To celebrate St George’s Day this year we have put together a blog series looking at 6 key events in England’s military history. In this blog we are looking at the Third Crusade, which saw Richard the Lionheart and Saladin come head-to-head in their struggle for Jerusalem.
The Third Crusade 1191
Artwork by Christa Hook
Extract from Campaign 161: The Third Crusade 1191 by David Nicolle
King Richard managed to quarrel with almost all the other senior leaders of the Third Crusade, and a good number of the secondary commanders as well. Following the death of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa the German imperial army disintegrated. Duke Leopold of Austria took command of its remnants, but these demoralized troops were unable to play a significant role in the rest of the Crusade. On the other hand Leopold, as representative of the Empire and of what many people in Europe regarded as the most prestigious secular ruler in Christendom, insisted on having his banner placed at equal level to that of Richard of England on the wall of Acre after the city had been conquered. In this reconstruction of the scene, the banner of King Philip Augustus is also shown. The French king was a diplomat before he was a warrior, and seems to have accepted Duke Leopold’s banner as being politically if not militarily justified. King Richard’s men, whether directly encouraged by him or not, felt otherwise and tore down Leopold’s flag. They added insult to injury by throwing it into the moat. It was a humiliation which the Austrian ruler would not forget, and he thereafter remained a bitter enemy of King Richard of England.
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