Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Richard I
RICHARD I, called Richard Cœur-de-Lion (1157–1199), king of England, third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Poitou, was born at Oxford 8 Sept. 1157. Almost from birth he was destined to inherit his mother's duchy of Aquitaine; and, to strengthen his hold upon Toulouse, at the age of two he was betrothed to a daughter of Raymond of Arragon. On 2 Nov. 1160 Richard's elder brother, Henry (1155–1183) [q. v.], was married to Louis VII's daughter Margaret. Louis had bought this alliance by promising to surrender the frontier fortresses Gisors and Neaufle—fortresses which Henry managed to get into his hands by somewhat underhand methods. For political objects Richard was betrothed to Louis' younger daughter Alice. This dispute over the possession of Gisors and the marriage of Alice caused nearly all the troubles of Richard's life. When eleven he did homage to Louis for Aquitaine (6 Jan. 1169); next year he was acknowledged duke; in 1172 he was solemnly inducted into his new offices (11 June); at Poitiers he was placed in the abbot's chair, and, entering Limoges in triumph, he was proclaimed Duke of Aquitaine, while the ‘ring of St. Valery’ was set upon his finger. Next year Raymond, count of Toulouse, did him homage. In their rebellion against their father in 1173–4 Richard joined his brothers. He was seemingly present at the siege of Driencourt (June 1173); and at Gisors (23 Sept. 1173) he indignantly refused his father's offer of half Aquitaine. Louis made him a knight; and so great was his power in his own duchy that Henry II had to march thither in person, till Richard, chased from castle to castle, flung himself at his father's feet (23 Sept. 1174). In 1175 he was sent to reduce Aquitaine, where his rule was disputed by the local magnates; and next year, when the Count of Angoulême and Viscount Ademar of Limoges rebelled, he hurried to England to seek his father's help. The younger Henry promised aid, and Richard was everywhere triumphant. He crushed the mercenary Brabantines (c. 23 May), took Limoges, and pressed on to meet his brother at Poitiers (c. 24 June 1176). He forced the leading rebels to surrender in Angoulême, and, after holding his Christmas feast in Bordeaux, marched against Dax and Bayonne, conquering as he went, to the ‘gates of Cezare’ on the borders of Spain. He forced the Basques and Navarrese into a reluctant peace, and compelled the freebooters of the Pyrenees to renounce their evil habit of plundering the pilgrims to Compostella. In 1177 Richard was warring against the Count of Bigorre, whose citizens had cast the count into prison. His castles were subdued, but the count himself was set free at the request of his friend, Alfonso II of Arragon. In 1179 Geoffrey de Rançon rose in rebellion; but one after another his strongholds were taken and destroyed, and the insurrection flickered out with a second surrender of Angoulême. Then Richard crossed over to England, after diverting the energies of the leading rebels to a new crusade, from which the Count of Angoulême did not return. There was a fresh rebellion in 1181, and about the same time Richard demolished the walls of Limoges.
Meanwhile, on the north-east frontier of Aquitaine, Louis VII had been claiming Berry as a direct fief of the French crown; and on the death (1176) of Ralf of Déols—a baron whose wealth was reported to equal that of the Norman duchy—both Louis VII and Henry II claimed the wardship of his daughter. Louis complicated matters by demanding the immediate marriage of Richard and Alice. The pope enforced this demand with a threat of interdict, and war seemed on the point of breaking out when both parties agreed to submit the matter to arbitration (21 Sept. 1177).
Richard had reduced Aquitaine to order, had driven the rebellious nobles from the land, overthrown their castles, and established the ducal authority as it had never been established before. He had forced the Count of Toulouse to do him homage, and now that the Count of La Marche had sold his lordship to Henry II, and Berry was practically annexed, there seemed little to prevent Aquitaine from cutting itself adrift from England on the old king's death. This prospect was not to the liking of the younger Henry. He began to urge the Aquitanian barons to a fresh revolt, and persuaded his father to make Richard and Geoffrey (1158–1186) [q. v.] do him homage (January 1183). Geoffrey yielded; but Richard refused to submit to a claim which would give him a third suzerain for what was a purely French fief. He began to fortify his castles. Geoffrey led an army into Aquitaine; Limoges declared for young Henry; and the Duke of Burgundy and the Count of Toulouse sided with the rebels. The old king had to interfere in Richard's behalf, but when he appeared before Limoges the garrison assailed him with arrows. Meanwhile mercenaries were laying waste the province, and the younger Henry, having no funds, could not restrain their ravages. After plundering St. Martial's shrine he left Limoges on a quasi-pilgrimage to Rocamadour, and, falling sick, died at Martel on 11 June 1183. His death brought the rebellion to an end. Limoges surrendered (24 June), and its walls were once more levelled. Richard himself, assisted by Alfonso of Arragon, laid siege to Hautefort, the castle of Bertrand de Born. The young king's allies now left the duchy, and once more Richard was undisputed Duke of Aquitaine. His brother's death had also left him heir to the English crown.
While Richard was in the first flush of his success, his father called upon him to give up Aquitaine to his youngest brother, John. This led to a fresh war, after which Henry ordered him to resign his duchy to Queen Eleanor, whom he now released (c. 28 April 1185) from her ten years' captivity. To this nominal surrender Richard made no objection. He knew that he would be his mother's heir, and, even in her lifetime, might govern in her name. John was provided with the lordship of Ireland, and when the old king returned to England (c. 27 April 1186) he gave Richard a large sum of money, which the latter used for the invasion of Toulouse. Louis VII was now dead. His successor, Philip Augustus, leant much on Henry II, and had welcomed assistance from Richard and his brothers. Still there always remained materials for a quarrel in the controversy as to Berry and Auvergne, the marriage treaty of Richard with Alice, and the lordship of Gisors and the Vexin. But Philip would not interfere when Raymond of Toulouse in 1186, driven from place to place, called on him for aid. Later, however, when Henry de Vere, after slaying one of Philip's knights near Gisors, fled to Richard for protection (28 Nov. 1186), the French king's self-control gave way. Next summer he led an army into Berry, and besieged Richard and John in Châteauroux. Henry II came up to help his sons, and a great battle was averted only by the intervention of the nobles. Thereupon Richard paid a visit to the French king, ‘who held him in such honour that each day they ate at one table and slept in one room.’ These friendly relations did not last long. Raymond of Toulouse, on the advice of his minister, Peter Seilun, seized some Aquitanian merchants. Richard replied by invading Toulouse and seizing Peter Seilun, whom he refused to set free in exchange for certain English knights—knights whom Raymond, in defiance of ecclesiastical law, had arrested on their return from a pilgrimage to Compostella. Philip, who now seems to have played a double part, utilised the opportunity for raiding Berry (June 1188). John was sent from England to oppose him; Henry and Ranulf de Glanville [q. v.] followed. But the honours of the war remained with Richard. On his approach the French king left the province, possibly from unwillingness to fight against his late friend. The two kings met at Bonmoulins (18 Nov.). Richard, who suspected his father of a design to disinherit him, refused the terms offered, flung himself heartily on Philip's side, did him homage for all his French possessions, and clamoured for the fulfilment of his marriage with Alice.
Early in 1189 the war broke out again, and it was in vain that Clement III sent one of his cardinals to arrange a peace. At La Ferté-Bernard Henry refused to assent to Alice's marriage, or to acknowledge Richard as his heir. He fled from Le Mans to Chinon on Philip's approach (11 June), and a little later (4 July) was forced to sign a treaty yielding every point for which he had been fighting. Two days later he died at Chinon; and when Richard, struck with penitence, came to weep at his dead father's bier, men told how blood gushed from the nostrils of the dead king on the entrance of his rebel son. On 22 July Richard had an interview with Philip, at which he refused to give up Gisors, but pledged himself to marry Alice. Seizing his father's treasures at Chinon, he set out for England. On 3 Sept. 1189 he was crowned at Westminster.
Late in 1187, directly the news of Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem reached France, Richard had taken the cross, and his example had been followed only a few months later (January 1188) by Henry II and Philip. The months following Richard's coronation were occupied in preparation for the third crusade. His envoys scoured England and his continental domains for ships. Even the dead king's wealth, estimated at one hundred thousand marks, was all too little for the needs of a new monarch who longed to startle Europe and the east by the splendour of his armament. He strove to increase it by every means, ‘offering for sale all he had—castles, villes, and farms.’ To Hugh Puiset [q. v.], bishop of Durham, he sold the manor of Sadberge and the earldom of Northumberland; to the bishop of Winchester he sold two other manors, and to Abbot Samson [q. v.] of Bury St. Edmunds a third. From his half-brother Geoffrey (d. 1212) [q. v.] he took 3,000l. as the price of the archbishopric of York, and renounced the homage due from William the Lion of Scotland for ten thousand marks. To faint-hearted crusaders he sold dispensations from their vow; and when men remarked on the reckless nature of his sacrifices, he is said to have turned the accusation with a jest: ‘I would sell London itself could I find a purchaser rich enough.’
On 11 Dec. Richard crossed to Calais, met Philip at Gué St. Rémi on 13 Jan., and again in March at Dreux. The two kings swore to defend each other's realms as they would their own; and, possibly on these occasions, promised to divide any conquests they might make upon the way. In June Richard was in Gascony, flinging Walter de Chisi into prison for the old offence of plundering the Compostella pilgrims. A little later, at Chinon, he appointed leaders for his great fleet, that was to sail round by Spain to meet him at Marseilles. On 1 July he met Philip at Vézelay. The latter arrived at Messina on 16 Sept. 1190 from Genoa. Richard had proceeded to Marseilles to await his fleet, but, before its arrival on 22 Aug., he, tired of waiting, left the port. It was not till 23 Sept. that he made his state entry into Messina. The two kings had not intended to make a long stay in Sicily, and Philip actually attempted to sail east on the day of Richard's arrival. A storm drove him back. Richard was in no such hurry to move. Rich as he was, he saw the chance of increasing his treasures.
William II of Sicily (d. November 1189) had married Richard's sister Joan, and was succeeded by his illegitimate cousin Tancred. King William had for many years been collecting money nominally for a crusade—a crusade which Tancred, whose claims upon the throne of Sicily were disputed by the emperor Henry VI, dared not undertake. This treasure, according to a current rumour, the dead monarch had left to his father-in-law, Henry II, and Richard now claimed it in the double title of his father's heir and leader of the great crusade. He also claimed the delivery of his sister's person and her dower. Joan was set free at once (28 Sept.); but the other demands were disputed. A local quarrel gave Richard an excuse for seizing Messina (4 Oct.), and Philip, although he refused to help in this high-handed action, did not scruple to claim his share of the booty. In a few days there was a nominal reconciliation, but the two kings were never really friends again. Shortly after this Tancred agreed to pay Richard forty thousand ounces of gold in lieu of all his claims, while Richard promised to marry his nephew Arthur (1187–1203) [q. v.] to Tancred's daughter, and thus tacitly acknowledged Tancred to be king of Sicily in spite of the pretensions of the emperor. With the new year, the jealousy between the English and the French increased. Early in March Tancred accused Philip of plotting a night attack on the English host. Philip declared the charge false and the letters offered in its proof to be forgeries. But true or false, Richard used the rumour as an excuse for breaking off his engagement to marry Alice, and for arranging to marry Berengaria of Navarre [q. v.] His alienation from Philip was complete.
Richard left Messina on 10 April, eleven days after Philip sailed thence for Acre. On Good Friday (12 April) a storm, sweeping down from the mountains of Crete, scattered Richard's fleet and drove him north-west to Rhodes. Other vessels were shipwrecked off Cyprus, where the Greek inhabitants, disregarding the sacred character of the pilgrims, robbed them and flung them into prison. Meanwhile the great vessel that held Richard's sister and his prospective bride reached Limasol harbour, and while the two ladies were hesitating as to the advisability of disembarking, Richard's own sails made their appearance on the horizon. Cyprus was then ruled by a pseudo-emperor, Isaac Comnenus; and Richard, who throughout his life had been a consistent opponent of the lawless custom of robbing pilgrims, whether to Compostella or elsewhere, was very indignant at the treatment of his own men. When Isaac slighted his demands for recompense, he forced a landing, drove the Greeks from the coast (May 6), and, pursuing his advantage next day, unhorsed the emperor with his own hand. On 12 May he married Berengaria; on almost the same day Richard's vassal, Guy de Lusignan, ex-king of Jerusalem, came to Cyprus begging Richard's support against the claims of Philip's candidate and kinsman, Conrad of Montferrat. Isaac, after a futile interview with Richard, fled by night to one of his strongholds, and the English king ordered Guy to lay siege to Famagusta. Philip sent a pressing message urging Richard to cease from conquests on his own account, and join the other crusaders before Acre; but the summons was disregarded; open war on Cyprus was declared, and by 31 May the island was subdued. Isaac was flung into silver chains, his wife and daughter sent to Acre, and Cyprus itself put under the rule of two of Richard's most trusted warriors. Later still the king sold his conquest to the templars, and when they, early in 1192, found the purchase too costly, passed it on to Guy de Lusignan, who at this time was forced to relinquish his claims on the kingdom of Jerusalem. And so with the treasures of Cyprus, added to the treasures of England, Normandy, Aquitaine, Scotland, and Sicily, on 8 June Richard reached Acre. His fame had gone before him, and when the fires of welcome blazed up in the Christian camp for joy of his arrival, the Saracens were struck with terror at the coming of so renowned a warrior—one who, if inferior to the king of France in rank, was immeasurably his superior in wealth and warlike skill (Bohadin, p. 214). The destruction of a great Saracen vessel that was making its way from Beyrout to the succour of Acre lent him additional glory.
Even before starting on the crusade, Richard's health was in a very perilous condition. While he was still in England, men had freely prophesied that an Eastern climate would be fatal to his broken constitution. A quartan fever preyed upon him; his face was of a death-like pallor, and his body covered with boils. In Cyprus he became seriously ill, and hardly had he reached Acre when he was struck down with the deadliest local disease, ‘Arnoldia.’ Philip was ill at the same time; but so great was the zeal or the rivalry of the two kings that neither would intermit his military operations on account of sickness. Richard was carried out to superintend the efforts of his crossbowmen, and, propped up on silken cushions, plied a crossbow with his own hands. With his vast wealth he could outbid the king of France. He accepted the services of the Pisan sailors, but rejected those of the Genoese in whose ships Philip had sailed to Acre. Higher still did his prestige grow when he offered four besants a month to any knight who would enlist under his banner at a time when Philip's poverty was forcing him to discharge his men. Added to this, Richard openly supported Guy de Lusignan as claimant to the throne of Jerusalem in opposition to Philip's candidate, Conrad.
As the health of the two kings mended, fresh complications rose. Philip claimed half the spoils of Cyprus; Richard retaliated by claiming half of Flanders. A peace was patched up between the two kings; but the rivalry of the two nations continued. At one moment Richard actually armed his men for an attack upon the French. So bitter was the feeling that the two races could not even fight alongside of one another; and it was agreed that when one host attacked Acre, the other should keep watch against Saladin's army, to the east. Acre surrendered on Friday, 12 July; Saladin promised to restore the holy cross and to pay two hundred thousand besants as a ransom for the captives. He wished the two kings to join him in a war against Mosul, and the lord of Mosul is said to have made a similar offer to the conquering crusaders. Richard called upon Philip to pledge himself to a three years' crusade, and Philip in reply declared his intention of returning home at once. This step was universally believed to be due, not, as he pretended, to his feeble health, but to anxiety to seize upon the estates of the dead crusader, Philip, count of Flanders. Before sailing he recognised Guy as king of Jerusalem, gave his half of the Saracen prisoners to Conrad, and left the major part of his French followers under the leadership of Hugh, duke of Burgundy. He pledged himself not to attack Richard's domains in that king's absence; but on reaching Rome he did his best to persuade the pope to free him from this oath, and, though he failed, he lost no opportunity of plotting against his fellow-king. He had the excuse that Richard, though retaining Gisors, had not surrendered Alice.
Richard occupied a month in regulating the affairs of Acre and repairing its walls. Then on 16 or 20 Aug., as the ransom money had not been paid, he executed 2,700 of his prisoners in full sight of the enemy. This was tantamount to a renewal of the war, and was followed by an immediate advance towards Ascalon. Saladin dogged his steps, and on 7 Sept., some miles to the north of Arsuf, Richard won his first great victory—a victory purchased dearly by the loss of the gallant James d'Avesnes, who had been the Christian leader during the early days of the great siege. It had been Richard's intention to seize Ascalon; but, as Saladin gave orders for the destruction of this place and the French refused to advance to save it from ruin, the next few weeks were spent in restoring the walls of Jaffa, and conducting singular negotiations with Saladin, through the good offices of Saladin's brother, El Adel. It is difficult to believe that these negotiations had any object save that of gaining time, when we read (Bohadin) that one of the points negotiated was a marriage between El Adel and Richard's sister Joan. Saladin, too, was negotiating with Conrad of Montferrat. At last, towards the end of December 1191, Richard reached Beit-Nuba, only twelve miles from Jerusalem. Here, however, heavy rains barred his progress, and he was dissuaded from attempting a siege so late in the year. Then (13 Jan.?), through a storm of snow and hail, the army fell back on Ascalon, and occupied the next few weeks in refortifying that city. Richard spared neither money nor labour in this necessary work; but the French knights, who in September had refused to follow him to save Ascalon from destruction, now drew off to loiter away their time in the orchards of Jaffa. Richard's influence brought them into line with the English for a time; but his influence could not shake their resolution of returning home at Easter. The feud between the two races grew more bitter when Richard, who had already made one large loan to the Duke of Burgundy—a loan that had never been repaid—found himself compelled to refuse a second. Hugh in anger went back to Acre, followed by many of the French. Acre itself was now in a state of open discord. The Pisans had taken up arms for Guy; the Genoese for Conrad. The Duke of Burgundy espoused the latter cause, and the Pisans sallied out to prevent him from entering the town. Then Conrad himself came south from Tyre and seized the place till driven away by the arrival of Richard, whom the Pisans had summoned to their aid (20 Feb.). After a futile interview with Hugh and Conrad, halfway between the two cities, Richard declared Conrad a defaulter. He knighted El Adel's son at Acre on Palm Sunday, and quitted the city next day (30 March). On 1 April the French at Ascalon and Jaffa demanded leave to go home, and Richard, though convinced of the existence of a French plot to depose Guy, had to let them go, marking his anger at their desertion by sending strict orders to exclude them from Acre.
The French had hardly left Ascalon when Richard's own plans underwent a change. Envoys arrived with news of serious trouble in England. His presence was absolutely necessary at home, or he might find that, while conquering kingdoms abroad, he was losing his birthright at home. Influenced by this consideration, he consented to acknowledge Conrad as king of Jerusalem, solacing his rival Guy with the lordship of Cyprus. Conrad's murder (27 April) cancelled this arrangement, and when the people of Tyre took matters into their own hands by electing Henry of Champagne and marrying him to Conrad's widow (1 May?), Richard was only too glad to acquiesce in an arrangement which satisfied both parties: for the new king if he was Philip's nephew was Richard's also. The effect of this compromise was soon evident. The French ceased to talk about going home, and while Richard was laying siege to the fortress of Darum, some twenty miles south of Ascalon, the French contingents, under Count Henry and the Duke of Burgundy, hurried south to help him. A new enthusiasm seized the crusaders, and they pledged themselves as one man to advance upon Jerusalem, whether the English king stayed or went away. Imperative though his motives for return were, Richard could not hold out against the general wish, and he swore not to leave Palestine for a year. By mid June the crusaders found themselves at Beit-Nuba for the second time. The French were for making a bold dash upon the holy city, and the Saracens themselves thought the place doomed. But Richard, relying on the advice of the great military orders, refused to lead so rash an adventure, though he expressed his willingness to take his part in such a foray as a private knight under another commander. A council of war recommended an advance on Cairo; but the Duke of Burgundy, speaking for the French, refused to attack Egypt, even when Richard generously offered to supply food and ships. From Beit-Nuba Richard organised a night expedition to waylay the great caravan at Tell-el-Hesy, and it was characteristic of his generous character that he offered the Duke of Burgundy, his rival and opponent, a share in the honours and profit of that famous foray (23 June 1192). The loss of this caravan drove Saladin to despair, threatened as he was about the same time with risings in the east. Had Richard only pressed on at this moment, Jerusalem must have fallen; and Saladin, when he heard that the crusaders had left Beit-Nuba and were falling back on Jaffa, could hardly believe his good fortune (4 July?). He reopened negotiations, offering to acknowledge Count Henry as king, and to divide the disputed districts. These conditions were not accepted, as he insisted on the dismantling of Ascalon and Gaza; and Richard had already gone north to Acre with a view to preparing an expedition against Beyrout, when he received news that Saladin was seizing Jaffa. He at once ordered Count Henry to advance to the relief by land, while he himself, to save time, set sail by sea. Through the harbour breakers he forced his way to shore, drove the Saracens out of the town, refortified the walls, and, this done, camped outside in the open plains with his little force of some fifty (mostly horseless) knights and two thousand foot. In the early dawn of an August morning Saladin made a desperate attempt to surprise the king, while sending another squadron to attack the town. It was the most glorious day in Richard's life. Richard drew up his little host behind a semi-palisade in what seems to have been a somewhat novel form of the array of the shield-wall. The Saracens were driven back in confusion, and, had not the king been seized with a fresh illness, he might have ended the campaign. Being, however, eager to return home, he accepted a three years' truce, coupled with the dismantlement of Ascalon. The crusaders were allowed to visit Jerusalem, and in the holy city itself Hubert Walter, bishop of Salisbury, had an interview with Saladin—an interview in which Saladin passed a noble encomium on the virtues of his foe.
On 30 Sept. Berengaria and Joan set sail for England, and Richard followed them nine days later. Storm and shipwreck forced him to change his vessel and attempt to work his way home through Germany in disguise, regardless of the fact that he had mortally offended the emperor Henry VI and the Duke of Austria by his conduct in Sicily and the east. After a series of adventures which read like a romance rather than sober history, he was arrested—in the dress of a kitchen knave—in an inn near Vienna (21 Dec.) by the Duke of Austria's men, and was lodged by the duke in the castle of Durrenstein. It was there, according to the legend, that the troubadour Blondel discovered him (see below). The duke handed him over to the emperor, before whom he appeared at Ratisbon on 7 Jan., and at Treves on 23 March, offering one hundred thousand marks for his release (Chron. Magni Presb. p. 520; cf. Ralph Diceto, ii. 106). The intrigues of Philip Augustus and a conspiracy among the German nobles led to the failure of this first negotiation for freedom. Later on the emperor's terms were raised to one hundred and fifty thousand marks, of which one-third was, with marked reference to Richard's dealings with King Tancred, to be used for an expedition against South Italy and Sicily (29 June). The emperor strove to cover the shame of his disgraceful conduct by conferring upon Richard the kingdom of Arles with a right to the homage of the king of Arragon, count of St. Gilles, that Raymond of Toulouse with whom Richard had so frequently waged war when duke of Aquitaine. At the same time, however, Richard was forced to acknowledge himself as a vassal of the German emperor for England itself, a piece of subservience which, though perhaps unavoidable at the time, has its only parallel in English history in the still more extraordinary conduct of his brother John some twenty years later. Richard was set free on 2 March 1194. He gave mortgages for the balance of his ransom, arranged with various German nobles to support him against Philip Augustus, was received with enthusiasm on his way home at Cologne, and landed at Sandwich on 13 March.
Before starting for the east, Richard had taken measures for securing the peace of England in his absence. He bound his two brothers, John and Geoffrey, not to enter the country while he was away; and though he released John later on from this oath and granted him estates on almost a royal scale, he tried to secure quiet for his kingdom by placing almost unlimited power in the hands of his chancellor and justiciar, William Longchamp, bishop of Ely, for whom, a little later, he procured the office of papal legate. Longchamp, having to supply his master with funds and being of harsh and extravagant disposition himself, soon earned the hatred of the people. After John began to plot against him, with the object of securing his own succession to the crown, he quitted the kingdom [see Longchamp, William of]. The government passed into the hands of Walter, archbishop of Rouen, whom Richard had sent home with secret instructions from Sicily [see Coutances, Walter de]. Meanwhile Philip had been clamouring for the delivery of his sister Alice (25 Dec. 1192); and his hostility to Richard was so well known that the emperor wrote him news of that king's captivity within a week of the event. Philip at once passed on the news to John, offered him the hand of Alice, and urged him to strain every nerve to prevent his brother's release. John hurried over to Normandy, swore to be Philip's vassal for Richard's continental provinces, and, as was rumoured at the time, for England too. Philip, secure of John's assistance, flung his army into Normandy, thus openly breaking the vow he had sworn in Syria. Gilbert de Gascuil, Richard's warder in Gisors, betrayed his trust, though Philip's efforts on Rouen were foiled by the gallant conduct of the Earl of Leicester, who had just returned from Syria [see under Beaumont, Robert de, d. 1190]. Failing to achieve much by arms, Philip turned to intrigue, and time after time did he and John offer the emperor bribes to keep the English king a prisoner. Nor did the treachery of the two allies stop here. But the justiciar, Walter de Coutances, and his mother, Eleanor of Poitou, held John in check, and the pope excommunicated him (10 Feb.) Celestine threatened the emperor and Philip with a similar fate, and the justiciar was still engaged in reducing the castles seized by John when Richard landed.
Richard's arrival soon forced Nottingham, the last of the castles held by John, to surrender. This done, he was recrowned at Winchester (17 April 1194); and he set about raising money for his war against Philip by selling the great offices of state. For this purpose he levied a carucage of 2s., and called on a third of the knighthood of England to follow him across the Channel. He had honestly intended to return to the east, and from his German prison had despatched Saul de Bruil with a message of assurance to his nephew in Acre. That he did not so return was entirely due to the treachery of Philip and John. He could not leave his continental lordships till he had crushed or crippled the unscrupulous enemy on the frontier, nor his island kingdom till he had insured it against his brother's craft. Hence the rest of his reign is the story of petty border warfare—warfare forced upon him unwillingly, when he longed to be back in Palestine.
In May 1194 Richard left England for the last time. Philip had once more broken into Normandy, and was already besieging Verneuil when the news of Richard's arrival forced him to retreat (28 May). Verneuil relieved, Richard hurried on to help the troops of his brother-in-law Sancho of Navarre in the siege of Loches. Meanwhile his lieutenant in Normandy, the Earl of Leicester, fell into Philip's hands (15 June) (cf. Chron. of Melr. p. 102). This misfortune led to negotiations for a peace; and, when these fell through, Richard returned to Normandy, driving Philip in headlong flight before him, seizing on his treasure, and forcing him to seek concealment in a wayside church. From the north Richard now marched south against Geoffrey de Rançon and the rebels of Aquitaine; here, too, he was triumphant, and from Angoulême itself could write home word of his brilliant successes (22 July 1194). Next day (23 July) the representatives of both kings, aided by Cardinal Meiler and the abbot of Cîteaux, made a peace till November 1195. In reality it did not last so long; for in the summer of 1195 the emperor Henry sent Richard a golden crown, accompanied with an invitation to join in an attack on France. Philip, suspecting these negotiations, tried to seize Richard's envoy, William Longchamp, and, failing in this, invaded Normandy once more. An attempted reconciliation, which was intended to bring about the marriage of Philip's son Louis to Richard's niece Eleanor, fell through owing to the emperor's opposition, and the autumn of the same year found Richard besieging Arques and Philip burning Dieppe with the English shipping in its harbour (c 10 Nov.?). Somewhat earlier in the year (20 Aug.) Richard restored Alice to her brother, who married her to the Count of Ponthieu. In the same year Richard's mercenary soldiers, under Merchadeus, were warring in Berry; Issoudun was captured, and when Philip came up to the attack and a battle seemed imminent, the two kings met on horseback between the two armies and concluded a temporary peace (5 Dec.). Early next year (January 1196) they settled fuller terms: Philip was to have Gisors and the Norman Vexin, Richard Issoudun and other places in Berry: the one king was to pardon his Aquitaine rebels, the other was to set the Earl of Leicester free. This peace lasted hardly longer than the previous one. The Count of Flanders had died in December 1195; and next June his son Baldwin swore fealty to Philip (June 1196). Philip encouraged Richard's nephew Arthur to revolt, and protected the archbishop of Rouen when Richard drove him out of Normandy in his quarrel for the ownership of the island of Andely in the Seine, on whose banks the English king was building the fortress of Château-Gaillard to safeguard his Norman frontier—a design which does credit to his prescience as a strategist. Archbishop Walter laid Normandy under an interdict and appealed to Rome. Richard had to plead his cause in the papal court, and it was in the course of these negotiations that the English envoy, Richard's chancellor, William Longchamp, died at Poitiers on his way to Italy (1 Feb. 1197). Meanwhile, in the summer of 1196, the war had broken out once more; Philip laid siege to Albemarle, and, despite the English efforts to relieve it, took it after a siege of more than seven weeks. In 1197 Richard was more successful. He had already pacified his nephew Arthur and the Count of Toulouse whom he married to his sister Joan; he now burnt the castle of St. Valez (15 April), and on 19 May his brother John and Merchadeus took prisoner Philip's cousin and namesake, the warlike bishop of Beauvais. Hardly less successful was Richard himself in Auvergne. Later still in the summer Philip Augustus was in the greatest peril. Richard had united against him the Counts of Flanders, Champagne, and Boulogne. In July the former count laid siege to Arras (14 Aug.), and Philip, marching to oppose him, was forced to an ignominious capitulation.
Meanwhile the Duke of Austria's death (December 1194) had freed Richard from an open enemy; and now the death of Henry VI (28 Sept. 1197) left the empire without a head. Richard was summoned to assist at the election of a new emperor at Cologne (22 Feb. 1198), and his influence procured the office for his nephew Otto. It was at this moment that Celestine III died (8 Jan.), having before his death removed the interdict from Normandy, and reconciled Richard and the archbishop of Rouen. Philip and Richard had already concluded a truce to last from January 1198 to January 1199; but, as usual, war broke out long before the latter date. Richard won a great victory over Philip near Gisors, and his own letter tells how the French king fell into the river, while Richard himself unhorsed three knights with one lance. The English chronicler glories to recount the French king's flight ‘on his old horse Morel.’ Meanwhile the Count of Flanders poured his troops into Artois and took Aire and St. Omer. John captured Neufbourg, and Merchadeus plundered the French merchants at the fair of Abbeville.
Meanwhile Hubert Walter, now archbishop of Canterbury, governed England in his absence [see Hubert]. He was mainly occupied with arranging the ecclesiastical difficulties of Richard's half-brother Geoffrey, the archbishop of York, and with collecting money for Richard's continental warfare. During his government he introduced several constitutional innovations of great importance. The office of ‘coroner,’ though under a different name, makes its first appearance, if it does not originate in, the ‘iter’ of September 1194. A scutage was raised in 1195—a year which saw the exaction of an oath to ‘keep the peace’ from all persons above fifteen. The knights ordered to enforce this oath developed later into the modern justices of the peace. Another scutage was levied in 1196. In 1194 Richard seems to have given orders for a fresh seal to be made, probably intending the cancellation of all grants under the old one. This project was carried into execution in May 1198, when a fresh seal was made, and cancelled all grants under the old one. The same year he raised money by other means—by selling licenses for tournaments and putting all his bailiffs in Anjou and Maine to ransom. Dissatisfied with the amount of money sent him from England, early in 1196 he despatched his clerk Philip of Poitiers [q. v.], the newly elected bishop of Durham, and the abbot of Caen to investigate the accounts; but this commission effected little, owing to the abbot's death (11 April). Hubert Walter felt this proceeding as a slight, and tendered his resignation, which the king refused to accept; and in the course of the same year Hubert earned great unpopularity by the severity with which he crushed the rebellion of William FitzOsbern [q. v.]—a rebellion directed against the unjust incidence of taxation. In the late autumn of 1197 (7 Dec.), when Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, speaking in the name of the church and nation, refused to grant Richard's demand for the service of three hundred knights for a whole year out of England, Hubert seized the opportunity of resigning his secular office. Geoffrey Fitz-Peter succeeded (August 1198) to the justiciarship, and held it for the rest of Richard's reign.
Meanwhile Innocent III was already attempting to reconcile the two kings and organise a fresh crusade. For two years past Fulk of Neuilli had been urging men in this direction; his envoys crossed into England, and Fulk himself chided Richard for his evil life. Then came the pope's grand appeal for a Christian combination (13 Aug. 1198) to check the Saracen successes. Cardinal Peter of Capua was sent to effect a five years' truce between the two kings, and he had apparently succeeded in this object when Philip broke the spirit of the treaty and renewed his plots with John. In the midst of this confusion, Richard was slain by an arrow while laying siege to the castle of Chaluz, where he claimed a newly found treasure from the castle's owner, a vassal of his old enemy Ademar, the viscount of Limoges (6 April 1199). With characteristic generosity he gave orders to spare the life of the archer who had shot him; but, after his death, Merchadeus flayed the man alive. His body was buried at the abbey of Fontevrault, ‘at the feet of his father,’ and his heart in ‘the faithful city of Rouen.’ There are effigies of him at both places.
Sismondi has summed up Richard's character in the words ‘a bad son, a bad brother, a bad husband, and a bad king.’ But though there is some truth in every word of this indictment, it creates an historical perspective that is entirely false. Richard was a ‘splendid savage,’ with most of the faults and most of the virtues of the semi-savage age in which he lived; and it is only those who test mediæval heroes by a modern standard that will judge him with extreme severity. We know too little about the grounds of his rebellion against his father in 1173–4 to say that his conduct there was altogether without excuse—conduct which was sanctioned by his mother and his two nearest brothers. Later on, when at war with the younger Henry and Geoffrey, he was clearly in the right, as Henry II tacitly confessed by taking up arms on his behalf; nor could he fairly be expected, after having reduced Aquitaine to submission, to meekly yield it up to his youngest brother John. Still less could he acquiesce in Henry's plans to rob him of the succession to the crown. It is hard to justify a son who wars against his father upon any plea; and yet, if sincere repentance, not merely in the first moments after Henry's death, but eighteen months later before Abbot Joachim in Sicily, could atone for this offence, Richard's conduct might earn a pardon. The same impulse of sudden repentance coloured the later years of his life. As a brother his relations to John were something more than generous. He pardoned the treachery of 1193–4 almost at once, and very soon after restored the forfeited estates. There is no reason to suppose that Richard, as a husband, was any better than most of his contemporaries; but the vague charges of infidelity brought against him by the writer of the ‘Gesta Henrici’ find no support in the contemporary Aquitanian chronicler Geoffrey of Vigeois. To his mother, Richard seems to have been a dutiful son. As a king he certainly subordinated the interests of England to those of his Norman possessions; but, under the circumstances, he could hardly act otherwise; and there is no evidence that he ever tried to extend his French possessions by means palpably unjust. He was a stern ruler, and, when he was in Sicily, men contrasted his firmness with Philip's laxity. Even in pressing Tancred he was only claiming what he thought his rights; and the conquest of Sicily was the result of Isaac Comnenus's offence of pillaging pilgrims—an offence peculiarly hateful to Richard. He cannot have been an ally easy to work with; but, where his rights were not questioned, he was generous to a fault. He lent Philip ships, and Hugh of Burgundy money. He pensioned the fugitives that flocked to Sicily after the fall of Jerusalem, and forgave Guy de Lusignan the purchase-money of Cyprus. In warfare he seems to have combined dash and prudence to a remarkable degree. As a general he was a stern disciplinarian; though, where not responsible for the safety of others, he was the very type of a reckless knight-errant. Through his military career one feature is prominent—a tendency to rely upon mercenary troops; in other words, a standing army. As a statesman he may, at least for the last seven years of his reign, be credited with a judicious choice of ministers. It is true that he drained England of her treasure for objects in which she was not primarily interested; but he did not spend the money thus gathered ignobly, and if he took of his people's wealth he at least did not force them to shed their blood in a foreign quarrel. He was sincere in his desire to free the holy sepulchre, though his energy in this direction was doubtless strengthened by the lust of military fame and the passion for adventure. He left behind him a reputation unique among English kings; and French writers of the next century tell how even in their days his name was used by Saracen mothers to still a crying child, and by Saracen riders to check a startled horse. The name of ‘Richard of the Lion's Heart’ must have been given in Richard's lifetime; but the legend which professes to account for the title—the story of Richard's seizure of the lion's heart out of the breast of the living lion—comes from an English fourteenth-century romance, which, in its turn, is probably based on a French romance of the thirteenth. Knighton (fl. 1395) worked this legend up into sober English history.
Richard was a poet too, and bandied verses with the Duke of Burgundy and the Dauphin of Auvergne. He was first the enemy, and afterwards the friend, of Bertrand de Born; and, if we may trust the thirteenth-century ‘Vies des Troubadours,’ he was the patron of Gaucelm Faidit and Arnauld Daniel, the peerless poet of Dante's admiration. He was a man of many accomplishments, and seems to have spoken better Latin than his archbishop, Hubert Walter. Shortly after, or possibly before, his death he became the hero of a long historic poem, and somewhat later of a long romance.
The Blondel legend, which bears some resemblance to one concerning Ferry III of Lorraine, first appears in the ‘Récit d'un Ménestrel de Reims’ (1260?), and secondly in the ‘Anciennes Chroniques de Flandre’ (1450?). Fauchet, the French antiquary, who derived his details from another source (not identified), referred to the story in his ‘Recueil de l'Origine de la Langue et Poesie Françaises’ (1581), and suggested the identity of the legendary Blondel with the famous trouvère Blondel de Nesle. Mlle. de Villaudon wrote a popular account of it in 1705, and thence Michel-Jean Sedaine borrowed his famous opera ‘Richard Cœur de Lion,’ with music by Grétry (produced 21 April 1784). Goldsmith was the first historian to give the tale popular currency (1771). Michaud accepted it with some reserves in his ‘Croisades,’ 4th edit. ii. § 31 (cf. Comte de Puymaigre, in Revue des Questions Historiques, January 1876).