Third Crusade

Author:      Sybel, Henry Von

Third Crusade

 

 

 

1189 - 1194

 

     Although after the failure of the Second Crusade the interest felt by the

western nations in the kingdom of Jerusalem, established by the first

crusaders in 1099, had greatly diminished, still the news of the loss of the

Holy City - which was taken by Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, in 1187 -

fell like a thunderbolt on men's minds.  Once more the flame which had kindled

the mystic war of God blazed high.  "What a disgrace, what an affliction,"

cried Pope Urban III, "that the jewel which the second Urban won for

Christendom should be lost by the third!" He vehemently exhorted the Church

and all her faithful to join the war, worked day and night, prayed, sighed,

and so wore himself out with grief and anger that he sickened and died in a

few weeks.  His successor, Gregory VIII, and afterward Pope Clement III, were

inspired by the same feeling and exerted themselves for the great cause with

untiring energy.

 

     In 1185 a number of English barons had put on the cross on hearing of

Saladin's menacing progress; toward the end of 1187 the heir to the throne,

Richard, followed their example; some months later King Henry II had a meeting

with his former enemy, Philip Augustus of France, at Gisors, where they vowed

to abandon their earthly quarrels and become warriors of the everlasting God.

Nearly the whole nobility and a number of the lower class of people were

carried away by their example.  King William of Sicily fitted out his fleet,

and was only prevented by death from joining it himself.  From Denmark,

Scandinavian pilgrims thronged to Syria both by land and water.  In Germany,

now as formerly, the zeal was not so great, until in March, 1188, the emperor

Frederick Barbarossa, at the age of near seventy, put on the cross, and by his

ever firm and powerful will collected together a mass of nearly one hundred

thousand pilgrims.  All the western nations rose to arms.

 

     The news of this enormous movement reached the East, and the ferocious

war-cry of Europe was answered by a voice of defiance.  Saladin had organized

his dominions almost according to the western system.  Under an oath of

allegiance and service in war he granted to each of his emirs a town of feudal

tenure; its surrounding land they again divided among their followers; the

Sultan thus attached those wandering hordes of horsemen to the soil and kept

those restless spirits permanently together.  He then invoked the religious

zeal of all the Mahometans with such success that volunteers flocked to his

standard from every quarter.

 

     These masses dispersed at the beginning of every winter, but on the

return of fair weather they again collected in ever-increasing numbers.

Saladin well knew the mutual hatred which divided the Greek Byzantines and the

Latin Franks, and kept so securely alive in the Eastern Emperor, Isaac

Angelus, the fear of the insolence of the western soldiers that he concluded

an offensive and defensive alliance with Saladin against those who shared his

own faith.

 

     The leaders of the Third Crusade - Richard I ("the Lion-hearted"), King

of England; Frederick I, surnamed "Barbarossa," of Germany, Emperor of the

Holy Roman Empire; and Philip Augustus, King of France - were the most

powerful monarchs of Europe.  A halo of false romance and glory, however,

surrounds this crusade, mainly by reason of the associations connecting it

with the self-seeker Richard.  In the real conduct of the crusaders appears a

sordid greed glutting itself with atrocities as savage as those perpetrated

under Godfrey of Bouillon a century before.  In Richard the world now sees a

destroying "hero," one of the scourges of mankind.  The son of Henry II,

Richard became King of England in 1189.  His chief ambition appears to have

been the spread of his own renown, and this aim he sought to achieve in

Palestine.  He raised moneys by the sale of titles, lands, etc., and then

started for the Holy Land.  Modern history presents him, as well as his

colleagues and followers, divested of the glamour which for centuries hung

about the Third Crusade, of which the only heroic figure on the Christian side

is the likewise pitiable Barbarossa.

 

     The whole East, from the Danube to the Indus, from the Caspian Sea to the

sources of the Nile, prepared with one intent to withstand the great invasion

of Europe.  Amid cares and preparations which had reference to three-quarters

of the globe, Saladin neglected his nearest enemy, the feeble remnant of the

Christian States in Syria, which, although unimportant in themselves, were of

great consequence as landing-places for the invading western nations during

the approaching war.  The small principalities of Antioch and Tripoli still

existed, and in the midst of the Turkish forces the marquis Conrad of

Montferrat still displayed the banner of the cross upon the ramparts of Tyre.

 

     It seems as if in this instance Saladin had abandoned himself too much to

the superb and easy carelessness of his nature.  Hitherto he had not shrunk

from the most strenuous exertions; but he was so certain of his victory that

he neglected to strike the final blow.  Not until the autumn of 1187 did he

begin the siege of Tyre; and for the first time in his life he found a

dangerous adversary in Conrad of Montferrat, a man of cool courage and keen

determination, whose soul was unmoved by religious enthusiasm, and equally

free from weakness or indecision; so that under his command the inhabitants of

the city repulsed every attack with increasing assurance and resolution.

 

     Saladin hereupon determined to try starvation, which a strict blockade by

sea and land was to cause in the town; but in June, 1188, the Sicilian fleet

appeared, gave the superiority by sea to the Christians, and brought relief to

Tyre.  The Sultan retreated, and marched through the defenceless provinces of

Antioch and Tripoli, but there too he left the capitals in peace upon the

arrival of the Sicilian fleet in their waters.  The following summer he spent

in taking the Frankish fortresses in Arabia Petraea, the possession of which

was important to him in order to secure freedom of communication between Egypt

and Syria.

 

     Meanwhile the reinforcements from the West were pouring into the

Christian seaport towns.  In the first place, the two military and religious

orders, the Templars and the Knights of St. John, had collected munitions of

war of every kind from all their European possessions, and increased the

number of their mercenaries to fourteen thousand men.  King Guy ^1 also had

ransomed himself from captivity and had gone to Tripoli, where by degrees the

remnant of the Syrian barons, and pilgrims of all nations, gathered round him.

They took the right resolution to remain no longer inactive, but with the

gigantic preparations in Europe in prospect, to begin the attack at once.

 

[Footnote 1: Guy - Guido of Lusignan - was King of Jerusalem, the kingdom

founded by the crusaders in 1099.  When Saladin took the city, in 1187, he

imprisoned Guy.]

 

     On August 28, 1189, Guy commenced the siege of the strong maritime

fortress of Ptolemais (St. Jean d'Acre).  A fleet from Pisa had already joined

the Sicilian one; in October there arrived twelve thousand Danes and

Friesians, and in November a number of Flemings, under the Count of Avesnes,

French knights under the Bishop of Beauvais, and Thuringians, under their

landgrave, Louis.  Saladin, roused from his inactivity by these events,

hastened to the spot with his army, and in his turn surrounded the Christian

camp, which lay in a wide semicircle round Ptolemais, and was defended by

strong intrenchments within and without.  It formed an iron ring round the

besieged town, which Saladin, spite of all his efforts, could not break

through.  Each wing of the position rested upon the sea, and was thus certain

of its supplies, and able to protect the landing of reinforcements, which

continually arrived in constantly increasing numbers - Italians, French,

English and Germans, Normans, and Swedes.  "If on one day we killed ten," said

the Arabs, "on the next, a hundred more arrived fresh from the West."

 

     The fighting was incessant by land and by sea, against the town and

against the Sultan's camp.  Sometimes the Egyptian fleet drove the Christian

ships far out to sea; and Saladin could then succor the garrison with

provisions and fresh troops, till new Frankish squadrons again surrounded the

harbor, and only a few intrepid divers could steal through between the hostile

ships.  On land, too, now one side and now the other was in danger. One day

the Sultan scaled the Christian intrenchments, and advanced close to the walls

of the city, before the Franks rallied sufficiently to drive him back by a

desperate attack; but they soon took their revenge in a night sortie, when

they attacked the Sultan in his very tent, and he narrowly escaped by rapid

flight.  Against the town their progress was very slow, as the garrison, under

an able and energetic commander, Bohaeddin, showed itself resolute and

indefatigable.  One week passed after another, and the condition of the Franks

became painfully complicated.  They could go neither backward nor forward,

they could make no impression on the walls; nor could they reembark in the

face of an active enemy.  There was no choice but to conquer or die; so

preparations were made for a long sojourn; wooden barracks, and for the

princes even stone houses were built, and a new hostile town arose all around

Ptolemais.  In spite of this the winter brought innumerable hardships.  In

that small space more than a hundred thousand men were crowded together, with

insufficient shelter, and uncertain supplies of wretched food; pestilential

diseases soon broke out, which swept away thousands, and were intensified by

the exhalations from the heaps of dead.  Saladin retreated from their deadly

vicinity to more airy quarters on the adjacent hills; his troops also suffered

from the severe weather, but were far better supplied than the Christians with

water, provisions, and other comforts, as the caravans from Cairo and Bagdad

met in their camp, and numbers of merchants displayed in glittering booths all

kinds of eastern wares.

 

     It was an unexampled assemblage of the forces of two quarters of the

world round one spot, unimportant in itself, and chosen almost by accident.

Our own times have seen a counterpart to it in the siege of Sebastopol, which,

though in a totally different form, was a new act in the same great struggle

between the East and the West.  Happily the western nations did not derive

their warlike stimulus from religious sources, and they displayed, if not

their military, at any rate, their moral superiority, in the most brilliant

manner.

 

     Although, in the fight around Ptolemais, the superiority was doubtless on

Saladin's side, there was a moment in which Europe threatened to oppose to the

mighty Sultan an antagonist as great as himself.  In May, 1189, the emperor

Frederick IX marched out of Ratisbon with his army for Syria.  He had already

ruled thirty-seven years over Germany and Italy, and his life had been one of

war and labor, of small results, but growing fame.  He was born a ruler in the

highest sense of the word; he possessed all the attributes of power; bold yet

cautious, courageous and enduring, energetic and methodical, he towered

proudly above all who surrounded him, and had the highest conception of his

princely calling.  But his ideas were beyond his time, and while he tried to

open the way for a distant future, he was made to feel the penalty of running

counter to the inclination of the present generation.  It seemed to him

unbearable that the Emperor, who was extolled by all the world as the defender

of the right and the fountain-head of law, should be forced to bow before

unruly vassals or unlimited ecclesiastical power.  He had, chiefly from the

study of the Roman law, conceived the idea of a state complete within itself,

and strong in the name of the common weal, a complete contrast to the existing

condition of Europe, where all the monarchies were breaking up, and the

crowned priest reigned supreme over a crowd of petty princes.

 

     Under these circumstances he appeared foreshadowing modern thoughts deep

in the Middle Ages, like a fresh mountain breeze, dispersing the incense-laden

atmosphere of the time.  This discrepancy caused the greatness and the

misfortune of the mighty Emperor.  The current of his time set full against

him.  When, as the representative of the State, he enforced obedience to the

law, he appeared to some an impious offender against the Holy Church; to

others, a tyrant trampling on the general freedom; and while conquering in a

hundred fights, he was driven from one position after another by the force of

opinion.  But so commanding was the energy, so powerful the earnestness, and

so inexhaustible the resources of his nature that he was as terrible to his

foes on the last day as on the first, passionless and pitiless, never

distorted by cruelty, and never melted by pity, an iron defender of his

imperial rights.

 

     We can only guess at the reasons which may have induced a sovereign of

this stamp to leave a sphere of domestic activity for the fantastic wars of

the crusades.  Once, in the midst of his Italian feud, when the deeds of

Alexander the Great were read aloud to him, he exclaimed: "Happy Alexander,

who didst never see Italy! happy I had I never been in Asia!" Whether piety or

love of fame ultimately decided him, he felt within himself the energy to take

a great decision, and at once proceeded to action.  The aged Emperor once more

displayed in this last effort the fulness of his powerful and ever-youthful

nature.  For the first time during these wars, since the armed pilgrimages had

begun, Europe beheld a spirit conscious of their true object, and capable of

carrying it out.  The army was smaller than any of the former ones, consisting

of twenty thousand knights and fifty thousand squires and foot soldiers; but

it was guided by one inflexible, indomitable will.  With strict discipline,

the imperial leader drove all disorderly and useless persons out of his camp;

he was always the first to face every obstacle or danger, and showed himself

equal to all the political or military difficulties of the expedition.  The

Greek empire had to be traversed first, whose Emperor, Isaac, had allied

himself with Saladin; but at the sight of these formidable masses he shrank in

terror from any hostile attempt, and hastened to transport the German army

across into Asia Minor.

 

     There they hoped for a friendly reception from the Emir of Iconium, who

was reported to have a leaning toward Christianity; but in the mean time the

old ruler had been dethroned by his sons, who opposed the Germans with a

strong force.  They were destined to feel the weight of the German arm. After

their mounted bowmen had harassed the Christian troops for a time with a

shower of arrows, the Emperor broke their line of battle, and scattered them

by a sudden attack of cavalry in all directions, while at the same moment

Frederick's son unexpectedly scaled the walls of their city.  The crusaders

then marched in triumph to Cilicia; the Armenians already yielded submissively

to a cessation of hostilities; and far and wide throughout Turkish Syria went

the dread of Frederick's irresistible arms.  Even Saladin himself, who had

boldly defied the disorderly attacks of the hundreds of thousands before

Ptolemais, now lost all hope, and announced to his emirs his intention of

quitting Syria on Frederick's arrival, and retreating across the Euphrates.

 

     On this every highway in the country became alive, the emirs quitted

their towns, and began to fly with their families, their goods, and chattels,

and hope rose high in the Christian camp.  This honor was reserved for the

Emperor; that which no other Frankish sword could achieve he had done by the

mere shadow of his approach; he had forced from Saladin a confession of

inferiority.  But he was not destined to see the realization of his endeavors

here, any more than in Europe.  His army had entered Cilicia, and was

preparing to cross the rapid mountain stream of the Seleph.  On June 10, 1190,

they marched slowly across the narrow bridge, and the Emperor, impatient to

get to the front, urged his horse into the stream, intending to swim to the

opposite shore.  The raging waters suddenly seized him, and hurried him away

before the eyes of the people.  When he was drawn out, far down the river, he

was a corpse.

 

     Boundless lamentations resounded throughout the army; the most brilliant

ornament and sole hope of Christendom was gone; the troops arrived at Antioch

in a state of the deepest dejection.  From thence a number of the pilgrims

returned home, scattered and discouraged, and a pestilence broke out among the

rest, which was fatal to the greater number of them.  It seemed, says a

chronicler, "as though the members would not outlive their head." The

Emperor's son, Duke Frederick of Swabia, reached the camp before Ptolemais

with five thousand men, instituted there the Order of the Teutonic Knights -

who were destined hereafter to found a splendid dominion on the distant shores

of the German Ocean - and soon afterward followed his father to the grave.

 

     The highest hopes were soon destroyed by this lamentable downfall.  It

seemed as if a stern fate had resolved to give the Christian world a distant

view of the possibility of victory; the great Emperor might have secured it,

but the generation which had not understood him was doomed to misery and

defeat.  A second winter, with the same fearful additions of hunger and

sickness, came upon the camp before Ptolemais, and the measure of misfortune

was filled by renewed and bitter quarrels among the Frankish princes.  King

Guy was as incompetent as ever, and so utterly mismanaged the Christian cause

that the marquis Conrad of Montferrat indignantly opposed him.  Queen Sibylla,

by marriage with whom Guy had gained possession of the crown, died just at

this juncture.  Conrad instantly declared that Sibylla's sister Eliza was the

only rightful heir, and, as he held every step toward advancement to be

laudable, did not for a moment scruple to elope with her from her husband, to

marry her himself, and to lay claim to the crown.

 

     Amid all this confusion and disaster the eyes of the crusaders turned

with increasing anxiety toward the horizon, to catch a glimpse of the sails

which were to bring to them two fresh leaders, the kings of France and of

England.  Their preparations had not been very rapid.  Henry II of England

had, even since his oath, got into a new quarrel with Philip Augustus of

France, which only ended with his death, in 1189.  His son and successor,

Richard, whose zeal had led him to put up the cross earlier than the rest,

instantly began to arrange the expedition with Philip.  In his impetuous

manner he exulted in the prospect of unheard - of triumphs; the government of

England was hastily and insufficiently provided for during the absence of the

King; above all, money was needed in great quantities, and raised by every

expedient, good or bad.  When someone remonstrated with the King concerning

these extortions, he exclaimed, "I would sell London itself, if I could but

find a purchaser." He legislated with the same inconsiderate vehemence as to

the discipline and order of his army: murderers were to be buried alive on

land, and at sea to be tied to the corpses of their victims and thrown into

the water; thieves were to be tarred and feathered; and whoever gambled for

money, be he king or baron, was to be dipped three times in the sea, or

flogged naked before the whole army.

 

     Richard led his army through France, and went on board his splendid fleet

at Marseilles, while Philip sailed from Genoa in hired vessels.  Half way to

Sicily, however, Richard got tired of the sea voyage, landed near Rome, and

journeyed with a small retinue through the Abruzzi and Calabria, already on

the lookout for adventures, and often engaged in bloody quarrels with the

peasants of the mountain villages.  When he at last arrived in Sicily his

unstable mind suddenly underwent a total change; a quarrel with the Sicilian

King, Tancred, drove the Holy Sepulchre entirely out of his head.  Now

fighting, now negotiating, he stayed nine months at Messina - hated and feared

by the inhabitants, who called him the Lion, the Savage Lion - deaf to the

entreaties of his followers, who were eager to get to Syria, and heedless and

defiant to all Philip Augustus' representations and demands.

 

     At last the French King, losing patience, sailed without him, and arrived

at Ptolemais in April, 1191.  He was received with eager joy, but did not

succeed in at all advancing the siege operations; for so many of the French

pilgrims had preceded him that the army he brought was but small, and, though

an adroit and cunning diplomatist, a tried and unscrupulous statesman, he

lacked the rough soldierly vigor and bravery on which everything at that

moment depended.  At length Richard was again on his road, and again he

allowed himself to be turned aside from his purpose.  One of his ships, which

bore his betrothed bride, had stranded on the Cyprian coast, and, in

consequence of the hostility of the king of that island, had been very

inhospitably received.  Richard was instantly up in arms, declared war against

the Comnene, ^1 and conquered the whole island in a fortnight - an impromptu

conquest, which was of the highest importance to the Christian party in the

East for centuries after.

 

[Footnote 1: The house of Comnenus, rulers of the Byzantine empire.]

 

     Still occupied in establishing a military colony of his knights, he was

surprised by a visit from King Guy, of Jerusalem, who wished to secure the

support of the dreaded monarch in his party contests at home.  Guy complained

to King Richard of the matrimonial offences of his rival, informed him that

Philip Augustus had declared in favor of Conrad's claims, and on the spot

secured the jealous adherence of the English monarch.  He landed on June 8th

at Ptolemais; the Christians celebrated his arrival by an illumination of the

camp; and without a moment's delay, by his warlike ardor, he roused the whole

army out of the state of apathy into which it had lately fallen.  Day after

day the walls of the city were energetically assailed on every side.  On July

8th Saladin made his last attempt to raise the siege, by an attack on the

Christian intrenchments; he was driven back with great loss, whereupon he

permitted the besieged to capitulate.  The town surrendered, with all its

stores, after a siege of nearly three years' duration; the heroic defenders

still remaining, about three thousand in number, were to be exchanged within

the space of forty days, for two thousand captive Christians, and a ransom of

two hundred thousand pieces of gold.  The war, according to all reports, had

by this time cost the crusaders above thirty thousand men.

 

     Those among the pilgrims who were enthusiastic and devout now hoped their

way would lead straight to the Holy Sepulchre.  But it soon became manifest

that the feeling which had prompted the crusades was dead forever. The news of

the fall of Jerusalem had awakened a momentary excitement in the western

nations, but had failed to stir up the old enthusiasm.  On Syrian ground, the

ideal faith rapidly gave way before substantial worldly considerations.

Richard, Guy, and the Pisans, on the one hand; Philip, Conrad, and the

Genoese, on the other, were already in open discord, which was so embittered

by Richard's blustering fury that Philip Augustus embarked at the end of July

for France, declaring upon his oath that he had no evil intentions toward

England, but determined in his heart to let Richard feel his resentment on the

first opportunity.

 

     Meanwhile negotiations had begun between Saladin and Richard, which at

first seemed to promise favorable results for the Christians, but

unfortunately the day fixed for the exchange of the prisoners arrived before

Saladin was able to procure the whole of the promised ransom.  Richard, with

the most brutal cruelty, slaughtered two thousand seven hundred prisoners in

one day.  Saladin magnanimously refused the demands of his exasperated

followers for reprisals, but of course there could be no further question of a

treaty, and the war recommenced with renewed fury.  Richard led the army on an

expedition against Ascalon, defeated Saladin on his march thither at Arsuf,

and advanced amid incessant skirmishes and single combats, into which he

recklessly plunged as though he had been a simple knight-errant. Accordingly

his progress was so slow that Saladin had destroyed the town before his

arrival and rendered its capture worthless to the Christians. Again

negotiations were begun, but in January, 1192, Richard suddenly advanced upon

Jerusalem, and by forced marches quickly reached Baitnuba, a village only a

few miles distant from the Holy City.  But there the Sultan had thrown up

strong and extensive fortifications, and after long and anxious deliberations,

the Franks returned toward Ascalon.

 

     Meanwhile Conrad of Montferrat had placed himself in communication with

Saladin, proposed to him point-blank an alliance against Richard, and by his

prudent and consistent conduct daily grew in favor with the Sultan.  The

Christian camp, on the other hand, was filled with ever-increasing discord;

and the difference between Richard and Conrad reached such a height that the

Marquis went back to Ptolemais, and regularly besieged the Pisans, who were

friendly to the English.  Into such a miserable state of confusion had the

great European enterprise fallen for want of a good leader and an adequate

object.

 

     In April news came from England that the King's brother, John, was in

open rebellion against him and in alliance with France; whereupon Richard,

greatly alarmed, informed the barons that he must prepare for his departure,

and that they must definitively choose between Guy and Conrad as their future

ruler.  To his great disappointment, the actual necessities of the case

triumphed over all party divisions, and all voted for Conrad, as the only able

and fitting ruler in the country.  Nothing remained for Richard but to accede

to their wishes, and as a last act of favor toward Guy, to bestow upon him the

crown of Cyprus.  Conrad did not delay one moment signing the treaty with

Saladin, and the Sultan left the new King in possession of the whole line of

coast taken by the crusaders, and also ceded to him Jerusalem, where, however,

he was to allow a Turkish mosque to exist; the other towns of the interior

were then to be divided between the two sovereigns.

 

     What a conclusion to a war in which the whole world had been engaged, and

had made such incalculable efforts!  After the only competent leader had been

snatched from the Cristians by an angry fate, the weakness and desultoriness

of the others had destroyed the fruits of conquest.  The host of devout

pilgrims had beheld Jerusalem from Baitnuba, and had then been obliged to turn

their backs upon the holy spot in impotent grief.  Suddenly a nameless, bold,

and cunning prince made his appearance in this great war between the two

religions in the world, a man indifferent to religion or morality, who knew no

other motive than selfishness, but who followed that with vigor and

consistency, and had already stretched forth his hand to grasp the crown of

the Holy Sepulchre.

 

     But on the 28th of April Conrad was murdered by two Saracen assassins;

many said, at King Richard's instigation, but more affirmed it was by the

order of the Old Man of the Mountain, the head of a fanatical sect in Lebanon.

Everything was again unsettled by this event.  The Syrian barons instantly

elected Count Henry of Champagne as their king; five days after Conrad's death

he married his widow Eliza, and was perfectly ready to succeed to Conrad's

alliance with Saladin, as well as to his wife.  But King Richard, with his

usual thoughtlessness, allowed the scandalous marriage, but prevented the

reasonable diplomatic arrangement.  As he had a certain liking for Henry, who

was his nephew, he wished to conquer a few more provinces for him in a hurry,

and to win some fresh laurels for himself at the same time; and accordingly

began the war anew against Saladin.  A Turkish fortress was taken, when more

evil tidings arrived from England, and Richard announced that he could not

remain a moment longer.  The barons broke out in a general cry of indignation

that he who had plunged them into danger should forsake them in the midst of

it, and once more the vacillating King allowed himself to be diverted from his

purpose.  Again the Christians remained long inactive at Baitnuba, not daring

to attack the city.

 

     The ultimate reason for this delay was illustrative of the state of

things.  The leaders knew that the great mass of pilgrims would disperse as

soon as their vows were fulfilled by the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre;

this would seal the destruction of the Frankish rule in Syria, should it

happen before the treaty of peace with Saladin was concluded.  Thus the

ostensible object of the crusade could not be achieved without ruining

Christianity in the East.  It is impossible to give a stronger illustration of

the hopelessness and internal conflict of all their views and endeavors at

that time.  They at last turned back disheartened to Ramla, where they were

startled by the news that Saladin had unexpectedly assumed the offensive,

attacked the important seaport town of Jaffa, and was probably already in

possession of it.

 

     Richard's warlike impetousity once more burst forth.  With a handful of

followers he put to sea and hastened to Jaffa.  When he came in sight of the

harbor, the Turks were already inside the town, plundering in every direction,

and assailing the last remains of the garrison.  After a short reconnoitre

Richard drove his vessel on shore, rushed with an echoing war-cry into the

midst of the enemy's superior force, and by his mighty blows actually drove

the Turks in terror and confusion out of the place.  On the following day he

encamped with contemptuous insolence outside the gates with a few hundred

horsemen, when he was suddenly attacked by as many thousands. In one instant

he was armed, droved back the foremost assailants, clove a Turk's head down to

his shoulders, and then rode along the wavering front of the enemy, from one

wing to the other.  "Now," cried he, "who will dare a fight for the honor of

God?" Henceforth his fame was such that, years after, Turkish mothers

threatened their children with "King Richard is coming!" and Turkish riders

asked their shying horses if "they saw the Lion-hearted King."

 

     But these knightly deeds did not advance the war at all.  It was

fortunate for the Franks that Saladin's emirs were weary of the long strife,

and the Sultan himself wished for the termination of hostilities in

consequence of his failing health.  The favorable terms of the former treaty,

more especially the possession of Jerusalem, were of course no longer to be

obtained.  The Christians were obliged to be content, on August 30, 1192, with

a three-years' armistice, according to which the sea-coast from Antioch to

Joppa was to remain in the possession of the Christians, and the Franks

obtained permission to go to Jerusalem as unarmed pilgrims, to pray at the

Holy Sepulchre.  Richard embarked directly, without even taking measures for

ransoming the prisoners.

 

     As may easily be imagined, the Christians were deeply exasperated by such

a peace; the Turks rejoiced, and only Saladin looked forward with anxiety to

the future, and feared dangerous consequences from the duration of even the

smallest Christian dominion in the East.  The most active and friendly

intercourse, rarely disturbed by suspicion, soon began between the two

nations.  On the very scene of the struggle mutual hatred had subsided,

commercial relations were formed, and political negotiations soon followed. In

the place of the mystic trophy which was the object of the religious war,

Europe had gained an immense extension of worldly knowledge and of wealth from

the struggle of a hundred years.

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