Selected quotes about why I chose Richard I as King of Wands.

   King Richard I ~ Coeur de Lion ~ The Lionheart

In those placid Burgundian fields in early July 1190, King Richard cut the most magnificent figure. In his outward splendor he was the epitome of the noble and chivalrous knight. His frame was tall, lithe, and graceful, with the long legs and arms of an athletic warrior. On his head he wore an oblong helmet of Rhenish style, over his trunk was a hauberk of chain mail covered with a white surcoat bearing a red cross, and cinched around his waist was his heavy two-handed battle sword with its golden grip. In his left hand he held his battle shield, appointed with a single lion rampant toward the left against a brilliant red background.
There was about him a certain nervous trembling that stemmed from a rare form of malarial fever he had contracted in his youth, and it added to his fearsome aspect. Observers saw in these shakes an indication of the fierce workings of an overactive mind. It was somehow lionlike, "yea, more than a lion," said his chronicler Gerald of Wales, "while thus almost continually trembling, he remained intrepid in his determination to make the whole world tremble before him."

[T]he stories of Richard's daring and strength were legion, as were the stories of his cruelty, his generosity, and his poetic sensibility. His troubadours claimed for him the valor of Hector, the magnanimity of Achilles, the stature of Alexander and Roland, the liberality of Titus, the eloquence of Nestor, and the prudence of Ulysses.
Above all he projected the air of command. He was the hero of Europe. Here was a real prince, the greatest warrior of the Continent, the very prince who had repulsed the efforts of his father, Henry II, to disinherit him and the efforts of his brothers to undermine his control of Aquitaine; who had prevailed over the past ten years in the constant skirmishes between the barons and dukes of Aquitaine; who was the favorite of his famous and ill-treated mother, the incomparable Eleanor of Aquitaine.
At the age of thirty-three, Richard's hair was still strawberry blond, his complexion ruddy. This might have been the only thing about him that seemed vaguely English.

Richard Coeur-de-Lion (the Lion-Hearted) was one of the great knights of the Middle Ages, fulfilling every requirement. He was strong and courageous, physically well-suited for warfare. He rode well, fought well, and proved himself to be a good field commander. He was tall and handsome. He had a taste for poetry and song, and he generally lived up to the chivalric code. He had little patience with politics, however, or administration or the other routine chores of a king. He was thirty-three years old, newly-made King of England. While it may be true that he was a better knight than king, his contemporaries did not fault him for it. 3

The King, whose goodness always imitated higher things and who, as the difficulties were greater, now emulated God himself, sent legates to Saladin. The legates informed Saladin in the hearing of many of his satraps, that Richard had in fact sought this truce for a three year period so that he could go back to visit his country and so that, when he had augmented his money and his men, he could return and wrest the whole territory of Jerusalem from Saladin's grasp if, indeed, Saladin were even to consider putting up resistance. To this Saladin replied through the appointed messengers that, with his holy law and God almighty as his witnesses, he thought King Richard so pleasant, upright, magnanimous, and excellent that, if the land were to be lost in his time, he would rather have it taken into Richard's mighty power than to have it go into the hands of any other prince whom be had ever seen. 4

What people said:

"The fame which preceded him fell far short of the truth when we saw him."

"Such a King seems born to command the whole world."

As always Richard was in the midst of the melee. Of his behavior in battle, his troubadour would quote Horace: He was the "flower of valor and the crown of chivalry, and bore away the prize from all."

"And on that day," wrote Saladin's scribe, Beha al-Din, with both disdain and admiration, "the King of England, a lance in his hand, rode down the whole length of our army, and none of our men did come forth to challenge him."

"Since the beginning of the world we have never heard of such a knight, so brave and so experienced in arms,' said one emir. 'In every deed at arms he is without rival, first to advance, last to retreat. We did our best to seize him, but in vain, for no one can escape his sword. His attack is dreadful. To engage with him is fatal. His deeds are not human."

The once fearless, noble, proud man called Lionhearted, who so often in the past had expressed such contempt for the weak and the indecisive blustered on with his indecision. 5

1) Warriors of God, James Reston, Jr., p. 102-103. {back}
2) Reston, p. 103. {back}
3) {back}
4) Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, ed. William Stubbs, Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1864) VI, 27-28 (pp. 427-30), translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 185-86
This text is part of the
Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history. {back}
5) Reston, pp. 128, 218, 274, 293, 296, 278 respectively. {back}

Coeur de Lion



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