By Gerald W. Day
The International History Review, Vol. 3:2 (1981)
Introduction: The romance of the Third Crusade has led most historians and laymen to interest themselves primarily in the martial exploits of leaders such as Richard the Lion Heart, Philip Augustus, or Conrad of Montferrat. This habit tends to minimize the importance of the crusade, as the heroes achieved only modest victories in the Christian cause. The momentous changes that the crusade wrought on the workaday world of the Near East have been largely overlooked.
For that reason, attention will be focused here on two points: the alterations in the accessibility to markets caused by the events surrounding the Third Crusade, and the rearrangement of the traditional spheres of commercial interest that these events and the crusade itself brought about for the major Italian commercial cities of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. Both of these developments were to have devastating effects on these Italian cities, which dominated the economy of the Mediterranean, and on the crusading states that they largely supported.