“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily November 11, 2010Posted by rwf1954 in history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, Tancred of Sicily, the crusades, third crusade.
Tags: Crusades, medieval history, Richard the Lionheart, Third Crusade
(This post is the fourth of an occasional series of posts following 820th anniversary highlights of what history now calls the “third crusade.” My novel, The Swords of Faith, tells the story of this legendary clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.)
On their way to take Jerusalem for Christianity, Richard the Lionheart of England and Philip of France found themselves with little choice but to remain in Sicily for the winter, not wishing to risk the potentially treacherous winter weather of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Their stay in Sicily thrust them into local politics. Richard had settled some initial grievances with the natives (see my post “Richard the Lionheart sacks Messina,” October 4th) But there was still the issue of a long term treaty. King Tancred of Sicily toyed with the idea of alliances with both the French and English king. He found Philip reluctant to set a formal alliance for fear of inflaming German royalty, since Tancred had taken the throne from Germans who thought they had the rightful claim. Richard was the logical choice for a formal alliance—the Germans would be less likely to attack Tancred if he had such a powerful ally, and Richard was happy to collect 40,000 ounces of gold to resolve their differences, as well as denying Philip an alliance with Sicily. Richard apparently had less qualms about inflaming the Germans. A few years later, held for ransom by the emperor Henry VI in a German dungeon, he may have wished he’d let Philip have that alliance. But for now, matters were settled in Sicily, including an uneasy understanding between Richard and Philip, as they waited for spring to move ahead toward the eastern Mediterranean.
Previous 820th Anniversary Posts: