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A few thoughts on Robin the Crusader

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Jul. 5th, 2011 | 12:40 am
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
posted by: railise in robinsociety

Most of this is pure conjecture, and almost none of it's based on solid research, lol-- just brief internet searches. But for awhile, I've been relying on a couple of sources to give me an idea of the routes Robin and Much might have taken to and from the Holy Land, which I've now revised. And, I think I have a rough date for the assassination attempt on the king and Guy stabbing Robin.

Robin and Much return to Nottingham in April of 1192; having been gone five years (I reckon it's close to six, since Robin says they've spent five years in battle, and travel there and back would have taken awhile), they left in late 1186 or early 1187. (Return date from the timeline compiled by rochvelleth.)

This info has been a large part of where I've figured Robin and Much went (from here-- typos are not mine; this was c/p'ed):
During the Crusading Era (1099-1291), there were generally two main routes that were followed by outgoing knights and pilgrims. The first route was only used prior to 1200. Before 1200, knights leaving western Europe would travel throught the Rhineland in Germany, then head south through the Kingdom of Hungary. Then they would enter the Balkans, and finally Greece. Once in Greece, the crusaders would proceed to the Bosphorus Strait, at Byzantium. There they would be ferried across the Strait by the Byzantines into Asia Minor. Then it was along the coast of Anatolia and into Armenian Cilicia, or, prior to 1143, the County of Edessa. At that juncture, the crusaders took a sharp south and were at Antioch. If they were going to Jerusalem, they proceeded south along the coast.

This over-land route remained popular at first because sea travel was seen as difficult. It was easier to transport large numbers of men and materials by means of horse than it was to gather enough ships and brave the Mediterranean. However, that all changed during the Third Crusade. A tragedy occured that would make the over-land route very unpopular, and it was never used again. In 1189, the Holy Roman Emperour Frederick Barbarossa I embarked as the first leader of the Third Crusade to recover Jerusalem, which had been lost in 1187 to the Sultan Salah al Din Yosuf al Ayyubi, or Saladin. One day in 1189, just as Frederick and his army arrived in Armenian Cilicia, having crossed Asia Minor, he decided to take a swim in a local stream and drowned. This catastrophe made the overland route forever unpopular, and Barbarossa was the last man ever to lead his army across the Bosphorus.

The new route taken to the Holy Land was the over-sea one. Richard I of England and Philip Augustus of France, both of whom followed Frederick on the Third Crusade, travled by means of the Mediterranean Sea. Richard departed at the port of Marsaillse in France, and Philip traveled from Genoa in Italy. Both fleets stoped at the port city of Messina in Italy, which would become a hub of crusader maritime traffic. From Messina, Richard and Philip proceeded to sail to Acre in Palestine, and there they retook the city from Saladin and began the third crusade again, forever chaning the way be which crusaders would travel to the Holy Land.

This map has helped visualize that(from here):


Again, I haven't verified any of this or researched it further. But, this was just to get an idea of possible routes; and considering the historical quirks we ran into with the show, I think that's fair enough. lol.

Anyway, following that information, they probably would have taken the land route on their way to the Holy Land and come back by sea, based on the years they were traveling. But-- there is a hitch with the land route theory, since Much says to Robin in episode 2x02 that, "We've never been to Germany," and Robin confirms that. So, here's what I've come up with:

green line indicates trip to the Holy Land; purple line indicates route back
(Also, the map's in German; it was the best one I could find at this size {I found it here}, though there are several options if you Google Image "12th century Europe".)



If they went south through France instead of east (maybe they wanted to see Paris? ;)), they could have bypassed Germany. From France, they would have gone through Italy, Hungary, to Constantinople, to Asia Minor, and then down to Acre.

The assassination attempt on King Richard, in which Robin is wounded, canonically puts him at Acre, which would be the Siege of Acre. Historically, Richard left Acre on August 22, 1191 after having his army behead 2,700 prisoners two days earlier. So, a question now is: was the assassination attempt before the massacre on August 20th, or was it after?-- and did Robin and Much take part in it?

I'm inclined to say it happened before, although likely only by a few days (meaning they would not have participated in the massacre). Robin says his stitches became infected and he took a fever, and when the fever passed, the army (and the king) had moved on. From that, I gather that Richard was still in Acre when Robin took ill, which would not have happened instantaneously after he was wounded. Again, I don't have solid research as to how long it can take for stitches in a severe wound to become infected, but even assuming it set upon him quickly, that would still be at least a day or two. So, even if Richard left Acre the day Robin's fever took over his mind enough that he didn't know what was going on, that's still putting Robin's injury at around the 20th, and very probably earlier. Likely mid-August, at any rate, because if the infection and fever had held onto Robin for too long in that era, his chances of a recovery at all-- much less a full one-- would be slim.

As for the return trip, they would have taken the sea route; and it would make sense for Robin to travel by ship as much as possible on the way back, to give him time to rest and recuperate. So, I've mapped him and Much pretty much following King Richard's return route (based on the first map above) to the south of France, at which point they would have headed north and back to England.

The one problem that I can potentially foresee is whether England and France were on good terms when they would have been traveling through France in this scenario. I believe that's when Richard and Philip were allies, but I could be mistaken.

Anyway, there's another attempt to figure some stuff out, and try to make show canon jive with history. ;)

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Comments {22}

robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
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I have citations somewhere for 3 books I consulted when trying to figure out this same type of information, especially for Richard's activities prior to his departure from the Holy Land in fall 1192 (since this ties to events in Denial).

I always assumed, based on the historical events, that Much & Robin actually traveled the sea route with Richard on the way to the Holy Land. This screws up the assertion that the boys had actually been in battle for 5 years, because Richard didn't even leave for the HL until 1190. So... Robin just can't keep track of time very well.... Richard probably called for men to join him in 1188 or 89, so perhaps they headed to Aquitaine.

I'll have to think a bit more on the relationship of the assassination attempt to the massacre in Acre. Again, I think - based on what the boyz witnessed, they were present at the massacre. I have some events written down for Sept.-Dec 1191. I'd be more inclined to put the assassination attempt during that time, then assume the boyz left the HL by January of 1192 (or possibly even later) given that travel could take as little as 6 weeks up to 4 months.

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neaptidea

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from: neaptidea
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
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Six weeks sounds so little...

In Jen's Consequences of Attraction (ch. 12) she writes "The trip from Poitiers to Nottinghamshire took three and a half weeks". That's just from France. I remember asking her how she came to this conclusion and it seemed quite right when I compared it to the information I got from here:

http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-163108.html

Quote from that site: "For overland travel by foot or horse, given good and predictable terrain (including a road or clear track) with few elevation changes, you can make about 30 miles (about 50 kilometers) per day, assuming that travel is mainly what you're doing (9-12 hours on the road)."

Walking 30 miles every day seems really tough, but people were more used to walking then (I don't know about Queens, though ;)).

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robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Six weeks sounds so little...

That was in one of the official sources I read, but now I cannot recalll if that was from Marseilles rather than England.

Absolutely, 30 miles a day over land would be a lot, and definitely NOT the speed an army would travel. An army - with wagons, supplies, etc., might travel 10 a day.

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Railise

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from: railise
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
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I've figured that Robin and Much served under Henry first, and then were there when Richard became king and showed up. The idea of them being in France opens up some interesting possibilities (I played with a fic idea where Richard did assassinate Henry, and Robin found out), but I haven't been able to reconcile it with show canon. The thing with the assassination is that Richard left Acre on August 22, 1191, and that's the place and year the show sets the attack on him, so it'd have to be before that (unless that date is wrong). It'd be possible that Robin and Much were present for the massacre, but if the assassination was after that, I don't think Robin would've been delirious by the time Richard left. *sighs heavily at the show*

I'm going to make a wildly subjective timeline suggestion here, lol:

August 18, 1191, early morning: Assassination attempt. As marjattak suggested, this prompts Richard to drastic action. This does not happen immediately, as his advisers attempt to talk him out of it.
August 20: Massacre, and Saladin's retaliation. Robin is not doing well, and Much is seeing to him.
August 22: Richard leaves Acre. Robin is fully feverish now.
September-October: Robin recuperates, insists on starting back by late October, before he really should; he may be healed, but is weakened from the extended recovery and illness.
November 1191-April 1192: Trip home is complicated early on by Robin relapsing from pushing himself too hard, and then by winter months. Further delays are met when they stop to stay with friends of Robin's along the way, since they could be expected to visit awhile instead of just staying for a night or two and leaving.

That's just a potential scenario, anyway. ;)

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robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
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Henry wasn't in the Holy Land during this time period...

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Railise

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from: railise
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
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True, but there were English Crusaders-- serving Henry.

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robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
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There might have been some English soldiers there in the late 1180s, but I don't think they were considered crusaders. Did Henry actually have a call to arms to send soldiers there prior to his death? From what I've read, it was Richard who made the formal call to arms (his dad was planning for that but I can't tell from online sources). Anyway... seems seems like something like that - called by the new young king to take back Jerusalem - would have spurred Robin on for adventure and glory.

But you could use Robin's 5 years in battle comment and assume he & Much headed there circa 1187 and maybe were there when Saladin took Jerusalem, or they just went on their own to join the Christians and do what they could? I haven't read much about the population of the area prior to Richard's arrival in 1191 but there were Christians in various cities there.

Templars were there but I'm not familiar with much of the history prior to 1191.

So much fun reading up on this stuff!!

Edited at 2011-07-05 11:47 pm (UTC)

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robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 5th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
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The thing with the assassination is that Richard left Acre on August 22, 1191, and that's the place and year the show sets the attack on him,

I'd even interpret that loosely though... Acre being in the vicinity of the army. I do like the suggestion that the assassination attempt was 'in response' to the massacre. Very good idea.

That said, I think your dates work fine. And I agree it could have taken them 6 months to return given Robin's condition. We don't know if they procured horses when they arrived in Marseilles. That would've sped their progress though even on horseback you have to change horses frequently if you're riding them over long distances quickly. (I'm thinking of the pony express - I think they changed horses every 20-30 miles!)

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neaptidea

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from: neaptidea
date: Jul. 6th, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
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I've been wondering about the horses. I don't think Robin and Much had any need to travel fast and even if they did, I doubt it was that easy to change horses. Wouldn't that require there were stables (like for the Pony Express) that gave you a rested horse for your tired one? There could've been services like that for the King's messengers, though.

So, if they had horses, why wouldn't they just travel slowly and bring the valued animals all the way to England? Or perhaps they had to leave them in France because of the cost of transportation across the Channel?

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robinfanatic

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from: robinfanatic
date: Jul. 7th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
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Good points! Since we didn't see them enter Nottinghamshire with horses, if they had used them for earlier parts of the journey it would make sense that transportation costs might have been prohibitive. Anyone writing fic (or RPGing) could go either way with their journey over land in Europe. I know in our Denial fic, we've used horses to move the characters from Marseilles to Poitiers to La Havre.

Oh - and in 2x12, the outlaws head to Portsmouth on horseback. Given the rush Robin was in to save Marian and the king, I wonder if they got horses after they crossed the channel.



Edited at 2011-07-07 01:13 am (UTC)

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