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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Leaves the Middle East “Holy Land,” Ending the “Third Crusade” October 9, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, crusades, history, Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade.
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(This is the final post 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.) 

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820 years ago today, Richard the Lionheart left the eastern Mediterranean, effectively ending the “Third Crusade.” Saladin had his spies focused on Richard; Saladin was not going to relax until the English king, a lethal and effective warrior for the enemy faith, was confirmed leaving the area. He understood—Richard needed to clear up unresolved debts and issues before leaving, including securing the release of William of Preaux who had saved Richard from capture by pretending to be Richard about a year before. But Saladin was still relieved to get word that Richard was confirmed gone.

Richard departed to a well-crafted ceremony, as anyone who knew him would expect. A red carpet stretched out to the ships in the harbor at Acre. He offered a prayer, and a promise to return. (He would not be able to keep the promise. Both Richard and his celebrated Muslim opponent Saladin would be dead before the end of the decade, Saladin within a year.)

Both Richard and Saladin lamented the results of the conflict and considered their efforts to be failures. But both could claim some success. Richard had not taken Jerusalem, but had left behind a viable western Christian state when western Christians had been holding on by a thin thread before his arrival. Saladin did not expel the western Christians, but he had taken on the onslaughts from three European monarchs and sent them all away without giving up Jerusalem (in the case of Frederick Barbarossa, the German emperor never arrived). And the peace agreement by all reasonable measures, certainly when measured by the tone of the times, was a just and reasonable one, religiously tolerant, perhaps ahead of its time. Did it come about only after both opponents were depleted of energy and resources, so unable to force a battlefield resolution? Yes, certainly. Did the agreement last? No. But considering that “the Crusades” are commonly recalled as a mark against religious harmony, it is worth taking some satisfaction from the fact that arguably the most famous crusade, with the most famous participant/opponents, ended this way. So this is where I will leave the “Third Crusade” 820th anniversary series.

I invite you to read The Swords of Faith, my novel about this period, dramatizing these events and within that drama exploring themes that still have striking relevance today.

There are links to every single one of the 820th anniversary posts concerning the “Third Crusade” here.

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

July 4th – The 820th Anniversary of the Launch of the “Third Crusade”

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée

May 8th – Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol

May 11th – Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus

May 12th – Richard the Lionheart Marries Princess Berengeria

May 30th – Fighting Intensifies at Acre

June 5th – Richard Leaves Famagusta for the Eastern Mediterranean Coast/Saladin Moves his Camp

June 6th – Richard the Lionheart Refused Admittance to Tyre

June 8th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives at Acre

June 11th – Saladin’s Relief Ship Sinks

June 25th – Conrad of Montferrat Leaves Acre; Saladin’s Receives Reinforcements

July 12th – Acre Surrenders

July 31st – Philip II of France Makes a Promise and Leaves for Home

August 2nd – Envoys Discuss Acre Surrender Terms

August 11th – Date for the First Installment of the Acre Ransom Ends in Stalemate

August 20th – Richard the Lionheart Orders the Executions of the Acre Hostages

August 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Acre to Move South Toward Jerusalem

September 5th – Richard the Lionheart Meets with Saladin’s Brother al-Adil

September 7th – Christian Forces Win the Battle of Arsuf

September 11th – Saladin Gives the Command to Dismantle Ascalon

Sepember 29th – Saladin’s Troops Nearly Take Richard the Lionheart Prisoner

October 20th – Richard the Lionheart Proposes that His Sister Marry Saladin’s Brother al-Adil

November 1st – Saladin Learns of the Death of his Nephew Taqi al-Din

November 8th – Al-Adil Hosts a Banquet for Richard the Lionheart

November 11th – Saladin’s Council Discusses Recent Negotiations with Western Christian Factions

December 12th – Saladin Falls Back to Jerusalem

December 28th – Richard the Lionheart Moves Into the Judean Hills Unopposed

January 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Moves to Within Twelve Miles of Jerusalem

January 6th – Richard the Lionheart Orders a Retreat

January 20th – Richard the Lionheart Decides to Move on Ascalon

February 20th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives in Acre to Make Peace Between Christian Factions

March 20th – Al-Adil Brings Serious Peace Offer to Richard the Lionheart

April 5th – French Army Leaves the “Crusade” After Easter Feast

April 20th – Conrad of Montferrat Is Designated Undisputed King of Jerusalem

April 28th – Conrad of Montferrat Is Assassinated in Tyre

May 5th – Henry of Champagne Becomes the New King of Jerusalem Designate

May 23rd – Richard the Lionheart Takes Darum

June 7th – Western Christian Forces Start Out from Ascalon for Jerusalem

June 11th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives at Beit-Nuba; Saladin Waits in Jerusalem

June 24th – Richard the Lionheart’s Forces Take a Huge Caravan Bringing Supplies to Saladin

July 1st – Saladin Holds a War Council in Jerusalem

July 4th – Richard the Lionheart Withdraws a Second Time Before Besieging Jerusalem

July 27th – Saladin Moves from Jerusalem to Attack Jaffa

July 31st – Richard Storms the Beaches at Jaffa with a Minimal Force

August 5th – Richard Defends Saladin’s Counterattack at Jaffa with a Minimal Force

August 28th – Al-Adil’s Courier Brings Saladin’s “Final Offer” for a Peace Agreement

September 2nd – A Peace Agreement Between Christians and Muslims is Signed

September 5th – Saladin Leaves for Latrun After He Meets Hubert Walter (Not Richard the Lionheart) in Jerusalem

September 29th – Queen Berengeria and Richard’s Sister Joan (Joanna) Leave for Europe

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.

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