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Worse still, Henry’s building projects were a drain on the exchequer, and his excessive piety made him a dupe of the papacy.That mix of piety, politics and penury–he was always short of funds–bore bitter fruit.

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6/12/2006 • Military History A case can be made that Edward I was the greatest English king of the Middle Ages.

A strong ruler, he was a man blessed with a strong sense of duty.

Although he was no democrat, he believed the king should promote the general welfare and place himself above class or faction–a revolutionary concept in the 13th century.

Although he has been called ‘the English Justinian’ because of his legal codes, Edward was first and foremost a military man, one of the great generals of the medieval world.

A few years after his accession to the throne, Edward was forced to deal with Wales, the mountainous land to the west of England.

Politically, Wales was a confusing mosaic of divided loyalties.

Like most of his Plantagenet dynasty, Edward had a volcanic temper that sometimes erupted into murderous rages.

Generally, though, he was too intelligent to let his anger get the better of him.

Soon the limb swelled, and the foul-smelling flesh grew black. Handicapped by the lack of medical knowledge at the time, the doctors were baffled and lost hope.

But one brave physician cut away the blackened tissue and hoped for the best. The next year, 1272, a truce was arranged between Baybars and the Crusaders, enabling Edward to go home at last.

As a headstrong young blade of 25, he took exception to the London troops of Montfort’s army, sincerely believing they had insulted his mother.

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