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De instructione principis ("On the Education of a Monarch") is a Latin work by the 12th-13th century author Gerald of Wales. It is divided into three "Distinctions". The first contains moral precepts and reflections; the second and third deal with the history of the later 12th century, with a focus on the character and acts of king Henry II of England and especially his disputes with the kings of France, Louis VII and Philip II and with his own four sons, Henry the Young King, Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany, Richard, count of Poitou and John Lackland.

Gerald was learned in classical, Biblical and medieval Latin literature and in this work cites the Bible, Servius (the commentator on Virgil), Gildas, the Itinerarium Regis Ricardi and many other works.

Contents
First distinction
.
Topics include Britain as a land fertile in tyrants; the Picts and Scots; old English laws about shipwrecks; the recent discovery of King Arthur's tomb in the isle of Avalon; King Edward the Confessor; the virtues of King Louis VII of France

  1. The monarch's moderation
  2. The monarch's gentleness
  3. The monarch's shyness
  4. The monarch's chastity
  5. The monarch's patience
  6. The monarch's temperance
  7. The monarch's clemency
  8. The monarch's munificence
  9. The monarch's magnificence
  10. The monarch's justice: especially on the admirable punishment of crimes in France, where a first offence is punished with public whipping, if once repeated with mutilation or branding, if twice repeated with blinding or hanging
  11. The monarch's prudence
  12. The monarch's foresight
  13. The monarch's modesty
  14. The monarch's boldness and bravery
  15. The monarch's glory and nobility
  16. The difference between a king and a tyrant
  17. Bloody deaths of tyrants
  18. Praiseworthy lives and deaths of good monarchs
  19. On the names of monarchs
  20. The monarch's religion and devotion: especially on the remarkable chastity of kings Louis VII and Louis VIII of France
  21. The monarch's good conduct and fitting end

Second distinction

  1. The earlier years of king Henry II of England's reign and the vast increase in his territories
  2. Principal visitors to England during his reign
  3. His later crimes and the martyrdom of Thomas Becket
  4. The wheel of Henry II's fortune and his continual disputes with his sons
  5. Letter showing that Louis VII and Henry II agreed to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem together
  6. The two Cardinals who came to Normandy to enquire into the death of Thomas Becket
  7. The three monasteries promised in compensation for the failed pilgrimage, and how the promise was evaded
  8. God's punishment on Henry II and the death of Henry the Young King
  9. The titles of "Henry III" (the Young King)
  10. Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany's second estrangement from his father, and his sudden death
  11. The titles of Geoffrey and of John Lackland
  12. God's warnings to Henry II and how they were ignored
  13. The revelation of Robert of Estreby
  14. How God urged Henry II to change his ways, with warnings and punishments but also with kindnesses
  15. Letter detailing the agreement between Henry II and Philip II of France
  16. Letter showing that Henry II arranged peace between Philip II and Philip, Count of Flanders
  17. Letter showing that Henry II's testament was made at Waltham
  18. Privileges requested from Pope Alexander III, mainly concerning Wales
  19. Privileges concerning Ireland
  20. The Council of Cashel
  21. Titles of Henry II (copied from Gerald's work Topography of Ireland)
  22. Saladin's attack on the Kingdom of Jerusalem
  23. Pope Urban III's letter to England on this subject
  24. Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem's visit to England to ask king Henry II's help
  25. Pope Lucius III's letter of advice and warning to Henry II
  26. Gerald's own conversation with Henry II on this subject
  27. Henry II's reply, given at London, and the Patriarch's complete failure
  28. The Patriarch's prophetic warnings to Henry II
  29. A description and characterization of Henry II
  30. Notable contemporary events in England
  31. If the end is favourable the history is praiseworthy

Third distinction

  1. The last meeting between Louis VII and Henry II, and Louis's prayer
  2. First territorial arrangements of Philip II of France
  3. Jerusalem meanwhile almost wholly conquered by the Muslims
  4. Pope Clement III's letter demanding the aid of the faithful
  5. Richard, Duke of Poitou takes the Cross, first among leaders north of the Alps, and sets a noble example
    On astrology
  6. Duke Richard sets out in spite of his father's obstruction
  7. Titles of Duke Richard
  8. Henry II's tithe intended to finance the Third Crusade
  9. Duke Richard estranged from his father and allied with Philip II of France
  10. Henry II's confusion and anger
  11. Why is Normandy less well defended than in the past? Question and answer
  12. King Henry II's groin trouble and his late and forced confession
  13. The dream of Richard de Riduariis and its fulfilment
  14. Frederick Barbarossa takes the Cross
  15. Gerald's dream about the Crusade
  16. The Emperor's bravery and his challenge to Saladin
  17. Saladin's reply
  18. The Emperor's journey through Hungary, crossing of the Danube, and journey through Bulgaria to Macedonia
  19. The messengers sent to Isaac II Angelos at first arrested, then released
  20. The deceptions of Kilij Arslan II of the Sultanate of Rm
  21. The Emperor drowned in Lesser Armenia; the army reaches Antioch
  22. Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia leads them from Antioch to Tyre and Acre
  23. Henry II is driven from the burning city of Le Mans
  24. The French capture Tours and besiege Henry II at Azay-le-Rideau
  25. The death of Henry II
  26. The unfavourable family background of Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and of their children
  27. Events presaging Henry II's death
  28. Dreams presaging his death
  29. The dream of William II of England and the resemblance of his death to that of Richard I
  30. Some afterthoughts


 

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