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Topic ClosedRichard I - my pet hate

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Richard I - my pet hate
    Posted: 26-Oct-2005 at 01:42
He wasn't homosexual, he was just more interested in "glory" than women. Though he wasn't overly fond of being a lover, he did marry Berengaria. If you can dig up some evidence of a homosexual affair, then present it to us.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Feb-2007 at 19:20
Sharon K Penman has presented him as a homosexual in her historical-fiction Here be Dragons. Though there isn't much ground upon which to build the argument (though her notes on research in the bibliography are actually quite remarkable). All in all though, I like and respect the man. He did whatever the hell he wanted to whoever the hell he wanted and ended up getting away with it everytime. He was a lucky bastard, considering all the people who wished he'd wake up with a knife between his ribs (I heard one story that in the Levant, he was surprised by an Egyptian assassin while he himself was unarmed, but wrestled the man down and threw him out of a window about 60 feet off the ground. Damn!). Any soldier who earns the respect of his enemies is obviously a man to be feared, and to be held in high esteem.

Other records point towards the Holy Roman Emperor having a genuine personal affinity for that barbaric English King, and it's said they often practiced swordsmanship together and hunted as well while Richard was in "captivity." Richard was never kept in chains, nor were his personal freedoms or movement greatly restricted. The only reason the Emperor couldn't let him go is because it would have been political suicide (throwing away the huge sum Richard's ransom would bring his kingdom). Even so, when Eleanor of Aquitaine was only able to raise a fraction of the pre-agreed ransom, the Emperor let him go (though he obviously still took the money)! It's said Richard even pardoned the archer or crossbowman who put the arrow in his shoulder. After he died, of course, the man was flayed alive by the late King's furious soldiers. And what he was doing riding around a battlefield in just his linens is anyone's guess.

In short, he was a brute, a thug, a bastard, and one of the few military geniuses of history. He's like an English Davey Crockett or Sigurd the Viking. I have the utmost respect for the man.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2007 at 00:55
I heard one story that in the Levant, he was surprised by an Egyptian assassin while he himself was unarmed, but wrestled the man down and threw him out of a window about 60 feet off the ground.
 
Where did you hear this story?  I've never heard or read anything regarding this.
 
 
Cheers

Chris
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2007 at 01:59

I personally agree that his personal vendettas cost crusaders a lot. From the very start of the crusades you could note that the relief of the Crusader Kingdom was low on his agenda, conquering Cypress because of what he considered a personal insult. I have a much greater liking in people like the Count of Flanders who was one of the first crusaders to arrive in the holy land and off course Emporer Barbarossa. If it wasnt for cruel fate intervening I believe we would have truly seen two gigantic leaders measuring up against one another in Saladin and Barbarossa. Richard would have been sidelined as a lieutenant of the crusaders (if he even arrived in time).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2007 at 05:49
With regards to Richard's alleged homosexuality ...
 
Richard's enemies would surely have seized upon this in an instant if there was any truth to the rumour.  Especially King Philip II of France, whose sister Richard handed back after she was so graciously "used" by his father.
 
Yet, there is no contemporary (ie: in Richard's day and after his death) evidence of this alleged homosexuality - this rumour only circulates much much later.
 
Even Richard's greatest critic, Gerald of Wales, makes no mention - and he would surely have been the first to eagerly do so.
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 01:12
In Gillingham's book he explains where some earlier historians got the idea Richard I was a homosexual. 
 
I can't remember details of the book but it references the term "bed".  I don't have the book with me, it is packed.  Nonetheless, it clarifies the fact Richard I was not a homosexual.
 
 
Cheers

Chris
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 04:33
 
Originally posted by shurite7


I heard one story that in the Levant, he was surprised by an Egyptian assassin while he himself was unarmed, but wrestled the man down and threw him out of a window about 60 feet off the ground.

 
Where did you hear this story?  I've never heard or read anything regarding this.

I seem to remember Gore Vidal quoting it in A Search For the King But I can't verify that since we're moving next week and all my books are packed in boxes. I think it was a fairly common story: whether it was true or not is a different matter of course.

Vidal also hints heavily at Richard's homosexuality (which was all he could do in 1950) but he is something of a biassed witness on that issue, though I do have the greatest respect for his historical novels in general.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 05:56
 
Originally posted by Constantine

One thing I cannot fathom is how historians continually exalt this man as a great English King
What I have trouble fathoming is why you should say that. Certainly sixty years agob it was being taught in English schools that Richard was not a good king, and I never grew up thinking anything else.
 
In 1066 And All That Sellers and Yeatman classified him as 'a Good Thing', but that was satire and over 75 years ago.
 
Someone already pointed out that debunking Richard I can be traced back at least to Giraldus Cambrensis, and he was a contemporary.
 
That being so, it's interesting to consider why the legend of Richard arose, and I think a key consideraton here is the saga of Robin Hood, in which Richard plays an ultimately conclusive role.
 
The Robin Hood saga, as it moves from antagonism between Saxon (Hood's band is at least largely Saxon) and Norman (personified by the Sheriff of Nottingham) to eventual reconciliation brought about by the return of Richard, is a metaphor for the reconciliation of Saxon and Norman into the English. And for that - as the saga implies - the tipping point came in Richard's reign.
 
Richard is probably the first king to lead armies that considered themselves English (no matter whether Richard in fact saw himself as English or not) but all subsequent ones would (until the union with Scotland complicated matters).
 
Hence, it seems to me, his place in English legend.
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 16-Feb-2007 at 05:56
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 06:45
I think that the "bed" reference in Gillingham's book is as follows:
 
"English chronicler Roger of Howden reported that in 1187 Richard and King Philip of France shared a bed but it was common for people of the same sex to do so.  It was an expression of trust not of sexual desire.  It was common too for men to kiss or hold hands, but these were political gestures of friendship or of peace, not of erotic passion.  It is a mistake to assume that an act that had one symbolic meaning 800 years ago carries the same message today.
 
If this is the reference upon which all allegations of Richard I's homesexuality rest - shouldn't this then equally be applied to King Philip of France with whom Richard I "shared a bed".  And yet Philip is not tarred with the same brush.  Curious.


Edited by Melisende - 16-Feb-2007 at 06:50
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 12:05
Originally posted by Melisende

I think that the "bed" reference in Gillingham's book is as follows:
 
"English chronicler Roger of Howden reported that in 1187 Richard and King Philip of France shared a bed but it was common for people of the same sex to do so.  It was an expression of trust not of sexual desire.  It was common too for men to kiss or hold hands, but these were political gestures of friendship or of peace, not of erotic passion.  It is a mistake to assume that an act that had one symbolic meaning 800 years ago carries the same message today.
 
If this is the reference upon which all allegations of Richard I's homesexuality rest - shouldn't this then equally be applied to King Philip of France with whom Richard I "shared a bed".  And yet Philip is not tarred with the same brush.  Curious.
 
Gore Vidal didn't write a novel about Philip. Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2007 at 23:11
Melisende,
 
Thanks for displaying the passage.  I too have noticed nothing has ever been brought out about Philip's sexuality.
 
Some people took Richard's lack of an heir as proof of homosexuality.  Richard may have been impotent or his wife, Berengaria, may not have been able to conceive.  Look at modern times; today there is a multi-million dollar business helping women become pregnant.
 
 
Cheers

Chris
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 02:07
Originally posted by Melisende

I think that the "bed" reference in Gillingham's book is as follows:

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Comic Sans MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-: EN-US; mso-ansi-: EN-US; mso-bidi-: AR-SA">"English chronicler Roger of Howden reported that in 1187 Richard and King Philip of </SPAN><?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><ST1:COUNTRY-REGIoN><ST1:PLACE><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Comic Sans MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-: EN-US; mso-ansi-: EN-US; mso-bidi-: AR-SA">France</SPAN></ST1:PLACE></ST1:COUNTRY-REGIoN><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Comic Sans MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-: EN-US; mso-ansi-: EN-US; mso-bidi-: AR-SA"> shared a bed but it was common for people of the same sex to do so.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It was an expression of trust not of sexual desire.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It was common too for men to kiss or hold hands, but these were political gestures of friendship or of peace, not of erotic passion.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It is a mistake to assume that an act that had one symbolic meaning 800 years ago carries the same message today.</SPAN>

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Comic Sans MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-: EN-US; mso-ansi-: EN-US; mso-bidi-: AR-SA"></SPAN>

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Comic Sans MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-: EN-US; mso-ansi-: EN-US; mso-bidi-: AR-SA">If this is the reference upon which all allegations of Richard I's homesexuality rest - shouldn't this then equally be applied to King Philip of France with whomRichard I"shared a bed". And yet Philip is not tarred with the same brush. Curious.</SPAN>


The only problem with this is that Roger of Howden would not have written such things down if they weren't seen as embarassing or derogatory in some manner. Howden wasn't interested in general political moves such as kissing, sleeping in the same bed, or holding hands. He was more interested in these moves as scandal than anything else. Howden would not have written contemporary political practices in his chronicle since his readers would have known these practices. The reason for taking down these occurances was because they were out of the ordinary.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 04:49
What you say may indeed be true of Howden - but question - why have no other contemporary chroniclers commented - especially the fiercely anti-Angevin Gerald of Wales.  His silence is espcially noteworthy.
 
Side note - Richard did father two sons - Philip, Lord of Cognac, and Fulk.  So he certainly wasn't impotent - and no one will really know whether poor Berengaria was barren or not considering the little amount of time that she spent with Richard.
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 17:12
 
..hello everyone

 

.it would be impossible for me to address all of the comments made in this thread.. however, the whole topic has been a very interesting enterprise.i would just like to add a few thoughts and words to the discussion.

 

many of the negative judgements about Richard have been formed with the neglect of his English kingdom in mind (as addressed earlier in the thread)and the English kings leadership of the Third Crusade has generally been regarded as one of limited success, if not complete failure.however, there are some arguments that point to degrees of success.and can at least salvage some degree of respectability to Richards crusading reputation

 

.chronicle accounts of Richards crusade have often been coloured according to the political alignment and propaganda needs of those countries and personalities that featured in Richards reign.. German and French accounts differ in their interpretation of Richards deeds with many attacking the kings decision making, along with accusations of ineffective leadership.. Many of the English contemporary accounts of Richards exploits have portrayed the king with an obvious tendency to highlight the positive aspects of Richards reign and his successful crusade in the East.. this ensured that Richard had a fair degree of control over what John Gillingham describes as the kings publicity machine..

 

.nevertheless, there are a number of Arab chroniclers who have written in detail about Richard and in particular his relationship with Saladin..I have lifted these quotes from a previous work I did but I think it is useful to highlight them in short form here..

 

the Muslim records often refer to the English kings diplomatic style of leadership, his wisdom, experience, courage and energy, and it is evident that the Muslims feared Richards diplomacy skills and  the cunning of this accursed man..arguably, because the Muslims never had to face a subtler or bolder a opponent it is relatively safe to assume that Arab accounts provide a reliable indication of Richards successes and failures, as seen from the enemys point of view.

 

..It could also be argued that Richard gave the Christian crusaders a sense of prestige that had been lost by the disaster of the Second Crusade Baha al-Din noted that Muslim hearts were filled with fear and apprehension upon the arrival of the English king in the holy land..

 

.In addition, when Acre surrendered, Richard managed to capture the ships employed in the Egyptian fleet, a substantial defeat for Saladin and a noteworthy success.Gillingham has also proposed that this victory marked the end of Saladins challenge against the Christian dominance at sea. For Richard, Acre was a great success and it showed the Muslim forces that the king was resolute, determined and an enemy to be both feared and respected The Arab chronicler Baha al-Din wrote of Richards conduct in the siege of Acre as one of good judgement and extreme daring.

 

.in June 1192, Richard attacked a army caravan on its way from Egypt, scattering the Muslim soldiers, seizing valuable supplies and depriving Saladin of much need reinforcement in men, arms and transport. It has been stated that strategically, it was an important strike, rightly regarded by Richards contemporaries as one of the kings greatest victories. Even Baha al-Din noted that the defeat was a most disgraceful event; it was long since Islam had suffered so serious a disaster, adding that Saladin was never more grieved or rendered more anxious.

 

At a time when Christian influence in the East was diminishing, I think Richard at least provided some degree of Christian victory, and managed to ensure the continued survival of Crusader presence in Muslim territory for the next 100 years. .In the words of Baha al-Din the Muslims never had to face a craftier or a bolder enemy.

 

 

Sources referred to

 

..although I must point out that Gillinghams works are very much pro Richard and seek to paint a more positive picture of the English king.

 

John Gillingham, Royal Newsletters, Forgeries and English Historians: Some Links between Court and History in the Reign of Richard I

 

John Gillingham, Richard the Lionheart (London, 1989)

 

John Gillingham, Richard I (London, 1999)

 

Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes(London, 1984)

 

J. O. Prestwich, Richard Coeur de Lion:Rex Bellicosus (Rome, 1980)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2007 at 06:03
It appeared that Richard and Saladin had a regard for each other as warriors and leaders; and the Arab sources give, as you say (AofO), a far less politically biased view of Richard than say French or German sources.
 
Any references to Richard's alleged homosexuality from these "enemy" (Arab) sources???
 
 
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2007 at 06:31
I think there's a problem with what is meant by "homosexual" here. In Richard's day you were despicable and un-manly if you submitted to the role of "woman". If one stayed in the male role, things were less problematic. It makes it harder to make a call on homsexuality, certainly in a modern sense.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2007 at 15:29
 
...Hello Melisende...
 
Originally posted by Melisende

 
Any references to Richard's alleged homosexuality from these "enemy" (Arab) sources???
 
..nothing from what i have read, although i will admit the Arab sources i have are limited in their scope.....so nothing conclusive from what i am aware of... 
 
...personally, i do not see how sexuality actually means anything at all to the story of Richard I...it does not add anything much to the history, bit like Alexander really, does not take anything way from the individuals exploits and achievements..if your a bad king or a good king, does it matter what your sexual preferences are??...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Feb-2007 at 06:08
Unfortunately - it did back then - it was a crime punishable by death.
 
One of the reasons Isabella of France gained substantial support in her attempt to depose her husband was due to Edward II's sexual preferences.
 
Unfortunately for Isabella, she lost a lot of support when she let Roger Mortimer control the throne, and became finally unstuck when Edward was murdered (whether it was on hers or Mortimer's orders is speculative).
 
So really, if your sexual preferences weren't the norm, so to speak, then how great or bad a ruler you were was washed away in a torrent of public opposition.


Edited by Melisende - 20-Feb-2007 at 06:10
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Feb-2007 at 20:16
Any references to Richard's alleged homosexuality from these "enemy" (Arab) sources???
 
I haven't read any reference to Richard's sexual preference in any translated Arabic sources. 
 
At the moment I am reading Baha al-din's biography of Salah al-din and just getting into the era of the crusade or Barbarossa, Philip and Richard. 
 
 
Cheers

Chris
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2007 at 05:09
i think that there are some common misconceptions here id like to point out , first of all , a lot has been said about Richard's alleged homosexuality , today many historians agree he was in fact homosexual , although there is still some speculation , there are quite a few references to this , as well if u study his person u might come to an understanding of this too.
let me just add that Richard really wasn't a French man , he was in every way a southerner , i.e more in keeping with such courts as those of Navarre and Castille rather than France or england he was groomed and raised to be a duke of Aquitaine , as well we cant really accuse Richard of causing the revolts of the Aquitaine's nobility who were notoriously known to be of a volatile and unruly nature , and having reason for grief since they have had in turn two ' alien ' lords prior to Richard , Louis VII and king henry II respectively.
Richard was a reputed womanizer ,  one contemporary resource reads ' he did not scruple to resort to rape: 'he carried off the the wives daughters and kinswoman of his freemen by force , and made them his concubines, and when he sated his lust on them , he handed them over to his knights for whoring '.
in those days homosexuality was seen as a mortal sin..and was a sensitive subject  for both faiths , yet his reputation of being a womanizer only leads me to believe he was in a state of denial..as according to his environment which condemned homosexuality, as well...Richard had only one woman whom he was emotionally involved with , and that was his mother , he had no love for his wife Berengaria of Navarre , whose conjugal visits to her where far and in between and even then only in keeping with his need to sire a male heir , when he died...she was left almost destitute another sign of his disaffection towards her.
we should also lets take in perspective that there are in fact quite a few contemporary sources which may lead us to believe he was indeed a homosexual , besides bedding with Philip which was substantial enough to be mentioned by the chronicle as was said above , he ' so honored him that every day they ate at the same table , shared the plate, and at night the bed did not separate them ' , there was another contemporary source which said that Richard met a hermit in a forest who warned him of the sins of Sodom , another  was that he confessed for ' sins against nature ' and was flogged before he went on crusade , not to mention in those days lets not forget people believed in the divine right of kings , the only people who would dare say something that horrendous about a king..would be a member of the clergy , who could have easily winked at something like Richards sexual preference in exchange for him going on crusade , as well in the reign of henry II  england first witnessed the torturing of people accused of homosexuality , which henry himself saw as a sin against god , as well it would remain a wonder why henry showed more of a dislike towards his son Richard than any of his other sons , although the young king..and duke Geoffrey were just as treacherous as he was.
he had re-trusted Geoffrey..and made him his regent in Normandy even after the rebellion of 1172-3 , but he really did dislike Richard , in fact he wanted to wrestle the duchy of Aquitaine from its rightful suzerains ( Eleanor and Richard ) in order to provide john lack land with an inheritance yet he did not try to confiscate any of the fiefs owed to the young king or duke Geoffrey.
modern biographers today have also suspected that Berengaria's brother king Sancho VII was one of Richards lovers , this is just me , but could it be possible...that in those days..since same gender marriages were unknown , and in order to bind they're love and allegiance together..that they married each others sister? , lets not forget although it was henry and Louis who first arranged for the marriage between Richard and Alys of France , Philip also pressed for the match and was extremely annoyed , hurt and maddened at the fact that Richard supplemented his sister with Berengaria , or was it rather..that he supplement Philip by Sancho VII both on a political..and perhaps personal level?? ( I've read that king Sancho was his lover in numerous books , but it would be easier to just look up Richard on the Wikipedia , it is mentioned briefly there.)
in regards to Philip using Richards homosexuality for winning public opnion over to his side , this would feel highly unlikely if it was he who bedded with him...lol

Edited by duchess - 29-Mar-2007 at 09:35
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