Richard Coeur de Lion: Kingship, Chivalry, and War in the Twelfth Century

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Hambledon Press, 1994 - History - 266 pages
The real character and abilities of Richard I of England have largely been hidden by his contemporary and subsequent fame. In consequence his achievements and many of the main features of his reign have been wrongly assessed. In these essays John Gillingham goes far to redress the balance by examining Richard's reign in general and in detail. He refutes the idea of Richard as simply a warrior, incapable of thinking in terms of administration or of coherent planning. Richard's ability, and his application to work, compared favourably with that of his father, Henry II. John Gillingham shows how successfully Richard solved some of the perennial problems facing a medieval king. On two specific scores he demonstrates that Richard acted for strategic reasons rather than on whim: his marriage to Berengaria of Navarre in May 1191 was planned as an essential element in an elaborate diplomatic manocuvre; while his death in April 1199, fighting the lord of Chalus, was met in an atempt to solve a serious political challenge not in an impetuous squabble over treasure. John Gillingham brings out both the nature and the importance of war in medieval society. The book also includes a general survey of the history and nature of the Angevin Empire.

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