Once the year one thousand was passed, and after verifying that the terrors of the millennium were unfounded and the world had not come to an end, a few assemblies of bishops in southern Europe proclaim that the "peace of God" is the most valuable good of society. This way, they faced the feudal nobility, and particularly their confidence men, the knights, who had made war their reason of life. This moral conflict quickly became a a political dispute. The situation further escalated with the reform of the Church sponsored by the pope Gregory VII, the "Gregorian Reform", which caused a strong confrontation between the secular power, represented in the figure of the emperor Henry IV, and the ecclesiastic power, represented by the pope himself, and which caused the Canossa event where the former was submitted to the power of the later. With this climate it was attempted to find a an ideal that would combine the interests of the nobility and the church, and this ideal were the crusades, where the church sanctified war as a way of life, as long as this was done in the name of faith. This way, the "matamoros" (Moor killer) knights like Roldán, the hero of the "chansons de geste" that carries his name, became knights of Christ, “milites Christi”, embracing the cross and launching the long enterprise of conquering the Holy Land.
Richard I, king of England, is one of the most controversial characters from the Middle Age. Prince, knight, troubadour, lover, king and hero, he became the protagonist of one of the most attractive literature legends and deeds of the medieval times. Richard I, better known as "Lionheart", is considered in the collective imagination of Europe as a mythical hero, a fabulous king who left the kingdom to battle in the Crusades, and returned to recover it against the ambition of his brother John Lackland. But how was Richard Lionheart in reality?: the the chivalrous and noble king of strong personality and deep convictions, as drawn by the legends, or the futile, mediocre, inane and fickle monarch that some books of history present? What was his roll in the Third Crusades and his relationship with Saladin, the champion of Islam?
Regardless of the grey areas in his biography, the historiography, and especially the literature, have exalted his figure like few other sovereigns, and most of the chroniclers and English national historians have transformed him into one of the country's great myths, presenting him as brave king who fought the muslims in Holy Land, and as the fair monarch who finished the "foreign control" of the Normans to recover the "national authenticity" of the Anglo-Saxon, this is, the English king par excellence, the moral heir of the legendary Arthur of Britain.
The most recent studies, done starting from the famous historical-sociological summary of Alphonse Dupront, oblige is to reconsider the history of the crusades, definitely leaving behind the scheme inaugurated by Michaud in the beginning of the 19th century, and getting rid of the misunderstandings on the debate between institutionalist thesis (that separate crusades using a canonical numeration, supported by the historiographic tradition of the 14th and 15th century, in a deterministic way, preceded by "pre-crusades" and followed by "post-crusades"), the evolutionists-continuists (the "eternal crusade" like a East and West confrontation), and the ones of "emergency" in the style of Paul Alphandéry (the crusade that left "armed to the teeth, like Athena from the head of Zeus" pictured by the ecclesiastic reform of the 11th century).
To reconsider and redefine the phenomenon of the crusade beyond each of the "crusade expeditions", it is necessary on one side to keep in mind the canonical pontifical formalization of the concept of crusade, but on the other, we have to abandon the damaging adhesion to a scheme that uses as a model the itinera hierosolymitana of the 11th to 13th century, and do a review avoiding the temptation of formal normalizations (for example, the one that has made the crusades to be considered for a long time as a "deviation" against the Catarrhs or against the Baltic pagans), that spans across a wider Euro Mediterranean geopolitical environment than the one traditionally proposed by historiography, and that takes into consideration the Braudelian longue durée. Due to all of this, it is necessary to re-read the parallel, and many times interlaced, experiences of the Syria-Palestine crusade and the events of the so called Recapture, and recover for the history of the crusades also the modern dynamics of the conquest of overseas and the wars against the Ottomans.