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July 4th – The 820th Anniversary of the Launch of the “Third Crusade” July 4, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in historical fiction.
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It’s July 4th, 2010, the 820th anniversary of Richard the Lionheart’s departure on what history now calls the “third Crusade.” Today is also the official release date for my novel about this event, The Swords of Faith. July 4th, 2010 in contemporary America has its own historical significance – the 234th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain (actual independence would follow a few years later after a fight). But for the western Christian armies at Vézelay, France, waiting to leave for the Middle East, July 4th, 1190 was the third anniversary of the disastrous annihilation of the Christian army at the Horns of Hattin, just west of Lake Tiberius/The Sea of Galilee. This victory for Saladin, the legendary Muslim sultan of Egypt and Syria, left Jerusalem, held for nearly a century by western European Christians, nearly undefended; by October 2nd of 1187, Saladin took Jerusalem for his religion. So on July 4th, 1190, Richard the Lionheart, recently crowned King of England, commanding a huge force, along with King Philip II of France, commanding a force about half the size of Richard’s, left Vézelay for what would be a two-year-plus, history changing trek.

On this blog, I will be pointing out some more 820th anniversary dates as the Third Crusade marches, and sails, toward its destiny. Legends will be made. East meets West; West meets East – in ways that are still discussed today. On these anniverary dates, I’ll offer comments of my own. I’ll invite yours. As an American fascinated with these events, I have researched this period extensively. Reader/reviewers have praised my “meticulous” research. But though I have been to areas in France, I have never been to Vézelay. Has anyone reading this blog been to Vézelay? What’s there today? What were the likely conditions on July 4th, at the beginning of the summer? And for everyone – what should we take from the “Third Crusade” for the present? Should we leave this period alone and “let bygones be bygones?” Or does history have lessons for us. I obviously don’t like the bygones-be-bygones idea or I wouldn’t have written a novel about the period. On the rest, I have my own ideas; I will express them as we go. I invite yours as well.

Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, head-to-head. For lovers of history, and drama, and the drama of history – does it get much better than this?


1. Gabriele - July 9, 2010

Oh, a virginal blog with no comments yet. 🙂 Found it via Historical Novel Reviews.

Looks like a good time for people interested in Richard Lionheart. Sharon Kay Penman just announced that she’ll write two books about him instead of one, and now I found your novel, too, which sounds very interesting.

rwf1954 - July 9, 2010

I have also been following Sharon Kay Penman’s blog, and her progress with her Richard novel. Given the meticulous, voluminous research she is doing, I think she has made a wise choice to go to two books. My book is different from hers. (Thank goodness; I would not want to be going head-to-head with her on this topic!) THE SWORDS OF FAITH has four main characters, two historical (Richard and Saladin) and two fictional. The story has a narrow timeline – 1187 to 1192. Richard has taken a beating lately – in the recent movie “Robin Hood,” and in the popular culture. I believe I have presented a balanced treatment – of Richard and Saladin.

Gabriele - July 9, 2010

I don’t expect much from popular culture, but some of the History Channel (the German version) stuff about the Varus battle was pretty bad, too, and one should expect better from them. I’m trying to do both the Romans and the Germans justice in my NiP. Like you, I mix historical and fictional characters, though there will be more than four – that thing is growing epic on me.

I totally blame Arminius. 😀

BTW, there’s a fun detail about Richard. He was very fond of his nephew Otto whom he first met when Otto’s dad Heinrich the Lion lived in exile in England, and wanted to make him his successor instead of John. It didn’t turn out according to Richard’s wish, but imagine it would have worked. There would have been some Ottos on the English throne among all those Henrys, Edwards, Richards and Georges. 🙂

2. “Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Archbishop of Canterbury Dies « Richard Warren Field's Blog - November 19, 2010

[…] July 4th – The 820th Anniversary of the Launch of the “Third Crusade” […]

3. “Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella « Richard Warren Field's Blog - November 24, 2010

[…] July 4th – The 820th Anniversary of the Launch of the “Third Crusade” […]

4. Touring Israel With A Private Guide - August 20, 2013

Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you
an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

5. rwf1954 - September 7, 2013

Email me at rwfcom@wgn.net.

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