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The Estoire de la Guerre Sainte

Although the Estoire de la Guerre Sainte was most certainly written in the West, its status as an important source for events in the East suggests inclusion here. The work recounts the history of the Third Crusade, an expedition which set out for the East in 1189 with three Kings: Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, Philip II of France, and Richard of England. Although Frederick’s army dispersed after he drowned crossing the Saleph River in Asia Minor, and Philip departed after only a short time on crusade, Richard remained in the East for three years. In this time he campaigned against a unified Syria under Saladin and secured the cities of Tyre, Acre, and Jaffa before concluding a truce with Saladin in 1192. This text is written in Anglo-Norman verse from the perspective of an anonymous member of King Richard’s retinue. Although this work was ascribed to Ambroise, a twelfth century Norman writer, the identification of Ambroise as author has recently been challenged. The chronicle contains the only description of the capture of Cyprus by the forces of Richard I, and subsequent sale of the kingdom to the Lusignan family.

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Reginensi Latini, 1659, f. 1-90.

Ailes, Marianne and Barber, Malcolm (editors). The History of the Holy War: Ambroise's Estoire de la Guerre Sainte. Volume I and II. Rochester, New York: Boydell Press. 2003.

Secondary Literature
See Arlima.