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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Richard the Lionheart Leaves Sicily for “Outremer” April 10, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Berengeria, crusades, history, medieval period, Outremer, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, the crusades, third crusade.
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(This post is the sixteenth 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.)

*****

Winter in Sicily was finally over. It was time to complete the last part of the journey to join the western Christian fighting pilgrimage to take back Jerusalem for Christianity. 820 years ago today, Richard the Lionheart, along with his huge fleet of over two hundred ships, left Sicily for the eastern Mediterranean coast to join the siege at Acre. He was eleven days behind Philip II of France; he would land at Acre well beyond that eleven day gap, and the consequences of the delay would have lasting effects on the entire area. After the ships cleared the harbor, Richard’s warship vanguard took the lead ahead of the transport ships. On one of those transports, his future wife, Berengeria (whom he planned to marry in the “Holy Land”) and his sister Joan, traveled with their accompanying entourages. The ships communicated by sailing close enough for the men to shout at each other and pass messages and commands from ship to ship. It would not be long before this primitive method of ship-to-ship communication would prove to be dangerously inadequate. Richard hated traveling by sea. Nothing about this journey would give Richard any reason to change that point-of-view!

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 

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: A Playful “Joust” Gets Out of Hand in Sicily February 2, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in crusades, history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(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:

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

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 Feasts at Christmas December 25, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in history, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, Sicily, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the eighth 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.)

*****

As long as he was stuck in Sicily for the winter, Richard the Lionheart figured he might as well enjoy himself, especially at Christmas. After all, he certainly had the resources to put out a nice spread after his settlement with Tancred. (See the post Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily). What a contrast this feast made with the horrible conditions for Christians fighting to take Acre—Richard would receive criticism for his slow progress and comfortable circumstances at Mediterranean locations while Christians starved besieging Saladin’s forces.

At Richard’s invitation, King Philip of France attended the feast along with a considerable entourage. They were joined by high-ranking Sicilian nobles. The feast took place at Mategriffun Castle, built despite local opposition. (“Mategriffun” meant “griffun killers;” “griffun” was the term used to describe local Sicilians.)

An abundance of food served on gold and silver plates ensured that no one would leave this Christmas hungry. At the end, to top it off, Richard gave generous gifts to his guests.

The joyous mood of the occasion was marred when drunken Pisans and Genoans attacked guards at Richard’s ships, perhaps planning to take some Christmas gifts of their own. Richard and his troops, possibly with help from Philip, repelled the attack but with casualties on both sides.

Just before this Christmas feast, Richard had undertaken a dramatic act of penitence at a local chapel. Bishops at the ceremony communicated God’s forgiveness for his sins, and the generous Christmas feast was the first step Richard took to show gratitude for God’s forbearance.

Richard would remain a “guest” in Sicily, keeping his promise to remain in Sicily throughout the winter. But his stay there would not pass without a few more dramatic episodes.

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

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