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Löwenherz in Dürnstein

Ein Weg durchs Mittelalter


... Richard the Lionheart

Courageous as a lion, the legitimate heir of King Arthur and, as a crusader, a champion for the cause of Christendom. One of my opponents, the Babenberg Duke Leopold V, arrested me on my journey home from the Third Crusade in 1192 and imprisoned me at Dürnstein Castle, releasing me only after a princely ransom was paid. It took two years before I was able to return to my native England to enlarge my kingdom.

King Richard I of England, the Lionheart

I am King Richard I, called the Lionheart, ruler of England and one of the most powerful men in Europe. Following a quarrel with Duke Leopold V the Babenberg, I was held prisoner here at Dürnstein Castle in 1192. Only after lengthy negotiations and paying a princely ransom was I freed once again. Still today I am regarded as the ideal of a knight and king: valiant, artistic and generous, yet at once merciless and brutal if circumstances require. At least that is how countless medieval minstrels sing of me, and even Muslim chroniclers (in reality my enemies during the Third Crusade) describe me as courageous and of “formidable physical strength”.
I fought my whole life. First I had to assert myself against my own family, especially against my father Henry whom I succeeded in the end. Then my opponents were the powerful French King Philip II Augustus and the German King and Emperor Henry VI. I also fought against Sultan Saladin but esteemed him highly. War led to my fall in the end. I finally died, in 1199, of a wound inflicted in battle. My brother John I, known as Lackland, succeeded me as King of England.