The Third Crusade

This page will have details about the Third Crusade. See the timeline below for more information.

Route of Philip and Richard to Messina

The routes taken by Richard and Philip through Italy to Messina in Sicily

Route of Philip and Richard to Acre

The routes taken by Richard and Philip across the Mediterranean Sea to Acre


1187 Jul 4 Army of Jerusalem defeated
   The Christian Army of Jerusalem was beaten by Turkish forces at the Battle of Hattin. Guy of Lusignan was King of Jerusalem at this time. All Knights Templars and Hospitallers who survived the battle were executed afterwards. The Archbishop of Tyre, a man called Josias, was dispatched from the city to Europe to inform the Pope and European leaders of the disaster that had taken place and to ask for help.
Sep Saladin captures Acre
   After a short siege Saladin captured the port of Acre from the Christians.
Oct 2 Jerusalem falls to the Muslims
   The al-Asqu mosque was returned to Islam. The Muslims allowed four Christian Priests to hold services in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was opposed to the first Crusaders who since they first captured the city in 1099 had treated Jerusalem as theirs alone. The Muslim leader was Al-Malik al-Nasir Salad ed-Din Yusuf (Saladin).
Nov Richard takes the Cross. The Crusade
   Richard took the Cross. Before going on a Crusade a vow was taken and the person was given a piece of cloth in the shape of a cross to be sown onto the surcoat. To go on a Crusade meant a person was granted a plenary indulgence which freed them from the terrors of purgatory and hell if they killed the enemy and gave them the promise of eternal life in heaven.
1188 Mar 27 Barbarossa takes the Cross
   At Mainz Cathedral, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa took the Cross showing his intention to travel to the Holy Land.
1189 May Frederick Barbarossa's Crusade begins
   In early May 1189, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa garthered his army at Ratisbon (now called Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany). He had ensured that his lands were safe while he was away on crusade and left his eldest son Henry.
1190 Foundation of the Teutontic Knights
   A group of German knights on crusade during the siege of Acre formed an Order to assist sick pilgrims travelling to holy land.
Feb Treaty of Adrianople
   The large army of German crusaders marched towards Constantinople on the way to the Holy Land. But Isaac II, the Byzantine Emperor, had sided with Saladin and was attempting the stop them by attacking the crusaders. But the German army was too strong and they captured Adrianople. A peace treaty was signed by Isaac and Frederick of Germany, the crusaders' leader, that ensured the Germans were given supplies and free passage through to the Holy Land.
Jun 24 Richard at Tours
   Richard was given the pilgrim's scrip (a bag for the journey) and staff by the archbishop of Tours in preparation for his Crusade. These items were traditionally carried by pilgrims.
Jul 3 Meeting at Vézelay
   Richard I and Philippe II, Augustus, met at Vézelay and agreed to divide the spoils of the Crusade equally between themselves. They planned to take different routes, Richard via Marseilles and Philippe via Genoa. Richard has around 100 ships at his disposal. Several were from the Cinque Ports, others from Shoreham and Southampton and others donated by private persons. Other ships were hired from ports in Normandy. Richard could have had a force of around 8000 men half of which could have had horses.
Jul 4 Richard's Crusade starts
   Richard leaves to begin his crusade.
Sep Messina
   Richard was in no hurry to reach the Holy Land as he had an issue to resolve in Italy first. William II, the King of Sicily, had recently died. He was married to Richard's sister, Joan, who was bequeathed a large dower, a payment meant to support her if she outlived her husband. William had also bequeathed a large sum of money to Henry II, the king of England. Through force, Tancred of Lecce claimed the throne of Sicily and imprisoned Joan refusing to pay the money to her or the King of England. When Richard arrived in Messina he demanded that his sister should be released and all the money owing should be paid.
Oct Richard captured Messina
   The people of Messina, supporting Tancred, shut the gates on Richard and attacked his soldiers. In the harbour French ships turned against Richard as the friendship between Richard and Philippe had broken down because Philippe believed Richard was about to refuse to go through with his marriage to Alais, Philippe's half-sister. This was true as Richard had arranged a marriage to Berengaria of Navarre who was travelling to meet him. Richard's men stormed Messina and captured the town. Richard was lenient on the people of Messina and decided to build a fort overlooking the town. Tancred agreed to pay the money owed, freed Joan from prison and paid Richard a large amount of gold. Friendly relations were restored between Richard and Philippe when Richard agreed to split the gold with the French king.
Christmas Crusaders in Sicily
   Richard and Philippe stayed in Sicily over the winter months waiting for the weather to improve before continuing their journeys to the Holy Land.
1191 Mar 30 Philippe leaves Sicily
   The King of France set sail for the Holy Land a few days before Richard.
Apr 10 Richard's fleet leave Sicily
   The fleet left Sicily to sail to Rhodes. On route, three ships were separated from the group and landed on Cyprus at the port of Limassol. The governor of Cyprus at the time was Isaac Dacus Comnenus, who had come to power from trickery. He had sided with Saladin, and treated Richard's ships as the enemy.
Apr 20 Philippe Augustus arrives in Acre
   Philippe Augustus landed in Acre in an attempt to remove Guy of Lusignan as the King of Jerusalem, and replace him with Conrad of Montferrat.
May 6 Richard sails to Cyprus.
   Richard located the three lost ships at Limissol, and promptly attacked Comnenus' troops in the town and drove them out. Comnenus was again attacked outside the town, but escaped, leaving behind his standard, embroidered with gold cloth. This was later presented to the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.
May 11 Meeting in Limassol
   Richard met Guy of Lusignan (King of Jerusalem), Geoffrey (Richard's brother), Bohemund (Prince of Antioch), Raymond (Count of Tripoli), Humphrey of Toron and other knights to discuss the attempt by Philippe II of France to replace Guy of Lusignan with Conrad of Montferrat as the King of Jerusalem.
May 12 Richard marries Berengaria
   Richard took time to marry Berengaria at Limassol.
Jun 1 Richard controls Cyprus
   By the 1st of June, Richard had control of the whole of Cyprus and imposed a 50% tax in return for letting the Cypriots return to a more traditional way of life. Richard of Camville and Robert of Turnham were left in charge of Cyprus.
Jun 6 Richard arrives at Tyre and attacks Acre
   Richard landed at Tyre and quickly moved towards Acre, where he needed to help an army that was besieging the town which was being held by a garrison of Saladin's troops. By July 12th, the town fell to Richard. Richard held Saladin's men hostage in exchange for 200,000 dinars and 1500 of Richard's own troops who were being held by Saladin. When no ransom was paid, Richard publicly executed 2700 of the garrison. It was at this point that Richard angered Leopold of Austria, who was to imprison Richard as he tried to return to Normandy. Leopold's banner was ripped down from alongside Richard's and the French. The banners indicated that the spoils of war should be shared, but Richard was not prepared the share with Leopold, who had not contributed that much to the fall of Acre.
Jul Richard takes Acre
   Under Richard's command, the city of Acre is taken back by the Crusaders.
1192 Apr 28 Conrad is assassinated
   Conrad of Montferrat was killed by two Assassins disguised as monks as he walked home. The Assassins, one of whom had been captured alive and questioned, had been sent by their leader Sinan. The suspected reasons for the murder are varied, some theories suggest Conrad had intercepted a shipment of wealthy goods bound for the Assassin Order while others suggest Saladin had ordered the murder of both Conrad and Richard I. Some also suggest it was Richard himself who had ordered the murder.
Jun Richard captures a Moslem caravan
   Word reached Richard that a Moslem caravan rich with supplies was heading for a well known as the Round Cistern. The caravan was not expecting an attack and the Christian army managed to capture a large amount of rich merchandise, horses and camels.
Jul Attack on Jaffa
   Saladin was in Jerusalem when he heard the news of the Christian attack on the caravan. It looked certain that the Crusaders would use the resources that they had captured to continue on and attack the city. But Richard decided to return to Jaffa against the wishes of many in his army. While peace negotiations were again sent to Saladin Richard moved his army up to Acre in preparation to leave the Holy Land. When Richard left Jaffa Saladin took his army out of Jerusalem and attacked the city. After three days of assault the walls of Jaffa fell and the Moslems entered.
Sep 2 Peace with Saladin
   Richard the Lionheart signed a peace treaty with the Moslem leader Saladin.
Oct 9 Richard I leaves the Holy Land
   After the agreement of a peace treaty Richard left the Middle East and began the voyage back to England.
Dec Richard shipwrecked on the way home
   Richard was shipwrecked while returning home from the middle east.
1193 Feb Richard captured by the Emperor of Germany
   Richard was captured by the Emperor of Germany, Henry IV after being shipwrecked on the way home after his Crusade. The Emperor demanded a large ransom to set Richard free.
1194 Mar Richard returns to England
   Richard I returned to England after his Crusade and imprisonment in Germany. John had all his castles in England confiscated and the only title left to him was that of Lord of Ireland.

Medieval Castles


Medieval towns


Medieval villages