Following the fall of Jerusalem, Pope Gregory VIII proclaimed the third crusade (29 Oct.1187). The Pontiff’s appeal was answered by three of the most powerful European monarchs: Frederick I Redbeard, Philip II Augustus and Richard I the Lionheart.
The first monarch to set out for the Holy Land was the elderly Frederick Redbeard. In May 1189 the Emperor led his powerful army, consisting mainly of Saxons, by land towards the Middle East by way of the Balkans.
During the journey the army of the Holy Roman Empire clashed with the army led by the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angel, who had secretly agreed with the Saladin to stop the Redbeard.
On the tenth of June 1190, while riding across the River Saleph in the territory of Cilices, Frederick fell off his horse and drowned. His son Frederick IV then led the army towards the Princedom of Antioch, where Frederick Redbeard was buried in St. Peter’s church. Antioch was also the burial place of the majority of the German army who died of the plague.
Sculpture: G. La Rocca
Historical research and painting: F. Fraschetti
Translation: R. Carrabino