The Battle of Inconium

  • Wars And Conflict
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Sometimes referred to as The Battle of Konya, it was fought on May 18, 1190. Part of The Third Crusades, the battle was a result of an expedition initiated by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The Muslim forces of The Sultanate of Rum were commanded by Al-Din. After the fall of Hattin and Jerusalem, famed Muslim commander Saladin - had taken over most of the Crusader acquired lands. Under the urgings of Pope Gregory III (Rome), another "holy war" was called. Barbarossa took no time in "taking The Cross". He took with him some 19,000 troops. Frederick's forces arrived in Anatolia in early April, 1190. The Sultanate of Rum at that time held the City. Again, the Muslims used their tried and true battle tactics of hit and run against the Crusader forces. With Frederick's supply lines constantly being cut, he and his army was in dire straits. Still (much to the suprise of Al-Din), Barbarossa did NOT turn back and go home. He continued forward towards Inconium. Without rest, the Crusaders moved on - still constantly being harassed by Muslim "mini-attacks". Arriving at the outskirts of Iconium, Frederick added insult to injury. He instructed his army to encamp in the Sultans garden. On the early morning of May 18, the Muslim army attacked. Al-Din was an able cavalryman in his own right.


The battle was a heated clash of Damascan  steel and European iron. Barbarossa divided his army into 2 divisions. The first he turned over to his son, Frederick VI (Swabia). His division held it's ground while Frederick led from the front of the other division. He stormed the City gates, rallying his troops onward. Although slightly outnumbered (the Muslim forces were around 25,000) - the Crusader's morale and Frederick's need to take Iconium, won them the day. The Muslims retreated. The Crusaders rested until May 23. Frederick's army was on the march again. With news of this, Saladin sent word to his forces to destroy as many ports within Syria as possible (to deprive the Crusaders of their use). The action would not be needed. Unknown to Saladin, Frederick Barbarossa accidentally drowned in the Saleph River (now The Goksu). Historians debate this event to some degree. Some say that Frederick fell into the river (armored), and the currents took him away - drowning before rescue. Others state that the desert heat proved too much for him. As he was bending over to get a drink of cool water, he had a heart attack. With Barbarossa dead, most of his army disbanded. His son Frederick VI continued onward - with the purpose of burying Frederick in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the desert heat and sun is not kind to a dead Emperor. So as to legend - his flesh was buried in the Church of St. Peter in Antioch, his bones taken to the Church at Tyre - and his heart and inner organs buried in Tarsus!