10 july 1190 – a bridge mishap

Our crusaders have been on the road from Tours for a couple of weeks. Vézelay is behind them, and the port of Marseille, where the army will rendezvous with King Richard’s fleet, is still some 200 miles to the south.

Near Lyon, the army must cross the Rhône River. (And no, the photo above is not the Rhône.)  The chronicler of the Itinerarium doesn’t go into much detail, except to describe the aftermath of a bridge collapse. He claims that Richard ordered boats tied together across the river to get his army to the opposite bank.¹ The event, which could have been much worse, delayed the trek to Marseille by 3 days.

In Battle Scars, Henry, Stephan and their friends witness the chaotic scene…

[He] knew the cry of a wounded animal in the forests back home. He’d heard the wail of a mother at her son’s hanging. But he’d never heard shrieks of sheer terror like those from the people plunging into the river far below. Wagons shattered as they hit the surface. Baggage and war supplies floated downriver.

Sorry…I can’t give you more because I don’t want to spoil who the “[He]” is and the characters’ involvement in the rescue operation!


¹ Other chroniclers dispute this.

Image credit: Pont Vell de Besalú (Old bridge Besalú – Catalonia) by Jordi Cerdà, CC-BY-SA

  1. jadey36 Avatar

    I’ve not read of this bridge incident (or if I have, I’ve forgotten). It’s nice when history gives us exciting events to weave into our stories, though I guess it wasn’t much fun for the people involved at the time!

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