Today in the Middle Ages: June 10, 1190

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa died while crossing a river on June 10, 1190.

Like many rulers, Barbarossa spent much of his reign in a power struggle with the Church. He was more successful than most, ceding the territory of the Vatican to the Pope in return for the pontiff's acknowledgment of the Emperor's overlordship of the Church.

When Barbarossa died, he was taking part in the Third Crusade with Richard Couer de Lion of England and Philip of France. The loss of the most experienced monarch caused the European effort in the Crusade to splinter.