ABSTRACT

Although the Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa has been, to some extent anyway, neglected by Anglophone historians, the contemporary sources for that expedition are surprisingly full. We are indeed much better informed, especially from German sources, about this expedition to assist the Holy Land than we are about the corresponding one led by Frederick’s uncle, Conrad III, some 40 years earlier, in which the later Emperor Frederick had taken part as a young man.1 However, all three of the principal contemporary sources describing Barbarossa’s Crusade must be treated with some caution. Neither their composition nor their transmission is entirely straightforward, and the interrelationship between the three texts is complex. In this respect, the German sources for the Third Crusade resemble the equally complex and interrelated Anglo-Norman texts that describe this same Crusade.