Post-classical history

Henry II of England (1133-1189)

King of England (1154-1189), who promised to go on crusade in 1170, 1172, and 1177, and even took the cross, but never went to the East in person.

The son of Matilda, heiress of Henry I of England, and Geoffrey V, count of Anjou, Henry succeeded to the kingdom of England and vast domains in France. He had a dynastic interest in the affairs of the kingdom of Jerusalem as a relative of its ruling family, who were descendants of Henry’s grandfather Fulk V of Anjou. Henry’s promise to go on crusade in 1172 was part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury; the undertaking of 1177 arose from an agreement with King Louis VII of France. Henry’s endorsement of English participation in Philip of Flanders’s crusade of 1177 was motivated by a desire to curb Philip’s ambitions in the East.

Henry showed little interest in the appeals for aid made by Eraclius, patriarch of Jerusalem, on the latter’s visit to England in 1185, and he took the cross in 1188 only after his son Richard. Henry did, however, support the crusade financially, and the crusade taxes he raised in 1166 and 1185, along with the famous Saladin Tithe of 1188, were important in the development of direct taxation in England. Money sent to the East by Henry helped pay for the Hattin campaign of 1187, and he left funds for the support of the Holy Land in his will.

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