RANSHIN, the fictional Edward Gawain is among the 225 knights who arrived with Edward Longshanks in Akko in 1271.
The Crusades—a series of religious wars carried out by Christian soldiers from Europe during the Middle Ages—are among the most significant events in the history of Europe and the Middle East. Beginning in 1095 CE, European knights and noblemen traveled to the Middle East in an attempt to recapture the Holy Land from the Islamic rule that had controlled the region for previous centuries.
The Eighth Crusade in 1270 CE saw King Louis IX of France lead an army of Crusaders from Europe to Tunis. Louis’ goal was to attack the city of Tunis, located in North Africa and now the capital city of the modern country of Tunisia.
The Ninth Crusade occurred immediately following the Eighth, and was led by the heir to the English crown, the future King Edward I. Known as Edward Longshanks, the heir to the crown was inspired to fight in the Eighth Crusade and “took the cross” on June 24, 1268. He left Dover, England, by ship on Aug. 20 in 1270, with the intention of meeting up with the French king in Tunis.
However, when Edward arrived in Tunis on Nov. 10, he realized that the Eighth Crusade was a massive failure brought about by the death of Louis IX due to the spread of dysentery throughout the ranks of the French Crusaders. Following the death of Louis IX, most of the surviving Crusaders from the Eighth Crusade returned home to Europe, but Edward opted to continue his travels to the Holy Land, ultimately resulting in the Ninth Crusade.
Edward and a relatively modest fighting force of a thousand Crusaders, including 225 knights, arrived at Akko (Acre) on May 9, 1271. Akko had long been a Christian stronghold during the two centuries of the Crusades.
Edward’s arrival in Akko was significant, as it helped force some of the Muslim army to temporarily retreat from the region. In the months that followed, Edward and his troops carried out a series of raids against local Muslims and achieved several considerable victories, even stopping an attack on the city of Akko in December 1271. Furthermore, during this time period, Edward forged an alliance with a Mongol army that aided in attacking and raiding the Muslim forces. Following a naval victory over the Muslims, Edward negotiated a truce with the Muslim army as a means of protecting Christian-held territory in the Holy Land. But just a month after the truce was reach in May 1272, Edward narrowly survived an assassination attempt on his life. This, along with the news of the deaths of his father and son, caused him to return to England, where upon his arrival he was crowned the new king of England on Aug. 19, 1274.
The Ninth Crusade was the last major Crusade in the two-century history of the Crusades, and was the last time a European force traveled to fight in the Holy Land. Finally, in 1291, Muslim forces carried out a siege of Akko, the last remaining Crusader State. The Muslim forces quickly captured the city and effectively ended the era of Christian-held territory in the Holy Land.
(Information derived from “Ninth Crusade” by Elias Beck, https://www.historycrunch.com/ninth-crusade.html#/)
In RANSHIN, the fictional Edward Gawain is among the 225 knights who arrived with Edward Longshanks in Akko in 1271.
RANSHIN: Samurai Crusaders
Tetsuo Ted Takashima
Translated by Alexandrea Mallia
On Sale: October 2022
Price: US $17.95 CAN $22.95
US $12.99 (eBook)
Book: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Publisher: MUSEYON Books