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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Conrad of Montferrat Is Assassinated in Tyre April 28, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Assassins, Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, history, Ismailis, Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Sinan, the crusades, third crusade, Tyre.
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(This post is the 52nd 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.) 


Conrad of Montferrat, designated King ofJerusalem, was hungry. His wife had taken a bath, delaying dinner at his household. Conrad had visited the home of the Bishop of Beauvais, but dinner had passed at his home. The future king walked back toward home. 820 years ago today, two servants known to Conrad jumped him and stabbed him. One was killed immediately. The second confessed that these men were sent from Sinan, “the Man in the Mountain,” leader of the Shi’ite set, the Ismai’lis, known to history as “the Assassins.” They had been in position for months, and had even taken baptism to build a cover. This threw the entire leadership situation into question. We think sometimes today we are mired in conspiracy theories. But this event generated 12th Century conspiracy theories. After all, “the assassins” were hired killers. So who hired them? Much suspicion fell on Richard. But this development hurt Richard. No indications of contact between Richard or Richard’s agents and the “Old Man in the Mountain” existed. And Richard would have needed to set the arrangements months earlier, almost just as he arrived in the area. Despite the lack of logic to it, many believed Richard was involved, including Philip II ofFrancewho worried that Richard had hired some “assassins” to come after him back inFrance. Some suspicion fell to Saladin. But Saladin and Sinan were bitter enemies. Sinan had nearly killed Saladin more than once. The idea of these two getting together to kill Conrad at a time when Conrad’s separate negotiations were helping Saladin is absurd. The likely answer was simple. Conrad had appropriated some cargo belonging to Sinan, and had refused to return it. He either took it as the result of the shipwreck, or his forces took and destroyed Sinan’s ship themselves. Sinan was exacting his revenge for Conrad’s transgressions against him.

Conrad’s death threw open all the issues that had just been resolved. Who would be King of Jerusalem now? And would Richard still be able to leave for home?

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

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