Essay About 5 Reasons Why Richard the Lionheart Did Not Deserve His Name
Richard the Lionheart (1152-1199) possesses an awesome moniker, and one that is entirely undeserved. Famed for his chivalry, bravery and dashing good looks, in reality Richard was an awful king and person. Lets quickly review why.
1.) Richard sold his kingdom to the highest bidder.
To raise money for the famous Third Crusade, which saw the leaders of England, France and the Holy Roman Empire pause their squabbling to try to recapture Jerusalem from Saladin, Richard auctioned the rights to nearly every official position in his kingdom. His own chancellor had to pay to keep his job.
2.) Richard was an expert at alienating his allies.
After conquering Acre, all Duke Leopold of Austria wanted was to raise his banner next to the English and French flags. After all, he was the highest ranking representative of the Holy Roman Empire after Emperor Fredrick I drowned in a river. But Richard and Phillip II (King of France) weren’t too pleased to have an uppity duke’s banner next to their kingly ones. It was thrown down into the moat, and Leopold left the Crusade, nursing a grudge. Shortly after, Phillip II left, unhappy that Richard wouldn’t share newly conquered Cyprus with him.
3.) Richard unchivalrously massacred 2,700 prisoners in cold blood.
After capturing Acre, Richard found himself with about 2,700 Saracen prisoners on his hands. After a deal to ransom them to Saladin fell through, Richard spared himself the hassle of feeding those mouths by putting them all to the sword. The Muslim Beha-ed-Din recorded the massacre here.
4.) Richard was terrible at disguise and it cost his country dearly.
Having failed to capture Jerusalem, Richard made a truce with Saladin and headed home. A shipwreck forced him to take the overland route, right through Duke Leopold’s territory. Yes, the same Duke Leopold whose banner Richard had thrown into the yucky moat. To avoid any awkward conversations, Richard disguised himself as a Knight Templar. Yet at a brothel near Vienna his aristocratic love of roast chicken, and the weird way all of his buddies kept calling him “Sire,” gave him away. Leopold captured him gleefully, and handed him over to the new Holy Roman Emperor.
The Emperor demanded a ransom of 65,000 pounds of silver, which was 2-3 times the annual tax revenue of England just a few years prior. Raising this ransom placed an enormous hardship on his people, who justifiably might have wondered if their king was worth it.
5.) Richard only spent 6 months in England during his 10 year reign.
All the time spent Crusading, warring and sitting in jail made Richard something of a deadbeat King. He was even killed and buried on French soil, shot with a crossbow by a 10 year old boy named Pierre from a castle Richard had besieged. While his wound festered gangrenously, Richard pardoned the boy and sent him away with 100 shillings. After Richard’s death, his men stormed the castle and flayed Pierre alive before killing him.