Tags: Acre, al-Adil, arnaldia, Ayyubid, Crusades, medieval history, Outremer, Richard the Lionheart, Safadin, Third Crusade
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(This post is the 26th 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.)
820 years ago today, amidst commotion that could be heard in the Muslim camps, with fanfares and cheering, Richard the Lionheart, as part of what would be twenty-five galleys (with more to come), landed at Acre. His arrival reduced morale among Muslims, though Saladin is reported to have remained calm. Richard arrived with his usual dashing confidence. He wanted to set up negotiations with Saladin as soon as possible. Maybe his arrival, and news of the numbers of forces and resources at his command, would motivate the Muslims to give up the fight. Whether it did or didn’t, Richard saw negotiations as a chance to learn about the enemy, to take the measure of them. But two problems emerged. At almost the moment he arrived, Richard became ill, contracting what the French called “arnaldia,” a fever causing hair loss and nails to fall out. He was in no condition to meet his adversaries for a number of weeks. And second, Saladin, probably suspecting Richard’s call for negotiations was not entirely sincere, was not interested in face-to-face meetings. “Kings do not meet while they are at war,” Saladin replied. He referred Richard to his brother, al-Adil (also sometimes referred to as Safadin). Over the coming months, Richard would forge a remarkable bond with this future sultan of the Ayyubid empire. Richard’s forces got busy bringing their resources into the fight. But except for some operations with Richard trying to command from a stretcher, it would be awhile before Richard would be capable of a direct active role in finally achieving western Christian victory at Acre.
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/.