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Greats Who Weren’t – Richard I

We have all been subjected to aspects of history which are not exactly true. A person is cast in a certain light because of a reflection of history, but in truth were not very laudable.

One of the biggest fallacies of history concerns a great hero called Richard the Lion Hearted. He is hailed as if he did something remarkable.

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Richard was the third son of Henry II and was not expected to take the throne of England.

He lived in France and never learned to speak English.

Richard was tall and handsome and used his looks and power to rape a lot of women, to kill people who got in his way because he was special. He was better than everyone else.

In 1189 he was crowned King of England and decided to the Third Crusade, and go to the Holy Land and fight against  Saladin. To raise money to pay for his Crusade he sold official positions, rights, and lands to those who had money and left England in 1190. He first arrived in Sicily where the King had just died.  His sister had been married to the King.

No one had liked the king and they supported a chap called Tancred. Pretending he was acting as a concerned brother, Richard attacked Sicily, looted and burned the major city.

Enjoying himself, he stayed in Sicily until March 1191 when he went to the island of Rhodes, then to Cyprus.

On May 6, 1191, Richard arrived, and  captured the city. After a few more battles he became the new ruler of Cyprus. He looted the island, and massacred those who tried to resist him.

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He arrived at Acre in the Holy Land in June 1191, when the city was being besieged by Saladin. Although Richard did gain control of Acre, he had no allies. Even if he had marched on Jerusalem and captured it, there was no one he could leave in charge.

Instead, he made a truce with Saladin and  left the Holy Land and returned to Europe in 1192. He was captured  and handed over as a prisoner to the Emperor Henry VI.  A ransom had to be paid.   A very large ransom of 150,000 marks.

To raise the ransom caused very heavy taxation, and Richard was eventually was released, went to England.  He  spent almost no time there, and went back to France to regain the territory he had lost during his absence.He was King of England for Ten years, but spent only Six Months there and  died in 1199.

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Why has history portrayed him as a hero when he was anything but?


What do you think?

Written by jaylar


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