|The end of the Norman Kingdom and the arrival of the Swabians|
The Third Crusade and the kingdom of Sicily
The three most important western sovereigns participated in the Third Crusade. The German emperor, Frederick I (1152-1190) went overland, but the king of France, Philip Augustus (1180-1223) and the king of England Richard the Lionheart (1189-1199) crossed the Mediterranean and by their separate routes each stopped over in Sicily.
For Richard the halt was not simply a question of logistics. He arrived in Messina in September 1190, unhappy with the treatment of his sister, Joanna, deprived of the inheritance, promised when she married the late William II. Richard launched his troops in Calabria and pillaged Sicily seemingly on the way to conquer the kingdom. With the arrival and diplomacy of Philip Augustus, the affair was settled. An agreement was reached with Tancred of Lecce in 1191, and the two kings continued their journey taking Queen Joanna to the Holy Land.
This crusade, in which the kingdom of Sicily was not involved, was to have disastrous consequences for the Hauteville dynasty. At odds with his allies, Richard, returning from the Crusade, was shipwrecked in Istria. Thus started the well-known misadventure whereby Richard was captured by Leopold of Austria and held for ransom (1192-1194). The money obtained from Richard allowed Henry VI to finance his campaign of 1194 and to ally with the navies of Genoa and Pisa against the kingdom of Sicily.