Third Crusade | 1189 – 1192 | Fascinating Crusade History

The Third Crusade | 1189 – 1192

Pope Gregory VII was the instigator of the third Crusade, he taxed the poor heavily to fund another army to reclaim the holy city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule.

The Pope told people that their sins had led to the Muslim armies conquering Jerusalem and that they could be relinquished of their sins by paying the taxes that he imposed.

Richard the Lionheart

The third Crusade could be called the ‘Royal Crusade’ because of the number of royals that took part like Frederick the German Emperor, the King of France Phillip II and Richard the Lionheart King of England.

King Richard of England was named Richard the Lionheart because of his courage, he was described as having the courage of a lion.

Saladin Ruler of Jerusalem

It was the legendary Muslim leader Saladin who ruled Jerusalem during the third Crusade which he had captured in 1187 after it had been under Christian rule for 88 years.

The German Emperor Frederick was a brave wise warrior and was distraught that Saladin had taken the Christian city of Jerusalem and it was in Muslim hands.

He was determined to get Jerusalem back under Christian control however he was killed in a drowning accident before he reached the Holy Lands.

Third Crusades Map

A map that shows the conflicts and forces of the third crusades

King Richard

King Richard (Richard the Lionheart) was eager to recapture the holy lands from Saladin for the glory it would bestow on him, however he needed money to be able to raise an army.

King Richard decided to give up claim to two castles in Scotland and the rest of his assets in the country for 10,000 marks.

Richard Lionheart was so committed to the third Crusades that he joined forces with Philip II of France who had previously been a bitter enemy.

King Richard – Laws of Third Crusade

King Richard looked to the past at previously unsuccessful Crusades and did not want to make the same mistakes that led to their downfall – he decided to implement strict codes of conduct or laws to keep people on the right path.

For example – If one person in the Crusade murdered another they would both be tied together and thrown in the sea. Any person who stole from another would have hot pitch poured onto their heads with feathers thrown on afterwards.

The Journey

Unlike previous Crusades the Crusaders had made the decision to go across the sea instead of by land, they felt that this would make the journey easier and that they would be fresher for the battles to come.

Richard the Lionheart was not one for taking it easy and he decided to capture the islands of Sicily and Cyprus on his journey to the Holy lands which he did with brutal ease.

During this time he built-up a well regarded reputation which was similar to the legendary Saladin’s and this helped create the legend of ‘Richard the Lionheart’.

The city of Acre

Around this time King Phillip had decided to return home to France, however King Richard decided to push on and took the city of Acre from Muslim hands and at the same time captured 3000 Muslim men, women and children.

After this he tried to meet the Muslim leader Saladin to start some negotiations but he did not get a reply or the reply was too late.

To punish Saladin and to show his power King Richard had all the Muslim people he captured marched up a hillside and killed so that Saladin could see the slaughter as it took place.

Christian and Muslim Battle Third Crusades

Christian armies attack Saladins armies in the third crusades

Richard & Saladin’s Mutual Respect

Both Richard the Lionheart and Saladin were legendary warriors who both respected each other because of their fighting abilities, they were both great leaders of men and both skilled warriors.

There continued to be a series of battles between the two foes during the third Crusades. Legend has it that they had so much respect for each other that Richard Lionheart would ride his horse in front of Saladin’s armies and no one would attack him.

End of Third Crusade

Richard the Lionheart and Saladin were so similar in fact that each other’s armies were unable to carve out a decisive victory during the third Crusades and this led to a truce being drawn up by the two sides.

They made an agreement that part of the Holy lands would remain in Christian hands and the rest would become Muslim.

Saladin would keep the religiously important city of Jerusalem, but he promised to allow Christians the right to make pilgrimages without being attacked.

This this was a three-year agreement that was made in 1192, it was a short agreement because Richard the Lionheart wanted to return and attempt to retake the city of Jerusalem.

However he never returned and Jerusalem remained under Muslim control.

The Third Crusade 1191: Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and the struggle for Jerusalem (Campaign)