preparing for the third crusade -- 3/28/22

Today's selection -- from Saladin by John Man. With the fall of Jerusalem into Muslim hands in 1187, the cry was quickly heard to recapture it in a third crusade, and to raise the funds for that crusade:
"Soon after Jerusalem's fall, Joscius, archbishop of Tyre, set off in a black-sailed ship, bearing appeals for aid, including propaganda drawings of the horses of -- Saladin's army stabled and urinating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. His first stop was Sicily, where King William II dressed himself in penitential sackcloth at the news and promised a fleet, which by chance was on duty near Cyprus. The next stop for Joscius was Rome, where his tale shocked Pope Urban, already a sick man, to death. His successor, Gregory VIII, wrote to all Europe's leaders urging everyone to repent, take up the Cross, fast, abstain and hand over all their worldly goods to Rome for protection.

Philip II depicted arriving in Palestine, 1332–1350

"He died two months later (of a fever, after just fifty-seven days on the papal throne). Joscius went to France, where Richard, Count of Poitou, eldest son of Henry II of England, had already vowed to go on Crusade. In January 1188 Joscius met with Henry himself and Henry's long-time enemy Philip II of France, among others. So powerfully did he speak that the old enemies made peace and prom­ised to back the Crusade, thus setting one of four stages -- Anglo-French, German, Sicilian (William's fleet) and Muslim -- all of which acted and interacted at once.
"Help was coming, wrote Henry to Amaury, the aging, scholarly Patriarch of Antioch (the one who had been vilely treated by Reynald of Chatillon). Well, yes and no. In England, Henry promulgated the 'Saladin Tithe' to pay for the Crusade, a 'tithe' being 10 per cent on revenues and movable properties. Anyone who joined the Crusade was exempt from the tithe altogether, and many did, for objections led to imprisonment and/or excommunication. The tax was the largest ever collected in England and in English territories in France. Collecting it was not easy, because England and its French possessions were torn apart, like Henry's family, by strife between Henry and his son, Richard, who was in alliance with the French king, Philip. The fighting drove Henry into an early grave in summer 1189. Richard, now king, took over the task of collection. He sold estates, offices (by firing officials and then auctioning their posts), virtu­ally anything he could lay his hands on to add cash to the Saladin Tithe. After more delays, he met Philip in France in July 1190 to set out on their joint adventure."



John Man




Penguin Random House


Copyright 2015 John Man


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