Translate? Traduire? übersetzen? ?לתרגם Traducir? Tradurre?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why Context Is Everything: Was Richard Lionheart Gay or Politically Astute?

Why context is everything. In this case, historical context: i.e, was Richard Lionheart (pictured here) a gay hero or merely the medieval precursor to L.B.J.'s political wheeling and dealing while sitting, pants down on his "throne." 

Phillip, Right and Richard, accepting the keys to Acre while on Crusade.
The reason Lionheart joined the ranks of known gay English Kings (Edward II, James I, and maybe William II) was because of an 1187 chronicle by one Roger de Hoveden, that claimed that Richard and Phillip II, King of France, shared the same bed. Or rather, said Hoveden: "Richard, duke of Aquitaine, the son of the king of England, remained with Phillip, the king of France, who so horned him for so long that they ate every day at the same table and from the same dish, and at night, their beds did not separate them. And the king of France loved him as his own soul and they loved each other so much that the king of England was absolutely astonished at the passionate love between them and marveled at it." 

Look at how in his space LBJ is! 
But put that into historical context, says BBC historian and King's biographer, Professor John Gillingham. Many people shared beds in those days. Kings before and since held court in their bedchamber. A Lord of the Privy Chamber was literally that--those who were allowed to accompany the King at his toilette, which include, well, using the chaise percée. (Shades of LBJ wheeling and dealing on the john) The King also showed his approval by allowing someone to sleep across the foot of his bed.

Speaking of beds, the first bedding of a king and queen were in some cases done in public, so that all might witness the ritual. And royalty officially gave one another the "kiss of peace." 

Those who look at Richard and Phillip's relationship in context will most likely decide that, no, they weren't gay, even though Richard spent very little time with his wife, Berengeria. 
But then, again, Berengeria does look a little, um, stony. . .

Can't fix the print on this, no matter what I try. Bear with me, guys. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment