Crusaders - Alfred J. Church

Concerning this History

I purpose to write in this book the story of certain things which I have seen with my own eyes or have heard from the lips of those who were present at the doing of them. Peradventure some one may ask, and not without reason, who is this that speaks of his own knowledge of so many generations of men? A man may write of fifty or even of three-score years who, having begun to take note of the deeds and words of others as soon as he has reached years of discretion, shall continue in this work unto extreme old age, but who is this that tells the story of nigh upon two hundred years? Such questions it is fitting that I should answer, though I like not to speak of myself.

I was chief keeper of the door in the palace of Pontius Pilatus, who was governor of the land of Judęa, having his authority from the Caesar of Rome. It was ill done of me who was a Jew to take such an office, but I was overcome by the greed of gain, as many have been, ever since the world was, to their own loss and ruin. I received from the treasury of the governor two silver pence by the day. And, over and above this wage, I was wont to receive monies from such as, having ends of their own to serve, desired admission to the palace at other times than were provided by the order of the place. But these were ill-gotten gains, so that having done ill in taking this office, I did yet worse in my holding of it. To them that had not the will or the power to buy my favour I bore myself proudly and unmercifully. I would keep out them that had lawful business with the governor, those who having been wronged sought redress and the like, admitting them who having made unrighteous gains, sought either to secure or to increase them. So it came to pass that I committed the grievous sin of which I bear the punishment to this very hour.

I had heard many things about a certain prophet who was of the land of Galilee. Some said that he was one of the people, a carpenter by trade; others would have it that he was of the house and lineage of King David, though his family had fallen upon evil times. But that he was no common man all were agreed, one that wrought many marvellous works, healing the sick and giving sight to the blind, aye, and giving life to the dead. Also they said much of his speech, how it was such as none else could use, having such authority that men could not choose but hear. These things I heard, as no one in those days could fail to hear, but I paid but little heed thereto. For, as I have written above, my way of life did not dispose me to concern myself with such matters. If this man was indeed a prophet—so I thought within myself—I care not to go near him. Surely he will rebuke me for my evil ways. So I put away all thoughts of him, and applied myself to my affairs, and became even more cruel and greedy than before, for such is wont to happen when a man turns from the light and chooses the darkness. But it was ordered that, whether I would or no, I should see this man and be spoken to by him. And this came to pass in the fourth year of the rule of Pontius!

There was a great uproar in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover, a thing which often happened, and the city was filled to overflowing, as were all the environs thereof. And the cause of this uproar was, as I was told, this same prophet Jesus of Galilee. The chief priests and rulers of the people bore great ill-will to him, for he was wont to rebuke them for their pride and covetousness and other misdoings. But as they had nothing to lay to his charge, they devised this false accusation that he meditated rebellion against Caesar, alleging that he was wont to speak of a certain kingdom which he was about to set up. So they brought him before the governor, saying, "This man stirs up rebellion against the authority of Rome." Now the governor well knew that the man was no rebel, and was aware also of the real truth of the matter. He sought, therefore, to let him go; but when the rulers of the people were urgent with him that he should condemn him, and he was not minded to set himself against their will, he consented and delivered him to be crucified.

Now there had been many things that day to vex and trouble me, and, indeed, at such times it is no easy matter to discharge the office of a doorkeeper. Many were coming and going, and there was ever a great crowd of those who sought to enter or to go out. And, besides, there was a stirring in my heart which gave me no ease. For I was evil and this man was good, and it was a pain to me that he should be near to me, even as it is a pain to creatures that love the darkness when the light is let in upon them. So it came to pass that I did the deed of which I now write. As the man went forth by the door of which I had the charge he seemed to linger, as well he might, for he was sore weary. For he had been waking all the night, and had been sent to and fro, and had borne many stripes and buffetings. Then a rage altogether without reason seemed to surge up in my heart, and I smote him on the neck, saying, "Why dost thou tarry, Jesus? Go to the death which is thy due desert." Then he turned and looked at me. "I go, O Cartaphilus, but thou shalt tarry till I come." At the first I knew not what he would say, or what this tarrying or this coming again might mean.

One thing was straightway borne in upon me, that I could no longer be doorkeeper in the governor's palace. So I sought for some other employment, and having found such as it went not against my conscience to take, I lived as other men, yet felt that I was not altogether as they are. And when I was come to extreme old age, being nigh upon a hundred years, I felt something within me that drove me into the wilderness. What next came to pass I know not; only when I came to myself I found that I was the same yet not the same, for my old age had departed, and I was of the age I bore when Jesus spoke to me. And so it has been with me again and again. I have followed many occupations, and dwelt in many lands, for again and again there is a stir in my heart that drives me forth from the place where I am sojourning; but I come back ever to the city of Jerusalem, wherein I was born, for there is no place for which I have so great a love. I was there when the Romans laid it even with the ground, after besieging it for nigh upon five months. Never since the world was first inhabited by man have there been, I take it, more terrible things than came to pass at that time. And so it lay desolate for sixty years. Then the Romans built there a city; and this grew and increased, especially after the time of the Caesar Constantine. It was about three centuries after his time that it was taken by the followers of Mahomet; and these ruled over it, though not under the same house of kings or sultans, for many years. But of these times there is no need for me to speak; let others whose business lies in the writings of histories do this. Nevertheless I will say one thing, that the coming of a barbarous people, called Turks, was the beginning of much trouble, as will hereafter be seen. I will begin with the one thousand and twenty-third year after the taking of the city by the Romans.

Peter the Hermit

One of the many occupations which I have followed, to wit, the gathering of simples, I have never wholly intermitted. But seeing that this cannot be profitably followed save in the season of spring, when the various herbs spring forth and bear leaf and flower, I have added others to it, and at the time of which I first write I was wont to carry water from the well of Bethlehem to certain Jews of the wealthier sort that dwelt in the city of Jerusalem. It was my custom to draw the water from the well while it was yet night, and to bear it—for which purpose an ass served me sufficiently well—to the city gate by sunrise, so that it might not be touched by the heat. This done, I was wont to go back to Bethlehem, where, of necessity, I had my lodging. I say of necessity, but indeed it was of choice also. The manners of the Jerusalem folk pleased me not, the Turks therein being mightily hard and overbearing, while the Bethlehem folk were mild-mannered and gentle. On a certain morning about the time of the spring equinox, if my memory serves me well, I, having finished my carrying of the water, and being about to turn my steps homeward, was aware of a man that sat, wrapped up in his cloak, in a corner of the wall. He seemed like to one that slept, and had he been a dweller in the city or in one of the villages round about, I had left him to his rest; but there was something strange and outlandish about his garb; his skin also was somewhat fairer of hue than is commonly seen in these parts. Thinking therefore to myself, "Maybe he wants counsel or help, being a stranger in this land, and not knowing where to dispose himself"—and sundry such were wont to come to Jerusalem for various causes, as will be set forth hereafter—I drew near, waiting nevertheless till he should first accost me. Nor did I wait long, for he rose straightway from his place and saluted me. And here I may conveniently say what manner of man he was to look upon. He was small of stature, and halted somewhat on one foot. One who regarded him casually and without thought might well take him for a mean and trivial person. Yet that he was not such soon became manifest; for his eyes were of a keenness such as I never saw surpassed, and his speech, even about common matters, had a certain weight and force; his voice, than which there is to my mind no more certain proof of gentle condition, was of a singular sweetness. So much I soon discerned; what more I came to know of his life, thoughts, and purposes, I learned by degrees. This I will now set forth, having first said that he tarried with me at my lodging in Bethlehem for the half of a moon or thereabouts. His story I will relate, for shortness' sake, as it were in his own words, and told at one time; but in truth I learnt it, little by little, some things, it may be, coming to my knowledge at a later time.

"My name is Peter, given to me in baptism, and kept by me when I entered religion, for, indeed, what name could be better, more apt to stir up to good works and to move repentance? I was born within the domain of a certain city, Amiens by name, in the land of France; my father was a tiller of the soil, having so much as could be worked by ten ploughs. For this he had to render to the lord of the domain so much in money, and so much in grain and other increase of the earth, and the service of three able-bodied men-at-arms. He was always a stout fighter, and, I take it, better pleased to follow his lord to battle than to stay at home and mind such matters as sowing and reaping and the care of sheep and cattle. From this cause, and also because I was, as you may perceive, of a somewhat feeble frame—though I, too, was not without skill in sword-play in my youth—it fell out that I tarried at home till I was three-and-twenty years of age. 'Here is Peter,' my father was wont to say to my mother, 'who will serve all the needs of house and land far better than I;' and he would ride away well content to be quit for a while of such cares.

"Nor, indeed, was I ill content to abide at home, at least till there came to pass such a thing as set on fire the hearts of all the younger sort in our parts, aye, and of their elders also; and this was the great adventure of William of Normandy in preparing for the conquest of England. Normandy, you must know, is the next province to that in which is the city of Amiens, lying to the westward. The Norman folk are scarce to be called Frenchmen, having come, some three or four generations ago, from northern parts, but they are stout fighters, and it was commonly believed that any enterprise which their duke, who was an incomparable man of war, and they should set their hands to, would scarce go wrong. When, therefore, it was noised abroad that Duke William was gathering together a great army, and that all that desired good wages and profitable service would do well to follow his banner—for of his own people he could not make a sufficient muster—then, as I have said, many hearts were moved, and mine among them. My father would have greatly loved to go, but he was growing old, and had received also a shrewd blow on the sword-arm. Hence he was content to listen to my mother's entreaties and to abide at home. But why do I dwell on these vanities? Let it suffice to say that I took service with Duke William, bringing with me a company of some twenty soldiers from our part, who, I will venture to affirm, were as well equipped and as skilful in arms as any that came to him outside his own dominions.

"I was at the great battle of Senlac; it was my first battle, and had like to be my last, for these English folk are mighty warriors, and came near at one time to driving us all into the sea. But so it was that in the end we won the day; and having won it, we had the whole land before us for a prey. It so chanced that the duke had seen during the battle some deed of mine—I care not to call it back to mind, for all worldly fame is but a vanity, and he would willingly have given me a possession in the land which he had conquered. So much I heard from his own lips. Nor was I unwilling to take such a gift. It is a good land and a rich, this England. But ere the matter was far advanced there came to me tidings from my home that altogether changed my purpose. Both my father and my brother—for one brother I had, my elder by some two years—were dead of a fever, and my mother was left alone, with her two daughters, maidens of tender age. Now I would make no complaint of my native country, where men are not worse, if, maybe, they are not better than elsewhere; but indeed I know not the place where a woman can safely and properly manage corn-lands and pasture-lands and orchards and the like. I therefore thought no more of what Duke William, who indeed was now King William, was minded to bestow upon me, but went back to my house. And there I tarried for some years, till my mother departed this life, never having held up her head after my father's death, and my sisters, who were well-favoured maidens, were given in marriage.

"After this I also entered the state of wedlock, not wholly of my own free will. Of this matter it boots not to speak much. Let it suffice, therefore, to say that I married a lady of high degree, who had neither beauty nor riches. And if you ask me why I did so, I can answer only this, that in my own land the difference of degree is much accounted of, that a common man, for so they call all them who are not of noble birth, cannot but be lifted out of himself by any favour shown to him by a noble, except, indeed, he be of more than common wisdom, and that so it fell out with me. More, then, I will not say; only that I married a well-born wife and found little profit or pleasure therefore. For though the lady brought me no money of her own, yet was she not backward to spend what she found of mine. She must have all things to suit her high estate—silver dishes for her food, and velvet and embroideries for her clothing, and gold chains for her neck, and jewels for her fingers. To put the matter in a few words, she spent all that I could earn and more; and when she died, some ten years after our marriage, I had but enough left to pay my debts honestly. Yet one thing remained to me which could not, indeed, be sold, but was yet to be of no small profit. From my youth up I had given no little time to book learning. Some books I had which had come to my father from a certain uncle, who was Bishop of Amiens, and from my father, who had never so much as looked at them, to me. I, on the contrary, had applied myself to them with some diligence from my boyhood, and I counted them and what I could gain from them the more precious the more my worldly fortunes decayed.

"Being thus left alone, I went to the Bishop, and he, having a certain favour for me because one of my kinsmen had in time past sat in his chair, found a place for me in a certain religious house, and in due time admitted me to Holy Orders. In this house I abode some six years, being but ill pleased with my companions, who verily seemed to me not less worldly because they dwelt in a cloister. But why should I speak of the faults of others who have so many of my own? Let it suffice to say that, the six years being ended, I left the house, the Bishop consenting, and took up my abode in a cell which chanced to be empty, the holy man who had dwelt there for some forty years having departed this life in great odour of sanctity. Here also I abode for six years, better pleased, maybe, with solitude than I had been with ill-assorted company, yet not wholly content. For I would often think to myself—what profit is there in my present life? Haply I shall accomplish somewhat towards the saving of my soul though even this I sometimes doubt, the devil and the flesh being not less busy within the cell than without; and on occasion I give counsel to them that seek it; though I, standing outside all affairs, can be but of little help to them that are concerned with them. So I would often think to myself, and so grew daily less content with my life, and yet lacked the courage or the will to change it. And yet I did change it, and that suddenly, there coming to me a call which I could not choose but hear and obey.

"On a certain winter night I found a stranger well-nigh buried in the snow. I had been on a spiritual errand, administering the last sacraments to a sick man, the cure of souls in the parish being then vacant. This man I carried to my cell and recovered, not without much labour, for he was well-nigh dead with cold and hunger. And having recovered him, I had perforce to keep him for many days, during which time I talked much with him.

"He was a pilgrim, he told me, and he was on his way homeward from the Holy City, Jerusalem. Now I had seen and talked with such pilgrims many times from my youth up, and I had noted that they told different tales one from the other. Some had suffered little, and some much; some had been mocked and beaten, robbed of all that they had, shut out from the very places which they had travelled so far to see, and barely suffered to escape with their lives; some, on the other hand, had been courteously entreated, protected from all insolence and robbery, so that they could walk about the city not less safely and honourably than in their own towns in which they had been born and brought up. But it had been borne in upon me that year by year there had been more that brought back a bad report, and fewer that brought back a good. This had been so almost from the time when I went to dwell in the House of Religion. Many that went on pilgrimage were seen no more. Such, indeed, there had always been, for the pilgrim must needs encounter many dangers both by sea and land, perils of shipwreck and robbers, perils of hunger and disease. But of late years the number of those that were lost was greatly multiplied. And in them that came back might be seen manifest tokens of suffering and misuse. But never before had I heard such a tale as was told me that day by this man. He affirmed that he had seen with his own eyes the Patriarch dragged by the hair of his head from his dwelling to the common prison; that the holy man was kept in a most foul dungeon till the Christian folk of the city could gather together a ransom of two hundred gold pieces; that he himself, having paid a gold piece, as was customary, by way of tribute, had been stripped, robbed of all that was left to him, and cruelly beaten when his persecutors found that he in truth possessed nothing more."

Such was the tale that Peter told me, and then he added the very words which I now write down: "When I heard these things, I said within myself, what does it profit that I thus sit still? I will arise and go to Jerusalem, and will see these things with mine own eyes, so that I may know certainly whether they be true or no; for I know well that there are men who say that they are pilgrims and are not, and others who make false pretence of having suffered, and not a few who for gain or vanity magnify little troubles into great. Here, then, I am. Tell me now how I may best acquaint myself with the truth. Say first, if you will, whether you have seen with your own eyes aught of these things."

Baldwin III of Jerusalem


I made answer that I had many times seen pilgrims beaten, that I had also seen the Patriarch dragged to prison, and that a ransom had been paid for him. "But," I said, "these things were done more than a year ago, the governor of the city in those days being of a specially savage temper; but this man has been deposed from his office, and is now dead; for him whom they depose in this country they also slay, and I verily believe that he was deposed for this very cause. The "Turks love not the Christians; they love none save their own people; but they love the Christians' money, and will not of set purpose do aught that shall hinder its coming. Now, the conclusion of the whole matter is this. These Turks are barbarians; when they first took possession of this city they knew not how to use their power, and they robbed and slew as it has ever been their custom to rob and slay. Yet have they wit enough to know that it is not by such doings that men grow rich. What will it profit them to take two gold pieces in the place of one from one pilgrim, if by so doing they hinder nine other pilgrims from coming to the land? 'Tis the nature of barbarous people to be carried away by rage or sheer lust of cruelty; but for the most part they also as well as others look to their advantage. I doubt not but that from time to time the pilgrims will suffer damage, it may be even to death; but I doubt not also but that for the most part, so long as they pay the tribute, they will come and depart unharmed. But if you would know more of these things, go and talk to the Patriarch."

"'Tis a shame," said he, "that a Christian man must pay tribute for seeing that which it is his right to see. But you say well; I will go and talk with the Patriarch."

So the next day he went with me to Jerusalem, and I took him to the dwelling of the Patriarch, at the humbleness of which he marvelled much, the Patriarchs in his own country being for the most part grandly lodged. There I commended him to the care of the porter, with whom I had certain acquaintance, and having bidden him farewell, saw him no more for a while.

More Concerning Peter the Hermit

I have more to say of this same Peter which may conveniently be set down in this place. It was some four years after our parting that I chanced to fall in with him again. A certain physician of my own nation, being now advanced in years, and not a little feeble in body, would have me for his helper. And this I was well pleased to be; for he was a man skilful in his art, and one from whom much might be learnt, and of a kindly temper, and with an open hand. When I had been with him six months or thereabouts, there came an urgent message from John, surnamed Comnenus, who was Emperor of New Rome, or, as many call it, Constantinople. My master's reputation for skill in the healing art was spread far and wide, and he was much sought after by those who had sufficient wealth to pay for his service, which, of a truth, he did not render cheaply. At the first he was minded not to go, "for," said he, "I have rather need of a physician's help for myself, than to render it to others." Nevertheless he was persuaded. For first the rewards of healing were considerable, being not less than five hundred gold pieces, with a most honourable conveyance and escort; for the Emperor had sent a war galley to Tyre that should take us thence to New Rome. In the second place, he was eager for knowledge, which he gathered with no less zeal than if he had been at the beginning not the end of life. And in the third place, he could never have enough of travel. So we set forth a little after the time of the spring equinox, and having a most prosperous voyage, the wind blowing from the east, as it is wont to do at this season, came from Tyre to New Rome in twelve days.

There had come many rumours of war eastward during these four years; how that great hosts, such as had not been gathered together within the memory of man, were on the way with the intent of taking Jerusalem by force of arms. Many of the things that were said were wholly beyond belief; but two things were certainly known, from which much might be concluded. First, there came no more pilgrims. Now this was a new thing. Sometimes there had been many pilgrims, and sometimes there had been few, but some always, save, maybe, when the plague had very greatly prevailed. From this it might be concluded that an expedition was on foot, because a man going on pilgrimage would travel more safely and easily with an army than before it. Secondly, the rulers of the land were manifestly making great preparation both in arms and men, as if for defence against some future danger. Nor had we been many hours in the city before we learnt the truth of the matter. There was a great stir and tumult in the streets, these same streets being full of a mixed multitude of men of all nations. So much could be learnt from the confusion of tongues that was to be heard, and the strange aspect of many that passed to and fro. Nor did I wonder at these things when I had fallen in with Peter, which I did on the very next day after my coming. There is a very noble church, that is called the Church of the Holy Wisdom, before which is a great square in which all the chief citizens are wont to gather. And here, on the morning of my coming, did I see Peter. At the first sight I scarce knew him, for he had something of the garb and manners of a soldier. Nor, indeed, did I wonder when I came to hear from his lips the story of what had befallen him since we had last companied together. And this story I shall now set forth without further preface, putting in a few words what he said in many:

"I talked much with the Patriarch, and learned many things from him. He told me what he himself had suffered, and how great was the peril in which he stood from day to day. 'The sword of the infidel,' said he, 'is ever at my throat. I may live so long as I can purchase forbearance; yet even so it is but a chance of safety that I buy; for these Turks care but little for the keeping of faith with the infidel—for so in their insolence they speak of us! Then he spoke of the pilgrims. 'They also buy their lives, nor do they always receive that for which they pay the price. Verily a man may more safely adventure himself in a lion's den, aye, or thrust his head into a lion's mouth, than come into this city.' 'But,' said I, 'there is a Christian Emperor in New Rome; why do you not go to him for help?' 'It were idle,' answered he, 'to seek help from him who cannot help himself. I have lived seventy years upon the earth; and verily during this time the Lord has cut the borders of New Rome so short, that in seventy more it is like to have little beyond its walls.' Then I asked him for what help he looked and whence. And he said, 'I look to the Bishop of Rome, and to the nations of the West. If they will but stir themselves, they can drive out these unbelievers from the Holy City.' When the Patriarch so spake, I thought to myself that now not only would the Holy Places be taken out of the hands of the Infidel, but that the Church of Christ would again be made one as she was in the old time. For how should these schismatics of the East persist in their disobedience when so great deliverance should have been wrought for them by the men of the West?

"Having, then, these thoughts in my mind, I made all haste to go back that I might lay the matter before the Holy Father at Rome. Of the time between the departing from Jerusalem and the coming to Rome there is no need to speak particularly; let it suffice to say that never have days seemed to pass so slowly. All the hindrances of travel, lack of horses on land, contrary winds by sea, were multiplied, or so it seemed to me, tenfold more than is the wont of these things. And when I was arrived at Rome, what delays, what miserable wastings of time! Surely His Holiness the Pope is but ill served by those who are about him! I, who had a matter of the greatest moment to lay before him, could not by any means get speech of him. There was but one voice from all of whom I sought help and counsel; the Pope's audience-chamber opens not, said they, save by a key of gold. And where should I get this same key of gold?

"At the last, when after six months of waiting, by which, indeed, my heart was well-nigh broken in twain, I did win my way to the presence of His Holiness, how was it? Not because I had that to say which was worth hearing, but because I chanced to fall in with a lackey who came from the town of Amiens. This man spake of me to a door-keeper, and the door-keeper to a chamberlain, and the chamberlain to a secretary—I know not how the thing went round—and so at the last I came to have speech with the Pope. And when I had accomplished this, I had in truth accomplished all. The Pope needed no persuading. It was enough for him that the Christian folk of Jerusalem looked, not to New Rome, but to Old Rome, for help. 'There has no better news been brought hither,' said he, 'these five hundred years and more. Verily God has blessed His servant beyond all measure, that I should be the instrument in His hands of winning back the Holy Places from the unbeliever, and of bringing into one fold the divided flock of Christ.' Such was the Pope's speech, and his action had not lagged behind could he but have set himself free from the chains of use and customs with which he is bound. But there were letters to be sent to the kings and princes, and letters to be received from them, and treaties and bargainings, and provision to be made of money and stores—necessary things I doubt not, but making sore trial of faith and patience. So, as I could not endure to sit still while these things were a-doing, or not doing, I travelled through the length and breadth both of France and of Italy, preaching wheresoever I went the cause of this Holy War. And verily, if I may speak of one so unworthy after the manner of the Holy Apostle St. Paul, the people everywhere received me as an angel of God. Often indeed my speech was not understood of them that listened to my preaching. Even in my own land of France there are many regions and provinces where my tongue is as the tongue of a foreigner. Of the language of Italy I know nought. In Latin speech I am not inexpert; but of the common people, aye, and of the knights and nobles, but very few can follow it, save for the matter of the Paternoster and the Ave Marra. Nevertheless all heard me most gladly. I would not boast of honours done to me; yet 'tis true that the people strove to possess themselves of such things as might serve for memorials of me. For lack of other relics they would take the very hairs of the mule on which I rode.

"Then I said to myself that it would be ill if all this zeal should be lost and come to nothing. The kings and princes and knights are long about their preparations of war; shall not I be beforehand with them? The Lord giveth victory to him whom He shall choose, even as He made David to triumph over Goliath the giant. The battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift. So I caused it to be proclaimed in every place where I preached that such as were willing to serve in the army of the Lord should not want for a leader. I said that every man should provide himself with such arms as he could—is not the sling of the Israelite better than the sword of the Philistine?—and some provision of food for the way, and I appointed a place where they should assemble, and a time of assembling; and I said that if I came not within so many days of the time, then they should begin their journey, ever moving eastward, for that so they would come to the place where they would be; also, because I would not have them wholly regardless of prudence in the affairs of this world, I counselled them to sow the fields before they departed, 'and when you return,' said I, 'by the blessing of God, you shall reap the harvest.'

"The winter I myself spent in the city of Venice, setting forth with the beginning of spring. Now in Venice I had consorted with a certain Walter, surnamed the Penniless. To him I opened my mind, having learnt that he was a skilful man-at-arms, for I would not deny that the arm of flesh also can do service for the Lord. So, when the due time was come, we two journeyed together to the place which had been appointed beforehand, to wit, to a certain town on the river Rhine. Being arrived we found a multitude of men gathered together, but many yet wanting whom I had looked to see. This being so, we agreed between us that the Knight Walter should straightway set forward with such as were prepared to march, of whom there were some twenty thousand, and that I should follow in due course, for many were flocking in every day, or, I should rather say, every hour. And so we did."

Here, for brevity's sake, I shall pretermit what Peter told to me concerning the doings of Walter; it will suffice to relate what he said concerning himself.

"Some twenty days after the departure of the Knight Walter, I also set forth, having with me some forty thousand men. And for many days we marched in peace, neither harming others nor taking harm ourselves. The greater part of the army had some store of money, nor did they who had more than sufficed for themselves fail to help them that lacked. So when the provision of food that we brought was spent, we bought of the people of the land; much indeed was freely given to us, and they that were constrained by their poverty to ask a price, demanded not more but rather less than their due. So we journeyed in much prosperity till we came to the land of Hungary. There, on the walls of a certain town, the name of which I know not, but we called it Evil Town by reason of the evils that we suffered by reason of it, we saw hanging arms and other spoils.

"And it was noised abroad in the host that these arms and spoils had been taken from Walter's host. Whether this was true or no I know not, but the report stirred the pilgrims to a most furious rage, so that they fell upon the town, and the gates being open, for the townsfolk were dwelling in security, fearing no harm, they took it. After this there was a great slaughter, so that there perished not less than four thousand of the inhabitants of the place, and among them not a few women and children. Of our folk there died but a hundred or so. For five days we abode in Malleville resting from our toils. But when I heard that the king of the land was marching thither with his army, I judged it expedient to depart. And this we did on the sixth day, taking with us a great store of goods and much provision for the army. So we came to the city of Nyze. And here, our provision of victual being well-nigh spent, I sent a messenger to the Governor of Nyze saying that we were pilgrims, who were journeying eastward on the service of God, and desired his friendship, and that he would suffer his people to supply to us at a price such things us we needed. And I said further that we would give hostages for our good behaviour.

"To this he willingly gave consent. So we gave them hostages, and they, on their part, sold us at a reasonable price such things as we needed. So we rested that night in a meadow that there was without the town, and were well content with our entertainment, and on the morrow we received again our hostages and so departed. But a company of Germans, ill-conditioned men, for such there must be when a multitude is gathered together, lagged behind; and these, whether for the sake of revenge or of plunder I know not, set fire to a hamlet that was on the outskirts of the town. When the Governor of Nyze heard of these doings, and this he did within an hour of their happening, he gathered together the soldiers that he had in the town and hurried after the malefactors. These he overtook, for they had journeyed slowly, being laden with spoil that they had taken from the hamlet aforesaid, and he slew every man of them. Nor was he content with this, but he pursued the host, and having overtaken the rearward, slew some and took some prisoners.

"When I heard of these things I sent messengers to the Governor to make complaint. To these the Governor set forth the whole matter, which when I had heard I perceived that the blame was not with him, but rather with us. So I sent again a message of peace, making such excuse for my own people and their misdoings as I could. Also I called together some of the notables out of the host, and said to them that we must amend our ways, not only for right's sake, but for very safety, 'for,' said I, 'if we provoke the people of the land to anger, we shall most certainly perish.' But the notables, though I so speak of them, were but of small account, and the people had no reverence for them. Then a great part of the host—for some were content to be obedient to my command—turned back to the town of Nyze. And when they came near to the bridge by which they should cross the river, the townspeople fell upon them, they being so crowded together on the bridge that they could not so much as move their arms to strike a blow. Many were slain, and many were drowned in the river, for they leapt into the water if so be that they might escape from the sword. Some few indeed got safe to land, but the greater part perished. When they of the host that were behind saw this thing they sought to succour their comrades. Then there ensued a great battle, and the pilgrims fled before their enemies. On that day there were slain ten thousand at the least. Much goods also were lost, and with them great treasure of my own which I had stored out of the gifts given to me during my preaching. This I kept, not for my own uses, but for the host, because I knew that they who have money for their needs are welcome, whether it be among heathen men or among Christians.

"After a while many that were dispersed in the woods came together; but of the forty thousand that followed me at the first there were left but a half or less. And while I meditated on what I had best do, there came to me a messenger from the Emperor at Constantinople, who said that I should do well to go to that city, bringing with me such followers as still remained. And this I judged it best to do. Here, therefore, I am."

So much then I heard from Peter, truly a most sad tale, yet was he not one whit cast down or discouraged by the telling of it. And in this I was constrained to admire him, so great courage had he and faith. Many did he lead to their death. Verily I do believe that of all the host which he led, and of all Walter's host also, there was not so much as one that came to the Holy City. As for the man himself it shall suffice to say that, having tarried awhile in Constantinople, he joined himself to the host of whose doings I shall now speak, and accompanied them in all their journeyings, being held in no small honour by the chiefs, and that he had his desire in the matter of the Holy City, as shall hereafter be told. I have heard that after awhile he went back to the west, and living to old age, departed this life in a religious house, of which he had been made the chief. That he might do well in the governing of monks I do not deny; but that he had no skill in the leading of men and the art of war is manifest.

The First Crusade

While I tarried in Constantinople I practised, as was my wont, when opportunity offered, the art of healing. On a certain day I was called to visit a sick man who lay, for so the messenger affirmed, in great peril of his life at a certain tavern, hard by the water's side. Nor, indeed, did the messenger speak otherwise than truly, if only one that is most certainly near to death can be said to be in peril, great or other, of his life. When I looked upon the man, who was, as it were, on the threshold of old age, having, so far as I could judge, some three-score and six years, I saw that he had been known to me in time past, and had done me also no small kindness in a certain matter of which it boots not now to tell. He was a Greek by nation, a merchant by occupation, one accustomed to travel, on errands of trade, to distant lands, wealthy also, for his ventures had been great and fortunate beyond the common.

When he had revived somewhat, for I had commanded that some strong waters should be given him, I whispered in his ear, "Nicias, my friend"—for Nicias was his name—"it grieves me much to see you in this plight." Now before this the sick man had not so much as regarded me, lying with his eyes shut, as one that had resigned himself to die. But when he heard his name, being also, as I have said, somewhat strengthened by the cordial, he stretched out his hand and made a motion as though he would have risen. This latter I would not suffer, for it might have been his death, so wasted with sickness was he. So I said, "Lie still, friend Nicias, and it may yet be well with you." "Nay," answered he, "flatter me not with idle words, for I know well that I have taken my last journey. Is it so? Tell me the truth as you would desire that the truth should be told to you." And when I had told him in such words as physicians are wont to use in like cases, that he was indeed near to death, he said again, "Tell me now how long I may live." And when I had answered, being constrained, as it were, to such plainness of speech, that he might live for one day or even for two days, he was silent for a while. About the space of half-an-hour after he said, "Give me yet another draught of the cordial, for I have much to say." And when I would have had him understand that to speak much would greatly waste his strength, he made answer, "What matters it if I live twelve hours or six, so that I utter the things which are in my heart?" Then he bade me unbind the purse that was about his loins and open it. There were in it some sixty gold pieces, some small leather bags which were filled with jewels, and various writings. Now the substance of what the merchant Nicias said to me, so far as it concerns the purpose of my present writing, was this. He was on his way home to the city of Antioch in Syria, having visited sundry places in which he had affairs of trade in time past. "I had always purposed," said he, "that this should be my last journey, and that, this being finished, I would spend the rest of my days in peace. That this might be accomplished was my prayer, and part God has granted and part He has denied. He has suffered me to finish all my business; but He gives me not the days of peace that I desired. So be it; haply I had wearied of them, as I have myself seen others weary in the like case, and had so come to despise His good gift."

Then he told me what was in his mind. First he would have me travel to Antioch where he had left his children, a son and a daughter, the son being a youth of some nineteen years, and the daughter younger by two years. "I married," said he, "when I was somewhat advanced in years, having before found no leisure for the business. In this I did ill, or so it now seems to me, seeing that I leave my children but ill prepared to care for themselves. And yet "—so I heard him murmur to himself—" had I not so delayed, thou hadst not been my wife, O Euphrosyne, fairest and best of women!" After this he spoke about the things that were in the purse, that the gold and the jewels were for me, for the cost of travel and payment of labour and the like. Nor would he listen to me when I said that the payment was by many times too great for the service. "Nay, nay," he cried, "vex not an old man with these disputings. My children have already so much wealth that they will scarce find good uses for it." Then he took the papers one by one, and set forth what they were and what should be done with them. Some were acknowledgments of money and other treasure in jewels and pearls and cloth of gold received; and some were bills of exchange; and some were to serve as guides to places where treasure was buried. And when the merchant had made an end with them I could not but allow that his children would of a surety have a great burden of wealth. "As for my will," said he, "a notary, Phocion by name, who dwells hard by the east gate, has it in his charge; but that my children know."

When Nicias was dead—he lived some four days, being not a little eased in mind by the settlement of his affairs—I took my passage eastward in the very ship by which he had journeyed to Constantinople, it being bound for Antioch, or rather for Seleucia, which serves for a port to that city. We had a prosperous voyage of some twenty days or thereabouts, reaching our journey's end about the time of the summer solstice.

I found the city in no little turmoil, and much troubled with rumours of wars. Some said one thing and some another, and there were those who spake of multitudes of men, whose numbers were beyond all belief, who were marching eastward on the same errand which had brought Peter and his companions and followers. But they that were now coming—so 'twas commonly said—were not a mere rabble, without order or discipline, and caring little whether they slew friend or foe, but an orderly army of princes and nobles and knights and common men. Nor was there any one in the city who had a more accurate knowledge of these things than the lad Cleon, the son of Nicias, on whose behalf I had come to this same city of Antioch. There are none who have a more speedy and credible account of such new enterprises as may be set on foot than have the great merchants of the world. And by this word merchants I mean not so much those who sell in the markets and streets of a city, but they who do traffic with far-off countries. Such was the Greek Nicias of whom I have spoken above. And when I came to have converse with his son, a young man of as quick an understanding as I have ever seen, I came to have a very clear knowledge of these affairs. Not many days after my coming I had some talk with him concerning this matter, and judging from what I had heard from Peter, I spoke lightly of it as a thing that would most certainly come to nothing. "For how," said I, "shall these disorderly multitudes that have scarce a serviceable sword or spear to a score of men subdue great princes who have well-equipped armies or take strong fenced cities? "Nay," said he; "these things of which you tell me are but as the little gusts of wind that one may see now and again before a before a great storm. I verily believe that there will be such a contending between East and West as has not been seen for a thousand years—aye, and you may add to the thousand half as much again. Listen now to this. 'Tis a letter from a certain Jew, a lender of money in a country which they call England, with whom my father had some dealings: 'Duke Robert, who is the elder brother of the king of this land, seeks to borrow money for the equipping of himself and his company. He and many other princes have bound themselves by an oath to make war against them that have possession of the Holy City; but war, as thou well knowest, cannot be made without money.' So writes Jacob, a Jew of the city of London. And other letters to the same intent have come which, as bearing the superscription of my father, I have opened." So spoke Cleon, son of Nicias, and before many days were passed his words had confirmation.

About the space of one month after the summer solstice there came a rider to Antioch with an epistle from a certain merchant dwelling in the city of Nicaea. It was no safe or easy journey that he had made, passing over rivers and mountains by ways beset by wild beasts and robbers. The substance of the letter was this: "A great army from the West has taken this city out of the hands of the Sultan Solyman, after besieging it for some forty days, not without much labour and the loss of many valiant men. The number of this army cannot certainly be known; but it is beyond all doubt very great, covering the whole face of the country, as could be seen from the walls of the city while the siege was doing. There are many princes of high estate, but none who is acknowledged to be chief of all. Some indeed are more highly esteemed than others, either as having brought to the war a greater multitude of well-equipped soldiers, or as having shown themselves valiant in battle, or as being prudent in counsel, or excellent in temperance and purity of life," The writer of the epistle proceeded to speak of a certain Godfrey of Bouillon as surpassing his fellows, not in one only, but in all these respects. None, he said, had so great a following of men, not less, it was commonly reported, than fourscore thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand horsemen. Now, though some had perished by war and more by disease, yet he had at that present not less than threescore thousand men, and these well equipped and of an excellent conduct, for that there were many in the host that were no less to be dreaded by their friends than by their enemies. Also, he was reported to be right valiant and greatly skilled in arms, prudent in counsel, albeit not one who could conceal his thoughts, but, on the contrary, must ever speak out his mind plainly. Having said so much of the army in general, and of this Godfrey, of whom I heard now for the first time, he wrote these words: "Having talked with one of the scribes who attend at the councils of the chiefs, I have heard a thing which it concerns you to know without delay. It is the purpose of the chiefs when they have rested awhile in this city to march to Jerusalem, but first they will possess themselves of the city of Antioch, for they that know the land are certainly persuaded that Antioch must be first taken before they can safely lay siege to Jerusalem. Do you, therefore, make such preparation as may seem fit to you before the coming of the host, for that it will come in due time you may count for certain. And I would say this to you—Take good care to hide away such wealth as you may have. 'Tis true that in this city of Nicaea good order has been kept, and there has been little plundering or violence. But then the city was surrendered, not taken by force, and it was surrendered not to the princes of the army but to the Emperor of New Rome. Nevertheless there was much murmuring among the common men that they had been defrauded of their rights. This letter I have sent by a messenger whom I know to be trustworthy, with a commandment that he deliver it in your hand with such speed as may be. Another of the same intent I have sent by another hand and another way, so that the news may most certainly reach you. Farewell." And here I may say that this second letter never came into the hands of Cleon. I reckon that the messenger perished on his way.

Of the Besieging of Antioch

I had much talk with Cleon about his affairs, especially as to what it were better for him and his sister to do in view of the present necessity. "I like not these walled towns," said I. "That they are useful for the maintaining of a kingdom I would not deny; but they are, methinks, but ill places wherein to dwell. Let them be fortified as thoroughly as may be, yet are they taken sooner or later, whether by force of arms or by compulsion of famine. And when they are so taken, then are the inhabitants the most miserable of human creatures." To these things he assented, being, as I have said, a young man of a good understanding. So it was agreed that he would not await the coming of the Christian army. He would send the girl his sister to her foster-mother who dwelt, being the wife of one who had merchandise of timber, in the region of Lebanon. Further, we judged it well that he and I should travel westward, and take such occasion as might offer itself of joining ourselves to the army on its march. "For," I said, "I having this physician's craft of mine cannot fail to be welcome; never yet was army that had physicians sufficient for its need. As for you, you may, at the first, for more safety, make as though you were a helper in my work; afterward, if it seem good, you shall follow your own trade; a lender of money will find friends enough wherever he may be."

And this we did. It may be told that when the army departed from Nicaea, the leaders divided it into two parts, holding that the multitude of men and cattle were so great that the country would not by any means support it. Nor would I deny that in this they judged rightly. Nevertheless this same dividing had nearly ended in great trouble, for the enemy following hard on the lesser of the two parts, overtook it at a certain place that is called Dorykeum, and could not be beaten off till after many hours' fighting and much loss of men. We joined ourselves to the larger part when it had accomplished about half of its journey from Nicaea to Antioch. Nor had I misjudged when I said that the army was like to have need of physicians. There was in it most grievous sickness, so that many died from day to day. Also there was that which no art of the physician could heal, extremity of thirst, so that many, especially of the weaker sort, women and children, of whom there was a great multitude, perished miserably. Nevertheless, here also I was able to do some service to the host, for I knew sundry signs by the observing of which water may be found, and that in places which would seem to the unskilful to give no promise of the same.

But when we came to Antioch—and this was some six or seven days after the late equinox—there was much questioning and debate as to what it were best to do. There were many, and those not the least prudent among the chiefs, whose counsel was wholly adverse to the undertaking of a siege. They said that the year was already far spent, and that the time was at hand when our army must needs think of rest rather than of battles, that there was but a scanty store of food, and, finally, a thing that was plainly to be seen and beyond all denial, that a city so great of compass could not be beleaguered by so few. The counsel of these men was that the army should pitch a camp, and this as near to the sea as could be conveniently contrived. "For so," said they, "shall we most easily defend ourselves, having the sea, by which no one can approach save with our good will, on one side; also, we shall be quit of the fevers and other plagues that are gendered in the marshes; and finally we shall be sustained by the corn and other victual that will be brought to us from over sea, whether by friends who wish us well or by merchants in the hope of gain." But the word of those who were for pressing on prevailed, nor can it be doubted but that these latter were in the right. For if the Christians stood aside and left Antioch as being, forsooth, too strong for them, what hope was there that they should possess themselves of Jerusalem? It must be confessed that to besiege so great a city, that had walls and bulwarks and towers so strong, and was also so well provided both with fighting men and munitions of war, was against all common methods of warfare.

But these methods must yield to necessity, and, as I have said, it was a necessity that the Christians should set siege to Antioch. Yet there had not passed a week before it was seen how great a task had been therein undertaken. The land between the camp and the sea was mostly barren, so that little pasture could be found for the horses. But when the Christians went farther afield for forage, then the Turks from the town would set upon them and slay them, and this all the more readily because they were of necessity scattered over a great space of country, seeking for the things of which they had need. It would be long to tell of all these things; one notable example which I saw with my own eyes shall suffice. There went on a certain day about one month after the setting of the siege a company of three hundred men or thereabouts. Being so many, for commonly they that sought for forage went by tens or scores, they took little heed. The enemy, perceiving this from the walls, issued forth and fell upon the men while they were dispersed, and burdened also with loads of forage. They slew some, but when the Christians, being called together by their captains, made head against them, they in their turn fled. Then there came forth others from the town to help them, and others also from the camp crossed by the bridge of boats that the chiefs had made, for all these things were done on the farther side of the river; so there was, so to speak, a set battle, many fighting upon both sides, and not a few being slain. Then the chiefs could not but consider among themselves what would be the end, if, indeed, they must spend so many lives of men in seeking forage for their horses. Therefore they made it an ordinance that none should go a-foraging save under commandment and in a set order. And the order was this, that a hundred men or so should keep the guard. And this availed somewhat, for the men were not slain; yet but little forage was got, for they could not go far, and much also was trampled under foot and lost.

But there were greater troubles to be endured that these. For when the siege had been set about two months or a little more, the victual of the men began to fail. And this was the more grievous, because where things had been in great abundance, now there was want; for the common people, as is their custom, spent and wasted as if, forsooth, there could be no end to their stores. From this there followed many evils. First, the soldiers plundered even their friends, for there were not a few Christians in the country; for what will not hungry men do? so making enemies of them who otherwise had helped them. Secondly, not a few were slain while they sought for food, often at great risk of their lives. Such seeking was, indeed, forbidden by the chiefs; but what did forbidding avail? for the men said, "If we sit still we die; and if the enemy slay us, we die also." And indeed the scarcity was most grievous. A man might eat at a single meal four pennyworth of bread and yet be scarcely satisfied; and a lamb or a kid could scarce be bought for six shillings, whereas but two months before it had not cost more than so many pence. And now the horses fared worse than ever; for such grain as had been got together for them was consumed by the men; nay, they were themselves killed and eaten. Many men died, and they who made shift to live were much spent and weakened. Nor did they suffer from hunger only; for there were great rains, as there are wont to be at this season of the year in this land; and the ground on which the tents were pitched was ofttimes overflowed with water, and the tents themselves well-nigh perished with rottenness and decay. And so it fell out that what with them that were slain by the enemy, and them that perished by hunger and disease, and them that fled away from the camp, the host was minished by half, and yet nothing, so to speak, had been accomplished for the subduing of the city. What would have befallen the army I know not but that by good fortune, or shall I rather say, the good leading of God, two of the chiefs, to wit, the Earl Bohemond, and the Earl of Flanders, having gone far afield, came upon a certain town in which they found a great store of food, and this not guarded of any, so that they took it without let or hindrance, nor lost in the gaining of it so much as a single man. For a while this store held out; they that had money in their pouches fared well, and to them that had not, distribution was made by such as were charitably disposed. But there was end of this store also; then, when things were well-nigh as bad as before, a certain Latinus, whom the Emperor of Rome had sent to stand in his place, coming to the chiefs, said that, if they were willing, he would go to New Rome and advise the Emperor of the straits to which the army had been brought, and return again as speedily as might be with so much victual as could be gotten together. Now this Latinus was a man given to lies and treason, and of this the chiefs were well aware; only they had no testimony whereby to convict him, nor had they reason to deny him, when he proffered such service, therefore they suffered him to depart; but his going was a great discouragement to the army, for no man believed that he had it in his mind to return. "The ship sinks"—this I heard one man say to another, as I walked in the camp on a certain night about this time—"the ship sinks, and this rat would fain leave it."

And now, fortune, who, indeed, is ever mutable in her dealings with men, changed her face and looked with favour on the host. Three things there were which brought with them no small advantage, and these I will now set forth. First, then, the chiefs, by the counsels of the bishops—that is, the chief priests—made certain ordinances for the conduct of the host. It was a great scandal that men who made pretence of fighting in the cause of God should give themselves over to the service of the devil, as many did by all manner of evil living. Now, therefore, an ordinance was passed against drunkenness and lust, and gambling and violence, whether of speech or of act. Such ordinances are often made in vain; but the army was now disposed to repentance, for this mood is wrought in men by suffering and fear, of which there had been no lack in the months now past. And the second cause that worked for good was this, that Duke Godfrey, who had been sick for well-nigh a year, was now recovered. The cause of his sickness, as I heard it from a squire that waited upon him, was this.

It was as the host was passing through the Lesser Asia that the thing happened. Some of the chiefs on a certain day would go a hunting—these men must hunt whatever befall. Now Duke Godfrey, as he rode through the wood by himself alone, was aware of a husbandman that fled from a bear. The man had been felling trees to make fuel for the host, and being surprised by the beast, had much ado to escape. For the bear can overtake a man, run he as quickly as he may; nor will it avail to climb into a tree, by which device other beasts may be avoided, for the bear can climb right well. When the duke saw this husbandman fleeing for his life he drew his sword and took his standing in the way, and the bear left the man and addressed him to the duke. And first the beast, which was a mighty creature, both fierce and strong, smote the duke's horse with his paw on the shoulder so that it fell to the ground. Then the duke, who was as nimble a man as there was in the host, leaping clear of the horse, stood upon his feet, but the bear, running upon him with a most horrible cry, smote him very hardly on the thigh. Then, rising on his hind legs, cast his front paws about him. But the duke, for all that he had been grievously wounded, was not overcome by the beast. He caught him about the neck by the skin with his left hand, and with his right hand drave the sword into his body up to the cross, and so slew him. But no sooner had he so done but he fell to the earth, being faint with much bleeding. There he lay till there came certain men from the camp to fetch him, for the husbandman had advertised them of what had befallen. So they carried him in a litter to the camp. And for many days he lay sick almost to death, but now when the army was in a great strait he was restored to soundness of body, and this, as some said, not without a miracle. Of this I say nothing; but 'tis certain that the news of his well-being was heard with great joy, for the duke was a mighty warrior and a skilful leader of men, and a righteous man also and of a simple heart.

Godfrey of Bouillon


And the third thing that put the army in good heart was that great gifts both of money and of food came to the camp from the Sultan of Egypt. It must be understood that there was an ancient quarrel between the Sultan of Egypt and the Sultan of Syria. Verily it had gone ill with the Christians but for this division among their enemies. But this also must be said, that as they would have fared worse than they did if their adversaries had been at one among themselves, so they would have fared by far better if they on their part had been more at one. But there were many angers and jealousies and envyings, each man seeking his own, and having but little care for the common cause, only the Duke Godfrey was one that set not his own things before the things of the host.

Of the Taking of Antioch

And now all things seemed to work together for the advantage of the besiegers. The governor of the city, Baghasian by name, thought to attack them from all sides at one and the same time, for he knew that they were much wasted by hunger and disease. He sent messengers, therefore, to the chiefs and governors of the country round about, asking of them to gather together by a certain day as many soldiers as they could and with these to approach as secretly as might be the camp of the Christians. But this thing coming to the ears of the Christians that were in the city—and they were both many in number and full of zeal—they sent to the Duke Godfrey warning him of what was about to be done. So the duke, calling the other chiefs, laid a great ambush, six battalions of men, hiding them in a certain place which was the farther side of the river Elper, for this same river was between the camp and the city. So when the enemy approached, not thinking that they should be attacked, for the Christians had not been wont to abide on the farther side of the river, but to cross it only for this occasion or that, then the men that were in ambush rose up suddenly, and fell upon them, and made a great slaughter among them, for they scarce could strike a blow for fear and astonishment. For ten miles or so did the Christians pursue them that fled, and as they came back they threw some heads that they had cut off from the slain over the walls of the town.

After this the Christians established themselves on the far side of the river aforesaid, and for their better protection built two forts, of which the one was kept by a chief of the name of Tancred and the other by the Earl of Toulouse. So a great advance was made, for now the city was besieged not in name only but also in fact, for the inhabitants could no more go in and out freely, as they had been wont to do, neither could they receive provisions of food from the country round about. Also the besiegers possessed themselves of many horses which they found feeding in pastures hard by the city wall. So it came to pass in divers ways that on the one hand the citizens of Antioch were more hardly pressed than before, and on the other hand the besiegers had greater ease and plenty. About this time also, for the year was now more advanced, ships could go to and fro without danger, so that many cargoes of food and other necessary things came to the host. Also there came from a great prince in the west fifty thousand pieces of gold.

And now, again, the Christian men that were in the city of Antioch greatly helped them that were without. Chief among them were two brothers, of an ancient house that was, by origin, of the land of Armenia. These were armourers by occupation, and held in high esteem by the townsfolk for their skill in the making of arms and for their prudence in affairs and also for their riches, for I have noted, having had experience of many years, that poor men, be their virtues how great so ever, are but lightly esteemed. Now the elder of these two brothers was named Pherrus—'twas said that he had professed the faith of Mahomet but was in heart a Christian, but of this I know nothing. This man had a great quarrel with the Turks in Antioch, because of the oppressions wherewith they oppressed his nation, and because also of a private wrong that one of their chief men had done to him. Therefore he sent a messenger to one of the chiefs of the army, Bohemond by name, saying that he would deliver the city into his hand, if he, on his part, would set the matter in order. "And," said he, "whatever you do you must do quickly, for before many days are past, there will come such succour to the Turks that you will not be sufficient to hold your own camp, far less to take the city."

For a while Bohemond said nought to the other chiefs, for his desire was that Antioch should be given over to him for his own possession. In the first place, therefore, he made interest with the chiefs that this should be established by a common agreement. And to this, after a while, all the other chiefs, save only the Earl of Toulouse, gave their consent. About this time the chief men of the city began to have suspicion of treachery. Of certain proof they had none; but they reckoned that the Christians in the city could not but have designs against them, seeing what they had suffered at their hands. They planned, therefore, that there be a common slaughter of them. And when this came to the ears of the said Pherrus, he sent to Bohemond, saying that what he did he must do quickly. "Come, therefore," for such was the message, "to the tower you wot of, and bring with you some stout men armed, and this at midnight, neither before nor after." When the chiefs heard this message, for Bohemond caused the man to deliver it aloud in their presence, they were very glad.

Meanwhile, Baghasian, the governor of the city, sent for Pherrus, thinking that he was well affected to him, and asked him what it were best to do. "For," said he, "I have it in my mind to put all the Christians to death; but this is a great business and cannot be put in hand without much preparation. Come now and say what, in your wisdom, you think it well to do at this present." Then Pherrus said, "If the towers of the wall be safe, then the city cannot be taken. Take care, therefore, that the charge of the towers be committed to trusty men; and, for the greater security, see that the guards of the said towers be often changed." And this he said without changing countenance, and when the governor heard him so speak he put away out of his mind all suspicion, if he had any such, for the counsel was manifestly good.

That same day about the time of sunset it fell out that Pherrus and his brother were together in the principal tower. Now Pherrus had not made trial of his brother in this matter, and, indeed, he doubted not at all but that he would be of one mind with him, for this had been their habit of life to have the same thought about all things. So he said, pointing his hand to the camp of the Christians, "I have a pity of these men, for they have come from far, on a good errand, for so they think it, and now they will all perish miserably." But his brother answered him in much heat, "Your pity, brother, is but ill bestowed; for my part I should much rejoice if the Turks should strike off the heads of all these villains. For surely since they came into the land we have not had peace either by day or by night." When Pherrus heard him speak in this fashion, he was in a strait, for "Now," said he to himself, "my brother being an adversary in this matter, both I and the chief with whom I have made agreement must perish miserably." And then he did a most dreadful deed, for he smote his brother with a dagger, he being wholly unaware, and the man fell to the ground stone dead, without so much as a groan.

When it was midnight Bohemond came, as had been agreed, to the bottom of the tower, and he carried with him a ladder of cords, with hooks of iron wherewith it might be fastened to the wall. And when the guard that walked upon the wall had passed by, then Pherrus let down from the tower a rope wherewith he drew up the ladder of cords, and made the hooks fast in the wall. Then Bohemond climbed up the ladder, and when he came to the top, said Pherrus to him, "Come now, and I will give you such proof of my good faith as never has been shown to any man before." And he drew away a cloak that he had laid on the dead body of his brother, saying, "See this man; he was my brother; we never had strife since we were children, yet I slew him because he was not of one mind with me in this matter."

Now the other chiefs that had come to the place with Bohemond doubted. And when they delayed to climb into the tower by the ladder, then Bohemond descended, and said to them, "This man is faithful if ever man was. Even now he has showed to me the dead body of his brother, whom he slew for our sakes, because he was his adversary in this matter. Come now, and spend no more time in vain, for even yet, if we make not good haste, the whole enterprise will come to nothing." So Bohemond mounted the ladder, and the other chiefs followed him without more ado, and they mastered the tower, and slew the watch.

Now the chiefs had given commandment that companies of men should be ready within cry of the walls, so that, so soon as the signal should be given, they should be ready to bear aid. So Bohemond and his comrades, having slain the warders of the gates, set them wide open, calling to the companies that waited outside. Thus it came to pass that after a siege of nigh upon nine months the city of Antioch was taken, and that without the losing of so much as a single man. How many of the citizens and soldiers were slain I know not. This I can write of my own knowledge, that the streets were full of dead bodies, when I passed into the town on the day following. 'Twas said by some that as many as ten thousand were slain on that night. This I know not; but 'tis certain that many perished, and not fighting men only. As for Baghasian he was overtaken when he sought to fly, and was slain.

How the Christians were Besieged in Antioch

Thus it came to pass that the host of the Christians gained the city of Antioch. But as it often falls out that a man finds cause to repent him of having accomplished his device, so was it in this matter.

In the first place the city was not wholly taken, for there yet remained to the Turks a strong fortress that was built upon a hill in the midst of the city. So strong was it that the chiefs concluded that it might not be taken, save only by hunger. The Christians, therefore, had the city, yet was there an enemy hard at hand, and watching ever when he could do them the most grievous harm.

In the second place, there was no food in the city, no, nor in the country round about, so that the Christians made no gain save only that they could dwell under roofs rather than in tents.

In the third place, and this was by far the worst trouble of all, they had been in the city but two days or so when they were themselves besieged. For Baghasian had sent messengers while the siege was yet a-doing to all the princes of the countries round about, begging help of them. And now there came a great army, of which Kerboga, Lord of Aleppo, was the chief commander, and took up its lodging before the town. And when one of the knights, being the chief under Duke Robert of Normandy, went out to meet them, his name being Roger de Bounville, he was slain by an arrow from a bow. His companions made great lamentation over him, for he was a very valiant knight and much beloved. And on the next day also Duke Godfrey himself, sallying out against the enemy, suffered greatly at their hands, so that he went back into the town with two hundred less in his following than when he had gone forth. By these things the Christians were greatly disheartened and the Turks put in good courage. Also they that were in the citadel became the bolder and did not a little damage; at the same time the blockade was broken, for the Sultan Kerboga was able to come and go freely as he would.

But the very worst of all the things that the Christians suffered was the famine, which now was so grievous that it was well-nigh past bearing. That men should eat camels and horses and asses was but a small matter, for the flesh of these creatures is not wholly distasteful. Nay, I doubt not but that many eat of them without knowing. But now there was such hunger that cats and dogs, yea, and fouler creatures than these, as rats and the like, were greedily devoured. And herein there was plainly to be seen how great was the difference between man and man; for some, though gently born, could not endure the craving of hunger, but without shame would beg and even steal, and others chose rather to shut themselves up in their houses, and die without any having knowledge of their pain. Then you might see men, once valiant and strong, scarce able to walk for weakness. Nor was there any difference between rich and poor; for food could not be bought for money, how great soever the sum.

And now some of the chiefs stole away by night, seeking for some place where they might eat a morsel of bread; and doubtless many more had so gone, but that the Turks, sending some horsemen to the port of the city, slew all the seamen whom they found, and burnt all their ships. And this turned out both for good and evil; for good, because without doubt many more had fled, to the great weakening of the army, but that they could no more go by sea; for evil, because there no longer came any victual by this way into the city.

And now the Christians were disappointed of yet another hope. For the Emperor of New Rome had gathered together an army wherewith to succour them. But even when he was on his way, having accomplished something about half of his journey, there met him one of the captains, who turned him from his purpose. This man told him how that the Christians had lately taken Antioch, and this by the treachery of a citizen, after a nine months' siege, and how that they were themselves besieged in the city, and could not by any means hold out till help should come. So the Emperor turned back, not wholly against his will, for he was one who sought to gain his ends by craft rather than by force. This was a great discouragement, though there were some who said that the coming of the Emperor would have been for ill rather than for good, because he would have sought to take for himself all the glory and profit of the war. But such, I take it, were of those who are wise after the event. None looked for glory or profit in the days of which I now write. It was enough if a man kept his faith, and did that which it was his duty to do. Not all, indeed, were so minded. As for the common men, they were so negligent and so hung back when they were called to go forth against the enemy that Bohemond was constrained to set fire to the houses in which they had hidden themselves. As for the chiefs and captains, many, as I have said, did secretly flee from the place, and others were minded to do the same, but that shame held them back, and that the better sort were instant with them that they should not so break their oath.

Chief among those who stood firm in their own purpose and kept up the hearts of others were Bohemond, who was styled Prince of Antioch, for the city had been given to him, and he was loath to give up so noble a possession, and Duke Robert of Normandy, and, chiefest and most honourable of all, the Duke Godfrey. But it was a time of sore trouble. I do remember a day when it was noised abroad through the city that one of the bravest knights of the army had died of hunger. I do believe that if the enemy had come up to the gates that day there were many that would have opened them to him, thinking that it would be more tolerable to die speedily by the sword than to perish slowly by hunger.

And now there came to pass a thing of which I will not take it upon myself to judge, but which I will relate as far as my knowledge serves. The chiefest church in the city of Antioch bears the name of the Apostle Peter, and stands in the chief square of the city. Now on a certain day there was made a proclamation to this purpose: "Let all men that are minded to hear good tidings assemble at noon in the great square." So the whole multitude was gathered together, and to them came forth one of the chief men of the army, a certain bishop from the land of France. He stood upon one of the towers of the church, where he could be seen of all and heard of many, for the square is very great, and no voice of mortal man could by any means reach to the farthest part. Now this is what I, who stood within a stone's cast of the said tower, heard and saw. The bishop spake thus: "Yesterday there came to me a certain clerk of my company who said that he had seen in a vision Andrew the Apostle, and that the said Apostle would have the captains of the army search in the church for a great treasure that was there hidden. The said clerk told me that the vision had been seen of him three times, that he had feared to tell the matter lest he should be scorned, and that the third time the Apostle had made as if he would smite him with a staff which he bore in his hand. So under constraint of fear he came to me and related to me the vision, and I told it to the captains of the host. So we went together to the church, to the place of which the clerk made us aware, for he had given me signs by which I might know it, and then, having first put up prayers to Almighty God, we dug, and after a while we came to a flat stone, whereon was graven in letters such as men were wont to use a thousand years ago, HERE IS LAID THE SPEAR WITH WHICH THE LORD CHRIST WAS PIERCED.

And when the Bishop had said these words, the Duke Godfrey, who stood by him, knelt upon his knees, and held out to him the part of a spear, some seven feet in length, and the Bishop, first bending his knees to the earth, then took the spear in his hands, and kissed it three times, and held it so that it might be seen of the multitude. And all they who had heard the words of the Bishop fell upon their knees, and they who stood too far away for hearing took them for an example and did the same. Then the Bishop cried aloud, "This is the Spear of the Lord's deliverance." And it came to pass that in a marvellous short time every man, not in the square only, but in the whole city, knew what had befallen.

So much I heard, and to this I give my witness. And I give my testimony also to this, that from this finding of the spear there came a marvellous encouragement and renewing of strength to the whole army. There were some who said that the whole matter was a cunningly contrived device of the captains. Be that as it may, 'tis most certain that a new spirit came upon all men. It seemed as if they were no more troubled with sickness or hunger or trouble, but were as lusty in body and confident in spirit as they had ever been in the time of their greatest prosperity.

These things being so, the chiefs and captains of the host were minded to make good use of the occasion. First, division was made of all stores that yet remained in the city; 'twas but a scanty supply, yet there was enough that all should have a little. And this also was a great encouragement. Then word went through the city that all should prepare themselves for battle on the morrow, and there was much sharpening of swords and spears, and the getting ready of such other things as were needed.

On the morrow, therefore, at break of day, the host went forth in twelve battalions, each under its proper leader, of which it will suffice to make mention of the first, which was led by Hugh, brother of the King of France; and the third, which had Duke Robert of Normandy for its leader; and the fourth, under the bishop of whom I have spoken above; and the seventh, under Duke Godfrey; and the twelfth, which followed Bohemond, Prince of Antioch. And in each battalion were to be seen the priests clad in white robes and other vestments such as they are wont to bear, and before all, the Spear of Deliverance.

There is no need to write many things of the battle of that day. The Turks fought valiantly, at the first as being confident of victory, for they thought to themselves, "How can these Christians, being almost dead of hunger, stand up against us?" and afterwards as loath to lose that which they had counted upon as being already gained. Nor did they fail, in one place and another, to hold their ground, and even to drive back their adversaries. So, for example, the battalion of Bohemond had been routed but for the present help which Duke Godfrey brought to it. But, on the other hand, the Christians fought as men moved by the very Spirit of God. They that were the bravest among them showed such courage that they may be said to have surpassed themselves, and they that had at other times but common courage, might now be counted among the bravest; and the cowards—for cowards there are in every multitude of men—were moved that day, if never on any other day in their whole lives, to be brave. And so it fell out that they won a great victory. For many hours the armies contended not unequally, though from the very first the Christians had somewhat the advantage. But when the sun began to decline, then the leader of the Turks, the Sultan Kerboga, fled from the battle. And when his men knew that they were without a leader, they were greatly troubled. No man thought but of his own life and how he might best save it, and fled with all the speed that he might use. There was a great slaughter that day, and there had been a greater but that the horsemen of the Christians dared not to follow the Turks, for fear lest their horses should fail beneath them. Only the Lord Tancred, and some four thousand men with him, pursued after the enemy. And these slew till they were weary of slaying, for, indeed, there befell that which was spoken by a prophet of old time, "A thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one."

It was a great victory, and the reward was great, for the camp was as richly furnished and as full of good things as was ever camp in the world, and I have seen many. There was a great abundance of gold and silver, both in ingots and in money, and tapestry and garments of silk. Oxen there were also, and sheep and goats, and wheat and meal, so much that they who but on the morning of this day would willingly have given a gold piece for a handful, had now more than they cared to carry away. But of all the marvels in the camp was the pavilion of the Sultan Kerboga. This was made in the fashion of a city, with the towers wrought of fine silk. There were streets within it as of a town, and one great tent in which there might have sat two thousand men. This great victory was won at the time of the summer solstice.

Of the March to Jerusalem

There were some that thought that the enemy having been routed and the stores replenished, the host should, after some days, maybe, of rest, march forward to their journey's end, that is, to the city of Jerusalem. This counsel, beyond all doubt, was pleasing to the multitude, but it was not approved by the chiefs. Some man will say, Who shall judge in such a matter but the chiefs, to whom the government of the host has been committed? Nor will I deny that such an one has reason on his side. Nevertheless I hold, having had no small experience in such matters, that the common folk, having a more single mind, are wont to have a more clear vision of the thing that it is best to do. So assuredly was it at the time of which I now write. The leaders of the host sought each man for his own. One would be lord of this city and another lord of that. Some cared for ease, and some were moved by ambition, and others were greedy of gain. I say not that none of the common folk cared for these things. They were a mixed multitude, both good and bad, as armies are wont to be; that they were more given to cruelty and wickedness than others is not a thing to be believed. Only men looked that they should be better than they were, aye, or than they could be. Truly men do not change their natures because they wear a cross upon their breasts. Be this as it may, 'tis certain that the common men were urgent that the army should march without delay to Jerusalem, while the captains were busy with other things.

That there were causes of hindrance cannot, indeed, be denied. First it was but decent that the churches in Antioch, which had been shamefully misused and defiled by the Turks, should be restored and beautified. Then there befell a sore visitation of the plague, by which many died, and among them that bishop of whom I have spoken before in the matter of the finding of the spear. Also there came ambassadors from the Emperor of New Rome, demanding that the city of Antioch should be delivered up to him, to whom it was answered that the Emperor had not, for his part, kept the covenant which he had made, and that he could not in reason demand such keeping from others.

Then the leaders sent an embassy to the Sultan of Egypt, if perchance he might be willing to give up the Holy City without further strife, to whom the answer was made that the pilgrims might enter the city, but to the number of two hundred only, and these not bearing arms. When the Duke Godfrey heard this he cried aloud, "Tell your master that we will go with as many thousands as we will, and bearing our arms and with our banners duly ranged." In these and other things many days were spent to no purpose, and still the common folk complained concerning the delay, and were more and more urgent that the army should go forward. So at the last it came to this that they affirmed that if their captains made yet further delay, then they would choose leaders for themselves, and advance whether the others would or would not. When the Earl of Toulouse heard these words he was not a little moved, and he persuaded the captains, though much against the will of certain of them, that they should fix a day for the setting out. And the day fixed was the fifteenth from that on which the council of the captains was held, being the first day of the new year, as the years are reckoned in eastern lands.

On this day, therefore, according to his promise made, the Earl of Toulouse set forth, having with him some ten thousand men, of whom three hundred only were mounted on horses. (The greater part of the host still tarried at Antioch.) And now it seemed as if all the difficulties of the enterprise were done with. The march was easy; there were no enemies within sight; and all the towns and villages which the army passed on its way brought forth store of provisions and other gifts.

Two months after the setting forth of the Earl of Toulouse the remaining part of the army marched from Antioch, and of these there were twenty-five thousand men, well armed all of them.

But now there befell a great trouble, for coming to a certain town, Archis by name, they besieged it, and would have taken it by storm but could not, but lost many men, to the great grief and displeasure of the army. And now men began to murmur about the spear that had been found in the church at Antioch, saying that it was a false device that had been contrived for the deceiving of the people. The chief of the murmurers was one Arnold, a priest, who was in the company of Duke Robert of Normandy, a learned man, but of an evil life. Then the clerk that had told the matter of the vision to the chiefs came forward and said, "I am ill content to lie under this accusation. Let me now have the trial of fire; so shall it be known whether I am a true man or no." A great fire, therefore, was made, and the said clerk passed through it, holding the spear in his hand. And when he came forth on the farther side, he seemed as if he had suffered no hurt. Great was the rejoicing, and the people made much ado with him, kissing his hands, and doing him honour in many ways. But it fell out that some two days after the man died; some said that the fire had indeed done him hurt, though not to outward appearance; but others affirmed that he had suffered hurt from the crowding of the people. And so the matter was left in doubt.

So the army, leaving Archis on one side, proceeded to the region of the Three Cities, whose governor persuaded the leaders of the host to leave the cities unhurt, giving them for a price fifteen thousand pieces of gold. While the army tarried in this country there came certain men from Mount Lebanon, Christians by faith, to salute the chiefs. These men gave good counsel about the way by which the host should go to Jerusalem, saying that the way by the coast was easier, and that it would be profitable to have the ships at hand. This counsel they followed, and on the first day they came to Bibelim, and on the third to Beyrut. For the most part these journeyings were made in peace and quiet, but as they passed by Sidon the governor of the city issued forth from the gates with a great company of horsemen, and fell upon them, but received more hurt than he gave. So they came, by sundry stages which it profits not to relate, to the city of Caesarea, where they kept the feast that is called Pentecost. And it should be noted that they had spent a full year, short by eighteen days, since they had put the Sultan Kerboga to flight before Antioch.

From Caesarea the host went by the road that all men who have dwelt in these parts know well to Jerusalem. And there came to meet it a company of Christian men from Bethlehem, who were ready to do all service that they could, delivering their town into the hands of the chiefs, and giving such other help as might be needed. And many of the host went to see the Church of Bethlehem; for this is built in the place of the stable wherein the Lord Christ was born. And when they had seen this then they were for going on to Jerusalem. By this time it was night; but they were hardly content to abide the day. And as soon as ever it was dawn then they hastened on the way to Jerusalem, not thinking of aught but that they had now come to the end of their pilgrimage. There were many who did not so much as stay to take their arms, so eager were they. Nevertheless, certain knights and men-at-arms went with them, who should be as a guard if the Turks should chance to issue forth against them. And when they came within sight of the walls and towers of the city, then they took off the shoes from their feet and lifted up their hands to heaven. There were but few out of the many that had set forth, and these spent with travel and suffering, but all things were forgotten. Never did I see a company of men so carried out of themselves with joy.

Of the Besieging and Taking of Jerusalem

The host without delay set themselves to the work of besieging the city, or maybe I should rather say assailing the same, for there was much lacking to a siege. It were long to tell all the matters wherein this lack consisted. Nor, indeed, could they be comprehended of any save those who know how the city lies, of what kind are the walls, and what cliffs and precipices and the like there are which serve for a defence beyond all walls. Let it suffice, therefore, to say that one-half of the city was not besieged. On the fifth day after the host was set in array there was made an assault, and that with so much hardihood that the town was well-nigh taken; and it was afterwards said, and this by some who were of high place among the Turks, that if the assault had endured but the space of two hours more the enemy would have given place, so astonished and dismayed were they at the fierceness and valour of the Christians. But the captains, seeing that the city was not taken at the first charge, and that many were slain, sounded a retreat. After this they held a council, at which it was determined to make engines for the beating down of the walls; and when they had found such trees as were fit for this purpose, and this was no easy thing, they applied themselves to the work with much diligence. There was not a man, though ever so rich and noble, but set his hand to the labour. Also, the wealthy men paid wages to the country people round about that the matter might be more speedily brought to an end. The Turks, on the other hand, applied themselves diligently to the making of engines and such other things as might serve for the defending of the walls; and they had this advantage, that there was a better store of timber, and that tried and seasoned, within the town than without. But the besiegers were greatly helped by certain men that came from the town of Genoa, for these were right skilful carpenters, and had had much experience in the making of engines.

When a month and certain days had passed, and all things were ready for the assault, the bishops admonished the captains of the host that they should put aside all anger and jealousy and quarrels that each had against the other, and should pardon all offence received and acknowledge all offence given, for so, thus said they, it will be better for you, whether it be God's will that you live or that you die. And this they did, and all that were in the host confessed their sins and vowed amendment of life.

This done, and when the captains had changed their plans, leaving one part of the city for another, to the great perplexity of the Turks, at dawn of day the assault was made. And in this all helped, even the old men and the women and the children, for they carried stones and missiles and other weapons of war which the strong men might use. But at the first it seemed as if little could be done, for there was a deep ditch between the walls and the besiegers, and though these last threw darts and stones and such like things without ceasing, they harmed the Turks but little, and suffered themselves not less but rather more. So all that day the besiegers and the besieged fought, with but little advantage to one side or the other, save that they who defend themselves, having shelter, suffer less than they who attack. And when the night fell then there was of necessity a pause in the fighting, and the besiegers went back to their tents for food and rest. But they left many men well armed, who had charge to keep the engines. The Turks also left guards at all places in the wall where there was a likelihood of attack. They were not a little troubled in mind, because they feared enemies from within the city as well as enemies from without. There were many Christian men dwelling in the city, and these bore no goodwill to the Turks. I take it that there was little sleep that night in the camp of the Christians. I myself wandered to and fro, and heard the men as they talked in their tents or by the fires. There was no boastful speech such as one is wont to hear at such times. Men talked of what they had left undone rather than of what they had done. They seemed to me like to men who would perish rather than fail in the thing on which they had set their hearts. I knew not indeed how the city would be taken, but that it would be taken I did not doubt.

So the next day, so soon as it was light, there was a renewing of the assault. And now there befell two things, both very strange, the one of which I saw with my own eyes, the other was affirmed to me by credible witnesses. First, the Turks set upon one of the towers that are upon the wall three women clothed in white garments. These stood in the sight of all, and lifting up their voices chanted certain words, which I, having some knowledge of the tongue in which they spake, knew to be a curse on the Christian works and ways, and especially on the engines of siege. At the first the Christians stood not a little astonished at the sight, but after a while one that had the charge of a great catapult took aim at the women, and, though the place whereon they stood seemed to be beyond the cast of a stone, he struck the very top of the tower, and it fell with a great ruin to the ground. The second wonder I will now relate. And this, as I have said, I saw not with my own eyes, but I heard it from many that affirmed themselves to have so seen it. In the very heat of the battle, when the besiegers had spent their first strength and were now growing somewhat weary, and were losing heart, there appeared on the top of the hill which is called the Mount of Olives the figure of a knight, clad in shining armour, very bright to look upon. And he held in his hand a shield, as it seemed, of gold, which he shook. And when the besiegers saw it they were greatly encouraged; and after this—so they that told me of this thing affirmed—there was no falling back. I would not deny that these spake truly because I myself saw it not. It was a sign, I hold, for the fighters, and for the fighters only. As for me, I did according to my usual custom, following the army, and giving such help as it was in me to give to the wounded.

As for the manner in which the city was taken I cannot speak exactly, but this I may say, that I never have seen men bear themselves more bravely. Aye, and I must needs make mention of the women also, who, though they were not able to bear arms, yet went through the host carrying pots of water, wherewith they refreshed those who were ready to faint for thirst. And some of the women also and of the followers of the camp, men that sold food and drink, and did service with the horses and other like manners, brought up faggots of wood and such like matter, so that the soldiers in a very brief time were able to fill up a part of the ditch and to come close upon the walls. And now there was done, by the counsel of Duke Godfrey, a thing which more than any other served towards the taking of the city. The Turks had set upon the walls great bags of cotton and of hay, to the end that the force of the stones cast by the engines might be spent upon them, and the walls therefore suffer the less damage. Then the duke cried aloud that he would give five gold pieces to any man who, climbing the walls, should set fire to this cotton and hay. And this was very shortly done; and then straightway rose up such flame and smoke that the Turks could no longer stand upon the wall, for the wind, it should be said, blowing towards the town, carried it into their faces and sorely discomfited them. So they left defending the walls, and descended into the town with the purpose of defending the streets.

Thus did the Christians enter the City of Jerusalem. And the first that entered was the Duke Godfrey; after him came Duke Robert of Normandy, and, after him again the Earl of Flanders and Tancred. When this was done, Duke Godfrey sent some who should open the gates of the city, so that all might come in without let or hindrance. And this was done on Friday, the fifteenth day of July. And they that are curious in such matters, noted that the hour at which the gates were opened —being the manifest sign that the city was indeed taken—was noon, at which time the Lord Christ was crucified; also that the whole time of the siege was forty days.

Of that which was done in the city after it was thus taken I must needs write, but I do it with no little shame. That the Christians had suffered much from the hands of the Turks, not only in the spoiling of their goods but in their persons and lives, is most certain. Many such things I have seen with my own eyes. But for such deeds as were wrought that day, who can make excuse? And first it should be said that of the fighting men there scarcely escaped a single one, and the cause was this. While the Duke Godfrey assaulted the city on the one side, the Earl of Toulouse assaulted it on the other; and he also won his way within. The Turks, therefore, that fled from the duke fell into the hands of the earl, and were slaughtered without mercy. But of this slaying of the men of war I say not much; 'tis ever done in the heat of battle; they that spare the vanquished do it for the sake of gain, hoping to have ransom. I do not doubt that the Turks had done the same in the like case. But the slaying of the women and children was a most terrible deed. Nor was it done in the heat of battle only; for after the victory was assured them the soldiers searched the houses, and any that they found therein they brought them forth and slew them in the streets. 'Twas an awful sight, and the channels ran with blood.

How Duke Godfrey was Chosen King, and of His End

The first care of the leaders of the host was to make the city sure, setting a watch that the gates should be duly kept. For though all the Turks within the city had been slain, there were yet many without, and the Christians were alone in the land, with enemies on every side of them. This done, when also they had taken a little rest and food, of which things they had, as may easily be believed, no small need, they put aside their arms and armour and went to the holy places, and chief of all to the Holy Sepulchre. With many tears they went, though they wept for joy rather than for grief. Nor would I deny that they had true joy in their hearts, aye, and some sorrow for their sins. It was, indeed, a great day, and there was scarce a man but was carried out of himself. 'Twas out of this exaltation of spirit, I doubt not, that there was spread abroad among the people a marvellous report to this effect; that many soldiers and pilgrims, that had perished on the way in battle or by disease, appeared unto their comrades in the streets of the Holy City. How this may have been I know not. None such appeared unto me, but then it was not to be looked for that they should. But the temper of men's minds was such in those days that there was nothing, however marvellous, that might not readily be believed.

Provision having been made for the safe keeping of the city, the next care was that it should be defended from a danger that was more to be dreaded than any force or stratagem of the enemy, to wit, pestilence. So the pilgrims gathered together out of the streets and the houses and out of the Temple, for here there had been a very great slaughter, all the dead bodies; these they buried in pits without the walls. Also they cleansed the churches, and set all things in the city in order.

Godfrey of Bouillon


On the eighth day after the taking of the city the nobles met together for the choosing of a king. They inquired with no small pains into the life and conversation of all those that seemed to be likeliest for this honour, calling as witnesses them who seemed the best able to speak, to whom also they gave a pledge of safety that their truth-telling should not turn to their hurt. What they heard about others I know not, and, indeed, all that had part or lot in this inquiry were bound under oath to secrecy; but it was credibly reported that no fault of life and manners was alleged against Duke Godfrey, save only that he was over fond of church-going, practising this to the neglect of other business, and also that he spent more of his substance than was convenient on the adorning of the churches wherein he was wont to worship. That he was a skilful man-at-arms and a wise counsellor all knew, for they had seen it by proofs without number, nor did they forget that when he was absent the affairs of the army seemed to languish, and that they revived when he was present. Some, indeed, favoured the Earl of Toulouse; but they were not earnest for him. So, without more delay than of a few hours or so, Duke Godfrey was chosen king, to the great delight of the common folk, and, I do believe, of the captains also. It may be some of them desired to have the dignity for themselves, but there was scarce one of them but would have put this same duke in the second place. And as in mind and temper, so in look and to the eyes of men he was right worthy of his place, for he was of a stately presence and strong beyond that which is common among men. I myself saw him in a certain battle cleave a Turk in twain from the crown of his head to his saddle. Many tales were told of his strength and courage; many also of his liberal soul. One of these I will relate even as it was related to me, by one that had followed him from his native country.

A certain noble of that same land sued the Duke Godfrey at law before the emperor, claiming for himself a great portion of the land which had come to the duke by inheritance. The pleading of this suit took a long time, and the witnesses that were called did not agree, some affirming one thing on oath and others another; also the lawyers differed from each other. At last the emperor, being greatly wearied of the matter, said, "Let this suit be judged by wager of battle." And the two willingly agreed, for both were great warriors, and had never been vanquished by any man. So, on a certain day, when the lists had been set, and the emperor himself sat to see the trial, the two fought together. After a while, when many blows had been given and received, the duke smote his adversary so hard a stroke that his sword was broken in pieces, there remaining in his hand no more than a single foot of the blade together with the hilt. When they that looked on saw this thing, they would have had the emperor stay the fight. To them the emperor gladly consented, having a right good opinion of the two, and being loath that either should suffer hurt. But the duke would have no peace. "Hinder me not," he cried, "this is my sword; so long as I am content with it, no man may stay me from using it." Now the adversary, having his sword whole, made no doubt but that he could easily overpower the duke, and so, maybe, bore himself less heedfully than was fitting. Certain it is that the duke took him unawares, and dealt him so mighty a blow with the pommel of his sword on the left temple of his head that he fell from his horse and lay as a dead man on the ground, moving neither hand nor foot. When the duke saw this, he lighted down from his horse and took the sword out of his adversary's hand. Then he stood before the emperor, having the sword in his hand, and said, "Now, my lord, I am willing to have peace; furthermore, I grant all that this my cousin has sued for," for the man was near of kin to him. "This I would not do of constraint; but now, having cleared my honour, I fully grant it. And, indeed, it pleases me well that I may have my kinsman alive though it be by the loss of my land."

When the duke was made king, the chiefs and nobles would have had him crowned, as is the custom of such as are advanced to this dignity or succeed to it by inheritance. But he would have none of such honours. "Nay," said he, "in this Holy City where our Saviour Christ was content to wear a crown of thorns I will not wear a crown of gold." So humble of heart was he. To this it agrees that when the messengers of a certain king came to him bearing gifts, they found him in plain garb, sitting on the ground, and could scarce believe that this was the King of Jerusalem, save that they saw how mighty he was to look upon and of how majestic a countenance.

There is no need to tell of all the labours and trouble that came upon Duke Godfrey after that he was thus made king. Truly he also had a crown of thorns, for he had no rest for body or soul so long as he held the kingdom. But this holding was for a very short space. After he had delivered the city, not once or twice only, from great dangers, he was moved to make an expedition beyond Jordan into the of Arabia. And this he did by reason of his poverty, for there came no revenue to him, so that he could not pay his soldiers, nor yet give them victual. In Arabia he gathered and a hire great spoil of gold and silver, and of kine and sheep. Also, some of the princes of the land gave him many gifts. I have heard it said that one of these princes came into the camp and being hospitably received made bold to ask the king to show him some token of his strength, "for," said he, "it has been told to me that there is no man in the world that can strike so heavy a blow." "Nay," said the king, "that may hardly be true. I doubt not that there are many better than I. Nevertheless as King David by the help of his God could break bow of steel and leap over a wall, so can I strike a blow." Thereupon he took out his sword, and with a single stroke shore off the head of a camel that stood by.

After this the prince could not make enough of the king, sending him gifts of gold and jewels and victual without end. But it was an ill journey for him and for his people, for as he was on his way returning to Jerusalem he fell sick of a fever of which after not many days, he died. And yet when 'tis said that he died of the fever this is but half the truth. For he was worn out both by great troubles of mind and by many ailments of body, for he was wont to spare neither the one nor the other, so that he did his whole duty both to God and to man. I do not doubt that if it had been possible for him to go back to his home so soon as the city was taken he might have lived even to old age, for he was scarce fifty years when he died. But God would have it otherwise, constraining him, if I may so say, to take the kingdom of Jerusalem, than which there was not, I do verily believe, a more uneasy place in the whole world. This kingdom he held for a year less by four days. They buried him with much lamentation and mourning, not of the Christians only but of all that dwelt in the city, whether Jews or Mahomedans. And the place which they chose for his grave was the Mount Calvary.

Of the Kingdom in Jerusalem

That the King's throne in Jerusalem was not a seat to be desired I have said already. Nevertheless when it became empty by the death of the Duke Godfrey, there was no little contention about it. The said duke was childless, and the next of kin to him was his brother Baldwin, prince of the city of Edessa; but there were some of the chief men of the Christians who were but ill content that he should have this honour. And foremost among these were certain of the chief priests or bishops. These men are commonly not content with authority in spiritual things, but would fain have the power in temporal things also. So it was that when the Duke Godfrey was made king he had granted to the chief bishop, whom men also named Patriarch, certain portions of the city, to wit, the Sepulchre itself, and the tower that is called the Tower of David, and with these the whole town of Jaffa. Also it was covenanted between these two, the duke being a humble mail and holding the bishops in great reverence, that if the said duke should die childless, then the Patriarch should have Jaffa and the whole city of Jerusalem to deal with as it should please him.

But when this became known the princes took it so ill, that the Patriarch thought it the most prudent part not to claim all these things, but to be content with those that he had. So the choice of a king who should come after Duke Godfrey came to the nobles. Some of these were for choosing Bohemond, Prince of Antioch; others favoured the Earl of Toulouse, but the greater part were zealous for Baldwin. And these latter prevailed. Now the doings of Baldwin in time past had pleased his comrades but little. He was, as it seemed, a self-seeker. Nevertheless, when he was promoted to the kingdom of Jerusalem, he bore himself most wisely and dutifully. It may be that he had more prudence in worldly affairs; certain it is that the affairs of the kingdom prospered greatly in his hands. He held his place for some eighteen years, and died in the land of Egypt, whither he had gone with as great an army as he could bring together, for he judged, and not without reason, that if he could conquer Egypt, from which his adversaries drew the greater part of their revenue, he need have no further fear for his kingdom. Of the time that followed there is no need for me to write particularly. I myself dwelt in Egypt, whither I had gone with King Baldwin, nor was it in my mind to return to Jerusalem, where there was much that it troubled me much to see. I have dwelt in the city or near to it for many years, and have seen it under many rulers; but never have known it in more evil case than it was after it had become the possession of the Christians. And this I say of my own experience, and also from report of those who, to the best of my belief, spake truly. When things were at the worst, and this was after the time of which I have written above, I was elsewhere; but there were many of my acquaintances who could speak concerning these things of their own knowledge.

It will suffice then to say that there reigned in Jerusalem, after the brothers Godfrey and Baldwin, of whom I have spoken above, six kings. Of their doings whether for good or evil I speak not. Let this only be said, that their dominion grew weaker and weaker from year to year. Yet there were among them men both of courage and good counsel. But it passed all human skill to keep such a kingdom in prosperity. It was, indeed, as if a man should cut off a branch from a tree and with great pains and labour plant it in the ground. Such a branch must needs fade for all that may be done to make it to flourish.

Yet there was not wanting help from the kingdoms of the West. The Holy City being now in the hands of Christian princes, the multitude of pilgrims greatly increased; and these brought with them not a little gold and silver. Some indeed were little else than beggars, who had to be fed by the public charity, aye, and buried at the public cost. But there were also men of high degree and not a few noble ladies also, and wealthy merchants who dispensed their bounty and offerings with an open hand. The citizens had scarcely had bread to eat but for these pilgrims; for of trade there was none, save in stocks and stones which were held to be blessed, as coming from a holy place, and no tilling of the ground, nor any other of the things out of which come the increase and nurture of a state. And not only did the wealth of the kingdom grow less, save as it was so replenished, but the men also. For of the men of war that came with Duke Godfrey and his companions some went back to their native countries, and they that stayed grew old and in the course of nature died, nor were there any, save by chance from among the pilgrims of the meaner sort, to take their place. So the decay of the kingdom was great.

In the reign of Baldwin the Third, who was the fifth of the kings of Jerusalem, there came from the West a great army, I should rather say, two great armies, for the jealousy of their leaders suffered them not to unite. Nor, indeed, is this jealousy to be wondered at, for now the leaders were great kings, who might well be jealous of what the one might gain in honour or power; and great was the trouble that arose therefrom. For first the Emperor Conrad marching, as Duke Godfrey and his comrades had done before him, across the Lesser Asia, when he came to a river that is called Maeander, was encountered by the Sultan of the Turks. He prevailed, indeed, in the battle, but with so great loss to his army that he was fain to turn back. Nor did King Louis fare better, going well-nigh the same way and meeting with the like trouble. Being a hasty and impatient prince, he separated himself with his own knights from his army, and the Turks fell upon him unawares so that he barely escaped alive. After this these two with such soldiers as were yet left to them, having hired ships from the Greeks, came to the land of Palestine and so to Jerusalem. And being there they knew not what they might best do. Then some one, but who it was I know not, neither can I say whether it was in good faith or no, said to the two, "See, there is Damascus, than which there is no fairer or wealthier city in the world. Why do you suffer it to be in the power of the infidels?" When they heard this they were ready to make war on Damascus, thinking to gain not glory only but also wealth, for they had spent on their expedition all that they had, aye and more also. And when they asked consent of King Baldwin he did not hinder them, for he would gladly have them away from Jerusalem, and knew also that if Damascus should be taken from the Turks, it would turn greatly to his own profit. Nor did he give his counsel only but his help also.

But the matter prospered not. At the first, indeed, all things seemed to go well, for the Turks could not abide the onset of the Christians in the field, but fled before them in great confusion. 'Twas told me in truth by one that was present on that day that had the Christains but followed up their victory, they had made their way into the city of Damascus along with their adversaries. But yet again they were kept back from victory by their own divisions and jealousies, for the thing with which they were chiefly concerned was not so much that the city should be taken, as that they might acquire for this nation or for that the greater share of the honour and the profit. So when the army had lain before the walls some four months, and had lost many not so much by the chances of war as by want of food and disease, they left off besieging the city and returned to Jerusalem. After this the emperor and the king went back to their own houses, having spent many lives of men and much treasure to no purpose. And now I must tell of the taking of the Holy City by the Turks, which befell ninety years short of three, after the death of King Godfrey.

How Saladin Took Jerusalem

He that will journey through the land of Mesopotamia northward or ever he come to the river Tigris, must cross certain mountains wherein dwells a people that men call Koords. These men are great warriors, and by reason of their poverty, for their land is barren, are wont to hire themselves out to fight for others. Among this people there was born about the time of the setting up of the kingdom of Jerusalem a certain Ayub, and Ayub had a son, Saladin by name. This Saladin became a notable person while I dwelt in Egypt, and, indeed, he was one greatly to be admired. It was said that in his youth he had followed evil courses. This I cannot affirm or deny of my own knowledge. Let it suffice to say that in the days of which I speak he was by common consent a man of singular virtue and temperance. He was not one who cared to clothe himself in purple and fine linen. His garments were of some coarse woollen stuff; nor did he wear any ornaments save such as a soldier must needs have. He kept the hours of prayer which are ordered by his religion most diligently, and the hours of fasting also. If he was constrained on occasion, as a soldier must be, to forego a customary fast, then he was wont to make amends at some convenient time. Also he would carry with him into battle the book of his religion which they call the Koran, and would read it when he could find opportunity. This Saladin having done good service to the Caliph of Egypt (for so they call the chief ruler), became his chief minister, and in course of time, the said Caliph being wholly given to pleasure, by consent both of the armies and of the people, became himself Caliph.

There was a certain Reginald, a knight, or I should rather call him a robber, who, having gathered a company of men like-minded as himself, built himself a fort hard by a road much frequented by travellers and traders. These he would rob without scruple, some of them whom he spoiled being on their way to the Caliph Saladin with gifts or tribute. This Reginald, though in truth he obeyed no man, nor cared for anything save his own gain, professed to be subject to the King of Jerusalem, who in those days was a certain Guy. Saladin therefore sent to the king, saying, "This Reginald does me much wrong; there is peace between you and me; nevertheless he being your subject, makes war upon me, my people, and my allies." But King Guy, having neither the will nor the power to deal with the said Reginald, sent away the ambassadors of the Caliph without redress. Thereupon Saladin, gathering together an army of some fourscore thousand men, marched into the land of Palestine. First he laid siege to the city of Tiberias, the lord of which was one Raymond, Count of Tripoli. Now it was commonly said that this Raymond had a grudge against King Guy, whose place and authority he coveted, and that he made a covenant with Saladin by which he was to betray the king into his hands. This I know, that no man in those days, and for years after, spoke the name of this Raymond without scorn, slur, and curses. When the king heard that Saladin had besieged Tiberias, he, being invited thereto by the said Raymond, gathered all his army together and set forth. So much is beyond all doubt; as also that Raymond came thither with his army, as was fitting, seeing that he was lord of the city of Tiberias. But when it is affirmed that by the counsel of Raymond there was chosen a place for a camp where there was no water for the men, and that when the battle was set this man fled with the intent of giving the victory to Saladin, I neither assent nor deny.

This I know, that there was a great battle, and that King Guy and Count Raymond fled before the face of Saladin, and that there was a great slaughter of Christians, even to the number of thirty thousand. King Guy was taken prisoner, and with him also that Reginald who was the first cause of the war. It was said that when these two were taken into the tent of Saladin the king, being faint with thirst, fell into a swoon. Thereupon the Caliph caused to be given him a bowl of drink that had been cooled with snow. "Kings," said he, "are anointed of God, and no man may lawfully do them wrong." Then turning to the knight Reginald he said, "Thou art a robber, and mightest well be put to death without further speech. Nevertheless, as Allah is merciful, so will I myself show mercy. Say then, 'There is one God, and Mahomet is His prophet,' and thou shalt live." But this Reginald was not one who would stoop to such a thing, albeit he was a robber. "Nay," he made answer, "I will not buy my life at such a price. There is one God, and Jesus Christ is His Son, but this Mahomet is the father of lies." Thereupon Saladin smote the man on the head with his sword, and the guards dragged him from the tent and slew him. As for King Guy, he was honourably treated, and before many days ransomed for a price.

After this Saladin laid siege to Jerusalem, and because the city was well-nigh without an army, for this had for the most part perished or been taken with the king, and there was no one who had command, but the chiefs were, after their custom, divided against each other, he took it with but little difficulty. Nevertheless Saladin chose rather to possess himself of the city by agreement than by force of arms, knowing that there were those within the walls whom, if they were driven to despair, it would cost him much to overcome. So, though at the first he had affirmed that as the Christians had shed much blood, so should their blood be shed, he afterwards relented. In the end it was agreed that such as were native born, whether they were Christians or no, might remain in the city and live in peace, but they who had come thither from foreign lands should depart within forty days, and the Caliph gave his word that they should suffer no harm on their journey. Also, it was covenanted that for each man should be paid ten pieces of gold, and for each woman five pieces, and for each child one; and that such as could not so purchase their freedom should be slaves for ever. But of these conditions he relaxed not a little, for he was ever a man of a liberal heart and an open hand. So the city of Jerusalem was taken again out of the hands of the Christians.

Of What Befell after the Taking of Jerusalem

When Saladin had taken Jerusalem, he thought to have driven all the Latins out of the land of Palestine. But it was not so to be. First he besieged the city of Tyre, but in this enterprise he fared but ill. It was a strong place by nature, being on an island which is not easily approached; also it had been fortified with much skill, and there were many men of war in the town who had come thither from Jerusalem and elsewhere; and after not many days there came from the West one Conrad, a skilful commander. First of all there perished in the harbour five ships of the Turks with all the crews; also many were slain, having been taken unawares by a sally from the town. At this time the siege-engines were burnt with fire. Thereupon Saladin left besieging Tyre, and made his way with all the speed that he could to Damascus.

That the Caliph, being a man of prudence and foresight, looked for much trouble and many wars to follow after the taking of Jerusalem is most certainly true. So much I heard from one who followed my own craft of healing, and was in attendance upon him. When he had departed from Tyre and was come to Damascus, he called his principal captains to a banquet, and spoke to them some such words as follow: "Mind you, my friends, we have not done with these Christians. While the Christian kingdom in Jerusalem still stood," said he, "it was no man's business to give it help, however great soever might be its peril. One king or prince would wait for another, nor could any one be blamed for delay while all were alike in fault; for of whom could it be said that he should be the first to move? But, now that the kingdom has fallen, all hearts will be moved, and he that shall hold back will earn for himself discredit and reproach. Therefore, my friends"—for so did he make an end to his speech—"be ready to guard with your swords that which ye won with the same. It will, I know, be no child's play, yet, so that you be equal to yourselves, things, I doubt not, will go well with you."

And so it fell out. There was much anger and self-reproach among the nations of the West when it was known that the city of Jerusalem had been taken. The first of the kings and princes that took action in the matter was Frederick the Emperor of Germany, a famous prince whom men commonly called "Red-Beard." When news came to the Caliph that King Frederick had landed with a great army of men on the coast of the Lesser Asia, he clapped his hands in manifest joy, not a little to the wonder of them that stood round. "Yes," said he—for though no one dared to speak, he knew what was in their minds—"he is a great warrior, yet I fear him not. 'Tis not with him that we shall cross swords, at the least here in Egypt, or even in the land of Palestine. Listen, now, and I will set forth the whole matter. I saw this man some forty years since, when I was a boy of ten years of age, and followed my father, who, indeed, had no home save in the camp. He was in the army of his father Conrad the Emperor, nor was there a braver knight in the host than he, nor one more skilled in arms, nor of a nobler presence. He had then, I take it, some four-and-twenty years of age, and from that time to this he has been a man of war. And yet I fear him not. Think you that he will win his way hither through the Lesser Asia? I tell you that I myself, with you for counsellors and helpers, and never had Caliph better, and with all the hosts that I might gather together, could not do it; no, not though the nations of the land for the most part own me for their sovereign lord. Such deserts are there, such mountains, and tribes so fierce that it is a thing not to be done by mortal man. It was accomplished, 'tis true, some fourscore and ten years since by those that followed the great Godfrey; but Godfrey took the tribes unawares; and he, too, of every hundred men that he numbered at the beginning of his march could scarce number a score at the end."

And in this the Caliph spake truly; for there came, not many days after, tidings that things had fallen out as he said. The army of the Emperor "Red-Beard" had come back to the coast having accomplished nothing. It had marched, indeed, some three hundred miles through the Lesser Asia so far as a certain city, Conieh by name, which the Greeks were wont to call Iconium, where there was fought a great battle. In this, indeed, the emperor was conqueror, as he had been in others also; but his army was sorely wasted with hunger and thirst and disease. Nor could it march so much as a mile in peace; there was never a river to be crossed, or a pass among the mountains to be traversed, but the enemy were there. And if ever a man fell out on the march, or strayed so much as a furlong from the way, he was slain. As for the emperor himself, he was drowned in seeking to ford a certain river among the mountains, and of his army scarcely more than five thousand reached the coast.

But there was another enterprise on foot which Saladin held to be by far more formidable. This was the joint undertaking of the French king Philip and the English king Richard, with whom were leagued many other princes of less estate and name. And these were to come by sea, so that they would come with strength undiminished, save, indeed, so far as they might encounter the perils of the sea. But these perils may be, if not wholly avoided, yet much diminished by caution and the waiting for proper seasons.

Of this enterprise the Sultan Saladin by no means made light. Doubtless he counted somewhat on the jealousy and mutual ill-will that he knew to be between the two kings; for he was marvellously well informed by them that served him concerning the affairs of his adversaries; but he was persuaded in his mind that he would have to contend with enemies so many and so powerful that it would require all the strength that he had to resist them.

And now that I may make my story the clearer, I will go back somewhat. I have said that Saladin, having taken Jerusalem, would fain have also taken the city of Tyre, but could not. So when he left besieging of it and had departed to Damascus, the Marquis Conrad, who was Lord of Tyre, gathering together as great an army as he could—and there were yet many Christians in Palestine, for all that the chief cities had fallen into the Sultan's hands—laid siege to the city of Acre, for so they now commonly called that which in former days bore the name of Ptolemais.

Of the Siege of Acre

I had heard that the army at Acre was suffering grievously from fever, and I took with me as great a stock as I was able to carry of a certain herb which I have found to be most salutary for ailments of this kind. 'Twas a most pitiful sight this same camp, and though I found my merchandise most profitable, selling the medicine for a noble sum of gold, it cut me to the heart to behold such suffering. There was scarcely a tent in which there lay not some sick man. Of physicians there was but a scanty supply, and these but little expert, as I judged, in their craft. For the most part they knew no remedy but the letting of blood; and indeed medicines were hard to come by at such a time and place. There was no public store of them, for men, when they prepare themselves for carrying on war in some foreign land, take no account of the chance, or I should rather say the certainty, of sickness. Provision of weapons and machines of war, of clothing, of food and of wine they make, but of remedies none; and yet they that perish of sickness are more, verily I believe many times more, than they that are slain by the sword or die of their wounds.

The commoner sort, then, of the soldiers were left to perish or to recover of their disease as might fall out. I know not whether they fared worse than their betters, who were cared for by these unskillful and ill-provided leeches. 'Tis most certain, if one has regard to the number of each, that the princes of the army suffered no less than the commoners. On the very day of my coming into the camp, one of the chiefest among them was carried to his burial. This was an Englishman, Baldwin by name, an archbishop of Canterbury, if I have the name rightly written. He was a good man, temperate in his habit of life—for the most part these Northerners are over fond of wine, which they use as freely in the heats of these regions as amidst their own snows and frosts—and of a most charitable temper. Such a crowd of mourners as followed his body to the grave I never saw, nor ever any that more truly grieved. He was wont, they told me, to feed day by day two hundred and more of the poorer sort, and that they might not suffer by his death he left a thousand pieces of gold to be divided among such in the camp as had the greatest need. That same day there were fifty other dead men carried forth. Nor was the tale less on the days that followed, save it may be for a few that were healed by the medicine that I brought; but what could I do with my small stock among so many?

As for the siege, there was much fierce fighting on both sides. The army of the Christians, for all that many died of the pestilence and not a few by the sword, was not diminished but rather increased, so many new-comers flocked into the camp daily. Some were carried thither in ships, and some came on foot, and these latter I noticed to be in a far worse plight. Some, indeed, were of small account, vagabonds and men of ill repute, who having squandered their substance and lost their good name at home, came to repair their fortune and reputation. Others were stout men-at-arms, as good soldiers as any man could desire to see. Nor would I deny that they had, over and above that love of battle that is in the hearts of all who can wield a sword, a certain honest desire to do service to God. They, such I mean as were not mere robbers and ruffians, did greatly desire to win again the Holy City. Again and again I noticed that the very name of Jerusalem did touch them in a most uncommon way. When news came into the camp that seemed to touch this matter, the recovering of the city, it manifestly moved all hearts. For all this, there was never an army in this world, so far as my knowledge goes, so ill-behaved, and so unlike to all that it should of right have been. And I doubted much from the first whether these men, being what they were, would accomplish their great undertaking. For if the common men were unequal to their task, much more were their leaders. The princes were not less drunken and debauched than the baser sort, aye and more so as having greater means at their command, and in respect of the enterprise on which they were engaged they were not so single-hearted. For the Holy City, so far as could be seen, they cared not one doit or stiver, save so far as some of the highest rank coveted the crown. For the rest, some few excepted whom a man might count on the fingers of one hand, they were jealous, quarrelsome, self-seeking. I verily believe that had there been one whom the rest had been content to follow, the Christian army had not lain before the walls of the city for nigh upon two years, to their great present damage, and to the future overthrow of the whole enterprise.

As I was about to depart from the camp, having disposed of all my wares, and being minded to return with another store, I saw a pilgrim that was newly arrived. He was from Europe, which country he had left some two months before, and he brought therefrom news of no little moment, nothing less, to put the matter shortly, than that the English king was on his way to the war. He had journeyed in the same ship with the king from a certain harbour in the land of France, Massilia by name, and had been in his company for six weeks and more. It was, he said, very slow and tedious travelling, for the ships, of which there were nigh upon six score, delayed at every harbour on the way, adding to their number, and taking up fresh stores. And if there was any threatening of tempest, then they would stay in shelter, a thing not to be wondered at, seeing that they were very heavily laden with treasure—the king, 'twas said, had well-nigh stripped his country of all the gold and silver therein. So it fell out that some forty days were spent before the fleet came to the harbour of Messina in the island of Sicily. Between these two, Massilia to wit and Messina, there lie some seven hundred miles of sea, which a ship may traverse in ten days or less, if the master thereof be bold enough to leave skirting the coast. I myself having been a seafaring man in past time, remember to have sailed in a swift ship, with a following wind, from Alexandria to Tarsus, a journey five hundred miles or thereabouts, in two days.

At Messina the pilgrim found a ship bound for this port of Acre with a cargo of food and wine—scarce a day passes but some such ship put into the harbour—and took passage therein. For he had heard, he said, that the king had much to do before he could take up with a single mind the chief business that he had in hand, that is the recovering of the Holy City. He had a quarrel against the king of Sicily in the matter of his own sister, who had once been aforetime queen of that island. Also he was to wait till his own promised wife should come, and there were other matters also to be settled. "'Tis my judgment," said the pilgrim in my hearing, "that King Richard will not come hither for six months and more." When I heard this I determined in my own mind that I would leave the camp forthwith, and come again about the time when the king might be looked for. I had certain affairs of my own to settle, and there was also this profitable business of the remedy against fever of which I have written about. Of this I could get no fresh store before the springtime. It is not even to be found when the ground is parched by the heats of summer, nor, indeed, could I have had the good luck of lighting upon it, would there be much virtue in the withered leaves.

I departed therefore from the camp, after a sojourn of some two months therein; and, indeed, I was well pleased to go. Of camps I have seen not a few in the course of my wanderings, but never one so ill ordered and ill provided as this. Of order and discipline there was, I may say, almost none at all. Here the English king would find much to do, being, as the pilgrim told me, very sternly set against all disorder and violence among his soldiers. A peaceable man might scarcely go ten paces without some insolence or affront. For myself I had no cause of complaint. Some, whom I had cured of their ailment, were grateful to me, and others feared me as having the skill by which I might do them a mischief. Nevertheless I found it an ill place for a sojourn. No one could eat or drink save at a great cost, and it was plain to me that if I tarried long all my gains would be spent. Accordingly, the summer being now wholly spent and the autumn somewhat advanced, at the end of the month which in Latin is called October I departed from the camp.

More Concerning the Siege of Acre

I came back to the camp when the month of May was half spent, this being the time of which the pilgrims, concerning whom I have written above, had spoken for the coming of the King of England. But the King was still absent, though he had accomplished a great part of his journey, being then, as was reported, in the island of Chittim (which the Greeks call Cyprus). Here also he had matters to conclude, and these of no small moment, for he that called himself Emperor of Cyprus had laid hands on the persons and goods of certain servants of the King. These had been shipwrecked on the coast of the island, and, many of their comrades having been drowned, had with difficulty escaped to the land; but this Isaac, for such was the name which he most unworthily bore, had taken from them such poor remains of goods and money as they had saved from the wreck, and had cast them into prison. 'Tis no wonder that the King, who is of a fiery temper—and, indeed, such a wrong would move a man of the very mildest mood—was inclined to punish this evil-doer; no man could blame him therefore. Nevertheless, all these things keep him back from doing the main errand on which he was bent.

But though the King of England yet tarried behind, his chief ally, Philip, King of France, had come to the camp, having arrived a month or so before. This King had put a new heart into the besiegers. I liked not the man, thinking that he had a crafty look, and was more like to a fox than to a lion—King Richard commonly bears the name of "Lion Heart"—nevertheless, it must be confessed that he set to work upon the business in hand with no little courage and vigour. He commanded that his tent, or, I should rather say, his house—'twas a building of wood that could be moved from one place to another—should be set up nearer to the walls of the city than had been done before by any of the besiegers. (I myself have seen the stones that were cast by the engines in the city strike on the walls and fly over the roof.) Also, having brought with him a store of such things as are used for the battering and undermining of walls, he had caused these to be brought up to the foremost lines of the besiegers. He would sometimes see in his own person to the working of these machines, nor can I deny that in doing he showed not only skill but also courage. But when it was said by some of his followers and others who were of his party that, having made such a breach in the walls that the city might easily have been taken, he was loath that the English king should miss his share of the glory, I was not a little doubtful whether such spoke the truth. For he was not one that was willing to run great risks, and that this was a very great risk is manifest from the fact that in the end, when the walls had been even more battered, the city was not taken by storm, nor indeed was such storm so much as essayed. And again, he was in truth a self-seeker, and not one of those who are willing to give up their own advantage or reputation for the sake of others. And of this there was, while the camp was yet waiting for the coming of King Richard, a most manifest proof. This I will now set down.

On the first day of the month of June there died in the camp a prince of no little renown, Philip, Count of Flanders. He had been sick. of the fever for some ten days and might have been recovered of his ailment, as indeed he had been some twelve months before, but for the meddling of his physician. He had sent his body-servant to me for some of the healing herb, of which I have already written, having found it before to have most salutary properties, but was over-persuaded against the taking of it by the said physician. This man was obstinately set against all novelties, as indeed are almost all of his craft. He had been taught in his youth to use certain remedies, and these he would apply without distinction of youth or age, of diversity of temperament or of climate. And he would also use, with a like prodigality and lack of discretion, the remedy of bleeding—if remedy it may be called. This man did, as I was credibly informed by one that attended in the sick-room, take from the said Count Philip some twelve ounces of blood when he was almost on the point to die of weakness, the fever being spent. If it had been possible to put blood into the sick man's veins, this had been more likely to do him service. But enough of this—'tis an old quarrel this between those who slay their fellows according to the rules of art and those, with whom I join myself, who would keep them alive whether by following rules or by going against them. I will now to the tale that I have to tell.

On the day after that on which the Count Philip died I encountered the pilgrim of whom I have before written. "This matter," said he, for we had been speaking of the Count, "is a stroke of good fortune for King Philip." "How so?" answered I; "truly the Count was a great warrior, and the King, having lost so good a helper, is so much the weaker. Surely you should have said baa' fortune rather than good." "So it would seem," said the pilgrim, "and I wonder not at your thought. But listen to me, for indeed I know this whole matter from the top to the bottom, seeing that I come from this same land of Flanders. 'Tis not a thing easy to be explained, but I will make such shift as I can to make it plain. My lord the Caliph here makes and unmakes the governors of his provinces at his pleasure. He sends this man to a city or a region to rule it, and if he has or thinks that he has reason to call him away he does so. Is it not so?"

"Yes, it is so," answered I, "though it may sometimes come to pass that, if the governor be strong and the Caliph weak, the man will stay where he is at his own pleasure. But this is not so when such a one as the Lord Saladin holds the rule. There is not, I take it, a city or a province within the whole realm where he could not by the bare word of his mouth set up a ruler or pull him down." "These things," said the pilgrim, "are ordered far otherwise among us. This King Philip of France has certain provinces over which he has some such power as has the Caliph over his whole realm; but there are other provinces of which he is lord in name rather than in truth. These have princes of their own, whom he cannot set up or pull down of his own will. They do owe him a certain respect, and pay him, it may be, a tribute; but these things done, the said princes cannot be dispossessed by him. If one of them dies, then his son succeeds him in due course, and the King cannot say `yea' or `nay' in the matter. Now this province of Flanders is of such a kind. King Philip is, in a way, the overlord thereof, but he has no power over it. His laws do not run therein; he cannot so much as cross its borders without leave received."

"'Tis a passing strange history," said I, "and I know not whether I wholly understand it. But tell me now, if these things be so, why should the death of the Count be, as you say, a stroke of good fortune for the King?" "Because," the pilgrim made answer, "neither the King nor the lords are content with what they have. The King ever seeks to make himself master of these regions in fact and not in name only; the lord desires, on the other hand, to have done with the King altogether and to be free of observance and tribute. Nor are there any occasions when the one or the other is more likely to have the fulfillment of his desire than when there is a passing of power by death. Yesterday, when the breath was but barely out of Count Philip's body, the King sent his officers to put seals on all his possessions." "But is that," said I, "according to the law?" "I know not," answered the pilgrim, "but 'tis certain that the King had a great advantage in fact because of the count dying in the camp. And now, mark me, King Philip will henceforth have Flanders rather than Jerusalem in his thoughts. If he can make that country his own it will be a great gain, for it is a rich land, rich in the fruits of the earth and in trade also; I know not more of the future than any other man, but I am persuaded that the King of France will take the first occasion that may come to his hand of leaving the war here and hasting home, where he will busy himself with this same matter of Flanders."

It was some four days after this talk with the pilgrim that it was noised abroad in the camp that the King's fleet was at hand. There is a port, Scandalion by name, some three leagues from this place, where was a garrison of the Christians. The commander of this fort had despatched a swift runner with tidings of the King's coming. I myself was at the north gate of the camp when the man came, it being then an hour and a half or so after sunset, and the message which he brought was this, for I heard it with my own ears, as he delivered it to the captain of the gate: "At sunset the fleet of the King of England, forty ships or thereabouts, cast anchor in the harbour of Tyre. It may be looked for, if the wind hold good, about noon to-morrow." Scandalion is some three leagues and a half from the camp, and the runner had done his work bravely. He had come the sooner, he said, but that the light failed him when his journey was three parts done, and 'tis ill running in the dark, as I, having been a post in years past, know full well.

No man can tell the joy that there was in the camp when these tidings were known. I take it that there were few that slept that night, so busy were they in talking of the mighty things that King Richard would do. And as for the runner, 'twas a lucky day and a profitable journey for him. Every man must hear the tidings for himself, though indeed there was nothing to be told but what has been written already. Nor did they share their gifts. A full pouch did he carry away with him, not, I believe, without some gold pieces in it. One such piece he had to my certain knowledge from King Philip, who must needs show delight in the coming of his brother king, whatever he may have felt in his heart.

How King Richard took a Great Ship

King Richard, with his chief nobles, disembarked an hour before noon on the 8th day of June. I had the good fortune to see him without difficulty, by the favour of one who has a charge in the ordering of the harbour, to whom I had done some little service. Nor was this a small thing, for there was such a press and crowding of men to see the sight as I have never beheld before. Some were trampled under foot by the multitude, and one old man, a pedlar of merchandise, met his death in this way. He had gone in the hope of selling some of his goods—what will not a man venture for gain?—but fared ill, losing not his wares only, for these were scattered in the dust, but his life also. He was taken up still breathing, but died of his wounds and other damage, made more grievous, maybe, by his losses. The King was as noble a warrior as ever I have seen. Some that I have known were taller of stature, but never one that bore himself more bravely and showed more likelihood of strength and courage. They that are learned in such things said that his arms were over-long for the height of his body; but this is scarce a fault in a swordsman, another inch of length adding I know not how much of strength to a blow. He was of a ruddy complexion, his eyes blue, with a most uncommon fire in them, such as few could dare to look into if his wrath was kindled, his countenance, such as befitted a ruler of men, being of an aspect both generous and commanding.

The King had already obtained an earnest of success, having done great damage to the Caliph Saladin by destroying a ship fully laden with men and stores. This was the story told to me by one that was in the King's own ship.

When the fleet, sailing southward, had passed the city of Sidon by a league or so, they were aware of a great ship that lay about half-a-league to seaward, having all its sails set but scarcely moving, the day being calm. The King commanded that a boat should be lowered and manned, so that this strange vessel, being questioned, might give an account of herself. This was done, and in the space of an hour or so the boat returned, with tidings that the captain of the stranger professed to be in the service of Philip, King of France, to whom, he said, he was carrying stores. "But," said the man-at-arms whom the King had sent on the errand, "'tis somewhat strange that King Philip's servant should be so ill acquainted with the King's own tongue. I scarce could understand the fellow's talk, and, as for his looks, if they were one part French they were nine parts Moorish." By this time the stranger, which when she was first sighted lay end on, now showed her broadside. Thereupon a certain pilot, whom the King had taken on board at Sidon, said that he now perceived what the stranger was. "'Tis not a Frenchman," said he, "but a Turk." And when the King commanded him to tell all that he knew, he went on in this fashion: "See you," he said, "how the ship's side shows here green and there yellow? These colours are not, as might seem, for ornament, but for use. Bull's hides have been stretched upon the ship and painted, so as to defend it against the fire which is much used in these parts for the burning of ships upon the sea. I saw these laid upon the sides in the harbour of Beyrout, chancing to be in that town some few days since. It was the common talk in the place that as the army that was besieging the city of Acre was like to have a great increase of strength through the coming of the English king and his fleet, so the garrison should be made more secure. And I myself saw this ship laden with both men and stores; and, indeed, there was of both such an abundance as can scarcely be imagined. I counted one hundred camel-loads of arms, small and great, among which were bows and arrows, both of the Persian and of the Arabian kind, and swords and spears; engines also for the casting of bullets and stones did I see put on board. It was said also, but of this I have no knowledge, nor do I altogether believe it, that there were sacks full of the most deadly serpents that could be found, which were to be loosed in the camp of the besiegers. But whether these beasts are there or no, 'tis certain, for this I know by the sight of my own eyes, that there are on board of this ship many soldiers, and these for the most part as stout warriors as the Sultan Saladin has in his whole army. You may cut off my head, my lord king, or hang me on the yard-arm if I have not told you the truth."

Thereupon King Richard sent another boat to hail the stranger; and at this, when it came within bowshot, the crew began to shoot with bows, judging that they could no longer keep up the pretence of being other than they were. Now while these things were being done and said the ships had come closer together, as is wont to happen when there is a calm. It must also be borne in mind that the Turks had remitted their rowing, being busied with other things, and perceiving that they must be saved by valour rather than by flight. Then there began as fierce a fight as was ever seen upon these seas. The Turkish ship was, indeed, but one against many, but she was of an extraordinary highness above the water, so that her artillery wrought great execution among the King's ships, the bolts and arrows falling on them from above. At one time it seemed as if the stranger might yet go free; and this would verily have come to pass—so said he that told me of these things, and he was a man used to the sea from his youth—had the wind but begun to blow even a little. As for King Richard, he was like to a man beside himself. 'Twas his helplessness, as he deemed it, that so moved him. Could he but have conveyed himself to the enemy's ship, he had been better content. And, indeed, his knights had much to do to keep him back from adventuring himself in a little boat, so that he might strike a blow with his own hand against these adversaries.

All that he could do was to reproach his men with many and vehement words. 'Tis true that, urged on by these, they performed very prodigies of valour. Some, jumping overboard from our ships, made their way to the great ship. Some of them cut the rudder-bands, so that it was no longer possible to steer the ship, and others with great courage climbed up the sides of the ship and would have made, had it been possible, a footing on the deck. Again and again did these brave men make this, holding their swords in their teeth, and again and again were they thrust back by the Turks. And this went on, so said the teller of the tale, for the space of an hour, the King walking to and fro meanwhile on the deck of his ship in great wrath, gnawing his beard and lips for fury. He was like to a lion in a cage. But for all their valour his men could gain no foothold on the Turkish ship, for its deck was crowded with warriors of high renown, who were not less brave and apt in arms than the Christians, and fought also, as it is easy to perceive, from a great advantage.

Richard Coeur de Lion


When the King saw that nothing could be done in this way he bethought him of another device, for of a truth he was not less expert in the arts that belong to a leader and captain of men than he was full of valour, incomparably expert in the using of weapons, and strong above all measure. He made a signal to the captains of his ships that they should cause them to be rowed at full speed against the Turk, and this was done forthwith. And here it was of no small advantage that the King's ships were smaller and lower in the water, for their bows so struck the sides of the Turk that the water rushed in, and she began to sink. When the crew and the soldiers saw this they leapt into the sea. Many were drowned and many were slain; but some the King caused to be kept alive, judging that they might be found useful in time to come. But of the engines of war and store of provisions nothing was saved.

This was the tale as 'twas told to me; afterwards I heard that had the ship got safe to the town, this latter had never been taken.

A deserter from the Turks that came into the camp affirmed that the Caliph Saladin was beside himself with grief and rage when he heard of the losing of this ship, throwing himself upon the ground and tearing out his beard by handfuls, with loud complaints against his destiny, "For," said he (this was the deserter's report), "I have lost not only men and treasure, but the city itself." This story I do not believe. I have seen the Caliph many times and under diverse circumstances, and he has ever been master of himself. Nor, indeed, is it the way of these men—such, I mean, as hold the like faith with Saladin—to complain of fate. Let the most grievous disaster come upon them and they say, "It is fate," and this seems to content them, so far, at least, that they do not openly complain. Nor must it be forgotten that this Saladin was expert in all the arts of the ruler and the general, and knew well that it behoved him to keep a brave face under even the greatest trouble. At the same time it cannot be doubted that the loss of this ship was a heavy blow to the Turks, hastening the fall of the city by many days.

Of King Richard in Camp

Some ten days after his coming to the camp King Richard was taken with sickness, the same of which I have before written. This was never altogether absent, but it grew worse, as might indeed be looked for, in the heats of summer. The King had arrived some short time before the summer solstice, and he sickened on the day which the Christians celebrate as the Feast of St. Barnabas. I was called to see him, having, as I have said, no small fame as a healer. Never have I seen a sick man more intractable. My medicine he swallowed readily, I may say, even greedily. Had I suffered it, he would have taken it at intervals shorter by far than was ordered by my prescription. Doubtless, he thought that the more a man has of a good thing, the better it is for him. (So indeed many believe, and of other things besides medicine, but wholly without reason.) But in this I hindered him, leaving with those who ministered to him sufficient for one dose only.

He was troubled about many things, about the siege, which, as he justly thought, had already been too much drawn out, about King Philip, whom he loved not nor trusted, about his engines of war, of which the greater part had not yet reached the camp; the ships that bore them having been outsailed by the rest of the fleet. His fever was of the intermittent sort, coming upon him on alternate days. On the days when he was whole, or as nearly whole as a man sick of this ague may ever be, he was busy in the field, causing such engines as he had to be set in convenient places for the assault of the town, and in other cares such as fall to a general. When he was perforce shut in his pavilion by access of the fever, he suffered himself to take no rest. Messengers were coming and going from morning to night with news of the siege—he could never hear enough of the doings of the French king—and there were always near him men skilful in the working and making of engines. This one would show him some new thing pictured upon paper; another would bring with him a little image, so to speak, of an engine, made in wood or iron. Never was a child more occupied with a toy than was King Richard with these things. I am myself no judge of such matters, but I have heard it said by men well acquainted with them, that the King had a marvellous understanding of such contrivances. But these cares were a great hindrance to recovery. So at least I judged, and doubtless it had been thus in the case of most men. But the King was not as others, and, as it seemed to me, he drove away his disease by sheer force of will.

But before this came to pass the besiegers had continued to assail the town with their engines, nor were the Turks, for their part, backward in replying. At this time the greater part of the English engines not having reached the camp, the French king and his men took the chief part in this business. His best machine was one known by the name of the Bad Neighbour, and was set against the east wall of the city, being exactly opposite to the tower which is called the Accursed Tower. Now the Turks, to answer the attack thus made, had set up an engine of equal power, and this was called the Bad Kinsman. The two made war, so to speak, on each other How it fared with the Kinsman  they of the camp knew not, save that from time to time it would be still for the space of two or three hours or more. As for the Neighbour, being more in sight than its enemy, it suffered more. Yet it was restored again and again, and this not in the night time only, but in the day also, when the smiths and others would work at no little danger to their lives. And here I will say that I do admire the courage of these common men with all my heart. 'Tis one thing to ride on a noble steed, clad in armour of proof, and exchange blows with an adversary equally equipped, with many looking on and applauding, and another to work stripped to the waist, as these smiths were compelled to do by the heat of the sun, and to suffer ignoble blows for a poor wage of some two pence by the day. There is, methinks, but an ill division in this world of the good and bad things of life. But to my tale. In the end the Bad Neighbour  did its work to such effect that there were made great breaches in the east wall of the city, and the Accursed Tower was little more than a ruinous heap. Other engines also were busily worked in the same region, of these may be mentioned two, one of which was the possession of the Templars, the other of the Hospitallers. None were better equipped or better served, these two Societies having, I was told, great wealth, and sparing nothing in the hire of workmen, the providing of levers and the like (for these are speedily worn out), and other necessary matters.

Nor must I pass over one engine that was commonly known as the Stone Slim of God. This was maintained not by any king or prince or company of knights, but by common contributions. There was a certain priest that took his stand hard by and called upon all that passed to give to the maintenance of the engine, that is to say for the repairing of such damage as might come from accident or continual use, and also for the payment of such as gathered stones for slinging. (This gathering was mostly done by children from the villages near. I have seen many a one lying dead upon the ground, having been slain by discharges from the walls, a most piteous sight.) This priest also was a brave man, for whereas he might have stood in shelter, he chose rather to take his place on the open ground. Nor did this courage miss its reward, for I saw that on a certain day, when he was hindered from the work by some cause, and another came in his room, this man, showing that he had fear, received but little. I heard passers-by scoff, saying, "This fellow cares too much for his own skin and too little for the work." All these doings were told to King Richard when he lay sick in his pavilion. I will not say that they troubled him, for how should he not desire the success of the besiegers? Yet it irked him to think that after all the town might be taken without his helping. It comforted him not a little that when the Count of Flanders died he gained possession of a great engine that had been the count's—he purchased it with gold, of which he had more in store than any other in the camp. Also he had caused to be made, and in truth in an incredibly short space of time, two small slings of the most marvellous closeness of aim.

But of the King's siege works the most notable was that which went by the name of the Belfry. It was a tower that could be moved, being, indeed, set upon wheels. For lightness' sake it was built of wood, but was defended against fire by hides wherewith it was covered on all sides, and from top to bottom. This they brought up close to the wall, which it overtopped by some six or seven feet, so that the engines upon it—there were two of these; both of an almost incredible strength—could cast stones and darts into the very heart of the town. 'Twas said—I know not on what authority—that a single bolt from one of these engines—mangonels they called them—slew twelve men in the market-place.

On a certain evening when King Richard was mending apace of his fever one came to his tent—an English knight, Hugh Brown by name—who brought the news that the king of the French had commanded that a general assault should be made on the town the very next day. The King would fain know the cause of this sudden resolve. "Well," said the English knight, it came about, as I understand, in this fashion. The Turks have this day destroyed two engines of King Philip on which he had spent much time and gold." "Aye!" said King Richard, "I know the two; the Cat  and the Mantlet. They are pretty contrivings the both of them, but I set not such store on them as does my brother of France." And here I should say that the Cat  was like to a tent made of hides long and narrow and low upon the ground, with a pointed end as it might be a ploughshare, which could be brought up to the walls by men moving it from within, and so sheltered from the stones and darts of the enemy. As for the Mantlet, it was made in somewhat the same fashion, only it was less in size, nor was it to be brought near to the wall. King Philip loved dearly to sit in it, cross-bow in hand—the French, I noted, like rather the cross-bow, the English the long-bow—and would shoot his bolts at any Turk that might show himself upon the walls."

But to come back to the knight's story. "An hour or so after noon, when the Cat  had been brought close to the wall, and the Mantlet  was in its accustomed place, some fifty yards distant, the Turks made an attack on both at the same moment of time. On to the Cat  they dropped a heavy beam; and when this with its weight had broken in the roof, or I should rather say the back of the Cat, a great quantity of brushwood, and after the brushwood a whole pailful of Greek fire—the machine was over near to the wall, so that these things could be dropped on it from above. At the Mantlet  they aimed bolts from a strong engine which they had newly put in place, and by ill luck broke it through. And verily before the nimblest-tongued priest in the whole realm of England could say a hunting-mass, both were in a blaze."

What the man might mean by the priest and the hunting-mass I knew not then, but heard after, that when a noble will go forth hunting, the service which they call the mass is shortened to the utmost, and the priest that can say it more speedily than his brethren is best esteemed.

"And my brother of France," cried the King, "how fared he?" "He had as narrow an escape with his life," answered the knight, "as ever had Christian king. His mantle, nay his very hair was singed, and as for his cross-bow, he was constrained to leave it behind." "And he gave commands for the assault in his anger?" said the King. "'Tis even so," answered Sir Hugh. "Haply the night will bring counsel," said King Richard, and laughed a little, for he believed in his heart that his brother of France had more craft than courage.

Nevertheless King Philip was as good as his word, for that by sunrise on the day following the Christian army was ready to make the attack. It was divided into two parts, of which the one was set to guard the trenches and the siege works, for it was the custom of the Turks both to defend themselves and to attack their adversaries at the same time, and the other was to win its way into the town, whether by undermining the walls or by climbing over them at those places where breaches had been made. At the trenches there was as fierce a fight as ever has been seen on this earth. 'Tis not so often as one who is strange to such matters might imagine that enemies meet man to man in actual conflict. Many times the one line or the other is broken by a discharge of arrows or stones, or gives way because it has not such confidence in its own strength as will make it hold its place. But on this day when the French king sought to take the town of Acre 'twas a close fight from beginning to end. The Turks came on with swords, daggers, battle-axes, and clubs set with iron spikes. There was not a man among them that carried a bow; they were bent one and all on coming to close quarters with their adversaries. Of a truth these Turks, though I love them not, are as valiant fighters as a man may see in any nation under the sun. But for all their valour they had no advantage that day in this battle at the trenches. They were more open to blows, the Christians having a shelter of some sort, especially such as had charge of the siege works. In the end, after some three hours of fighting, they retreated, but without haste or disorder, nor did their adversaries care to pursue them. But the other part of the besiegers did not fare so well. They approached, indeed, close to the walls, though not a few fell by the way, pierced by arrows from the archers on the walls, or struck down by bolts and stones from the artillery; but scale them they could not. And the breaches when they were seen near at hand did not appear—so one that was foremost in the assault told me afterwards—so easy of access as they had seemed to be from a distance. The likeliest place for an assault was where the French king's men had come up to the walls by a passage that they had dug under the ground, and had hollowed out under the wall itself a pit which they filled with brushwood. To this brushwood they set fire, burning the timbers by which the walls were held up. It was not wholly of stone, but was made in parts of clay and rubbish enclosed in a framework of timber. The framework burnt, the earth fell, it is true, in heaps; but these same heaps were lofty and needed much art in climbing. So steep were they for the most part that even here ladders were needed as if for the scaling of an upright wall. So far as I could hear, one man only of all that were in the assault mounted to the top. This was one Alberic, who was marshal to the French king. He, seeing that his countrymen held back somewhat, a thing not to be wondered at seeing how hot an affair it was, cried with a loud voice, "To-day I will either die, or, God willing, will enter Acre." So saying, he climbed by a ladder to the top of the wall, but no man followed him, as surely some might have done. (It was commonly said in the camp that the Count Albert of Montserrat who was with him held back at the last moment.) Be that as it may, it is certain that he stood alone, and that having slain many Turks, he fell covered with wounds.

It must not be forgotten that a scaling-ladder was broken by the weight of the men that were crowded upon it, who, but for this chance, might have won their way to the top of the wall and, maybe, into the town itself. But I have noted, having had much experience in such matters, that such mischances either do not befall the very bravest soldiers, or, befalling them, are retrieved in some way or other. And here it must be told that King Philip or his chief counsellors, for jealousy of the English, did not suffer them to take a chief part in the assault. Now the English, I hold, having seen them many times, have a certain stubborn valour that is not to be matched elsewhere. 'Tis said by their enemies that they are of so slow a wit that they do not perceive when they are beaten, and still hold their ground when, according to all reason, they ought to retreat. This slowness of wit is, in my judgment, often profitable in war, for I have seen it more than once change defeat into victory. As to King Richard, when he heard of the things that came to pass—he slept late that morning, and knew not of the assault till it was over—he said, "My brother of France is, methinks, too greedy of gain and glory; if he had been willing to ask our help, he had done better." He sorrowed for the brave men, fellow-soldiers of the Cross with him, who had fallen to no purpose. Nevertheless, in his secret heart, he was not ill-pleased that the French king had not taken the town of Acre.

How the Town was Given Up

On the second day after the failure of the French assault upon the town, King Richard would make his own essay. He was not yet wholly recovered of his sickness; but it would have passed the wit of man to devise means by which he could be kept within his pavilion; nor must it be forgotten that such restraint might have done him more of harm than of good. So his physicians, for he had those who regularly waited on him (though I make bold to say that he trusted in me rather than in them), gave him the permission which he had taken, I doubt not, ungranted. He had caused a mantlet to be built for him which was brought up to the edge of the ditch with which the town was surrounded. In this he sat, with a cross-bow in hand, and shot not a few of the enemy, being skilful beyond the common in the use of this weapon. But towns are not taken by the shooting of bolts, howsoever well aimed they may be. This may not be done save by coming to close quarters. Now the King knew that the Frenchman's assault had failed for want of a breach so open that the town might be entered thereby. This, then, was the thing most needed. The King therefore caused it to be publicly proclaimed that he would pay two old pieces for every stone that should be drawn from its place in the wall near to the Accursed Tower—it was there that he was minded to make his assault. And as the day wore on he increased this reward of two gold pieces to three and even four, for it was his fixed purpose to attack the town on the next morning. It was a happy device, not on account of the gold only, though most men will do much for gold, but because the pieces were a token and proof of something achieved. And, indeed, among those who strove to drag the tones from their place were not a few wealthy men to whom four or forty pieces of gold sere as nothing. But there is no man, at least of the nobler sort, to whom praise is not precious. The Turks, when they saw what was being done, hastened to hinder it, and there was much fighting at the wall. One of the enemy had donned the armour of Alberic the Frenchman, of whom I have before written. Him the King slew with a bolt from his cross-bow.

So much success the King achieved that the Accursed Tower was altogether overthrown, but the town he did not take on that day. He had valiant nobles and knights fighting for him, but these were too few in number, and making assault in one and the same place were opposed by the whole garrison of the town. For to tell the truth, the King of England fell into the very same error as the King of France, and from the same cause. He was fain to keep all the glory and honour of the day to himself. So it came to pass that while the English knights and men-at-arms were striving and toiling to no purpose the greater part of the army sat at their morning meal in the camp. It can scarce be doubted, if one may judge from what came to pass within a few days, that if the whole host of the besiegers had made an assault on the town in diverse places at the same time, they would have broken through either in one quarter or another. So by this foolish jealousy of the kings, and it should in honesty be said, of their peoples also, for kings are as their peoples are, many valiant men perished and the glory of the achievement was greatly diminished.

Some seven days after these things there came into the camp under a flag of truce two chief captains of the Turks, seeking an audience of the two kings with whom they desired, they said, to treat of conditions of peace. The kings therefore, sitting together, each with his chief counsellors, received them. These Turkish captains, then, spake to this purpose: "There is no need to put you in mind for how long time ye have sat outside this city, and at what cost of treasure and lives of men. That your lordships know full well, and you know also by experience that we who defend this town can still hold it against you. At the same time we do not hide from you that we are in sore straits, and would gladly find deliverance for ourselves and yet more for our wives and children. We have come, therefore, to-day, hoping that we may bring about an honourable end of these troubles. What we say, therefore, is this. Let us send to our lord the Caliph Saladin, saying, 'If you can bring to our help so great an army as shall be able to deliver the town from its enemies, then we will hold out; but if you cannot bring it, then will we give up the town to our adversaries.' And your lordships shall set a time, seven days or the like, for the Caliph is near at hand. And if we yield up the town then you shall suffer us to go out unharmed with our arms and all our goods." This and what happened after I had from the scribe that was employed to take down and also to interpret the words of the captains.

Then the King of France and his counsellors were disposed to admit these conditions. "These are brave men, and it is but seemly to do them honour; also they may hinder our possessing the town to our great loss in life and wealth." But the chief reason that moved King Philip's mind was his desire to depart home, as has been already set forth. When King Richard heard this he broke forth in great wrath, swearing at the same time a strong oath, which I care not to set down in this place: "Nay, shall we be content, after abiding outside this town for two years and more, to take it over wholly empty and stripped?"

So the matter came to an end for the time, the two captains returning to the town, with nothing accomplished. Then the engines were set to work again, and preparations were made for yet another assault. That the town was in a sore plight was sufficiently manifest from this, that every morning there was to be seen outside the camp a crowd of men and women who had fled from the place during the night, even casting themselves down from the walls, if they could not win their way otherwise. (But many, I doubt not, bribed the keepers of the gates.) These professed themselves to be converted to the Christian faith and desired baptism, which, indeed, could hardly be denied to them. It was not therefore a thing to be marvelled at that in the course of some four days there came other envoys from the town with other terms. These first offered to surrender the town, and the Holy Cross, and with these two hundred and fifty noble prisoners, Christian men, whom they had; afterwards, when the kings showed themselves ill content with these terms, they offered ten times as many prisoners—who would have thought that they possessed so many?—and a vast sum of money, not less than a thousand thousand gold pieces, and, by way of surety for the due fulfillment of these promises, a hundred of the noblest men in the city as hostages. On the other hand all the garrison was to have free leave to depart, and with them such citizens as should choose this lot; only they should take with them neither arms nor goods, but a single garment only. King Richard, therefore, was wholly justified by the event.

It was on the thirty-fourth day after the coming of King Richard that the town was given up. Proclamation was made throughout the camp that no one should trespass by deed or word against the departing Turks. And, indeed, he who would insult men so brave would be of a poor and churlish spirit. To the last they bore themselves with great courage and dignity. On the morning of the day of their departure they dressed themselves in their richest apparel, and being so dressed showed themselves on the walls. This done, they laid aside their garments, piling them in a great heap in the market-place, and so marched forth from the town, each clad in his shirt only but with a most cheerful countenance.

When the last of the Turks had left the town the Christian army entered. Half of it was given to the French king, who had for his own abode the House of the Templars, and half to King Richard, to whom was assigned the palace of the Caliph. In like manner the prisoners and all the treasure were equally divided. I take it that the besiegers were well content, after their long sojourn in the camp and under tents, to find a resting-place again under the roofs of houses.

How the Hostages were Slain

The two kings were no better friends after the taking of the town than they had been before. The enmity between them rather increased, for now there was, or, to speak more truly, there seemed to be a most grave cause of quarrel between them. The town of Acre having been taken, they hoped that they would speedily be possessed of Jerusalem; and it was very hotly debated between them, who should be king of that city. There were some, and I was one of them, who thought that this was but an idle controversy, and that it is time enough to divide the spoils when they have been won. "Kill the bear," says an old proverb, "ere you sell his skin," and the slaying of this bear seemed to many to be yet a long way off. Nor was the thing itself one to be desired. Nevertheless there was, as I have said, high debate concerning it. It matters not to write of the rights and wrongs of the matter; for, as will shortly be seen, it came to nothing. Only it is right to make mention of these things. Surely there never was a war in this world whereof the aim was so noble and the conduct so base.

But if the matter itself was of little moment, being even as if two men should fall out concerning the disposal of the kingdom of the moon, yet the enmity that came therefrom between the two nations was a great evil and hindered in no small degree the common enterprise. To such a height did it rise that it was commonly said, aye and believed among the followers of the French king, that their master, who fell ill at this time, had been poisoned by King Richard. A more foolish accusation was never made. King Richard was a man of wrath, and when the passion was upon him would strike without regard of place or person. But he abhorred all malice and craft, and would not have done another injury by stealth for all the crowns and riches in the world.

The truth is that King Philip sickened, and this not for the first time, of the camp fever—'tis an ailment that finds a man more easy of attack the more often it returns. Nor do I wonder; as I have before written, these strangers from the West lived as freely in the matter of food and drink as if they had been under the colder skies of their homes. And they were most intemperately fond of hunting. Neither heat nor storm would keep them from riding abroad with their falcons. This is the sport they most affect, to wit, the pursuing of herons and such like birds with hawks which they tame and train for this end. The falcon is a female hawk, for in this kind of bird, strange to say, the female is stronger, swifter, and fiercer than the male. King Philip was wholly devoted to this sport, and took great pride in his birds, being, as I believe, not less proud of one that he possessed, a bird of most uncommon size, than he was of his horses. He would ride with it on his wrist in the hottest clays. 'Twas this, and not any poison, that brought him so near to his death, if indeed it was so in truth with him. Some said that he feigned, not the disease itself, but the graver signs of it. This is certain, that he greatly desired to turn homeward, and that he had his wish some twenty days after the taking of the town. What he gained by so departing I know not—not, certainly, that province of Flanders which he was said to covet. These things concern me not; but this I know for certain, that by his departure the whole enterprise was greatly damaged. If it had been possible for the English king to have commanded the whole Christian host and to have used it at his will, the end would, I doubt not, have been other than what it was. So skilful was he in leading, so brave in battle, that nothing could have hindered him from subduing the whole land. But what would have followed thereon, and whether such a subduing would have been for good or for evil, passes my wit to declare.

For one shameful deed the English king must answer, and here at least King Philip was happy in that he had no share in its doing. Of this deed I will now tell the story.

When the army had had sufficient rest—and the King knew well that no army must have more than is sufficient, suffering more from excess than from defect in this matter—and it was now time to advance, there arose a great question touching the agreement made when the town was given up. There was much going to and fro of messengers and embassies between the English king and the Caliph Saladin, much debating, and many accusations bandied to and fro. Even to this day no man can speak certainly of what was done or not done in this matter. What I write, I write according to the best of my knowledge. First, then, it is beyond all doubt that the Caliph did not send either the Holy Cross or the money which had been covenanted, or the prisoners whom he had promised to deliver up; but as to the cause wherefore he did not send them there is no agreement, the Christians affirming one thing, the followers of Mahomet another. As to the Holy Cross, let that be put out of the account. No man that I ever talked with —and I have talked with many—ever saw it. 'Tis much to be doubted whether it was in being. As to the money, that the Caliph had it, or a great portion of it, at hand, is certainly true. It was seen and counted by King Richard's own envoys. As to the prisoners, it is hard to discover the truth. For my own part, I believe that the Caliph was ready to deliver up all that he had in his own hands or could find elsewhere, but that he had promised more in respect of this than he was able to perform. Many of those whom he had covenanted to restore were dead, either of disease or by violence. As for disease, it must be noted that a sick man was likely to fare worse in the hands of Turks, where he lacked the services of women, than among his own people; as for violence, there was not much diversity between the Christians and the followers of Mahomet. But this may be said, that one who invades the land of others is like to suffer worse injury should he come into their power than he would have the disposition to inflict upon them. Whatever, then, the cause, the Caliph had engaged in this matter far more than he was able to perform. But he did not fail from want of good faith. I take it that it was from the matter of the money that there came the breaking of the agreement. To put it very shortly, the Caliph said, "Restore to me the hostages and you shall receive the gold"; King Richard said, "Send on the gold and you shall receive the hostages." And neither was the Caliph willing to trust the good faith of the King, nor the King the good faith of the Caliph.

So there was delay after delay, much talk to no purpose, and the hearts of men, both on one side and on the other, growing more hot with anger from day to day. And there was also the need which increased from day to day, as, indeed, it needs must, for the Christians to be about the business on which they came. They had taken the town of Acre, but that was but the beginning of their enterprise, for they had to conquer the whole land. And how could the army march with a whole multitude of prisoners in their hands? It would need no small number of men to keep watch over them, lest they should escape, or, what was more to be feared, do an injury to the army. What could be worse in a doubtful battle than that there should be these enemies in its very midst? I set these things down because I would not do an injustice to the English king, whom I have always held as one to be greatly admired. Nevertheless I say again, that in the matter of the prisoners he did a shameful deed. For on the 20th day of August he commanded that all the prisoners that were in his hands, whether they had been taken in battle, or delivered up as hostages for the fulfillment of the covenant, should be led out of the city and slain. These were in number between two and three thousand. Some the King kept alive, for whom, as being of high nobility and great wealth, he hoped to receive a ransom; others were saved by private persons, a few for compassion's sake—there were some, as I can testify of my own knowledge, who were much set against the deed, and would willingly have hindered it—and others in the hope of gain. But the greater part were slain without mercy, the soldiers falling upon them, without arms and helpless as they were. I saw the beginning of the thing, but gladly turned away my eyes. If any man ask me this question, What should the King have done? I answer, He should have taken from them the promise that they would not take arms against him or any Christians, for the space of five years, or any other term that might seem sufficient, and then let them go free. And what if they had broken their oath? At the least his conscience had been free; and that, I take it, is no small advantage to a man, not in the sight of God alone, but also in this world. In any case, it had been better to suffer wrong than to do it. But this is, I know, a thing far easier in word than in deed. I have seen not a few good men, brave, and chaste in life, and cheerful givers of their substance, and careful of all duty, but of men that were content to suffer wrong I have not found more than I could count on the fingers of one hand.

The Battle of Arsuf

Let it be known by those who are curious to note such things, that from the day when the Christian army first came to the town of Acre, to that on which it marched forth by command of King Richard, was the space of two years, short of three days; and from their marching forth down to the making of peace was the space of one year and thirteen days. Of this latter time I am now about to write, not relating all things that came to pass, but such as came within my own knowledge or were told to me by others that had seen them, and of these such only as were of special moment.

It was soon made plain to all that the spirit of the Caliph and his Turks was not broken by the losing of the town. Rather were they stirred up by it to more earnestness and courage; nor did they forget how their countrymen had been cruelly slaughtered. For a time they were content to watch the King's army as it went on its way, taking such occasion as offered itself of plundering or slaying. If any lagged behind, falling out of the line of march by reason of weariness, or seeking refreshment on the way, as when there was a spring of water near to the road, or a vineyard with grapes—'twas just the time of the ripening of grapes—then the Turkish horsemen would be upon him. Such loiterers escaped but seldom. And for this business the Turks had a particular fitness, so quickly did they come and depart. The Christian knights were clad in armour, a great defence, indeed, against arrows and stones, but a great hindrance if a man would move quickly; the horses also had armour on them. There must be good reason for this custom, seeing that 'tis commonly followed by those who, I may say, are men of war from their youth, but it brings loss as well as gain. A man is defended, 'tis true, against many perils of battle, save that he is like to be strangled if he falls from his horse, but he is also put to no small disadvantage. Why do they set men on horses but that they may go speedily to and fro as occasion may call? but these knights are like to fortresses rather than to riders. A man on foot can easily outrun them; as for the Turks who rode on horses from the desert—than which there is no creature on earth lighter and speedier—they flew from the Christian who would pursue them, as a bird flies from a child who would catch it.

Richard Coeur de Lion


That there was no standing against these heavy-armed knights in the field is true. I have seen a company of them, when the place favoured them, as charging down a hill, lay their adversaries in the dust as a tree is laid by a blast of wind. But such chances were rare, even when there was a set battle; in such conflicts as were fought on the march, they were of little avail. There was another way in which the Turks did great hurt to the Christian army. Some of them would creep into the camp at night (the watch being but ill kept), enter the tent and slay the men the whiles they slept. I do remember how, some seven days after the departure from Acre, that there was found an English knight, with his two squires and two yeomen all slain, and that on the dagger by which the knight perished was a scroll with the word aparché  written thereon, by which word is signified "first-fruits," the dead man being the first-fruits of the harvest of vengeance for the hostages that had been slain.

On the twelfth day after the departure from the town there was a very fierce onslaught of the Turks, who had by this time gathered much confidence. In this the Templars, who were the rear-guard of the army, endured much suffering and loss. Sundry knights were slain or grievously wounded, and of the horses so many were damaged or killed that their chief, a certain Hugh, Count of St. Pol, was well-nigh driven to despair. Nevertheless there were some in the army to whom the slaying of the horses was not altogether unwelcome, for they were thus supplied with what they had otherwise lacked—that is to say, flesh meat. These men of the West are wont to eat this meat in abundance, not keeping it, as is commonly the custom in these regions, for high days and festivals, but using it daily, yea and twice in the day. Now I verily believe that if the whole store of sheep and oxen in the land of Palestine had been gathered together it had not long sufficed for this multitude of men. The want therefore of flesh was very great. Such horses as were worn out with their labours, yea, even such as perished of disease, were greedily devoured. When, therefore, the horse of a knight was killed, being in good health and keeping, it was sought for with much eagerness. I have seen men come to blows over the matter when there chanced to arise some dispute as to the buying. When this came to the ears of the King, he sent a herald throughout the host who made this proclamation: "Seeing that it is an unseemly thing that a knight should play the part of a huckster in the market, Richard, King of England, hereby promises that he will give a war-horse of the worth of three marks to any knight who shall freely bestow the flesh of a horse that shall come by its death in battle to soldiers that are in need." Truly King Richard had an open hand. He took what he needed without scruple, as none know better than my own countrymen, but he gave without stinting. He was himself wounded on this day whereon the Templars suffered such loss, a Turk thrusting him in the side as he fought in front of the army, or, rather, to speak more truly, in the rear. The wound did not stay his hunger for battle; nay, rather, it whetted it; he was ever a fierce fighter, but on that day when the smart of the wound was on him, he was almost as a madman that has broken loose from his chain. I take it that the Turk who dealt him that blow did but an ill service to his countrymen.

That same night a peasant came into the camp—'twas said that he came from the village of Bethlehem where there have been Christians from the beginning—bringing news that the Turks would fall upon the army as it was passing through a certain forest that is called Arsuf, and would also set the trees on fire, on either side of the road, a thing much to be dreaded, because there is no season of the year when a wood will burn more fiercely than when the summer is now beginning to wane. Neither the one thing nor the other came to pass; haply the Turks were aware that their plan had been betrayed; haply the peasant was a spy. Certain it is that all this while the Turks were close at hand, and ready to assault the King's army so soon as a convenient occasion should arise. But they did not take King Richard unaware, for indeed he was as watchful as he was brave.

I will now set forth as briefly as may be the order of the army as it was set out for battle on this day. On the right hand of the army was the sea, its front being set towards the south. In the van were the Templars, and next to these the Frenchmen in two divisions, the second being led by that Guy who called himself King of Jerusalem, and after the Frenchmen King Richard with his Englishmen; last of all, holding the rear-guard, were the Hospitallers. These are ever rivals of the Templars, and it was the King's custom so to order his disposition that this rivalry should work for the common good. On one day the Templars would lead, and the Hospitallers bring up the rear; on another each would take the other's place; and there was ever a mighty contention between the two companies which would bear itself the better. These two posts, it should be said, were the most full of peril; nor was any part of the army save only these two companies suffered to hold either the one or the other. Between the divisions there was a small space, not more than sufficient to mark one from the other: otherwise the soldiers stood and marched in as close array as might be. Also they moved very slowly, travelling less than a league in the space of two hours. And ever the King with some chosen knights rode up and down the lines, watching at the same time the Turks, so that whenever they might make an assault the army might be ready to meet them.

It was midway between sunrise and noon when the first assault was made. I noted among the enemy three sorts of soldiers, distinguished one from the other by the diverse colour of their skin. Some were well-nigh as black as ebony, having flat faces and hair like to wool. These came from the lands that lie to the south of Egypt; others, named the Bedaween, came from the desert, not black indeed, but looking as though the sun had burnt them almost to that hue, and the Turks themselves who were not darker in complexion than some of the Christians. It was to be noted that the nobles were fairer to look at than the common men. 'Twas but seldom, indeed, that a black rider was to be seen. The negroes and the men from the desert fought mostly on foot, though the chief men of the latter had horses. Of such then was the host that fell upon the rear of the Christians, and as they came on there was such a confused noise of trumpets and clarions, of timbrels and drums and gongs, as I never have heard at any time or place; and the greater the uproar the more fiercely, as it seemed to me, did the enemy come on.

Now King Richard's commandment had been that the Christians should on no account break their lines to attack the enemy, but should only defend themselves as best they could. Now there is nothing harder in the whole duty of a soldier than so to stand; even they who have been men of war from their youth up grow greatly impatient; as for the younger sort they often fail to endure altogether. Many a man will sooner throw himself upon almost sure death than abide danger less by far standing still. And so it could be seen that day in the Christian army. The first to fail were the men that carried the cross-bows; nor, indeed, is it to be wondered at that when they had spent their store of bolts, they, having but short swords wherewith to defend themselves, should be ill content to hold their place. Many I did see throw away their bows and fly, thrusting themselves by main force into the ranks of the men-at-arms, who liked not to beat them back, nor yet to suffer them to pass. And they themselves had much ado to hold their ground, for it was a very fierce assault that they had to endure. In the first place there was such a shower of darts and stones and arrows that the very light of the sun itself was darkened, a thing which I had always before judged to be a fable, but saw that day to be possible. The greater part of them, it is true, fell without effect to the ground, for of twenty missiles scarce one serves its purpose, but some were not cast in vain. As for the number, they lay so thick upon the ground that a man might gather twenty into his hand without moving from his place.

About noon the Knights Hospitallers themselves, than whom, as I have said, there were no braver men in the whole army, sent word to the King that they could bear up no longer, unless they should be suffered to charge the enemy. But they got small comfort from the King. "Close up your lines," he said to the messenger, "and be patient. Be sure that you shall not miss your reward." A second time did they send to him, the Master of the Company himself going on the errand, but he also came back with nothing done. Now the King's plan was this, that when the Turks should have spent their strength, and should also, through over-confidence and contempt of their adversaries, have fallen into disorder, then the trumpets should sound, and the whole army with one consent and moving all together, so that the whole of its strength should be put, as it were, into one blow, should fall upon the enemy. 'Twas a wisely conceived plan, save in this that there was needed for the full carrying out more than the King was like to find. He laid upon his soldiers a greater burden of patience than they could bear. So it came to pass that he missed somewhat of his purpose.

What chanced was this. About two hours afternoon, when the fight was at its hottest, the army suffering also no little from the heat of the sun and being worn out with the heat, a certain Frankish knight was slain by an arrow that smote him where the helmet and corslet meet, ever the deadliest spot in a man's armour. He was a Hospitaller, a young man and of a good presence—there was none fairer in the whole army—and much beloved by his fellows. They that were near and saw the mischance were greatly troubled, and among these was the Marshal of the Hospitallers, a Frenchman, and another, an Englishman, a close friend and companion of the King himself. I heard this same Englishman cry with a loud voice, "Now, by Saint George!"—the English call on Saint George as the French call on Saint Denys—"this deed shall not go unpunished. I will have at these Turks if I die for it." And, as he spake, he set spurs to his horse, and charged, the Marshal riding close at his side, for they were friends and wont to fight in com- pany. It was as the letting out of water. There was nothing that could have kept the army from following. First of all rode the Hospitallers, who burnt to avenge themselves for all that they had borne that day; after these came the main body of the Englishmen, nor were the French knights far behind, for in a very short space of time the divisions of the army were mingled together, and a man's place in the battle was not so much where his own company might be, as where the swiftness of his horse might carry him. Not the least notable of the Frenchmen was a certain priest, whom they called Bishop of Beauvais, a famous fighter, who had come on the same errand some twelve years before. 'Tis a fancy of these Churchmen, when they join in battle, to use a club rather than a sword, for they would not shed blood. For myself I had sooner be pierced with a sword than battered to the death with a club. He wielded his club right valiantly, laying his adversaries low on the right hand and on the left, though he was now verging on old age, having, I take, nearly three-score of years.

But there is no need to mention one or another where all fought valiantly; valiantly, do I say? It were better to write furiously, for these men had been wrought to madness by long constraint. They had endured, not blows only, but reproaches also and scoffs, for the Turks threw many foul and bitter words at them, as though they stood still and endured for want of courage. As for the King, he was, I can scarce doubt, glad at heart that the season of waiting was over. Certain it is that not only did he not seek to call back his men from the charge—doubtless he knew full well that to do this was beyond the power of mortal man—but he himself joined in it with the greatest vehemence; none that saw him but must have believed that the affair was altogether to his liking. If others were before him at the first, but a short time had passed when he was to be seen in the front rank, aye, and before it. Where he rode, it was as if Azrael had passed, for the dead lay upon the ground on either side.

But the victory was not speedily won. Again and again did multitudes of Turks come to the help of their army; one had thought that the Caliph Saladin had an inexhaustible store of men from which he might draw thousands of warriors so often as he had need. First there fell upon the army of the Christians a force of ten thousand men, and then another of twenty thousand—such were the numbers according to report, but in this matter men are wont to magnify. 'Tis certain, in any case, that there was a great multitude of men both at one time and at the other; and that the Christians suffered much at their hands; nevertheless they were beaten back, and not without suffering more damage than they did.

After King Richard, the bravest champion in the host was a certain knight of the name of William de Barres. Him I mention more particularly because of the quarrel that the English king had against him, and this for a cause which scarcely accorded with his generous temper. It fell out on this wise. When the two kings were in the island of Sicily, they and their followers were wont to divert themselves with a show of fighting, for these westerns, when they are not waging war in earnest, cannot pass the time without waging it in sport. This they call a tournament, and carry it on in some such fashion as this. There are chosen two parties, six or, it may be, twelve, on one side, and as many on the other. These knights contend with each other in pairs, seeking each to thrust his adversary to the ground. He who can do this, driving the other man out of the saddle, is counted to have done exceedingly well; 'tis something to break his helmet or cause him to drop his shield. And other laws of the game there are which it is needless to rehearse in this place. It chanced, then, that King Richard and the knight, William de Barres, were matched together. First they tilted, using headless spears, made from very stout reeds that grow in those parts—'twas the passing of a peasant's cart that was laden with these said reeds that gave occasion to the sport. Each broke his spear upon the other; but Sir William had so far the better of the encounter that he broke off the King's helmet. Now the King had no small conceit of his skill in this sport, and the mishap vexed him much. Thereupon, leaning from his saddle, he caught the knight by the body, whereupon a worse thing happened to him, for the girths of the saddle were broken under him, and he fell to the ground with no little violence. Then they brought him a fresh horse, and the two strove together for a long while, not without many angry words; but by no means, whether of craft or of strength, could the King drag his adversary from the saddle. He would not suffer it indeed when a certain noble would have laid hold of the knight and dragged him down. "Hold thou off," he cried in a loud voice, "and leave us two alone; "but he was nevertheless transported with rage, so greatly vexed was he that he could not have his wish. Nor would he listen when King Philip would have made peace, nor even to an embassy of nobles and bishops that came to him on the day following and fell at his feet, praying that he would take again Sir William into his favour. So much indeed did he yield that he promised not to harm the knight so long as they both should be serving the same cause. Nevertheless he kept his anger even to the day of this battle. But now he could not for very shame refuse his grace to so valiant a warrior.

As for the number of the slain this may be said, that seven thousand Turks were found dead on the field. About them that died of their wounds nothing is certainly known, for they were either carried off by their own people, or, being less grievously hurt, fled away on their feet. But that the Caliph's army endured a very great loss is manifest from this, that after this day he never again set the battle in array in the open field against the Christians. The most grievous loss that these latter suffered was the slaying of a very valiant knight, Sir James of Avernes. And he, it was commonly said, had not perished but for the cowardice of some whom it were better maybe not to mention by name. His horse fell under him, and he was overpowered by a multitude of enemies. They found his body on the morrow, having sent out some to search for him because he had not come back to the camp. There lay about him and three of his kinsmen who perished with him, fifteen Turks. There was made a great mourning for him as if he had been the King himself.

How King Richard Parleyed with Saladin

Never had the Caliph Saladin suffered so great a defeat as that which fell upon him in the battle of Arsuf, never, indeed, after that day did he dare to meet King Richard in the open field. Nevertheless, from that very day did the hope of the Christians that they should accomplish the end of their warfare grow less and less. But, if any one ask what was the cause of this falling, and who should bear the blame, I, for one, know not what answer should be made to him. There was not one in the whole army more brave and more zealous in this matter than King Richard; yet even he, I hold, had not a wholly single heart. He was ever thinking of worldly things; he desired greatly to win the city of Jerusalem, yet he desired it as much for his own sake, for his own glory and renown, and the increase of his royal power, as for any other cause. Yea, though I loved him, if such a one as I may say so much of a great and mighty prince—for to me he was ever kind and courteous—yet I could have found it in my heart to wish that he had met his death while he was still at the height of his good repute.

Once indeed he was like to have come to his end, and that in a very strange fashion. I have said that these kings and princes from the West set great store by sport, and especially by the use of hawks for the hunting of other birds; and of all the nations that were gathered in the army of the Christians there was none so zealous in this matter as the English, and of all the English not a man more given to it heart and soul than the King himself. Well, it fell out some four-and-twenty days after the battle of Arsuf, that the King rose early to be abroad with some of his knights to try some hawks that had been newly given to him—if any man would win the King's favour there was no better way than to give him a good hawk. The sun was shining hotly, and the King and his company had ridden far when they halted at noon, and sitting down under an oak, took their meal. And here I will say again what I have said before, that these men of the West eat flesh and drink wine to no small excess, not remembering that what may be well in their own land may be far more than will suffice in this. So it was that, his meal ended, the King fell asleep, aye, and all his companions, of whom there were some five or six, fell asleep also. None thought to watch; indeed in the matter of watching they were commonly very careless. Here some Turks espied them, for they had ridden far from the camp, and were, so to speak, in the midst of the enemy's country.

And now I will tell what followed as 'twas told to me by the King's own yeoman. "I was fast asleep, as I confess to my shame"—'twas thus the young man spoke—"when I was awoke by the bird that was on my wrist"—'tis thus they carry the hawks—"pecking me sharply with her bill, a thing that she was not wont to do. Then I saw a company of horsemen, Turks, as was manifest from their garb and arms, who were coming towards us, being then, as it seemed to me, some four hundred paces away. At this instant I woke my lord the King. By good fortune his horse—'twas that he purchased for himself in Cyprus, and was by far the swiftest of all that he had—was standing close by. It is my lord's way to have it so, and it served him well that day. The King leapt upon the beast's back and was ready or ever the Turks came up. But it fared ill with his companions, their horses being tied to trees that were distant some fifty paces; not only so, but the men themselves were without arms, or had but daggers in their belts. So it fell out that four of them were slain straightway, among them a certain Reynier than whom there was no better marksman in the army, and his nephew, and two knights, brothers, by name de Stabulo. As for the King, he having his long sword, and being mounted on a horse that was swift and knowing also beyond all compare, he defended himself most valiantly. And yet, for all his skill, he was like to be taken, seeing that a troop of Turks had separated themselves from the main body, so that taking their stand on the way, they might hinder the King from escape. But now one of the company, Sir William de Preaux, a very valiant knight, delivered him by his ready wit, and also by that which is greater than wit, by his devotion of himself. This Sir William cried aloud, 'Melek! Melek!'  which word in the Saracen tongue means 'king.' This the Turks hearing were deceived, for they thought that it was the King calling his comrades to his help. Therefore they left assailing King Richard and followed Sir William. And this they did one and all, even they who had disposed themselves on the way between the King and the camp. This indeed was but poor soldiership on their part, for it was their manifest duty to abide in their place. But the case was this: the Caliph Saladin had proclaimed that the man who should take King Richard prisoner should receive therefore a thousand pieces of gold. Every man then was eager to gain this for himself, and strove not so much that the King should be taken as that he himself should take him. Of a truth there were Turks enough, had they been skillfully disposed, to accomplish the business twice or thrice over, But by their own greed, and the services of the good knight Sir William, and the ordering of God, the King escaped."

The yeoman also said that he himself was delivered by the King, for that as he fled he was wounded in the leg by an arrow, and that the King set him behind himself on his horse, which being strong and swift beyond all measure carried this double burden as easily as it had been a child. I myself saw the rejoicing of the camp when the King came back safe and sound. I remember also how the chief men in the army fell at the King's feet, and entreated him that he would not so endanger his life. Even so in the history of my own people did the elders entreat King David that he would not adventure himself any more in the battle, lest, as they said, "he should quench the light of Israel." King David indeed was content to listen to them, for he was past his first youth and the fire of battle burnt not so high in him as of old. But King Richard was yet young—at this time he had but four-and-thirty years—and he would have none of such counsel; of a truth these things were the very salt of life to him; he had as lief do without meat and drink as live without fighting.

This story concerning the King I have thought it expedient to relate, not so much for what happened in fact, as for what might have been. But there is no need to tell of all the combats, skirmishes, and the like that took place, how on one day a company of the Templars fell into an ambush, how on another the Hospitallers suffered some damage. For the most part the Christians had the better in these things, and this not a little because of the great skill and valour of the English King. Nevertheless, the fortunes of the army seemed to go backwards rather than forwards. And for this there were many and sufficient reasons. First, if a soldier of the Christians was slain in battle, or died of disease, or was so hurt that he could do no more service, 'twas a greater loss than if the like should happen to two or three or even four of the Turks. For commonly he was an expert man-at-arms, and if his place was filled, and this was not always easy to be done, it was by a youth new to the business; while, on the other hand, the Turks had more men by thousands than they ever needed, and their warfare is of a kind that is mighty easy to learn. In the second place, the army of the Christians suffered not only by the accidents of battle and sickness, but through the lack of a common authority. When matters came to fighting, then all were well content to follow the King of England. So to do was to their own profit and safety, for he was, by common consent, the best of leaders. But his authority did not always prevail. There were many in the army, as, for example, those who had followed the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy, whose obedience was, so to speak, voluntary, and was not yielded further Than for their own profit and convenience. So it came to pass that no small part of the Frenchmen, being wearied of the hardships of the camp, went back, some to Tyre and some to Ptolemais, and lived there in luxury and ease. This they did the more eagerly, because the Caliph Saladin caused the towns in which the army of the Christians might have found a settled abode to be destroyed. The King did all that a man could do to call back these deserters, journeying to Tyre, for example, and exhorting them, as was told me, in most moving words, to do their duty. And some he persuaded to come back, but many remained, and the army was greatly weakened.

About this time the King began to have dealings for peace with the Caliph Saladin, sending an embassage to him, and receiving the like from him. But it was ever thus that the King asked more than he looked for the Caliph to give; and the Caliph promised more than he had the purpose to fulfill. There were many courtesies passed between them, and gifts also. King Richard would send a set of hawks, and, indeed, he had not much that he could give; but the presents that came from the Caliph were of exceeding richness and splendour; there was a tent made of cloth of gold, and horses such as kings only have in their stalls, and rare beasts and birds, and snow from Lebanon, for the cooling of wines, and many other things, both for show and for use, of which it were long to tell. And these things, for all that they were costly, served the Caliph's purpose well, and for this reason, they seemed to show his good will, and all the while he was busy destroying the towns and laying waste the country. Verily, if the King had received the whole land as a gift it would have been scarce better than a desert. Of these things he heard something, but not all, for in the matter of news he was ill served, as, indeed, it must ever be with them who make war in a strange country. And all the while the Turks ceased not to do all the mischief that they could, slaying such as strayed from the camp, yea, and coming into the camp itself, and doing men to death in their very tents, and Saladin, or rather Saphadin, his brother, for he it was who held converse with King Richard, when complaints were made of their deeds, affirmed that they were done by robbers and others who were not subject to him, and paid no reverence to his commands; of which pretence there need be said this only, that these robbers or murderers, whether they were the Caliph's men or no, never harmed any but such as were his enemies.

For all this King Richard still strove by all means that he could devise to come to a peaceful agreement with his adversaries. Nor did he refuse any instrument by which he might hope to compass this end, though indeed he sometimes not only made himself a laughing-stock to his enemies, but gave great scandal to his friends. Nor of all the devices which he contrived was there any one more vain than this. There was a certain emir, for so the Turks call their princes, who was near akin to the Sultan, a man of a goodly presence, who had gone backwards and forwards between Saladin and King Richard many times, and the King had conceived a great liking for him. He wrote, therefore, or caused to be written, for he himself could neither write nor read, a letter to this effect:—"I have a sister that is a widow, her husband, the King of Sicily, being newly dead, a fair woman and yet in her youth. Her I will give to wife to my friend and brother, Al Adil. She shall be queen in Jerusalem, and to her I will yield all the towns and lands that I have won by my sword. You, on your part, shall give to Al Adil all that part of this country which you still hold, and he shall keep all that he now possesses. These two, therefore, shall be king and queen in Jerusalem. As for the money that you are under promise to pay, let it go. What is any such thing between you and me? Only you shall yield to me the True Cross, which in your eyes is but a piece of wood, but to us Christians the most precious thing in all the world. If you hold any Franks in bondage, you shall give them back, and we will do the same with such Turks as may be in our hands."

Al Adil was well pleased with this desire, a thing not to be marvelled at, seeing that he gained much by it—a kingdom and a wife—and lost nothing. As for the Caliph, he said nothing. This was ever his way, not to waste words, but to act as soon as ever occasion came. But there was one of those concerned in this matter who used many words when it was brought before her, and this was the King's sister, the Queen Joan of Sicily. "What," she is reported to have said, "what means the King, my brother, by this? Shall I be wife to a Turk, one who bows down to stocks and stones? Nay, that I will never be, no, verily, though I should become thereby Queen not of Jerusalem only, but of the whole world." And the lady, methinks, did well to be angry, though she erred when she said that the Turks bowed down to stocks and stones. I take it that the Christians rather lie open to this reproach. Certain it is that the business, whether from the wrath of Queen Joan or from some other cause, came to nothing.

How the King's Purpose was Baulked

When a whole moon had been wasted in parleying and the sending of messengers to and fro, the King, seeing that he must accomplish his purpose by force of arms or not at all, led his army towards the Holy City. It would serve no profitable end to tell of the places where he pitched his camp, or of the days which he tarried in this or that. Let it suffice to say that in a month's time he traversed so much space only as an army well equipped might pass over in a single day's march; and that about twenty-one days after the winter solstice the army of the Christians came to a certain place which is named the Casal of Beitenoble, and which in ancient times was, if I err not, a city of the priests. There it tarried some twelve days, being much troubled by storms and rains, for the winds blew and the rains fell during the whole of this time, and, indeed, both before and after, in such a fashion as I have never seen. As for the tents, only such as were appointed with ropes and so forth could be kept in their place, so violent were the blasts, so that the greater part of the army lay under the open sky, not a little to the damage of their health. The horses also were in evil case. These creatures, all men know, suffer from much sickness, and multitudes of them perished. Also there was a great scarcity of victuals; for the corn and even the biscuit, for so they call the bread that is twice baked, were spoilt by the rain, and the hogs' flesh, of which these people eat amazing quantities, grew corrupt.

Nevertheless, there was a great fire of zeal in the army such as I had never seen before, for now it seemed as if the desire of their hearts would be accomplished. And though not a few died of sickness, yet did the host daily grow greater. Many who had stayed behind in various cities, their zeal having grown stale, now came back to the camp, judging that they would do well to take part in an enterprise that was now near to success. Also many that had tarried on the march for the cause of sickness now made shift to come to the camp. Some I saw carried in litters, and others that could scarce set one foot before the other crawled painfully along the road. Many of these were slain by the Turks, but not the less did the rest brave the dangers of the journey. And in the camp there was a great furbishing of arms and armour, and trimming of the plumes of helmets, for it was counted an unseemly thing that any man should enter such a place as the Holy City save in his best array.

And now all things were ready for the march when there befell as great a discouragement as ever, I take it, any army ever endured in this world. On a certain evening, some eleven days after the coming of the army to Beitenoble, there was a council held in the tent of King Richard, at which were present the Master of the Templars and the Master of the Hospitallers, and other chief men in the army. These sat debating for the space of three hours or thereabouts. Meanwhile there had gathered about the King's tent a great multitude of common folk waiting till the great men should come forth. Nor did any one doubt but that when the council should be ended there would be given forthwith orders for the march. I myself was there, and I heard men laying wagers with each other about the time when they should enter the Holy City. (These men from the West, I should say, are mightily fond of wagering; they are wont to do this in all kinds of things, and there were laws set forth in the camp that no man should wager more than befitted his degree.) Some, I heard, made sure that this entering would be on the morrow; some were for two days, and others for three; but none, so far at least as I heard, held that there would be longer delay than of seven.

About an hour after sunset the council came to an end; darkness had long since fallen, but it chanced to be a full moon, and the faces of them that had been present at the council were plain to be seen. And then, before ever a word was said, it was manifest to all that a great misfortune had befallen them. For the faces of these men were gloomy and clouded with doubts and discouragement. And straightway all the multitude that had been gathered together departed every man to his own place. There needed no proclaiming that neither on the morrow nor on any other day would there be a marching to the Holy City. On the morrow it was commonly known how this thing had come about. It was chiefly the doing of the two Masters, that is, of the Templars and of the Hospitallers. The King, indeed, had held by his purpose to go forward to the very last, but they were men skilled in warfare, nor was there any gainsaying of their counsel. And what they said was this in effect: "If we persist in this enterprise, then we shall have enemies on either side of us, for while we are fighting with the Sultan Saladin and his host within the city, then will the army of the Turks that is on the mountain assail us from behind. And if we take the city, which we shall not do without much slaughter, how shall we keep it?" To these things no answer could be made, so that the King himself, for all that he was most unwilling, could not but yield.

But when it was certainly known in the army that it must go back, what grief was there, yea, what despair! There were some to whom the news was as a sentence of death; the sick, to wit, who with no small toil and suffering had made their way to the place, and many also who, being held up by hope, had endured with patience many evils—the hard lodging, the scanty food, the cold—now seemed altogether to give way. And so, whereas on the forward march scarcely a man had fallen out of the ranks, now there was scarce an hour but many were left behind. Some also, whose strength failed not, left their place in the army, making their way to Ptolemais and other towns where they might live in greater ease.

On the 8th day of January the army departed from Beitenoble, and on the 10th it came, after much toil and suffering, for the rain and tempest scarcely abated for a single hour through the twelve days, to the city of Ascalon, and lo! this place where the Christians hoped to find shelter was but a heap of ruins, for the Caliph had caused that this should be done. And there was also another grievous trouble, the lack of victuals, for by this time all the food that had been made for the army was spent, and the ships that should have brought them provisions could not enter the harbour by reason of the storm. So it was for eight days, and the army was well-nigh brought to destruction, for these westerners, especially such as come from the more northern parts, are great eaters, and lacking food lack, as it seems to me, all strength and courage. After a while, indeed, their troubles abated. Many of the houses in the city were set up again, so far at least as to give shelter for a time, and good store of provision was brought in from Cyprus and other regions. So the Christians had rest, for the Sultan had given leave to his chiefs to return to their homes for a while.

How King Richard Departed

For some little time, as I have already said, King Richard and his army dwelt in peace in the city of Ascalon. Nor can it be denied that they gathered strength; the sick, being duly handled by their physicians, were restored to a sound body, and they that were wearied with the labours of long-continued warfare had rest and refreshment. Nevertheless it may be doubted whether the King was able to advance the cause at all which he had in hand, namely, the taking of the Holy City. And the chief cause was this, that the Christians, not having for the present a common foe with whom to contend, began to quarrel among themselves more grievously than ever. So the King and the French, among whom, now that the French king had departed to his own land, a certain Duke of Burgundy was chief, fell out, and this with such heat, that the duke departed from Ascalon to Acre in great haste, and all the Frenchmen followed him. Nor, indeed, when they came to Acre did they find peace and harmony. For though the city of Jerusalem had not been, nor of a truth seemed likely to be taken, yet was there ever a fierce contention as to what prince should have the kingdom thereof. Some favoured King Guy, who was of kin to them who held the kingdom of old time, and some were zealous for a certain Marquis of Montferrat, as they called him, who was friend to King Philip of France. These two parties had fallen out at Acre, and when the duke came thither they were already fiercely fighting. And, indeed, the duke came near to being killed, for some of them who were adverse to the French fell upon him as he drew nigh to the city, and killed the horse on which he rode, and flung him to the ground. This quarrel was made up after a while, but it was not forgotten, nor was the wound that it made wholly healed.

No long time after these things a great misfortune befell the Christians, to wit, the slaying in open day of this same Marquis of Montferrat of whom I have spoken above. As for the man himself, he was of but little account, nor had the army been much the better by his presence or the worse by his absence. He was not a keen fighter—King Richard was worth twenty such at the least; nor was he good in council, for he was dull of wit, and ever a self-seeker. But his death gave great occasion to the enemies of the King to blaspheme. There were not wanting those who affirmed that the King had contrived the whole matter. 'Twas a most manifestly false accusation; yet there were many who believed it. Now, as I know of a certainty the whole truth of this matter, I will tell how the said marquis came by his death.

Some twelve months or so before this time there came a ship laden with merchandise into the harbour of Tyre. And the marquis, who was ever greedy of gain, gave commandment that this ship should be searched by his officers, and that a writing of the goods that were contained therein should be brought to him. "This thing was done, and the marquis having this paper before him, marked many of the goods, and these the most costly of all, and commanded that these should be taken from the merchants and brought to his dwelling, and this with no payment made. This thing was done. The merchants thinking that they had been abused by some officer of the harbour, and that they would, without doubt, have redress if they should lay the whole matter before the marquis, sought an audience, and laid the whole matter before him. But as for redress none did they find. For the marquis spake very roughly to them, and gave them to know that they might esteem themselves fortunate if they had been suffered to retain aught of their possessions. Then they said, "We will tell these things to our lord." And the marquis made answer, "Ye may tell it to whom ye will, but from me ye shall receive nothing. Only take heed that ye suffer nothing worse." So the merchants departed from the presence of the marquis, nor even so did they escape. For one of the knights that stood by said to the marquis, "I will rid you of these people; you shall never hear of them again." And the marquis laughed; but whether he had any thought of what the knight was about to do, cannot be certainly known. But that the merchants were taken and drowned in the sea is known of all.

Now it has often fallen out that merchants have been spoiled of their goods, and when they have complained of the wrong have themselves been done to death; and that no harm, so far as this world is concerned, has come to them that have done the robbery and murder. But it was not so with the marquis, for these merchants were the servants of no common master, as I will now go on to show.

There dwelt in a certain hilly place which is called Alamut, that is, by interpretation, the Nest of the Vulture, not far from the Caspian Sea, a certain prince who was known among men as the Old Man of the Mountain. This prince had caused a certain valley between two mountains to be enclosed, and had turned it into a garden, the largest and most beautiful that ever was seen, filled with every variety of fruit. In it were set up pavilions and palaces, adorned with gold, and with pictures very beautiful to behold. Also there were in this garden streams of honey and water, of wine, and of milk that flowed continually. There were damsels also of the most ravishing beauty, the fairest women that could be seen in the whole world, who sang and played on instruments of music most sweetly, and danced in the most skilful fashion. This prince having thus prepared his paradise, sent about those who should spy out the most likely youths in the whole country, men of strength and courage. These were caused to drink of a certain potion, of which I will speak hereafter, and being thus cast into a deep slumber, were carried, or ever they came to themselves, into the said garden.

There they dwelt in all manner of delights for some months or more. And when the prince desired that any one for whom he had ill-will or that in any way hindered his purposes should be slain, he would choose two or more of the young men, taking for the most part such as were well acquaint with the country to which they would have travelled, and caused them to be thrown into a deep sleep in the same way as before, and so carried forth from the garden. When these found themselves all of a sudden separated from the delights which they had enjoyed, they would fall into great despair. Then the Old Man of the Mountain would cause them to be brought into his presence, and would say to them, "Do ye desire to dwell for ever in this paradise?" And when they answered that they desired it above all things, he would say further, that such a king or prince was hindering the cause of God and must be taken out of the way. "If therefore," he would proceed, "you desire to do such a service to God and to me as will be rewarded with perpetual happiness in this paradise, you shall slay this man; and be sure of this, that whether you live or die you shall not miss your reward.

If you slay him not, what will it benefit you to escape with your lives, for into this paradise you shall in nowise enter. Go, therefore, and do your errand without fail." For the old man knew this, that they who seek to kill princes and such folk commonly fail because they are too careful of their own lives. Now the merchants who were robbed and slain by command of the marquis or not without his knowledge were servants of this same Prince of Alamut; and when he heard of the deed he sent two of his young men with a commandment that they should slay the marquis when they should find occasion, and the two were both men of Tyre.

So these men came, and offering themselves to be servants to the marquis were hired by him, for they were strong and of good presence, and also sought but a small wage. For three months and more did they serve him, and, showing themselves faithful and diligent, were promoted so that they had nearer access to his person. On the 27th day of April, therefore, as the marquis was coming back in a merry mood from a banquet that had been held in his honour by a certain bishop, the two fell upon him, each having a long knife in his hand, and slew him, piercing him with two deadly wounds, so that he fell straightway from his saddle. One of the youths was slain upon the spot by a knight that rode at the marquis's side; the other fled away, and entering a church would have taken sanctuary at the altar. But this the marquis's folk would not suffer; so they dragged him from the place and took order that he should be dragged through the streets of the city by horses till he should be dead. But first they questioned him, not without torment, by whose bidding he had done this thing. He answered nothing, save that he had fulfilled the command of one whom he could not choose but obey. So did the Marquis of Montferrat die, a small loss, as I have said, save for the suspicion that arose out of the manner of his dying.'

Now about this same time there came a messenger to King Richard bearing a letter from one that he had set to bear rule in his stead while he should be absent from his kingdom. In this letter there were written many things about the doings of a certain Prince John, who was the King's brother: how he had commerce with the French to the King's damage, and was troubling all loyal men, and had taken all the money that was in the treasury; but I reckon that of this there was not overmuch, seeing how royally the King scattered gold about him with both hands, so to speak. When the King heard these things he was sore distraught. And indeed he was in a great strait. On the one hand there was the purpose for which he had come on this present journey, the taking again of the Holy City; and, on the other, there was the loss of his own kingdom at home. For in the letter aforesaid it was plainly written in so many words that if he was not speedy in returning, then all the realm of England would be lost to him.

At the first he made no doubt of departing with but as little delay as might be. "I must be gone," he said, "or my kingdom will not be worth a silver penny." But before many days his purpose was changed. 'Twas said that a holy man, a priest of the land of France, took courage to speak to him and set before him his duty in this matter. He said that the hearts of all were sorely troubled by the King's purpose to depart—and this was most certainly true, seeing that they who were most jealous of the King and chafed most at his command were not less dismayed by the news of his departure than were his best friends. "Think too," he is reported to have spoken, "how that you will greatly dim your kingly renown. You have done well, O King, and God has manifestly bestowed His blessings on you. Will you then be ungrateful, and, if your royal grace will suffer me to say so much, unfaithful to Him? Verily there is a great reward laid up for him that recovers the Holy City out of the hands of the heathen, and will you give this up on the bare rumour of mischief that may befall your estate in this world?" So the holy man is reported to have spoken, nor would I deny that such words may have had weight with the King, who was ever greatly moved by eloquent words. But I also believe that when he came to himself he judged that there was no great need of haste in the matter; that the Prince John his brother was not greatly loved, nor was ever like to be; that when the people of England had had a year's trial of his rule, if such should come to pass, they would be the less likely to stand by him; and, moreover, that if he should go back to his country in high esteem among all men, as having set up yet again a Christian kingdom in the Holy City, his enemies would be brought to nought by the mere rumour of his coming. Certain it is that, let the cause be what it might, he caused it to be made known throughout the army that they would set out for the Holy City in three days' time.

Why should I tell again that which I have told before. Again there was great joy in the army; again the sick rose from their beds, and the lame threw away their crutches, that they might go without hindrance on this great journey. Again did the army come almost in sight of the Holy City; again were all things ready for the assault. And then once more the more skilful and prudent of the leaders hindered the matter. It was not well, they said, to run into such danger. It might well be that if they should assail the city they would not take it; it was well-nigh certain that even if they should take it, they could not hold it to any good purpose. And so it came to pass that King Richard and the army having once more come to Beitenoble, once more departed, leaving their task unaccomplished.

Yet there is one more thing which I must needs tell. When the leaders had taken this resolve that they would turn back and the army was now about to depart, there came to King Richard a certain man-at-arms, who was well acquainted with the country, for, indeed, he had travelled on foot as a pilgrim from the coast to Jerusalem, and this not once only but twice or thrice. This man said, "My lord King, if you are minded to see the Holy City, you can do so at little pains. If you will ride a mile or so you will come to a hill from whence you can see the walls, and the hill on which the Temple was built and other of the holy places." But the King answered, "I thank you much, nor, indeed, is there any sight in the whole world on which I would more gladly look with my eyes, but I am not worthy of so great a favour. If it had been the will of God that I should see His city, I do not doubt that I had done so, not as one who looks upon some spectacle from far, but as the conqueror in some great battle looks upon the thing that he has won. But of this grace I, by reason I doubt not of my sins, have been judged unworthy." And when he had so spoken he turned his horse's head to the west, as being minded to return yet again to the sea-coast. And this he did.

I have spoken of the King's courage and skill in arms and wisdom in leadership, nor need I say these things again. But one thing I will add, namely, that of all the men that came to this land from the West none left behind him so great a fame as did King Richard. So if a mother was minded to make a crying child hold his peace, she would say, "Hush, child, or King Richard shall have thee; "or if a horse started unaware, his rider would say, "Dost see King Richard in the bush?"

On the 9th day of October did the King of England set sail to return to his own country. But it fared ill with him on his journey. For it fell out that he was separated from all his friends, and that when he was in this case a certain duke, with whom he had had a strife, laid hands upon him, and laid him in prison. There he remained for the space of a year and more, fretting much, I doubt not, against his condition, for never surely was a man more impatient of bonds. But he could not escape, nor did his friends so much as know where he was. And when this was discovered by some strange chance, there was yet much delay, nor indeed was he set free till there had been paid for him a ransom of many thousands of gold pieces. Not many years after—so I heard from the lips of a certain pilgrim that came from the land of England—he was slain by a chance arrow shot from the walls of a certain castle which he was besieging, being then in the forty-second year of his age. He was not without much nobleness, but he was unstable in all his ways, and he prospered not.

Of what Befell at Constantinople

I have seen many strange things in these wars, but nothing stranger than that which I am about to relate. (It befell, I should say, some eleven years after the matters above related.) Some cause, which it boots not to relate, had constrained me to make a journey farther to the west than I had ever gone before in all my wanderings, namely to a city which is named Venice, situate on the Adriatic Sea. 'Tis a strange place, built in the very midst of the sea, where the streets are of water, and where men move to and fro on boats rather than by help of horses and chariots. But it is a wealthy place, none wealthier, I take it, in the whole world, for the merchandise of many lands is both sold and bought there, and not without much profit to them that deal with it. Not Tyre herself, in the days of her prosperity, was to be preferred to this same city of Venice. Her merchants were, indeed, among the great ones of the earth. Having come therefore to this place on an errand of commerce, for so much I may say, I was a witness to the things of which I am about to tell. There came six envoys from the land of France, who brought this message from the King and the nobles of that land: "We have bound ourselves by an oath to do all that in us lies to win back from the infidels the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord Christ. For it, having been won by Godfrey of holy memory, was lost now some fifteen years since, nor have they that have essayed to bring it back under the dominion of Christian folk been able so to do. Now we, having gathered together a host of men vowed to this service, do beseech your help in the same; and the help which we would fain have from you is this, that you carry us across the sea in ships. The journey by land is long and perilous, across deserts and over mountains, and they that have gone before have suffered much damage therefrom, which damage we shall escape if only you will hearken to our prayer."

To this request the rulers of Venice, after no little deliberation and bargaining, agreed. And the conditions were these. That the army should be gathered together at Venice by midsummer in the year next to come, that the city of Venice should provide ships in which four thousand five hundred knights with such horses as they needed and thirty thousand foot soldiers might be carried to the land of Palestine, and that provision of food for so many horses and men should be made for the space of nine months; and that, on the other hand, the leaders of the army should pay for this same service of transport and food fourscore and five thousand marks of silver, and furthermore that all cities and countries whatsoever that should be conquered by the same army should be divided into two equal parts of which the Crusaders should have the one and the said city the other.

The price was, of a truth, high; but the princes could not choose but accept them. And so the covenant was made; but it was never executed, and this for lack of money. The city of Venice, indeed, performed its part without defect or stint; so great a provision of ships and food was never made; but the Crusaders had not wherewithal to pay. The chiefs and nobles had spent much on their preparations of arms and engines of war and horses and the like, and the common men loved rather to receive wages for their service than to pay. So, when they had gathered all that they had, whether of money or of vessels of gold and silver—and these the possessors gave without stint—it was found that there wanted yet more than thirty thousand marks. Thereupon the chief magistrate of Venice said to the leaders: "There are certain cities in Hadria which have cast off their obedience; help us now to subdue them, and we will do this service of transport for you without delay. Part of the price we will excuse, and part we leave to another day, when you, having succeeded in your enterprise, shall have gained wherewithal to pay."

The thing pleased not the chiefs altogether. They had leagued together to make war against the infidel, and now they were to meddle in a private quarrel and turn their arms against Christian folk. But what should they do? For now they could neither go backwards nor forwards. These things being so, they accepted, not a little against their will, these conditions. Nor, indeed, had this been all, had there been much harm. The men of Venice were content with the conquest of one city; nor did this delay the army more than some five days or so. But that which came after was altogether without excuse.

A certain Alexius had been driven from the throne of New Rome by a kinsman, he and his father together with him. This man, having made interest with the chief lord of Venice and with the leaders of the Crusaders, came forward and spoke to this purpose, "I would not deny that the Emperors of New Rome have not rendered such help and service as it was their duty to render to those who have aforetime sought to recover the Holy City from the infidel. They have looked too much to their own interest and have sought too much their own gain. Nor do I doubt that but for this hindrance these enterprises had fared more prosperously than we know them to have done. Let us therefore take counsel together how these things may be better ordered for the future. If you, for your part, will drive out the man who has wrongfully taken to himself the Empire of New Rome and will set me on the throne of my father, then I, for my part, will do all that shall in me lie to set forward your enterprise. For first I will pay you, so soon as I shall have been restored to my kingdom, two hundred thousand marks of silver; also for the year next following I will furnish equipment and wages for ten thousand men, and, for so long as I shall live, the same for five hundred knights. So much I promise for the present time; and for the future this, that the city of New Rome shall always be for an ally and helper both in the making of your conquests and in the maintaining of the same. And furthermore I promise this also, that both I and my people will render spiritual obedience to the Bishop of Rome, a thing which, to our great loss, we have refused in time past."

The chief ruler of Venice was earnest with the Crusaders that they should hearken to the Prince. "For," said he, "this man, being set by you on the throne that is his by right, will do you such service as can be done by none else." But whether, in so speaking, he looked to the cause of the Crusaders or to the interests of his own city, is more than I can say.

There was no little debate, and, I may say, dissension among the Crusaders on this matter. Some, and these, for the most part, of the more honourable kind, were firmly set against this plan. "Who are we," said they, "that we should be judges and dividers between these people, that we should adjudge the kingdom to this man or that? We have bound ourselves by an oath to make war against the unbeliever; shall we be turned aside by gold and silver to bear arms against Christian folk? We may not do it; no, not though we should so attain the end of our enterprise." Some turned back, and would go no farther; and these had the countenance of the Bishop of Rome; others went, indeed, but bore a great grudge in their hearts against them who had devised this matter. But the counsel pleased the greater part. Some, I doubt not, honestly believed in their hearts that such service was well pleasing to God; to many it seemed but of the smallest moment in what cause and for what end they waged war, so that they had so much of pay and plunder as they desired.

There is no need to tell all that befell when the Latins—who shall call them Crusaders when they had so turned aside from their purpose?—came before the city. I will briefly relate the sum and substance of the matter. First, then, the Latins laid siege to the city, and made some way towards the taking of it, burning the fleet and making a breach in the walls; thereupon the usurper fled secretly by night, taking with him neither wife nor child, but only so much treasure of gold as he could carry. Then the nobles and chief men of the city, going to the prison where the lawful emperor was shut up, made obeisance to him and set him on the throne. This done, they sent messengers to Prince Alexius, his son, who was in the camp of the Latins, saying, "He that had unlawfully taken the kingdom is departed; your father bids you come that he may have your help and counsel." Then the prince said to the chiefs of the besiegers, "Hold your hands awhile; in the space of a few hours I shall be lord of this city, and I will pay you all that is your due." And this they did, but the event was far other than he and they looked for. For when the prince, who, it should be said, reigned together in the kingdom with his father, bestirred him to fulfill that which he had promised, taking the money that was in the treasury, aye, and the gifts and ornaments from the churches, there was great murmuring among the people. After not many days there was rebellion, and both the prince and his father perished; and yet another usurper was set upon the throne. Thereafter there was a siege for three months and more; but the Greeks are not men of war; they live too softly; and when the engines of the Latins had made a breach in the walls, they dared not stand in the gap. I do declare that there was not a city taken from the Turks that cost their adversaries less than New Rome cost the army of the Latins that day. It must be said that of bloodshed there was little after the taking of the city, but of plundering much. Never, I take it, did army spoil so wealthy a city. The common stock which was divided was no less than five hundred thousand marks of silver, over and above that which men took secretly for themselves. Nor was there treasure of gold and silver only; there was great store of jewels and silks and gold. The very churches were not spared by these plunderers. Because the Greeks own not the same obedience as the Latins, these showed them as little reverence as if they had been heathen. Verily it was an evil day when the army turned aside from its lawful errand to make war upon Christian folk. It was borne in upon me that never after this should the cause prosper.

The Latins chose for their emperor one Baldwin, Count of Flanders, but he reigned for a year only. Nor did his kingdom prosper; it was founded in unrighteousness, and prospered according to its deserts. For some fifty-and-seven years it endured, growing still more and more feeble, and the end of it was a shame and a disgrace, for the city was taken by some few score of men.

The Children Crusaders

I was moved, by what causes I know not, to travel to the city of Baghdad, which is on the river Tigris. It was a long and toilsome journey, but of that I need say no more. I had dwelt for many years in Egypt, where I had enjoyed as much prosperity as can fall to my lot. But there came upon me a great impatience of rest which, as it were, drove me from my home. It was in the one hundred and forty-fourth year after the taking of Jerusalem by the Duke Godfrey that I set forth. On the twenty-fifth day I came to Jerusalem, for there is no need to speak of other places which I visited in my journeying. At this time the city was possessed by the Christians, who had gained it, not by force of arms, but by treaty. Twice had this come to pass. First, fourteen years before the time of which I write, there came to Palestine one Frederick, second of the name, Emperor of Germany. He was a noble prince, a valiant warrior, and great also in counsel. It was, indeed, by counsel that he prevailed in this matter, nor can it be denied that he did more at a smaller cost of treasure and of men's lives than those that had come on the same errand before him.

There were some that had no good word to say of him, but would have it that he was no true Christian, seeing that he was willing to come to terms of peace and agreement with unbelievers. It was agreed between him and the Sultan that the governor of the city should be a Christian, but all that dwelt therein, whatever their faith, should keep peace, that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre should be the possession of the Christians, and the place of the Temple, whereon Omar the Khalif, who was the second after Mahomet, had built a mosque, should belong to the followers of the Prophet, but that it should be lawful both for these and for those to pass whithersoever they would without harm or hindrance. These things seem to me according to reason; and it is certain, if I may believe some that spoke about these things of their own knowledge, that for a time there was marvellous peace and prosperity in the city.

But such days—such has been my experience of the world—pass away quickly. When the treaty came to an end, for it was but for a term of years, then, or, as some affirmed, even before the lawful time, the Sultan drove the Christians from the city. Nevertheless, after three years, it was restored to them by the good offices of an English prince, brother to the King of England, as I was told. So it was when I came thither, as I have said above; but it was taken from the Christians not many months after, and this by a tribe of barbarians from the North, and greatly did it suffer at their hands. Surely of all cities under heaven, Jerusalem has been the most heavily afflicted. I might say with the prophet that she has received double for all her sins. There is no need to tell of the other towns through which I passed in my journeying to Baghdad. Let it suffice to say, that I came thither in the fifth month after my setting forth from Egypt. At the first I lodged with a certain Isaac, one of my own nation, who followed the trade of a tanner, but neither the man nor his occupation were pleasing to me. And as I sought for some place where I might more conveniently and pleasantly bestow myself, I found one that kept a garden in the outskirts of the city. I had observed the man that he differed somewhat from the other townsfolk, and I judged, having had no little experience in the matter, that he came from the West; and this I did partly from his speech, and partly from his skin, which though brown from much burning of the sun had withal a certain fairness. He was somewhat suspicious at the first, and that not without reason, as I learned after, but finding that I meant honestly by him, we came to an agreement by which for certain moneys paid to him I had from him a lodging and my daily victual. And when we had grown familiar he told me the story of his life, which I will now proceed to rehearse:

"I was born," said he, "in a province of the land of France, lying in the south and west of the said land. It is a region of vineyards, where much wine is made and sent to other countries, not a little to the profit of those that make it. It was commonly said that there was no province where the nobles and priests were richer and the peasants more content. My father had followed his lord when ling Philip, the second of his name, went crusading, and had gained some honour both in the besieging of the city of Acre and in the battle of Arsuf, for his lord was one of them who elected to abide with the English king when their own prince drew back from the enterprise and departed to his own country. It was after his coming back that he married my mother, and I was born on the last day of the year of Redemption 1200. I remember that my father would often talk of the things that he had seen, though of his own doings he was commonly silent. He was more than commonly devout, and in this temper my mother wholly agreed with him; and we children, for there were four, of whom I was the eldest, were nurtured from the first most carefully in religious ways. My father would often say that the crusades in which he had taken a part had come to nothing, not for want of power but for want of goodness. 'There were two kings,' he was wont to say, and many princes and nobles and knights and men-at-arms without number, yet they availed nothing. And why? Surely because God will have His servants holy, and will not have His purposes accomplished by evil men. They that bear the Cross should live as befits the Cross; if they do not, then they bear it in vain.' There were many others who said the same thing, among whom was the priest of our village: he also had borne the Cross, and was wont to take up his parable with no small vigour against the wickedness of those who, professing to be soldiers of Christ, bore themselves as soldiers of the devil.

"It is a common thing for children in the land of France, and I doubt not in other lands also, to mimic in their play marches and battles and the like. So it was in our village; and because the deeds of the Crusaders, and their mishaps also were in the mouths of all, the children would wear the Cross on the shoulders of their coats. It was but a sport, but it grew by chance, or, maybe, by the ordering of God, to something of great moment.

"There was in a village not many leagues distant from that in which I was born, a lad, Stephen by name, a peasant's son, who had then seen fourteen or fifteen years of age. He was of a keen temper, bent on doing great things, but, as I cannot but think, knowing him as I did, something of a self-seeker. He told me, for we were close friends for a time, that the first thing that greatly moved his mind was a sermon preached by the priest of his village who took for his text the words, 'God has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the strong.' As he mused on this matter the thought came to him that haply by the weak things were meant the children, and by the strong the kings and princes and knights. These latter have failed, he thought, because they followed one his pleasure, and another his ambition, and another his greed of gain. May it not be that the children, keeping their hands clean of these unlawful things, may accomplish that which grave men have failed to do?

"There was something of nobility in the thought, though it could scarce take form in this world of ours; but this Stephen, for I came to know him well, thought overmuch of himself, and was too much bent on gaining fame and power for himself. I do remember how he said to me, that he himself might well be king in Jerusalem if the children should accomplish, he leading them, what the men of war had not achieved. Being thus bent on his own profit, he would not listen to reproof or counsel; having also a singular gift of persuasive speech, he drew multitudes after him. It was like the spreading of a plague. Almost all the young were taken with the infection, and not a few of the old also. Some parents, indeed, were loth to let their children go, and even sought to keep them shut up with bolts and bars; but many encouraged them, not without tears and misgivings, especially among the mothers, but with a strong assurance that this was an enterprise which had the blessing of God upon it and would most certainly prosper.

Stephen of Crusades


"When this Stephen came to our village he was followed by some five hundred children, they being on foot, he riding in a chariot drawn by two white mules, for he had already assumed a certain state of show and power, and he found not a few recruits, of whom I was one. There were some girls in the company, a hundred maybe, out of the whole, and my twin sister would fain have gone with me, not only because we loved each other dearly, and were ill content when we were not together, but because she was not less possessed than I with the spirit of this enterprise. But my mother would not suffer it, nor did I seek to bring it about, for which I have many times thanked and do even now thank God with my whole heart. If Margaret—for that was my sister's name—is well and happy, I am content to bear what God has thought fit to lay upon me. In our village some thirty were added to the five hundred whom Stephen had brought with him. But these were but a small part of the whole multitude of children that was bent on the same errand. Stephen would not have more in his company, fearing lest he should over-strain the hospitality of those whose country he passed through, and they that followed him should be thus discouraged. But he had others under him, and to these he gave command that they should take, each his own company, to a city that is called Marseilles, being the most convenient port for those who would journey eastward.

"So the children came, being some ten or twelve thousand in all, to Marseilles, not a little to the astonishment and perplexity of the people of that town. As for the children, they were not a little divided. Some were convinced in their minds—this I heard with my own ears from the mouths of many—that the sea would open before them, and that they should be able to walk on dry land to Jerusalem itself—for whether the Holy City was many miles distant or close at hand they had not so much as thought. What Stephen himself had in his mind I know not, for by this time we had drawn somewhat apart; but I think that he had no such belief as this, but rather trusted to chance or whatever might befall. And now as day after day went by, and the miracle for which they looked was not wrought, not a few of the children grew weary. Some having outstayed their welcome at the homes where they were entertained, were thrust forth, and not finding other hospitality, were constrained to depart. Some lost their faith in the enterprise; some grew homesick; some found friends and service in the town which they were loth to leave; not a few were stricken with disease and died, for fevers and other ailments are rife in this said town of Marseilles. So it came to pass that at the end of a month there were but some six thousand left out of the whole.

"And now there came to Stephen two merchants of the town who said that they were willing to take the army of the children free of all charge and cost to the land of Palestine. They would set apart, they said, seven ships for this purpose in which they would put a sufficient store of food and other necessary things. A few would have nothing to do with these ships; if God, said they, had willed that we should go on our errand, He had opened a way in the sea before us. And this conclusion was right, let their reasons have been good or bad. Many on the other hand were glad to be thus released from their perplexity.

"These seven ships, therefore, were duly prepared and furnished with provisions, and on each of them were taken some seven or eight hundred children. I myself sailed in one that bore the name of St. George;  all the seven were named, but whether from the first or for that occasion only, I know not, after some saint. So we sailed from Marseilles early in the month of May, and for three days had a prosperous voyage. On the fourth day there sprang up about the time of sunrise a strong wind which increased so much during the day that the seamen lost all power over the ships. Two out of the seven being carried on to the shore of a certain rocky islet that is near to the southern point of the island of Sardinia, were there cast away. It was a piteous sight to see, for the two brake to pieces, so to speak, in the space of a few moments, nor was there a single one, either of the crew or of the passengers, in the one ship or the other, saved from the wreck. 'Twas a miserable thing to behold, as I myself beheld it; yet they that so perished were indeed much to be envied, as you will now perceive.

"These two pious merchants, who could not be content but that they must give the names of saints to their ships, were as great villains as ever lived on the face of the earth. They were slave-dealers, and than a slave-dealer there is, I hold, no viler person. Some of the children were taken to one port and some to another. One shipload was taken to Alexandria, and there set up for sale in the market. What befell the other four I know not, save as concerns the one in which I myself sailed. This was carried by the merchant, for one of the two villains was on board, to the port of Antioch. For myself, I fared as well as any child in so evil a case might hope to fare. I was bought by a merchant of this same town in which I now dwell. He was one of a kindly temper, and by good fortune I was able to do him a certain service, saving his only son, who was by some two years younger than myself, from drowning in the river Euphrates. And though he was a follower of the Prophet Mahomet, he suffered me to hold to my own faith. Nay more, when I grew to manhood he gave me to wife a maid, one of them that travelled in the same ship, whom he bought after the death of her master. I should say that some fifty children in all were bought by merchants and others of the city. About a fourth part died of disease, or it may be of grief and trouble, or ever they came here. Of the rest, some twenty, falling into the hands of men who would not be content but that they should follow the faith of Mahomet, and remaining steadfast in their belief, were cruelly put to death. Others, among whom I myself, with my wife, must be numbered, were suffered to hold our own faith so long as we made no show of it, and this peace I enjoy to this very day. I pay, indeed, a tribute to the governor of this city, three gold pieces for myself and two for my wife. And so long as he and others that bear or may bear rule in this city choose gold rather than the furthering of their faith, it will be well with us. We worship God in our own way, keeping the matter secret, but saying nothing but what is true. Also, now and again, a good priest comes this way and administers the Holy Communion to me and to my wife and to some others that are in the like case. Nevertheless I am not sorry that God has not blessed our marriage with children, for sometimes when I look forward, I greatly fear that sore trouble may come upon us and all others that hold by the faith in this city."

Nor, indeed, were my host's fears without good reason. I abode with him three years, and was well content with all his dealings with me, for he was an honest and God-fearing man. Not many months after I had left him there came tidings that there had been a great slaughter of Christian folk in Baghdad. Of my host and his wife I heard nothing. It is possible that having none to care for but themselves they escaped with their lives; but I much doubt. Through all these regions of Syria, Mesopotamia, and the neighbouring parts there was a great anger against the Christians about this time, and for this cause, that it was noised abroad that there was to be yet another Crusade. Nor is it to be wondered at that men's minds were greatly stirred by the news. Much evil had been wrought by these wars and little good. "Why do these robbers come hither?" men said, and 'tis true that many Crusaders bore themselves as robbers rather than as soldiers. "Can they not tarry at home and mind their own affairs?" And in their rage these men fell on the Christian folk who dwelt at their doors. Of all that suffered in these times none fared worse than the Christians of these countries to which the Crusaders came. And now I must write of the Crusade which was about to begin.

How King Louis Came to Egypt

When I came to Egypt, returning from Baghdad, I found the country in no small commotion. Report travels fast from the West to Egypt, and things of which I had not heard at all, or by the very faintest rumour, while I tarried at Baghdad, were commonly spoken of as established beyond all doubt in Egypt. Now the substance of what I now heard was this. The taking of Jerusalem by the barbarians from the North of which I have spoken above had so greatly moved the hearts of the people of the West, that at a council of the bishops of Italy, Germany, and other lands it had been resolved that there should be made yet another Crusade.

Preachers of this Crusade had gone through all the kingdoms of the West, and, by common consent, King Louis, ninth of the name, had been chosen to the command. It was told also how this Louis had bound himself in the most solemn way to service of the Cross. He and his brothers with him, had gone to the Church of St. Denys (whom they call the patron saint of the land of France), and there had received from the hand of one sent for that purpose by the Pope of Rome, the Banner of the Golden Fire, and the two things which pilgrims are wont to carry, namely, the purse for alms and the wayfarer's staff. All the nations of the West were bound under great curses to keep the peace among themselves, that no one might take advantage for his own profit of his neighbour's absence.

St. Louis


So much I heard on my first coming, and those who talked with me, men of experience, doubted not that these were true tidings. A few days after there came a galley of the Sultan's, with all sails set, and this though the wind was over-strong for so much canvas, but the captain thought that he could not make too much haste when he was bringing news of so great moment. And the news was this, that the ships that carried the army of the King of France had come to the island of Cyprus. It is true that the man judged rightly; yet, as it fell out, there was no need of haste, for the King tarried many months in Cyprus. He came there when the summer was about to end, but departed not till it had well-nigh come again. I am no soldier; for though I have followed many occupations, that of the soldier is wholly unknown to me; nevertheless I have a certain power of judging gained from the experience of many years. The leaders of expeditions who tarry over-long ere they begin their work, lose thereby no small part of their strength. It is with them even as it is with an arrow from the bow, which flies the fastest when it is first loosed from the string.

But now I will tell how King Louis and his army fared in this expedition. Some of the things which I shall relate I saw with my own eyes; some I heard from others, among whom I make special mention of two, the Lord of Joinville, a noble of no small renown, and a learned man withal, whom the King held in high honour, and Sir Pierre Chevetier, a priest. A priest he was, as might be known from the shaving of his crown, for this is the custom among priests in the West, but to see how he bore himself both in the tent and the field, no one had taken him for ought but a man-at-arms, and one who had followed the camp from his youth. Never a soldier have I seen that was more ready with a blow, or more rough of tongue. And before I go farther I will tell this man's story, and how, priest as he was, he came to be serving in the King's army. I myself heard it from the Lord of Joinville, and I will relate it, as near as may be, in his own words.

"I went to the King on a certain day when his great nobles took an oath that they would be true and loyal to his children, if any mischance should befall him on the way. He would have had me also take the oath, but I would not, for he had not the right to demand it"—it is passing strange how these nobles hold by their rights; a king is but half a king with them.

"As I went I saw on a cart three dead men, officers of the King all of them, and it was told me that they had been all slain by the same clerk, and that their bodies were being carried to the King. It was said, and I doubt not, that these men, for all that they were royal officers, were villains and thieves, who were wont to lurk in lonely places to rob the passers by. This they had often done unpunished, but when they came to try their villainies on this clerk, it cost them dear. They stripped him, indeed, of his clothes, leaving him but his shirt, for they took him unawares and when he carried no arms. The clerk ran to his lodging, and took his cross-bow from the place where it hung, and gave his hanger to a lad that he might bear it for him. Now the officers were yet in the lane where they had robbed him, waiting, maybe, for others whom they might serve in the same fashion. When the clerk saw them he cried, ` Ho! villains, you shall die for your misdoings!' But they took no heed of him. Then he let fly a bolt from his cross-bow, and smote one of the three to the heart—I have never seen man that had a more deadly aim. When the man fell to the ground, the two others, his companions, fled on foot as fast as they could. But the clerk, taking the hanger from the lad, pursued them—and verily if he was sure of aim so was he also swift of foot. One of them, seeing that he was like to be overtaken, sought to climb over a hedge into a garden hard by; but the clerk caught him as he climbed, and dealt him such a blow with the hanger on the leg that but for the boot it had fallen to the ground. As for the other, he thought to hide himself in a house, which was open to the street, for the people of the house had not shut it up. But it availed not. The clerk smote him on the head, and clave it to the teeth. This done, the clerk gave himself up to the provost, and the provost brought him to the King and told him all that had come to pass. ` Sir clerk,' said the King, ` you are a good man-at-arms, but an ill priest; for priests may not do such deeds as these. Come, therefore, with me over the sea, and do your duty in the way that is best befitted to you. But know this, that I will not suffer any man in my army to behave himself amiss.' "It was then from this priest and from the Lord Joinville, with whom I became acquainted as will be told hereafter, that I heard many things which did not come within my own knowledge. But in the telling of them again I shall not distinguish between things seen and things heard.

King Louis sailing from Cyprus about the 24th day of May came with a fair wind to Egypt in some four days, having a great fleet of ships, numbering in all, it was said, some eighteen hundred, great and small. And now there fell upon him the first stroke of misfortune. There arose a strong wind from the south which scattered the fleet, so that not more than a third part remained with the King. As for the others, they were blown far to the north, even to the town of Acre, and, though none were cast away, it was many days before they could return. Now the King's purpose was to lay siege to the town of Damietta, a town which is built on the midmost of the seven mouths of the Nile. It was commonly agreed that whoever should hold possession of this said town of Damietta might go whithersoever he would in the whole land of Egypt, and further, that whosoever should be master of Egypt could do what he would in the land of Palestine.

When the King came with what was left to him over against the city of Damietta there was much debate between him and his counsellors as to what might best be done. The counsellors, for the most part, would have had him delay his landing till they that had been separated from him should return. Nor did this counsel seem to be devoid of reason. The army of the Sultan was drawn up on the sea-shore, a very great array of men, most nobly equipped with gilded arms, and with such a din of drums and trumpets that even those used to battle might well have been amazed. But the King would have none of such advice. "Nay," said he, "I have no mind to turn back, having, by the grace of God, come so far. Say you that I should do well to wait for those who have been separated from us? That I would gladly do, for it grieves me much that they lose, so far, their share in this great enterprise. But two reasons constrain me to do otherwise. Firstly, it would put the infidel in great heart if they should see me so delay to make trial of them; and, secondly, there is no harbour here or safe anchorage where I might wait to good purpose. Nay, my lords, it is my purpose to attack the enemy without delay, for the Lord our God can save by few or by many."

The King being thus steadfastly resolved to have no more delay, his nobles and knights could not choose but obey him. This being so, they strove among themselves who should be the first to come to blows with the enemy. There were small boats with the larger of the ships, and these were filled with men and rowed to the shore. This was not done wholly without loss, for some slipped as they descended from the ships, or missed their feet, the boat moving from under them with the motion of the waves, so that some were drowned and others hardly saved.

Among the first to reach the shore was the Lord of Joinville. When the Turks saw him and his companions they spurred their horses and charged. But the Christians made a barricade, fixing their shields in the sand, and by the shields their lances, with the points towards the enemy. The horsemen came so far that they were well-nigh pierced with the spear-points. Then they turned and fled.

Meanwhile they took the great flag of Saint Denys, of which mention has been made above, from the ship in which it was, and carried it to the shore. But when the King saw the flag on the shore he would tarry no longer, but leapt into the sea, accoutred as he was, and the water came up to his armpits. So he made his way, not without difficulty, to the place where the Lord of Joinville and his companions stood. When he saw the Saracens, he said to the knight that followed him, "Who are these?" And the knight answered, "These, sir, are the Saracens." When he heard this he put his lance in rest, and held his shield before him, and would have charged them, but his counsellors would not suffer it.

When the enemy saw that the King and his men had landed, they sent a message to the Sultan by carrier-pigeons; this they did three times. But it so chanced that the Sultan was in a fit of the fever which troubled him in the summer time, and he sent no answer. Then his men, thinking that he was dead, for they knew already that he was sick, fled straightway from the town of Damietta. When the King knew this for certain, the bishops that were in the army sang the Te Deum  with great joy.

It was ill done of the Saracens to leave the town of Damietta in this fashion. Even the bridge of boats by which they passed over the river they left unhurt. Had they broken it they had done much damage to the Christians. One thing they did, but whether by chance or of set purpose cannot be said; they burned the market where were gathered all the provision of food and the stores; and from this there came no small trouble.

It should be said that the army which King Louis brought with him numbered thirty thousand men.

How the Crusaders Fared in Damietta

The army being thus established in the town of Damietta, there was much debate as to what should be done. The King was set upon assailing the enemy without delay. "It is by delay," he said, and said truly, "that these enterprises have been ruined heretofore, for not only does an army grow less and less with every day by sickness—keep it as carefully as you will, such loss must needs happen—but the first fire of zeal begins to burn low." To such purpose the King spoke to his counsellors, nor could they gainsay his words. Yet they had to urge on the other part reasons so weighty that they could not be resisted.

The truth is that there could not have been chosen a worse time for the waging of war in Egypt than that at which the King arrived. Whereas other rivers overflow their banks in the winter season, the Nile overflows his in summer, and this he does because his stream is swollen, not by rains that fall in the land of Egypt, for such rains are more scanty than in any other country of the world, but by those that fall in countries far inland and, haply, by the melting of snows. So it is that in that part of Egypt which is nearest to the sea the river begins to rise in the month of June, and that for a quarter of a year or so thereafter an army must rest perforce. The King was very ill served in his ministers when he was suffered to remain in ignorance of these things. Nevertheless, the case being so, he had no choice but to accept the counsel of delay. It was agreed, therefore, that the army should tarry in Damietta till the floods of the river should have ceased. And this delay, though it could scarce fail to work mischief in many ways, nevertheless had this advantage, that by the time the army should be ready to march there would have come the King's brother from France, bringing with him the reserve of the army, some twenty-five thousand men.

It should be said that some of the army abode in the town, and others in the camp on the other side of the river. Before many days were passed there came a great army of the Turks and made an assault on the camp from the landward side. It would be more truly said that they threatened it, for they came not near, nor had the Christians suffered much loss save for their own rashness. But they had a contempt for their enemy, than which there can be no more dangerous thing. Then it was that a few knights, or even a single knight, would ride forth and put himself in great peril of his life. So it happened to a certain Sir Walter of Autreche. When he heard that the Turks were near to the camp he bade his squires arm him. And when he was armed he rode forth alone. But he did not do much or deal a blow at the enemy, for his horse threw him to the ground in the space between them and the camp. When this befell, four Turks rode out of the line and struck him with their clubs as he lay upon the ground. As for Sir Walter's horse, it galloped straight forward into the lines of the Turks, carrying with it his shield. When this was seen from the camp the constable of the King, and some of his officers, made all the haste they could to save him. This they did, so far as to bring him back to the camp, but he was hurt beyond all skill of the physicians to heal, so that he died the same night.

The camp also was but ill kept by the watchmen. Every night some Turks would creep into it and slay such as they found sleeping. It was their custom to cut off the head of any one whom they killed in this way, for the Sultan gave a gold piece for every head of a Christian that was brought to him. It was also an ill-advised thing that the watch was kept not by sentinels on foot, each with his own beat, which he would pace backwards and forwards, but by troops of horsemen. The Turks would wait listening to the sound of the horses' hoofs; when they had gone by them, they would steal into the camp, no man seeing them. But when this came to the knowledge of the King he commanded that the watch should be kept thereafter by foot soldiers. The King also caused the camp to be fortified with great ditches dug all about it.

About the end of August came the Earl of Poitiers with the reserves. Not many days after the floods of the river began to abate. It was agreed on all hands that when this abatement took place the army should begin its march. And, indeed, it had suffered not a little by the delay. Idleness is bad for all men, but for soldiers worse than for others.

And now there was high debate as to the place which it would be more profitable to attack. The greater part of the barons were for laying siege to Alexandria. They said that the town had a good harbour, to which ships from the West had easy and safe access, so that the army would never want for victuals. On the other hand the Count of Artois, brother to the King, was urgent that they should march against Cairo. "This," he said, "is the chief town in the kingdom of Egypt, and if you would kill the serpent, you must break his head." The King gave his judgment according to his brother's counsel.

In the beginning of the month of December the King set out for Cairo with his army. Now the Sultan had sent five hundred of his knights, the bravest warriors and the best mounted that he could find in his whole army, to the end that they should harass the King's army as much as might be. Now the King being very careful of the lives of his men, as knowing that a soldier lost could not be replaced, had given a strict commandment that no one should presume to leave the line of march and charge the enemy. When the Turks saw this, or, haply, had learnt from their spies that the King had given this commandment, they grew bolder and bolder, till one of them, riding up to the line, overthrew one of the Knights Templars. This was done under the very eyes of the Master of the Temple, who, when he saw it, could no longer endure to be quiet. So he cried to his brethren, "At them, good sirs, for this is more than can be borne." So he spurred his horse, and the other Templars with him, and charged the Turks. And because their horses were fresh and the horses of the Turks weary, they bore them down. It was said that not one of the five hundred escaped, many being ridden down, and the rest being drowned in the river.

After this the King encamped between the two branches of the Nile, that which flows by Damietta and that which is the next to it towards the sunsetting. On the other side of this branch was ranged the army of the Sultan, to hinder the Christians from passing, an easy thing seeing that there was no ford, nor any place where a man might cross save by swimming.

Then the King bethought him of making a causeway across the river by which the army might pass over, and so engage the enemy. It was in truth an impossible task, for how could men dam up a stream in which there was so great a force of water? But the King set his heart on it, and the barons, either for lack of knowledge or because they were unwilling to set themselves against him, held to the same opinion. And to protect the workers, for much earth had to be carried and stones also for the making of the causeway, he commanded that two movable towers should be made. From these towers there were sent showers of darts and other missiles with which it was sought to keep the enemy in check. Besides the towers there were also eighteen other engines. But the Saracens also had engines with which they discharged missiles against the workers. The Crusaders on the one hand, and the Saracens or the other, contended with these engines. But the King made no way, and could scarcely hold his own; as for making a causeway over the river, that was manifestly impossible. So much, indeed, can be seen from this device of the enemy. They made great holes on their side of the river into which they caused the water to flow, so that when the causeway had been made for a score or so of yards, there yet remained as great a space as ever to be traversed. What the King's men had accomplished in three weeks' time, that the enemy undid in a single day.

St. Louis


As for the engines, great and small, the Saracens burnt them with Greek fire. This fire is a most fearful thing, especially to them that see it for the first time. So bright is the flame of its burning that the night is as clear as the day. Nor is it less terrible to hear than to see; not thunder itself makes a greater din. When the French knights first had experience of it, they fell on their knees with one consent and prayed aloud, as thinking that God alone could help them in such a danger. Nor, as may well be thought, was any one more intent than the King in these exercises of prayer. For some time, it is true, the engines escaped destruction in a marvellous way, but in the end they all perished. And when the engineers, with great labour, had brought up much timber from the ships, and built thereof new engines, these also were destroyed in the same way, and that on the very day of their finishing. Nothing therefore was done towards the making of the causeway, and the army still tarried by the riverside, not without daily loss.

Of what Befell at Mansoura

While they were in this strait there came a Bedouin to the camp, who said that for five hundred pieces of gold he would show them a good ford. There had now passed ten months and more since the coming of the King to Egypt, for this coming was at Pentecost, and the coming of the Bedouin was on the Thursday before Easter. When the Constable Imbert, to whom the Bedouin had spoken of this ford, told the matter to the King, the King said, "I will give the gold right willingly; only be sure that the man perform his part of the bargain." So the constable parleyed with the man; but the Bedouin would not depart from his purpose. "Give me the gold," said he, "and I will show you the ford." And because the King was in a strait, he consented; so the man received the five hundred pieces, and he showed the ford to certain that were sent with him.

It was agreed that the Duke of Burgundy and other nobles who were not of France should keep guard in the camp, and that the King with his brothers should ford the river at the place which the Arab should show. So, all being ready, at daybreak they came down to the water. A ford there was, but not such as a man would choose save in the greatest need; and indeed there were some drowned in the crossing; but the army came safe to the other side, and the Turks that were on the farther bank fled.

And now there befell a great loss. It had been agreed that the Templars should have the first place in the line of march, and that the Count of Artois with his men should have the second. So soon as he had crossed the river he charged the Saracens, for these, not looking for the Crusaders, were giving way. At this the Templars were not a little vexed. "Why," said they, "does the count charge before us, who have of right the first place?" Now the count had for his next comrade a knight, very gallant in arms, but so afflicted with deafness that he could hear nothing. So when the Master of the Templars sought to make the count halt, this knight heard not a single word of what he said, but cried without ceasing, "At them! At them!" So the count charged, and when the Templars saw themselves scorned in this fashion they thought that it would be a great dishonour to be so left behind. Then they also charged, and the Saracens fled before them, even to the town of Mansoura.

Even yet the matter might have ended well but for the folly of the count. The Master of the Templars, and with him the Master of the Hospitallers, were urgent with the count that he should hold back his men and deal prudently with the enemy. "We have done well," they said; "let us not lose by rashness that which we have gained. These Saracens are brave men and stout soldiers for all that they are seized now and again with a sudden panic. Beware lest they turn and fall upon us, for they are many times more than we are in number, and they are fighting in their own country. Let us wait, therefore, till the King come up with the main body of the army. So having had a good beginning of this day we shall bring it to a yet better ending." To these words the count, being wholly mastered by pride and folly, made this answer: "This is ever the way with you Templars and Hospitallers. You make so great a profit out of these wars that you will not have an ending put to them. You have betrayed great kings and princes to the enemy; aye, and have done them to death lest they should be a hindrance to your honour and profit." "Nay, sir," said the Master of the Templars, "think you that we have vowed ourselves to the service of God, leaving our homes and all that we love, in order to be traitors to the cause of God, and to imperil our own souls?" Then, turning to the knight who bore the standard of the Order, he cried, "Display the standard! This strife among ourselves will surely turn to our ruin; nevertheless the Templars can suffer no stain upon their honour." Then spoke a great English knight, William, surnamed the Longsword.' "It is well to listen to the Master of the Temple, than whom there is no knight braver or more expert in war." At this the count burst into a yet greater fury.

"See," he cried, "what cowards are these men with tails. It would be well if the army were quit of them." (It is a foolish jest that the Englishmen have tails.) "Sir count," said William Longsword, "you may think as you will; but know that to-day I will go so far that you shall not touch the tail of my horse."

After such words there could be no talk of holding back or caution. For a while the Saracens gave way before the Crusaders, but there were skilful soldiers and men of experience among them, and when these saw that the Frenchmen were scattered over the town, and that some were busy plundering, as men will, let their commanders do what they may, then they took heart, and gathered their soldiers together; also they showed the green banner of Mahomet the prophet, a thing they do not often, but only when there is the call of some great necessity. Also they caused to be thrown down in the streets of the town faggots and beams to the great hindrance of the horsemen. Now of the Frenchmen and the Templars and the Hospitallers there were but two or three thousand, but of the Saracens many times more. The Crusaders, then, were shut up in the town of Mansoura, having neither engines of war, nor food, nor even water; and a great multitude of the enemy were ranged between them and the remainder of the army. Of those, indeed, that went with the Count of Artois, and William Longsword, and the Master of the Templars, there returned but very few. The count was slain; so also was Longsword; as for the Master of the Hospitallers, he was taken prisoner; the Master of the Templars, with but three, as was said, of his companions, escaped, but not without losing an eye.

In the meanwhile the King, having with him the main body of the army, crossed the ford amidst a great sounding of horns and trumpets. It was a noble sight to see, and nothing in it nobler and more admirable than the King himself. A fairer knight there never was, and he stood with a gilded helmet on his head, and a long German sword in his hand, being by his head and shoulders taller than the crowd. Then he and his knights charged the Saracens, who by this time had taken a stand again on the river bank. It was a great feat of arms. No man drew long-bow that day or plied cross-bow. The Crusaders and the Saracens fought with mace and sword, neither keeping their ranks, but all being confused together.

But the Crusaders, for all their valour, could scarce hold their own, because the enemy outnumbered them by much. Also there was a division of counsel among them. Some were for seeking the help of the Duke of Burgundy and the other leaders who kept the camp; some were for staying where they were. Also there came a messenger from them that were shut up in Mansoura, telling the King how hardly pressed they were, and in what instant need of succour.

And now the Saracens grew more and more confident, for they were greatly the better in numbers; and if, man for man and in the matter of arms and armour, they were scarce equal to the Crusaders, yet the difference was not so great. They pushed on, therefore, and drove the Christians back to the river. These were very hard pressed, and some were for swimming across the river to the camp, but by this time their horses were weary, and not a few perished by drowning.

Nevertheless as time passed the Crusaders fared somewhat better, for they drew more together, and the enemy, seeing that they still held their. ground, and being themselves not a little weary, drew back. In the end the King and such of the chiefs as were left got back into the camp. Right glad they were to rest, for the battle had been long and fierce.

But they had but little peace, for that very night the Saracens made an attack upon the camp. It was a great disturbance that they made, and most unwelcome to men who had been fighting all the day. But they did not work much harm. Many valiant deeds were done by the Christians, nor did any one gain greater glory than the priest of whom mention has been made above, for he charged a troop of eight Saracens, being alone and having no other armour than an iron cap on his head. So astonished were they at his boldness that they did not abide his coming, but fled with all the speed that they could use. Thereafter men pointed him out as the priest who put eight men to flight.

After this there was peace for two or three days. But the Saracens were making ready for attacking the camp with more force than before. Also their new leader, for the old chief, Scecedin by name, had been slain in the fighting at Mansoura, greatly encouraged his men in this manner. He took the coat of arms of the Count of Artois, who had been slain at Mansoura, and showed it publicly as being the coat of arms of the King himself. At the same time he said: "As no one fears a body without a head, so no one need fear a people that is without a king. If, therefore, as I doubt not, you desire to have done with these adversaries, we will attack them on the second day from now." So much the King heard from his spies, for he also had spies in the camp of the enemy, even as the enemy had spies in his. Thereupon he ordered that a watch should be kept, that all the soldiers should remain under arms during the night on which, according to information given, the attack would be made; and also that the camp should be fortified.

Nevertheless the Saracens did not make the attack in the night, but waited till the next day at noon. And their leader could be seen from the camp, taking account of the Crusaders, and strengthening his battalions where he thought that the King's camp might be most conveniently assailed.

The first attack was made on the Count of Anjou (the same that was afterwards King of Sicily). He held that part of the camp that was nearest to the city of Cairo. Some of the enemy were on horseback and some on foot; there were some also that threw Greek fire among the count's men. Between them they pressed the count so sorely that he was fain to send to the King for help, This the King gave without loss of time; he led the men himself, and it was not long before they chased the Saracens from this part of the field.

As for the foreign lords—that is to say, such as were from lands other than France—they held their ground so boldly and well that the enemy could not turn them for a moment.

With the Templars it went not so well. They had made a great barrier of pinewood in front of them; against this the enemy threw Greek fire, and the flames caught it so that it burned furiously. And while it was yet burning, the Saracens ran in and engaged them in battle. The Master, the same that had lost an eye in the battle of Mansoura, was slain on that day.

In this battle the cross-bow men of the King did good service. It had gone hard with the Crusaders but for them, for they kept up so fierce a fire upon the enemy that these drew back from the camp, and that in various places there were scarce forces to hold them back. It must be remembered that many knights and men-at-arms had been wounded at Mansoura, and had not yet been healed. Nevertheless many valiant knights were slain. Among these was a very famous warrior, the Lord of Brancion. He had fought in thirty-six battles, and had received many times the prize of valour. The Lord of Joinville told this story of him, that on a certain day when he and some others had driven away a troop of Germans who were spoiling a church in the land of France, he fell on his knees before the altar and prayed aloud, "O Lord, have mercy on me; take me from these wars wherein Christians fight against Christians; I have lived over-long among them; and send me where I may do service to Thee and Thee only." And so it fell out; for he died fighting against the infidels for God and his king.

When the battle was over the King called the barons to his tent, and thanked them for all that they had done, and gave them great encouragement, saying that as they had driven back the Saracens over and again, it would, beyond doubt, go well with them in the end.

How the King Surrendered Himself

And now the army was sorely distressed for want both of food and of water. In Damietta, indeed, there were yet stores of barley, rice, and other grains; but in the camp scarce anything that could be eaten. Some small fishes were caught in the river; but these were very ill-savoured, and all the more so—so, at least, it seemed to such as eat them under constraint of hunger,—because they fed on dead bodies, of which many were thrown into the river. For a while some portion of the stores that were in the city were carried across the river to the camp. But this the Saracens hindered, for by this time their ships had the mastery over the ships of the Christians. They kept, therefore, the river, suffering nothing to pass. If anything was carried across, it was but a trifle. Some things the country people brought into the camp, but these were not to be purchased save for large sums of money, and money was by this time scarce even among the richer sort. And when it was judged expedient that the King's army should cross the river again and return to the camp, things were worse rather than better, so far as victuals were concerned. It was well that the army should be brought together, both for attack and for defence, but with the greater multitude the famine grew worse and worse.

After a while there was a treating for peace between the King and the Saracens; and for a while it seemed as if they might come to an agreement, and this not without advantage to the King, for the terms of the agreement were these: the King should give back Damietta to the Sultan; the Sultan, on the other hand, should give to the King Jerusalem, and also should keep the sick that were in Damietta, and such stores and engines of war as belonged to him, till he should have a convenient season for sending for them. But the matter came to nought, because the Saracens would have the King himself as a hostage for the due performance of the treaty. The Christians would have given the King's brothers, and these were willing to go; but the King they could not give. "It would be better," said one of the bravest knights in the army, and in this matter he spake the mind of all, "that we should all be taken captive or slain, than that we should leave the King in pledge."

So this treaty came to nothing, and the King, seeing that the condition of the army still grew from bad to worse, and that if they tarried where they were they would be all dead men, commanded that they should make their way, if they could so do by any means, into the town of Damietta. And this the army began to do the very next night. Now the first thing to be cared for was the taking of the sick, of whom there was a great multitude, on board the ships. But while this was being done, the Saracens entered the camp on the other side. When the sailors who were busy in embarking the sick saw this, they loosed the cables by which they were moored to the shore, and made as if they would fly. Now the King was on the bank of the river, and there was a galley in waiting for him, whereon, if he had been so minded, he might easily have escaped. Nor could he have been blamed therefor, because he was afflicted with the dysentery that prevailed in the camp. But this he would not do; "Nay," he said, "I will stay with my people." But when there was now no hope of safety, one of his officers—and there was but one left of all that he had to wait upon him—took him, mounted as he was on a pony that he had, to a village hard by, defending him all the way from such as chanced to fall in with him—but none knew that he was the King. When he was come to the village they took him into a house that there was, and laid him down almost dead. A good woman of Paris that was there took his head upon her lap, and there was no one but thought that he would die before nightfall. Then one of the nobles coming in asked the King whether he should not go to the chief of the Saracens, and see whether a treaty might not yet be made on such terms as they would. The King said yes; so he went. Now there was a company of the Saracens round the house, whither by this time not a few of the Christians had assembled. And one of the King's officers cried—whether from fear or with traitorous intent cannot be said—"Sir knights, surrender yourselves! The King will have it so; if you do not, the King will perish." So the knights gave up their swords, and the Saracens took them as prisoners. When the chief of the Saracens, with whom the noble aforesaid was talking, saw them, he said, "There can be no talk of truce and agreement with these men; they are prisoners."

And now the question was not of a treaty but of ransom. About this there was no little debate between the Sultan and the King. First the Sultan required that the King should surrender to him the castles of the Knights Templars and of the Hospitallers of St. John. "Nay," said the King, "that I cannot do, for they are not mine to give." This answer greatly provoked the Sultan, and he threatened to put the King to the torture, to which the King answered this only, that he was a prisoner in their hands, and that they could do with him as they would.

When they saw that they could not turn him from his purpose by threats or by fear, they asked him how much money he was willing to pay to the Sultan for his ransom, such money being over and above the rendering up of the town of Damietta. Then the King made answer: "If the Sultan will take a reasonable sum in money for ransom, I will recommend it to the Queen that she should pay the same." "Nay," said the envoy of the Sultan, "why do you not say outright that you will have it so?" "Because," answered the King, "in this matter it is for the Queen to say yea or nay. I am a prisoner, and my royal power is gone from me." So it was agreed that if the Queen would pay a thousand thousand gold pieces by way of ransom, the King should go free. Said the King, "Will the Sultan swear to this bargain?" They said that he would. So it was agreed that the King should pay for the ransom of his army a thousand thousand gold pieces, and for his own ransom the town of Damietta, "for," said he, "a King cannot be bought and sold for money." When the Sultan heard this, he said, "On my word, this is a noble thing of the Frenchman that he makes no bargaining concerning so great a thing. Tell him that I give him as a free gift the fifth part of the sum which he has covenanted to pay."

Of the Slaying of the Sultan, and what Followed

All things were now settled, and there were but four days before the fulfilling of the treaty, when the King should give up Damietta to the Sultan, and the Sultan, on his part, should suffer the King and his people to go free. But lo! there came to pass that which was like to bring the whole matter to nothing. The emirs of the Sultan made a conspiracy against him. "Know this," they said one to another, "that so soon as he shall find himself master of Damietta, he will slay us. Let us therefore be beforehand with him." And it was agreed that this should be done. First, when the Sultan was going to his chamber after a banquet which he had given to the emirs, one, who was, indeed, his sword-bearer, dealt him a blow and struck off his hand. But the Sultan, being young and nimble, escaped into a strong tower that was hard by his chamber, and three of his priests were with him. The emirs called upon him to give himself up. "That," said he, "I will do, if you will give me a promise of my life." "Nay," they answered, "we will give you no promises. If you surrender not of your own free will, then will we compel you." Then they threw Greek fire at the tower, and the tower, which was built of pine-wood, caught fire on the instant. When the Sultan saw this he ran down with all the speed that he could, seeking to reach the river, if so be he could find a ship. But the emirs and their men were ranged along the way, nor was it long before they slew him. And he that dealt him the last blow came to the King, his hand yet dripping with blood, and said, "What will you give me? I have slain your enemy, who would assuredly have done you to death had he lived." But the King answered him not a word.

It may well be that the man spoke truth. Certainly the Sultan had broken his promises. He had caused many of the prisoners to be put to death; others he had sent to Cairo. Nor, in the end, did the Christians fare the worse for his having been slain. For now the covenant between the King and the Saracen chiefs was renewed, nor was any change made in the conditions; only the payment was differently ordered; that is to say, one half of the ransom was to be paid before the King left the place where he was, and the other half in the town of Acre.

Then the emirs on the one part and the King on the other took the oaths that were held to be the most binding on them. The King indeed held staunchly by his faith, and when the emirs would have had him swear in a way that he thought to be unseemly to him as a Christian man he would not. And the emirs paid him the more honour and reverence for this very cause. It was said, indeed, that they would have made him Sultan of Cairo, if he had been minded to receive that dignity at their hands; furthermore, some that knew the King affirmed that he was not altogether set against it. But none knew for certain the truth in the matter. Yet it was well said by one of the emirs, "There surely never was better or more steadfast Christian than this King Louis. Verily if he had been made our sultan he would never have been content till he had either made us all Christians, or, failing this, had put us all to the sword."

And now there came a time of great peril to the prisoners. First the town of Damietta was given up to the Saracens, the gates being opened and their flag hoisted on the towers. So soon as this was done the emirs and their men, save some of the better sort, flew upon the wine and drank themselves drunk therewith. Now there is always danger from a drunken man, when he has a sword in his hand, and is free to do what he will; and this danger is the greater when the man knows within himself that he has already broken the law. And so it was with these men, for their law strictly forbids the drinking of wine. Certain it is that one of them came to the galley where the Lord of Joinville was, bearing in his hand a sword dripping with blood. This fellow cried, "I have already slain six of these accursed Christians and I will slay yet six more." But whether he spoke truly or was boasting cannot be told.

That there was a debate about the slaying of the prisoners is well known. One of the emirs said, "Listen to me, my friends. If you would have peace and safety, kill the King and his nobles. Say you that their children will avenge them? Nay, but those children are yet but babes, so that at the least you have many years of peace before you."

To him another emir answered: "Surely if we slay the King now that we have slain our own Sultan all the world will say that the Egyptians are the most wicked of men." Then spoke a third emir, saying, "Truly we did evil when we slew the Sultan, for we transgressed the commandment of Mahomet: 'Ye shall keep the lord who rules over you as you would keep the apple of your eye.' But there is another commandment"—and while he spoke he turned over the leaves of a book till he came to a place where it was written, "For the assuring of the faith, thou shalt slay the enemies of thy faith."

But in the end the party that was for keeping of the covenant and setting the prisoners free had the upper hand. So the prisoners were released. On the next day the paying of the ransom was begun. When the money was counted it was found to be short by some thirty thousand pieces. These were taken from the treasury of the Templars much against their will, but the necessities of the prisoners prevailed.

As for the King, there could not have been a man more loyal in the fulfilling of his promise. When one of those that counted the money said that the Saracens had received less than their due by some ten thousand pieces, the King would not suffer but that the whole matter should be looked into, lest the Saracens should have wrong. The counter, indeed, averred that this thing was said in jest; but the King answered that such a jest was out of season, and that above all things it was necessary that a Christian should show good faith.

While the King was awaiting the payment of the ransom there came to him a Saracen finely clothed and of a handsome presence who brought him a present, frozen milk and a nosegay of flowers; these, he said, were a gift from the children of a certain village, Narac by name. These things he gave to the King, speaking at the same time in French. "How came you to speak French?" said the King. And when the man said that he was born in France and that he had been a Christian, the King cried, "Get you gone!" for no man, he thought, could commit a greater sin than to deny his faith. The Lord of Joinville was standing by the King, and he drew the man aside, and asked him who he was and how he had come thither. The man said that he had come to Egypt some years before, and had married a wife in Egypt, and was now a man of rank and substance. "But," said the Lord of Joinville, "know you not that if you die in this condition you will be lost?" "Aye," said the other, "I do not doubt but that the Christian religion is the best of all religions. Nevertheless I fear the poverty, for I must needs give up all that I have. Also I fear the reproaches that I should have to suffer. Would not men say when they saw me, 'There goes the renegade!'?" "Ah!" said the Lord of Joinville, "you will hear more than that at the Great Judgment." But he spoke to no purpose.

After this the King went to Acre, where he tarried till what was left over of the ransom was paid.

Of King Louis at Acre

Not many days after the paying of the ransom the King sent for his chief counsellors and opened his mind to them in the matter of his return to France. He said, "The Queen, my mother, begs me to come back to France, saying that my kingdom is in great peril seeing that I have no peace, nor even a truce with England. Tell me, then, what you think. And because it is a great matter, I give you eight days to consider it."

Now the greater part of the counsellors favoured the King's return, but the Lord of Joinville was of contrary opinion. He would, indeed, have gladly gone back to France, but there remained in his memory what a kinsman whom he much honoured had said to him: "You are going: take heed how you return; no man, be he great or small, rich or poor, may come back and leave the sepulchre of our Lord Christ in the hands of the infidel but there shall rest a curse upon him." On the day appointed the counsellors came before the King, who said to them, "What do you advise? Shall I go, or shall I stay?" They said that they had chosen one from among them, a certain Guy Malvoisin, to speak for them. Thereupon this Guy said, "These lords have taken counsel together, and are agreed that you cannot tarry in this country without damage to yourself and your kingdom. For think how that of all the knights whom you had in Cyprus, two thousand eight hundred in number, there remain with you here in Acre scarce one hundred. Our counsel, therefore, is that you return to France, and there gather another army, with which you may come hither again and take vengeance on your enemies for their trespasses against God and against you."

The King would not be content till he had heard from the mouth of his brothers and of other great nobles what they thought. And when they also agreed with Guy, then he turned to a certain John, who was Count of Jaffa, and asked him for his judgment. Count John answered: "Ask me not, sire; my domain is here, and if I bid you stay, then it will be said that I did this for my own profit." But when the King was urgent for his advice he said, "If you stay for a year it will be for your honour." And one other of the counsellors gave the same judgment; but all the rest were urgent for the King's return. Then the King said, "I will tell you eight days hence what it is my pleasure to do."

On the day appointed they all came together again, and the King said, "I thank you, my lords, for your counsel—both those who have advised my going back and those who have advised my staying. Now I hold that if I stay, my kingdom of France will be in no peril, seeing that the Queen, my mother, is well able to keep it in charge; but that if I depart, then the kingdom of Jerusalem will most certainly be lost, because no man will be bold enough to stay after I am gone. Now, it was for the sake of this same kingdom of Jerusalem that I have come hither. My purpose, therefore, is to stay." There was no little trouble among the barons when they heard these words. There were some among them who could not hold back their tears. But though the King resolved himself to stay, yet he commanded his brothers to depart. And this they did before many days.

About this time the Sultan of Damascus sent envoys to the King with the message that he was ill-content with the emirs of Egypt, because they had slain his kinsman, the Caliph; that he desired friendship with the King; and that he would deliver up to him the kingdom of Jerusalem. When the King received this message, he thought it well to send to him envoys of his own, with whom went a certain priest from the land of Brittany, whom they called Brother Yves. This priest could speak and understand the tongue of the Saracens. So the envoys went to Damascus, and the priest went with them. When the priest came back, he told this story: "I saw a woman in the street who was carrying in one hand a brazier full of fire, and in the other a pitcher of water. And when I asked her what she meant by carrying the fire and the water, she said, 'With this fire I would burn Paradise, and with this water I would extinguish hell.' 'Why so?' said I. 'Because then men would not do good deeds and abstain from evil deeds for hope of Paradise or for fear of hell, but only for the love of God.'" This was the priest's story.

Here again is the story told by one Ermin, who was engineer to the King and went to Damascus to buy horn and glue for the making of cross-bows: "I went to the bazaar and there I saw an old man who said to me, 'Are you a Christian?' and when I made answer that I was, then he said, 'It is because of your sins that you cannot stand against us.' I answered, 'Why talk you of the sins of Christians when the sins of the Saracens are so much greater?' The Saracen said, 'Have you a son?' 'I have,' said I. 'Answer me, then,' said he; 'Which would vex you most; that I should smite you on the face, or that your son should smite you?' When I replied that it would be the worse pain if my son should smite me, the old man said, 'Now listen to me: you Christians are sons of God, and you are called after the names of the Lord Christ, and your Father has sent you teachers from whom you learn what is good and what is evil. Therefore it is that God has greater wrath at your sins than at the sins of those who know Him not and have not been taught His law.'"

While the King tarried at Acre there came to him messengers from the Old Man of the Mountain. One of the messengers was the spokesman, and had his place in front; the second had in his hand three daggers, to signify what danger threatened him who should not listen to the message; the third carried a shroud of buckram for him who should be smitten with the daggers. The King said to the first envoy, "Speak on." Then the envoy said, "My master says, 'Know you me?'" The King answered, "I know him not, for I have never seen him; yet I have often heard others talk of him." "Why, then," went on the envoy, "have you not sent him such gifts as would have gained his friendship, even as the Emperor of Germany and the King of Hungary and other princes have done, yea, and do now year after year, knowing well that they cannot live save by my lord's pleasure?" The King made no answer, but bade the envoys come again in the afternoon. When they came they found the King sitting with the Master of the Templars on one side and the Master of the Hospitallers on the other. Now the Old Man is in great awe of these two, for he knows that if he slay them there will be put in their place other two as good or better. The envoys were not a little disturbed when they saw the two. And the Master of the Templars said, "Your lord is over bold to send you with such a message for the King. Now be sure that we would have drowned you in the sea, but that so doing might be a wrong to him. Go now to your lord, and come again in fourteen days with such a token and such gifts as may suffice for the making of peace."

So the envoys departed, and came again in the time appointed, and they brought with them the shirt of the Old Man and his ring, which was of the finest gold, and with these things this message: "As man wears no garment that is nearer to him than his shirt, so the Old Man would have the King nearer to him than any other king upon earth; and as a ring is the sign of marriage by which two are made one, so the Old Man would have himself and the King to be one." Other gifts there were, an elephant of crystal, very cunningly wrought, and a monster which they call a giraffe, also of crystal, and draughts and chessmen, all finely made. The King, on his part, sent to the Old Man a great store of jewels, and scarlet cloth, and dishes of gold and bridles of silver. Also he sent with them Father Yves, who might teach the true religion to the Old Man.

When the father came to the Old Man and his people he found many things worth noting, as that they do not hold the same faith as other Mahometans, and that they believe that if a man lose his life in fulfilling his master's command he is straightway carried to happiness that is beyond all belief; also that no man dies before the time appointed, so that they count it to be wickedness when a man seeks to defend his body with armour. Also the father found under the pillow of the Old Man's bed a book wherein were written many words spoken by the Lord to Peter, and the father said, "My lord, read this book very often, for these words are very good," to which the Old Man answered, "Yea; I have a great reverence for my lord St. Peter; for when Abel was slain by Cain his brother, in due time his soul went into the body of Noah; and when Noah died, then it went, in due time, into the body of Abraham, and, in like manner, it went into the body of St. Peter in the days when the Lord came upon the earth." Father Yves sought to prove to him that these things were not so, but the Old Man would not hear him.

Concerning the Tartars

The King now made ready to fortify Cęsarea, which lies between Acre and Jerusalem, and this he accomplished without any hindrance from the Saracens. It should be said that there had come to the King while he yet tarried in Cyprus an embassy from the King of the Tartars, bringing this message, that he would help him to take the kingdom of Jerusalem out of the hands of the Saracens. The King, by way of answer, sent to the King a chapel of scarlet cloth, and with it, carved in stone, images of the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Baptism, the Passion, the Ascension, and the Coming of the Holy Spirit; also books and vessels, and all that was needful for the singing of mass. So the envoys departed from Cyprus and came to Antioch, and from Antioch they travelled to the land of the Tartars, the journey of a year, though they rode ten leagues every day. They found that all the country had been conquered by the Tartars, and saw the ruins of sundry cities which they had destroyed. In former time they had been subjects of Prester John and of the Emperor of Persia and of other kings near whose territories they dwelt. To them they paid tribute for permission to pasture their cattle, for it is by their cattle that they live. These kings had such scorn of the Tartars that when these came to pay their yearly tribute they would not take it of their hands but turned their backs upon them.

After a while there rose up among them a wise man, who went about among their tribes, persuading them that they should seek deliverance from the servitude in which they were, and that for this end they must have one king, who should lead them. To this all the tribes agreed, and the manner in which the King was chosen was this. Each of the tribes—their number is fifty-and-two—sent an arrow, having its name written on it. These arrows were spread out before a child of five years old, and the tribe whose arrow was chosen by the child was set apart. Then out of this tribe there were chosen fifty-and-two chief men. Each of these gave an arrow on which his name was written. These arrows, again, were set before the child, and the man whose arrow was chosen by the child was made king. And this man was the same who had ordered the whole matter from the beginning.

When this man was made king, he said to his people: "The worst enemy that we have is Prester John. Let us march against him. If he prevail over us, then let every man do the best he can; but if we prevail over him, then I command that no one lay his hand on any spoil, but that he slay the enemy. And when we have made an end of them, then I will divide the spoil among you in such fashion that every man shall have satisfaction." So they marched against Prester John, and overcame him in battle. All the men that could wield sword they slew; but the priests and the rest that were in religion they spared; the remainder of the people, as many as were not present at the battle, they made subject to them. After this they marched against the Emperor of Persia, and dealt with him in the same fashion. But when the King of the Tartars received the gift of the chapel that King Louis had sent to him, he caused sundry princes that had not submitted themselves to him to come with a safe-conduct to him. To them he showed the chapel, and said: "See, now, how the King of France has made submission to me, and has sent this gift in token thereof. If you yield not yourselves to me, then we will send him after you." In the end it befell that there were many who for fear of the King of France submitted themselves to the King of the Tartars.

And now, while the King was at Cęsarea, as has been said, his ambassadors that he had sent to the Tartars came back to him, and with them certain messengers from the King of the Tartars. These last said to him: "Peace is a good thing, and peace thou shalt have, but on conditions. Prester John lifted himself up against him, as did other kings; they all perished by the sword. Therefore we command thee that every year thou send us gold and silver. If thou wilt so do, then shalt thou be our friend; but if not, then will we utterly destroy thee and thy people from off the face of the earth." When he heard these words, the King much repented that he had sent an embassy to the Tartars.

Of the Ending of the Expedition

The King made a treaty with the emir of Egypt, for he hoped, by setting one part of the infidels against the other, so to gain the victory over all. By this treaty it was agreed that on a certain day the King should go to Jaffa, and that on the same day the emirs should go to Gaza, for the purpose of handing over to the King the kingdom of Jerusalem. The King, for his part, took an oath that he would help the emirs to the best of his power against the Sultan of Damascus. But when this came to the ears of the said sultan, he sent some four thousand men, well equipped, to hold the road at Gaza. The King made no delay in going to Jaffa, which town, being already fortified, he did all that he could to make yet stronger. So zealous was he, he would carry a basket on his back among those who worked in the trenches. The emirs, on their part, did not keep their covenants. Fearing the Sultan of Damascus, they did not come to Gaza. Nevertheless they sent to the King the heads of certain Christian folk which had been fastened to the walls of Cairo; also they sent the children who were taken prisoners along with the King; but these had been constrained to give up their faith. They also sent a gift to the King, an elephant, which the King caused to be taken to France.

In these days the Sultan of Persia, having been driven out of his kingdom, as has been told above, by the Tartars, came into the land of Palestine, and took the castle of Tiberias, and ravaged the whole country up to the very walls of Acre and Jaffa. Then the Count of Jaffa and others with him determined to attack this emperor before he could gather to him yet other strength. And this they did, and not without gaining some success; but by the cowardice of them that were with him, the count himself was taken prisoner by the emperor of Persia. The same emperor caused him to be taken to Jaffa and hanged on a cross before the wall, saying that he should hang there till he had possession of the town. But the count, though he was hanged by the arms, cried out to them that kept the castle, "Whatsoever these men may do to me, do ye keep the town. Verily, if ye yield it, I myself will slay you." After this the emperor sent the count by way of a gift to the Sultan of Cairo. And some of the traders of Cairo besought the Sultan that he would give the count into their hands, because he had done them much hurt in times past. And this the Sultan did, and they put him to death in the prison, not without torture.

After this there was a battle between the emirs of Egypt and the Sultan of Damascus, but neither gained the victory: for the main body of the Sultan defeated the emirs, and the emirs put to flight the rearguard of the Sultan. As for the Sultan, he was sorely wounded in his head and in his hand, and he went to Gaza to be healed of his wounds. While he lay there the emirs sent an embassy desiring peace. Thus these two made a treaty; and the emirs broke the treaty which they had made with the Crusaders. These, therefore, had the whole power of the infidels leagued against them, and there were fourteen hundred of them in all.

After this there were sundry battles, in which the Crusaders for the most part prevailed, yet suffered no small loss of men and horses. And sometimes men would go forth from the camp without leave or licence for the sake of plunder, and fall into an ambush or be cut off from their return. Nevertheless not a few gallant deeds of arms were done. This that follows, for example, was done by a knight of Ghent, whom they called John the Great.

Certain light-armed men had gone forth from Acre, and Sir John was sent to bring them back, lest they should be cut off. While he was doing this a Saracen cried out in his own tongue to him, "Come, sir knight, let us joust together." "Right willingly," said Sir John. But as he rode to meet the Saracen, looking to his left hand he was aware of a little company of Turks, some eight in number or thereabouts, who were waiting to see this feat of arms. Thereupon he left thinking of the joust, and rode at the Turks, who were unaware of his coming, and smiting one of them full in the body, laid him dead. Thereupon the others made at him, he having turned his horse meanwhile to the city. One of them gave him a great blow with his mace on his iron head-cap; but him as he passed Sir John smote on the turban they wear these turbans to defend the head—and shore it clean off. Then yet another of the Turks rode at him, desiring to smite him with his spear between the shoulders. But Sir John swerved from the blow, and smote the man on the arm, so that the spear flew from his hand to the earth. This done he rode back to Acre, bringing his men with him. It was a gallant deed of arms, and much admired by all that stood on the walls.

After this there befell a great disaster, to wit, the sacking of the city of Sidon. The baron who was in command saved himself and his men in the castle, which was a strong place and surrounded on all sides by the sea; but the town was sacked, for, indeed, it was not fortified, and much booty that had been stored therein was taken, and many people slain.

While the King was at Jaffa it was told him that if he desired to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem the Sultan of Damascus would give him a safe-conduct. The King consulted his nobles on the matter, and both he and they were of one mind in the matter, to wit, that he should not go. "For," said they, "if the King should go as a pilgrim, when he has not been able to take the Holy City itself out of the hands of the infidel, then will other kings in time to come do the same. They will be content to go as pilgrims, but will take no thought as to the city, whether it beheld by Christian or infidel."

After these things the King went to the city of Sidon, and fortified it with strong walls, for he was greatly unwilling to give up his hope of winning the whole land out of the hands of the infidel. But when he had brought this work to an end, there came news to him from his own country that the Queen, his mother, who was charged with the government thereof, was dead. Then he took counsel with his nobles what he should do, and it seemed to them that he must of necessity return to France. They charged, therefore, one among them to put the case before the King; and this he did, as follows:—

"Sire, we see that it will not profit the kingdom of Jerusalem that you tarry longer here. You have done what was in your power. You have fortified the city of Sidon, and Cęsarea, and Jaffa, and you have made the city of Acre much stronger than it was. And now, for your own kingdom's sake, you must needs depart." And to this the King gave his consent, though with an unwilling heart. So he departed, and this, as it chanced, on his birthday. As the ship went forth from the harbour he said to the Lord of Joinville, who stood by him, "On this day I was born." And the Lord of Joinville said to him, "Truly, sire, I should say that you are beginning another life, now that you are safely quit of this land of death."

The Last Crusade

Of my many wanderings some have had such causes as are common among men. I have gone to this place or that in the course of my profession or trade, such as I chanced to be following at the time; or I have discharged some errand that was given to me; or I have been taken—for such a thing has happened to me—against my will. But now and again I have been driven forth, so to speak, from my abode by sheer restlessness of heart. Thus it was, I take it, that some seventeen years after the things last recorded, I took a journey to the island of Sardinia, which place lies some hundreds of miles farther to the west than any that I had visited so far. I found it to be a somewhat rude or even barbarous place, much afflicted with fevers and other diseases, so that I did not want for employment in my old trade of physician.

I took up my abode at a town on the west coast, that bears the name of Neapolis. When I had sojourned there two months there came in sight on a certain day a great fleet of ships, which those who were acquainted with such things declared to be from the land of France. Now Neapolis has an indifferently good harbour, for which, as was manifest, the fleet was bound. It could be seen, so soon as the ships came near enough for such things to be discerned, that each carried a flag bearing a cross. Thereupon I thought to myself, not without some wonderment, "Is there to be yet another Crusade?" Rumours of such a thing had come eastward from time to time, but they had ended in nothing, and it was hard to believe that such a thing could be.

An hour or so after noon the fleet came into harbour, or, I should rather say, so much of it as could be received, for there were near upon a thousand ships, big and little. The rest were anchored or made fast as could best be managed. As for the crowd that came ashore that day, it were best to say little. I have said before that they who wore the cross on their shoulders or their shields did not always bear it in their hearts. Methinks these cross-bearers were the most turbulent, ill-mannered, not to speak of worse things, that I have ever beheld since the days of King Godfrey. But of this enough; who am I, to censure my fellow-sinners? It is more to the purpose to say that I met with one whom I knew, having consorted with him in time past, and this the more constantly because he followed the same occupation as did I.

When we had talked awhile, I asked him this question, "How came you hither? Is there any need that you may supply that you put into the harbour of Neapolis? If you are bound for Palestine, this is but a short stage in your journey." He answered me with something of a smile in his eye, though his mouth was set, "Where could we more conveniently halt than here, for we are bound for Tunis?" "For Tunis?" said I; "but how shall this help you for the taking of Jerusalem?" "That," said he, "you must ask of some one that has more wisdom than I. But this I know, that the King was told, by whom I know not, that the Bey of Tunis desired to be baptized. This, then, is cause sufficient for him. As for them that follow him, who knows? It is commonly reported that Tunis is a very wealthy city, and the report may well be true, for have not the rovers therefrom plundered the coasts of the Inland Sea for many generations? But let these things be. As they say in this land, he who lives will see. Are you minded to come with me? If so, I can find you a place in the King's ship, for it is in that I sail."

When I heard that, I consented without delay, for though I had heard much of King Louis, I had never seen him. So that night I gave my friend the shelter of my lodging; and the next day he took me with him, and commended me to one of the chief officers of the ship, bearing witness to my skill as a physician. On the fourth day we sailed, and came in two days, the wind blowing from the north, to the harbour of Tunis. As for the King, I saw him but once. His valets carried him up on the deck; and to tell the truth, he looked as little fit for doing feats of arms as man could look. But I thought that the sickness which takes many men upon the sea might be the cause. If the King looked for a friendly message from the Bey of Tunis, he was greatly baulked of his hope. The inhabitants did not seek to hinder us from landing, but neither did they make any show of friendship. On the contrary, the city seemed like to one prepared for a siege, with sentinels walking to and fro on the walls, and engines ready for the casting of bolts and stones, and the gates fast closed.

And now there is little more to tell. Scarce had the army landed than there began a most grievous sickness. In truth the place for the camp had been ill chosen, for there was a little stream into which much of the filth of the city was wont to run. From this there came a most evil smell. Many also, for want of good water, would drink of the stream, than which there could be no more deadly thing.

On the very day after he landed from his ship the King fell sick. His physician being disabled by the same malady, I was called in to the King's help; and from the first I saw that, save by a miracle, he could not live. On the fourth day he died, making as good and devout an end as any that I have ever seen. He would know the truth, for he was not one of those who buoy themselves up with false hopes. And when he knew it, then first with the help of the priests that attended him he prepared his soul, and afterwards he gave what time remained to teaching the son who should be king after him how he should best do his duty to God and man.

I heard much from him who had put it in my mind to come from the island of Sardinia concerning King Louis. Never, he told me, was a king more bent on doing justice and judgment. These he maintained with his whole heart and strength, not having any respect of persons, or having regard to his own profit. Though he held bishops and priests in great reverence, being most careful of all the offices of religion, yet he would withstand even these when they seemed to seek that which was not fair and just. He was a lover of peace far beyond the wont of kings, who indeed, for the most part, care but little for it, so that men say in a proverb, "War is the game of kings." Of the poor he was a great and constant favourer. Every day he had a multitude of them fed at his cost in his palace, and sometimes he would serve them himself, and it was his custom on a certain day to wash the feet of poor men. In his eating and drinking he was as temperate as man could be, drinking, for example, but one cup of wine, and that largely mingled with water. In all things wherein great men ofttimes offend he was wholly blameless and beyond reproach. Of all men that I had any knowledge of, whether by sight or by hearing, in this business of the Crusades there was not one who could be so much as named in comparison with King Louis, save King Godfrey only. And between these two there was this difference: King Godfrey was one who put religion among the duties of his life, and gave it its proper share, as he conceived of that share, and was careful not to depart from it. But to King Louis religion was as life itself. It filled, as it were, his whole soul; he judged of all things by it; he hungered and thirsted after it.

And yet of all who bore this cross this man, being, as he was, so much the most faithful to his vow, by far the truest cross-bearer of all, yet failed the most utterly. Of such things I have not the wit to judge; yet this, methinks, is manifest, that the Kingdom of God is not set forward by the power of armies. I do believe that if King Louis, being what he was, a man after God's own heart, had come, not with the sword, but preaching the truth by his life, he had done more for the cause that he had at heart. As it was, he furthered it not at all, so far as I can discern, but rather set it back. That he did not gain for Christendom so much as a single foot of earth is not so much to be lamented, as that he made wider the breach between Christian men and the followers of Mahomet. And this he did, though he was in very truth the most Christ-like of all the men that I have ever seen.

Historical Note

The death of Louis IX. makes so dramatic an ending to the story of the Crusaders that I felt it impossible not to conclude with it. Still, for the sake of completeness, a short account may be given of the events that followed it.

The army which Louis had brought to Tunis did practically nothing after his death. If the soldiers were inclined to continue the war in the hope of securing some of the plunder which they had been promised, the leaders were for the most part anxious to go back. The taking of Tunis was manifestly no easy task, and it seemed wise to abandon the enterprise before more life and treasure had been expended upon it. The young King Philip was naturally anxious to be at home, where many important matters concerning his new inheritance demanded his attention.

In the end a truce for fifteen years was concluded between the Bey of Tunis, on the one part, and the three Christian kings (France, Sicily, and Navarre) on the other. The conditions briefly were: (1) All prisoners to be released; (2) Reciprocal protection for the subjects of the treating Powers; (3) Liberty to build Christian churches and to perform Divine worship in the Bey's dominions. Furthermore, the Bey promised to pay a certain sum of money within two years, and engaged to furnish an annual tribute to the King of Sicily. These were as favourable conditions as could be expected; indeed, they seemed to some of the Mahometan Powers too favourable; but they manifestly did nothing towards advancing the great object of the Crusades, the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre.

There was at least the appearance of an effort in this direction in the expedition of Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I. Edward's father, Henry III., had taken the cross, but had never found the opportunity of fulfilling his vow. In 1271 his son, who may have been anxious, for many reasons, to leave England for a while, set out for the Holy Land. He had with him but a small force, possibly twelve hundred men, and though he was joined by the Templars and Hospitallers, and perhaps by other recruits who had no other means of livelihood than the sword, his army never attained a magnitude adequate to his object. He seems to have conducted his operations with great daring and skill; but he cannot be said to have made a serious attempt to recover Jerusalem. The only memorable incident in his campaign was the great risk of death which he ran from the dagger of an assassin. He was sitting without armour in his tent when a man, who represented himself as a petitioner for some favour, threw himself upon him and wounded him in the arm. Edward snatched the dagger from the hand of his assailant and hurled him to the ground. It was feared that the dagger had been poisoned; certainly the recovery was slow, and at one time serious complications were threatened. An English physician is said to have effected a cure, probably by an unsparing use of the knife in cutting away the diseased flesh round the wound. A curious fiction grew up many years afterwards to the effect that Edward's wife Eleanor sucked the poison from the wound. All that we know about this is that the English physician who effected a cure gave directions that she, together with all the prince's suite, should be excluded from the tent while his treatment was applied. Not long afterwards Edward received news of his father's death, and returned to England.

The actual end of the Crusades may be said to have arrived when, in 1291, Acre, the last possession of the Christians in Palestine, was taken by the Mahometans.

It may be useful to give a short summary of the wars which go by the name of the Crusades. After the irregular movements headed by Peter the Hermit, Walter the Penniless, and other adventurers, came the First Crusade. This was the only one that may be said to have attained its object, for it resulted in the establishment of a Latin kingdom in Jerusalem. It began in 1o96, when Godfrey, Duke of Lorraine, and others, started; in March 1097 the army crossed into Asia; on July 15, 1099, Jerusalem was taken.

The Second Crusade, led by Conrad III., Emperor of Germany, and Louis VII., King of France, was started in 1146. Its object was to strengthen the failing kingdom of Jerusalem. It came to an end in 1149.

In 1187 Jerusalem was captured by Saladin.

In 1188 the Third Crusade was resolved upon. In 1189 the Emperor Frederick I. (Barbarossa) led the first portion of the Crusading forces across Asia Minor, but perished before he reached Syria. In the same year Acre was besieged. In 1191 Philip of France and Richard of England joined the besieging forces. The town was taken on July 12 in that year, but no further success was obtained. In the following year the Crusade was abandoned, and Richard returned to England.

The Fourth Crusade was commenced by Henry VI. of Germany, in 1195; two years later, after some successes had been obtained, Henry died, and this Crusade was abandoned.

In 1199 the Fifth Crusade was preached. Four years later it resulted in the establishment of a Latin Empire in Constantinople.

The Sixth Crusade belongs to the years 1218-1220. It produced no results of any importance.

In 1229 Jerusalem was restored to the Christians, in virtue of a treaty between Frederic II. of Germany and the Mahometan Powers. It was regained by the Turks in 1238.

The Seventh Crusade took place in 1239. Two years afterwards Richard, Earl of Cornwall, recovered Jerusalem.

In 1244 Jerusalem was taken by the Chorasmii, a barbarous tribe, and never afterwards came into the possession of the Christians.

In 1248 the Eighth Crusade was led by Louis IX. of France. It came to an end six years later.

In 1270 the Ninth and Last Crusade was led by Louis IX. To this belongs the campaign of Edward (afterwards Edward I.) in Palestine.