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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

How is Richard Lionheart perceived today, back then, and what's the reality?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Richard the Lionheart (or, Richard Coeur du Lion) is today mostly a figure of romance rather than a figure of history. Today, in the West, he is a figure of nobility and even kingly purity, a figure of justice, leadership and a true warrior king. One who had the support of his subjects because he lifted their hearts, not taxed their backsides like King John.

    To Arabs, he was a warhawk bent on vengeance, but he was also noted for his chivalry. Although he and Saladin never met, one would have expected the meeting to be chivalrous and pleasant, rather like two copposing cricket captains having a natter about the next test match.

    But Richard was also a bit vain, or over-confident in his own manifest destiny. He did not sail home with his troops, but went overland in disguise -- but was recognised in Austria and imprisoned and ransomed. He languished here for years, when he SHOULD have been running his kingdom in England.

    I don't know if you've ever seen the cartoon series Prince Valiant but PV is always kind, friendly, supportive, etc and ths is the sort of idealised image that had prevailed of Richard.

    It is easy to appear to be a saintly king at a time when everyone is out for themselves. When everyone else is crawling in muck and you're upright and visibly clean, it's easier to look both great and good.

    The reality, as always, is somwhere in between. I'm sure Richard enjoyed a few of the sights and scenes his journey had to offer. He might have been pure and noble in front of his men, but off duty I am sure he had enjoyments. It is hard to imagine any royal today being absent from his kingdom for a year let alone more. But it is important to remember that the reward for struggles in the Holy Land was a guranteed passage to heaven, something that people of the time were anxious to achieve.

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  • 1 decade ago

    His history was romanticised by the Victorians but the truth is that he was not English but French like most of the Kings of England at that time.

    He could not speak English and spent only about six months of his reign in England.

    The rest of his life he spent in his french domains which he considered to be more important or on Crusades to the Holy Land.

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  • Ragnar
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    How he is perceived today depends on who you ask.

    As an Englishman, I see him as one of the worst Kings of England, a French man who neglected his duties to England as a king.

    Of his eight year rule of England, he spent six months in the country, and that was only to gather funds and recruits for his crusading. Why any Englishman would follow him is a mystery to me, I can only think it was out of loyalty to the church, rather than to the King.

    I think the historian William Stubbs summed him up the best:

    "He was a bad king: his great exploits, his military skill, his splendour and extravagance, his poetical tastes, his adventurous spirit, do not serve to cloak his entire want of sympathy, or even consideration, for his people. He was no Englishman, but it does not follow that he gave to Normandy, Anjou, or Aquitaine the love or care that he denied to his kingdom. His ambition was that of a mere warrior: he would fight for anything whatever, but he would sell everything that was worth fighting for. The glory that he sought was that of victory rather than conquest."

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  • 1 decade ago

    well we all know he was gay now, back then the royals could take a "boy" now and again and

    not be considered homosexual..odd as it may sound, his father did on occasion, but richard was very much in love with the king of france's son.but the affection was not returned.

    he was the best of the three sons henry V and kathryn of Argon had as far as being able to control

    the army and be a valid king.

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