The Third Crusade


              Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt gained control of Jerusalem in 1187.  This was the first domino that set fire under the idea of a Third Crusade.  To fathom the idea of Muslims parading around their Holy Land was horrid and the call of another Holy fight rose from the mouths of Christians all around Europe.

            Three European kings heeded the call to take up the cross of the Crusaders: King Phillip II of France, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and King Richard of England.

            After raising money for the Crusades, Europe set off on the journey toward the Middle East.  On the way to their destination, however, disaster struck the German army when the emperor, at age 70, drowned in a rushing stream.  Most of his men, without their zealous leader, turned back toward Germany.

            The most important battle now lay in front of the French and English forces.  With an estimated 600,000 men, the Crusaders collided with Acre, taking siege of the city (1191).

            King Richard and King Phillip, however, could not stay on good terms.  After many disagreements and heated arguments, the victory of Acre was replaced by the sight of the French army sailing back toward Europe.  This left full control of the Crusades in King Richard’s hands.

            The battles to come were ones of business and religion rather than hatred when it came to the King and the Muslim leader, Saladin.  Both held the traits of respectable, kind men.  They understood each other very well and never once underestimated the other’s skill and knowledge.  All war rules and agreements were followed and generosity was shown.

            The acts of King Richard during these years put truth into his nickname, The Lionheart.  Without the right amount of resources and supplies though, there was no possible way the Crusaders could get a hold of Jerusalem.  A truce was made between King Richard and Saladin, letting the Muslims keep the Holy City and the Crusaders could keep Acre.  Another part of the truce allowed the Christian soldiers to visit Jerusalem as pilgrims.  The invitation was given to the Lionheart as well, but King Richard could not walk the streets of Jerusalem until it was as a conqueror.