Richard Coeur-De-Lion

Sir Steven Runciman profiles a fabled Englishman, concerned with the political and military relationships between East and West.

Depiction of Richard (l) and Saladin (r), c. 1250–60. Photograph by Ealdgyth (Own work). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.It is remarkable that the two medieval English kings whose glory has shone brightest down the ages are the two who most eagerly sacrificed the interests of their kingdom for grandiose foreign wars. Neither Richard I nor Henry V concerned himself much with the welfare of England. Both regarded the country as a source of wealth and power to be expended upon battles abroad. During a reign of ten years, King Richard spent less than six months in England. His wars and their consequences involved his subjects in costs that could only be met by heavy financial exactions; and the chief merit of his reign was that it tested the administration developed by his father Henry II and that it enabled one of the ablest of English statesmen, Hubert Walter, to improve and strengthen the governmental system.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.



Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week