Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Milch Cow of the 3rd Crusade

This is how England got to be known as the Milch Cow of the 3rd Crusade. Richard wanted to go on crusade, just like Momma had, & take the Holy City of Jerusalem back from the infidel Saracens, so he popped over to London, got crowned, raised taxes, freed William the Lion for a lg sum, & rode off w/ jingling saddlebags.  Tis said he sighed, "I would've sold London if I could've found a buyer".

Richard should've been breeding heirs yonks ago b/c he was engaged to Alys, another of Louis's daughters, & she was sent to the English court to be raised there as a child along w/ YKs wife Marguerite (they didn't breed heirs).  Richard refused to wed Alys b/c twas rumored she was one of his father's GFs for yonks, so there was arguing & yelling & groats thrown at the Pope & finally after like 20 yrs the betrothal was annulled & Alys sent back to Paris in disgrace & Richard all HA HA pffft to you!

Momma went w/ him partway on this crusade thing b/c she was determined to see Richard commence breeding heirs as he was already past 30, so they swung by Navarre, a tiny kingdom btwn France & Spain, en route & picked up a princess named Berengaria to marry him.  Richard said TYVM Momma but cantcha see I'm a little busy here?

He'd heard his sister Joanna's husband, the King of Sicily, had demised, & a bastard nephew, Tancred, had seized the throne b/c Joanna hadn't done her heir duty.  Joanna was locked up in a castle & Tancred was refusing to give her all her widow's goodies.  Rumor had it he was trying to force her to marry him.  So Richard was all Momma, I can't get hitched atm, we gotta go bust Sissy out! 

He laid siege to Messina & captured it posthaste.  Tancred sighed & came to terms, giving Joanna tons of coin & agreeing to betroth one of his daughters to Geoffrey's son, Arthur of Brittany.  Since Geoffrey had been older than John & had a male heir, Richard decided that snotnose John wasn't getting a thing & in his agreement w/ Tancred he proclaimed Arthur, not John, the heir to his empire.  John was not amused when word of this reached him in Normandy.  Richard distrusted him so much that John wasn't allowed to set foot in England until Richard was done crusading.

Joanna decided to accompany them on crusade, b/c she had her eye on a gent called Raymond of Toulouse who was also crusading.  Eleanor was all, RICHARD!!! YOU NEED TO MARRY THIS WENCH! I CAN'T RETURN THIS ONE AS SHOPWORN, LIKE WE DID ALYS!  Aw Momma, I'm doing manly stuff atm! Richard whinged as they took ship from Sicily for the Holy Land.  Mayhap later, OK?  Yes, Momma, I'll make sure to mention to B that her new wimple looks ravishing, GET OFF MY BACK JEEZ!  Look, there's a battle waiting to happen YAY!

There was a storm & the ship that Berengaria & Joanna were on (he wouldn't even get on the same boat w/ his fiancee LOL) got blown off course, so they had to go find it.  The ship had washed up on the shores of Cyprus & its ruler, Isaac Comnenos, had helped himself to what treasure was aboard AND was keeping Joanna & Berengaria prisoner!  Was Joanna like a disaster magnet, or what?  Richard immediately buddied up to a peep called Guy de Lusignan, who wanted to be King of Jerusalem, & said sure I'll vote for ya if your peeps help me out here, Cyprus is a lot bigger than Sicily.  They enthusiastically conquered Limassol.  Isaac tried to parley & made Richard promise he wouldn't clap him in irons.  Richard said OK & had a nice set of silver chains made for confining him instead HA HA  Then he quickly & ruthlessly conquered the entire island in less than a mo. 

Peeps were all YAY b/c Cyprus was strategically located en route to the Holy Land in the Mediterranean Sea & now twas friendly to em & not hostile.  Richard apptd peeps to mind it & Eleanor poked him & said yknow Richard, this would be a REALLY good time for you to throw a wedding what w/ all these peeps cheering ya, dontcha think?  Richard was all Mommmmm, I can't have my strength sapped b4 battle!  Eleanor rolled her eyes & said tis all ya do is battle, dear heart, ya wanna tell me at your age you ain't never gotten horizontal?  Well, no, he had to admit, tho he didn't say which team LOL  So Berengaria got a splendid new gown & there was a nice procession to Limassol's bestest church & she exchanged her I dos w/ Richard FINALLY & they were also crowned King & Queen of Cyprus.  Eleanor sighed in relief for about 5 min, until she realized being married didn't alter Richard's 'tude one bit.

Rumor had it Richard batted for the other team & was eyeing Philip, who was also on crusade, & paid little attn to Berengaria. In fact, at one pt the Pope had to step in & yell at Richard for not sleeping w/ his wife!  Deja vu on the last Crusade, huh? How embarrassing. Poor Berengaria was the only Queen of England who never got to set foot in it & maybe didn't even get her marriage consummated. No one knows.  Tis a mystery.

Richard was king for 10 yrs but was only in England about 6 mos total.  He was too busy playing macho warrior king to bother w/ his bride or his kingdom (his Lord Chancellor William Longchamp was left in charge).  This is how he got the nick Coeur de Lion AKA the Lionhearted.  The Saracens just called him Malek-Ric (King Rick in Arabic) but even they were impressed w/ his military deeds. 

They were not amused at all w/ what happened at Acre.  Twas customary when conquering stuff to take hostages from amongst the captured peeps & demand ransom for their release.  Richard laid siege to the city, it surrendered, & so he had hostages galore.  He sent his coin demands for them to Saladin, the chief Saracen sultan.  Saladin sighed but said OK b/c whatcha gonna do, tis tradition.  Only he quickly realized Richard hadn't given him enough time to collect this ginormous sum, so he sent word back asking for an extension.  Richard said pffft ain't no Saracen telling ME what to do & making ME wait, I got other stuff to conquer!  So he had the thousand peeps brought outside Acre's walls & ordered his force to massacre them posthaste.  No money, no mercy shoulda been his motto.  Nobody looked at this askance save the Saracens, b/c the Christians were all meh tis just infidels who don't believe in God, who cares?  You pretty much could perpetrate any war crimes ya wanted to back then b/c it took a lot to rile peeps up in outrage.  Yknow, like killing an archbishop in a church.  1,000 Saracens peeps, meh, carry on w/ the nice Crusade.

The Crusade didn't take Jerusalem.  This is b/c Richard 1st had a fight w/ Leopold of Austria & tore down his banner & threw it in the mud.  Leopold was furious & packed up his peeps & went home.  Then Richard had a falling-out w/ Philip, too.  Philip got the sicks & was cranky & he wanted half of Cyprus for himself or he was going home, & Richard said um NO & sold it to Guy of Lusignan, who'd lost that election for King of Jerusalem to Conrad of Montferrat.  Conrad was assassinated b4 he was crowned & peeps think Richard had a hand in it b/c Conrad's widow Isabella  (see, Guy & Conrad were married to 2 chicks who were considered the heiresses) was wed to Richard's nevvy Henry of Champagne right away (his half-sis Marie's kid).

On the way home Richard had a spot of trouble....
tomb effigies of Berengaria & Richard I

No comments:

Post a Comment