Garnier de Nablus

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Coat of arms of Garnier de Nablus

Garnier de Nablus was the 10th Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller from 1190 to 1192. He fought at the Battle of Arsuf under Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade.

Battle of Arsuf[edit]

Richard had previously ordered no direct engagement with the enemy on the march to capture Jaffa. Situated at the rear of the military column, Garnier's Hospitallers were under heavy pressure by the Muslims. They were constantly harassed with arrows and small scale hit-and-run attacks in an attempt to disrupt and lure the crusader column into full battle. According to the 13th-century manuscript Itinerarium Regis Ricardi, Garnier was near breaking point and rode forward in person to try to persuade Richard to attack:

My lord the king, we are violently pressed by the enemy, and are in danger of eternal infamy, as if we did not dare to return their blows; we are each of us losing our horses one after another, and why should we bear with them any further?[1]

He also asked that Richard relieve the pressure with a cavalry charge. Richard refused and replied, "Good Master, it is you who must sustain the attack; no man can be everywhere at once." [2] When the pressure increased, the Grand Master and one other knight, Baldwin de Carreo, charged the Muslims. They were joined soon after by the rest of the Hospitaller force. Richard, seeing that his orders were already disobeyed, signaled for a full charge. This caught the enemy at a vulnerable moment, and their ranks were broken. Thus, in some ways, Garnier helped win the battle, though in contravention of Richard's orders.

Portrayal in fiction and film[edit]

In the video game Assassin's Creed, Garnier de Nablus (Naplouse in the game) is one of the nine main assassination targets and is depicted as a man taking in (often by force) those without sound mind, and experimenting on them in an attempt to cure them, while being somewhat successful, this in-game portrayal of Garnier shows him as a cruel and sadistic man, greatly contrasting his real life persona.

Actor Donald Sumpter portrays Garnier in the 2008 BBC TV docudrama series Heroes and Villains which features a reenactment of the battle at Arsuf.

Sources[edit]

  • Miller, David. Richard the Lionheart; the Mighty Crusader Pages 76–77.
  • Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, Chapter XIX
Preceded by
Armengol de Aspa
Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller
1190–1192
Succeeded by
Geoffrey de Donjon