The Third Crusade is dominated by the leadership offered by the two main leaders involved - Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. As with most major leaders of the Medieval Times, we know very little about both Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. What information we do have comes from either enemies or supporters of both- so a balanced view is difficult to gain.
What did they look like? Again, we only have pictures that were done years after their deaths by people who could never have met them!
So what do we think we know about them?
"He was tall in stature, of shapely build, with hair between red and yellow. His limbs were straight and flexible; his arms somewhat long; he had long legs." This was written at the time of the Third Crusade
"Richard was not a good king. He cared only for his soldiers. But he was brave, and loved a brave man." This was written in 1965 by L Du Garde Peach
"A very powerful man, of great courage and spirit. He fought great battles and showed a burning passion for war. The king was indeed a man of wisdom, experience, courage and energy.......excitable, brave and clever." This was written by Baha' ad-Din Ibn Shaddad, a Muslim writer, during the Third Crusade. He lived in the court of Saladin.
Richard drawn in 1965
"Richard of England, a red-haired giant, generous, incredibly brave, hot-tempered and tactless, won a great reputation in the capture of Acre, but quarrelled with his allies who left him and went home." This was written in 1962 by R Unstead
"Saladin made a disgraceful income out of the prostitutes of Damascus. none of them could carry on their filthy trade without first buying a licence from him. He (Saladin) spent the money on entertainers. That king of the brothels, who fought in taverns, and spent his time gambling. He (Saladin) conquered countries by either trickery or force. But the greedy tyrant concentrated all his efforts on an attempt to seize the Holy Land, Palestine." This was written by an Englishman who lived in London and worked for the Church.
This was drawn by an Egyptian artist but we do not know if he ever met Saladin.
"Saladin did not spend a single gold or silver coin on anything except a jihad (holy war). Out of his desire to fight for God's cause he left behind his family, children, country, home and all the towns under his control. Saladin was well-mannered and entertaining. If anyone was sick, he would ask about their illness, his treatment, food and drink and whether there was any change in his condition. I never saw him insult anyone. he always stuck to his word and was loyal. No orphan ever came to him without Saladin offering to provide the same amount of care as his father had done. He treated old people kindly and generously." This was written by Baha' ad-Din Ibn Shaddad, a Muslim writer who lived in the court of Saladin.
"Saladin used the idea of a holy war to bring the Muslims together. His popularity with the poor people increased when he survived several assassination attacks. Friends and enemies saw Saladin as a man of honour. Even the Crusaders praised him. However, he was criticised for fighting against his fellow Muslims and for failing to capture Tyre. Nevertheless, Saladin continues to be admired today." This was written by Elizabeth Hallam in 1989.
"Richard (the Lionheart) fell ill with a fever and appealed to Saladin to send him pears and peaches. Saladin sent him fruit and snow from the mountains to cool his blood" The was written by Bailey and Wise in 1969The Fourth Crusade