Letter to the Editor: Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven? Hollywood's latest blockbuster "The Kingdom of Heaven" written by William Monahan would be funny if it weren't for the fact so many people know so little about the history of the time that they are prone to believe the movie is an accurate description of what the crusade it is vaguely about. With such outrageously false attacks against the Catholic Church being spread from time to time it is little wonder some have such a completely inaccurate view of church history.
To sum it up Godfrey of Ibelin (of Bouillon in actual history) depicted in the film as a Christian hating humanist ashamed of the mission he was on, was in fact a faithful Christian with strong dedication to his vow to retake the numerous Christian lands that had been conquered by the Muslums and stop them before they conquered more. Faithful to his vow he was the Leader of the Crusaders who freed the Holy Land from the tyranny the Muslims had imposed. He was not the unhappy underlying depicted in the movie but rather the first king of Jerusalem known for calling himself "Defender of the Holy Sepulcher" and even though king, insisting "no man should wear a crown where Christ had worn his crown of thorns." Such is Godfrey as he appears in actual history (see the chronical of Albert of Aix d. 1120, edit. Hist. Occid. Crois., IV).
Godfrey had no children and certainly not the priest-killing, church-hating one depicted in the movie. The actual leader in the defense of Jerusalem against Saladins forces was Balian of Ibelin, who was the son of Barisan of Ibelin and is also depicted in actual history as among the most faithful defender of Christianity. And yes the depiction of a cowardly bishop pleading with Ibelin to "join the Mohammedans and repent later" is 180 degrees off from the truth as well. Finally, in the film Balian goes back to France with Sibylla and they live happily ever after, rejecting an offer to join Richard the Lion-Hearted in the Third Crusade to take back Jerusalem. In reality, he fled with Maria Comnena to the Crusader state on the coast, where he remained an important lord, fighting alongside Richard.
In short the movie is a crusade against the Catholic church and real history. Jonathan Riley-Smith, author of "A Short History of the Crusades" and one of the world's leading historians of the period, called the movie "rubbish," explaining that "it's not historically accurate at all" as it "depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilized, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians." Saladin was no stranger to massacre: when his forces decisively defeated the Crusaders at Hattin on July 3, 1187, he ordered the mass execution of his Christian opponents.
Any examination of actual history proves the movie-like many anti-Catholic fictions, has nothing to do with real history.