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The Clash of Titans

Series 1 - Episode 2 The Clash of Titans



The second part of Thomas Asbridge’s sombre account of holy wars focuses on the clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. The Third Crusade offers a wealth of drama for the historical storyteller and Asbridge portrays Richard as an image-conscious, charismatic leader who lost his nerve when it mattered, pulling back at the very moment that Saladin, whose nerve was also failing, prepared to abandon Jerusalem.

But the most vivid sections involve the objects we see from the time: a psalter with a fabulous carved-ivory cover or a “pipe-roll” document detailing what was spent preparing for the crusade: Richard bought 800 sides of bacon and 10,000 horseshoes. And that was just in Hampshire.


Dr Thomas Asbridge uses fresh research and contemporary accounts to explore the personalities of Richard the Lionheart and his adversary Saladin, who led the Christian and Muslim forces respectively during the Third Crusade in the 12th century. He examines how both men were capable of dark deeds - as well as acts of military genius - and why the Crusaders' hopes of recapturing Jerusalem were dashed.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Thomas Asbridge
Director Sarah Jobling
Executive Producer John Farren
Producer Sarah Jobling
Series Producer Chris Wilson