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The Massacre at Acre--Mark of a Blood-thirsty King?

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Stroik, Jared
Rivers, Kimberly
Volume V, December 2010, pp.29-35.
Dec 2010
Crusades; Christianity and other religions; Islam - Relations - Christianity; Civilization, Medieval; Religion and civilization
The Crusades began in 1095 as an effort to resist the spread of Muslim forces into Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, and to prevent Muslims from moving into Christian Europe. The Third Crusade, during the end of the twelfth century, was also known as the Kings' Crusade because the Christian forces were led by some of the most important and powerful kings of the time. One of these was Richard I, King of England. In 1191, Christian forces successfully took the city of Acre, in present-day northern Israel, after a long siege. Following the siege, however, many unarmed Muslim prisoners were killed. Some modern scholars contend that the massacre of these prisoners was ordered by Richard I as a blood-thirsty and ruthless act. This study draws on primary sources and the analysis of modern scholars to determine the validity of these claims against Richard I. Through a synthesis of primary sources, I argue that the massacre, although unfortunate, was not the act of a blood-thirsty killer, but rather a strategic last resort.
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