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A Matter Of Great Confusion: King Richard I And Syria's Vetus De Monte

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Chapter Summary

By 1195 or 1196, the two letters were circulating within the court circles of Europe. Both purported to come from Rāšid ad-Dīn Sinān, the contemporary Grand Master of the Syrian Nizārīs or Assassins, otherwise known under the more intriguing title as Vetus or Vetulus de Monte, the Old Man of the Mountain. The Old Man’s purpose in writing the letters was ostensibly to take responsibility for the assassination in Tyre on 28 April 1192 of Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat. Since it was strongly rumoured that Richard I Coeur de Lion had played a leading and sinister role in the Marquis’s murder, it was not surprising that both variants of the exonerating texts have survived in English chronicle sources. More recently, the serious suggestion has been made that the letters emanated from the Chancery of Richard I, set against the background of a lively propaganda war being waged across Christendom.

Keywords: Christendom; English chronicle sources; Europe; Marquis’s murder; Rāšid ad-Dīn Sinān; Richard I; Syrian Nizārīs; Vetulus de Monte



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