The Fall of Constantinople: Being the Story of the Fourth Crusade

By Edwin Pears | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
THE PREPARATIONS FOR A CRUSADE.

THE fourth crusade began to be preached in 1197. The earlier successes of the third crusade, notwithstanding the quarrels of its leaders, had led the Christians of the West to believe that the progress of Mahometanism might yet be checked. In 1187 Saladin had captured Jerusalem. Guy of Lusignan had been taken prisoner. Many brave Templars and Hospitallers, with many a nameless soldier of the West, had suffered martyrdom rather than renounce the faith. The fall of Jerusalem had been the immediate cause of the third crusade. Our own Richard the Lion-hearted, whose sole claim to be remembered is his skill as a captain of Crusaders, Philip of France, one of the ablest of French kings, and Frederic Barbarossa, the Swabian Emperor of Western Rome, had, as we have seen, united to reconquer Christian territory in Syria. Acre had been besieged, and after a two years' resistance, which had cost the Crusaders 300,000 men, had surrendered to Richard and Philip. Saladin had been defeated at Ascalon. Other places had been captured. But the victories and the results of the expedition fell far short of what might reasonably have been hoped for from the preparations which had been made by the three great sovereigns of the West. Jaffa had been taken by storm, but had been recaptured, and its Christian garrison massacred. Frederic was drowned in 1190. The quarrel between Philip and Richard had been espoused by their followers. In 1192 the English king quitted Syria, was shipwrecked, imprisoned, and went through some, at least, of the adventures which have associated the name of that sovereign with poetry and romance.

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