Richard i of England, also known together Richard the Lionheart (Cœur de Lion), reigned together king that England native 1189 to 1199 CE. The boy of Henry II the England (r. 1154-1189 CE) and Eleanor the Aquitaine (c. 1122-1204 CE), Richard was recognized for his courage and also successes in warfare, yet he became so busy with the 3rd Crusade (1189–1192 CE) and also then the defence of English-held are in France, the he would just spend 6 months the his reign in England. A legend in his very own lifetime, renowned both for his armed forces leadership and also utterly ruthless technique to warfare, Richard the Lionheart has become one the the greatest numbers in european history, and also his arms of 3 lions are still supplied by the brothers royal family members today. Adhering to his death in fight at Chalus in France, Richard was prospered by his younger brothers King man of England (r. 1199-1216 CE).

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Early Life & Succession

Richard to be born ~ above 8 September 1157 CE in Beaumont Palace, Oxford, as the 3rd son that King Henry II of England and Eleanor the Aquitaine, previous wife that King louis VII the France (r. 1137-1180 CE). Richard"s education associated a great dose of chivalric medieval literary works thanks come his mother"s interest in the subject. Poetry was an additional favourite pastime and also the king written his own poems in both French and Occitan (a French dialect typically used in romances). The young prince was said to have actually been a tall, blue-eyed, handsome fellow with reddish-blonde hair and also he to be already listed for his courage.

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This to be a duration of troubled and facility relations between England and also France, and also Richard, whose family members had to be the major cause, would be involved in 2 rebellions against his father. The very first bid come topple the king come in 1173 CE when Richard, his brothers Henry and also Geoffrey, the count of Brittany (b. 1158 CE), and William the Lion that Scotland (r. 1165-1214 CE) all conspired to join forces, nearly certainly a pact orchestrated through Eleanor of Aquitaine. Passionate to increase their own domains at the price of the English crown, the killing of the Archbishop that Canterbury, cutting board Becket (1162-1170 CE), in his very own cathedral in 1170 CE showed a rallying point, given Henry"s alleged involvement in this shocking crime. Aged simply 15, Richard had actually been knighted by Louis VII, one more interested party in seeing the downfall the Henry, and also dispatched top top a campaign to attack eastern Normandy, climate under the English crown. The rebels failed to oust Henry II thanks to his loyal barons and many castles, however Richard was pardoned after that swore allegiance come his father. Eleanor, in contrast, to be imprisoned for she troubles. This was no the end of the affair, though, as Henry struggled to store a tight on his kingdom in his final years.


Henry II & Richard I
Unknown Artist (Public Domain)

Richard, as a prince, held the titles of the battle each other of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou (both in France and arranged by his mother), and he cemented his farming reputation as a gifted ar commander and besieger the castles by curly a rebellion by the barons of Aquitaine. His taking of the once-thought impregnable castle of Taillebourg in 1179 CE was particularly splendid feather in his prince"s coronet. Less splendid were the tales of his ruthless treatment of prisoners and forced prostitution of caught noblewomen. Still, in spite of his successes, Richard wanted more. Then, the fates intervened and also Richard"s chef rival because that the throne of England, his elder brother Henry the Young King (b. 1155 CE) passed away in June 1183 CE. Henry II had gone so far regarding make his child king-designate in 1170 CE, yet the young Henry"s fatality from dysentery scuppered the king"s nicely arranged succession plans. In addition, his various other brother Geoffrey died in an accident in ~ a middle ages tournament on 19 august 1186 CE. Richard was currently in prime position to become the following king that England, but he was not all set to just wait because that nature to take its course.

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Richard again challenged his dad in 1188-9 CE once he and his younger brothers John created an alliance with Philip II, the brand-new King of France (r. 1180-1223 CE). The rebellion was again sustained by Eleanor, and the war contained the legendary illustration in which the well known medieval knight sir William Marshal (c. 1146-1219 CE) battled Richard, had the prince in ~ his mercy however chose to death his equine instead. Nevertheless their rivalry, or perhaps in gratitude for his chivalry, Richard later offered William Chepstow Castle, as had actually been promised that by Henry II. Losing control of both Maine and also Touraine, Henry eventually agreed to peace terms i m sorry recognised Richard together his single heir. Once the king passed away shortly after, Richard was crowned his successor in Westminster Abbey on 2 September 1189 CE. Also component of his kingdom to be those floor in France still belonging to his family members the Angevins (aka Plantagenets): Normandy, Maine, and Aquitaine. Richard refused to offer John Aquitaine, as he had promised his father he would, and also this just acerbated the rivalry between the two brothers.

Third Crusade

Richard"s first priority, indeed, maybe his just one, to be to make good on his promise do in 1187 CE to "take the cross" and assist capture Jerusalem from the Muslims. The king emptied his kingdom"s coffers because that his mission, even striking up a attend to William the Lion - giving the Scottish king full feudal autonomy in return for cash. For a monarch who spent most of his reign external of England, did no speak English, and recklessly invested the kingdom"s wide range on international wars, Richard has took pleasure in a remarkably favourable position in the English popular creativity ever since.

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The third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) was called by Pope Gregory VIII following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 CE by Saladin, the Sultan the Egypt and also Syria (r. 1174-1193 CE). No fewer 보다 three monarchs took increase the call: Frederick ns Barbarossa (King of Germany and Holy roman Emperor, r. 1152-1190 CE), Philip II the France and also Richard himself. With these being the 3 most powerful men in west Europe, the project promised to it is in a much more favourable one 보다 the second Crusade of 1147-49 CE. Unfortunately for Christendom, though, the Crusaders only controlled to gain within sight of Jerusalem and also no attempt to be made to attack the holy city. Indeed, the totality project to be beset through problems, nobody bigger 보다 Barbarossa drowning in a river before they even got to the holy Land. The divine Roman Emperor"s fatality resulted in many of his military trudging back home in grief i m sorry left just the English and French knights, who were not an especially fond allies at the best of times.

Still, in spite of the bad start, there to be some army highlights come write residence about. Richard, that took the sea route to the middle East, very first captured Messina ~ above Sicily in 1190 CE and then Cyprus in may 1191 CE. In the latter project the island"s self-proclaimed leader Isaac Komnenos (r. 1184-1191 CE), who had damaged away from the oriental Empire, to be captured and the Crusaders would certainly then govern until the Venetians took end in 1571 CE. However, these detours were no really helping the in its entirety aim the recapturing Jerusalem, even if Cyprus showed to be a helpful supply base.

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The Crusaders did at some point arrive in the holy Land and managed to bring a successful conclusion to the siege the Acre (aka Acra) on the shore of the Kingdom that Jerusalem, on 12 July 1191 CE. Begun by the French nobleman male of Lusignan, who attacked from the sea, the protracted siege lastly worked when sappers, available cash incentives by Richard, undermined the fortification walls of the city ~ above the land side. The "Lionheart", together Richard to be now known thanks to his courage and audacity in warfare, had achieved in five weeks what Guy had failed to do in 20. Follow to legend, the king was ill at the time, struck down by scurvy, return he had retainers lug him top top a stretcher so that he can fire at the foe battlements through his crossbow. Richard then fairly blemished his "good king" reputation once he notified 2,500-3,000 detainees to it is in executed. Male of Lusignan, meanwhile, was made the new king of Cyprus which had actually been offered by Richard to the Knights Templar.


Cristofano dell"Altissimo (Public Domain)

There was also a famous victory because that the English king over Saladin"s army at Arsuf, in September 1191 CE, yet the advantage could no be pursued. Richard marched to within vision of Jerusalem but he knew that even if he could storm the city, his reduced military would most most likely not have the ability to hold it versus an inescapable counterattack. In any type of case, domestic affairs in France and England necessitated both majesties to return home and the whole Crusade project was properly abandoned. Richard salvaged something for every the effort and negotiated a peace resolve Saladin at Jaffa. A small strip of land roughly Acre and also the future safe therapy of Christian pilgrims come the divine Land was additionally bargained for. It was not quite what was hoped for at the outset but there could always be a fourth Crusade at some time in the future. Indeed, Richard provided that in any type of future campaign against the Arabs it can be useful to attack from Egypt, the weak underbelly of the Arab empire. That was precisely this arrangement which the fourth Crusaders (1202-1204 CE) embraced even if they again were distracted, this time by the jewel that the oriental Empire: Constantinople.

There were also some take-home modern technology innovations because that the English king. The Byzantines had long offered a fearsome weapon known as Greek Fire - a very flammable fluid shot the end of tubes under push - which, return a state secret for centuries, was at some point stolen by the Arabs. Richard need to have obtained the formula from Arab alchemists he come into call with on the Crusade because that he provided it to great effect earlier in England and also on his later campaigns in France.

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Before King Richard could return home, though, there would be one last sting the the ill-fated Crusade, for on the return trip in 1192 CE Richard was shipwrecked, arrested through Leopold that Austria (r. 1075-1095 CE) - who Richard had gravely insulted during the Crusade - and also taken come Vienna. Passed on to Henry VI, the new Holy roman inn Emperor (r. 1191-1197 CE), the English King was organized for ransom. Richard would just be released in 1194 CE, and also one deserve to imagine the frustration for the swashbuckling king virtually two years of captivity. The ransom to be a massive 150,000 clues (which equates to several million dollars today) so the it was largely through new taxes in England and Normandy the the money to be raised. Indeed, the amount was so high that also taxation can not raise enough, and also Richard was forced to provide a number of noblemen hostages to comprise for the shortfall.


Coin of Richard Lionheart

Domestic Policies

While the king to be fighting abroad, English national politics was left in the capable hands of hubert Walter, who was Bishop that Salisbury in 1189 CE and also was do Archbishop that Canterbury in 1193 CE. Walter confirmed himself an maybe statesman and also events would certainly unravel which required specifically that in ~ the helm of the delivery of state. When captive in the holy Roman Empire, Richard"s younger brothers John, conspiring v Philip II that France, made an not successful attempt come seize the throne, but Walter regulated to contain the usurper thanks to the help of another able if somewhat insensitive minister: he that looked ~ the realm"s purse strings in Richard"s absence, the chancellor, wilhelm Longchamp. The war was principally among sieges and also control the strategically important castles such as at Nottingham and also Windsor Castle but in the end, the crown prevailed. Richard forgave his brothers his extreme ambition and also even nominated him as his successor. Hubert Walter was likewise responsible for elevating the hefty ransom i m sorry had obtained his king"s release. In 1193 CE Walter was made cook Justiciar and given as whole responsibility for government, a position he held until 1199 CE.

One area the king was wary of was tournaments, those events where knights attacked each other in mock cavalry battles. Richard only permitted their organisation under license - allowing five places to host them - and made knights salary an enntrance gate fee. The latter measure and also the imposition of heavy fines because that anyone daring to organize an unofficial occasion were a useful means to to fill the state"s coffers which were so often cleared by the king"s expensive armed forces escapades. Still, Richard additionally appreciated that tournaments might be a helpful training ground for his knights and, shortly to be up versus the French, who knights were renowned for your horsemanship, that would require as expert an military as he might muster.

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Given Richard"s require to fund his militaries throughout his reign it is possibly not surprising the he was nowhere close to the big spender ~ above English castles that his father had been. There was a significant investment in revamping and extending the Tower of London in 1189-90 CE as indicated in the pipeline Rolls expenditure documents but, otherwise, castle-building pertained to halt together the decade of the 1190s CE wore on. Yet another fund-raising strategy of the perennially cash-strapped king was to open up royal forests to neighborhood lords because that hunting, with an ideal fee, of course. Clearly, Richard necessary all the money he can get his hand on because that the problems yet to come.

Campaigns in France & Death

After a short stint ago in England and a 2nd coronation in April 1194 CE at Winchester, Richard climate spent much of his time on campaign in France where he defended the Angevin lands against his former Crusader ally, Philip II the France. The pair had fallen out when Richard did not marry Philip"s sisters Alice, despite the pair being engaged for 20 years. Richard instead had married Berengaria the Navarre (c. 1164-1230 CE) on 12 might 1191 CE, together arranged by his mother. Berengaria would certainly be the just reigning English queen never to collection foot in her own realm.

The English king assembled an army to attack Philip by requiring his barons to simply supply the king with just seven knights each instead of the normal vassal fighting force. As an alternative, Richard request cash v which he might purchase his own mercenaries. It to be an plan the barons were just too happy to agree to together it expected they could remain, and defend if necessary, their very own castles and lands quite than give up them come opportunists while much away in France.


Arms of Richard I
Sodacan (CC BY-SA)

Richard might have neglected English fortifications yet he invested huge in Normandy, notably building the Chateau Gaillard through the flow Seine from 1197 CE to much better defend his territorial claims there. Then catastrophe struck. Richard to be mortally injured in Aquitaine throughout his siege that the castle of Chalus in 1199 CE. The king, fight in the neck by a crossbow bolt, passed away on 6 April ~ the wound had end up being gangrenous. Richard was buried alongside his parents at Fontevraud Abbey close to Chinon while his effigy at Rouen includes his heart.


As he had no succession Richard i was prospered by his brothers John who would power until 1216 CE. King man of England (aka john Lackland) managed to do himself among the most unpopular emperors in English history, and also his oppression and military fail brought about a significant uprising of barons that obliged the king to authorize the Magna Carta in 1215 CE, upon which a constitution was based with the strength of the monarch curbed and also with the civil liberties of the barons protected.

Richard, meanwhile, obtained legendary condition as among the an excellent medieval knights and kings thanks to his daring deeds and also the love and respect the his soldiers. ~ his death the myths only grew bigger, beginning with the Anglo-Norman novel Romance the Richard Cœur de Lion published roughly 1250 CE. Already having proven himself as courageous, a figured out foe of the Saracens and also a composer of city to boot, Richard to be the really model that the chivalrous knight and so his legend flourished along those lines. Medieval artworks illustrated the king improbably jousting Saladin, he to be attributed good speeches around saving his guys or he would not be worthy the his crown, and also stories sprang up of the being such a figured out foe of the Arabs the he cooked and also ate those the captured. Even today, the existence of a dramatic statue of the king exterior the residences of parliament in London is an indicator of the special ar Richard has actually gained and also continues to host in the hearts of Englanders.

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Finally, Richard has actually left a lasting legacy in middle ages heraldry. The king"s choice of three gold lions (although they might originally have been leopards) ~ above a red lift on his shield to be an extension of his family"s classic two lions. The three lions, perhaps initially rearing figures ("rampant" in heraldic terms) yet subsequently developed as strolling forward through their heads turned in ~ the onlooker ("passant guardant") have end up being not just a component of the English royal coat of eight ever since but also appear now in numerous other badges, particularly sporting people such together the England national football and cricket teams.