The Third Crusade - American Minute with Bill Federer

Jerusalem had been a Jewish city since King David, around 1000 B.C., and it had been a Christian city since Emperor Constantine, circa 325 A.D.
Muslim warriors under Caliph Umar took Jerusalem away from the Byzantine Patriarch Sophronius in 637 A.D. and forced Christian and Jewish inhabitants to live as second-class citizens under a set of "Jim Crow" style laws called "dhimmi."
Christian pilgrims began to be harassed, massacred and crucified. In the 700's, Christians were banned from giving religious instruction to their children and displays of the cross were banned in Jerusalem.
In 772 A.D., Caliph al Mansur ordered Jews and Christians to be branded on the hand.
In 923 A.D., sharia Muslims began destroying churches in Jerusalem.
On Palm Sunday in 937 A.D., they plundered the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection.
In 1004, Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah began a ten year persecution where thousands were forced to convert or die and 30,000 churches were destroyed.
In 1009, Caliph al-Hakim destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
In 1075, the Muslim Seljuk Turks captured Jerusalem from Arab Muslims. Gregory Bar-Hebraeus, 1226-1286, a Syrian Orthodox Church leader, wrote how Seljuk Turkish Muslims initially tolerated Christians, then:
"... having seen very much modesty and other habits of this kind among Christian people, certainly the Mongols loved them greatly at the beginning of their kingdom, a time ago somewhat short. But their love hath turned to such intense hatred."
Travelers returning from pilgrimages to the Holy Land shared reports of Islamic persecution of "dhimmi" Christians.
Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt had previously all been Christian lands but they were conquered by fundamentalist Islamists. They succeeded in conquering Sicily by 965.
In 1057, the Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard took control of Calabria in the "toe of Italy" and fought against the Islamic warriors of Sicily.
Italian city-states of Pisa, Genoa and Catalonia fought the Muslims who were raiding Italy's coasts, Majorca, Sardinia, and Catalonia.
In 1071, the Muslims inflicted a major defeat on the Byzantine Christians at the Battle of Manzikert and took control of all but the coastlands of Asia Minor.
Cries for help were carried back to Europe. Europe sent help, it was called the Crusades.
Europeans had just two centuries of crusades compared to Islam's fourteen centuries of jihad crusades which are still continuing, killing an estimated 240 million.
The Europeans' nine major Crusades lasted from 1095 till 1291, when Acre was finally recaptured by Islamic forces.
The First Crusade began when, in desperation, the proud Byzantine Emperor Alexius the First Comnenus humbled himself and sent ambassadors to the Council of Piacenza in March of 1095, appealing for aid from his religious rival, the Roman Catholic Pope.
The seriousness of this call for help is underscored by the fact that it occurred just a few years after the Great East-West Schism of 1054, where the Byzantine Church and the Roman Catholic Church split.

Pope Urban the Second gave an impassioned plea at the Council of Clermont in 1095 for Western leaders to set aside their doctrinal differences and come to the aid of their Byzantine Christians brethren.

Pope Urban the Second described how Christians were treated by Islamists, who "compel (them) to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow," as recorded by Robert the Monk in Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University.

With Spain exuberant after successfully driving the Muslim occupiers from Toledo and Leon a few years earlier, the First Crusade began in 1097, led by Godfrey of Bouillon.

It freed Iconium, though it was later lost.

The First Crusade defeated Islamic warriors at Dorylaeum and Antioch, and captured Jerusalem in 1099, holding it for nearly 100 years.

After Muslims conquered Edessa, another crusade was called for by Bernard of Clairvaux in 1147.
It was made up of French and German armies, led by King Louis VII and Conrad II.
In 1148, Muslim leader, Nur ed-Din, slaughtered every Christian in Aleppo.

The Second Crusade failed to take Damascus and returned to Europe in 1150. Bernard of Clairvaux was disturbed by reports of misdirected violence toward some Jewish populations.

On July 4, 1187, the Muslim leader Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty,
captured Crusaders at Hattim and ordered their mass execution.

In 1190, Pope Gregory the Eighth called for a Third Crusade. It was led by German King Frederick the First, called Frederick Barbarossa -- meaning Redbeard -- who was the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

He was joined by Richard the First of England and Philip the Second of France.
Frederick led 100,000 soldiers across Byzantium, driving out Muslims and temporarily freeing Iconium.
He most likely would have freed Jerusalem had he not fallen off his horse while crossing the Göksu River in Cilicia, Asia Minor.
Being 67 years old and weighted down with heavy armor, Frederick Barbarossa drowned in waist deep water and the Crusade went into confusion.

Richard the Lionheart was suddenly in charge leading the Third Crusade and successfully captured Acre.
Due to rivalries, Philip the Second, without warning, abandoned the Crusade and returned to France in 1191.

Richard's troops came within sight of Jerusalem in 1192, but grew weary as it did not look like they were making an impact.
Then word came to Richard that Phillip the Second was trying to take away Normandy from England, so Richard quickly ended the Crusade to go back and defend his kingdom.

Richard later discovered Saladin was on the verge of defeat and was propping up dead soldiers along the walls.

Saladin allowed some Christians to leave Jerusalem if they paid a ransom, but according to Imad al-Din, approximately 15,000 could not pay their ransom and were enslaved.

Richard sailed away, but was shipwrecked and attempted to travel on foot across Europe in disguise.
He was recognized near Vienna and captured by Duke Leopold the Fifth of Austria. The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry the Sixth, imprisoned Richard at Dumstein for three years.
Legend has it that Richard's loyal minstrel, Blondel, traveled from kingdom to kingdom across Europe trying to find him by singing Richard's favorite song.

When Richard heard the song, he sang the second verse from the prison tower, and was found. Richard's brother, King John, had to raise taxes for the "king's ransom."
This was the origins of the story of Nottingham, Sherwood Forest, and Robin Hood.

The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry the Sixth, prepared for another crusade in 1197, but died from malaria.

Once back in England, Richard ruled only a few years before being shot with an arrow during the siege of a castle in Normandy.

His brother, King John, once again ruled, where he raised taxes oppressively.
When he lost Britain's claim to Normandy after the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, English baron's were upset, as they also lost their titled lands there.

Angry barons then surrounded King John on the plains of Runnymede on JUNE 15, 1215, and forced him to sign the Magna Carta - the cornerstone of English liberty.
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Image Credits: Public Domain; The Siege of Acre, related to the siege of 1189-1191; image date circa 1280; Source: Biblotheque Municipale de Lyon, Ms 828 f33r;

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