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

III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,   pp. 86-122 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 121

German arrival in Acre had been none too well received by the French, who
thought at one moment of driving the Germans out of the city because of their
violent occupation of the houses of Acre citizens. When once the Germans
had accomplished their opening skirmishes and plundering raids upon the Moslems,
they united under duke Henry of Brabant for a campaign based on Tyre, designed
to bring the Syrian coast into Christian hands, to clear out a nest of pirates
from Beirut, and to link the kingdom with the county of Tripoli.45 After
occupying abandoned and destroyed Sidon, the Germans on the 24th of October
advanced upon Beirut, which too had been abandoned and largely destroyed.
They utilized the stay at Beirut to promote the candidacy of the German vassal,
king Aimery of Cyprus, for the crown of Jerusalem. Their success was a decisive
recognition of German strength in the east. As they moved away from the coast
to clear the interior, they were blocked for months before the stronghold
of Toron. 
 Confirmation of the news of Henry VI's death led immediately to the defection
of the imperial chancellor, Conrad of Querfurt, and before the end of the
summer of 1198 most of the principal German nobles had left for home to protect
their interests in the raging civil war. Indeed, on July 1, 1198, a truce
was made with al-'Adil, who abandoned Beirut to the kingdom. The archbishop
of Mainz, before his departure early in 1198, crowned prince Leon II as the
first Roupenid king of Armenia.46 
 The German participation in these crusades ended in the double anticlimax
of the deaths of the two leaders, Frederick Barbarossa on June 10, 1190,
and Henry VI on September 28, 1197. The whole strenuous effort to retrieve
the dismal failure of Conrad III on the Second Crusade 47 ended in frustration
and tragic disaster. This setback at a time when it seemed that the Holy
Roman Empire of the German Nation was to be raised to its height served to
remind the German aristocracy of the real crusade it had left behind when
it marched to the east: the crusade against the trans-Elbean Slavs. Early
efforts to subject and Christianize these peoples had culminated in the abortive
and absurd Slavic crusade of 1147. Since that time such men as Adolf of Holstein
and Henry the Lion had made notable progress in bringing the area under control.
Beyond it lay the homes of the primitive, pagan Prussians, Lithuanians, Livs,
 45 On the situation in the Latin states at this time see below, chapter
XV, pp. 528-530. 
 46 On the kingdom of Cilician Armenia see below, chapter XVIII, pp. 645-659.
 47 On the Second Crusade see volume I of this work, chapter XV. 

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