Causes and Outcomes of the Third Crusade

The causes, course and outcomes of the Third Crusade (1189-1192)


Reasons for the crusade

·      Jerusalem fell to the Muslims in 1187, only the port of Tyre remaining in Western hands - so recapturing the city became the priority of the Third Crusade.

·      Most of the Frankish army was killed at the Battle of Hattin.

·      Muslim forces had taken the True Cross.

·      Only Antioch and Tripoli remained of the crusader states in the north.

·      Much of the Hospitaller and Templar knights were executed by Saladin.

·      Again the idea of penance was emphasised, and also as a test from God to gain rewards or become a martyr in death.

·      There was very low morale in the Christian world after the failure of the Second Crusade so Bernard and Eugenius tried to promote the idea the Third Crusade was another opportunity to establish Christianity in the Near East.

·      Due to attacks on their principal cities, many of Outremer’s leaders and members of the Church/nobility established there had written to Louis VII for help which, while mostly ignored, did demonstrate to those in the West the extent of the problems.


Recruitment and leadership

·      Pope Gregory VIII issued the Audita Tremendi, drafted by Urban II before his death ten days earlier (20th October 1087). This general letter was extremely powerful in calling people to crusade, describing the suffering faced by those in the Near East, using the idea that the Christian settlers had committed great sins to convince people that they would achieve penance for themselves and their countrymen by crusading, also an opportunity to avenge for the sins of Muslims against Christianity.

·      Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury gathered lots of support on his tour of Wales in 1188.

·      Archbishop Joscius of Tyre sailed in the summer of 1087 to Sicily to ask for William’s help, then met Henry and Philip in France on 22nd January 1188 at Gisors. This lead to the kings, Philip of Flanders and other magnates taking the cross and planning their journey.

Þ   Each nation wore a different coloured cross: The French wore red, the English white and the Flemish green.

·      William II of Sicily was the first to respond, followed by Henry II of England, the emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany and Philip II of France.

·      Both William and Henry died before the crusade began, although William did send a fleet to the Holy Land (which saved Tripoli and provisioned Antioch and Tyre in the summer of 1188). Henry was then replaced by his son, Richard I (or Richard the Lionheart).

·      The Sicilians and Germans acted independently while the French and the English formed one expedition (although neither trusted the other).

·      Philip wanted to limit Richard’s power in France, because, although his vassal, Richard held more land in France. Therefore, they both levied taxes on


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