gambling & the Third Crusade

Battle Scars: Men of the Cross
(book 1 of a series)

Revisions progress:  33%

Three weeks in and I’m 1/3 through round one of revisions on my manuscript. Sir Henry & Sir Stephan have been on the move since their first meeting in Southampton in March of 1190. They caught up with Richard the Lionheart’s army in Tours. From there they traveled overland to Marseille passing through Lyon and many other towns on this map. (If that link doesn’t work, try this one.) Remember Lyon. Remember the river. The Rhone River. 🙂

In August Richard’s fleet sails from Marseille to Sicily. The army winters in Messina, departing for the Holy Land in April 1191. More than a year has passed since Henry left his home in Lincolnshire.

Which brings us to June 1191 and the knights’ arrival in Acre and the first of many encounters with Salah al-Din’s army in the Holy Land. The first 1/3 of the story will take you on the mini-coaster, but hold on to your hats and get your box of Kleenex ready…

On a related note, I wanted to double-check a couple of facts about the overland journey. I returned to the translation of one of the primary sources I’ve used and stumbled across this wonderful passage describing fines for excessive gambling:

Further, no man in all the army was to play at any kind of game for money, with the exception of knights and the clergy, who, in one day and night, were not to lose more than twenty shillings¹ ; and if any knight or clerk should lose more than twenty shillings in any natural day, as often as such persons should exceed twenty shillings they were to pay one hundred shillings to the before-named archbishop, bishop, earls and barons…   The kings, however, were to play at their good pleasure ; and in the lodgings of the two kings their men-at-arms might play as far as the sum of twenty shillings, with the permission of the kings…. But if any men-at-arms or mariners, or others of the lower orders, should be found playing of themselves, men-at-arms were to be whipped naked three days through the army, unless they should be prepared to ransom themselves at the arbitration of the persons before-named ; and the same as to other servants of a like degree. But if mariners should so play, they were to be plunged the first thing in the morning into the sea, on three successive days…

The Annals of Roger de Hoveden

Back to the revisions!

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¹Per Hodges List of Prices, the average archer earned 3 pence a day in the 14th century. One shilling = 12 pence. In 1316, a knight earned 2-4 shillings a day. Losing 100+ shillings? Almost a month’s wages for that knight! Whoa!  Moral of the story? Don’t gamble! 🙂


Image credit: Lyon
photo by sybarite48 – distributed under CC-BY

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