Page 1373

1373 THE CRUSADES-FALL OF THE CROSS.

their ardor, hurried to the seaports of the

Mediterranean,. and embarked at their own

expense to imperiled Palestine. The maritime Republics of Italy, more than ever

before, came to the front as the carriers of

the numerous bands that now surged their

way to the East. Not only the ports of

Italy, Southern France, and Greece furnished

an outlet for this tumultuous movement,

but those of the Baltic, the North Sea, and

the British Channel in like manner sent forth

their hosts of warriors.

So rapid was the accumulation of the

Crusaders at Tyre that, by the beginning

of 1189, the alleged King Guy found himself

at the head of more than a hundred thousand men. Such was the zeal of the host

that the leaders were urged on to undertake

the siege of Acre. It was this movement

which roused Saladin from his dreams at

Damascus, and sounded the tocsin for the

renewal of war. With a great army, the sultan

set out for the relief of his beleaguered stronghold, and it was not long until the Christians

were in their turn besieged. With great

diligence, however, they fortified their position, and, while on one side they continued

to press hard upon the walls of Acre, on

the other they kept Saladin and his host at

bay.

Meanwhile a Christian and a Mohammedan

fleet gathered to participate in the struggle.

While the Moslem ships brought relief and

supplies to the garrison of Acre, the Christian ships did the same for the Crusaders.

For the reinforcement of the latter, Europe

continued to pour out her tens of thousands,

while behind the Moslem army were the

measureless resources of the desert and the

East. So numerous became the Christian

host that supplies failed, and the terrors of

famine were added to the horrors of disease.

In like manner, though in a less degree, the

Mohammedans became sufferers from their

excess of numbers; and in both armies abused

nature cooperated with the destructive energies of war to reduce the battling multitudes. Nor is it likely that in any other of

the great struggles of human history so terrible a waste of life was ever witnessed as

before the walls of Acre. It was estimated

that the Christian losses reached the enormous

aggregate of three hundred thousand men,

while those of the Moslems were but little

inferior, and then the siege was indecisive.

Such was the after piece of the struggle between Isaac and Ishmael!

Even this awful conflict and carnage was

but premonitory of the real battle which was to

come. For in the mean time the great potentates of the West were preparing for the struggle. First of all in the work was the aged but

still fiery and warlike Frederick Barbarossa,

Emperor of Germany. Already for forty years

a veteran, he flung himself into the breach with

all the enthusiasm of youth, moderated by the

prudence of manhood. A great national fete

was held at Mayence, and the valiant young

knights of Germany bowed before their Emperor and vowed the vow of the cross.

Of all who had preceded him, not one was

Barbarossa's equal in genius and generalship. He carefully weighed the perils of the

great undertaking, and provided against its

hazards. In mustering his forces he would

accept no volunteer who could not furnish

the means of his own subsistence for a whole

year. A German of the Germans, he would

not entrust himself and his army to the mercies

and rapacity of the Pisan and Venetian shipmasters, but determined to take the old land

route by way of Constantinople and Asia

Minor. His army in the aggregate, exclusive

of unarmed pilgrims, numbered over a hundred thousand men. Of these, sixty thousand

were cavalry, and of these fifteen thousand

were Knights, the flower of the Teutonic

Order. The Emperor had with him as a

leader, his son, the Duke of Suabia, together

with the dukes of Austria and Moravia, and

more than sixty other distinguished princes

and barons. The great army was thoroughly

disciplined and supplied, and the host moved

forward with a regularity and military subordination which would have been creditable

to a modern commander.

In traversing the Greek Empire, Frederick met with the same double-dealing and

treachery which had marked the course of

the Byzantines from the first. At times the

fury of the German warriors was ready to

break forth and consume the perfidious Constantinopolitans, but Barbarossa, with a

firm hand, restrained them from violence.

Sharing their indignation, however, he refused to accept the invitation of the reigning Caesar, Isaac Angelus, to visit him in

his capital. With an eye single to the work