The Crusades (Part IV)

Battle of Hattin:

While Salah al-Din’s Army gathered in the area of Hauran (Syria), King Guy called nobles and knights back in Acre. Also, the Holy Cross was brought from Jerusalem. On the morning of July 4th, 1187, the battle ended with King Guy and his army losing. King Guy’s life was spared and the Holy Cross was taken by the Muslims. In this battle, the army force of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was mostly demolished.

Conqueror of Jerusalem:

   The aim of Salah al-Din wasn’t finished, he conquered one by one until he got the ultimate goal: Jerusalem. Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi made a siege to Jerusalem on 20 September and the operation concluded with the cities’ surrender. Salah al-Din applied the tolerance policy of Islam to the Jerusalem people and handed over the management of the Christian holy places to the Orthodox Church.

   Jerusalem which is important to all religions was finally retrieved to Muslims.

Call for a New Crusade:

   With the Muslims taking Jerusalem, Europe was shaken deeply. The Sicily King William II Hauteville sent a fleet commanded by Admiral Margaritus of Brindisi to the coast of Syria. 

   Another situation was that Pope Urbanus the Third was ill and died with the sadness of Jerusalem being taken by Muslims. Pope’s successor Gregorius the Seventh published a declaration and invited whole West Christians to a new crusade. However, Gregorius died 2 months later and Clemens the Third was chosen as the pope instead. The kings accepted a new campaign but due to their countries’ interior situations, they weren’t in a good position for long journeys.

Third Crusade Begins:

   German Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa began his journey with a giant army in 1189 and entered the Byzantium lands. The German military made a lot of messes and disasters in the Balkans. This caused a conflict with the Byzantium Emperor Isaakios Angelos the Second. King Friedrich passed his army from the Dardanelles to Anatolia. Seljuk Sultan Kilij Arslan the Second was worried when he saw the German military and didn’t declare war. However, Sultan Kılıcarslan chased the army and did some sudden attacks. The Campaign resulted in hunger, thirst and heavy losses.

   King Friedrich turned straight on his route to Silifke Plain. However, after Friedrich’s suffocation in the river, the army lost its head and scattered. A small part of the army commanded by Friedrich’s son passed to Sur. The Sicily King sent a 70-ship fleet to Antioch and Sur with essential support on time. In the same year, a Pisa navy and a year later, Genoa, Venice, Denmark, and Flemish Navies were sent one after the other.

Siege to Acre:

   At the same time, Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi made an agreement with King Guy about living from the East and not making a gunfight against Islam again. But, he broke his word, gathered his supporters, and went to Sur to renovate his kingdom. However, the German Emperor Conrad the Third rejected King Guy’s request and didn’t let him go to the city. As a result of this, King Guy surrounded Acre to establish his dominance. Along with it, many nobles came in front of the city with their army forces.

Unite of Two Kings:

   France’s King Philip Auguste the Second and England’s King Henry the Third started their preparations for the crusade. However, King Henry died in 1189 and his son Richard the First, also known as the Lionheart, filled his place. On the other hand, the situation between France and England didn’t last. Finally, the two kings united their forces because of the same purpose: taking back Jerusalem from Muslim dominance. They gathered their forces in Vézelay. 

The two kings, also the generals of the crusade, had different characteristics. King Richard the First was unstable, rebellious, and also wasn’t trusting his brothers. King Philip the Second was known as a genius in wars, clever, and also a trickster politician. His purpose in joining the crusade was to increase his European lands.

Siege Continues:

   After leaving Vézelay, they met in Messina, made an agreement, and agreed on dividing equally the places they captured. Then, King Philip and the France navy joined the Acre Siege with his cousin Conrad the Third. 

   King Richard arrived in Cyprus on the sea road and captured the island. After this victory, King Richard continued his road and joined the Acre Siege. 

To Be Continued


Onur Hakan Akdoğan

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