Richard I

Richard I,

king of England, surnamed COEUR DE LION, was the third son of Henry II by his queen, Eleanor. He was born at Oxford in September, 1157. In the treaty of Montmirail, entered into Jan. 6, 1169, between Henry and Louis VII of France, it was stipulated that the duchy of Aquitaine should be made over to Richard, and that he should do homage for it to the king of France; also, that he should marry Adelais, youngest daughter of Louis. In 1173 Richard joined his mother and his brothers Henry and Geoffrey in their rebellion against the king. The rebels submitted in September, 1174, when two castles in Poitou were allotted to Richard. In 1183 a second family feud broke out in consequence of Richard refusing to do homage to his elder brother, Henry, for the duchy of Aquitaine. In this war his father sided with Richard against Henry and Geoffrey. It was ended by the death of prince Henry, when Richard, actuated probably by jealousy of his youngest brother, John, declared himself the liegeman of France for his possessions in that country. This step led to a war between the king of England and Philip of France, in which Richard fought against his father. The balance of success being decidedly with France, a treaty in accordance with this fact was about to be executed, when, by the death of Henry II, on July 6, 1189, Richard became king of England. He landed in his own country on Aug. 15, 1189, and was crowned in Westminster Abbey on Sept. 3 following. In the hope of gaining salvation, and with the certainty of following the occupation which he loved best, he now set out with an army to join the third Crusade, then about to leave Europe. He united his forces to those of France on the plains of Vezelay, and the two armies (numbering in all 100,000 men) marched together as far as Lyons, where they separated, and proceeded by different routes to Messina, where they again met. Here Richard betrothed his nephew Arthur to the infant daughter of Tancred, king of Sicily, with whom he formed a close alliance. The Sicilian throne was at that time claimed by the emperor Henry VI; and the alliance with Tancred, from this cause, afterwards turned out a very unlucky one for Richard. Having settled a difference which now arose between him and Philip respecting his old engagement to Philip's sister Adelais, the English king, on April 7, 1191, sailed from Messina for Cyprus, carrying along with him Berengaria, daughter of Sancho VI, king of Navarre. He had fallen in love with this princess, and he married her in the island of Cyprus, where he halted on his way to Palestine. But even love did not make him forget his favorite pastime of war: he attacked and dethroned Isaac of Cyprus, alleging that he had ill-used the crews of some English ships which had been thrown on his coasts. Having then presented the island to Guy of Lusignan, he set sail on June 4, 1191, and on the 10th of the same month he reached the camp of the Crusaders, then assembled before the fortress of Acre. The prodigies of personal valor which he performed in the Holy Land have made the name of Richard the Lion- hearted more famous in romance than it is in history. The man was the creation and impersonation of his age, and the reader who follows his career may perhaps be more interested than he would be by the lives of greater men, or by the history of a more important period. On Oct. 9, 1192, he set out on his return to England. After some wanderings and adventures, he became the captive of the emperor Henry VI, who shut him up in a castle in the Tyrol. John, meanwhile, ruled in England, and he and Philip of France had good reasons for wishing that Richard should never return to his kingdom. He disappointed them; not, however, until he had paid a heavy ransom, and even, it is said, agreed to hold his kingdom as a fief of the empire. On March 13, 1194, he found himself once more in England. His brother John, who had acted so treacherously towards him, he magnanimously forgave, but with Philip of France he could not deny himself the pleasure of a war. In the contest which followed he was generally victorious, but in the end it proved fatal to himself. He was killed by an arrow shot from the castle of Chaluz, which he was besieging, on March 26, 1199. If Richard had the vices of an unscrupulous man, he had at least the virtues of a brave soldier. See Stubbs, Chronicles and Memorials of Richard I, from a MS. in the library of Corpus Christi College (1864). SEE CRUSADES.

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