In September 1190, King Richard I of England arrived in Sicily, where he spent winter together with King Philip II of France. During Richard’s stay, a serious clash between him and the citizens of Messina occured, culminating in the capture of the city by the king of England and forcing King Tancred of Sicily to sign a peace treaty. During this fight, Richard built a mobile castle, which he later used during the siege of Acre. We have only few information about this structure in contemporary narrative sources. This paper will examine these texts and present what we can say about Richard’s fortress.
While extant medieval western European references to horsemanship are challengingly sparse, the Islamic Golden Age (8th century to 14th century) provides a wealth of Furusiyah (equestrian) literature. Only a few have been partially translated to English, including Nihāyat al-su’l wa-‘l-‘umniya fī ta’līm ‘a’māl al-furūsīya (An end to the questioning and desire of teaching the works of horsemanship, c. 1348). This paper provides a basic background for understanding Furusiyah texts and deconstructs several bunūd and al-manāsib al-harbīyah maneuvers, or lance exercises on horseback. It also compares these exercises to those found in late medieval/early Renaissance western European horsemanship manuals.
During the Third Crusade, in the midst of his lengthy negotiations with Saladin for peace, Richard the Lionheart suggested that his Christian sister, Joanna, the dowager queen of Sicily, should marry the Muslim leader’s brother. Once married, they would be declared King and Queen of Jerusalem, ending the crusade and the long battle for the Holy Land. The legal and political ramifications of this match would doubtless have been long-reaching, and yet the majority of western crusade sources do not even mention it in passing, even those who had closely followed Joanna’s progress through the Mediterranean. Instead, we get the details of this proposal, and the Muslim reaction to it, through eastern sources. This paper will study those sources in which the proposal is detailed and endeavour to place the proposal in the wider context of complicated negotiations.