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Richard the Lion-Hearted Conquers Cyprus at 1191

translated by James Brundage

Source: Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, ed. William Stubbs, Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1864) II, 9-29 (pp. 150-83)

[Adapted from Brundage] The death of the Emperor crippled the Cade. Of the army which had accompanied Barbarossa on the expedition, only a minority was to give any effective service to the Latin cause. Many of the men returned to Europe directly after the Emperor's death, while many of the rest were lost to the enemy on the remainder of the journey to the Holy Land. The French and English monarchs, meanwhile, were still readying themselves and their armies for the expedition. The two Kings did not complete their preparations until July 1190, when they met at V6zelay to set out jointly on the Cade. Their principal armies went by sea to the East, but only after many delays. The Kings had agreed much earlier that they and their armies would meet again at Messina in Sicily before starting on the principal part of their sea journey. In Sicily the Caders became embroiled in a series of quarrels with Tancred of Lecce, the pretender to the Sicilian throne . Peace between Tancred and the Cading Kings was patched up only in November 1190 and the Kings with their armies settled down to spend the remainder of the winter in Sicily. They sailed from Sicily in the spring of 1191; Philip Augustus left in March, Richard in April. Philip Augustus and his fleet made straight for Tyre, where they arrived without incident. Richard and his fleet had a more arduous voyage. Richard's fleet stopped first at Crete, then at Rhodes, and, on what was supposed to be the last lap of the journey to Palestine, the fleet ran into a storm off the Island of Cyp. This turned out to be an opportunity for conquest. The French and English monarchs, meanwhile, were still readying themselves and their armies for the expedition. The two Kings did not complete their preparations until July 1190, when they met at V6zelay to set out jointly on the Cade. Their principal armies went by sea to the East, but only after many delays. The Kings had agreed much earlier that they and their armies would meet again at Messina in Sicily before starting on the principal part of their sea journey. In Sicily the Caders became embroiled in a series of quarrels with Tancred of Lecce, the pretender to the Sicilian throne . Peace between Tancred and the Cading Kings was patched up only in November 1190 and the Kings with their armies settled down to spend the remainder of the winter in Sicily. They sailed from Sicily in the spring of 1191; Philip Augustus left in March, Richard in April. Philip Augustus and his fleet made straight for Tyre, where they arrived without incident. Richard and his fleet had a more arduous voyage. Richard's fleet stopped first at Crete, then at Rhodes, and, on what was supposed to be the last lap of the journey to Palestine, the fleet ran into a storm off the Island of Cyp. This turned out to be an opportunity for conquest.
Shortly before sundown on the vigil of St. Mark the Evangelist [Wednesday April 24, 1191] a black cloud darkened the sky. All at once a blowing storm and high winds buffeted the turbulent waves of the sea and turned back the sailors. Even before the coming of the storm, King Richard's ships had been dispersed by the uneven winds and were making for Cyp. These ships were thrown about by the waves during the storm, were blown back by the wind, and were dashed against some rocky crags. So many men were being thrown violently about by the wind that, although the sailors tried to prevent it, three of the King's ships were shattered by the hing waves and some of the men in them were drowned. ... Among the others who drowned there was Roger, known as Malchiel, the Keeper of the King's seal. The seal was also lost. Later, Roger's body was thrown ashore by the waves and one of the common people found the seal and brought it to the army in order to sell it. The seal was thus recovered and was restored to the King. The natives of the place pretended that their intentions were peaceful. They joyfully received those who escaped to land from the shipwreck. They comforted the shipwrecked men in their misfortune and brought them to a nearby castle to refresh themselves. When the survivors got there, however, they were deprived of all their weapons and were placed in custody. This was done, it was said, lest, if they were to go out armed, they might spy on the country or even get into a fight. The Cypriot Greeks claimed that they could not do otherwise until they had ascertained the Emperor's [Isaac Dukas Comnenus, claimant to title of "emperor of Cyp"] wishes. Our chiefs pitied our ship-wrecked men who were kept in confinement and sent them clothes and other necessary things. Stephen of Tumeham, the King's Marshal and Treasurer sent them a great quantity of necessities, but, in fact, everything sent to the prisoners was confiscated by the Cypriots and the keepers at the entrance of the castle where our men were confined…. When he heard the pilgrims' complaints about the stealing of their money and the injuries done to them, the Emperor promised full redress: be would return the shipwrecked men's money. He even delivered four hostages in token of his good faith. Under these conditions, the pilgrims further obtained the right of free entrance and exit from the city of Limassol. Meanwhile the Emperor ordered all the warriors of his kingdom to assemble and be gathered together a very strong army. On the day after his arrival [Thursday, may 22, 1191] the Emperor (disguising his

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