Tuesday, May 10, 2011

King Richard I - A Medieval King's Gamble

We are always interested to read good books on medieval history with medieval castles and medieval kings and queens being our preferred subjects.

David Boyle's book, Blondel's Song tells the story of King Richard 1st, his part in the 3rd Crusade and his subsequent capture and ransom. There are many interesting angles to this story but throughout the telling one thing stands out. Richard led from the front and took risks beyond those expected of a king. Whether it was storming ashore at Cyprus or desperately seeking a way home during the winter of 1192 there were many points where the history of this extraordinary man and to some extent the future of England could have taken a completely different turn.

A gambling man might well have advised Richard that taking risk after risk was no way to run a kingdom. He only had to lose once and the results would be dire. This happened with his capture and ransom and then, as if he had not learned anything, again at Chalus-Chabrol where he was wounded and subsequently died whilst attacking a relatively insignificant medieval castle.


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