“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Leaves Acre to Move South Toward Jerusalem August 22, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, crusades, history, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade.
Tags: Acre, Crusades, medieval history, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Third Crusade
(This post is the 34th of what will be approximately 70 posts following 820th anniversary highlights of what history now calls the “Third Crusade.” My novel, The Swords of Faith, tells the story of this legendary clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.)
With the issue of the Acre prisoners resolved, lives coldly ended as part of a tactical calculation, Richard the Lionheart was now ready to move his forces south. On August 22nd, 820 years ago today, the western Christian forces started that move. Richard would take the long way, down the coast, and then move inland toward Jerusalem. Taking an inland route would have covered less distance, but Richard’s forces would have been vulnerable to harassing attacks from Saladin’s cavalry. Traveling along the coast allowed constant resupply from Richard’s ships, which enjoyed complete naval superiority along the eastern Mediterranean coast. This was planned as a meticulous march south, organized so effectively that Christians with long histories in the area marveled at Richard’s leadership. Even his Muslim opponents had to admit the effectiveness of the march. But this would be a difficult, slow march, under a brutal desert summer sun, with Saladin’s cavalry hurling attacks at the formation at every opportunity. One infantry column marched next to the sea, with mounted knights and horses in the middle. Another column of infantry marched on the inside toward land. Despite the well-planned and implemented procession, the western Christians took many casualties in men and horses as they moved south toward their objective of Jerusalem. And the further south they got, the more determined Saladin seemed to be to provoke them into battle.
Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:
To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.