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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Henry of Champagne Becomes the New King of Jerusalem Designate May 5, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Acre, Ascalon, Conrad of Montferrat, crusades, Henry of Champagne, history, Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade.
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(This post is the 53rd 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.) 

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The assassination of Conrad of Montferrat raised the question—who would now be King of Jerusalem? Within a month western Christians had gone from two candidates vying for the position to none. 820 years ago today, on May 5, 1192, the question was answered. Henry of Champagne and Conrad’s widow Queen Isabella entered Acre, announcing their betrothal, effectively announcing that Henry of Champagne would be the next King of Jerusalem. As Conrad lay dying the week before, he had told Isabella to bar the door of their premises and only admit Richard the Lionheart or his agents (demonstrating that Conrad did not believe any conspiracy theories involving Richard concerning his assassination). She eventually opened the door for Henry of Champagne. Henry did not immediately embrace the suggestion. He missed France. He never had ambitions of becoming the King of Jerusalem. He wanted Richard’s input. Richard liked the idea. Henry was respected by all the western Christians. Henry could assume the throne with a minimum of controversy and disruption. Richard promised to stay a little longer in Outremer to secure Henry’s kingdom. Henry agreed. He and Isabella by all accounts had a short but affectionate marriage before Henry died in a fluke accident before the end of the decade.

To secure his nephew’s kingdom, Richard turned again to negotiations. But Saladin was not inclined to soften his position. Ascalon was now an effective position for Richard. Saladin was not going to leave western Christians with Ascalon especially when it is fairly certain he knew how anxious Richard was to leave the area. (Saladin was known for extensive, active spy networks.) Richard would need to stay a little longer to help improve the position of his nephew’s kingdom.

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

April 20th – Conrad of Montferrat Is Designated Undisputed King of Jerusalem

April 28th – Conrad of Montferrat Is Assassinated in Tyre

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: 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.)

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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 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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(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