewing. No kind of armor could resist his blows, for the edge of his sword cut open the heads from the top to the teeth. Thus waving his sword to and fro, he scared away the routed Turks as a wolf when he pursues the flying sheep."ame up to corrupt the army, while day after day "its manifold sins, drunkenness, and luxury increased." Once and perhaps twice Richard came so near the Holy City that he might have looked down into it had he so chosen.425425    De Joinville, Life of St. Louis , an. 1253, says no doubt with the truth that Richard would have taken Jerusalem but for the envy and treachery of the Duke of Burgundy. He repeats the saying of Richard, which is almost too good not to be true. When an officer said, "Sire, come here and I will show you Jerusalem," the king throwing down his arms and looking up to heaven exclaimed, "I pray thee, O Lord God, that I may never look on the Holy City until I can deliver it from thy enemies." The Itinerary has nothing to say on the subject. Richard of Devizes, XC., states that Hubert, bishop of Salisbury, after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, urged the king to go in as a pilgrim, but that "the worthy indignation of his noble mind would not consent to receive from the courtesy of the Gentiles what he could not obtain by the gift of God."r passed through its gates, and after a signal victory at Joppa he closed his military achievements in Palestine. A treaty, concluded with Saladin, assured to the Christians for three years the coast from Tyre to Joppa, and protection to pilgrims in Jerusalem and on their way to the city. In October, 1192, the king, called back by the perfidy of his brother John, set sail from Acre amid the laments of those who remained behind, but not until he had sent word to Saladin that he intended to return to renew the contest.

The exploits of the English king won even the admiration of the Arabs, whose historian reports how he rode up and down in front of the Saracen army defying them, and not a man dared to touch him. Presents passed between him and Saladin.426426    Baha-ed-din, as quoted by Lane-Poole, p. 354. De Hoveden speaks of fruits, the Itinerary of horses. Later story ascribes to Saladin a yearly grant of one thousand bezants of gold to the Knights of St. John at Acre. In order to test the charity of the knights, the sultan had gone to the hospital in disguise and found the reports of their merciful treatment well founded. Of this and of the story of his knighthood at the hands of Humphrey of Toron, and vouched for by the contemporary Itinerary of King Richard, the Arab authorities know nothing. See Lane-Poole,Life of Saladin, 387 sqq.ho accompanied the Third Crusade ascribes to him the valor of Hector, the magnanimity of Achilles, the prudence of Odysseus, the eloquence of Nestor, and equality with Alexander. French writers of the thirteenth century tell how Saracen mothers, long after Richard had returned to England, used to frighten their children into obedience or silence by the spell of his name, so great was the dread he had inspired. Destitute of the pious traits of Godfrey and Louis IX., Richard nevertheless stands, by his valor, muscular strength, and generous mind, in the very front rank of conspicuous Crusaders.

On his way back to England he was seized by Leopold, duke of Austria, whose enmity he had incurred before Joppa. The duke turned his captive over to the emperor, Henry VI., who had a grudge to settle growing out of Sicilian matters. Richard was released only on the humiliating terms of paying an enormous ransom and consenting to hold his kingdom as a fief of the empire. Saladin died March 4, 1193, by far the most famous of the foes of the Crusaders. Christendom has joined with Arab writers in praise of his chivalric courage, culture, and magnanimity.427427    A western legend given by Vincent de Beauvais relates that as Saladin was dying he called to him his standard-bearer and bade him carry through the streets of Damascus the banner of his death as he had carried the banner of his wars; namely, a rag attached to a lance, and cry out. "Lo, at his death, the king of the East can take nothing with him but this cloth only." three churches of the Holy Sepulchre, Nazareth, and Bethlehem?428428    TheItinerary gives a story of Saladin and the notorious miracle of the holy fire until recently shown in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It may well be true. When Saladin, on one occasion, saw the holy flame descend and light a lamp, he ordered the lamp blown out to show it was a fraud. But it was immediately rekindled as if by a miracle. Extinguished a second and a third time, it was again and again rekindled. "Oh, what use is it to resist the invisible Power!" exclaims the author of the Itinerary, V. 16.

The recapture of Acre and the grant of protection to the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem were paltry achievements in view of the loss of life, the long months spent in making ready for the Crusade, the expenditure of money, and the combination of the great nations of Europe. In this case, as in the other Crusades, it was not so much the Saracens, or even the splendid abilities of Saladin, which defeated the Crusaders, but their feuds among themselves. Never again did so large an army from the West contend for the cross on Syrian soil.



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