Books interview with Thomas Asbridge: “Richard was a member of medieval Europe’s most dysfunctional family”

Thomas Asbridge speaks to Matt Elton about the myth and reality of Richard the Lionheart

Thomas Asbridge

This article was first published in the February 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine

In context

Born in 1157 to Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard I ‘the Lionheart’ succeeded his father as king of England, and also ruled over much of what we today know as France. His decade-long reign was characterised by his involvement in the Third Crusade, of which he was a key Christian commander. Spanning three years (1189-92), the crusade aimed to retake Jerusalem from the Muslim leader Saladin. Despite being ultimately unsuccessful in this goal, the campaign led to the recapture of the ports of Acre and Jaffa. Richard’s role in the military effort has led to him often being seen as a heroic, almost mythic figure.

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