On the 4th July 1187, Saladin the Sultan of Egypt, came face to face with the 20,000 strong Christian army, commanded by Guy de Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem. An exhausted and dehydrated Christian Army met Saladin’s forces at the “Battle of Hattin,” in the hills behind Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.
Thousands of Christian warriors lost their lives, other’s captured and thrown into chains, and Guy de Lusignan, captured. The Holy Cross that had been carried into battle, was lost, and became one of the spoils of victory for Saladin.
Saladin’s victory, led to Christian held cities opening their gates to him, followed by Jerusalem, who after a short siege accepted him as leader.
News of the disaster in the Holy Land, spread across Western Christendom… Public opinion demanded that the Kings of England and France should rescue Jerusalem the Holy City.
On the 29th October 1187, Pope Gregory VIII sent greetings and an apostolic benediction, to men of God. He called upon the warriors of God, to take up arms and free Jerusalem from these infidels. Thousand’s answered the reply, sewing the sign of the cross upon their garments.
King Philip Augustus of France, King Richard I of England and the German emperor; Frederick Barbarossa took the cross, believing in the restoration of Christian supremacy. Each ruler, each commander headed a large army, destined to take back the Holy City of Jerusalem.
On the 11th May 1189, the sixty year old, Holy Roman Emperor; Frederick Barbarossa, set out, believing this would be the crowning act of his career. His forces travelled overland, rejected by the Byzantine Empire, crossed into Asia. In May of 1190 defeated the Turks of Armenia, but they suffered much from thirst, hunger and constant ambushes. Thousands died on route, just laid down and died.
Survivors of this traumatic journey, negotiated the Taurus mountains, and into the valley of the Goksu, and the fast flowing river. The heat was so intense, that Barbarossa sought the coolness of the water’s, plunging in without thought, and his troops were stunned, when their commander drowned before their eyes, on the 10th June 1190.
King Richard the Lion-Heart, successor to Henry II of England and King Philip Augustus, successor to King Louis of France, would go side by side on Crusade, not because they were friends, but because they be enemies. Whilst the King of England ruled half of France, they would remain enemies.
With their armies assembled, these two large armies were prepared to fight, side by side, as one.
The siege of Acre began in the summer of 1189, when Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem laid siege to the city, with but a small band of supporters.
Two years later in 1191, the crusader army led by King Richard I of England and King Philip II Augustus of France, arrived to break the stalemate that had existed.
Richard’s fleet intercepted and sank a Muslim vessel from Beirut, carrying supplies and reinforcements for the garrison. After that time a blockade existed by land and sea, imposed by crusaders.
At one point, a tunnel was dug under the wall, supported by wooden beams, and then set alight. As the beams burned, the walls collapsed, it had the desired effect; weakening Muslim forces.
By July of 1191, the garrison, the city had no choice but to surrender, for the city was rife with disease, and any hope of rescue by Saladin’s forces, appeared doubtful. The siege had lasted from the 28th August 1189 to the 12th July 1191.
On the 31st July 1191, King Philip II and his forces, set sail for home.
King Richard I remained in the Holy Land, and left Acre on the 22nd August, and faced Saladin’s forces at Arsuf on the 11th September, a victorious victory was achieved by Christian knights.
King Richard I made a truce with Saladin, the terms laid down, permitted Christian’s access to Jerusalem, and holy sites. In October of 1192, Richard sailed to England, as the third crusade drew to a close.
(Image) The Third Crusade: Wikipedia