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)
72 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II who had been specifically named in one of the agreements. He offered to turn all these over to Richard and give hostages for completing the transfers if the king would free his hostages from the garrison of Acre. Or Richard could take the Cross, money, and prisoners, and give hostages to guarantee that he would free the hostages from Acre. Richard's envoys insisted that the instalment be delivered, and their word accepted for the freeing of the hostages. When Saladin refused, Richard lost his temper. He selected a few of the hostages who were important enough to be worth large ransoms. The rest he and the duke of Burgundy led outside the city and slaughtered in sight of Saladin's host. The Moslem writers believed that this had been the king's intention from the beginning - and Christian references to the murder as vengeance for the crusaders slain before Acre would seem to support their view, but this seems improbable. It is more likely that there was mutual distrust and misunderstanding between Richard and Saladin about the exact arrangements. Richard was by nature arrogant, impulsive, and impatient. He wanted to clear up the business so he could start his campaign. Hence he took what seemed the simplest course. No Christian king would worry much about the lives of two or three thousand Moslems. As to the Christian prisoners left in Saladin's hands, one is forced to conclude that Richard was convinced that few if any were men of importance. A chivalric king would worry little more about low-born Christian sergeants than about Moslems.46 As king Richard waited at Acre, he must have considered the general strategic situation very carefully. He knew that, if his crusaders were adequately supplied with food and water and intelligently led, they could defeat any army Saladin was likely to muster. Apparently the sultan's best course was to use his large reserves of manpower to wear down the Christian army by continuous attacks in the field and by determined defense of all fortresses. Richard probably realized, however, that this policy was actually impossible. Saladin's troops could not be persuaded to sacrifice themselves in fierce assaults on the crusading host in the hope that it would mean victory for their successors. The fall of Acre had completely discouraged the Moslem garrisons. In the purely military sense, Saladin's one hope lay in a crushing defeat of his foes before his own men lost all their spirit. Richard's chief problem was to keep his troops supplied. The sultan had already ravaged 46 Eracles, p. 178; Bernard le Trésorier, p. 276; Bahã'-ad-Din, pp. 272-273; Diceto, II, 94; Devizes, p. 428; Gesta, II, 188-189; Estoire, pp. 226-228; Itinerarium, p. 243.
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