The letter of the Emperour to Philip the French king, concerning the taking of King Richard.
Henricus Dei gratia Romanorum Imperator, et semper Augustus, Dilecto et speciali amico suo, Philippo illustri Francorum Regi salutem, et sinceræ dilectionis affectum. Quoniam Imperatoria Celsitudo non dubitat Regalem Magnificentiam tuam Iætiorem effici, de vniuersis quibus omnipotentia creatoris nostri nos ipsos, et Romanum Imperium honorauerit et exaltauerit, nobilitati tuæ tenore præsentium declarare duximus, quod inimicus Imperij nostri, et turbator Regni tui Rex Angliæ, quum esset in transeundo mare ad partes suas reuersurus, accidit vt ventus rupta naui sua, in qua ipse erat, induceret eum in partes Histriæ ad locum qui est inter Aquileiam, et Venetias. Vbi Rex, Dei permissione passus naufragium cum paucis euasit.
Quidam itaque fidelis noster Comes, Maynardus de Grooxce, et populus regionis illius, audito quod in terra erat, et considerato diligentius, qualem nominatus Rex in terra promissionis proditionem et traditionem, et perditionis suæ cumulum exercuerat, insecuti sunt, intendentes eum captiuare. Ipso autem Rege in fugam conuerso, ceperunt de suis octo milites: Postmodum processit Rex ad Burgum in Archiepiscopatu Salseburgensi, qui vocatur Frisorum, vbi Fridericus de Betesow, Rege cum tribus tantum versus Austriam properante, noctu sex milites de suis coepit: Dilectus autem Consanguineus noster Lympoldus Dux Austriæ, obseruata strata sæpe dictum Regem iuxta Denam in villa viciniori in domo despecta captiuauit.
Cum itaque in nostra nunc habeatur Potestate, et ipse semper tua molestauit, et turbationis operam præstiterit, ea quæ præmissimus, nobilitati tuæ insinuare curauimus: scientes ea dilectioni tuæ bene placita existere, animo tuo vberrimam importare lætitiam. Datum apud Ritheontum 5. Kalendas Ianua.
King Richard being thus traitorously taken, and solde to the Emperour by the Duke of Austridge for 60000. markes, was there kept in custodie a yeere and 3. moneths.
In some stories it is affirmed, that King Richard returning out of Asia, came to Italy with prosperous winde, where he desired of the Pope to be absolued of an othe made against his will and could not obteine it: and so setting out from thence towards England, passing by the Countrey of Conradus the Marques, whose death (he being, slaine a litle before) was falsly imputed by the French king to the king of England, there traiterously was taken (as is aforesayde) by Limpoldus duke of Austridge.
Albeit in another storie I finde the matter more credibly set forth: which saith thus. That king Richard slewe the brother of this Limpoldus, playing with him at Chesse in the French Kings Court: and Limpoldus taking his vantage, was more cruel against him and deliuered him (as is sayde) to the Emperour. In whose custodie he was deteined during the time aboue mentioned, a yeere and 3. moneths. During which time of the kings endurance, the French king in the meane season stirred warre in Normandie: and Earle Iohn the Kings brother, made stirre and inuaded England, but the Barons and Bishops of the land mightily withstood him.
At length it was agreed and concluded with the Emperour, that king Richard should be released for a hundreth and foure thousand pound: of which money part should remaine to the Duke of Austridge, the rest should be the Emperours. The summe of which money was here gathered and made in England of chalices, crosses, shrines, candlestickes and other Church place, also with publike contribution of Friers, Abbots, and other subiects of the Realme: whereof part was presently paid, and for the residue remaining, hostages and pledges were taken, which was about the fift yeere of his reigne: and then it was obteined of the Pope that Priestes might celebrate with Chalices of latten and tinne.
The iust iudgment of God vpon the Duke of Austria. At what time this aforesaide money was payde, and the hostages giuen for the ransome of the King, I haue an olde historie which saith, that the aforesaid Duke of Austridge was shortly after plagued by God; with 5. sundry plagues.
First, with the burning of his chiefe Townes.
2. With drowning of tenne thousand of his men in a flood happening no man can tell how.
3. By turning all the eares of his corne fieldes into wormes.
4. By taking away almost all the Nobles of his land by death.
5. By breaking his owne leg falling from his horse, which leg he was compelled to cut off with his owne hands, and afterwards died of the same: who then at his death is reported to forgiue K. Richard 50000. marks, and sent home the hostages that were with him. And further a certaine booke intituled Eulogium declareth, that the sayd Limpoldus duke of Austrich fell in displeasure with the bishop of Rome and died excommunicate the next yeere after, Anno 1196.
But thus, as you haue heard, Richard the King was ransomed and deliuered from the couetuous captiuitie of the Emperor, and returning home made an ende of his voyage for Asia, which was both honourable to himselfe and to all Christian states, but to the Saracens the enemies of Christianitie, terrible and dishonourable.
1 William Little, died between 1208 and 1220. The best edition of his history is Mr Howlett’s, 1884, published in the Rolls Series. It extends from the Conquest to 1197.
2 Roger of Hoveden, a fine old English chronicler attached to the household of Henry II. in some capacity of treasurer connected with minor abbeys and their royal dues, was also professor of theology at Oxford. His chronicle was chiefly written under Richard of the Lion Heart, and breaks off at the third year of John, 1201. It is in Latin, and is easily accessible — the Chronica Rogeri de Hovedene forming part of the magnificent Rolls Series. It is in four vols. 8vo, edited, by Professor Stubbs (London, 1871) The first part of Roger’s chronicle, beginning with the year 732, is really due to Benedict of Peterborough, under which name the king’s treasurer, Bishop Richard Fitz Neal, wrote. It professes to continue and complete Bede’s History. Roger of Hoveden is of high value for Henry II.‘s time, but for that of Richard and the first year of John he is really admirable. No circumstance is too trivial for his pen, and in this garrulous diffuseness many touches are preserved of priceless worth to us, with which better authors would have disdained to cumber their work.
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