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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard Leaves Famagusta for the Eastern Mediterranean Coast/Saladin Moves his Camp June 5, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, crusades, Cyprus, Famagusta, history, Isaac Ducas Comenus, Isaac Ducas Comnenus, Margat, Marqab, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Templar knights, Templars, the crusades, third crusade.
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(This post is the 24rd 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.) 

*****

Cyprus was completely under Richard’s control.  Isaac Ducas Comnenus was in custody. 820 years ago today, Richard’s fleet left from Famagusta on the east coast of Cyprus, finally bound for the eastern Mediterranean coast. Before his departure, Richard enforced his own brand of justice with a twisted medieval sense of humor on the man he perceived as the duplicitous phony emperor. When Isaac Ducas Comnenus surrendered Cyprus to Richard, a surrender that included his magnificent soon-to-be-legendary horse, Fauvel, he asked only that he not be confined in irons and that his young daughter would be treated mercifully. Richard kept both promises. Isaac’s daughter joined the court of Richard’s sister, Joanna, the former Queen of Sicily. And he shackled the “emperor” in gold and silver chains—not iron—especially fashioned for the occasion by his smith. Isaac himself was conveyed for imprisonment to Marqab/Margat, north of present-day Tripoli in Lebanon. Richard would soon sell Cyprus to the Templar knights, but this arrangement would not work well. Richard would be left to come up with a final, creative disposition of the island that would be intertwined with Outremer politics and rivalries.

On the same day, Saladin had to reposition his camp up from his previous position. The pressure from the constant fighting with a growing western Christian enemy forced Saladin’s forces to regroup in an effort to maintain strong enough positions to continue a viable resistance at Acre.

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée

May 8th – Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol

May 11th – Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus

May 12th – Richard the Lionheart Marries Princess Berengeria

May 30th – Fighting Intensifies at Acre

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.

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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Marries Princess Berengeria May 12, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Berengeria, crusades, Cyprus, history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, royal wedding, the crusades, third crusade.
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(This post is the 22nd 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.) 

*****

Today is Richard the Lionheart’s 820th wedding anniversary. As long as he was on the island of Cyprus with captured booty fit for a king’s wedding (see previous posts April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters, May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée, May 8th – Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol , May 11th – Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus ), Richard decided he might as well get married. Initially, the idea had been a wedding in a newly-captured Jerusalem. But after nearly losing his future wife the Princess Berengeria of Navarre on the way across the Mediterranean Sea, he decided they had waited long enough. It was time to start producing an heir.

Berengeria was a Princess from Navarre, a small Basque kingdom at the southwestern edge of Richard’s territories in France. The marriage would create an alliance intended to firm up Richard’s control over this often troublesome area. Richard loved pomp and ceremony. The wedding was a lavish, flashy affair, followed by Berengeria’s coronation as Queen of England. Richard took two or three days for the wedding feasting and honeymoon celebration. Then, before leaving Cyprus for Acre, he would complete the conquest of the island, a conquest not initially sought, but a conquest that would prove to be one of his most important and long-lasting achievements of the “Third Crusade.”

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée

May 8th – Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol

May 11th – Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Crusaders Opposed to Conrad Visit Richard the Lionheart on Cyprus May 11, 2011

Posted 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.
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(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:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée

May 8th – Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart and His Troops Storm Limassol May 8, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Berengeria, crusades, Cyprus, history, Isaac Ducas Comenus, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the twentieth 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.) 

*****

“Pruht.” This was “Emperor” Isaac’s response to Richard’s demands that the Emperor return the cargo taken as result of the shipwreck at the shores of Cyprus, and that he yield from any further attempts to take custody of his sister and future wife. “Pruht.” Though the translation of the word in the Itinerarium Peregrinorum (a medieval chronicle of the “Third Crusade”) is “phooey,” we can suspect that it was more equivalent to “f— you” in modern speech. 

When Richard got word of this response, his reaction was immediate and decisive. He had waited at the harbor for two days, trying not to lose his temper with the usurper/self-styled “Emperor” Isaac. He had sent envoys to try to resolve issues between them peacefully. But with this response, Richard immediately gave the command that he and his men would storm the beach and take over the entire island if necessary. 820 years ago today, Richard the Lionheart led his knights as they stormed the beach at Limassol on the south coast of the island. Subordinates had expressed trepidations; the beach was strewn with obstacles. Richard shrugged off the concerns. It looked like everything movable had been brought out to hamper their pending attack. It was a sign of Isaac’s desperation, of panic. Richard was sure his knights and crossbowmen could take the beach before noon. 

Chronicles describe the men breaking into a chorus of dog-barks as they came off the assault boats into the shallow water and moved on shore. Richard’s confidence was proven. Resistance broke almost immediately. Isaac and his forces fled inland. If Isaac hoped his quick abandonment of the harbor area would send Richard on his way, he would find out otherwise over the next month.

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

May 1st – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Leaves Rhodes to Rescue His Sister and Fiancée May 1, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in crusades, Cyprus, history, Isaac Ducas Comenus, medieval period, Rhodes, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the nineteenth 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.) 

*****

Word had come back to Richard Lionheart, waiting at the island of Rhodes for news of his missing sister and fiancée—good news and bad news. The good news was that Richard’s sister and fiancée were anchored off the coast of Cyprus, safe and unharmed. The bad news was that Isaac Ducas Comenus, the so-called “emperor” of Cyprus, a usurper from the Byzantine royal family (but independent of any affiliation with them), a nominal ally of Saladin, was pressuring Richard’s sister and fiancée to become his “guests.” “Hostages” would have been more accurate. And there was also the matter of some of Richard’s men and a substantial amount of valuable cargo washed up on the shore of Cyprus that “Emperor” Isaac did not seem inclined to release. Richard had recovered enough to put to sea again. He had serious business with this so-called “emperor,” and he was not inclined to be patient about it. 820 years ago today, Richard left Rhodes to take care of that business before joining the fight at Acre.

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily

November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled

November 19th – Archbishop of Canterbury Dies

November 24th – Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella

December 25th – Richard the Lionheart Feasts at Christmas

December 31st – Shipwreck at Acre; Muslim Defenders Lose Resupply

January 5th – A Wall Comes Down, Presenting an Opportunity

January 20th – Frederick of Swabia Dies; Leopold of Austria Becomes Top-Ranked German Royalty at Acre

February 2nd – A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily

February 13th – Saladin’s Forces Relieve the Garrison at Acre

March 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Settles the Alice Marriage Controversy—Sort Of

March 30th – Philip II Leaves Sicily; Berengeria Arrives

April 10th – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer”

April 20th – Philip II of France Lands at Acre

April 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Lands at Rhodes After His Fleet Scatters

To review a comprehensive catalog of historical fiction set during the medieval time period, go to http://www.medieval-novels.com:80/.