The third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) was introduced to retake Jerusalem ~ its autumn to the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187 CE. The Crusade was led by three European monarchs, for this reason its various other name of "the Kings" Crusade". The three leaders were: Frederick i Barbarossa, King the Germany and Holy roman Emperor (r. 1152-1190 CE), Philip II the France (r. 1180-1223 CE) and also Richard i "the Lionhearted" that England (r. 1189-1199 CE). Regardless of this pedigree, the project was a failure, the holy City never also being attacked. Along the way, there were some victories, notably the capture of Acre and also the battle of Arsuf. Fizzling out through a whimper, the Crusade collapsed because, by the time they arrived on their objective, the western leaders found themselves without adequate men or sources to withstand the still intact armies of Saladin. Return a weaken was negotiated with accessibility for pilgrims to Jerusalem permitted and also a Christian foothold preserved in the middle East, another attempt to take it the holy City would quickly be make the original objective that the fourth Crusade that 1202-1204 CE.

The loss of Jerusalem

The second Crusade (1147-1149 CE) had efficiently ended through the complete failure to take it Damascus in Syria in 1148 CE. The various Muslim claims in the Middle eastern then realised that the once-feared western knights could be defeated and the precarious presence of the Crusader-held territories, the Latin East, to be starkly highlighted. All that was needed now to be a unification of Muslim forces and this was noted by one of the greatest of all middle ages rulers, Saladin, the Sultan that Egypt and also Syria (r. 1174-1193 CE).

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Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid empire in Egypt, took regulate of Damascus in 1174 CE and Aleppo in 1183 CE. Saladin then shocked the people by defeating the army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Latin allies at the battle of Hattin in 1187 CE. Thus, Saladin had the ability to take manage of such urban as Acre, Tiberias, Caesarea, Nazareth, Jaffa and also even, the holiest that holies itself, Jerusalem. Remarkable lenient with his Christian captives compared to the butchery the the very first Crusade (1095-1102 CE), after the recapture of Jerusalem practically a century earlier, Saladin accepted ransoms native those Latin believer who could afford come buy your freedom and enslaved the rest. East Christians were allowed to stay in Jerusalem as a safeguarded minority group. The Latin east had all however collapsed, only Tyre remained in Christian hands, under the command the Conrad that Montferrat, however it would prove a beneficial foothold because that the comes fightback.

In 1187 CE Pope Gregory VIII dubbed for yet another Crusade to win earlier Jerusalem & such lost holy relics as the True Cross.

Pope Gregory VIII just reigned for a few months in 1187 CE but, in October of the year, that made a lasting impact on background by calling because that yet one more crusade come win earlier Jerusalem and also such lost holy relics together the True Cross. Nothing less than a repeat the the exceptional feat that the an initial Crusade would certainly do. No fewer 보다 three queens took increase the Pope"s challenge: the holy Roman Emperor, Frederick ns Barbarossa, king the Germany, Philip II that France and Richard ns of England. V these being the three most an effective men in west Europe, the project promised much.

Death of Frederick i Barbarossa

Frederick ns Barbarossa to be the very first king to mobilise, and also he travelled v his army by land through Thrace in the spring of 1190 CE. The oriental Emperor Isaac II Angelos (r. 1185-1195 CE) to be understandably wary of this western army passing v his region while, from the other side, the westerners were deeply suspicious of Isaac"s new alliance through Saladin, a feeling based on some reality as Isaac did try to impede the Crusaders" progression towards the middle East. As soon as Frederick occupied Adrianople in Thrace, the Byzantines became more helpful come their fellow Christians however the Emperor was no doubt relieved when the Germans had actually passed on right into Anatolia.


Then disaster struck on 10 June 1190. The divine Roman Emperor drown in one accident, falling native his horse into (or experiencing a heart attack while swim in) the flow Saleph in southerly Cilicia tho on his method to the holy Land. Frederick"s death, and also then a calamitous outbreak that dysentery, caused most that his military being removed or deciding to trudge ago home in grief. The Crusade would have to rely on the English and French armies, temporary allies that were not really fond that each other at the best of times. Back a few German troops made it to Acre in the middle East, the lose of Frederick"s authority and also experience would certainly prove to be significant for the Crusade together a whole.

Richard i Takes Sicily & Cyprus

Meanwhile, Richard i took the sea path to the middle East. The knowledgeable campaigner, together meticulous as ever, had swung his whole kingdom"s resources towards the campaign, amassing a fleet of 100 ships and also 60,000 horses. ~ above his way, Richard recorded Messina ~ above Sicily in 1190 CE, and when the king"s army grouped for the an initial time ~ above the island in April 1191 CE, there to be 17,000 soldiers all set for action. The English king knew full well the the make-or-break aspect for any campaign to be logistics and also he set about ensuring he had actually a good line of supply by next capturing Cyprus. Officially still Byzantine, the island now had actually a rebel leader, Isaac Komnenos, who had proclaimed self its independent ruler. Richard confirmed unstoppable and, with the fairly tame excuse that the locals had not treated part shipwrecked Crusaders very kindly, Cyprus to be taken in may 1191 CE. The island"s citizens were forced to pay a 50% tax on every possessions come further boost the Crusader king"s project coffers. The Crusaders would govern the island, subsequently offered as a supply basic for militaries on their means to the center East, till the Venetians took over in 1571 CE.


Meanwhile in France, Philip II had actually amassed his army of 650 knights, 1,300 squires, and an even larger variety of infantry. This army likewise sailed to the Levant, this time many thanks to Genoese ships that would take it to Acre. The 3rd Crusade to be certainly emerging into a important pan-European military escapade.

The Siege that Acre

The first major battle of the project was at Acre, top top the coastline of the Kingdom that Jerusalem. Actually, the city had already been under siege for part time through an army led by the French nobleman guy of Lusignan, king the what stayed of the Kingdom that Jerusalem (r. 1186-1192 CE). However, guy was struggling together he now faced an army sent through Saladin come relive the city. Happily for the Latin ruler, numerous Crusader militaries shortly come in support: the remains of Frederick"s army, a German arbitrarily led by duke Leopold that Austria which had actually travelled by sea, a French pressure led by Henry of Champagne, and the armies of Richard I and Philip II. By early June 1191 CE, all the Crusaders were in place and also ready to take the city.


A heavy and sustained bombardment making use of catapults to be launched however the protracted siege to be only finally successful when sappers, offered cash incentives through Richard, undermined the fortification walls of the city ~ above the floor side. The English king"s siege engines and reputation, and also divisions in Saladin"s own military were added factors in the victory. The "Lionhearted", as Richard to be now well-known thanks come his courage and audacity in warfare, had achieved in five weeks what Guy had actually failed to do in 20. The city to be finally caught on 12 July 1191 CE, and also with it, significantly, 70 ships, the bulk of Saladin"s navy. According to legend, Richard had been ill in ~ the time, perhaps struck down by scurvy, although he had actually retainers lug him on a stretcher so the he might fire in ~ the foe battlements through his crossbow. Richard then quite blemished his "good king" reputation when he notified 2,500 detainees to be executed. The English king feeling the delay in payment the i agreeed ransom for them required a for sure riposte, and also to relax them would only have actually meant castle sooner or later on rejoined the foe army.

From the initial three kings, the Crusader military now had only one, back Richard ns was probably the greatest basic of his generation.

Guy the Lusignan, meanwhile, was made the new king that Cyprus which had actually been sold by Richard come the Knights Templar (more cash because that the cause). Back in the Levant, unfortunately, Philip to be obliged to return house in august 1191 CE because of political troubles in Flanders which intimidated his throne. Thus, native the initial three kings, the Crusader army now had only one. Still, Richard was most likely the greatest general of his generation, and also the campaign, in spite of its setbacks, was off come a good start.

The fight of Arsuf

The Crusader military next collection its sights on Jaffa, the critical port which gave Jerusalem, however on their means there Saladin, after ~ a couple of days of ineffective harassing techniques on the marching army, made decision that the best way to address the intruders was a full-on field engagement. On 7 September 1191 CE, ~ above the plain of Arsuf, the two armies clashed in a running battle, the Crusaders being cautious to monitor the coast and so leave just one flank the their pillar exposed. The Muslim mounted and infantry archers, as well as infantry lance-bearers, assaulted the marching Crusader infantry who, together usual, created a safety block about the heavy cavalry units. ~ skirmishes for most of the day, the westerner"s heavy mounties was unleashed to devastating effect, back the initial fee was maybe an unauthorised one through the Knights Hospitaller. The Crusaders won the battle but the Muslim losses were not substantial - Saladin having had actually no an option but to retract to the loved one safety that the forest which bordered the plain.

The Crusaders then marched on come Jaffa to rest and regroup. Return Richard preferred to very first secure Egypt and so isolate the enemy"s logistical base, most of the Crusaders were intent on striking directly for Jerusalem, i beg your pardon was, after all, the original goal of the Crusade. The English king bowed to well-known demand and moved for the divine City however only ~ a cautious advancement where strategically vital castles protecting the army"s it is provided lines were captured and fortified. Consequently, the Crusader military had still not got to its score by January 1192 CE. The wet weather was not speeding up the advancement either, and also still 19 kilometre from their ultimate goal and also with their supply present precarious, a fateful decision was made.

Jerusalem & A Negotiated Peace

Richard had marched come within sight of Jerusalem, yet he knew that even if he might storm the city"s formidable fortifications, his army had been so decreased by the various battles over the past two years that he would most most likely not be able to hold it versus an unavoidable counterattack. It to be a decision supported by the leaders of both the the army"s two most experienced fighting units: the Knights Templar and also Knights Hospitaller. Now more than ever the lose of Frederick"s military was most keenly felt. One more march was made on Jerusalem the complying with year, but, as before, it stopped short and also the leaders once again made decision they might, together at Acre, take the city ~ a lengthy siege however they would practically certainly be can not to stave off a counterattack from Saladin.

Meanwhile, the Muslim leader chose to assault Jaffa, which was taken in July 1192 CE. Richard, by climate at Acre, sailed and also arrived in ~ Jaffa top top 1 August, established to get the city back again. Leading from the front, the “Lionhearted” accomplished his goal against improbable odds, yet in terms of the bigger snapshot not much had changed. The Muslims still controlled Jerusalem and Saladin still had his army intact. It to be something the a dead end and, in any kind of case, similar to Philip, domestic affairs in England required Richard"s notice return residence to safeguard his throne in October 1192 CE. The totality Crusade task was successfully abandoned. No Crusader military would ever before get as close to Jerusalem again.

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Richard salvaged something for all the effort and negotiated a peace address Saladin at Jaffa. The Crusader-held fortress of Ascalon had actually to be given up and dismantled while a small strip of land roughly Acre was to be retained by the Crusaders, and the future safe treatment of Christian pilgrims to the holy Land was additionally bargained for. It to be not rather what was hoped for at the outset, yet there could constantly be a 4th Crusade at part time in the future. Indeed, Richard detailed that in any future campaign against the Arabs it would certainly be helpful to attack from Egypt, the weak underbelly of your empire. The was precisely this setup which the 4th Crusaders (1202-1204 CE) adopted, even if lock again were distracted indigenous their original objective, this time by the jewel of Byzantium: Constantinople.

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Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His special interests encompass pottery, architecture, civilization mythology and also discovering the ideas that all human beings share in common. That holds an MA in politics Philosophy and also is the publishing Director at WHE.