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End of the Crusades

With the deaths of Saladin in 1193 and Richard in 1199, what may be called the great age of the Crusades came to an end. Althought the Third Crusade failed to meet its objectives, the leadership of Richard and his encounter (military and political, if not personal) with Saladin none the less raised it to epic stature, so that it remains the Crusade par excellence in modern Western tradition. Far more people today know the names of Richard and Saladin than know the names of any of the leaders of the successful First Crusade.

Moreover, with the end of the Third Crusade, the crusading movement as a whole faded into anticlimax. No subsequent crusade came remotely close to gaining its objectives, as the Third Crusade arguably had. Of the later crusades, only the Fourth Crusade (12021204) was a success in military terms, but it went hopelessly astray, conquering the Christian city of Constantinople, and never engaged the Islamic world at all.1 The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the Great regained Jerusalem for Christendom in the early thirteenth century (12291244), by diplomacy rather than war, but he received few thanks for his effortsthe Church excommunicated himand his success had no lasting impact.2 The last Frankish strongholds on the coast of Syria survived for a century after the Third Crusade, but they were never what the Kingdom of Jerusalem and other Frankish principalities had been in the twelfth century, true forces in the region. As an ideological theme, the crusading impulse would last as late as the seventeenth century, though from the fourteenth century on it was translated from an offensive effort to regain Jerusalem to a defensive effort against the expanding Ottoman Empire. But after the departure of Richard the Lionheart from Syria, the crusading movement never again achieved comparable vigor, nor ever again came comparably close to success.

The deaths of both Richard and Saladin were su...

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End of the Crusades. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:28, February 18, 2019, from