1170 (The People's Chronology)
England's Henry II has himself crowned by Roger, archbishop of York, in violation of the rights of Thomas Becket, who persuades Pope Alexander III to suspend Roger of York and other bishops who have supported Henry and agreed to royal control of episcopal elections and other extensions of royal power. Henry increases the crown's power by replacing England's baronial sheriffs with men of lower rank trained in the royal service, thus breaking the hold of the barons on the shrievalty. Pope Alexander III forces Henry to reconcile his quarrel with Becket in July, but Becket returns to England in early December after more than 6 years in France; he refuses absolution to the country's bishops, and overzealous knights murder him in the cathedral at Canterbury December 29 with the complicity of men who include England's chief justiciar, Richard de Lucy. Roger of Pont L'évêque, archbishop of York, has supported the king in his dispute with Becket and is accused of having urged Becket's assassination, but he will be absolved of all blame.
The North Welsh king Owain ap Gruffydd dies after a 33-year reign in which he has extended the boundaries of his Gwynedd realm in opposition to England's Henry II. His successors will be able to maintain Welsh independence only until 1282 (see 1233).
Richard de Clare (Richard FitzGilbert), 2nd earl of Pembroke, receives royal permission to invade Ireland and lands near Waterford August 23, quickly taking Waterford and Dublin with help from Ireland's deposed king of Leinster Dermot MacMurrough (see 1167; 1171).
Aragon's Alfonso II conquers Teruel and prepares to conquer all of Valencia (see 1179).
Albrecht the Bear, margrave of Brandenburg, dies November 18 at age 70 after dividing his territories among his six sons. He has founded the House of Anhalt.
A Korean coup d'état topples the government and begins a period of domestic disorder that will continue until 1197.
The "Inquest of Sheriffs" strengthens the English exchequer by its financial inquiry.
Nonfiction: Hildegard von Bingen completes her book Liber Divinorum Operumhree works on the trilogy of apocalyptic, prophetic, and symbolic visions. Known as the "Sybil of the Rhine," she has long been consulted by popes, emperors, kings, archbishops, abbots, abbesses, the lower clergy, and laymen, carrying on extensive correspondence with all.
Poetry: Le Chevalier à la Charette by French poet-troubadour Chrétien de Troyes introduces the Arthurian hero Lancelot du Lac. Legend will have it that King Arthur of the Britons was killed at the Battle of Camlan in 537, and it has been suggested that the king, if he existed, was not a Celtic or Welsh monarch but perhaps rather the leader of a Sarmatian tribe whose ancestors came to England as mercenaries for the Romans (see 1176).
Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie establish a "Court of Love" at Poitiers to teach concepts of courtly love.
Japan has her first recorded instance of ritual suicide: a feudal warrior slashes his own belly to commit seppuku.
Architecture, Real Estate
England's Henry II begins replacing the original timbers of Windsor Castle with stone (see 1070). His architects create a round stone tower with crenelated battlements built on the raised motte erected by William the Conqueror and add two sets of apartments, one with a hall to receive Henry's court, another just for the royal family. Henry's successors in the next 2 centuries will add five round towers to the Norman castle's outside wall, expand the royal apartments, and create a chapel as well as a great hall for the Knights of the Garter (see politics, 1349). Glass will be used in some windows but is too costly for general use so the only light in most of the castle comes from candles and torches, the air inside is often foul smelling, roasting meat turns on spits in the big fireplaces, and the floors are cold, partly because carpets are too delicate and expensive to be used except as wall hangings.