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Siege of Chateau Gaillard 1203-1204, Part 4


King John of England in his first year or two of rule achieved some successes, but his lack of tact and diplomacy, plus poor decision-making lost him many allies in France. The focus of the escalating conflict between the Plantagenets and Capetians became Chateau Gaillard, a magnificent fortress in the key borderlands between Normandy and the French royal demesne around Paris.

The Inner Bailey today of Chateau Gaillard

Chateau Gaillard
Chateau Gaillard

Location of Chateau Gaillard in France

france-map-relief-big-cities-Les Andelys

Reconstruction of how the castle looked

Chateau Gaillard_As_It_Looked

Siege of Chateau Gaillard 1203-1204, Part 3


The sons of King Henry II of England, impatient for power of their own and encouraged by Louis VII and then Philip II Augustus of France, rebel against their father and end up damaging the cause of their dynasty, the Plantagenets.

Chateau Gaillard 1203-04, Part 2


The story of France in the High Middle Ages, the reigns of Louis VI and Louis VII. As the twelfth century opened the kings of France barely controlled much land beyond Paris, but these two monarchs began to build the foundations for the French kings’ great rise in power and prestige.

Tomb of Louis VII

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Chateau Gaillard 1203-04, Part 1


William the Conqueror’s conquest of England in 1066 and the division of his lands between England and Normandy sowed the seeds for centuries of Anglo-French conflict. This episode covers the reigns of Henry I of England, the Anarchy (civil war over Henry’s succession) and the formation of the Angevin Empire of France and England under Henry II

Constantinople 1204 (Fourth Crusade), Part 2


When crusaders arrived at Constantinople in 1203 they gazed in wonder, having never imagined that there could be so fine a place in the world. The ‘Queen of Cities’, founded by Constantine The Great in the early fourth century, had become imbued over the centuries with legends and Christian myths that gave the place a spiritual aura to match its physical grandeur. Yet in 1204 the city would be violently sacked and the once mighty Empire brought to its knees.

The Capture of Constantinople 1204, Tintoretto

Painting by Tintoretto (16th century)

Constantinople 1204 (Fourth Crusade), Part 1


In the year 1204, Constantinople, the largest and most splendid city by far in Europe was sacked, not by Muslims abut by fellow Christians – not only sacked but gutted by fire and indiscriminate violence.  Part 1 describes the build-up and first steps of the crusade, including a history of early Venice.

Modern day Zadar (formerly Zara) in Croatia:zadar

Medieval Venice (Flemish Tapestry) MedievelVenice(Flemish Tapestry)

Third Crusade 1189-92


After the disaster at Hattin in 1187 Saladin appeared on the verge of completely wiping out the Crusader States from the Middle East. Instead he was met by stubborn resistance at Tyre, and the Acre. And when the kings of France and England arrived at Acre the tide began to turn in favour of the Christians, who now set the sights on recapturing Jerusalem

.The_Crusader_States_(1200) Richard-Coeur-de-Lion-on-his-way-to-Jerusalem