King Richard I Of England
Richard I of England.png
Reign6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199
Coronation3 September 1189
PredecessorHenry II "Curtmantle"
SuccessorJohn "Lackland"
RegentQueen Eleanor; William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely
Born(1157-09-08)8 September 1157
Oxford, England
Died6 April 1199(1199-04-06) (aged 41)
Châlus, Limousin
Fontevraud Abbey, France
SpouseBerengaria of Navarre
HouseHouse of Plantagenet
FatherHenry II "Curtmantle"
MotherEleanor of Aquitaine

King Richard I Of England - Richard The Lionheart, Richard Coeur De Lion (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199)Edit

King Richard I Of England was born on the 8th of September 1157,[1] in Oxford, England. He was the son of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He ruled as the king of England from 1189 to 1199. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was known as Richard the Lionheart or Richard Cœur de Lion because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior.[2]

From an early age Richard showed significant political and military ability, becoming noted for his chivalry and courage as he fought to control the rebellious nobles of his own territories in France. By the age of 16, Richard had already taken command of his own army. Richard was a central commander in the Third Crusade during which he conquered Sicily and Cyprus, fought in the Battle of Acre and the Battle of Arsuf, scored considerable victories against his Muslim adversary, Saladin, although he was unable (mainly because of the premature departure of his allies) to retake Jerusalem from Saladin.[3] Most of his life as king was spent on the Third Crusade or actively defending his lands in France.

Richard was said to be well educated (he wrote poems in French and Occitan) and was very attractive - by an estimated 1 meter 93 centimeter, fair-haired, light-eyed with a pale complexion. The Itinerarium peregrinorum et gesta regis Ricardi, a Latin prose narrative of the Third Crusade, states that: "He was tall, of elegant build, the colour of his hair was between red and gold, his limbs were supple and straight. He had long arms suited to wielding a sword. His long legs matched the rest of his body".[4] Most of all he liked to fight - since childhood he showed remarkable political and military abilities and was famous for his courage. He also attached great importance to church celebrations and, according to his contemporaries, eagerly participated in singing of the hymns that accompanied the religious rites and even directed the choir with the help of "voice and gesture".

While on the Third Crusade, just before departing from Cyprus for the Holy Land, Richard married Berengaria of Navarre, the first-born daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre. Richard first grew close to Berengaria at a tournament held in her native Navarre.[5] The wedding was held in Limassol on 12 May of 1191 at the Chapel of St George and was attended by Richard's sister Joan whom he had brought from Sicily. The marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendour, many feasts and entertainments, and public parades and celebrations followed commemorating the event.

On his way back to England from the Holy Land, in December of 1192, King Richard was captured by the Austrian Duke, Leopold I and had to spend 14 months in captivity in Austria and Germany. While in prison, Richard wrote Ja nus hons pris or Ja nuls om pres ("No man who is imprisoned"), which was addressed to his half-sister Marie de Champagne. He wrote the song, in French and Occitan versions, to express his feelings of abandonment by his people and his half-sister.

In March of 1199, King Richard was in Limousin, suppressing a revolt by Viscount Aimar V of Limoges. He besieged the puny, virtually unarmed Château de Châlus-Chabrol (castle of Châlus-Chabrol). In the early evening of 25 March 1199, King Richard was walking around the castle perimeter without his chainmail, investigating the progress of sappers on the castle walls. Missiles were occasionally shot from the castle walls but these were given little attention. One defender, in particular, amused the king greatly — a man standing on the walls, crossbow in one hand, the other clutching a frying pan he had been using all day as a shield to beat off missiles. He deliberately aimed at the king, which the king applauded, however, another crossbowman then struck the king in the left shoulder near the neck. At first Richard himself tried to pull out the crossbow bolt in the privacy of his tent but failed, a surgeon later did remove it however "carelessly mangling" the King's arm in the process. The wound swiftly became gangrenous. Richard asked to have the crossbowman brought before him. He said that he shot at Richard in revenge because Richard had killed his father and his two brothers. The crossbowman was expected to be executed but, as an act of mercy, King Richard forgave him, saying "Live on, and by my bounty behold the light of day". Richard ordered the man to be freed and sent away with 100 shillings.[6] However, according to one chronicler, as soon as King Richard died, Captain Mercadier had the crossbowman flayed alive and hanged.[7]

King Richard died on his mother's arms on the 6th of April 1199.

Contemporaries considered Richard as both a king and a knight famed for personal martial prowess, this was apparently the first instance of such a combination.[8] He was known as a valiant, competent military leader and individual fighter who was courageous and generous. Victorian England admired King Richard I as a crusader and a man of God, erecting a heroic statue of him outside the Houses of Parliament. Muslim writers[9] during the Third Crusade period and thereafter wrote of him: "Never have we had to face a bolder or more subtle opponent".[9]

King Richard I left an indelible imprint on the imagination extending to the present, in large part because of his military exploits and his popular image tended to be dominated by the positive qualities of chivalry and military competence.[8] Around the middle of the 13th century, various legends developed that, after Richard's capture, his minstrel Blondel travelled Europe from castle to castle, loudly singing a song known only to the two of them (they had composed it together).[10]Eventually he came to the place where Richard was being held and Richard heard the song and answered with the appropriate refrain, thus revealing where the king was incarcerated. The story was the basis of André Ernest Modeste Grétry's opera Richard Cœur-de-Lion and seems to be the inspiration for the opening to Richard Thorpe's film version of Ivanhoe. In 1982 the motion picture "The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe" was produced in the Soviet Union and in 1983 the movie was released to the public. The initial acquaintance of the overwhelming majority of Soviet citizens (including the author's of this article) with the historical figure of King Richard I Of England began through this movie (the movie is in Russian), four songs (King Richard, dressed in a grey knightly outfit, appears in the 0:30th, 4:44th and 6:40th minutes of this video clip) by the Russian poet, singer and actor Vladimir Vysotsky were featured in the film.

King Richard I Of England was considered to be a very brave and noble king and he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects.[11] He remains one of the few kings Of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number. King Richard is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France.[12]

King Richard's I life in pictures and quotations. Ja nus hons pris / Ja nuls om pres ("No man who is imprisoned")Edit

"When an upright king is ruling over men, when he is ruling in the fear of God, It is as the light of the morning, when the sun comes up, a morning without clouds - making young grass come to life from the earth..." (2 Samuel 23:3,4)

King Richard I Of England - Richard The Lionheart

I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God, to whom alone I am responsible for my actions - but they are so pure and honourable that I voluntarily and cheerfully render an account of them to the whole world. … I avenged my own injuries and those of the human race in punishing a tyrant and dethroning an usurper (in Cyprus). … And if I did not drive the Saracen prince from Jerusalem, blame not me, but blame the King of France, the Duke of Burgundy, the Duke of Austria himself, all of whom deserted the cause, and left me almost single-handed to war against the infidel. … It is said that I …joined the crusade from the love of money but …what have I reserved out of all my conquests? Nothing, but the ring I wear on my finger! … I have shown that I was not prompted by avarice or ambition …do you, then, render justice to me …and put more faith in my actions than in the calumnies of my deadly foes”. King Richard I Of England (before Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and his diet at Speyer (Germany) during Easter of 1193).

Ja nuls hom pres by Richard I (in Occitan language)

I Ja nuls hom pres non dira sa razon, Adrechament, si com hom dolens non; Mas per conort deu hom faire canson. Pro n'ay d'amis, mas paure son li don; Ancta lur es si, per ma rezenson, Soi sai dos ivers pres.

II Or sapchon ben miei hom e miei baron, Angles, norman, peitavin e gascon, Qu'ieu non ay ja si paure companhon, Qu'ieu laissasse, per aver, en preison. Non ho dic mia per nulla retraison, Mas anquar soi ie[u] pres.

III Car sai eu ben per ver certanament Qu'hom mort ni pres n'a amic ni parent; E si·m laissan per aur ni per argent, Mal m'es per mi, mas pieg m'es per ma gent, Qu'apres ma mort n'auran reprochament, Si sai me laisson pres.

IV Nom meravilh s'ieu ay lo cor dolent, Que mos senher met ma terra en turment; No li membra del nostre sagrament, Que nos feimes els sans cominalment. Ben sai de ver que gaire longament, Non serai en sai pres.

V Suer comtessa, vostre pretz soberain, Sal Dieus, e gart la bela qu'ieu am tan, Ni per cui soi ja pres.

No man who is imprisoned by King Richard I (Translation by Henry Adams)

I No prisoner can tell his honest thought, Unless he speaks as one who suffers wrong; But for his comfort as he may make a song. My friends are many, but their gifts are naught. Shame will be theirs, if, for my ransom, here — I lie another year.

II They know this well, my barons and my men, Normandy, England, Gascony, Poitou, That I had never follower so low, Whom I would leave in prison to my gain. I say it not for a reproach to them, — But prisoner I am!

III The ancient proverb now I know for sure; Death and a prison know nor kind nor tie, Since for mere lack of gold they let me lie. Much for myself I grieve; for them still more. After my death they will have grievous wrong — If I am a prisoner long.

IV What marvel that my heart is sad and sore, When my own lord torments my helpless lands! Well do I know that, if he held his hands, Remembering the common oath we swore, I should not here imprisoned with my song, — Remain a prisoner long.

V They know this well who now are rich and strong, Young gentlemen of Anjou and Touraine, That far from them, on hostile bonds I strain. They loved me much, but have not loved me long. Their plans will see no more fair lists arrayed — While I lie here betrayed.

VI Companions whom I love, and still do love, Geoffroi du Perche and Ansel de Caieux, Tell them, my song, that they are friends untrue. Never to them did I false-hearted prove; But they do villainy if they war on me, — While I lie here, unfree.

VII Countess sister! Your sovereign fame, May he preserve whose help I claim, — Victim for whom am I!

VIII I say not this of Chartres’ dame, — Mother of Louis!

Ja Nus Hons Pris by Richard I (Original Old French (langue d’oil))

I Ja nus hons pris ne dira sa raison, Adroitement, se dolantement non; Mais par effort puet il faire chançon. Mout ai amis, mais povre sont li don; Honte i avront se por ma reançon — Sui ça deus yvers pris.

II Ce sevent bien mi home et mi baron – Ynglois, Normant, Poitevin et Gascon – Que je n’ai nul si povre compaignon, Que je lessaisse por avoir en prison; Je nou di mie por nule retraçon, — Mais encor sui [je] pris.

III Or sai je bien de voir certeinnement, Que morz ne pris n’a ami ne parent, Quant on me faut por or ne por argent. Mout m’est de moi, mes plus m’est de ma gent, Qu’aprés ma mort avront reprochement — Se longuement sui pris.

IV N’est pas mervoille se j’ai le cuer dolant, Quant mes sires met ma terre en torment. S’il li membrast de nostre soirement, Quo nos feïsmes andui communement, Je sai de voir que ja trop longuement — Ne seroie ça pris.

V Ce sevent bien Angevin et Torain – Cil bacheler qui or sont riche et sain – Qu’encombrez sui loing d’aus en autre main. Forment m’amoient, mais or ne m’ainment grain. De beles armes sont ore vuit li plain, — Por ce que je sui pris.

VI Mes compaignons que j’amoie et que j’ain – Ces de Cahen et ces de Percherain – Di lor, chançon, qu’il ne sunt pas certain, C’onques vers aus ne oi faus cuer ne vain; S’il me guerroient, il feront que vilain — Tant con je serai pris.

VII Contesse suer, vostre pris soverain, Vos saut et gart cil a cui je m’en clain — Et por cui je sui pris.

VIII Je ne di mie a cele de Chartain, — La mere Loës.

"I am a cause of wonder to those in authority, a song to those who are given to strong drink, rulers have been cruel to me without a cause, I am a wonder to all... .

It is God who gives salvation to kings. He makes a waste land into a place of water, a dry land into water-springs and the grass tall on the mountains. The grass-land is thick with flocks and the valleys are full of grain... .

Light shines in the darkness for the good people, for those who are merciful, kind and just. O let the instruments of music be awake and I myself will be awake with the dawn. Give out your sounds, O corded instruments, I will make melody and the dawn will be awaking with my song... ". (From Psalms of David, The Loved one of Israel's songs).


  1. Flori 1999, p. 1.
  2. Turner & Heiser 2000, p. 71
  3. Addison 1842, pp. 141–149.
  4. Frank McLynn (2012). "Lionheart and Lackland: King Richard, King John and the Wars of Conquest". p. 24. Random House,
  5. Abbott, Jacob, History of King Richard the First of England, Harper & Brothers 1877
  6. Although there are numerous variations of the story's details, it is not disputed that Richard did pardon the person who shot the bolt, see Flori 1999f, p. 234 (French).
  7. Flori 1999f, p. 238 (French)..
  8. 8.0 8.1 Flori 1999f, pp. 484–5 (French).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Andrew Holt. "Jonathan Phillips". Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  10. Flori 1999f, pp. 191–2 (French).
  11. Turner & Heiser [page needed]
  12. Harvey 1948, p. 58.