August 14, 2012 by

The Third Crusade

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In 1188, Gerald of Wales travelled through Wales as part of Archbishop Baldwin’s tour, the purpose of which was specifically to find recruits for the Third Crusade.  He wrote both his Journey through Wales and On the Education of a Monarch as part of his devotion to the Crusade ideal.

Here is the link to the map:

The Third Crusade “was led by Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, Philip II Augustus of France and Richard I the Lionheart of England . . . all of whom were experienced military leaders, although Philip and Richard were already at odds before the crusade began. The crusaders travelled by two separate routes. Barbarossa marched overland from Germany, leaving in the spring of 1189. His march was one of the best organised of any crusade . . . but late in the summer Frederick was drowned, and after that the German force fell apart – only 1,000 of the 30,000 who had left Germany reached Acre late in 1190 where they joined the crusaders already engaged in the siege of Acre (1189-1191). Philip and Richard both travelled by sea, spending the winter of 1190-1 on Sicily, where their relationship suffered even more.

When spring came in 1191, Philip sailed straight to Acre to join the siege, while Richard stopped to conquer Cyprus, which gave him a secure base. He arrived at Acre on 8 June 1191, taking control of the siege, and only four days later (12 July), Acre surrendered, ending a two year siege. Soon after this, Philip returned to France, where he began to plot the conquest of Richard’s French lands, breaking the convention that one did not attack the lands of a crusader. Meanwhile, Richard took control of the crusading army, now 50,000 strong, and in August began to march down the coast. Richard managed to create one of the best organised of crusader armies, and marched slowly down the coast, keeping his troops free, and denying Saladin any chance to pick away at the crusading army. Finally, Saladin set up an ambush (battle of Arsouf, 7 September 1191), but Richard had a pre-prepared plan to deal with this, and when it was put in place, the Turks were routed. Saladin never again risked a direct attack on Richard. The crusaders wintered at Ascalon, and in 1192 marched on Jerusalem. However, Saladin used a scorched earth strategy, and denied supplies of water and fodder Richard had to abandon his plans to besiege the city. However, he was able to negotiate a treaty with Saladin, which gave Christian pilgrims special rights in Jerusalem. Both Richard and Saladin emerged from the Third Crusade with enhanced reputations, Saladin as the best of the infidels, and a honourable enemy, Richard as one of the great generals, and as a heroic knight.”

Gerald narrates in his first chapter on the Archbishop’s success and female perfidity in turning aside a noble intention:  “The archbishop proceeded to Radnor, on Ash Wednesday (Caput Jejunii), accompanied by Ranulph de Glanville, privy counsellor and justiciary of the whole kingdom, and there met Rhys,  son of Gruffydd, prince of South Wales, and many other noble personages of those parts; where a sermon being preached by the archbishop, upon the subject of the Crusades, and explained to the Welsh by an interpreter, the author of this Itinerary, impelled by the urgent importunity and promises of the king, and the persuasions of the archbishop and the justiciary, arose the first, and falling down at the feet of the holy man, devoutly took the sign of the cross.

His example was instantly followed by Peter, bishop of St. David’s,a monk of the abbey of Cluny, and then by Eineon, son of Eineon Clyd,prince of Elvenia, and many other persons. Eineon rising up, said to Rhys, whose daughter he had married, “My father and lord! with your permission I hasten to revenge the injury offered to the great father of all.” Rhys himself was so fully determined upon the holy peregrination, as soon as the archbishop should enter his territories on his return, that for nearly fifteen days he was employed with great solicitude in making the necessary preparations for so distant a journey; till his wife, and, according to the common vicious licence of the country, his relation in the fourth degree, Guendolena, (Gwenllian), daughter of Madoc, prince of Powys, by female artifices diverted him wholly from his noble purpose; since, as Solomon says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.”

As Rhys before his departure was conversing with his friends concerning the things he had heard, a distinguished young man of his family, by name Gruffydd, and who afterwards took the cross, is said thus to have answered: ‘What man of spirit can refuse to undertake this journey, since, amongst all imaginable inconveniences, nothing worse can happen to any one than to return.'”

In his writings, Gerald claims that the Archbishop recruited 3000 men to travel to the Holy Land.

6 Responses to The Third Crusade

  1. Venkata P.

    The reign of Llywelyn Fawr coincided with King John’s dis it not?
    So did he rise to power near the end of Richard’s reign or the beginning of John’s?

    Also, how do you exactly pronounce the name of Llywelyn?

    And, I don’t want any exact answers, but in the upcoming book, will places be shown besides England and Wales?

    • Sarah Post author

      You are welcome to use this information in your research. Please cite either me or the original source in the document you produce. Thanks!