Richard the Lionheart: England’s Crusader King

with Thomas Asbridge
15:40 - 16:40
£15 non-subscriber, £12 subscriber

Richard I’s reign is both controversial and seemingly contradictory. One of England’s most famous medieval monarchs and a potent symbol of national identity, he barely spent six months on English soil during a ten-year reign and spoke French as his first language. Contemporaries dubbed him the ‘Lionheart’, reflecting a carefully cultivated reputation for bravery, prowess and knightly virtue, but this supposed paragon of chivalry butchered close to 3,000 prisoners in cold blood on a single day. And, though revered as Christian Europe’s greatest crusader, his grand campaign to the Holy Land failed to recover the city of Jerusalem from Islam. In this lecture, Dr Thomas Asbridge re-examines Richard I’s career, questioning whether the Lionheart really did neglect his kingdom, why he devoted himself to the cause of holy war and how the memory of his life came to be interwoven with myth.

Book Tickets

Dr Thomas Asbridge is Reader of Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London. His has written a new biography of Richard I for the Penguin Monarchs series. His other major published works include The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones (2015) and The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (2010). Thomas wrote and presented a BBC Two documentary, The Greatest Knight: William Marshal, and a landmark three-part documentary series The Crusades for BBC Two.

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