embellishing facts to make fiction… april – june 1190

“King Richard was at Tours with an elite force of knights. The city and its suburbs were crammed with such an enormous number of people that the crowds were colliding with each other because the roads and streets were too narrow for many thousands… When the king set out from Tours with his comrades the roar of the great multitude made the local people tremble…” –Chronicle of the Third Crusade: a Translation of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, by Helen J. Nicholson.

The Itinerarium is believed to be a compilation of several authors’ works who either witnessed or had knowledge of the events of the Third Crusade. I’ve used it extensively to guide the adventures of Sir Henry de Grey in Battle Scars. The chronicler doesn’t stay more than a couple of paragraphs in Tours but I spend a chapter there. It’s Henry’s first look at Richard’s army, estimated to be close to 4,000 men gathered at Tours.

Other sources note the crusaders numbered 8,000-10,000 or as high as 100,000. It’s true, the army does grow, likely to 10-15,000 as the march to Jerusalem begins. Historians agree that 100,000 is greatly exaggerated. Can you imagine: Richard biographer John Gillingham says an army of 60,000 with a month’s worth of supplies would require 11,000(!!!) supply carts that, single file, would stretch 100 miles. Whoa. Sounds like a huge logistical problem to me. 🙂

Back to the revisions!

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2 thoughts on “embellishing facts to make fiction… april – june 1190

  1. Can you imagine someone in the first supply cart shouting a message to someone in the second and so on until it reaches the final cart in that 100 mile stretch – talk about Chinese whispers!

    Hope the revisions are going well.

    1. Pity the poor folks at the end of the line 😉

      I recall that when the army begins its March to Jerusalem, the front of the line cannot see the soldiers bringing up the rear. When the rearguard is under attack, they must send messengers to Richard, who is in the vanguard.

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