Die By the Sword: These 6 Medieval Murders Changed the Course of History
Die By the Sword: These 6 Medieval Murders Changed the Course of History

Die By the Sword: These 6 Medieval Murders Changed the Course of History

Lindsay Stidham - March 30, 2017

Die By the Sword: These 6 Medieval Murders Changed the Course of History
Richard I. ThoughtCo

5. The Murder of Richard I

Richard I loved war. He also realized war cost a lot of money and he couldn’t raise it all through taxes…so he went looking for a pot of gold at the Castle Chalus-Chabrol in France. When Richard attempted to seize the castle he was shot by a bow and arrow. Richard congratulated the boy who shot him on his aim.

Days later in April of 1199 Richard died of the wounds that turned gangrenous at the age of 41. Although he gave the boy a reward, the boy was still later hanged for the murder. Had Richard survived, how much land would he have conquered? Would Europe’s borders have been much different? How many more lives would be lost to war?

Richard was also a Christian crusader who spread an anti-Jewish message. His sexuality was also widely questioned by historians and he did not produce any heirs to the throne.

This caused him to be succeeded by his brother John. The French territories did not accept John as King, and this resulted in the beginning of the dissolution of the Angevin Empire.

Die By the Sword: These 6 Medieval Murders Changed the Course of History
Arthur of Brittany. Eon images

6. The Stabbing of Arthur of Brittany

Arthur of Brittany, born in 1187, led the rebellion against King John even though he was really still just a boy. He was the King’s nephew and wanted the throne for himself. He was captured by John’s forces, and put in Rouen Castle in captivity. It’s unclear exactly what happened to him next, except that he was definitely murdered.

It is rumored that John ordered him castrated and blinded, but that his captors didn’t have the stomach for that kind of violence. When John received word of this, he got very drunk and stabbed Arthur dead himself.

Arthur’s body was eventually discovered dumped in the Seine river by a fisherman in 1203. He was just sixteen-years-old. Arthur was given a secret burial so that John would not find out. Arthur’s death influenced none other than William Shakespeare and his play “King John,” published in 1623.

Arthur’s death also caused his sister to remain imprisoned for the rest of her life so that she could not succeed him. Arthur was instead succeeded by his half-sister, Alix of Thouars, who never actually got to control much of her inheritance in large part due to King John.

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