Siege of Acre

The crusaders, led by Archbishop Baldwin and sailing directly from Marseilles to Outremer, landed safely at Tyre on 16 September 1190.

Mining the Walls
  • Spending little time at Tyre, the crusaders sailed further south to join forces with Guy of Lusignon and a variety of nationalities besieging the Saracen garrison holding the port town of Acre.
  • This page reports on those besieging crusaders who have been Here for Some Time.
  • How Archbishop Baldwin's men were Pitched Straight Into the Fray.
  • And how all crusaders are Suffering in the heat with meagre food supplies.
Here for Some Time
Some of these crusaders were not content to wait for their leaders to stop quarrelling amongst themselves and made their own way overland.
Grimly fighting here are the French, Frisians, Bretons, even a few from Cornwall, and the Flemings who joined company with the Danes led by the nephew of the Danish king when their ships met up at Messina.Knights Hospitaller Knights Templar
The German crusaders are still here, keeping their tryst despite losing their veteran commander King Frederick Barbarossa on their way to the Holy Land. Some of the crusaders were actually born in Syria or the Holy Land - a homeland they call Outremer.
Bolstering the besieging force are the Knights Hospitaller (pictured left) and Knights Templar (pictured right), avowed to poverty, chastity and obedience but redoubtable warriors, their courage admired by Christian and Saracen alike.
Pitched Straight into the Fray

Archbishop Baldwin's men joined a foraging party to Caiphus, hoping to find a store of food - supplies are becoming low. Unfortunately, they found no food but plenty of Saracens and had to fight their way back along the banks of the river Belus. Ambushed by more Saracens at the river bridge, Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, led a charge with five other knights and valiantly cut a swath through the infidels to force a path back to their camp at Acre.

Food supplies are meagre for both Saracen and crusader. The Saracen defenders, crammed into Acre's small houses and narrow dusty streets, are short of water, half starved and under constant bombardment from the siege machines of the crusaders.

Suffering

In scorching heat beneath the city walls, the growing numbers of crusaders huddle in trenches, or swelter in their tents amongst their animals, baggage and supplies. Whilst they attack the city, Saladin's army, less than a mile away inland, attack them from their rear.

There is little respite from the flies and diseases where, amid constant dust storms, sand blows everywhere - up noses, in ears, into mouths and eyes, and into the food. With winter looming and fewer ships bringing vital food and provisions into Acre, distress is increasing.

The price of food rapidly rises - a sack of grain costs 20 shillings, a chicken 3 shillings, an egg 12 pence, and beef and mutton cannot be had at any price. Famished men are beginning to eat the meat of horses, and even donkeys and mules.

It is over a year now since King Richard sold everything at home to pay for the crusade - lordships, earldoms, sheriffdoms, castles, towns and even royal manors were sold, every last penny wrung from the kingdom. Even those who took the cross, but changed their minds, had to pay in cash for release from their vow. 'I would sell London if I could find anyone rich enough to buy it,' King Richard had said.

Now everyone asks: 'When are fresh food supplies coming? Where is King Richard and the rest of the army?' Without relief, a harsh winter is ahead for the crusaders at Acre. Suffering from disease and starvation and forced to fight off attacks from their rear from Saladin's forces, they will need all their resilience and courage to sustain them.

They may have been drawn here by a sense of adventure and a valiant holy cause but their only bolster now is their deep sense of sacrifice . . . and a promise of eternal life if they fail.

 
King Richard Sets Off
Two Kings in Sicily
Siege of Acre
Marriage Arranged
King Richard Weds
Arrival at Acre
Acre Falls
Battle of Arsuf
Retreat from Holy City
King Richard's Crusade
 

Crusader

 
Saladin Defeated at Jaffa
King Richard Captured
Eleanor of Aquitaine
William Marshall
Earl John
Chancellor Longchamps
Double Dealing
Attack on Nottm. Castle
Saladin
Sherwood Times