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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Third Crusade 1189-1192: From Hattin to Jaffa DOCUMENTARY

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The Third Crusade had it all: brilliant commanders, courtly intrigue, religious struggle, desperate

sieges, unexpected maneuvers, bold tactics and iconic battles that changed the course

of history. In this video we will cover the battles of Hattin, Acre, Iconium, Jaffa and

Arsuf. Welcome to our documentary on the Third Crusade!

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In late June 1187, under the scorching sun of Galilee, two armies were mustering their

strength for the decisive campaign of the age. The first, stationed at le Sephorie,

was a united force of the Christian Crusader Kingdoms, under the overall leadership of

Guy de Lusignan - recently elected King of Jerusalem. The shimmering jewel of Christendoms

Levantine army were 1,200 mounted knights, drawn from all of the crusader kingdoms and

military orders - such as the Hospitallers and Templars - who operated in the Outremer.

Despite their undeniable talent in combat, an army of knights had been humbled by the

Muslims at Cresson almost two months earlier, revealing their potential weakness.

Around 4,000 other mounted troops supplemented the flower of Christian chivalry, many of

whom were men-at-arms, converted Muslim prisoners of war, locally recruited auxiliaries, or

mercenaries known as turcopoles. They served as the crusading armys lighter cavalry

in the absence of European light cavalry, wielding bows and light lances, among other

weapons. The armys infantry contingent was made up of 15,000 men of varying quality,

ranging from professional crossbowmen hired in Italy, all the way to the inexperienced

local troops. Its composition was also quite haphazard, displaying an array of weapons,

includingDanishbearded axes, maces, falchions, pikes and many others.

About 20 kilometres to the east, Guys opponent, Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub - better known

as the legendary Saladin - moved up from TalAshtarah with 35,000 men to encamp at the small village

of Cafarsset. From its heights, the Ayyubid leader could threaten any Crusader march to

the Sea of Galilee, or the cities of Tiberias and Sephorie. Saladins army - made up of

about 23,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry - was better organised than its Christian counterpart.

In addition to its subdivision into relatively standard units, regular troops were also paid.

Most of the army was made up of Turkomans, Kurds and Arabs, while a unit of mamluks served

as the Sultans personal guard. The Muslim commander made the first move on

July 1st. Aiming to reconnoiter the Christian army himself and perhaps draw the enemy out

in the process, Saladin personally rode close to Sephorie with a unit of cavalry. Although

any attempted lure failed, the Muslims managed to scout both the Christian position and a

potential northern road to the inland sea. Realising he would have to force King Guys

hand in a different way, Saladin sent a substantial part of his infantry and the armys siege

engines to attack Tiberias , a fortified town where Count Raymond of Tripolis wife, Eschiva

of Bures was staying at the time. Unfortunately for its people, the strength of Tiberias

garrison had been denuded and left at an absolute minimum. After a brief attempt at resistance,

a tower in the defensive wall was destroyed with a mine and Tiberias fell. Eschiva retreated

with the remaining soldiers into the citadel, while a messenger, probably permitted to leave

by Saladin, went to inform the main Christian army.

Back over to the west, the arrival of grave news from Tiberias led all prominent Christian

leaders to assemble for a council of war. Perhaps surprisingly, Count Raymond looked

past the potential fate of his wife and fervently argued against any attempt at relieving the

city. Saladins attack on Tiberias was, as he saw it, intended to draw them into an

unfavourable situation and a battle on his terms. Despite accusations of cowardice and

treachery driven by Raymonds prior friendly relations with Saladin, King Guy was convinced;

the army remained where it was and the council dissolved for the night.

However, one of Raymonds accusers - the grandmaster of the templars, Gerard de Ridefort

- whose army had been recently smashed at Cresson, continued to pressure the king throughout

the night. We dont know what argument eventually convinced him to change his mind, but just

before dawn on July 3rd 1187, the crusaders were alerted that they were about to march.

Breaking camp at sunrise, Guys army began its ponderous eastward march over Galilees

dusty plains in the blistering summer heat. It was formed up in three divisions, one behind

the other, with cavalry protected in the middle by masses of infantry on the outside. The

vanguard was led by Raymond, the center - where the True Cross was stationed - by King Guy,

and the rear by Balian dIbelin. Shortly after their departure, word reached Saladin

that the enemy was on the move. He immediately recalled most of his troops from Tiberias,

leaving only a token force to continue the siege. While the returning infantry began

organising themselves, Saladin sent detachments of mobile mounted archers in Guys direction.

At roughly 10am, the heavily-armoured Christian forces approached an abandoned village called

Touran. The settlement had a small spring which a small portion of the army drank from,

but most of the troops were denied the opportunity and pushed on towards Tiberias. As the parched

crusader army started trickling out of Touran, Saladins light cavalry units needled its

sluggish divisions with arrows and javelins, slowly at first, but increasing to a withering

hail as their enemy crossed in front of the main Muslim position at Cafarsset.

At midday, the Ayyubid left under Gökböri swept around the crusader rear, cutting their

path of retreat back to Touran. The Christians themselves were now in a terrible situation,

slowed to a crawl by the continual harassment and sweltering in the midsummer heat with

no water. Raymond - leading the vanguard - became convinced that the army was too weak to fight

its way along the Lubiya road - which was close to Saladins position. Instead, he

convinced Guy to take a northern road towards the springs at Hattin - six kilometers away

- where his men could rest, hydrate, and recuperate. Observing the change of direction from his

elevated position, the Sultan sent his lieutenant - Taqi al-Din - to block off the road to Hattin

with the Ayyubid right division. Raymond urged a faster pace, knowing that this was a possibility,

but harassment of Balians rearguard by Gökböris horsemen brought the army almost

to a complete stop. When nightfall came, the strung out4 and demoralised Christians set

up camp for what was to be a restless night .

The dehydrated, exhausted troops were again harried throughout the h. ours of darkness

by the lightning fast squadrons of horse archers from all sides, attacks which caused dire

losses in men and, more severely, the unarmoured horses. In comparison to the dire supply situation

which Guy and the other crusaders faced, Saladin and his army were more than adequately supplied.

Camels were a key factor in his logistical preparations. To keep up the arrow bombardment,

seventy of the beasts loaded with bundles of ammunition were brought in as a reserve.

At the same time, a continual train of camels ferried goatskins filled with water from Lake

Tiberias to the Muslim camp. King Guys army formed up in its three marching

divisions before dawn and began the final march towards Hattins vibrant springs.

They would never make it. Having been ordered not to disrupt the enemy in their preparations

during the pre-dawn hours, Saladin now ordered prepared piles of parched brushwood to be

set alight, blowing arid smoke from the northwestern hills straight into the Christian ranks. The

dire situation provoked the defection of some knights to Saladin, informing the Sultan that

their comrades were finished. At this moment of maximum opportunity, Saladin ordered the

bulk of his men in the center to charge down the hill and into the foe.

As they did, Templar units at the Christian rear and Raymonds division upfront responded

with a mounted countercharge that crashed into the units led by Gökböri and Taqi al-Din.

This repelled the initial Muslim assault on the flanks and even drove a small wedge between

Saladin and his right wing, at the cost of many crusader mounts.

Guys exhausted infantry however, thoroughly sleep-deprived, intensely thirsty, and choked

by the smoke, had reached the end of their tether. Upon seeing the small gap which had

materialised between the divisions of Saladin and Taqi al-Din, they took advantage of the

opportunity and broke ranks, streaming in the direction of Lake Tiberias. However, the

presence of the Sultans army instead shepherded them onto an extinct twin-peaked volcano known

as the Horns of Hattin. King Guys division, under constant attack

by Saladins mounted troops, was called to a halt slightly southwest of the Horns

in a useless attempt to fortify the area with tents. Slightly to the east, Raymond took

the remainder of his vanguard division and threw them at Taqi al-Dins troops opposite

him in a headlong charge. To the counts surprise, his enemys agile units swung

aside like an opening door and let the Christians march deeper into the gorge behind them, before

closing ranks. With his vanguard effectively shut out of the battlefield by Taqis clever

maneuver, Raymond continued north and withdrew from Hattin entirely, first to Lake Tiberias,

and then all the way back to Tyre. It was an act of perceived treachery and cowardice

which, despite his previously prudent advice, many contemporaries would never let him forget.

As more and more Christian soldiers flocked onto the Horns in hope of safety, morale completely

collapsed. When King Guy, who was still trying to fortify his camp, sent orders for the infantry

to come back down they refused, statingWe are not coming down because we are dying of

thirst, and we will not fight!” With no alternative, the king also joined his men

atop the southern horn and erected his royal tent. At this point, Saladins troops assaulted

the extinct twin-peaked volcano from all sides and, despite ferocious resistance, eventually

managed to split the Christian forces on each horn from each other.

When the Sultans young son al-Afdal saw the success, he cried to his father thatWe

have conquered them!” and was immediately chastised harshly by Saladin, who replied

Be quiet! We shall not have beaten them until that tent falls!” It is said that

the moment after he spoke, a Muslim cavalryman cut the tents ropes and its fabric collapsed.

The battle was won. Only a few of the knightly flower of Guys

army had even been wounded, but vast numbers of infantry and horses lay dead on the field.

Putting aside the escape of Balian dIbelin and a few Christian rear units, Saladins

victory was total. Almost every warrior of the Christian army was either killed or became

a prisoner, while King Guy was simply taken prisoner and was treated relatively well.

After this crushing victory, Saladin started marching toward Jerusalem, and besieged it

on the 20th of September. While the citys defences had been strengthened, Jerusalem

was a city in crisis. It was swollen by refugees from the countryside, fleeing the war, and

was deprived of fighting men by the annihilation at Hattin.

Although the defenders commanded by Balian of Ibelin resisted with valor, the city was

bombarded by catapults and mangonels, and after days of siege the sides started to discuss

peace. As was typical of Saladin, lax and even generous terms were finally reached on

the 2nd of October. The surrender was agreed days later and, on the 9th of October 1187,

Saladin peacefully marched into the Holy City. After that siege, Saladin had captured most

of the Crusader cities on the Levantine coast, including the economic centre of Acre. Meanwhile,

the ancient city of Tyre resisted the Muslims when an Italian noble, Conrad of Montferrat,

arrived from Constantinople and seized command. Conrad of Montferrat, now in total control

of Tyre, sent the Archbishop of Tyre - Joscius - to the west. He bore tales of Christendoms

catastrophic defeats to the Pope, Urban III, who died on the 20th of October 1187, supposedly

from the shock of the revelation that Jerusalem had been lost. Shortly after his death, Gregory

VIII succeeded him and, by the end of the month, the proclamation for the Third Crusade

was made. It is at this point we must take a moment

to look at the situation in western Europe and the reaction to the fall of Jerusalem.

Deepening rivalries between and within the western powers exacerbated the problem that

the previous Second Crusade, which had been utterly defeated, had discredited the notion

of holy war. In 1152, Frederick I Barbarossa had assumed power in the Holy Roman Empire,

and in 1155 he formally ascended to the Imperial throne. His realm was powerful on paper, but

its regions were also notoriously reluctant to conform to central authority, and he had

to spend decades subduing warring factions in the Empire.

To the west, the Counts of Anjou - who were formally vassals of the French Capetian kings

- began to grow in power. Henry of Anjou, the current ruler, then proceeded to add the

Duchy of Normandy to his holdings. After marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was previously married

to the French king Louis VII, in 1152, he ascended to the throne of England in 1154,

ruling over a realm encompassing parts of the modern British Isles and France, and known

to historians as the Angevin Empire. The Angevins were the vassals of the French kings from

the Capetian dynasty via their holdings on the continent, but they were often more powerful

than the Capetians, and this friction would leave a mark on the upcoming Crusade.

However, the stunning victories of Saladin in 1187 were enough to break the deadlock.

As the Popes declaration of Crusade was spread through Europes royal courts, tens

of thousands of Latin Christians pledged themselves to the cause, which created a massive upheaval

in European society, especially in France, where many aristocrats began to rally their

own contingents. However the participation of kings was crucial to Crusader success.

This is where we must introduce one of our main Christian protagonists - Richard, the

prince who would become known as the Lionheart. This young prince, who was warring against

his father supported by the new French king Philip II Augustus, was the first to take

up the cross in November of 1187. It should be noted that the prince was rash and eager

to enhance his own glory and prestige. Richards decision sent shockwaves throughout western

Europe, forcing the Angevins and Capetians to act.

Philip Augustus and Henry II met at Gisors during January of 1188 in order to discuss

a settlement in the presence of leading nobles. Among the attendees of this assembly was Archbishop

Joscius, who preached a sermon on the dire state of Christianity in the Holy Land. This

address prompted many French lords to pledge their support. Amid the zealous fervor of

the meeting, the two monarchs made public declarations of their determination to fight

in the Third Crusade. In order to raise funds for the venture, the so-calledSaladin

Tithewas imposed, but was more successful in the more centralised English territories

than the decentralised French holdings. Though they were among the first to commit,

both England and France were still embroiled in conflict, and neither would displace their

military forces unless the other did the same, which caused delays in the crusade. Richard,

worried that his father was about to disinherit him as heir to the throne, allied with the

French king in autumn of 1188. The two launched a swift assault into Normandy during June

of 1189. Unable to resist this invasion, the English king sought a peace settlement. At

a conference on July 4th, Henry accepted all terms: Richard was confirmed as the successor,

20,000 marks were paid in tribute to Philip and the three would crusade together the following

year. However, by this point Henry was physically shattered and ill, and died three days later.

His son ascended to the English throne as Richard I.

Upon taking the throne, Richard immediately began intensifying the realms efforts to

raise funds and organised his professional army. After he and the French king had done

this, they met in late 1189 and early 1190 for final preparations. Then, in two identical

ceremonies one after the other, the kings took up their symbolic pilgrim satchels and

staffs, before setting off for the Levant on the 4th of July 1190. They would march

to the coast and then make their way across the Mediterranean by ship. At this point,

Richard had around 17,000 troops, while Philips contingent was smaller.

Further east Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, through decades of tireless campaigning and

shrewd politicking, had imposed a never before seen amount of central authority onto the

feudal realms of the empire, and also reached advantageous agreements with Northern Italian

states and the Papacy. In terms of wealth, martial resources and international prestige,

Barbarossas power easily outstripped both the Angevins and the Capetians. After biding

his time for a few months after the crusades proclamation in order to see which way the

popular wind was blowing, the Holy Roman Emperor took the cross on March 27th 1188.

He made swift preparations, exiling his political enemy, Henry the Lion, and leaving his eldest

son Henry in Germany as heir. Most of the crusaders under Barbarossa marched along the

route used by earlier crusades. In order to ease his passage, diplomatic contacts were

made with Hungary, the Byzantine Empire and even the Seljuk ruler of Anatolia, Kilij Arslan

II. All went well until the Germans reached Byzantiums

borders, as Emperor Isaac II Angelos had already formed a pact with Saladin to deny any crusader

access. Barbarossa progressed with force anyway, capturing Philippopolis before advancing on

Adrianople. With Frederick quickly bearing down on the capital, a compromise was reached

in February 1190. The Byzantines allowed the crusader army to move to Gallipoli and cross

into Anatolia with the aid of Pisan and Greek ships.

Back in the Levant, events were progressing rapidly. All attempts by Saladin to take the

principal Christian enclave of Tyre had failed, including a lengthy blockade and an assault

with Mangonels. Instead, Saladin turned to politics to help foster inter-Christian conflict.

Believing he was a spent force, Saladin released the monarch of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Guy

of Lusignan, who had been a Muslim prisoner since the destruction of his army at Hattin,

in an exchange for a promise that he would never take up arms against Muslims again.

Upon his release, Guy rejoined his queen in Tripoli and then marched upon Tyre, which

was a city in his own realm. When he arrived, Guy demanded to be admitted to the city as

its king, but Conrad refused, stating that he would keep the city until the crusaders

came, and so Guy returned to Tripoli. When the first Pisan and Sicilian ships arrived

to assist in early 1189, Guy took a high risk decision to besiege the coastal trading centre

of Acre. On August 22nd he set off down the coastal Scandelion Pass, but was discovered

by the Muslims a few days later. Messengers relayed Guys position to the Sultan, but

he hesitated and did not meet them in the pass. The relatively small Christian army

arrived outside Acre on August 28th 1189. Not thinking this meagre force a threat, the

defending Muslim garrison jeered at it mockingly. However, since his defeat at Hattin, Guy had

apparently developed a sense of strategy; he encamped in a strong position on the nearby

120-foot-high Mount Toron, where he had a natural defence and a commanding view over

Acre. The first proper action took place on August

31st, when the Christian forces unexpectedly attacked with ladders, almost succeeding in

taking the battlements by shock and awe before Saladins advance scouts arrived. Afraid

of being caught out in the open, Guys attacking forces retreated back to the camp.

Over the next few days Saladin himself arrived with the main army, destroying any hopes the

Latins had of a quick victory, and forcing them to fight on two fronts. It is likely

that if at this point Saladin had coordinated with Acres garrison, he could have crushed

the Christians. But again he wavered, instead holding a cautious position on the hillside

of el-Kharruba, about six miles to the southeast. Under the veil of darkness, the Sultan managed

to sneak a detachment of reinforcements into the city, while during the day, mounted Muslim

skirmishers would be dispatched to constantly harry Guys camp. In any other situation,

this would have been a good strategy, but Saladins caution at Acre was a fatal misreading

of the situation. One crucial factor made this way of warfare fail - the sea. Slowly

at first, but growing as the weeks wore on, a constant stream of Frankish ships began

to arrive in the region. On September 10th, a massive group of 50 ships arrived carrying

12,000 Frisian and Danish crusaders. In addition to the ground reinforcements, the ships also

helped to tighten the Christian blockade of the city by sea. By the end of the month,

even Conrad of Montferrat had come south from Tyre to assist Guy, supposedly bringing 1,000

knights and many thousands of infantry with him.

With their increased numerical strength, the Christian leaders decided to attack the Sultans

main force, which was behind them, head on. Unless they did this, full attention could

not be focused on the siege of the city. So on October 4th, Guy arrayed his forces on

the Acre Plain into three ranks. Archers and crossbowmen were in the first, melee infantry

formed up behind them with heavy cavalry in the rear. The army was also split into three

divisions on the left, right and in the centre. Notably, Templar cavalry was in the centre

and Hospitaler cavalry was on the far right. Rather than charging, the crusaders advanced

at a walking pace towards Saladins Muslim army, aiming to cohesively engage the enemy

all at once. At mid-morning, the Christian left finally made contact with the enemy,

where Taqi al-Din was the commander. Hoping to lure the Franks into a trap, he sent in

mounted skirmishers and then feigned a retreat. This maneuver was so convincing that Saladin

really believed his nephew had been defeated and dispatched troops from the centre to aid

him, weakening that part of his line. Observing the shift, the crusaders sent in

reserves and routed the weakened Muslim centre, opening the way to the Muslim camp. For a

moment, it appeared Saladin would be defeated. Flooding through the gap in his line, some

crusaders even reached the Sultans personal tent, where one of Saladins attendants

was killed. However, the lure of victory and its spoils

were too much to resist. The Latin formation, coherent until this point, disintegrated when

the undisciplined footmen turned to looting and plunder, halting their momentum completely.

Greed was certainly a motivation, but intense hunger also played a part. Meanwhile, the

veteran Templar knights doggedly pursued the fleeing Muslims, but were now unsupported

by their infantry. They had charged too far. Saladin turned and expertly managed to rally

his fleeing army, speeding across the line on his horse to motivate his soldiers and

leading an attack on the isolated Templar contingent, which attempted to retreat. In

the ensuing conflict, many brothers of the proud order were killed, along with its veteran

commander - Gerard of Ridefort. At this point, the situation for the Christians

became even more dire when the 5,000 strong Acre garrison sallied forth from the city,

threatening the camp and the rear of the army. Sensing they were about to be surrounded,

and witnessing the defeat of the templars, the crusader force fled back to their camp.

Those in the Christian centre who were still looting the Muslim tents were caught and killed,

while others were cut down while attempting to run. Though he attempted to do so, Saladin

was unable to press this advantage, as Latin reinforcements sent to the crusader camp,

under command of Geoffrey of Lusignan, fiercely resisted Muslim attempts to overrun their

positions. The Christians had come seeking battle that

day, and had been defeated with some 3,000-4,000 dead or dying, which the Muslims threw into

the River Belus. However, Saladin had also suffered during the battle. In terms of dead

and injured losses had been relatively small, but those who had fled during the rout to

the camp did not return and proved hard to replace.

After the large battle on October 4th Saladin, who had been taken ill and was bound to his

tent, discussed what action to take next with his council. Some of the Sultans advisors

advocated an aggressive approach, arguing that they should strike while the crusaders

were depleted and before fresh Latin reinforcements arrived. The Muslim army was also becoming

more and more exhausted as time went on. Other members of Saladins council professed that

a cautious and patient strategy was best, because the Crusaders were essentially pinned

in place between the field army and the garrison in Acre.

The sickly sultan chose the latter option and the army remained in its defensive position,

prolonging the siege by not seeking a decisive victory. Though the Ayyubid army had the luxury

of choice in action, dire news was beginning to reach Saladin from the north. The powerful

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa had begun his great march towards Syria, supposedly accompanied

by over 200,000 troops. Of course, these were greatly inflated numbers, but the overestimation

shows the fear that the Muslims had of this additional western army. Taking action in

response to this news, the sultan sent one of his subordinates - Ibn Shaddad, on a recruiting

mission across his realm to raise more soldiers. The last we saw of Barbarossa and his German

crusaders, they had crossed from Hellespont at Gallipoli, having reached an accommodation

with the Byzantine Emperor. Moving quickly east, the German army then forged a route

southeast through Greek territories, before crossing into Turkish lands in late April,

where they encountered the first sparks of Muslim resistance.

As supplying an army was incredibly difficult in this hostile land, Barbarossa had to divide

his forces and march them in various columns. On April 30th, the Seljuks attacked the emperors

camp, employing hit and run tactics with their light cavalry, but a counterattack managed

to drive them back, killing a few hundred. Two days later the Turks tried their luck

with an attack on the Crusader vanguard, led by Barbarossas son Frederick of Swabia.

Initially, this attack stopped the Germans in their tracks, but their heavier armour

allowed them to withstand the arrows of the Seljuk horse archers. Fredericks soldiers

had to dig in and had almost no way to respond. Luckily for them, Barbarossa was keeping iron

discipline in his army and messengers were riding back and forth between the divisions;

when he heard his son was in trouble, he sent the force of Hungarian light cavalry he had.

The Seljuks were attacked from the flank, suffering casualties and retreating.

It seems that the Seljuks just didnt have enough troops to stop Barbarossas march,

and their attacks only provoked him into changing his course and to go for Iconium, or as the

Seljuks called their capital, Konya, hoping that this would end Seljuk resistance. A few

undefended Seljuk villages were massacred along the way. The Seljuks continued using

hit and run tactics, slowing down the Crusader march and killing many.

The main Turkish attack came on May 7th. The forces of the sultanate, led by prince Kaykhusraw,

attacked the enemy at multiple locations and times, which forced Barbarossas divisions

to defend themselves. The vanguard wasnt attacked at first, and the distance between

it and the rest of the divisions was ever-increasing. As soon as Kaykhusraw decided that there was

enough distance between the Christian columns, his entire army moved to the east in order

to attack the Crusader vanguard at Philomelion. Frederick of Swabia was not only overwhelmed

and surrounded, but his troops also were tired from their march, and that attack surprised

them, but they created a circle to defend themselves. The Seljuk horse archers were

shooting arrows from all sides, and although their armour protected the defenders, many

horses were killed, and the arrows managed to inflict wounds.

Despite the fact that Barbarossas troops elsewhere were equally tired, the discipline

he instilled helped him to gather the fastest warriors and move towards Philomelion. This

new group outnumbered the Seljuks and attacked them from both sides. German sources claim

that Kaykhusraw had a 10,000 strong-army in this battle and that he lost half of it. Apparently,

some of the Seljukssupplies were captured by Barbarossa, improving his logistical situation.

After resting for a few days, the Crusaders restarted their march towards Iconium, where

Barbarossa hoped to replenish his rations and replace the horses lost in the Seljuk

attacks. On the 17th the German army was in the vicinity of the city, and the plan was

to attack the next day. The Seljuks, led by their sultan Kilij Arslan, and his son Qutb

al-Din, were showing all signs that they were planning to defend the city, as they now had

a comparable number of troops. However, when Barbarossa sent his son to assault

the city, Frederick of Swabia discovered that it was actually defended by a small garrison,

which promptly initiated a retreat towards the citadel after the first contact. The attackers

either chased the garrison to the citadel to besiege it, or began looting the city,

massacring its denizens. At that point, the rest of the Seljuk army was finishing its

flanking maneuver, ending it behind the troops held back by Barbarossa. Kilij Arslan was

able to gain a numerical advantage here, and his troops surrounded the enemy, pushing the

Germans to the walls. Barbarossas situation was extremely dangerous,

and his troops were taking heavy casualties on the wings. Unfortunately, we lack the details

of what happened next. Apparently, Barbarossa moved forward with his own contingent and

led his center in a charge which broke the Seljuk center. With that, the wings of the

sultanates army started to retreat and the battle was over. Afterward, Barbarossa

entered the city. Afterwards the German force marched south

towards the coast advancing into the Christian lands of Cilician Armenia. Casualties had

been significant, but it appeared as though the worst tribulations were over. However,

an unforeseen catastrophe would occur on the 10th of June 1190.

Becoming impatient at the armys slow marching progress, Barbarossa attempted to ford the

River Saleph ahead of his large force. This proved to be a bad idea, as his horse lost

its footing mid-stream and threw Frederick into the river. The shock of the freezing

water and the fact that the armoured Emperor was unable to swim contributed to the Emperors

famous drowning. The mightiest ruler to ever take the cross was dead. His son - Frederick

of Swabia, attempted to hold the German crusade together, but desertions, illness and constant

Ayyubid harassment reduced the Imperial army dramatically as it carried on towards Acre.

Back at the city itself, the double-siege continued with 100 of the inhabitants of Muslim-controlled

Acre dying every day. Their tormentors - the besieging crusader army - used the pause in

major action, caused by the bad weather making nearby terrain unusable, to properly fortify

their position. Protective ditches were dug on each side of the camp and filled with sharp

pieces of wood and metal. In front of these trenches were placed earthen ramparts and

even wooden palisades, the former of which slowed down and hindered Muslim cavalry, while

the latter allowed Latin missile units to retaliate. The ditch between the crusader

camp and Acre also had the effect of encircling the coastal city, meaning that the garrison

had no way of supplying the city when the naval blockade was also tight.

In a further effort to impact the siege, the crusaders diverted the River Beluscourse

away from Acre, depriving the city of a reliable water source. As the camps defences were

now strengthened, the besiegers of Acre could safely bring artillery to bear behind the

perimeter, where it could lob projectiles towards Acre whenever the crusaders wanted.

Saladin had dithered too long, and there was now no easy way of dislodging the Christians

from their position. The onset of winter in Acre and the consequent

adverse conditions at sea meant that the crusader ships blockading the city could not remain

in position, leading them and Conrad of Montferrat to disperse - the latter wintered to the north

in Tyre. However, the problems with winter travel across the Mediterranean also harmed

Muslim prospects as well, since resupply vessels could not reliably arrive.

The fact that the Acre garrison was now critically short of food gave the crusaders an opportunity.

Starving to death and desperate, the defenders actually began negotiation with the crusaders

to surrender the city in exchange for their own lives. Remarkably, this was rejected by

the crusader leaders, who wished to gloriously take the city. The Christians would not get

another chance like this, because Ayyubid reinforcements arrived by the end of 1189.

An Egyptian land army commanded by Saladins brother came, bringing supplies, weapons and

food. Soon after, a 50-galley strong fleet from Alexandria approached the harbour and

swept away the remaining Christian ships. For the first time in months, the city was

supplied. As 1190 dawned, fighting on land continued

only as light skirmishes. However, the naval front was about to present a massive problem

for Saladins garrison in the city. On the 25th of March 1190, when the weather had improved,

Conrad of Montferrat once again sailed south with a crack fleet of 50 vessels from Tyre,

where he had wintered. Guy of Lusignan and Conrad had previously been rivals, but in

exchange for sovereignty over Tyre, Beirut and Sidon, he became Guys right-hand man

and came to the aid of the crusaders that Easter.

As Conrads fleet approached the Acre harbour, the roughly equally sized Muslim fleet sortied

out to meet it in open battle. Both sides at first maneuvered into horizontal lines,

but the crusader navy then bent its own formation into a V shaped wedge with the flanks in front.

The battle began with the sounding of trumpets from the decks of the ships and, as the navies

closed into missile range, the Muslim forces shot arrows and bolts as their enemy. The

Christian forces responded in kind, and both sides suffered losses.

As the opposing forces sailed into close quarters, the crusader galleys turned inwards, exploiting

their V formation and the iron spurs of their ships. They charged against the sides of the

Muslim vessels and a fierce conflict began. Men from both sides threw grappling hooks

and boarded their enemy, while the Muslim vessels catapulted jars of Greek Fire at the

Christians, incinerating many. The sea battle was a tight affair which lasted for almost

a day, but at its conclusion, more Muslims had perished and the Ayyubid fleet was blockaded

in the port. Acre was once again cut off from supply and, by late spring, the strangled

citys supplies were exhausted and they had to resort to eating their own beasts.

On land, the campaigning season began in late April, when the weather improved enough for

the terrain to be usable. Despite the continuous stream of crusader reinforcements arriving

by sea, Saladin still at this point had the manpower to overwhelm his enemy. However,

his anxiety about the approach of the German army under Barbarossa prevented him from concentrating

his full force onto the siege at Acre. He was unaware that the Emperor, and the majority

of his crusading effort with him, had perished in Asia Minor. Nevertheless, even in its non-presence,

the looming threat of the Holy Roman Empires large army contributed to the Christian cause.

When Saladins reinforcements began to arrive early in the campaigning season, he immediately

sent them north to bolster defences in Syria in an ultimately useless venture.

Restarting the regular engagements on land, the crusader army slowly and arduously attempted

to fill in the dry moat which surrounded Acres land walls with rubble, whilst under the cover

of artillery fire. The garrison did its best to hamper these efforts with missile and artillery

fire of its own, but the crusaders were determined. It it said that one Frankish woman was mortally

wounded whilst carrying stones to the moat, and requested that her body be thrown into

the moat to fill it even more. Gradually, the moat filled and allowed the

Christian attackers a route to the walls - a path which siege weapons could use. In the

final days of the winter-induced halt in operations, the crusaders manufactured vast amounts of

siege weapons. In addition to catapults, mangonels, covered huts and battering rams, the largest

engines of war were three massives siege towers. They were 30 meters and five stories tall,

mounted on wheels and covered in fireproofing material, while a rope net designed to protect

the structure from Acres artillery stretched in front of each tower. Seeing these formidable

engines of destruction, the garrison was disheartened and again entered into negotiations to surrender

the city. However, the crusaders ONCE AGAIN refused, believing their new weapons would

allow them to win a complete victory. On May 3rd, Guy and the other crusader leaders

packed the towers with soldiers. Crossbowmen and archers took position on the tops, while

spearmen and pikemen piled in below. The towers slowly began inching toward the city, terrifying

the Muslim defenders and breaking their spirit to resist. From the city, a messenger snuck

through the crusader blockade and informed the sultan that collapse was imminent. Responding

swiftly to this revelation, Saladin formed up his army into left, center and right contingents,

before attacking the enemy defences from the outside, trying to draw their attention from

their siege. The towers slowly moved towards the walls,

but as they entered artillery range they were pelted by jars of Greek Fire. This proved

ineffective and did not halt their advance, on account of the fireproof material with

which they were made. It seemed as though the city was lost, but a young metalworker

and specialist in combustibles from Damascus named Ali approached Saladin, claiming that

he had concocted a variant of Greek Fire which would succeed. He was smuggled into the city,

and his recipe proved successful. After his naphtha was repeatedly pelted at the three

towers, they all burned to the ground - only a few souls escaped the inferno.

Shortly after the destruction of the crusaders siege towers, likely around the 13th of May,

Saladin attacked to put more pressure on the crusaders. The garrison also occasionally

sallied forth, but lack of coordination between the forces inside and outside Acre made any

successful assault impossible. Despite these Muslim failures, the Christians had suffered

a devastating defeat and, due to the blockade of their own forces by Saladin, were increasingly

frustrated and desperate themselves. Fortunately for the Acre garrison, an Ayyubid

fleet managed to run the Christian blockade and resupply the garrison. Simmering resentment

and anger in the crusader camp eventually prompted a 10,000 strong contingent of footmen

to attack Saladin on the 25th of July. Initially, the crusader assault took the Muslims by surprise,

but the lack of cavalry support was to prove crucial. The Ayyubid cavalry on their right

wing feigned a retreat after being pushed back, which led to the crusaders again looting

the Muslim camp. Once again, they were counterattacked and routed. The Christian infantry fled, thousands

were cut down and their corpses were thrown into the river.

In November 1190, Saladin disbanded his army for the winter, remaining with a small force

to watch over Acre as the sea once again became rough and the rains became heavy. As winter

progressed, the garrison in Acre, their Christian besiegers and Saladins army were all short

of supplies, food and weapons. They resorted to eating anything they could, and cannibalism

was even reported, in addition to outbreaks of diseases such as scurvy and trench mouth.

Thousands died during this famine, but the crusaders doggedly and tenaciously held on.

The Muslim situation also deteriorated further when ships sent from Egypt to resupply Acre

were dashed upon the rocks and sunk by the treacherous winter seas. Food, weapons and

money that could have sustained the city for months were lost.

By April of 1191, Saladins prospects and those of the city he wished to relieve seemed

almost hopeless. With the gateway to the Holy land still open, Islam would soon have to

face the full strength of Latin Christendoms crusading wrath. This was first shown when

French king Philip Augustus arrived on April 20th with six ships filled with his nobles.

He began the construction of seven immense stone-throwers which, on the 30th of May,

were ready, and began a blistering bombardment campaign against the city, which devastated

its walls. Meanwhile, Richard the Lionheart had captured

Byzantine Cyprus by the first of June, thus securing money and resources. Here he received

an emissary from Guy of Lusignan, who was his vassal via his French holdings. Guy was

asking for his liege lords assistance against Conrad of Montferrat and the Muslims at Acre.

Richard quickly sailed to the Levant, first going to Tyre, where the garrison refused

him entry, then south to Acre with his 25-ship strong advanced guard.

Upon reaching the city, he was greeted by Philip Augustus and then set up his camp to

the north of the city, but was almost immediately struck by illness and was confined to his

tent. Nevertheless, he quickly leapt into action and secretly initiated negotiations

with Saladin, having learned the benefits of marrying warfare with diplomacy in Europe.

After having been refused a personal meeting, Richard sent a North African prisoner to the

Sultan as a sign of goodwill, then requestedfruit and icein return, testing the

hospitality of his Muslim adversary. However, Philip Augustus also engaged in separate

negotiations with the Acre garrison, showing the division which existed within the Latin

crusader ranks. Guy of Lusignan was a vassal of Richard the Lionheart and supported him,

while Philip Augustus aided his relative, Conrad of Montferrat. This culminated in the

accusation of treason levelled against Conrad by Geoffrey of Lusignan, after which Conrad

fled back to Tyre - which sidelined the tensions for now.

25,000 crusaders were now deployed around Acre, implementing a unified strategy of assault-based

siege. Teams of sappers and, increasingly, massive use of advanced and new stone-throwing

catapults brought by the French and English kings, were used to hammer Acres walls

continuously with giant, accurately loosed stones. By late June, this assault was beginning

to critically undermine the walls, which were apparently tottering.

Meanwhile in the city, troop shortages meant that the defenders could not rotate their

tired soldiers away from the front line. Throughout spring and early summer, Saladin did what

he could by attacking the Latin trenches, but they were now far too heavily fortified

to be displaced. By the beginning of July, it was clear to all that Acre was finished

and on the verge of collapse. At this sight, Saladin apparently burst into tears in dejection

and grief. On July 2nd, the crusaders changed their strategy

from battering the Acre fortifications to exploiting the breaches. After only the first

day of these all-out attacks to seize the city by assault, Saladins governor sent

a message stating he would surrender unless he was relieved. Both French sappers and English

catapults managed to make significant breaches in the walls, which the crusaders increasingly

swarmed through. First in the breach in the French section was Aubrey Clements, Marshal

of France and a prominent knight, who proclaimed that he would either die or enter Acre triumphantly

that day. After the attack was repelled, he was killed. To the north Richard, still unable

to walk due to illness, was carried on a regal stretcher near the front lines, from where

he picked off Muslim troops on the walls using his crossbow.

Finally, on July 12th 1191, after an almost two-year long siege, a deal was reached to

secure the surrender of Acre. The city and all its contents would be surrendered, but

the lives of Muslims who emerged would be spared. The true cross would be returned,

payment of 200,000 gold dinars would be made and 1,500 prisoners would be returned. After

such a long siege, a sudden peace ended the violence, rather than a feral, blood-soaked

sacking. Eventually, a calm descended and the city

gates were thrown open as the garrison marched out to submit. At this, the crusaders were

stunned at the admirable and courageous manner of their surrendering opponents, ‘unaltered

by adversity’. As the siege ended, the crusaders too had shown enormous resilience and tenacity,

facing bitter cold, blistering heat, hunger, disease and constant battle. Tens of thousands

had perished, including 6 archbishops, 12 bishops, 40 counts and 500 nobles. It had

all been worth it. The crusaders now had a beachhead in the Holy Land and, more importantly,

had seized Saladins prized 70 strong Egyptian Fleet, which had been moored in Acres inner

harbour. As the crusade continued into mid-1191, the Christians would enjoy unquestioned superiority

at sea. His crushing defeat in July of 1191 immeasurably

damaged Saladins martial reputation. His image as the triumphant and undefeatable champion

of Islam had been utterly destroyed, and he retreated with his army to Saffaran.

Back in captured Acre, churches were reconsecrated and the entirety of the city was swiftly re-Christianised,

but there was no time for laxity after this success. On July 22nd, within days of the

victory, Richard the Lionheart sought to issue a joint statement with his French counterpart,

Philip Augustus, proclaiming that the two sovereigns would remain in the East until

Jerusalem was conquered. However, Philip instead revealed that he intended

to sail back to Europe, considering his crusading duties complete. Some sources state that Philip

was very ill, while others merely profess his cowardice as the reason, he abandoned

his Latin brothers. However, it is probable that he wished to return to France in order

to press his claim to the prosperous County of Flanders, whose ruler had perished in the

siege that summer. Whatever the case, his departure was humiliating and he would be

condemned for it the rest of his life. This shock turnaround made Richard the uncontested

leader of the Third Crusade, and he had the financial resources to fund such an endeavor.

With ultimate authority now his, the Lionheart would waste no time in seizing the initiative.

Acting swiftly to secure his control, the Angevin monarch forced a now politically isolated

Conrad of Montferrat to submit to him on July 26th. The succession of the crusader kingdom

of Jerusalem was also settled. Guy of Lusignan would remain king for life, and the revenues

of his realm were to be shared with Conrad. In addition, Conrad would become the heir

to the throne of Jerusalem after Guys death. To solidify this promise, he would formally

be awarded the city of Tyre immediately, though in reality he had possessed it for years.

To guarantee his Angevin realms security in Europe, Richard coerced Philip Augustus

into swearing an oath on Christian icons that he would not attack Richards realm while

the crusade continued. Eager to continue the war with haste, the English king also sought

to swiftly resolve the terms of Acres surrender with Saladin. However, the sultan played a

dangerous game of delay with Richard, knowing that if his force could be immobilised until

winter due to the prisoners he had taken at Acre, the winter weather would give him more

time to prepare. This diplomatic maneuvering was to have grim consequences.

After Saladin began to deliberately equivocate, seeking to insert more conditions into the

deal, Richard was disgusted and decided to take a drastic step. On the 20th of August

1191, Richard and his army marched out of the city and set up a temporary camp beyond

the old trenches. The king then showed his hand - marching some 2,700 prisoners out of

the city and herding them onto the open ground beyond the Frankish tents, their hands bound

by ropes. As the Muslim advanced guard watched in horror, the Christian forces slashed and

stabbed their helpless prisoners to death. A small group of Muslims tried to counterattack

in order to stop the massacre, but they were repelled.

It was a stark political message to the sultan. This was how the Lionheart would play Saladins

game. In response, the sultan executed all of the Latin prisoners he himself had taken.

Despite its apparent barbaric nature, many recent scholars argue that Richard was motivated

by the military necessity of swiftly moving onto further campaigns and saving resources

which would have been needed to maintain the prisoners.

Whatever the case, the crusade was now able to move on. After much deliberation with his

fellow commanders, the Lionheart decided on a combined approach - a fighting march to

the south, during which the 15,000 strong army would hug the coast, being closely supported

and shadowed by the Latin navy, carrying most of the supplies. Richards strategic objectives

during this time were obscured to Saladin just as they are unclear to us now.

This misdirection appears to have worked, as the sultan felt the need to garrison both

Jerusalem and Ascalon with 20,000 men each, rather than being able to focus on just one

of these potential targets. It is likely that Richard himself had not decided on his objective

yet, as he could easily carry on to Ascalon once he reached Jaffa, giving him the ability

to cut off Saladins lines of communication and supply from the wealthy Ayyubid Egyptian

core. However, he could just as easily pivot east to threaten Jerusalem itself - his ultimate

objective. Setting off on August 22nd 1191 in the direction

of Jaffa, the Lionhearts crusading army advanced at an unexpectedly slow pace, around

6 kilometers per day. He did this both to prevent his army from becoming strung out

due to exhaustion, and to protect his armoured warriors from the intense heat of summer.

On August 25th, Saladin broke camp and began marching parallel to the crusader army. To

the left of the Christian force, Muslim troops began to assault the strung-out crusader rearguard,

manned by the French contingent. Hearing of their peril, the Lionheart rode to his rear

lines and drove the Muslims away, after which they reached Haifa on August 26th.

During their stay at Haifa, Richard reorganised his marching column. Elite Templar and Hospitaller

knights held the van and rearguard, while the king and a central mass of knights were

screened on their landward left side by dense ranks of well-armoured infantry, whose panoply

made them almost immune to missile fire. Another consequence of Richards irregularly

slow march was that Saladin did not have the supplies to keep his men in the field, presuming

that Richard would march as fast as possible. Now in increasing need of a decisive clash,

the Ayyubid leader began seeking a suitable battlefield by performing reconnaissance on

the coastal route in front of the crusader column. On September 3rd, the coastal route

became impassable and forced the crusaders to turn inland for a time, where they would

be separated from their supply ships. Saladin chose this moment to seek battle.

He personally led three divisions of troops against the massed Christian infantry, bombarding

them with arrows before charging their line with cavalry. This brief but indecisive engagement

saw the sultan escape unscathed, but Richard had been struck in the side by a crossbow

bolt, though his armour absorbed much of the blow.

By the end of September 3rd, the Lionhearts army reached the River of Reeds and pitched

its tents, unaware that a mile upstream the Muslims done the same. Now only 25 miles from

Jaffa, the English king allowed his men a day of rest on the 4th. Ahead of them at this

point was the Forest of Arsuf, one of Palestines rare woodlands, and a site which the crusaders

feared to pass through due to fear of Muslim ambush. Beyond the forest was ground prime

for a camp called the Rochetaille, followed by a large open plain.

Seeking safe passage through the dangerous woods, the Lionheart dispatched envoys to

request faux peace talks with Saladins brother - Saphadin. Instructing his brother

to prolong the talks for as long as possible, Saladin allowed his men to forage in the woods

and rest. However, this was a ruse, and Richard was in no mood for actual negotiation. The

talks were neither prolonged nor cordial, and they quickly broke off. No sooner had

this happened than the king ordered his army to march through the woods. Thanks to the

kings cunning strategy of misdirection, the crusaders managed to reach the limits

of the forest unhindered and unharmed. As they reached the Rochetaille, the crusaders

pitched their tents and rested for the night. The next morning, preparations were different,

as the king seemed to be readying his men for a potential battle as they crossed the

plains. Instead of a marching column, the crusader army formed up as if its marching

flank facing inland would be its front in an upcoming battle, so it could turn and fight

in formation with ease. Shortly before dawn on the 7th of September 1191, the crusader

army set off in its battle-ready formation, seeing enemy scouts in all directions.

The main Christian infantry contingent, melee infantry, archers and crossbowmen, protected

thefrontandflanksof the battle-formation - screening all of the marching column not

shielded by the sea. This contingent, as well as the baggage train to the rear of the formation,

was commanded by Henry of Champagne. In the columns vanguard - the right wing of the

battle formation - four squadrons of elite Templar knights, followed by Bretons and Angevin

cavalry were led by the Orders Grandmaster Robert de Sablé. On the left wing, Flemish,

French and Jerusalem knights, led by veteran Hospitaliers, formed up under the leadership

of their own Grandmaster, Garnier de Naples. Finally, in the centre, another four squadrons

of Poitevin, Norman and Anglo-Norman horsemen marched under Guy of Lusignan, and were under

the ultimate authority of Richard the Lionheart himself. Overall, the crusading army probably

numbered around 15,000 soldiers, of which 2,000 troops were the lethal, heavily armoured

Latin knights. As this force passed a forested area to their

left, Saladins army emerged and arrayed in battle formation. The sultan himself lined

up immediately in front of the treeline to the left side of the crusader marching column,

accompanied by his elite personal guard. Drawn up in front of him were the mixed infantry

and cavalry contingents of Syria, Damascus and Saladins elite guard, led by his son

- al-Afdal. On the Ayyubid right flank, Egyptian cavalry and Nubian infantry under the sultans

brother Saphadin opposed the Hospitallers. Manning the opposite side of the battlefield,

to the left, cavalry and infantry units from the Jazira region and Mesopotamia opposed

the infamous Templars. Overall, Saladins force probably numbered around 25 to 30,000

troops, outnumbering their enemy two to one and possessing significantly more mounted

troops. The crusader right wing, led by the Templar

knights, reached the outskirts and plantations of Arsuf at around 9am. At this point, Saladin

saw that his enemy was tired and searching for a good place to encamp, and made his decisive

move. Lightly armoured Muslim infantry, wielding bows and javelins, charged, while horse archers

galloped forward. At this point, a shattering cacophony of cymbals, gongs and war cries

broke out as the Muslims tried to intimidate their enemy. As they came into range, a devastating

missile bombardment hit the left wing of the crusader ranks, with the Ayyubid infantry

shooting arrows and throwing javelins, while their cavalry mounted lightning hit and run

horse archery attacks. The grizzled Hospitallers and other crusader

units on this wing were heavily armoured, and so not many of them were killed - their

horses were not so lucky. However, the fact that the Muslims vastly outnumbered them was

causing a loss of cohesion and speed in their ranks, making them slow down and split from

the rest of the army. If this continued, they would be in danger of encirclement and utter

destruction as the column continued to slowly march toward Arsuf. Richard the Lionheart

still did not wish for a full-scale battle, and instead wanted to regroup at Arsuf itself.

On the crusader left, Saladins light cavalry and skirmishers began to get around the seaward

side of the crusaders, threatening them with attack from the rear. Still, the crusaders

did not retaliate, as Richard was initially hesitant to get involved in a mass battle

on Saladins terms. However the Hospitallers were eager for a fight, and their grandmaster

sent a messenger requesting permission to attack, which was refused. With his entire

army almost bursting with enthusiasm for the charge and infuriated by the Ayyubid missile

attacks, it took the Lionhearts immense will and charisma to keep them from charging

without orders. Any break in troop discipline and any gap in the orderly marching formation

would be fatal. As the pressure on the left mounted, the grandmaster

of the Hospitaller order himself came to Richard and pleaded for permission to attack, and

was again refused. The king was now close to his goal of safety at Arsuf, however now

his hand was forced. On the heavily pressured left wing, the Marshal of the Hospitaller

order had been held back enough and charged without orders. Driven by a mixture of rage,

humiliation and sheer bloodlust, thousands of crusaders had followed his lead in a mere

moment. Seeing this, Richard acted decisively. The unordered charge was against his plans,

but he instead commanded that the entirety of his army now charge - and reinforce the

left wing. The Lionheart himself and his personal contingent swept around his army and charged

along with the embattled Hospitaller cavalry. The Muslim line on this part of the battlefield,

incredibly close to that of the Christians, were smashed by the brunt of the lethal knightly

charge, and began to rout to the forest behind them. The king himself supposedly fought with

ferocity and valour, killing many Muslims and acting like the proper medieval warrior

monarch. Much the same slaughter occurred in the other

areas of the battlefield, with the Muslims routing to the rear. However, they were not

done, and as the Christian infantry slowly caught up and again screened their cavalry,

Saladin rallied his elite guard, and many units who had retreated, into a usable battle

formation. Richard the Lionheart, using the momentum of his victory, now charged a second

time with his entire army and destroyed Saladins attempt at turning the battle around. Many

Muslims were killed as they fled, however Richard stopped his army before it reached

the treeline, fearing a potential ambush. With this victory won, the crusaders celebrated

and encamped at a water-rich area near Arsuf. It is not known exactly how many died in this

battle, but it is widely believed that the crusaders only lost 700 soldiers dead, while

Saladin lost 7,000. While the psychological impact of the crusader

victory was once again shattering to Saladin, his numerical losses were recoverable. Within

days, he was sending messengers to his far flung territories requesting reinforcements.

The crusaders were jubilant at their victory, as it was clear that Saladin had once again

tried, and failed, to stop the Crusade in its tracks. On the 9th of September 1191 the

bruised Franks resumed their march south and, the next day, reached the ruined city of Jaffa

- which Saladin had destroyed in a scorched earth strategy. This was not an immediate

problem, as the crusader navy continued to ferry them supplies. Now, as they turned inland,

Jerusalem waited for their arrival. After the Ayyubid sultans second crushing

defeat against the third crusade at Arsuf, he had to make a difficult decision. Retreating

to the south much depleted, he could not afford to defend both Ascalon and Jerusalem itself.

Showing his willingness to quickly change tactics, and not having much choice, he decided

to utterly demolish Ascalon - Southern Palestines main port and the gateway to Egypt - so the

crusaders could not use it. Instead, he would focus on Jerusalem with his entire force.

Rumours of the destruction reached the crusaders in Jaffa by September 12th, and Richard quickly

sent representatives by sea to confirm the act. It was true; columns of inhabitants were

forcefully moved from the city and its fortifications were entirely destroyed. Having tried and

failed to defeat the crusaders in open battle, Saladin would now adopt defensive scorched

earth tactics. This prompted action in the crusader camp.

Richard himself wanted to seize and then refortify Ascalon for use as a supply, communication

and staging hub to take Jerusalem, and to further destabilise Saladins hold over

Palestine. However, when his council met in mid-September, a large number of Latin nobles

resisted - such as Hugh of Burgundy. They argued instead for the further refortification

of Jaffa, followed by a direct strike inland on Jerusalem itself. Finally pressured by

his crusader kin, the Lionheart was essentially forced to accede.

At this point the crusader army, tired by the horrors of the march from Acre, now basked

in the sudden break in hostility and, as many Christian eyewitnesses observed, waspolluted

by sin and filth’. The third crusade therefore remained stalled in and around Jaffa for seven

weeks, giving Saladin time to demolish the key forts between that city and Jerusalem,

further expanding his scorched earth strategy. Richard spent all of October 1191 reorganising

his spent army. Only in the last days of the normal fighting season did they advance inland

on the Holy city, leaving the plentiful coastal supply line which had done so well keeping

the army alive. The recent shift in Ayyubid strategy left

the path inland to Jerusalem from the coast utterly desolate. Every major fortified site

was dismantled and all resources of potential use by crusader forces were burned. Nevertheless,

on October 29th Richard marched onto the plains east of Jaffa and began the slow, steady work

of rebuilding a string of sites through which to advance on Jerusalem itself.

During this period, the war degenerated into a series of skirmishes, during which the Saracen

light troops and cavalry would harass the Franks and their construction efforts, while

avoiding a full-scale confrontation. The Lionheart would often throw himself into the thick of

these battles, apparently to the irritation of his fellow commanders, who worried for

the fate of the crusade if he were to die. His marshal endeavours and construction were,

however, just two factors in a combined strategy. He also used diplomacy alongside military

threat, probably hoping to bring Saladin to the point of submission before he had to make

the siege of Jerusalem itself. Acceding to these requests, the sultan granted permission

to his brother Saphadin to hold talks on his own initiative, believing his army to be mutinous

and war-weary, whilst also playing for time. What followed was a series of spying episodes

and sabotage between the two sides. For example, Saladin employed 300 Bedouin thieves to perform

prisoner snatches at night, while Richard employed religious pilgrims to covertly steal

crucial information. The king even offered Saphadin the hand of his own sister in marriage,

professing that the new couple could rule over a neutral kingdom centred on Jerusalem.

Despite his efforts, Saladin professed that Islam would not relinquish the holy city,

so Richard had to advance further inland. By early November 1191, crusader engineers

had successfully refortified and reconstructed the region of Yasur for use as a base, and

they subsequently moved on to the area around Lydda and Ramla - both of which had been desolated

by Saladin before he had retreated. As the process of rebuilding Ramla commenced, the

ravaging winter began and conditions became appalling. The crusaders suffered from malnourishment

and starvation, and many horses perished. Despite these dire circumstances, the morale

of the Christians was high, as they were buoyed by a desire to see and regain the holy city

for their faith. Six miserable winter weeks were spent reconstructing

Ramla, before the Lionhearts forces began to inch forward again, first to Latrun and

then to a small destroyed fortress near Beit Nuba. At this point, the crusaders were now

just 12 miles from Jerusalem - the ultimate goal. They were so close, however things now

took an unexpected turn. Though they had come so far, a council convened on the 10th of

January 1192 came to the conclusion that, instead of advancing and besieging the Holy

City, the crusaders should retreat from Beit Nuba back to the coast.

It is said that the Templars and some Latin nobles coerced Richard into this, but he himself

probably was not willing to stake the fate of the entire Third Crusade on such a potentially

hazardous campaign; conducting a siege on Jerusalem, with shaky supply lines while a

large Saracen field army could be waiting to strike, was incredibly risky. Many scholars

have commended this decision, however some also believe that he missed out on a golden

opportunity to take the city, if only he had pressured Saladin further.

While the kings cautious strategy was wise in hindsight, its effect on Christian morale

and the crusade in general was a catastrophe. They had been so close, and they had fled

in disgrace, so they thought. Predictably, as the demoralised crusading army withdrew

back to the coast, it began to fray and split. Some units returned to Jaffa, while others

went to Acres pleasure houses. Richard himself led a severely weakened contingent

to the ruined city of Ascalon, arriving on January 20th. He would spend five months repairing

the devastated coastal city. To the north, enduring divisions among the

Franks would erupt in late February, when the Latins openly began fighting over the

recently conquered Acre. Genoese sailors, under direction from Conrad of Montferrat,

attempted to take control of the city, but were stopped by Richards Pisan allies.

Enraged by this attempted betrayal, Richard travelled north to a place halfway between

Acre and Tyre in order to meet with Conrad - but no agreement was reached.

Richard subsequently formally deprived Conrad of his share of Jerusalems revenues. However,

he was now thoroughly entrenched in the levant, with possession of an unassailable centre

of power at Tyre and a growing body of support among the Outremers remaining barons. His

marriage to Isabella of Jerusalem also gave him a strong claim to the throne. It seemed

that Richard would have to accept the status quo - that Conrad would have to be accommodated

in any lasting settlement. Crusader politics would continue to be affected

in paradigm shifting ways as, in mid April of 1192, envoys from Europe had sailed to

Ascalon, bearing news which would overturn all of the Lionhearts plans. A developing

political crisis was occuring in the Angevin realm. The kings aide and representative

had been exiled by Richards brother, the future king John Lackland, who sought to increase

his own authority. Realising he was running out of time, Richard judged he could embark

on one last fighting season before returning home.

Now suddenly in the mood to compromise, the king approved a decision to offer the Kingdom

of Jerusalem to Conrad of Montferrat, in a stunning turnaround. The previous king - Guy

of Lusignan - would be compensated with the island of Cyprus - sold to him at a bargain

price by the Templar Order, which itself had purchased it from Richard. This settlement

would lead to over a century of Lusignan rule on Cyprus. Ecstatic at the sudden promotion,

Conrad immediately began to make military preparations to assist Richard in his future

crusading endeavors, breaking off his previous negotiations with Saladin.

In the evening of April 28th, the new King of Jerusalem travelled to the residence of

a fellow crusader in Tyre to have supper, where the two struck up a friendship. However,

while he was travelling home with two guards, a man approached Conrad with a letter and

offered it to him. As he reached out to take it, the man stabbed him, and he perished soon

after. His assassins were shortly revealed to have been sent by Sinan, the master of

the Nizari Ismaili, otherwise known as the Order of Assassins, from Masyaf Castle.

Some of the French crusaders in Tyre spread rumours that Richard the Lionheart himself

had ordered the murder, while others speculated that Saladin had contracted the Assassins.

It is not out of the question that Sinan simply acted independently, either in response to

Tyrian piracy, or fearing that Conrad would destroy the crucial power balance in Palestine.

His death sent the political situation amongst the Latins into disarray, and several attempts

were made to seize power in Tyre. The widowed Isabella of Jerusalem fended off several of

these attempts, and eventually a settlement was reached in which Count Henry of Champagne

would marry Isabella, and was elected the titular monarch of Frankish Palestine.

To the south, the Lionheart set about bolstering his foothold in southern Palestine by completing

the refortification of Ascalon, and sought to expand it further by conquering the muslim-held

fortress of Darum. On May 29th, bad news was to come. Another

messenger arrived from Europe, confirming his worst fears that Philip Augustus - King

of France - was plotting with the ambitious Prince John. The envoy warned Richard that

if nothing was done to stop the treacherous duo, the kingdom might be lost to him. A decision

now loomed over the Lionheart to remain in the crusade or go home immediately. He chose

to remain for now. On June 6th, Saladin received an urgent warning

that a crusader army was marching northeast from Ascalon in strength, which heralded another

advance on Jerusalem. The prospect of attacking the Holy City was still almost insurmountable,

however the stable summer weather, in addition to the network of previously reconstructed

fortifications, would make things much easier. Nevertheless, Richard was not happy, and was

more eager to attack Egypt, which was an easier target and the wealthy core of Ayyubid territory.

Though this likely would have been strategically wiser, it ignored the prime motivating and

unifying factor of the crusade - religious zeal for Jerusalem. Crusader opinion was beginning

to turn against Richard, and the Latin barons decided to march on Jerusalem with or without

the Angevin king. Without much choice, the king eventually acquiesced to these demands,

and decided to once again advance into Judea. Though the crusaders advanced as one, grievous

fissures were beginning to appear in the Christian command structure, which was to have fatal

consequences. The second advance was initially rapid; they reached Beit Nuba in a blistering

six days, whereas before it had taken months. Initial success gave way to a stalling march,

as Saladin consistently launched cavalry raids to destroy Christian supply caravans.

On June 24th, the Christians scored a crucial victory. After stalking a crucial and massive

Muslim supply caravan bound for Jerusalem for 3 days, Richard seized it and its cargo

of food supplies, gold, silver, silks and its pack animals. After this disaster, the

sultan began preparing Jerusalem for a siege - reinforcing its walls, assigning battle

positions and poisoning the wells. Five years to the day after Saladins glorious victory

at Hattin, however, a miracle came upon Islam. The crusaders once again struck camp, turned

their backs on the holy city and retreated. Division in the Latin army and the fact that

Richard never wanted to attack Jerusalem, considering it unwise, had prompted this withdrawal.

By summer of 1192, both the Ayyubids and the crusaders had fought one another to a stalemate.

With the forces of neither Christendom or Islam able to decisively win the Levantine

war, all that remained was to settle peace. Aiming to seize a stronger negotiating position,

Saladin launched a surprise attack on Jaffa during July of 1192 while Richard was away

in Acre - preparing to attack Beirut. 7,000 - 10,000 Saracens, most of whom were

cavalry, besieged the coastal city and took its garrison by surprise. They resisted heroically

for three days, throwing back assault after assault, but they then retreated back to the

citadel and left the town itself to Saladin. Crucially, the crusader defenders managed

to send word of their situation to Richard. In Acre, Richard quickly assembled a rag-tag

army of 54 mounted knights, several hundred infantry and over 2,000 Genoese and Pisan

crossbowmen, and set sail to Jaffa. Upon seeing the Muslim banners waving from

the walls, the king initially believed Jaffa to be lost, however a defender managed to

swim to the flagship and inform Richard of the citadels resistance. Again showing

his military prowess, Richard the Lionheart leapt into the sea and waded through the shallows

in order to reach the shore at the head of his army. Shocked by the brazen assault and

afraid that this was just a spearhead of a far larger force, the Muslims panicked and

routed, spilling out of Jaffa in a disorderly manner, where many were killed in the retreat.

Saladin struggled to maintain control of his army at this point, and could not bring them

to order until they were five miles inland. When he did, he also received reports that

more Frankish crusaders were marching from Caesarea to reinforce it. This prompted him

to counterattack once again, aiming to recapture the city before reinforcements arrived. Early

in the morning of August 4th, the Muslim army concealed itself in the crop-filled fields

outside the city, planning to launch a surprise attack the next day.

This was not to be, as a Genoese soldier out for a morning stroll found the Muslim army

and alerted his comrades. At this, Richard quickly assembled his infantry and crossbowmen

for battle outside the city. The spearmen were ordered to drive their shields and spears

into the ground, forming a makeshift, bristling wall. Meanwhile, the large tent spikes were

driven into the ground to act as anti-cavalry stakes. The small handful of cavalry Richard

possessed were kept in the rear as a reserve. Saladins lightly armoured Turkic, Egyptian

and Bedouin cavalry charged at the makeshift defences of the Lionhearts line. It was

then that the crusaders implemented their intuitive tactic. The armoured crossbowmen

fired their missiles in volleys, one rank shooting while the other reloaded - resulting

in a constant barrage of bolts. With the lightly armoured Ayyubid horsemen being utterly savaged

by crossbow bolts in their repeated charges, and unable to break through the Lionhearts

innovative defences, they suffered immense losses. Meanwhile, the crusaders heavier

armour was all but immune to Muslim arrows. After many attempted charges, the Muslim horsemen

were tired and disorganised. The Lionheart used this moment to charge with his cavalry

reserve, crushing the weakened Saracens, who proceeded to retreat from Jaffa.

This was the last major action of the crusade, and negotiations continued afterwards. Finally,

on September 2nd 1192 a deal was reached. Three years of truce was agreed, Saladin retained

control of Jerusalem but agreed to allow Christian pilgrims access to the Holy Sepulchre. The

Frankish Crusaders were to hold the narrow coastal strip between Jaffa and Tyre, but

Ascalons fortifications would once again be destroyed. Key crusaders such as the sickly

Richard the Lionheart, Henry of Champagne and Balian of Ibelin swore their oaths, followed

by Saladin and key members of his family. With these rituals completed, peace was finally

achieved. In the month that followed, three delegations

of crusaders made the journey to Jerusalem unopposed. They had achieved in peace what

they could not achieve through war. After sixteen months of fighting in the holy land,

the Lionheart finally departed back to Europe on October 9th 1192. His opponent - Saladin

- ruled his empire for around another half year, before dying on March 3rd 1193. This

defender of Islam was buried in the Grand Mosque at Damascus, where he remains to this


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The Description of Third Crusade 1189-1192: From Hattin to Jaffa DOCUMENTARY