The Third Crusade was Christian Europe’s response to Saladin’s re-conquest of Jerusalem. First to take up the cause was Frederick Barbarossa, the veteran Holy Roman Emperor who set off overland with a huge army. Richard I of England, and Philip II of France rendezvoused in Sicily, before sailing separately for the Holy Land (Richard conquering Cyprus en route in a fit of pique with the local princeling). Meanwhile Barbarossa had drowned while crossing Anatolia and most of his demoralized army had turned back. Militarily, the campaign was successful, Richard bested Saladin in battle at Arsuf, and the key ports of Acre and Jaffa were recaptured. However, disputes between the leaders meant that the ultimate goal, Jerusalem, remained in Saladin’s hands; the crusaders had to be satisfied with a treaty permitting unarmed Christian pilgrims permission to visit the Holy City.
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