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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Conrad of Montferrat Is Designated Undisputed King of Jerusalem April 20, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, Guy of Lusignan, Henry of Champagne, history, Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Tyre.
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(This post is the 51st 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, Henry of Champagne, a young man liked by both Christian factions in Outremer, nephew to both Richard the Lionheart of England and Philip II of France, arrived at Tyre. He informed Conrad of Montferrat that Richard had agreed with the local nobles—Conrad would become the King of Jerusalem. As part of settling local issues before leaving for Europe, Richard needed the issue of Conrad resolved. He summoned a council of local leaders and asked for their choice. Not a single one spoke out for Guy of Lusignan, the humiliated commander of the disastrous western Christian defeat at the Horns of Hattin on July 4, 1187. Conrad’s coronation was scheduled to take place in Acre. Richard placated his vassal Guy by helping him and his family purchase Cyprus from the Templars. Guy was not well thought of in Outremer. But in Cyprus, he could still command respect as the liberator of Cyprus from the reign of the unpopular usurper Isaac Ducas Comenus. (Guy had been instrumental in helping Richard complete the conquest of the island during the previous year.) Guy only lived two more years, but his family would hold Cyprus for the next few centuries. Conrad expressed unambiguous gratitude, happy to have Richard’s blessing for his assumption of the position he had been pursuing for five years. Richard’s move to secure the Christian position had worked. He could return home, confident that future King Conrad would hold the Christian position until Richard could return to take Jerusalem. But in only eight days, all of this was undone in the early evening on the streets of Tyre.

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

June 5th – Richard Leaves Famagusta for the Eastern Mediterranean Coast/Saladin Moves his Camp

June 6th – Richard the Lionheart Refused Admittance to Tyre

June 8th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives at Acre

June 11th – Saladin’s Relief Ship Sinks

June 25th – Conrad of Montferrat Leaves Acre; Saladin’s Receives Reinforcements

July 12th – Acre Surrenders

July 31st – Philip II of France Makes a Promise and Leaves for Home

August 2nd – Envoys Discuss Acre Surrender Terms

August 11th – Date for the First Installment of the Acre Ransom Ends in Stalemate

August 20th – Richard the Lionheart Orders the Executions of the Acre Hostages

August 22nd – Richard the Lionheart Leaves Acre to Move South Toward Jerusalem

September 5th – Richard the Lionheart Meets with Saladin’s Brother al-Adil

September 7th – Christian Forces Win the Battle of Arsuf

September 11th – Saladin Gives the Command to Dismantle Ascalon

Sepember 29th – Saladin’s Troops Nearly Take Richard the Lionheart Prisoner

October 20th – Richard the Lionheart Proposes that His Sister Marry Saladin’s Brother al-Adil

November 1st – Saladin Learns of the Death of his Nephew Taqi al-Din

November 8th – Al-Adil Hosts a Banquet for Richard the Lionheart

November 11th – Saladin’s Council Discusses Recent Negotiations with Western Christian Factions

December 12th – Saladin Falls Back to Jerusalem

December 28th – Richard the Lionheart Moves Into the Judean Hills Unopposed

January 3rd – Richard the Lionheart Moves to Within Twelve Miles of Jerusalem

January 6th – Richard the Lionheart Orders a Retreat

January 20th – Richard the Lionheart Decides to Move on Ascalon

February 20th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives in Acre to Make Peace Between Christian Factions

March 20th – Al-Adil Brings Serious Peace Offer to Richard the Lionheart

April 5th – French Army Leaves the “Crusade” After Easter Feast

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

Eight Reasons Why THE SWORDS OF FAITH Will Make a Great Movie (or Miniseries) March 7, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Berengeria, books, books into movies, crusades, Guy of Lusignan, Henry of Champagne, historical fiction, Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, movies, movies based on books, Outremer, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade.
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(The Swords of Faith is my award-winning novel about what history now calls the “Third Crusade,” the military confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean “Holy Land” between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.) 

  1. Action and drama revolving around two of history’s most renowned and charismatic characters, battling each other over huge stakes. Richard the Lionheart and Saladin are still two names known throughout much of the world, giving a movie based on this novel an international profile.
  2. This story has been told many times, but almost always with major factual liberties. The Swords of Faith gives a film-maker the opportunity to tell the accurate story, a compelling story not in need of embellishment.
  3. The Swords of Faith ends with a just and fair peace settlement between these two iconic men of different faiths (the accurate historical outcome), men who come to respect and honor each other despite their religious differences. This allows for an uplifting ending.
  4. The clash of religions gives the story relevance today, allowing for controversial publicity angles sure to get people talking about The Swords of Faith in many different public venues.
  5. Fictional characters combine seamlessly into the story, without any adjustments to the accurate history, but bringing a prescient poignancy to the religious-clash aspect.
  6. The novel is laid out in scenes full of dramatic action with a limited amount of narrative exposition; lots of real-time dramatic action readily transferable to film/television. (Richard Warren Comments About His Writing Style – Richard Warren Field Guest Blog Post About Modern Novel Writing)
  7. Roles attractive to high profile actor/actresses, roles that could lead to Oscar-worthy/Emmy-worthy performances.
  8. Big action scenes alongside intimate dramatic scenes offering opportunities for all sorts of technical excellence, also with the potential for Oscar/Emmy recognition.

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Philip II of France Makes a Promise and Leaves for Home July 31, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, Guy of Lusignan, history, medieval period, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Tyre.
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(This post is the 30th 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.) 

*****

Capturing Acre was a great victory for the western Christians, an ending to a bitter, ugly struggle. But it was only a first step toward accomplishing the aims of the Christian forces. It was now time to consolidate the victory and move south toward Jerusalem. But Richard the Lionheart would have to contend with a serious problem before moving on. Philip II of France had had enough of fighting in Outremer for Christianity. He announced he was going home. The Duke of Burgundy would stay behind with the large part of the French army not returning with Philip. On the one hand, this was fine with Richard, who would now take unambiguous command of the western Christian forces. But Philip might well decide to nibble away at Richard’s holdings in France after his return. Richard needed to deal with that problem. 820 years ago today, Philip II of France took an oath that he would not attempt to take any of Richard’s territories while Richard was still fighting for Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean. Philip then left Acre, sailing north. Before Philip left, an agreement was reached that Guy of Lusignan would rule as King of Jerusalem, but that Conrad of Montferrat would become king at Guy’s death. This idea was not really acceptable to Conrad, but with Philip leaving, there was not much Conrad could do. We can question if Richard really thought Philip would keep his word. But he had to make the attempt. Philip II of France would leave for France on August 3rd from Tyre.

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

June 5th – Richard Leaves Famagusta for the Eastern Mediterranean Coast/Saladin Moves his Camp

June 6th – Richard the Lionheart Refused Admittance to Tyre

June 8th – Richard the Lionheart Arrives at Acre

June 11th – Saladin’s Relief Ship Sinks

June 25th – Conrad of Montferrat Leaves Acre; Saladin’s Receives Reinforcements

July 12th – “Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Acre Surrenders

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 Refused Admittance to Tyre June 6, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, Guy of Lusignan, history, medieval period, Outremer, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Tyre.
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(This post is the 25th 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, Richard the Lionheart finally reached the Mediterranan coast, just under a year after leaving from France, over 3 ½ years after taking the vow to dedicate himself to conquering Jerusalem for Christianity, a vow he had taken when he was still a prince. His ultimate destination was Acre, just down the coast, to join the battle between western Christian forces and Muslim forces under the command of Saladin. But he stopped off at Tyre. Much to his surprise, Richard received a message that he would not be permitted to enter the town. The garrison commanders acted on orders from Conrad and Philip II of France, both at the siege at Acre. So Richard got his first direct taste of the intensity of the rivalry between Guy of Lusignan and Conrad of Montferrat for the title of King of Jerusalem. (Richard supported Guy, and Conrad—Philip’s candidate—was in charge at Tyre.) Richard camped outside the walls at Tyre before moving down the coast, but was not permitted the comforts of the city. This rivalry would chronically permeate the Christian side of the “third crusade.” Richard and his fleet moved on toward Acre the next day.

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

June 5th – Richard Leaves Famagusta for the Eastern Mediterranean Coast/Saladin Moves his Camp

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: Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella November 24, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, Guy of Lusignan, history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade, Tyre, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the seventh 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.) 

*****

Not one to miss an opportunity, the month of November culminated with Conrad of Montferrat a major step closer to the throne of the so-called Kingdom of Jerusalem (Jerusalem remained in Muslim possession at the time). Opportunity first struck shortly after the disastrous defeat of western Christian forces at the Horns of Hattin in July of 1187. He arrived at Tyre, a coastal stronghold on the verge of surrendering to Saladin. He took charge, refusing to allow the surrender, hurling the sultan’s banners off the wall just as the Muslims were about to take possession of Tyre. Saladin would try again at the end of 1187/beginning of 1188 to take the city, but this was a difficult place logistically to capture, and thanks to Conrad, Saladin had been denied the easy victory, and had to leave this western Christian position available for the arrival of reinforcements and supplies. Conrad had asserted since then that he was the logical man for the throne, that Guy of Lusignan, the blunderer at Hattin, was unfit. With the death of Sibylla, opportunity came to Conrad again. Sibylla’s younger sister Isabella was now available, after events earlier in the month (described in previous posts), and his marriage solidified his claim; in fact, it gave him the better claim. Conrad’s only obstacle now was miles across the sea in Sicily. Despite Conrad’s claim, it was unlikely Richard the Lionheart would support Conrad over his vassal; Guy of Lusignan. So while Richard was spending time in Sicily building siege engines and occupying himself with friendly (sometimes not-so-friendly) combat competitions and an occasional feast, the politics of the western Christian territory in the eastern Mediterranean became a whole lot more complicated, even convoluted.

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

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Archbishop of Canterbury Dies November 19, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, Guy of Lusignan, history, Humphrey of Toron, medieval period, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the sixth 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.)

 *****

820 years ago today, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury died. How did the death of an English religious leader affect what history now calls the “third crusade?” As indicated in my November 15th post, Baldwin wasn’t in England at the time—he was in Acre, smack in the middle of a succession controversy involving who would be the King of Jerusalem (king of a city still held by Muslim sultan Saladin.). Baldwin was a dissenting voice against the attempts to remove Queen Isabella’s current husband, Humphrey of Toron, by annulling their marriage, so Conrad of Montferrat could move into his place and marry his way onto the throne. The Archbishop of Pisa had approved the maneuver, and those who wanted Conrad to be king looked the other way concerning rumors Conrad was married to at least one other woman back in Italy. With Baldwin gone, and with him his threats of excommunications for all, the annulment could proceed. His death seems convenient for the Conrad faction. But I saw no word in my source materials that indicate foul play was suspected. Acre was mired in a siege-within-a-siege stalemate—it had become an unhealthy, disease-ridden place. Sudden death was not uncommon. Now Conrad could move ahead with the next step.

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

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled November 15, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, Guy of Lusignan, history, Humphrey of Toron, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the fifth 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.)

*****

Humphrey of Toron might have lived happily every after with Princess Isabella if only the late Queen Sibylla, her older sister, had survived. But when Queen Sibylla died (covered in my November 3rd post) Princess Isabella became Queen Isabella of Jerusalem, and Humphrey of Toron now had a claim to the title of King of Jerusalem. By most accounts, Humphrey was not suited to this position at all. Described as effeminate, “more woman than man,” Humphrey was not interested in being a leader thrust into the local conflicts that came with the position. He had been betrothed to Isabella when she was eight, not necessarily unusual for that time, but a good enough pretense to annul the marriage, which would allow someone else to marry her and move into that position. The someone else? Conrad of Montferrat was ready, willing and able (also covered in my November 3rd post). Queen Isabella wasn’t so sure. She liked Humphrey—he was a pleasant man she had developed great affection for, and Isabella was not enthused about marrying a rowdier, older, sterner warrior from across the sea. It took her mother to convince her to go along. So the marriage annulment was ready to go. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Heraclius, was too ill to attend the meeting to finalize the arrangements, and appointed Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury to go in his place. But the Archbishop of Canterbury knew that the annulment would favor Conrad, and hurt the prospects of Richard the Lionheart’s vassal, Guy of Lusignan. So he refused to approve the annulment, threatening everyone involved with excommunication. The Archbishop of Pisa, for trade concessions, favored the annulment. The throne of Jerusalem awaited the result of this tug-of-bride—just who would end up married to Queen Isabella?

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

“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Queen Sibylla Dies November 3, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in Guy of Lusignan, history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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2 comments

(This post is the third 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.) 

*****

Queen Sybilla of Jerusalem died 820 years ago today. This event, though far away from Richard the Lionheart and Philip II of France in Sicily, was to have a dramatic effect on how the key western Christian leaders of what history now calls the “third crusade” would interact. An epidemic, with no regard for status or position, raged through the camps of the Christians attempting to besiege Acre. The siege had gone on over a year, since August of 1189, and the Christian forces besieging Acre had now themselves become besieged, locked in a messy, withering stalemate. The conditions around the Christian camp deteriorated, leading to the epidemic that would claim many Christian lives, including that of Queen Sibylla.

Queen Sibylla was not the ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. She made no command decisions. But her bloodline gave legitimacy to the reign of the King of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan. King Guy had been involved in a dispute with Conrad of Monferrat over who should be the King of Jerusalem. Conrad had saved the key Christian coastal foothold of Tyre, on the verge of surrender three years before, at a time right after King Guy’s blunders on the battlefield had given Saladin the opportunity to wipe out the Christian forces at Hattin. Conrad could make the case that he had been essential in saving the Christian position in the eastern Mediterranean while Guy had been a key reason for its near obliteration. King Guy’s marriage to Queen Sibylla had also been the subject of some controversy when it occurred back in 1180. But as long as Sibylla lived, King Guy technically had the legitimate claim to the throne.

With the death of Queen Sibylla, her younger sister Isabella was the key to the throne. Conrad looked to change the circumstances of this issue in the simplest way possible, by taking Isabella as his wife. There were only two problems with this idea. Isabella was already married—to Humphrey of Toron, who was present at the camps at Acre. And Conrad was also married to at least one other woman, back in Italy. Conrad would spend most of November dealing with these problems. Stand by for updates in upcoming posts.

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

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

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina