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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 70

we need not believe the wild tales of contemporary writers, such as the story
that count Philip of Flanders on his deathbed told the king that a group
of crusaders planned to murder him, or that when king Philip was extremely
sick, Richard tried to shock him to death with a false report of the death
of his son Louis. Prince Louis was in fact desperately ill, and the reports
of his condition may possibly have reached Philip. Then the death of count
Philip of Flanders had created a situation that could easily be too difficult
for a regency. The count had no children and his heir was his sister Margaret,
the wife of count Baldwin of Hainault. Isabel, Philip's first queen, had
been a daughter of Baldwin, and he had been promised Artois after count Philip's
death. While as a matter of fact the regents of France had no great difficulty
in seizing Artois in the name of Prince Louis, Philip may well have feared
that Baldwin would repudiate the earlier agreement and seize all Flanders.
But not even these fairly serious political considerations are needed to
explain Philip's desire to quit the crusade. 
 He had been very sick and was far from completely recovered. He was, moreover,
a proud young monarch with a jealous sense of the respect that was due to
the king of France. Yet his vassal, Richard of England, outshone him and
humiliated him. Richard had more money and more troops. He was ten years
older than Philip, and was widely famed as a warrior. Richard was arrogant,
high-handed, and hot-tempered. In a military expedition from Acre to Jerusalem,
Philip could not hope to compete with Richard for military glory, and he
would have to suffer from his rival's bumptiousness. One can hardly blame
the French king for wanting to depart. Richard seems to have opposed the
plan but not very vigorously. He could clearly have more fun without Philip
to hamper him, and the French troops were to remain under the duke of Burgundy.
Philip cheerfully swore that he would respect Richard's lands while he was
on the crusade. While it is possible that Philip was plotting an attack on
Normandy before Richard got home, it is probable that he was sincere at the
moment and later yielded to temptation.43 
 Before Philip departed, he and Richard made an honest attempt to settle
the affairs of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Conrad of Montferrat, who had been
styling himself "king-elect of Jerusalem" since May, was persuaded
to return to Acre to plead his cause against 
 43 Eracles, pp. 179-180; Bernard le Trésorier, p. 277; Gesta, II,
184-185; Estoire, pp. 220-221. The question of Louis's illness is a curious
one. Rigord says that the prince fell sick July 23. If this date is correct,
Philip could not have heard about it before he left Acre on July 31. Devizes,
p. 429, states that Philip's entourage forged letters saying Louis was sick.

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