I will Love You Foreverâ€Ś.. PRELUDE Origins of medieval knighthood Since the time of classical antiquity, heavy cavalry known as cataphracts were involved in various wars, with their arms and role in battle similar to those of the Medieval knight. However, off the battlefield a cataphract had no fixed political position or social role beyond military functions. Knighthood as known in Europe was characterized by the combination of two elements, feudalism and service as a mounted combatant. Both arose under the reign of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, from which the knighthood of the Middle Ages can be seen to have had its genesis. Some portions of the armies of Germanic tribes (and super-tribes, such as the Suebi) which occupied Europe from the 3rd century AD had always been mounted, and some armies, such as those of the Ostrogoths, comprised mainly cavalry . However, it was the Franks who came to dominate Western and Central Europe after the fall of Rome in the West, and they generally fielded armies composed of large masses of infantry, with an infantry elite, the comitatus, which often rode to battle on horseback rather than marching on foot. Riding to battle had two key advantages: it prevented fatigue, particularly when the elite soldiers wore armor (as was increasingly the case in the centuries after the fall of Rome in the West); and it gave the soldiers more mobility to react to the raids of the enemy, particularly the invasions of Muslim armies which started in the 7th century. So it was that the armies of the Frankish ruler and warlord Charles Martel, which defeated the Umayyad Arab invasion at the Battle of Tours in 732, were still largely infantry armies, the elites riding to battle but dismounting to fight in order to provide a hard core for the levy of the infantry warbands. As the 8th century progressed into the Carolingian Age, the Franks were generally on the attack, and larger numbers of warriors took to their horses to ride with the Emperor in his wide-ranging campaigns of conquest. At about this time the Franks increasingly remained on horseback to fight on the battlefield as true cavalry rather than as mounted infantry, and would continue to do for centuries thereafter. Although in some nations the knight returned to foot combat in the 14th century, the association of the knight with mounted combat with a spear, and later a lance, remained a strong one. These mobile mounted warriors made Charlemagneâ€™s far-flung conquests possible, and to secure their service he rewarded them with grants of land called benefices. These were given to the captains directly by the emperor to reward their efforts in the conquests, and they in turn were to grant benefices to their warrior contingents, who were a mix of free and unfree men. In the century or so following Charlemagneâ€™s death, his newly empowered warrior class grew stronger still, and Charles the Bald declared their fiefs to
be hereditary. The period of chaos in the 9th and 10th centuries, between the fall of the Carolingian central authority and the rise of separate Western and Eastern Frankish kingdoms (later to become France and Germany respectively), only entrenched this newly-landed warrior class. This was because governing power, and defense against Viking, Magyar and Saracen attack, became an essentially local affair which revolved around these new hereditary local lords and their demesnes. The resulting hereditary, landed class of mounted elite warriors, the knights, were increasingly seen as the only true soldiers of Europe, hence the exclusive use of miles for them. Jan van Eyck, "Knights of Christ" (detail of the Ghent Altarpiece). Knights of the medieval era were asked to "Protect the weak, defenseless, helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all." These few guidelines were the main duties of a medieval knight, but they were very hard to accomplish fully. Rarely could even the best of knights achieve these goals. Knights trained, inter alia, in hunting, fighting, and riding. They were also trained to practise courteous, honorable behaviour, which was extremely important. Chivalry (derived from the French word chevalier implying "skills to handle a horse") was the main principle guiding a knightâ€™s life style. The code of chivalry dealt with three main areas: the military, social life, and religion. The military side of life was very important to knighthood. Along with the fighting elements of war, there were many customs and rules to be followed as well. A way of demonstrating military chivalry was to own expensive, heavy weaponry. Weapons were not the only crucial instruments for a knight: horses were also extremely important, and each knight often owned several horses for distinct purposes. One of the greatest signs of chivalry was the flying of coloured banners, to display power and to distinguish knights in battle and in tournaments. Warriors were not only required to own all these belongings to prove their allegiance: they were expected to act with military courtesy as well. In combat when nobles and knights were taken prisoner, their lives were spared and were often held for ransom in somewhat comfortable surroundings. This same code of conduct did not apply to non-knights (archers, peasants, foot-soldiers, etc.) who were often slaughtered after capture. Becoming a knight was not a widely attainable occupation in the medieval era. Only the sons of a knight were eligible for the ranks of knighthood. Those who were destined to become knights were singled out of society. In the years of boyhood, these future warriors were sent off to a castle as pages, later becoming squires. Commonly around the age of 20, knights would be admitted to their rank in a ceremony called "dubbing". Although these strong young men had proved their eligibility, their social status would be permanently controlled. They were expected to obey the code of chivalry at all times, and no failure was accepted. Chivalry and religion were mutually influenced. The early Crusades helped to clarify the moral code of chivalry as it related to religion. As a result, Christian armies began to
devote their efforts to sacred purposes. As time passed, clergy instituted religious vows which required knights to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches. The Code of Chivlary continued to influence social behaviour long after the actual knighthood ceased to exist, influencing for example the 19th Century Victorian perceptions of how a "gentleman" ought to behave. Through force and personality, Richard linked his English army with the French and Germans and took command of the two-year-long siege of Acre. Within six weeks, Richard, with his united, stronger force, defeated the Muslims and entered the city. Ruthlessly, he put twenty-seven hundred prisoners to the sword. With Acre secured, Richard marched toward Jerusalem to free it from Muslim sultan Saladin, who had captured the Holy City in 1187. During the march Richard displayed his abilities as a strategist and logistician, moving his allied army of fifty thousand along the coast so that his fleet could parallel the advance and provide resupplies. Enforcing strict discipline, Richard did not allow his soldiers to break rank to pursue small Muslim bands that harassed the formation in an attempt to lure them into ambushes. Richard ignored the harassing Muslims until September 7, when, at a prearranged signal, Richard turned his entire army against Arsuf, killing seven thousand with the loss of only seven hundred. While the crusaders now faced little armed resistance en route to Jerusalem, they had to contend with "scorched earth" between Arsuf and the Holy City because Saladin ordered his retreating army to destroy all food and water sources. For the next year, Richard and Saladin skirmished, and Richard could not muster enough supplies and water to besiege Jerusalem. Saladin refused to engage in a decisive battle, and in September 1192 the two leaders, who, despite there great differences, had developed a mutual respect, agreed to a three-year truce, with the Crusaders maintaining Acre and a strip of land along the coast. Although the Muslims continued to occupy Jerusalem, Christian visitors had access to their holy shrines in the city. Late in 1192, when Richard was sailing fro home, his ship wrecked near Venice, and he became a prisoner of Leopold of Austria. Leopold held Richard in a series of castles, releasing him only after the payment by the English people, in February 1194, of an enormous ransom of 150,000 marks. Back home, Richard was crowned for the second time, to reaffirm his title, on April 17, but he did not remain in England for long. In May he sailed for Normandy, where, for the next five years, he engaged in minor skirmishes with various enemies that were contesting his crown and territories. Richard's major military accomplishment during this period was to demonstrate his understanding of fortifications and engineering by building the great fort Chateau-Gaillard on an island in the Seine River.
In the spring of 1199, Richard besieged the castle of the archbishop of Limoges because the latter refused to turn over a horde of gold discovered by a peasant farmer. During a minor skirmish, Richard, leading his soldiers, as usual, received a wound in the shoulder from a crossbow arrow. Gangrene set in, and Richard died on April 6 at age forty-one. Although Richard had married Berengaria, the daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre, in Cyprus during his journey to the Holy Land in 1191, it was strictly a marriage of convenience. Richard left no heir, all evidence indicating he was a lifelong homosexual. While the adventured of Richard "the Lion-Hearted" are told in countless books, poems, and films of marginal accuracy, his courage and military leadership are authentic. He proved himself one of the few commanders who could organize and coordinate the varied outstanding commanders of medieval times.
Chapter 1 For five years William I was busy putting down revolts in his new kingdom. He seized the land of all Saxons who fought against him and distributed it among his Norman followers-except for vast tracts that he kept for himself as crown lands. On his own estates and on those of favored barons he ordered strong fortified castles built. In return for the grant of land--called a fief--each lord had to swear loyalty to the king, furnish knights for the king's army, attend the king's court, and aid the king with money on certain occasions. Farmers were reduced to the class of serfs, or villeins, as the Normans called them. A villein could not leave the manor on which he was born. This system of land tenure was the basis of feudalism, which held sway all over Europe in the Middle Ages. The efficiency of William's rule is shown by the survey he had made of all the property in England. His agents visited every manor, found out who owned it, how many people lived there, and reported what the feudal lord ought to pay the king in taxes and feudal service. The findings were recorded in the famous Domesday Book. It was called Domesday (day of doom) because no one could escape its judgment. The date of the Norman Conquest--1066--is one of the most important dates in English history. The Conquest cut England's ties with Scandinavia and connected England with France. French, the language of the Norman rulers, became blended with the Anglo-Saxon speech of the common people, enriching the native language with many new words and ideas. Wooden churches and abbeys were replaced with beautiful stone buildings in the Norman style. Foreign monks and bishops, brought in by the Normans, made the monasteries centers of learning. Anyone who wanted to study went into the church as a matter of course. The king's secretaries, judges, and most of his civil servants were churchmen, because only churchmen had the necessary education. When he was crowned, William I, the Conqueror, promised to govern according to the laws of Edward the Confessor. The Witan survived in his great council of advisers, the curia regis, which was attended by earls, barons, bishops, and abbots; but the council no longer had the power to choose the king. As feudal overlord of the whole country, William
bequeathed England to his second son, William II. He left Normandy to his eldest son, Robert. William II, Henry I, and Stephen William II (called William Rufus, the "Red King") came to the throne in 1087. He was a harsh ruler and few mourned him when he was killed by an arrow--shot by an unknown hand--while he was hunting (see William, Kings of England). Robert had gone off on the First Crusade, to recover the Holy Land from the Turks. A third son, Henry I, was therefore able to become king without a struggle, in 1100. When Robert returned, Henry crossed the Channel, defeated him, and gained Normandy also. He gave both England and western France a peaceful, orderly rule. Henry I exacted a promise from the barons to recognize his daughter Matilda as their ruler. However, when he died, some of the barons broke their promise and instead chose Stephen, a grandson of William the Conqueror. Stephen was a gallant knight but a weak king. Throughout his reign lawless barons fought private wars, each seeking to increase his power. Twice he was challenged by Matilda and her supporters, who nearly defeated him in 1141. When Stephen died (1154), the people were ready to welcome a strong ruler who would restore order. Henry II Restores the Royal Power The strong ruler was found in Henry Plantagenet, count of Anjou. His mother was Matilda (or Maud), daughter of Henry I of England; his father was Geoffrey of Anjou. He came to the throne of England as Henry II, first of the Plantagenet line of kings, who were to rule England for 245 years. By marriage and inheritance, he came into possession of all western France. He spent most of his long reign, 1154-89, in his French possessions; yet he became one of England's great rulers. Henry II sent out trained justices (judges) on circuit to different towns in England to sit in the county courts. The judges kept records of their cases. When one judge had decided a case, other judges trying the same kind of case were likely to adopt the decision that had been recorded. In the course of years, legal principles came to be based on these decisions. Because this case law applied to all Englishmen equally, it came to be called the common law. The circuit justices also made more extensive use of juries and started the grand jury system in criminal law. Henry carried on a long and bitter struggle with Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who asserted the independence of the church courts against the king's authority. The church triumphed when Becket was murdered. After making peace with the pope, Henry did penance at Becket's tomb. Becket became a sainted martyr, and for centuries people made pilgrimages to his shrine at Canterbury. Richard the Lion-Hearted, the brave and reckless son of Henry II, succeeded his father in 1189. After a few months he left England and went off on his long crusade. Richard the Lion-Hearted may have left England, but in his wake he left many followers who looked after England and its peoples. Strong men, who still believed in Chivalry and justice. Men like Daniel McCrum. Daniel McCrum was an Irish Knight. His name Meant “God is my judge”. Richard left him behind to help take care of his beloved England and his extended family. Richard knew no one would be a better protector than “Sir Daniel McCrum”,
Not much was known about Daniel McCrum, except that he appeared one day during a battle, and saved Richard’s life, thus giving him a reverent place within the court. He was very much a loner, who had no evident family ties. Daniel became a silent protector of Richard the Lion-hearted, and his family. The day Richard left for the Crusades, he asked Daniel to keep his family safe from the Greed, of others. Thus began A Love that will last forever.
Chapter 1- Lady Cristina The Beginning of a Love that will last forever… Lady Cristina was the third cousin of Richard the Lion heart. She had a minor role in the court, but being a cousin of Richard, (and one of his favorites), she was allowed access to every aspect of the castle. Cristina grew up with Richard, though he was 5 yeas older than she, she was forever trying to outdo him in everything, in her heart she hated the thought of being a girl, she truly wanted to be able to be a Knight, and fight beside her beloved cousin when he grew up to be king. Cristina was forever getting in trouble with her mother and father by getting dirty, fighting, and never acting like the lady she was suppose to be. As she grew closer to womanhood, she knew her life would change drastically and she would be unable to live the life she wanted. One day when she was being punished again for not acting like a lady should by being made to sit and sew, she noticed a tall gentleman outside with her cousin Richard. For the first time in her young life she wished she was beautiful as the other girls in the court. This was her first glance of what was to one day become the love of her life and all eternity. Cristina watched Richard and the young man until she could no longer see them. She tried to leave her room, but was stopped by her mother’s maid who was told to keep Cristina in her room, and to achieve that she had locked the door to Cristina’s room. Of course that did not keep her from leaving, as Cristina was not afraid of much. Taking all her bed sheets and blankets she tied them together and made a long rope so she could climb out the window to make her escape. Just as she was getting to the end of her escape rope, her knots let go and she plummeted the rest of the way down. Waiting tensely for the hard jolt of the hard ground below, she suddenly found herself landing on a soft object that went woof and she landed. She turned to see what she had landed on and found herself looking into a hostile pair of Hazel eyes, belonging to of all people the tall man who Cristina had just been mooning over. Cristina laid there frozen in sheer embarrassment, until the gentleman beneath her started to push her off of him.
Published on Sep 24, 2010