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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

I: The Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Crusades,   pp. 2-43 PDF (16.9 MB)


Page 40

40 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II 
in his struggle for the throne.48 Fortunately for the Christians in the east,
more and more crusaders, mostly from northern Europe, kept arriving at Acre
and filled the gap left by the departure of the Sicilian ships. 
 King William must have been greatly satisfied with the news of Margarit's
successes, which reflected credit on himself. He intended that these should
be only the harbinger of greater things to come. Knowing that archbishop
Joscius of Tyre intended to win the kings of France and England for a new
crusade, William approached them himself and laid before them a plan for
common action, according to which Sicily would be the meeting-place of the
crusading armies from the west. The king offered the use of his harbors,
his navy, and other facilities and resources of his kingdom. Jointly with
the English and French, the Sicilians would cross the seas and wage war against
Saladin. The plan was the same as that suggested by Roger II to Louis VII
of France on the eve of the Second Crusade and rejected by the assembly at
Etampes in February 1147. This time it must have been accepted by the western
princes immediately, for in his interview with Saladin in July or August
of 1188 Margarit was already threatening a joint crusade of the kings of
Christendom. Whether William would have participated in person had he lived
must remain uncertain.49 More likely he would have named Margarit or count
Tancred of Lecce as his representative. 
 When William felt his death near, he bequeathed a handsome legacy to Henry
II of England, his father-in-law. Part of it consisted of a large amount
of grain, wine, and money, and of a hundred armed galleys with equipment
and supplies to last for two years.50 Obviously the legacy was intended to
fulfil William's crusading 
 48 It is certain that Margarit was in Messina in October 1190, for he participated
in the negotiations between Tancred's representatives and the kings of England
and France. His siding with Tancred aroused the suspicion of the English,
and he had to leave Messina. Richard confiscated his property in the city
along with that of other suspect magnates. See Gesta regis Henrici II (Rolls
Series, XLIX), II, 128, 138; compare Chalandon, Domination normande, II,
438-439. 
 49 See Estoire d' Eracles, XXIV, 7 (RHC, 0cc., II), pp. 114-115. Among the
authors who mention William's contributions to the struggle against Saladin
only Francesco Pipino, who wrote much later, assumes as a matter of course
that William, had he lived, would have gone on the crusade. Some of the more
recent Sicilian historians credit the story of William's participation in
Margarit's expedition to Tripoli and Tyre in 1 188, but they do not quote
any contemporary evidence. See La Lumia, Storia della Sicilia, pp. 624-625.
 50 And in addition, many precious objects such as a gold table mounted on
two gold tripods, a silk tent in which two hundred knights could dine together,
and silver cups and dishes. It is doubtful that this legacy to Henry II,
as described in the Gesta regis Henrici II (Rolls Series, XLIX), II, 132-133,
formed part of a general testament. According to the Annales Casinenses,
ad ann. 1189 (MGH, SS., XIX), p. 314, William died "sine liberis et
testamento". 


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