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Diver Discovers 900-Year-Old Sword Dating to the Crusades

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tags: archaeology, Crusades



Shlomi Katzin attached a GoPro camera to his forehead, slipped on his diving fins and jumped into the waters off the Carmel coast of Israel, eager to go exploring.

On the sandy floor of the Mediterranean Sea, he found a sword. Archaeologists would later determine that it was about 900 years old. It weighed four pounds, measured about four feet long and originated from the Third Crusade, experts said.

“Oh yes, he was surprised and happy,” said Jacob Sharvit, the director of the marine archaeology unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Mr. Katzin said he would give the sword to Mr. Sharvit’s agency, but he wanted just one thing: a photo with the shell-encrusted weapon.

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In the Second Crusade, the Muslim commanders defeated Western crusaders at Damascus, said Jonathan Phillips, a professor of the history of the Crusades at Royal Holloway, University of London.

During the Third Crusade, King Philip Augustus of France, King Richard I (also known as Richard the Lionheart of England), and the holy Roman emperor, Frederick I (also known as Frederick Barbarossa), set out to retake Jerusalem. Saladin, the ruler of an area covering modern Egypt, Syria and Iraq, had conquered it in 1187, said Dr. John Cotts, a professor of medieval history at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

At the time, Pope Gregory VIII tried to inspire Western Christians through “great emotional language” to retake Jerusalem from Muslims, but ultimately the Muslim army maintained control of the city, Dr. Cotts said.

Read entire article at New York Times

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