Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Richard the Lionheart

Richard I of England took the throne in 1189, at 31 years of age.  The next two years of his life were spent en route to the Holy Land.  On July 12, 1192, he participated in taking Acre with Philip of France.  At the end of September of that year, Richard reached a truce with Saladin, and left for home. 

Shipwrecked near Aquilcia, he was taken prisoner by the Austrian Duke Leopold V, and ultimately ransomed, returning home in 1194  Austria gained a city, Wiener Neustadt, funded by the ransom money, and England had its king back.  It is at this point in time that Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is set.  Richard died on April 6, 1199.

From Chapter I:

"...Such being our chief scene, the date of our story refers to a period towards the end of the reign of Richard I., when his return from his long captivity had become an event rather wished than hoped for by his despairing subjects, who were in the meantime subjected to every species of subordinate oppression. The nobles, whose power had become exorbitant during the reign of Stephen, and whom the prudence of Henry the Second had scarce reduced to some degree of subjection to the crown, had now resumed their ancient license in its utmost extent; despising the feeble interference of the English Council of State, fortifying their castles, increasing the number of their dependants, reducing all around them to a state of vassalage, and striving by every means in their power, to place themselves each at the head of such forces as might enable him to make a figure in the national convulsions which appeared to be impending..."

No comments:

Post a Comment