Prepare to ride into the Holy Land as we dive headlong into the Third Crusade!
“I do so swear under the Light, by the Sword and Scales of Truth and all the fires of heaven, to undertake this holy Crusade. I pledge to guard heart, spirit, body, and mind from the corruption of this Wound upon the World. I furthermore promise and declare that I shall wage relentless war against the Spawn of the Pit and their manifold legions, as directed by those with charge of this Crusade and whenever opportunity presents, to extirpate and annihilate their execrable race and any who serve them.”Those words were spoken by 'Bad' King John as he took the Crusaders' Oath & committed himself & his forces to the cause of taking valuable territory back from the Muslims/Saracens in March of 1215, so how could he seemingly be in two places at once?
The answer lies with the Master, who during the Fifth Doctor adventure, The King's Demons, had the robot Kamelion impersonate the King as part of a plot to undo the foundation of modern day Parliamentary democracy by fouling up the signing of the Magna Carta, initially under the guise of the knight ' Sir Giles Estram'.
"Hear us. We have come to ask but a pittance. Three marks per knight's fee. You obstruct the Crusade, my lord, with your parsimony."And things get all the more interesting once the Doctor, Tegan & Turlough step from a certain blue police box into John's royal court!
DOCTOR: He even seems pleased to see us. A King welcoming demons.
TEGAN: Which king?
DOCTOR: Oh, Tegan. 1215? King John, of course.
TEGAN: The one who lost something in the Wash?
DOCTOR: Well, you could put it like that. This particular shirt turned out to be the Crown Jewels, but that's next year. We're still three months away from Magna Carta.
JOHN: Welcome, our demons. Name yourselves. Can this be Lilith?
DOCTOR: Her name is Tegan, your Majesty. This is Turlough, and I am the Doctor. We are not demons.
JOHN: You're too modest, Lord Doctor. Come, rejoice with us in a trial by combat. Come, make way for our demons. Let them be seated by us.
You might have noticed that Kamelion does a fine job of playing the lute too...
But what's the deal with the song he's playing/singing? Vocals by Gerald Flood, the voice actor for the metal man from Xeriphas......
"We sing in praise of total warYou'd be forgiven for thinking that the team behind the story had simply rediscovered some battle hymn of the time & perfected an arrangement. But you'd be wrong! It was actually penned by the episode's writer Terence Dudley & set to music by composer Peter Howell, under the grandiose title of The King's Song.
Against the Saracen we abhor
To free the tomb of Christ our Lord
We'll put the known world to the sword.
There is no glory greater than
To serve with gold the son of man.
No riches here on Earth shall see
No scutage in eternity."
History records that the real King John didn't get on too well with his brother, Richard the Lionheart- though he succeeded him on the English throne following Richard's death in 1199 despite attempting a rebellion against the Lionheart's trusted advisers while he was away. Which is where the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara & Vicki enter proceedings!
For The Crusade finds the TARDIS materialising in twelfth century Palestine. As Steven Muhlberger's essay Richard And The Crusade records:
"Richard is remembered mainly for his leading role in the Third Crusade. Immediately after he succeeded his father, Henry II, in 1189, he devoted his energies to launching a great expedition to the Eastern Mediterranean.
This was not a personal eccentricity. It was part of a wave of concern that was sweeping western Europe at the time. It was also Richard's effort to complete some unfinished personal business.The Crusades began at the end of the previous century with an expedition that captured Jerusalem from Turkish rulers in the year 1099. As the twelfth century progressed, however, the western Christians in Palestine began to lose ground.
In the 1170s and 1180s the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem came under heavy pressure. A Kurdish adventurer named Saladin had united Egypt and Syria and was intent on regaining Jerusalem. In 1187, he succeed. At the battle of the Horns of Hattin, the King of Jerusalem and most of his nobility were destroyed. Every city in the kingdom save for Tyre was taken by Saladin. Jerusalem was lost again, and the failure of the whole Crusading enterprise seemed near.
When the news came to Europe, its kings came under great pressure to do something "for the Holy Land," as people then would have put it. King Henry II and Richard and Philip of France all took the cross, swearing to go to Palestine and rescue the Holy Sepulchre, Christ's tomb."
And indeed Richard & Saladin have big parts to play in the First Doctor's adventure:
"That Saracen very nearly did for me. Of course. Did you hear what that man called him? Saracen. Malek Ric! Yes, that was the name the Saracens had for King Richard, Coeur de Lion. Malek Ric...."Saladin also gave his name to the Saladin Tithe, basically a tax levied in England at the time under Richard & John's father Henry II to finance the Crusades, though there are records of similar in France under Phillip II. The whole business seems to have united the cross-Channel kingdoms against a common enemy, taking the focus off fighting each other!
"This year each man shall give in alms a tenth of his revenues and movables with the exception of the arms, horses and garments of the knights and likewise with the exception of the horses, books, garments and vestments, and all appurtenances of whatever sort used by clerks in divine service, and the precious stones belonging to both clerks and laymen."This is believed to have raised a record sum as yet unmatched by the taxman in the modern age. According to accounts by the chronicler Gervase of Canterbury, £70,000 was given by Christians with Jews contributing around £10,000- you could wriggle out of paying it altogether by taking the Oath & joining up to fight!
Henry died in late 1199, leaving Richard to take up the throne & indeed the call from Pope Gregory VIII for a Third Crusade with the aim of taking back Jerusalem from Saracen forces. You might get the jist of it from the first few lines of what was called the Audita Tremendi in its original Latin form-
"Audita tremendi severitate judicii, quod super terram Jerusalem divina manus exercuit..."Or in English...
"On hearing with what severe and terrible judgement the land of Jerusalem has been smitten by the divine hand..."Of course Chesterton is later knighted as Sir Ian of Jaffa, which is part of Israel!
IAN: May I leave at once, sir?Onward, Warped Factor soldiers- marching as to war!
RICHARD: Is it love of peace or is it love of your companion that prompts this enthusiasm? Well, whatever the reason, may it speed you back to us. I have one duty to perform before you leave. Give me the sword, boy. You are without rank or title and while we do not doubt your courage, our emissary shall speak from a proper position of authority. What is your name?
IAN: Ian Chesterton.
IAN: But I......
DOCTOR: Kneel, my boy. Kneel, kneel. Come along, come along.
RICHARD: In the name of God, Saint Michael, and Saint George, we dub you Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa. Arise Sir Ian, and be valiant.
IAN: Your Majesty.