Diet of Mainz
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Saladin had captured Jerusalem from the Christians in the autumn of 1187. At the instigation of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, who was now 68 years old but was an ardent Christian, the "Court Day of Jesus Christ" (German: Hofstag Jesu Christi) took place on the 27th of March, at Easter, 1188. The purpose of the gathering was to organize a Third Crusade.
"After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, the Christians of the East, in their distress, sent to the West their most eloquent prelate and gravest historian William, Archbishop of Tyre, who, fifteen years before, in the reign of Baldwin IV., had been Chancellor of the kingdom of Jerusalem. He, accompanied by a legate of Pope Gregory VIII., scoured Italy, France, and Germany, recounting everywhere the miseries of the Holy Land, and imploring the aid of all Christian princes and peoples, whatever might be their own position of affairs and their own quarrels in Europe. At a parliament assembled at Gisors, on the 21st of January, 1188, and at a diet convoked at Mayence on the 27th of March following, he so powerfully affected the knighthood of France, England, and Germany, that the three sovereigns of these three states, Philip Augustus, Richard Coeur de Lion, and Frederick Barbarossa, engaged with acclamation in a new crusade."
[Pope] "Gregory VIII. had meanwhile died after a pontificate of less than two months; but an enthusiastic summons to the crusade which he had composed before his death was read at Mayence. Here, in the midst of a scene of wild excitement, the emperor and his son, Frederick of Suabia, took the cross. Following the example of their gray-haired sovereign thousands of knights assumed the votive emblem."
Threats to the Jews
At the time of the reports of the fall of Jerusalem, many Jews of the Rhineland, reacting to Christian death threats, fled to safety in castles nearby.
Defence of the Jews
A "courageous handful" remained behind during the Diet of Mainz to petition the Emperor directly. Frederick, who was known as friendly to Jews, and the local authorities took measures during this period to prevent anti-Jewish crimes, including actively repelling a "full-scale invasion of the Jewish neighborhood" of Mainz.
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