The Third Crusade
Since we had decided from the start to also follow the traces of the Third Crusade into the Holy Land, we dealt extensively with the relevant backgrounds.
The catalyst for the Third Crusade was the conquest of Jerusalem, which had been in Christian hands since the First Crusade, by Sultan Saladin on October 2, 1187. Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa set out from Regensburg with an enormous army on May 11, 1189 in order to recapture Jerusalem. He chose the way along the Danube. In 1190, King Philip II of France and King Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) also set off for Palestine with their armies. After a joint departure, the armies separated to take the sea route from Marseille, respectively, Genoa, to reach the Holy Land.
As Friedrich crossed the border to the Byzantine Empire with his army, no more traces of the agreed support from the Byzantine ruler Isaac were to be seen. On the contrary, the Crusaders were repeatedly exposed to attacks. After they had threatened to sack Constantinople, ships and provisions were finally made available to enable the Crusader army to cross the Hellespont. In Asia Minor, as of Laodicea, the army was ambushed by the Seljuks again and again. The long journey, the heat, the shortage of food and the exertions also made themselves felt. The army slowly began to wear down. Nonetheless, the Crusaders succeeded in defeating the Turks on May 18, 1190 and captured Iconium, today the metropolis of Konya.
At the end of May, Friedrich and his army reached the allied Armenian kingdom of Cilicia. On the way through the Taurus Mountains, Friedrich Barbarossa drowned in the Saleph, a mountain river near the present-day city of Silifke. Various parts of his body were subsequently interred in several places, the army gradually dissolved. A part of the army returned to Europe, while the rest moved onwards with Friedrich’s son to Acre in order to lay siege upon the city with the armies of Philipp II and Richard I. Acre could be conquered; this is considered as the great but also sole success of the Third Crusade: Jerusalem remained in the hands of Saladin – the goal of recapturing the city of Jerusalem had failed.