Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi:
Richard the Lionheart Makes Peace with Saladin, 1192
[Adapted from Brundage] Two days later the Crusading army left
Acre and marched south along the coast, trailed by Saladin's forces.
An unsuccessful attempt at negotiation between Saladin and Richard
broke down early in September and on September 7 battle was joined
near Arsuf. The Crusading army, though hard-pressed, held its
ground and at the end of the fray Richard's men retained control
of the battlefield.
The army proceeded from Arsuf to Jaffa, which the Crusaders
took and fortified strongly. Jaffa, they hoped, would be the base
of operations in a drive to reconquer Jerusalem itself. As the
winter of 11911192 approached, active campaigning was abandoned
and further sporadic negotiations between Richard and Saladin
were taken up, though without any immediate result. During the
winter months Richard's men occupied and refortified Ascalon,
whose fortifications had earlier been razed by Saladin.
The spring of 1192 saw continued negotiations and further skirmishing
between the opposing forces. During this period Richard began
to receive disturbing news of the activities of his brother John
and of Philip Augustus, and as the spring gave way to summer it
became evident that Richard must soon return to Europe to safeguard
his own interests there. Saladin several times attacked Jaffa
and once was on the point of taking the city during Richard's
absence; the plan, however, was foiled by Richard's unexpected
During the summer Richard fell ill and this, added to the news
of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Europe, brought him
finally to accept Saladin's peace terms . The departure of Richard
the LionHearted from the Holy Land in October 1192 ended
the third major Western invasion of the East. On this expedition
three great armies had toiled to conquer Jerusalem and the whole
of Palestine for the West. But, in 1192, Jerusalem was still in
Saladin's hands and the deliverance of the East from the Moslems
was still a pious hope. The positive achievement of this Crusade
was modest: it had reestablished a tiny Latin Kingdom on
the Palestinian coast. The major task of the Crusade, however,
was left undone.
As his illness became very grave, the King despaired of recovering
his health. Because of this he was much afraid, both for the others
as well as for himself. Among the many things which did not pass
unnoted by his wise attention, he chose, as the least inconvenient
course, to seek to make a truce rather than to desert the depopulated
land altogether and to leave the business unfinished as all the
others bad done who left the groups in the ships.
The King was puzzled and unaware of anything better that he could
do. He demanded of Saif adDin, Saladin's brother, that he
act as gobetween and seek the best conditions be could get
for a truce between them. Saif adDin was an uncommonly liberal
man who bad been brought, in the course of many disputes, to revere
the King for his singular probity. Saif adDin carefully
secured peace terms on these conditions: that Ascalon, which was
an object of fear for Saladin's empire so long as it was standing,
be destroyed and that it be rebuilt by no one during three years
beginning at the following Easter.[March 28, 1193] After three
years, however, whoever had the greater, more flourishing power,
might have Ascalon by occupying it. Saladin allowed Joppa to be
restored to the Christians. They were to occupy the city and its
vicinity, including the seacoast and the mountains, freely and
quietly. Saladin agreed to confirm an inviolate peace between
Christians and Saracens, guaranteeing for both free passage and
access to the Holy Sepulcher of the Lord without the exaction
of any tribute and with the freedom of bringing objects for sale
through any land whatever and of exercising a free commerce.
When these conditions of peace had been reduced to writing and
read to him, King Richard agreed to observe them, for he could
not hope for anything much better, especially since he was sick,
relying upon scanty support, and was not more than two miles from
the enemy's station. Whoever contends that Richard should have
felt otherwise about this peace agreement should know that he
thereby marks himself as a perverse liar.
Things were thus arranged in a moment of necessity. The King,
whose goodness always imitated higher things and who, as the difficulties
were greater, now emulated God himself, sent legates to Saladin.
The legates informed Saladin in the hearing of many of his satraps,
that Richard had in fact sought this truce for a three year period
so that he could go back to visit his country and so that, when
he had augmented his money and his men, he could return and wrest
the whole territory of Jerusalem from Saladin's grasp if, indeed,
Saladin were even to consider putting up resistance. To this Saladin
replied through the appointed messengers that, with his holy law
and God almighty as his witnesses, he thought King Richard so
pleasant, upright, magnanimous, and excellent that, if the land
were to be lost in his time, he would rather have it taken into
Richard's mighty power than to have it go into the hands of any
other prince whom be had ever seen.
Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, ed. William
Stubbs, Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1864) VI, 27-28 (pp.
427-30), translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary
History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962),
For this text see also The Crusade of Richard the Lionhearted,
ed. and trans. John L. LaMonte, (New York: Columbia University
Copyright note: Professor Brundage informed the Medieval
Sourcebook that copyright was not renewed on this work. Moreover
he gave permission for use of his translations.
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© Paul Halsall December 1997