There were momentous events in the Junes of the Third Crusade. I want to highlight a few, and all of them are included in my novels Battle Scars I & II: Men of the Cross (Book I) takes place from March 1190 – March 1193; book II, For King and Country, reflects the Lionheart’s imprisonment in Bavaria until his release, but the action takes place in England from April 1193 – April 1194.
27 June – King Richard and an elite force of knights leave Tours on the march to Vezelay to meet King Philip of France, and then move on to Marseille, where Richard’s fleet is supposed to rendezvous.
1 June – Cyprus falls to King Richard. The fleet sails for Acre on 5 June.
8 June – King Richard’s fleet arrives in Acre, a city that has been under siege nearly 2 years.
7 June – Richard and his army begin the march from Ascalon to Jerusalem
10 June – Richard and his army advance to Beit Nuba, only 12 miles from Jerusalem. The army is under continual harassment from Saladin’s warriors, who attack the crusader supply lines between Jaffa, on the coast, and their camp.
12 June – Richard chases and attacks Saracens fleeing into the mountains. “Having killed [one] the king looked around – and saw in the distance the city of Jerusalem.” from the Itinerarium. (This is the only time Richard saw Jerusalem.)
mid-June – Richard hears advice from selected leaders and 20 ‘jurors’ – 5 Templars, 5 Hospitallers, 5 natives of Syria, and 5 French chiefs – who recommend against advancing on Jerusalem. The French disagree and want to push on. Richard awaits the arrival of additional men, whilst carrying out attacks on nearby caravans.
26 June – Richard’s advisors note that the army will be sore pressed for water if they besiege Jerusalem. Richard falls back on the word of the 20 jurors and opposes the idea of marching towards Jerusalem. The soldiers are devastated by this decision.
BEYOND THE THIRD CRUSADE
June – Richard negotiates with Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor, for terms of his ransom. In Battle Scars II, For King and Country, Henry and friends are investigating the suspicious movement of supplies from the port of Boston – that’s in Lincolnshire for my U.S. compatriots. And Stephan (and others) will travel to Yorkshire to see the obstinate brother who kicked him out years earlier. Will it be a happy family reunion? Who is involved in the illicit supply trade? Can the knights tell friends from foes?
June – Battle Scars II ended in April. Richard, released from captivity in February, had landed in Sandwich, England in March, besieged Nottingham Castle 25-28 March, and departed for Normandy on 12 May, never to set foot in England again. Will the knights Henry, Stephan and Robin follow him to fight Philip of France? What of Henry and Stephan? Robin and Marian? Allan, Little John, and the other characters you meet in book 2? Hm…
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Image: Map of the Holy Land from Men of the Cross by Dennis Lukowski, used with permission.