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 Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyTue 07 Jan 2020, 23:30

I saw today a documentary about the famous Richard I of England.

I was already a bit embedded in stories related to Richard as in that time as up to the 20th century the European nobility was one "happy" family even intermarrying between close family (one of the reasons of the hemophilia of the tsarevich Alexeia of Russia).

And I see a lifelong connection of Eleanor of Aquitaine his mother, who was there for Richard until is death. (hinted to and nearly confirmed as I understood it in the documentary)

In fact I mentioned it overhere too, the excellent biography of Eleanor by Alison Weir 
https://www.amazon.com/Eleanor-Aquitaine-Ballantine-Readers-Circle/dp/0345434870
And I read the (in my eyes excellent) novel of the same author some two years ago based on her historical research:
The Captive Queen
https://www.amazon.com/Captive-Queen-Eleanor-Aquitaine-Readers/dp/0345511883
And the wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_of_Aquitaine

And in that novel nearly all the stories that occured in Richard's life were mentioned overhere too, as the struggle between Capet's French possesions and Plantagenet's...what have I to say: English/French territories?

And that famous Eleanor was the wife of Henry II, (of Beckett reknown),  who lost his heart to Eleanor (according to Alison) in a frenzied love.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_England

And then came the difficult relationship with his children, among them the future Richard Lionheart.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyTue 07 Jan 2020, 23:38

Quickly now to the Third Crusade together with the French king Filip.

On their way they "arranged" some things in Sicily.
As said, one big family...in fact Richard's sister Joan was married to the king of Sicily William II and after he died, the right heir fo the throne was Constance, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily.

And so I come back to my thread about Constance, wife of the Hohenstaufer Henri VI.

https://reshistorica.forumotion.com/t1463-constance-queen-of-sicily-what-a-family
"William II, as he was afraid that the nobles of Sicily would be reluctant to welcome a German Hohenstaufen king, he let them promise to recognize Constance's succession. Nevertheless after his sudden dead in 1189 his cousin and Constance's nephew, Tancred seized power in Sicily. The widow Joan of England supported Constance, but was put under house arrest with confiscation of her estates. King Richard I of England, her brother wasn't pleased with that, to say no more."

And from the wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England
"In September 1190 Richard and Philip arrived in Sicily.[69] After the death of King William II of Sicily in 1189 his cousin had seized power as King Tancred of Sicily, although the legal heir was William's aunt Constance, wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Tancred had imprisoned William's widow, Queen Joan, who was Richard's sister and did not give her the money she had inherited in William's will. When Richard arrived he demanded that his sister be released and given her inheritance; she was freed on 28 September, but without the inheritance.[70] The presence of foreign troops also caused unrest: in October, the people of Messina revolted, demanding that the foreigners leave.[71] Richard attacked Messina, capturing it on 4 October 1190.[71] After looting and burning the city Richard established his base there, but this created tension between Richard and Philip Augustus. He remained there until Tancred finally agreed to sign a treaty on 4 March 1191. The treaty was signed by Richard, Philip, and Tancred.[72] Its main terms were
Joan was to receive 20,000 ounces (570 kg) of gold as compensation for her inheritance, which Tancred kept.Richard officially proclaimed his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, son of Geoffrey, as his heir, and Tancred promised to marry one of his daughters to Arthur when he came of age, giving a further 20,000 ounces (570 kg) of gold that would be returned by Richard if Arthur did not marry Tancred's daughter.
The two kings stayed on in Sicily for a while, but this resulted in increasing tensions between them and their men, with Philip Augustus plotting with Tancred against Richard.[73] The two kings finally met to clear the air and reached an agreement, including the end of Richard's betrothal to Philip's sister Alys.[74]
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 00:14

The epic return of Richard

As the French king Filip constantly plotted against Richard, even with Richard's brother John, Richard after his compromise with Saladin, tried to return to England. And on his way back, he had a lot of difficulties, shipwrecked and obliged to take a landroute through Central Europe. And there he was captured by Leopold of Austria, who was not forgotten how he was humiliated at the conquest of Acre.

From the wiki:
Bad weather forced Richard's ship to put in at Corfu, in the lands of Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelos, who objected to Richard's annexation of Cyprus, formerly Byzantine territory. Disguised as a Knight Templar, Richard sailed from Corfu with four attendants, but his ship was wrecked near Aquileia, forcing Richard and his party into a dangerous land route through central Europe. On his way to the territory of his brother-in-law Henry the Lion, Richard was captured shortly before Christmas 1192 near Vienna by Leopold of Austria, who accused Richard of arranging the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat. Moreover, Richard had personally offended Leopold by casting down his standard from the walls of Acre.


And which country can say that they had a songwriter and musician as king? And of course he spoke Occitan...Written in captivity...
http://www.silencethebard.com/?page_id=34







While Leopold was excomunicated by the pope Celestine for holding the crusader king, Richard was handed over to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and this one let him go in exchange for an enorm ransom. At the end Richard's brother John and king Filip of France were again plotting to hold Richard in custody, 


When Richard returned in England, he was so pragmatic to forgive John (perhaps also under the lead of his mother Eleanor?) and then started immediatly war with the king of France.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 09:26

When emprisoned in Austria, Richard addressed his ballad, Ja nus hons pris ("No man who is imprisoned"), expressing his feelings of abandonment by his people, to his half-sister Marie de Champagne. But she was then regent of France and so for many in England and Aquitaine she actually represented 'the enemy'. Indeed at the time, Richard was likely simply dismissed as an irrelevance, albeit a costly one, by most of the English nation, if not also by his similarly down-trodden Angevin subjects too. Contrary to his subsequent image as a noble, heroic and just King - as depicted in the tales of Robin Hood; the legend of the minstrel, Blondin; and in the numerous popular Victorian 'histories' - at the time Richard was probably not particularly well-liked in his own kingdom ... and all the less so after he'd stupidly got himself captured.

Throughout his entire ten-year reign he was only in England for a total of six months. Accordingly, his long absences, general lack of interest in domestic matters and his preoccupation with foreign wars and crusades, certainly led to political turmoil, anarchy and general instability at home. Although England gave him the exalted rank of 'king' - ie above his 'lesser' titles of duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony - he nevertheless openly considered the country to be simply a source of money to allow him to keep doing what he wanted: which was, for the most part, killing people. He once apparently said, "I would've sold London if I could have found a buyer". Contemporary writers certainly praised his military prowess and personal fighting ability, but they also considered him a poor ruler and prone to the sins of lust, pride, greed, and above all excessive cruelty.

His ransom of 150,000 marks (100,000 pounds, around 300 tons, of silver) was about 2–3 times the annual income for the English Crown and so had to be raised by heavy taxation. The clergy (usually exempt from taxation) and laymen alike were taxed for a quarter of the value of their property, and accordingly church treasures were seized and melted down, while many citizens were reduced to beggary. His 'French' subjects in Aquitaine, Normandy and Gascony, however, were spared any such extra taxation, just to keep them sweet in his on-going fight to take the French throne. Note also that at the same time, while England was being squeezed to raise the required ransom, John, Richard's brother and the de facto regent and (in Richard's absence) ruler of the country, together with Philip of France, offered 80,000 marks for the Holy Roman emperor, Henry VI, to keep Richard prisoner, at least for a couple more years.

Personally I've never considered Richard to be a 'good' king, but rather - beneath a thin veneer of chivalry - just a greedy, egotistical, sadistic thug.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 08 Jan 2020, 16:22; edited 9 times in total (Reason for editing : typos and yet more typos)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 13:48

MM wrote:


Personally I've never considered Richard to be a 'good' king, but rather - beneath a thin veneer of chivalry - just a greedy, egotistical, sadistic thug.

Well, he was a Plantagenet - weren't they all "greedy, egotistical, sadistic thugs", even the weak ones? Or is that an unfair assessment of the dynasty? Mind you, I suppose you have to display such qualities to govern/control/rule the inhabitants of these islands. Interesting that they couldn't hold on to France. What went wrong?
I always remember The Lion in Winter - Henry II, Eleanor and their "devil's brood"  - the original "dysfunctional family"?


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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 14:07

Ah yes 'The Lion in Winter' -  a great film, I might watch it again tonight on DVD..

And while Paul R refers to Henri II and Eleanor's "frenzied love", let's not forget that Henri had absolutely no qualms in having her locked up as a prisoner in various English castles for some sixteen years ... while he continued to fornicate with numerous mistresses, most prominently of course Rosamund Clifford.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 22:51

MM and Temperance,

I wanted to comment and thank you, especially MM for his elaborated reply, but as I entered just now on the thread, I started to look to the film"The lion in winter" that I found dubbed in German...
From daily motion. I wanted to let look perhaps Nielsen and Dirk, while I know they understand German too, but alas it says "invalid video" when I do the normal method on the daily motion icon. I found it with: the lion in winter under "videos" on the third page.

And indeed it looks like I read the story in Alison Weir's Eleanor (is that here Audrey Hepburn (the one I made already a thread about on this forum?))

Kind regards to both from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyThu 09 Jan 2020, 15:14

Some years ago I read the late Alfred Duggan's "Devil's Brood: The Story of the Angevin Family" and liked it.  I've just looked on Wikipedia and the book is listed as non-fiction but I thought it read as a novel when I had it (from the library) and if I remember rightly it was on the shelf in the fiction part of the library.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyThu 09 Jan 2020, 23:49

@Meles meles wrote:

Throughout his entire ten-year reign he was only in England for a total of six months. Accordingly, his long absences, general lack of interest in domestic matters and his preoccupation with foreign wars and crusades, certainly led to political turmoil, anarchy and general instability at home. Although England gave him the exalted rank of 'king' - ie above his 'lesser' titles of duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony - he nevertheless openly considered the country to be simply a source of money to allow him to keep doing what he wanted: which was, for the most part, killing people. He once apparently said, "I would've sold London if I could have found a buyer". Contemporary writers certainly praised his military prowess and personal fighting ability, but they also considered him a poor ruler and prone to the sins of lust, pride, greed, and above all excessive cruelty.

MM, you can be right about Richard I, but it was a "man" of his time. And one has to see it perhaps in the perspective of that time. And perhaps he considered England has one of his "possesions" only one piece in the Angevin empire.  As I read among recent historians, King John was the better one, cleverer and better for the English. 
But nevertheless Richard was the one, who got all the attention of the later English history, when they composed their "national myth"
(roman national)
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/culture/patrimoine/histoire/pour-ou-contre-le-roman-national-un-debat-d-historiens-et-de-politiques_3295479.html
But people seem to be "conforted" by myths...

And as for "excessive cruelty", that was perhaps the norm of the day. As his sacking of Messina in Sicily. The French king Filip Augustus, who was with him seems not to be scandalised. We discussed it already, when Caro was speaking in the Caroligian palace school thread about the punitive expeditions to ...was it to Saxony?...
And look at our Baldwin I count of Flanders in 1204 in the sack of Constantinople
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Constantinople
And Richard was the brave, who attacked together with the men in the first line, many times in a stupid manner, but that added to his myth.

By seeking for more information on that aspect of Richard Lionheart, I came unvolontary on the makers of the documentary that I have seen in French dubbing, but original from:
http://www.interspot.at/en/production/universum-history-the-trapped-king-the-myth-of-richard-the-lionheart.html
And from that site:
How did the myth of Richard the Lionheart become so firmly established, from the tale of the minstrel Blondel to the legend of Robin Hood? Richard the Lionheart reigned for just ten years, but he represented all the ideals of knighthood. Over the centuries, his reputation grew to that of a mythical ruler. And who was the person behind the legend of the king with the heart of a lion?






Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. 800px-France_1154_Eng
 
Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyFri 10 Jan 2020, 08:51

Richard is often used as an example in historiography of how and why history can be re-invented over many years at different stages for different reasons to produce an "historical" identity far removed from the one the subject may initially have possessed - and in Richard's case this is evident these days in how both his detractors and supporters portray him using historical citation that often does not stand up to too much scrutiny when assessing its reliability.

Moreover, whereas it is generally accepted that myth outweighs fact in his traditional portrayal many historians, even critical ones, still tend to misrepresent the accretion of myth and the rate at which it progressed traditionally when it comes to the modern version of the "Lion Heart" (a nickname coined very late in this accretion process which, in itself, should serve as a warning regarding all else presumed about the man).

If one limits oneself to study of actual contemporary sources, either for the man in his own time or when evaluating the myth creation surrounding him, then one sees basically two periods of rapid accretion separated by several centuries in which the man's reputation, such as it was, stagnated in popular perception. The first period of accretion, much as with many other such subjects of myth couched in quasi-historical terms, occurred during his lifetime and in immediately subsequent years in which, for various reasons, it was important to establish the character within strict definitions of chivalry and warcraft upon which a quite dominant polity within Europe had built a reputation and framework of ethical standards within which it preferred to be judged on its own terms. Put simply, demonising Richard at that point, though undoubtedly politically advantageous in the case of some individuals (especially within his own dynastic family), was definitely most disadvantageous to the polity as a whole. This was a period in which myth construction therefore concentrated on two elements - both in exaggerated form - concerning his belligerence and romance as exemplified in various biographical details from his career. His character escaped scrutiny in this process and those investing in the myth - as is often the case - were therefore left to deduce whatever character they could from the redacted elements the myth presented.

However this was a myth required primarily for the prolongation of a polity that itself was doomed to change. Social and technological advances left this polity in tatters eventually, and along with its demise so too ended the relevance of this myth among many others that had been concocted and promoted during the early pre-gunpowder medieval period.

The second and, from our viewpoint in history, the more important accretion occurred in the 19th century. This was part of a process of myth construction (in this case the myth of Britain) that had been undertaken by a newly established polity calling itself the "United Kingdom" which had something of a dilemma when it came to its own history prior to unification of the two principal monarchies involved. "Britain" as an identity had to simultaneously subsume its English element while at the same time establish England as not only the key element but the "cause" of Britain in the first place. This dilemma is probably best appreciated within Scotland where generations of schoolchildren from this point onward were much more likely be expected to commit to memory the succession of English monarchs from Saxon times to the present than ever have to spare a thought for the similarly lengthy succession of Scottish monarchs prior to the Act of Union. However in many more numerous and subtle ways this manipulation of identity manifested itself, not just in terms of official education syllabus but in almost every popular assessment and representation of "history", and in this new emphasis it was of course not really to anyone's taste any longer - especially in England - to overly contemplate those monarchs who, in the past, had exercised near genocidal policies in their treatment of their northern neighbours. It was a period of rapid re-evaluation of historical reputations and within this process new "heroes" had to emerge who were palatable to all in "Britain" (while of course reinforcing England's dominant role in this union). The two main monarchical beneficiaries in this process, one which certainly promoted romantic notions above serious political analysis of the subjects, seem to have been Alfred the Great and Richard the Lion Heart, both of whom acquired much more polished (if inaccurate) back stories and both of whom were packaged uncritically as "heroes" of the long historical journey behind the formation of a "Britain" created largely by and for a dominant "English" hegemony.

Nowadays we might be fully engaged in deconstructing such obvious romantic myth while seeking out historical reality, and Richard certainly has been thus deconstructed (and not before time for anyone who prefers history over myth in any context), but in doing so we should at least pay some attention to the formation of the myth which, it should always be remembered, also has a very relevant historical context and in fact - as with another myth cycle I have waxed lyrical about here many times before - far outweighs in historical importance the feasibility of determining the original subject's own historicity.

What the character and myth of Richard the Lion Heart tells us these days speaks volumes about the formation of national identity over many centuries, and very little indeed about the Angevin dynasty which cannot otherwise be deduced with more reliability, relevance, accuracy and importance from other sources, all of which point to a very flawed monarch even within the definitions that applied in his own time, one whose pursuit of his own personal goals risked a whole dynasty in the process and in which the instability and descent into belligerent anarchy this reckless pursuit engendered in almost every political theatre he involved himself in through title or impulse would come at a terrible cost to everyone else around him - be it economic misery or life itself. That such a reprehensible creature could be re-invented as a national "hero" in the process of creating the myth of Britain certainly says much more historically about post-union Britain than it ever could about the Angevin brute at its core.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyFri 10 Jan 2020, 23:37

Thank you very much, nordmann, for your as usual "well-stuffed?" reply. I learned from your first period of accretion of the Lion Heart myth.

As from your 19th century accretion of the myth of the guy.
But, as I think you can be right about the policies related to the "United Kingdom", I find on the first sight that it was a 19th century political phenomenon of the emerging "nation states"?   And perhaps only in Europe?
In France they called it the "roman national" (I translate by "national myth). and it was therefore that I mentioned the French article to MM
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/culture/patrimoine/histoire/pour-ou-contre-le-roman-national-un-debat-d-historiens-et-de-politiques_3295479.html

And to take France as example and in the French article, France too was a kind of United Kingdom and they had to find myths and heros to unite them all behind, as a Vergingétorix or a Jeanne d'Arc. I wonder why they have not mentioned Clovis? Is that the Arthur from Britain?
On a French forum in such a discussion I said about Clovis, which they consider as their "founding father" Wink in their "roman national", that I learned in our Belgian school class, 8 years old, the Fifties, that Clovis, the son of Childeric I with his grave in the Belgian Tournai, was "our!" Belgian founding father Wink.

And growing older: I learned that the North of Belgium, considered now as "Flanders" in Belgium, issued from the emancipation struggle, both linguistic and social,  and that from the former Flemish, Brabant and Limburg regions,  tried to construct a national myth too, starting from the Battle of the Golden spurs of 1302. And indeed also a 19th century myth as the others.
Ask the Germans once about their "Hermann (Arminius)"...

I boasted on a French forum that all those myths are now old fashioned and see they are still used by the far right in Europe, as recently here in the North of Belgium a movement with a "golden spurs' slogan of Schild and Vriend (Shield and Friend)...And in France too: the far right flirting with Jeanne d'Arc...

All to say that I find such stuff in the United Kingdom quite "normal" Wink
Religion politics, political myth history, football...perhaps football is the lesser dangerous one of the three...?

My preliminary thougths, nordmann...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptySat 11 Jan 2020, 12:21

I typed a post yesterday but lost it and didn't feel like typing it again.  I remember reading something some years (well decades) ago and can't remember the name of the book.  Anyway the information was to the effect that Richard the Lion Heart wasn't above banishing single (or widowed) heiresses to a nunnery and pocketing their funds unless they "bought him off".  If I could remember the book I could try and locate it and maybe look for footnotes to see if the claims were verified.  From what I remember RTLH was brave in battle but that doesn't preclude him being cruel.  It's true as someone often trumpeted to be a hero for the English he spent relatively little time in England.  Then some people think of the (probably) mythical King Arthur as being an English hero when in truth if he did exist he would have been celtic.  I don't know that the English have "made up" heroes any more than any other race though.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyMon 13 Jan 2020, 14:22



Wasn't Richard like Sean Connery, then? Honestly, it's awful being English nowadays - we have no myths, illusions, dreams or anything left. Serves us right, I suppose.


Is it just me who remembers this? No more heroes indeed.

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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyMon 13 Jan 2020, 20:24

@Temperance wrote:
Wasn't Richard like Sean Connery, then? Honestly, it's awful being English nowadays - we have no myths, illusions, dreams or anything left. Serves us right, I suppose.
Is it just me who remembers this? No more heroes indeed.
 
Dear (cher) Temperance, 

"Honestly, it's awful being English nowadays - we have no myths, illusions, dreams or anything left. Serves us right, I suppose."

Just not the English, but every European. But perhaps only we oldies? The youngsters have perhaps other myths, illusions, dreams? And as an oldie I can still understand them.

Yes those old myths cheered up my childhood, as this Robin Hood of 1938, which made it to our small cinema near Ghent begin the Fifties.
But growing older...



But nowadays, when some far right groups start here in the North of Belgium with the 1302 Golden spurs myth, one sees it as a beautiful myth, but everybody knows the far right is behind.
Perhaps the oldies in the Fifties saw it also as a myth...

But as nordmann said, the power of a myth is strong and don't die that easy, especially if it is embedded in the local culture. As the myths around our Charles Quint from Ghent (Charles V) by a "rederijker" from Brussels Brabant. Still read by my parents and me in the Fifties. But even then already seen as myths.
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_de_Grieck


  • (nl) De vrolijke daden van Keizer Karel, 1er vol. (Les Actes comiques de Charles Quint), 1981.

  • (nl) De vrolijke daden van Keizer Karel, 2e vol. (Les Actes comiques de Charles Quint), 1981.



Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 13:22

Temp wrote:
Honestly, it's awful being English nowadays - we have no myths, illusions, dreams or anything left.

Are you sure about that? Seems to me from where I'm sitting that this is about all that's left in public discourse these days. It's the absence of reality that I'd be more worried about if I were you ....

Richard the Lionheart isn't so much a myth in its own right as a very important legendary element in a rather more recent - and rather more potent - myth, one in which people have been encouraged to invest time and effort in swallowing a blatantly unhistorical version of the British "nation's" evolution as a state. In this myth Richard can actually be portrayed in several different ways - for example as the benign macho Sean Connery in the modern Robin Hood stories or even as the petulant homosexual conniving Hopkins lusting after Timothy Dalton's Philip, just to mention two notable cinematic manifestations within the last few decades. However Meles meles' summation above of the man's character and career accords much more with the historical record, and even though a rather stupid, selfish, vainglorious and greedy thug might in itself make for a powerfully dramatic character in any new narrative, this is still probably one step too far in potentially deconstructing the current myth than can be countenanced by most of those who have invested in it, at least for now, such as it is.

Though my own opinion is that this particular myth is fast approaching an expiry date anyway, and soon enough I reckon not only will Richard probably revert in portrayal to his true historical character (in as far as one can gauge it), but that in fact whatever new English myth replaces the defunct British version may not even require him as a historical name-check at all. Which is probably a much truer reflection of the man's actual contribution to English history anyway, even if one only compares it to that of his brother.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 14:26

There are a few sword and sorcery romps being prepared by various media companies currently.  Of course the success (unless its last season at least - though I didn't mind the last season myself) of Game of Thrones couldn't possibly have anything to do with that...The writers (and now adaptors) of the works being adapted may have been inspired by myth/legend/folklore (I still tend to confuse the three, sorry). The Witcher I quite liked (TV show - don't know the books or the games).  Anyway there is a GoT prequel being planned, some cast members have been announced for an (as yet unfilled) LoTR prequel and filming is taking place for a series called The Wheel of Time (I don't know anything about the book series on which it is based).  Still where this thread deals with myth/legend it is as pertains to Richard the Lionheart (and his mum) not to myth/legend in general so I must keep on point.

Richard is portrayed sometimes as having liked ballads and I always liked the tale of Blondel going round sundry castles singing a song that Richard knew to try and ascertain where Richard was being held.  I know it's probably apocryphal - Blondel would have had to go around a heck of a lot of castles!

nordmann, we get some stories about "anti-heroes" these days so perhaps there is a place for Richard in historical fiction where there is more fiction than history for a while.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 14:40

LiR wrote:
... so perhaps there is a place for Richard in historical fiction where there is more fiction than history ...

This is the only place that has ever accommodated the lad.

LiR wrote:
I always liked the tale of Blondel going round sundry castles singing a song that Richard knew to try and ascertain where Richard was being held ...

Then you should give thanks to the French/Belgian composer André Grétry. Until his opera "Richard Coeur-de-lion" (his 1784 version, not his first stab at the same opera in 1771) no one had ever heard of this bit of hokum, even Richard's fans back in England. Within a year of the original French production John Burgoyne, (a remarkable man in his own right - general, MP, poet, explorer, playwright and occasional operatic librettist) had written the English version and the anglicised opera enjoyed great success in London. This coincided of course with the intensive mythologising that was going on anyway in defining this new-fangled "United Kingdom" Britain thingy, so Blondel and Richard slotted in seamlessly with all the other romantic rubbish that was being produced to populate the myth, especially after having lost the American colonies and having to reassure all present that this new "Super England" disguised as a united British kingdom hadn't actually lost its wheels just yet.

Lots of characters found their way into the myth around the same time - everything from Boudicca acquiring a false Latin name and a chariot with spikes to Robert the Bruce's intense conversations with a spider date from around the same period.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 14:58

@nordmann wrote:



Are you sure about that? Seems to me from where I'm sitting that this is about all that's left in public discourse these days. It's the absence of reality that I'd be more worried about if I were you ....


I'm not sure about anything these days, nordmann. Things are not what they were, that's for sure. But perhaps they never were what they were.

The hugely successful Netflix series The Crown is mythmaking for our time - it's intelligent drama, well acted and worth watching. The Coronation episode from Season 1, Smoke and Mirrors, was particularly good. This bit of dialogue struck me - David Windsor, watching the whole thing on French tele, is shown pretending to laugh at it all, but he surely has a point when says this to his raucous chums (he's answering an American's comment that the whole damn thing is "insane"):


Who wants transparency when you can have magic? Who wants prose when you can have poetry? Pull away the veil and what are you left with? An ordinary young woman of modest ability and little imagination. But wrap her up like this, anoint her with oil, and hey, presto, what do you have? A goddess.



— Duke of Windsor (Alex Jennings)The CrownSeason 1Smoke and Mirrors

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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 14:59

Sorry, going off topic. Perhaps better comment for the Myth thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 15:08

Temp wrote:
But perhaps they never were what they were

Camus had a comment about this - paraphrasing from memory it went along the lines of "if you can't trust even the myths any longer then what the hell is left to live for?"

He had a point - people can tolerate quite a lot of history revision, new revelations that reverse traditional understandings of "what really happened", and all that kind of stuff, without too much discomfort. But threaten to take their myths away from them and see what happens ...

I suppose myth, at least historical myth, at least lends a sense of continuity with a past less indifferent to our "nobler" values than reality suggests. It makes the past tolerable, in other words. Anything that disrupts this attacks our sense of identity itself, and there be dragons (real ones, if metaphorical!).
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 15:10

@nordmann wrote:
LiR wrote:
... so perhaps there is a place for Richard in historical fiction where there is more fiction than history ...

This is the only place that has ever accommodated the lad.

The famous nordmann sense of humour (with a bit of snark) strikes again.  I did have a chuckle though, nordmann, I hope I'm not so miserable that I can't laugh at myself (if it's justified anyway).
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyWed 15 Jan 2020, 17:09

@nordmann wrote:



Lots of characters found their way into the myth around the same time - everything from Boudicca acquiring a false Latin name and a chariot with spikes to Robert the Bruce's intense conversations with a spider date from around the same period.

I'm not having that: I like spiders, and Robert's little pal is on the Scottish £20 note, so he (spider) must have existed. That said, perhaps the British Isles are just a myth. Do we really exist, or did Netflix invent us? (For more British history now streaming, watch Britannia. Sort of Tacitus on acid - utterly bonkers.)


Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. 1_Oopsudpbmntu04831
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyThu 16 Jan 2020, 08:34

In Ireland we've always reckoned the so-called "British" isles were something of a myth anyway. And now if Scotland with all its insular appendages opts out of political union in fact it will only become even more mythical. Wight, Jersey, Guernsey, Anglesey and Man might chip in to keep the illusion alive but England had better be careful just in case further glib and inaccurate use of the term is interpreted north of the border as a reincarnation of Longshanks.

As an aside, talking of myth and currency - while still a pre-decimal and pre-punt kid I used to feel awfully sorry for the poor wee English lassie in her wheelchair and rags:

Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. 1945-Vintage-Old-Style-Britsh-GEORGE-VI-Britannia

Meanwhile, getting back to Richard and the pubescent myth cycle that accompanied the Act of Union: one very important thing Dickie had going for him regarding suitability to feature prominently in the aforementioned "Union" myth was the very fact that he spent practically no time in England at all. The very same peripatetic career that saw him traipsing around every land in Christendom apart from the one he ostensibly ruled also meant of course that, unlike most of his relatives and successors, he couldn't be blamed for any incidental atrocities against the Scots. When Ireland later got lumped into the same "Union" this combined quality of incompetency and absence actually worked even more in his favour of course. He hadn't been around to do anything to them either.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyThu 16 Jan 2020, 22:57

@nordmann wrote:
In Ireland we've always reckoned the so-called "British" isles were something of a myth anyway. And now if Scotland with all its insular appendages opts out of political union in fact it will only become even more mythical. Wight, Jersey, Guernsey, Anglesey and Man might chip in to keep the illusion alive but England had better be careful just in case further glib and inaccurate use of the term is interpreted north of the border as a reincarnation of Longshanks.

That's slightly unfair to the Isle of Man, which has never been part of the UK, and very unfair to Guernsey and Jersey which have never been part of the UK and are not they part of the British Isles. That said - Jersey was briefly incorporated into England in the 1650s by Cromwellian forces and given the right to send MPs to Westminster. They chose, however, to abstain from exercising that right. My understanding is that it was this historical expedient which was indeed the inspiration for later policies of abstentionism by some Irish MPs vis-à-vis Westminster.

Anyone in England (or the rest of Britain) thinking of incorporating Guernsey and Jersey into their state should beware not so much the reincarnation of Longshanks but rather the reincarnation of the Lionheart - i.e. Richard IV of Normandy. It's worth noting that following his death, his heart wasn't buried in England his birthplace or in Aquitaine his (still-living) mother's birthplace but was buried in Normandy. And St Edward's Crown (which conferred upon him the title of King of England) would finally end its days in Jersey before falling into the hands of those aforementioned Cromwellian forces and being melted down as a symbol of the detestable rule of kings and a monument of superstition and idolatry.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Richard Lionheart and mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. EmptyFri 17 Jan 2020, 08:56

@Vizzer wrote:
That's slightly unfair to the Isle of Man, which has never been part of the UK, and very unfair to Guernsey and Jersey

Since when has fairness had anything to do with it? Cheers

However to give English politicos their due in recent years they (well all but the most rabid variety) have finally seemed to recognise the issue at stake. It only took a half dozen generations or so.

Those on the other hand for whom three hundred generations will probably not suffice are the good men and women of the UK Meteorological Office who, in true East India Company fashion, doggedly persist in extending Britain into areas best not mentioned. In Ireland we thought we saw a glimmer of hope back in 2002 when the same guys at last caved in and renamed "Finisterre" to "Fitzroy" following a century and a half of the Spaniards (who own the gaff) complaining that the UK's version of the aquatic region, though admittedly much bigger than the Spaniards' (who for some reason decided to stick with geographical and historical accuracy), was actually therefore in rather the wrong place and probably responsible as a result for sending more seafarers full tilt into bad weather rather than steering them away from it to safer waters of the actual Finisterre (at least those who didn't think they were being advised to avoid a potentially giant and stormy 1930s Hollywood dancing star with top hat and tails). But 2002 did not herald a new wave in meteorological terminology in which aquatic arrogance was jubilantly replaced with honesty, accuracy and sensitivity alas. We therefore still have frequent storm fronts every year that impact apparently on the poor old British Isles having come in from the Atlantic, and though never making it much further than the hinterlands of Rosmuck, Cong and Eanach Dhúin (scene of the 1828 tragedy commemorated in song in which 20 people were murdered by a sheep) still end up in the British weather records all the same as having hit Britain as a British storm on the basis that they have trespassed into the so-called British Isles.

Weather forecasting symbolism as a political weapon takes many forms of course. We still remember UTV's infamous "Island of Ulster" weather map with the six counties surrounded by water and which they persisted with for decades, leading the denizens of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal to assume that their particular parts of Ulster must seemingly have sunk (which, in fairness, can be a logical assumption on some particularly "soft" days in these counties).

But meanwhile back with Richard ...

While never having bothered to learn English he could apparently still do quite a few French dialects reasonably well, though it is telling that his nickname in Occitan, in which he was of course allegedly fluent, was "Rikard Oc e No". This translates to "Richard Yes and No" and referred allegedly to his terseness, though it might also of course simply refer to the extent a monarch needs to master any language to be deemed "fluent".
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