22. Richard the Lionheart

March 9, 2011

In 1189, one of England's legendary kings takes the throne. Richard I (nicknamed the Lionheart for his courage in battle) has become an English folk hero, most famously in the story of Robin Hood, but he spent surprisingly little time in England. For Richard, the supreme priority was taking back Jerusalem from the great Muslim leader Saladin in the Third Crusade. As if this was not challenging enough, Phillip II of France starts to encroach on his continental Angevin territories and his younger brother John seeks to move against him. Richard is fortunate to have the unfailing support of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, but when we pass our judgement will his performance stand up to the legend?