“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily February 2, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in crusades, history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
Tags: medieval history, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, Third Crusade
(This post is the twelfth of what will be approximately seventy 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.)
It was an incident reminiscent of the squabbles of children that served to increase tensions between English and French wintering in Sicily, waiting to join a bigger squabble across the sea. 820 years ago today, Richard the Lionheart and some of his knights, along with Philip II and some of his knights, went out riding. They encountered a local with some canes. They took this as an opportunity to set up a playful cane-fight. Richard and Philip’s knight, William des Barres, faced each other as opponents. But in the course of what was supposed to be some impromptu fun, Richard’s cane broke, and he was unable to unseat William from his horse. Richard flew into a rage and ordered that he never see William again. (We can almost imagine this scenario—a little playful horseplay gets out of hand. We want to sit them down and ask: “Boys, who started it?” We would no doubt then endure indignant tales and finger-pointing from each of them about how the other was to blame for the escalation.) Philip did keep William away from Richard until nearly two months later, when they were reconciled on the eve of Philip’s departure from Sicily.
This almost humorous incident hinted at the underlying tensions and rivalries between the English and the French, and between Richard and Philip. One escalating tension involved Richard’s promise to marry Philip’s sister Alice, a promise he appeared less and less likely to keep. That issue would be resolved before Philip’s departure from Sicily. The rivalry between France and England, an England with vast holdings in France, part of the Angevan Empire Richard the Lionheart had inherited—that rivalry would continue throughout the Third Crusade and significantly influence its outcome.
Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:
To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.