Legendary Kings Who Died In Battle

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Antoku, Emperor of Japan
> Last battle: Dan-no-ura
> Year: 1185
> Enemy: Rival Minamoto clan

Emperor Antoku is the only Asian ruler on this list. Placed on the throne at the age of 2 by the Taira clan, one of several warring factions during a tumultuous time in Japanese history, he was only 6 years old when he was forced, with his attendants, to drown in the sea rather than be captured by opposing forces during the naval Battle of Dan-no-ura in Japan’s Inland Sea.

Source: Fox Photos / Hulton Royals Collection via Getty Images

Richard I, King of England
> Last battle: Aquitaine
> Year: 1199
> Enemy: French

Richard I, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, earned the name “the Lionheart” for his successes and bravery in battle, particularly against Muslim leader Saladin during Richard’s crusader adventures in the Levant. Though he ruled England for a decade, he spent very little time there, had little interest in being king, and likely didn’t even speak English. He was shot in the neck by a crossbow bolt while quelling a rebellion of French nobles. He died after the wound became septic.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Konstantin Tih, Tsar of Bulgaria
> Last battle: Bulgarian revolt
> Year: 1277
> Enemy: Discontented peasants

Konstantin Tih was one of two Bulgarian tsars who died in battle following 20 years as ruler at a time when the neighboring Byzantine Empire was collapsing. He spent much of his time battling the Mongols, but what took him out was death on the battlefield during a civil war against his own people.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Michael Asen III, Tsar of Bulgaria
> Last battle: Velbazhd
> Year: 1330
> Enemy: Serbs

Fifty-three years after Konstantin Tih was killed in action during a civil war in the Bulgarian Empire, Michael III would be killed seven years into his own reign while leading a fight against soldiers of the Kingdom of Serbia at the Battle of Velbazhd, near the present-day town of Kyustendil. Accounts of his death vary, including one that claims he was crushed under his horse.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

John, King of Bohemia
> Last battle: Crécy
> Year: 1346
> Enemy: English

John of Luxembourg, who became king of Bohemia, ruled for 36 years, winning his reputation through successful campaigns across Europe despite losing popularity at home due to a combination of high spending and high taxation. Though he spent the last decade of his life blinded by ophthalmia, he continued to rule and maintain his presence on the battlefield. He was struck down by English archers while fighting at the Battle of Crécy between the French Army led by King Philip VI and the English led by King Edward III during the Hundred Years’ War.

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