Third Crusade

1937 Words8 Pages
Why did the Second and Third Crusades fail to replicate the resounding success of the First Crusade? For Latin Christians at the time, the answer was obvious: Christian immorality had led God to stop favoring them in battle against the infidels. Upon hearing of the dismal failure of the Second Crusade, one anonymous individual in Würzburg wrote, “God allowed the Western Roman Church, on account of its sins, to be cast down.” Bernard of Clairvaux, the preacher most directly linked to the messaging of the Second Crusade, noted in explaining its failure that, “the Lord, provoked by our sins, gave the appearance of having judged the world prematurely.” While it’s impossible to definitively disprove that God’s hand played a role in the failures…show more content…
Frederick Barbarossa's untimely death while crossing the Saleph River in Anatolia caused the near complete dissolution of his army. While hardly the first crusading force to meet an untimely demise in Turkey, the desertion of the army following his death highlights the risk of tying a Crusade to a single monarch. The persistent conflict between Richard the Lionheart and Philip II during the Third Crusade further displays the danger of having kings lead crusading forces. The two kings held each other in contempt from the beginning, in part because Richard had reneged on his engagement to Philip’s half-sister. After the two kings successfully captured Acre, Philip II would return home, but not until he agreed to a covenant to not attack Richard’s possessions back home. Primary source documents reveal that he failed to keep this promise: one Richard writing in the 13th-century notes, “for he had no sooner reached his own country, than he set it in commotion and threw Normandy into confusion [by attacking Richard’s lands there]...” Reports of Philip’s actions would reach Richard, and undoubtedly played a role in his decision to return to England from the Holy Land despite having never taken Jerusalem. And Richard’s concerns over the state of affairs in Normandy may very well have been directly responsible for his failure to retake Jerusalem. As Madden observes, Richard’s respected adversary Saladin died just three weeks after he had begun his return journey. Richard’s constant concerns over his homeland are unique to a king, and thus illustrate the negative impact of kings on the crusading

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