The Legend of Robin Hood speaks of Richard the Lionheart, so named for his courage in leading the Third Crusade in 1190AD to win back Jerusalem from the Muslims. Jerusalem had been taken from Byzantine Christian and Jewish inhabitants by Caliph Umar’s bloody siege in 638AD. Though he did not retake Jerusalem, Richard made a truce with Saladin in 1192 AD for safe passage of religious pilgrims. When approximately 15,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem could not afford ransome, Saladin sold them into slavery.
On Richard’s return trip to England, he was captured by rival Duke Leopold of Austria, and spent three years in prison. Legend has it Richard’s loyal minstrel, Blondel, traveled from kingdom to kingdom, singing Richard’s favorite song and heard Richard sing the second verse from the prison tower.
Freed by an enormous “king’s ransom,” Richard returned to England and took back the throne from his brother John. Five years later Richard died in battle and John ruled oppressively in England. The angry barons captured London and, on JUNE 15, 1215, surrounded King John on the plains of Runnymeade, forcing him to sign the Magna Carta. This was the first time in history the arbitrary powers of a king were limited.
The Magna Carta ends:
for the salvation of our souls, and the souls of all our…heirs, and unto the honor of God.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.