12th century

#12th century

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Eleanor Of Aquitaine - By The Wrath Of God
At age 15, Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII, King of France. Her subsequent petition for divorce from Louis was based on the claim that they were too closely related for the marriage to have been legal in the eyes of God (and the church). In 1154, just two years after the marriage was annulled, Eleanor married Henry II of England. "I am Queen of England," she drily remarked, "by the wrath of God." [At age 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vezelay (before the celebrated Abbe Bernard of Clairvaux) and offered him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade. Dressed like an Amazon, Eleanor galloped through the crowds on a white horse, urging them to join the ...
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Turbulent Priest
In 1162, Henry II, hoping to bring church and state under his control, appointed his adviser and friend Thomas a Becket (then England's chancellor) to serve as archbishop of Canterbury. To his surprise, Becket resigned the chancellorship and fled to France. After nearly seven years in exile, Becket was reconciled with the king and returned to England. However, he soon foiled Henry's efforts to exert control over the church again. While spending Christmas near Bayeux, in France, Henry was visited by a deputation of bishops, who apprised him of Becket's continuing interference. "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest!" Henry roared. Taking him literally, four knights from his household crossed the Channel, hastened to Canterbury, and murdered Becket ...
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When [king] Richard was captured by the Austrians, it was some time before anyone in England discovered where he was. A minstrel called Blondel searched for his master throughout Europe in vain. Returning home through Austria, however, he learned that in an ancient stronghold near Linz there was a closely guarded prisoner whose identity no one knew. Blondel, suspecting the mysterious captive was his master, went to the castle but was unable to catch a glimpse of the prisoner. He eventually located a tiny barred window, high up on the castle wall, which he thought was the prisoner's cell. Under this window he sang the first couplet of a troubadour's song, the first part of which had been composed by ...
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Jewish Crusader
While lunching at the Algonquin Hotel one afternoon, George S. Kaufman was subjected by a certain notorious bore to a lengthy monologue on the great antiquity and eminence of his family—which, the man claimed, could trace its origins back to the Crusades. "I had a famous ancestor, too," Kaufman deadpanned, "Sir Roderick Kaufman. He also went off to the Crusades." Here Kaufman paused for a moment, before adding: "As a spy, of course."
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"In the year 1110 Bishop Fugger set out from his German diocese for Rome to attend the coronation of Emperor Henry V. He sent his majordomo ahead to sample the fare provided by the taverns along the proposed route and to write 'Est' (it is) over the doors of all those that served good wine. When the man reached the little hill town of Montefiascone in Lazio, just north of Rome, he was so enthusiastic about the local wine that he wrote, 'Est! Est! Est!' over the inn door. His master agreed with the recommendation; during the remainder of his life he drank the Montefiascone vintage and was buried in the town. Under the terms of the bishop's will, a ...