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

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.9 MB)

Page 67

following the sensible course. Philip's decision explains Guy's trip to Cyprus
to meet Richard. With Philip committed to one side of the controversy, even
an old foe of the Plantagenet house had hopes that he might persuade Richard
to take the other. 
 The arrival of Philip Augustus before Acre gave the crusading army, for
the time being at least, a single commander. Although the French king probably
did not bring a very large force, his presence increased the enthusiasm and
coordination with which the besiegers pressed their attacks. While masses
of crossbowmen made it almost impossible for the garrison to man the walls,
artillerymen pounded the fortifications with mangonels and rams housed in
"cats", while other troops mined under them. Great towers were
built from which missiles could be rained on the walls. The garrison resisted
vigorously, and burned many of the towers and engines, but they were in desperate
straits. Apparently Saladin had taken advantage of a temporary naval supremacy
in the waters of Acre in late January and early February to attempt to replace
the exhausted garrison with fresh troops. This process had been interrupted
before its completion by the arrival of an Italian squadron, with the result
that the new garrison was much smaller than the previous one. Moreover, Saladin
himself was extremely short of troops. His nephew Taqi-ad-Din, al-Muzaffar
'Umar, lord of the region about Hamah in Syria, had started a private war
of aggrandizement against his neighbors, and the emirs of the region had
hastened home to protect their own lands. Hence at a crucial time Saladin
was left with only his household troops and a few contingents from Damascus
and Egypt. If Philip had launched a series of major assaults, he could probably
have taken Acre before Richard arrived, but he declined to do this.37 
 King Richard sailed from Cyprus, as we have noted, on June 5, 1191. The
next day he landed at Tyre, but the lieutenant of Conrad of Montferrat refused
to admit him to the city, and he camped outside the walls. A day or two later
the king and his galleys reached Acre, to be followed in a few days by the
rest of his fleet. On his journey Richard and his galley's met a great enemy
ship laden with reinforcements and supplies for the garrison of Acre. The
accounts of this affair differ widely. The estimates of the troops aboard
range from 650 to 1,300, with the first figure the more likely. Some accounts
have it that the English galleys sank the ship by ramming it, while others
insist the crew sank it to avoid 
 37 Gibb Ms.; Eracles, pp. 156-157; Bahã'-ad-Din, pp. 233-234, 240;
Rigord, p. 108. 

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