Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Arsuf (1191)

As we’ve noted elsewhere, the Third Crusade is harder to assess than most of the other Crusades. The First Crusade was a pretty clear success. The Second Crusade was an unmitigated failure. The Fourth Crusade was completely absurd. And so forth. But the outcome of the Third Crusade is mixed. On the one hand, the objective was to retake Jerusalem and they clearly failed on that score. On the other hand, had Richard the Lionheart and company not shown up when they did, there’s a reasonable chance that the Crusader states would have been wiped out by Saladin. The Third Crusade didn’t recapture Jerusalem but it did preserve the Crusaders themselves, so it can’t be considered a total loss.

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One thought on “Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Arsuf (1191)

  1. Despite Saladin’s fame in the Islamic world for his military prowess, his biggest achievement during the Third Crusade was to gain a draw of sorts. Even then, I think the Crusaders got the better end of it, regaining some of their territory.

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