“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus May 11, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, Cyprus, Guy of Lusignan, history, Isaac Ducas Comenus, medieval period, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade.
Tags: Conrad of Montferrat, Crusades, Cyprus, Isaac Ducas Comenus, medieval history, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, Third Crusade
(This post is the 21st of what will be approximately 70 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.)
820 years ago today, Guy of Lusignan, his brother Geoffrey, along with a contingent of their supporters, arrived at Limassol in Cyprus to find Richard Lionheart and ask what was holding him up. Philip II of France had been at Acre for three weeks, planning attacks, setting up siege engines and asserting his authority. Guy of Lusignan was still the nominal King of Jerusalem, but Philip of France supported Conrad of Montferrat for the throne, and if Philip presided over a successful result in Acre, Philip might gain the power and influence to replace Guy with Conrad. They urged Richard to make his way to Acre as quickly as possible.
Richard understood their concerns. Yes, his sister and future wife were now safe, and Richard had completed an agreement to repossess his lost cargo. He had also appropriated supplies and booty from his mini-campaign on the island. But Richard wasn’t ready to leave just yet. As long as so much food had passed into his possession, he decided this was a great time for a wedding feast. He wasn’t going to wait any longer before taking his bride and getting to the task of siring an heir to the throne. Richard invited these newly arrived dignitaries to join the feast.
And, as long as they were there, Guy of Lusignan and all of those accompanying him to Cyprus might as well help Richard take over the island.
Isaac, the “Emperor of Cyprus” had made an agreement with Richard to return the cargo he had seized, to allow Richard’s men to purchase supplies without paying taxes, and to send one hundred men with Richard to fight Saladin in the eastern Mediterranean. But the minute Isaac had the opportunity he fled again, signaling no inclination to keep the agreement.
Richard wasn’t going to tolerate this sort of insolence. And maybe he was even glad Isaac had responded this way. This gave Richard, who saw the strategic value for western Christian forces of possessing the island, a justification for taking over Cyprus. Acre could wait just a little longer.
What could Guy and his brother do but accept?
Richard, Guy, Conrad and Cyprus would combine in a most unusual and unpredictable way about a year later. But for now, Richard had a wedding to plan and an island to take.
Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:
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