Thursday, 18 September 2014

The ominous fog of 18th September 2014

There has been an ominous fog over Edinburgh today. It is an interesting coincidence that the Battle of Alnwick in 1174 was fought in the fog. Alnwick castle was used as a stand in setting for Hogwarts castle in the novel, " Harry Potter ", written by J.K. Rowling who supported the Better Together campaign.
See Wikipedia, " Battle of Alnwick "
William the Lion had inherited the title of Earl of Northumbria in 1152. However, he had to give up this title to King Henry II of England in 1157. He spent much of his reign trying to regain his lost territory.
In 1173, whilst Henry II was occupied in fighting against his sons in the Revolt of 1173–1174, William saw his opportunity and invaded Northumbria. He advanced on Newcastle but found the partly built stone castle too strong to allow him to take the town. He also attacked Prudhoe Castle but found the defences too strong. Unwilling to undertake a lengthy siege, William returned to Scotland.
In 1174, William again invaded Northumbria with an even larger army that included a contingent of Flemish mercenaries. The army was said to have numbered eighty thousand men, but this is almost certainly an exaggeration. This time he avoided Newcastle but attacked Prudhoe Castle again. The castle had been strengthened since the previous year and after a siege of three days William moved north to besiege Alnwick...
William I of Scotland ( the Lion ), made the fatal error of allowing his army to spread out, instead of concentrating them around his base at Alnwick. On the night of 11 July, a party of about four hundred mounted knights, led by Ranulf de Glanvill, set out from Newcastle and headed towards Alnwick. This small fighting force contained several seasoned knights, who had fought against the Scots before. They reached Alnwick shortly after dawn after becoming lost in heavy fog. There they found William’s encampment, where the Scottish king was only protected by a bodyguard of perhaps sixty fighting men. At the sound of alarm, William rushed from his tent and hurriedly prepared to fight. The English force charged and the Scottish king and his bodyguard met the charge head on. The fighting did not last long. William’s horse was killed beneath him and he was captured. Those of his followers who had not been killed surrendered.
Alnwick Castle guards a road crossing the River Aln. Yves de Vescy, Baron of Alnwick, erected the first parts of the castle in about 1096. The castle was first mentioned in 1136 when it was captured by King David I of Scotland. At this point it was described as "very strong". It was besieged in 1172 and again in 1174 by William the Lion, King of Scotland and William was captured outside the walls during the Battle of Alnwick.
William was held at Newcastle for a time but it was not considered strong enough, and he was finally moved to Falaise in Normandy. Whilst he was there, Henry sent an army to occupy part of Scotland, with its five strongest castles: Roxburgh, Berwick, Jedburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling.
To obtain his freedom, William was forced to sign the Treaty of Falaise, under which he swore an oath of allegiance to the English king and agreed to the garrisoning of the captured castles by English soldiers at Scottish expense. When William was released, after signing the treaty, he travelled back to Scotland via Newcastle, and was attacked by a mob; such was the antipathy of the local people towards Scottish invaders.
The Treaty of Falaise lasted for fifteen years until Richard the Lionheart effectively sold the castle back to William in order to fund his crusade to the Holy Land.
Ranulf de Glanvill died at the siege of Acre in 1190.
The Siege of Acre was one of the first confrontations of the Third Crusade, lasting from August 28, 1189 until July 12, 1191, and the first time in history that the King of Jerusalem was compelled to personally see to the defence of the Holy Land.It was also the deadliest event of the whole period of the Crusades for the Christian ruling class of the east. Nevertheless, it was a key victory for the Crusaders and a serious defeat for Saladin, who had hoped to destroy the whole of the Crusader kingdom
The massacre of Ayyadieh occurred on 20 August 1191. It was perpetrated by Richard Coeur de Lion, better known as Richard the Lion Heart, during the Crusades to recover the holy land from the saracens under the command of Saladin. It is best understood in the context of Richard's attempt to take the city of Acre. The struggle for the city was unusually vicious even by Crusade standards, where little mercy was shown or asked for by soldiers on both sides, and massacres were commonplace, particularly against the citizens of a captured city.
On the fall of Acre, Richard attempted to negotiate with Saladin offering a large number of captured prisoners in exchange for the True Cross (reputedly the actual cross upon which Jesus Christ had been crucified), together with a large ransom and a number of Christian captives taken by Saladin's men in earlier clashes with the crusaders.
The exchange was broken off and further negotiations were unsuccessful. Richard had also insisted on the handover of Philip's share of the prisoners, whom the French king had entrusted to his kinsman Conrad of Montferrat. Conrad reluctantly agreed, under pressure. On August 20, Richard thought that Saladin had delayed too much, and had 2,700 of the Muslim prisoners from the garrison of Acre decapitated ("Massacre at Ayyadieh"). Saladin responded in kind, killing all of the Christian prisoners he had captured. On August 22, Richard and his army left the city, given in custody to the crusaders Bertram de Verdun and √Čtienne de Longchamps.

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