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Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions by Charles Mackay

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"Il est bon de connaitre les delires de l'esprit humain.
Chaque people a ses folies plus ou moins grossieres."






They heard, and up they sprung upon the wing
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up call'd a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the realm of Nile,
So numberless were they. * * *
* * * * * * * *
All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
With orient colours waving. With them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appear'd, and serried shields, in thick array,
Of depth immeasurable.

Paradise Lost.

Every age has its peculiar folly -- some scheme, project, or
phantasy into which it plunges, spurred on either by the love of gain,
the necessity of excitement, or the mere force of imitation. Failing
in these, it has some madness, to which it is goaded by political or
religious causes, or both combined. Every one of these causes
influenced the Crusades, and conspired to render them the most
extraordinary instance upon record of the extent to which popular
enthusiasm can be carried. History in her solemn page informs us, that
the crusaders were but ignorant and savage men, that their motives
were those of bigotry unmitigated, and that their pathway was one of
blood and tears. Romance, on the other hand, dilates upon their piety
and heroism and pourtrays in her most glowing and impassioned hues
their virtue and magnanimity, the imperishable honour they acquired
for themselves, and the great services they rendered to Christianity.
In the following pages we shall ransack the stores of both, to
discover the true spirit that animated the motley multitude who took
up arms in the service of the Cross, leaving history to vouch for
facts, but not disdaining the aid of contemporary poetry and romance
to throw light upon feelings, motives, and opinions.

In order to understand thoroughly the state of public feeling in
Europe at the time when Peter the Hermit preached the holy war, it
will be necessary to go back for many years anterior to that event. We
must make acquaintance with the pilgrims of the eighth, ninth, and
tenth centuries, and learn the tales they told of the dangers they had
passed, and the wonders they had seen. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land
seem at first to have been undertaken by converted Jews, and by
Christian devotees of lively imagination, pining with a natural
curiosity to visit the scenes which of all others were most
interesting in their eyes. The pious and the impious alike flocked to
Jerusalem, -- the one class to feast their sight on the scenes
hallowed by the life and sufferings of their Lord, and the other,
because it soon became a generally received opinion, that such a
pilgrimage was sufficient to rub off the long score of sins, however
atrocious. Another and very numerous class of pilgrims were the idle
and roving, who visited Palestine then as the moderns visit Italy or
Switzerland now, because it was the fashion, and because they might
please their vanity by retailing, on their return, the adventures they
had met with. But the really pious formed the great majority. Every
year their numbers increased, until at last they became so numerous as
to be called the "armies of the Lord." Full of enthusiasm, they set
the danger and difficulty of the way at defiance, and lingered with
holy rapture on every scene described in the Evangelists. To them it
was bliss indeed to drink the clear waters of the Jordan, or be
baptized in the same stream where John had baptized the Saviour. They
wandered with awe and pleasure in the purlieus of the Temple, on the
solemn Mount of Olives, or the awful Calvary, where a God had bled for
sinful men. To these pilgrims every object was precious. Relics were
eagerly sought after; flagons of water from Jordan, or paniers of
mould from the hill of the Crucifixion, were brought home, and sold at
extravagant prices to churches and monasteries. More apocryphical
relics, such as the wood of the true cross, the tears of the Virgin
Mary, the hems of her garments, the toe-nails and hair of the Apostles
-- even the tents that Paul had helped to manufacture -- were
exhibited for sale by the knavish in Palestine, and brought back to
Europe "with wondrous cost and care." A grove of a hundred oaks would
not have furnished all the wood sold in little morsels as remnants of
the true cross; and the tears of Mary, if collected together, would
have filled a cistern.

For upwards of two hundred years the pilgrims met with no
impediment in Palestine. The enlightened Haroun Al Reschid, and his
more immediate successors, encouraged the stream which brought so much
wealth into Syria, and treated the wayfarers with the utmost courtesy.
The race of Fatemite caliphs, -- who, although in other respects as
tolerant, were more distressed for money, or more unscrupulous in
obtaining it, than their predecessors of the house of Abbas, --
imposed a tax of a bezant for each pilgrim that entered Jerusalem.
This was a serious hardship upon the poorer sort, who had begged their
weary way across Europe, and arrived at the bourne of all their hopes
without a coin. A great outcry was immediately raised, but still the
tax was rigorously levied. The pilgrims unable to pay were compelled
to remain at the gate of the holy city until some rich devotee
arriving with his train, paid the tax and let them in. Robert of
Normandy, father of William the Conqueror, who, in common with many
other nobles of the highest rank, undertook the pilgrimage, found on
his arrival scores of pilgrims at the gate, anxiously expecting his
coming to pay the tax for them. Upon no occasion was such a boon

The sums drawn from this source were a mine of wealth to the
Moslem governors of Palestine, imposed as the tax had been at a time
when pilgrimages had become more numerous than ever. A strange idea
had taken possession of the popular mind at the close of the tenth and
commencement of the eleventh century. It was universally believed that
the end of the world was at hand; that the thousand years of the
Apocalypse were near completion, and that Jesus Christ would descend
upon Jerusalem to judge mankind. All Christendom was in commotion. A
panic terror seized upon the weak, the credulous, and the guilty, who
in those days formed more than nineteen twentieths of the population.
Forsaking their homes, kindred, and occupation, they crowded to
Jerusalem to await the coming of the Lord, lightened, as they
imagined, of a load of sin by their weary pilgrimage. To increase the
panic, the stars were observed to fall from heaven, earthquakes to
shake the land, and violent hurricanes to blow down the forests. All
these, and more especially the meteoric phenomena, were looked upon as
the forerunners of the approaching judgments. Not a meteor shot
athwart the horizon that did not fill a district with alarm, and send
away to Jerusalem a score of pilgrims, with staff in hand and wallet
on their back, praying as they went for the remission of their sins.
Men, women, and even children, trudged in droves to the holy city, in
expectation of the day when the heavens would open, and the Son of God
descend in his glory. This extraordinary delusion, while it augmented
the numbers, increased also the hardships of the pilgrims. Beggars
became so numerous on all the highways between the west of Europe and
Constantinople that the monks, the great alms-givers upon these
occasions, would have brought starvation within sight of their own
doors, if they had not economized their resources, and left the
devotees to shift for themselves as they could. Hundreds of them were
glad to subsist upon the berries that ripened by the road, who, before
this great flux, might have shared the bread and flesh of the

But this was not the greatest of their difficulties. On their
arrival in Jerusalem they found that a sterner race had obtained
possession of the Holy Land. The caliphs of Bagdad had been succeeded
by the harsh Turks of the race of Seljook, who looked upon the
pilgrims with contempt and aversion. The Turks of the eleventh century
were more ferocious and less scrupulous than the Saracens of the
tenth. They were annoyed at the immense number of pilgrims who overran
the country, and still more so because they showed no intention of
quitting it. The hourly expectation of the last judgment kept them
waiting; and the Turks, apprehensive of being at last driven from the
soil by the swarms that were still arriving, heaped up difficulties in
their way. Persecution of every kind awaited them. They were
plundered, and beaten with stripes, and kept in suspense for months at
the gates of Jerusalem, unable to pay the golden bezant that was to
facilitate their entrance.

When the first epidemic terror of the day of judgment began to
subside, a few pilgrims ventured to return to Europe, their hearts big
with indignation at the insults they had suffered. Everywhere as they
passed they related to a sympathizing auditory the wrongs of
Christendom. Strange to say, even these recitals increased the mania
for pilgrimage. The greater the dangers of the way, the more chance
that sins of deep dye would be atoned for. Difficulty and suffering
only heightened the merit, and fresh hordes issued from every town and
village, to win favour in the sight of Heaven by a visit to the holy
sepulchre. Thus did things continue during the whole of the eleventh

The train that was to explode so fearfully was now laid, and there
wanted but the hand to apply the torch. At last the man appeared upon
the scene. Like all who have ever achieved so great an end, Peter the
hermit was exactly suited to the age; neither behind it, nor in
advance of it; but acute enough to penetrate its mystery ere it was
discovered by any other. Enthusiastic, chivalrous, bigoted, and, if
not insane, not far removed from insanity, he was the very prototype
of the time. True enthusiasm is always persevering and always
eloquent, and these two qualities were united in no common degree in
the person of this extraordinary preacher. He was a monk of Amiens,
and ere he assumed the hood had served as a soldier. He is represented
as having been ill favoured and low in stature, but with an eye of
surpassing brightness and intelligence. Having been seized with the
mania of the age, he visited Jerusalem, and remained there till his
blood boiled to see the cruel persecution heaped upon the devotees. On
his return home he shook the world by the eloquent story of their

Before entering into any further details of the astounding results
of his preaching, it will be advisable to cast a glance at the state
of the mind of Europe, that we may understand all the better the
causes of his success. First of all, there was the priesthood, which,
exercising as it did the most conspicuous influence upon the fortunes
of society, claims the largest share of attention. Religion was the
ruling idea of that day, and the only civiliser capable of taming such
wolves as then constituted the flock of the faithful. The clergy were
all in all; and though they kept the popular mind in the most slavish
subjection with regard to religious matters, they furnished it with
the means of defence against all other oppression except their own. In
the ecclesiastical ranks were concentrated all the true piety, all the
learning, all the wisdom of the time; and, as a natural consequence, a
great portion of power, which their very wisdom perpetually incited
them to extend. The people knew nothing of kings and nobles, except in
the way of injuries inflicted. The first ruled for, or more properly
speaking against, the barons, and the barons only existed to brave the
power of the kings, or to trample with their iron heels upon the neck
of prostrate democracy. The latter had no friend but the clergy, and
these, though they necessarily instilled the superstition from which
they themselves were not exempt, yet taught the cheering doctrine that
all men were equal in the sight of heaven. Thus, while Feudalism told
them they had no rights in this world, Religion told them they had
every right in the next. With this consolation they were for the time
content, for political ideas had as yet taken no root. When the
clergy, for other reasons, recommended the Crusade, the people joined
in it with enthusiasm. The subject of Palestine filled all minds; the
pilgrims' tales of two centuries warmed every imagination; and when
their friends, their guides, and their instructors preached a war so
much in accordance with their own prejudices and modes of thinking,
the enthusiasm rose into a frenzy.

But while religion inspired the masses, another agent was at work
upon the nobility. These were fierce and lawless; tainted with every
vice, endowed with no virtue, and redeemed by one good quality alone,
that of courage. The only religion they felt was the religion of fear.
That and their overboiling turbulence alike combined to guide them to
the Holy Land. Most of them had sins enough to answer for. They lived
with their hand against every man; and with no law but their own
passions. They set at defiance the secular power of the clergy, but
their hearts quailed at the awful denunciations of the pulpit with
regard to the life to come. War was the business and the delight of
their existence; and when they were promised remission of all their
sins upon the easy condition of following their favourite bent, is it
to be wondered at that they rushed with enthusiasm to the onslaught,
and became as zealous in the service of the Cross as the great
majority of the people, who were swayed by more purely religious
motives? Fanaticism and the love of battle alike impelled them to the
war, while the kings and princes of Europe had still another motive
for encouraging their zeal. Policy opened their eyes to the great
advantages which would accrue to themselves, by the absence of so many
restless, intriguing, and blood-thirsty men, whose insolence it
required more than the small power of royalty to restrain within due
bounds. Thus every motive was favourable to the Crusades. Every class
of society was alike incited to join or encourage the war; kings and
the clergy by policy, the nobles by turbulence and the love of
dominion, and the people by religious zeal and the concentrated
enthusiasm of two centuries, skilfully directed by their only

It was in Palestine itself that Peter the Hermit first conceived
the grand idea of rousing the powers of Christendom to rescue the
Christians of the East from the thraldom of the Mussulmans, and the
sepulchre of Jesus from the rude hands of the infidel. The subject
engrossed his whole mind. Even in the visions of the night he was full
of it. One dream made such an impression upon him, that he devoutly
believed the Saviour of the world himself appeared before him, and
promised him aid and protection in his holy undertaking. If his zeal
had ever wavered before, this was sufficient to fix it for ever.

Peter, after he had performed all the penances and duties of his
pilgrimage, demanded an interview with Simeon, the Patriarch of the
Greek Church at Jerusalem. Though the latter was a heretic in Peter's
eyes, yet he was still a Christian, and felt as acutely as himself for
the persecutions heaped by the Turks upon the followers of Jesus. The
good prelate entered fully into his views, and, at his suggestion,
wrote letters to the Pope, and to the most influential monarchs of
Christendom, detailing the sorrows of the faithful, and urging them to
take up arms in their defence. Peter was not a laggard in the work.
Taking an affectionate farewell of the Patriarch, he returned in all
haste to Italy. Pope Urban II. occupied the apostolic chair. It was at
that time far from being an easy seat. His predecessor, Gregory, had
bequeathed him a host of disputes with the Emperor Henry IV. of
Germany, and he had made Philip I. of France his enemy by his
strenuous opposition to an adulterous connexion formed by that
monarch. So many dangers encompassed him about, that the Vatican was
no secure abode, and he had taken refuge in Apulia, under the
protection of the renowned Robert Guiscard. Thither Peter appears to
have followed him, though in what spot their meeting took place is not
stated with any precision by ancient chroniclers or modern historians.
Urban received him most kindly; read, with tears in his eyes, the
epistle from the Patriarch Simeon, and listened to the eloquent story
of the Hermit with an attention which showed how deeply he sympathised
with the woes of the Christian church. Enthusiasm is contagious, and
the Pope appears to have caught it instantly from one whose zeal was
so unbounded. Giving the Hermit full powers, he sent him abroad to
preach the holy war to all the nations and potentates of Christendom.
The Hermit preached, and countless thousands answered to his call.
France, Germany, and Italy started at his voice, and prepared for the
deliverance of Zion. One of the early historians of the Crusade, who
was himself an eye-witness of the rapture of Europe, [Guibert de
Nogent] describes the personal appearance of the Hermit at this time.
He says, that there appeared to be something of divine in every thing
which he said or did. The people so highly reverenced him, that they
plucked hairs from the mane of his mule, that they might keep them as
relics. While preaching, he wore in general a woollen tunic, with a
dark-coloured mantle, which fell down to his heels. His arms and feet
were bare, and he ate neither flesh nor bread, supporting himself
chiefly upon fish and wine. "He set out," says the chronicler, "from
whence I know not; but we saw him passing through the towns and
villages, preaching every where, and the people surrounding him in
crowds, loading him with offerings, and celebrating his sanctity with
such great praises that I never remember to have seen such honours
bestowed upon any one." Thus he went on, untired, inflexible, and full
of devotion, communicating his own madness to his hearers, until
Europe was stirred from its very depths.

While the Hermit was appealing with such signal success to the
people, the Pope appealed with as much success to those who were to
become the chiefs and leaders of the expedition. His first step was to
call a council at Placentia, in the autumn of the year 1095. Here, in
the assembly of the clergy, the Pope debated the grand scheme, and
gave audience to emissaries who had been sent from Constantinople by
the Emperor of the East to detail the progress made by the Turks in
their design of establishing themselves in Europe. The clergy were of
course unanimous in support of the Crusade, and the council separated,
each individual member of it being empowered to preach it to his

But Italy could not be expected to furnish all the aid required;
and the Pope crossed the Alps to inspire the fierce and powerful
nobility and chivalrous population of Gaul. His boldness in entering
the territory, and placing himself in the power of his foe, King
Philip of France, is not the least surprising feature of his mission.
Some have imagined that cool policy alone actuated him, while others
assert, that it was mere zeal, as warm and as blind as that of Peter
the Hermit. The latter opinion seems to be the true one. Society did
not calculate the consequences of what it was doing. Every man seemed
to act from impulse only; and the Pope, in throwing himself into the
heart of France, acted as much from impulse as the thousands who
responded to his call. A council was eventually summoned to meet him
at Clermont, in Auvergne, to consider the state of the church, reform
abuses, and, above all, make preparations for the war. It was in the
midst of an extremely cold winter, and the ground was covered with
snow. During seven days the council sat with closed doors, while
immense crowds from all parts of France flocked into the town, in
expectation that the Pope himself would address the people. All the
towns and villages for miles around were filled with the multitude;
even the fields were encumbered with people, who, unable to procure
lodging, pitched their tents under the trees and by the way-side. All
the neighbourhood presented the appearance of a vast camp.

During the seven days' deliberation, a sentence of excommunication
was passed upon King Philip for adultery with Bertrade de Montfort,
Countess of Anjou, and for disobedience to the supreme authority of
the apostolic see. This bold step impressed the people with reverence
for so stern a church, which in the discharge of its duty showed
itself no respecter of persons. Their love and their fear were alike
increased, and they were prepared to listen with more intense devotion
to the preaching of so righteous and inflexible a pastor. The great
square before the cathedral church of Clermont became every instant
more densely crowded as the hour drew nigh when the Pope was to
address the populace. Issuing from the church in his frill canonicals,
surrounded by his cardinals and bishops in all the splendour of Romish
ecclesiastical costume, the Pope stood before the populace on a high
scaffolding erected for the occasion, and covered with scarlet cloth.
A brilliant array of bishops and cardinals surrounded him; and among
them, humbler in rank, but more important in the world's eye, the
Hermit Peter, dressed in his simple and austere habiliments.
Historians differ as to whether or not Peter addressed the crowd, but
as all agree that he was present, it seems reasonable to suppose that
he spoke. But it was the oration of the Pope that was most important.
As he lifted up his hands to ensure attention, every voice immediately
became still. He began by detailing the miseries endured by their
brethren in the Holy Land; how the plains of Palestine were desolated
by the outrageous heathen, who with the sword and the firebrand
carried wailing into the dwellings and flames into the possessions of
the faithful; how Christian wives and daughters were defiled by pagan
lust; how the altars of the true God were desecrated, and the relics
of the saints trodden under foot. "You," continued the eloquent
pontiff, (and Urban the Second was one of the most eloquent men of the
day,) "you, who hear me, and who have received the true faith, and
been endowed by God with power, and strength, and greatness of soul,
-- whose ancestors have been the prop of Christendom, and whose kings
have put a barrier against the progress of the infidel, -- I call upon
you to wipe off these impurities from the face of the earth, and lift
your oppressed fellow-christians from the depths into which they have
been trampled. The sepulchre of Christ is possessed by the heathen,
the sacred places dishonoured by their vileness. Oh, brave knights and
faithful people! offspring of invincible fathers! ye will not
degenerate from your ancient renown. Ye will not be restrained from
embarking in this great cause by the tender ties of wife or little
ones, but will remember the words of the Saviour of the world himself,
'Whosoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.
Whosoever shall abandon for my name's sake his house, or his brethren,
or his sisters, or his father, or his mother, or his wife, or his
children, or his lands, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit
eternal life.'"

The warmth of the pontiff communicated itself to the crowd, and
the enthusiasm of the people broke out several times ere he concluded
his address. He went on to pourtray, not only the spiritual but the
temporal advantages, that should accrue to those who took up arms in
the service of the Cross. Palestine was, he said, a land flowing with
milk and honey, and precious in the sight of God, as the scene of the
grand events which had saved mankind. That land, he promised, should
be divided among them. Moreover, they should have full pardon for all
their offences, either against God or man. "Go, then," he added, "in
expiation of your sins; and go assured, that after this world shall
have passed away, imperishable glory shall be yours in the world which
is to come." The enthusiasm was no longer to be restrained, and loud
shouts interrupted the speaker; the people exclaiming as if with one
voice, "Dieu le veult! Dieu le veult!" With great presence of mind
Urban took advantage of the outburst, and as soon as silence was
obtained, continued: "Dear brethren, to-day is shown forth in you that
which the Lord has said by his evangelist, 'When two or three are
gathered together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them to
bless them.' If the Lord God had not been in your souls, you would not
all have pronounced the same words; or rather God himself pronounced
them by your lips, for it was He that put them in your hearts. Be
they, then, your war-cry in the combat, for those words came forth
from God. Let the army of the Lord when it rushes upon His enemies
shout but that one cry, 'Dieu le veult! Dieu le veult!' Let whoever
is inclined to devote himself to this holy cause make it a solemn
engagement, and bear the cross of the Lord either on his breast or his
brow till he set out, and let him who is ready to begin his march
place the holy emblem on his shoulders, in memory of that precept of
our Saviour, 'He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not
worthy of me.'"

The news of this council spread to the remotest parts of Europe in
an incredibly short space of time. Long before the fleetest horseman
could have brought the intelligence it was known by the people in
distant provinces, a fact which was considered as nothing less than
supernatural. But the subject was in everybody's mouth, and the minds
of men were prepared for the result. The enthusiastic only asserted
what they wished, and the event tallied with their prediction. This
was, however, quite enough in those days for a miracle, and as a
miracle every one regarded it.

For several months after the council of Clermont, France and
Germany presented a singular spectacle. The pious, the fanatic, the
needy, the dissolute, the young and the old, even women and children,
and the halt and lame, enrolled themselves by hundreds. In every
village the clergy were busied in keeping up the excitement, promising
eternal rewards to those who assumed the red cross, and fulminating
the most awful denunciations against all the worldly-minded who
refused or even hesitated. Every debtor who joined the crusade was
freed by the papal edict from the claims of his creditors; outlaws of
every grade were made equal with the honest upon the same conditions.
The property of those who went was placed under the protection of the
church, and St. Paul and St. Peter themselves were believed to descend
from their high abode, to watch over the chattels of the absent
pilgrims. Signs and portents were seen in the air to increase the
fervour of the multitude. An aurora-borealis of unusual brilliancy
appeared, and thousands of the crusaders came out to gaze upon it,
prostrating themselves upon the earth in adoration. It was thought to
be a sure prognostic of the interposition of the Most High; and a
representation of his armies fighting with and overthrowing the
infidels. Reports of wonders were everywhere rife. A monk had seen two
gigantic warriors on horseback, the one representing a Christian and
the other a Turk, fighting in the sky with flaming swords, the
Christian of course overcoming the Paynim. Myriads of stars were said
to have fallen from heaven, each representing the fall of a Pagan foe.
It was believed at the same time that the Emperor Charlemagne would
rise from the grave, and lead on to victory the embattled armies of
the Lord. A singular feature of the popular madness was the enthusiasm
of the women. Everywhere they encouraged their lovers and husbands to
forsake all things for the holy war. Many of them burned the sign of
the cross upon their breasts and arms, and coloured the wound with a
red dye, as a lasting memorial of their zeal. Others, still more
zealous, impressed the mark by the same means upon the tender limbs of
young children and infants at the breast.

Guibert de Nogent tells of a monk who made a large incision upon
his forehead in the form of a cross, which he coloured with some
powerful ingredient, telling the people that an angel had done it when
he was asleep. This monk appears to have been more of a rogue than a
fool, for he contrived to fare more sumptuously than any of his
brother pilgrims, upon the strength of his sanctity. The crusaders
everywhere gave him presents of food and money, and he became quite
fat ere he arrived at Jerusalem, notwithstanding the fatigues of the
way. If he had acknowledged in the first place that he had made the
wound himself, he would not have been thought more holy than his
fellows; but the story of the angel was a clincher.

All those who had property of any description rushed to the mart
to change it into hard cash. Lands and houses could be had for a
quarter of their value, while arms and accoutrements of war rose in
the same proportion. Corn, which had been excessively dear in
anticipation of a year of scarcity, suddenly became plentiful; and
such was the diminution in the value of provisions, that seven sheep
were sold for five deniers.[Guibert de Nogent] The nobles mortgaged
their estates for mere trifles to Jews and unbelievers, or conferred
charters of immunity upon the towns and communes within their fiefs,
for sums which, a few years previously, they would have rejected with
disdain. The farmer endeavoured to sell his plough, and the artisan
his tools, to purchase a sword for the deliverance of Jerusalem. Women
disposed of their trinkets for the same purpose. During the spring and
summer of this year (1096) the roads teemed with crusaders, all
hastening to the towns and villages appointed as the rendezvous of the
district. Some were on horseback, some in carts, and some came down
the rivers in boats and rafts, bringing their wives and children, all
eager to go to Jerusalem. Very few knew where Jerusalem was. Some
thought it fifty thousand miles away, while others imagined that it
was but a month's journey, while at sight of every town or castle, the
children exclaimed, "Is that Jerusalem ? Is that the city ?"[Guibert
de Nogent] Parties of knights and nobles might be seen travelling
eastward, and amusing themselves as they went with the knightly
diversion of hawking to lighten the fatigues of the way.

Guibert de Nogent, who did not write from hearsay, but from actual
observation, says, the enthusiasm was so contagious, that when any one
heard the orders of the Pontiff, he went instantly to solicit his
neighbours and friends to join with him in "the way of God," for so
they called the proposed expedition. The Counts Palatine were full of
the desire to undertake the journey, and all the inferior knights were
animated with the same zeal. Even the poor caught the flame so
ardently, that no one paused to think of the inadequacy of his means,
or to consider whether he ought to yield up his house and his vine and
his fields. Each one set about selling his property, at as low a price
as if he had been held in some horrible captivity, and sought to pay
his ransom without loss of time. Those who had not determined upon the
journey, joked and laughed at those who were thus disposing of their
goods at such ruinous prices, prophesying that the expedition would be
miserable and their return worse. But they held this language only for
a day. The next, they were suddenly seized with the same frenzy as the
rest. Those who had been loudest in their jeers gave up all their
property for a few crowns, and set out with those they had so laughed
at a few hours before. In most cases the laugh was turned against
them, for when it became known that a man was hesitating, his more
zealous neighbouts sent him a present of a knitting needle or a
distaff, to show their contempt of him. There was no resisting this,
so that the fear of ridicule contributed its fair contingent to the
armies of the Lord.

Another effect of the crusade was, the religious obedience with
which it inspired the people and the nobility for that singular
institution "The Truce of God." At the commencement of the eleventh
century, the clergy of France, sympathizing for the woes of the
people, but unable to diminish them, by repressing the rapacity and
insolence of the feudal chiefs, endeavoured to promote universal
good-will by the promulgation of the famous "Peace of God." All who
conformed to it bound themselves by oath not to take revenge for any
injury, not to enjoy the fruits of property usurped from others, nor
to use deadly weapons; in reward of which they would receive remission
of all their sins. However benevolent the intention of this "Peace,"
it led to nothing but perjury, and violence reigned as uncontrolled as
before. In the year 1041 another attempt was made to soften the angry
passions of the semi-barbarous chiefs, and the "Truce of God" was
solemnly proclaimed. The truce lasted from the Wednesday evening to
the Monday morning of every week, in which interval it was strictly
forbidden to recur to violence on any pretext, or to seek revenge for
any injury. It was impossible to civilize men by these means; few even
promised to become peaceable for so unconscionable a period as five
days a week; or, if they did, they made ample amends on the two days
left open to them. The truce was afterwards shortened from the
Saturday evening to the Monday morning; but little or no diminution of
violence and bloodshed was the consequence. At the council of
Clermont, Urban II. again solemnly pro- claimed the truce. So strong
was the religious feeling, that every one hastened to obey. All minor
passions disappeared before the grand passion of crusading; the noble
ceased to oppress, the robber to plunder, and the people to complain;
but one idea was in all hearts, and there seemed to be no room for any

The encampments of these heterogeneous multitudes offered a
singular aspect. Those vassals who ranged themselves under the banners
of their lord, erected tents around his castle; while those who
undertook the war on their own account, constructed booths and huts in
the neighbourhood of the towns or villages, preparatory to their
joining some popular leader of the expedition. The meadows of France
were covered with tents. As the belligerents were to have remission of
all their sins on their arrival in Palestine, hundreds of them gave
themselves up to the most unbounded licentiousness: the courtezan,
with the red cross upon her shoulders, plied her shameless trade with
sensual pilgrims, without scruple on either side: the lover of good
cheer gave loose rein to his appetite, and drunkenness and debauchery
flourished. Their zeal in the service of the Lord was to wipe out all
faults and follies, and they had the same surety of salvation as the
rigid anchorite. This reasoning had charms for the ignorant, and the
sounds of lewd revelry and the voice of prayer rose at the same
instant from the camp.

It is now time to speak of the leaders of the expedition. Great
multitudes ranged themselves under the command of Peter the Hermit,
whom, as the originator, they considered the most appropriate leader
of the war. Others joined the banner of a bold adventurer, whom
history has dignified with no other name than that of Gautier sans
Avoir, or Walter the Pennyless, but who is represented as having been
of noble family, and well skilled in the art of war. A third multitude
from Germany flocked around the standard of a monk, named Gottschalk,
of whom nothing is known, except that he was a fanatic of the deepest
dye. All these bands, which together are said to have amounted to
three hundred thousand men, women, and children, were composed of the
vilest rascality of Europe. Without discipline, principle, or true
courage, they rushed through the nations like a pestilence, spreading
terror and death wherever they went. The first multitude that set
forth was led by Walter the Pennyless early in the spring of 1096,
within a very few months after the Council of Clermont. Each man of
that irregular host aspired to be his own master: like their nominal
leader, each was poor to penury, and trusted for subsistence on his
journey to the chances of the road. Rolling through Germany like a
tide, they entered Hungary, where, at first, they were received with
some degree of kindness by the people. The latter had not yet caught
sufficient of the fire of enthusiasm to join the crusade themselves,
but were willing enough to forward the cause by aiding those embarked
in it. Unfortunately, this good understanding did not last long. The
swarm were not contented with food for their necessities, but craved
for luxuries also: they attacked and plundered the dwellings of the
country people, and thought nothing of murder where resistance was
offered. On their arrival before Semlin, the outraged Hungarians
collected in large numbers, and, attacking the rear of the crusading
host, slew a great many of the stragglers, and, taking away their arms
and crosses, affixed them as trophies to the walls of the city. Walter
appears to have been in no mood or condition to make reprisals; for
his army, destructive as a plague of locusts when plunder urged them
on, were useless against any regular attack from a determined enemy.
Their rear continued to be thus harassed by the wrathful Hungarians
until they were fairly out of their territory. On his entrance into
Bulgaria, Walter met with no better fate; the cities and towns refused
to let him pass; the villages denied him provisions; and the citizens
and country people uniting, slaughtered his followers by hundreds. The
progress of the army was more like a retreat than an advance; but as
it was impossible to stand still, Walter continued his course till he
arrived at Constantinople, with a force which famine and the sword had
diminished to one-third of its original number.

The greater multitude, led by the enthusiastic Hermit, followed
close upon his heels, with a bulky train of baggage, and women and
children, sufficient to form a host of themselves. If it were possible
to find a rabble more vile than the army of Walter the Pennyless it
was that led by Peter the Hermit. Being better provided with means,
they were not reduced to the necessity of pillage in their progress
through Hungary; and had they taken any other route than that which
led through Semlin, might perhaps have traversed the country without
molestation. On their arrival before that city, their fury was raised
at seeing the arms and red crosses of their predecessors hanging as
trophies over the gates. Their pent-up ferocity exploded at the sight.
The city was tumultuously attacked, and the besiegers entering, not by
dint of bravery, but of superior numbers, it was given up to all the
horrors which follow when Victory, Brutality, and Licentiousness are
linked together. Every evil passion was allowed to revel with
impunity, and revenge, lust, and avarice, -- each had its hundred
victims in unhappy Semlin. Any maniac can kindle a conflagration, but
it requires many wise men to put it out. Peter the Hermit had blown
the popular fury into a flame, but to cool it again was beyond his
power. His followers rioted unrestrained, until the fear of
retaliation warned them to desist. When the King of Hungary was
informed of the disasters of Semlin, he marched with a sufficient
force to chastise the Hermit, who at the news broke up his camp and
retreated towards the Morava, a broad and rapid stream that joins the
Danube a few miles to the eastward of Belgrade. Here a party of
indignant Bulgarians awaited him, and so harassed him as to make the
passage of the river a task both of difficulty and danger. Great
numbers of his infatuated followers perished in the waters, and many
fell under the swords of the Bulgarians. The ancient chronicles do not
mention the amount of the Hermit's loss at this passage, but represent
it in general terms as very great.

At Nissa the Duke of Bulgaria fortified himself, in fear of an
assault; but Peter, having learned a little wisdom from experience,
thought it best to avoid hostilities. He passed three nights in
quietness under the walls, and the duke, not wishing to exasperate
unnecessarily so fierce and rapacious a host, allowed the townspeople
to supply them with provisions. Peter took his departure peaceably on
the following morning, but some German vagabonds falling behind the
main body of the army, set fire to the mills and house of a Bulgarian,
with whom, it appears, they had had some dispute on the previous
evening. The citizens of Nissa, who had throughout mistrusted the
crusaders, and were prepared for the worst, sallied out immediately,
and took signal vengeance. The spoilers were cut to pieces, and the
townspeople pursuing the Hermit, captured all the women and children
who had lagged in the rear, and a great quantity of baggage. Peter
hereupon turned round and marched back to Nissa, to demand explanation
of the Duke of Bulgaria. The latter fairly stated the provocation
given, and the Hermit could urge nothing in palliation of so gross an
outrage. A negotiation was entered into which promised to be
successful, and the Bulgarians were about to deliver up the women and
children when a party of undisciplined crusaders, acting solely upon
their own suggestion, endeavoured to scale the walls and seize upon
the town. Peter in vain exerted his authority; the confusion became
general, and after a short but desperate battle, the crusaders threw
down their arms and fled in all directions. Their vast host was
completely routed, the slaughter being so great among them as to be
counted, not by hundreds, but by thousands.

It is said that the Hermit fled from this fatal field to a forest
a few miles from Nissa, abandoned by every human creature. It would be
curious to know whether, after so dire a reverse,

. . . . . . . . . . "His enpierced breast
Sharp sorrow did in thousand pieces rive,"

or whether his fiery zeal still rose superior to calamity, and
pictured the eventual triumph of his cause. He, so lately the leader
of a hundred thousand men, was now a solitary skulker in the forests,
liable at every instant to be discovered by some pursuing Bulgarian,
and cut off in mid career. Chance at last brought him within sight of
an eminence where two or three of his bravest knights had collected
five hundred of the stragglers. These gladly received the Hermit, and
a consultation having taken place, it was resolved to gather together
the scattered remnants of the army. Fires were lighted on the hill,
and scouts sent out in all directions for the fugitives. Horns were
sounded at intervals to make known that friends were near, and before
nightfall the Hermit saw himself at the head of seven thousand men.
During the succeeding day he was joined by twenty thousand more, and
with this miserable remnant of his force he pursued his route towards
Constantinople. The bones of the rest mouldered in the forests of

On his arrival at Constantinople, where he found Walter the
Pennyless awaiting him, he was hospitably received by the Emperor
Alexius. It might have been expected that the sad reverses they had
undergone would have taught his followers common prudence; but,
unhappily for them, their turbulence and love of plunder were not to
be restrained. Although they were surrounded by friends, by whom all
their wants were liberally supplied, they could not refrain from
rapine. In vain the Hermit exhorted them to tranquillity; he possessed
no more power over them, in subduing their passions, than the
obscurest soldier of the host, They set fire to several public
buildings in Constantinople, out of pure mischief, and stripped the
lead from the roofs of the churches, which, they afterwards sold for
old metal in the purlieus of the city. From this time may be dated the
aversion which the Emperor Alexius entertained for the crusaders, and
which was afterwards manifested in all his actions, even when he had
to deal with the chivalrous and more honourable armies which arrived
after the Hermit. He seems to have imagined that the Turks themselves
were enemies less formidable to his power than these outpourings of
the refuse of Europe: he soon found a pretext to hurry them into Asia
Minor. Peter crossed the Bosphorus with Walter, hut the excesses of
his followers were such, that, despairing of accomplishing any good
end by remaining at their head, he left them to themselves, and
returned to Constantinople, on the pretext of making arrangements with
the government of Alexius for a proper supply of provisions. The
crusaders, forgetting that they were in the enemy's country, and that
union, above all things, was desirable, gave themselves up to
dissensions. Violent disputes arose between the Lombards and Normans,
commanded by Walter the Pennyless, and the Franks and Germans, led out
by Peter. The latter separated themselves from the former, and,
choosing for their leader one Reinaldo, or Reinhold, marched forward,
and took possession of the fortress of Exorogorgon. The Sultan
Solimaun was on the alert, with a superior force. A party of
crusaders, which had been detached from the fort, and stationed at a
little distance as an ambuscade, were surprised and cut to pieces, and
Exorogorgon invested on all sides. The siege was protracted for eight
days, during which the Christians suffered the most acute agony from
the want of water. It is hard to say how long the hope of succour or
the energy of despair would have enabled them to hold out: their
treacherous leader cut the matter short by renouncing the Christian
faith, and delivering up the fort into the hands of the Sultan. He was
followed by two or three of his officers; all the rest, refusing to
become Mahometans, were ruthlessly put to the sword. Thus perished the
last wretched remnant of the vast multitude which had traversed Europe
with Peter the Hermit.

Walter the Pennyless and his multitude met as miserable a fate. On
the news of the disasters of Exorogorgon, they demanded to be led
instantly against the Turks. Walter, who only wanted good soldiers to
have made a good general, was cooler of head, and saw all the dangers
of such a step. His force was wholly insufficient to make any decisive
movement in a country where the enemy was so much superior, and where,
in case of defeat, he had no secure position to fall back upon; and he
therefore expressed his opinion against advancing until the arrival of
reinforcements. This prudent counsel found no favour: the army loudly
expressed their dissatisfaction at their chief, and prepared to march
forward without him. Upon this, the brave Walter put himself at their
head, and rushed to destruction. Proceeding towards Nice, the modern
Isnik, he was intercepted by the army of the Sultan: a fierce battle
ensued in which the Turks made fearful havoc; out of twenty-five
thousand Christians, twenty-two thousand were slain, and among them
Gautier himself, who fell pierced by seven mortal wounds. The
remaining three thousand retreated upon Civitot, where they intrenched

Disgusted as was Peter the Hermit at the excesses of the
multitude, who, at his call, had forsaken Europe, his heart was moved
with grief and pity at their misfortunes. All his former zeal revived:
casting himself at the feet of the Emperor Alexius, he implored him,
with tears in his eyes, to send relief to the few survivors at
Civitot. The Emperor consented, and a force was sent, which arrived
just in time to save them from destruction. The Turks had beleaguered
the place, and the crusaders were reduced to the last extremity.
Negotiations were entered into, and the last three thousand were
conducted in safety to Constantinople. Alexius had suffered too much
by their former excesses to be very desirous of retaining them in his
capital: he therefore caused them all to be disarmed, and, furnishing
each with a sum of money, he sent them back to their own country.
While these events were taking place, fresh hordes were issuing from
the woods and wilds of Germany, all bent for the Holy Land. They were
commanded by a fanatical priest, named Gottschalk, who, like Gautier
and Peter the Hermit, took his way through Hungary. History is
extremely meagre in her details of the conduct and fate of this host,
which amounted to at least one hundred thousand men. Robbery and
murder seem to have journeyed with them, and the poor Hungarians were
rendered almost desperate by their numbers and rapacity. Karloman, the
king of the country, made a bold effort to get rid of them; for the
resentment of his people had arrived at such a height, that nothing
short of the total extermination of the crusaders would satisfy them.
Gottschalk had to pay the penalty, not only for the ravages of his own
bands, but for those of the swarms that had come before him. He and
his army were induced, by some means or other, to lay down their arms:
the savage Hungarians, seeing them thus defenceless, set upon them,
and slaughtered them in great numbers. How many escaped their arrows,
we are not informed; but not one of them reached Palestine.

Other swarms, under nameless leaders, issued from Germany and
France, more brutal and more frantic than any that had preceded them.
Their fanaticism surpassed by far the wildest freaks of the followers
of the Hermit. In bands, varying in numbers from one to five thousand,
they traversed the country in all directions, bent upon plunder and
massacre. They wore the symbol of the crusade upon their shoulders,
but inveighed against the folly of proceeding to the Holy Land to
destroy the Turks, while they left behind them so many Jews, the still
more inveterate enemies of Christ. They swore fierce vengeance against
this unhappy race, and murdered all the Hebrews they could lay their
hands on, first subjecting them to the most horrible mutilation.
According to the testimony of Albert Aquensis, they lived among each
other in the most shameless profligacy, and their vice was only
exceeded by their superstition. Whenever they were in search of Jews,
they were preceded by a goose and goat, which they believed to be
holy, and animated with divine power to discover the retreats of the
unbelievers. In Germany alone they slaughtered more than a thousand
Jews, notwithstanding all the efforts of the clergy to save them. So
dreadful was the cruelty of their tormentors, that great numbers of
Jews committed self-destruction to avoid falling into their hands.

Again it fell to the lot of the Hungarians to deliver Europe from
these pests. When there were no more Jews to murder, the bands
collected in one body, and took the old route to the Holy Land, a
route stained with the blood of three hundred thousand who had gone
before, and destined also to receive theirs. The number of these
swarms has never been stated; but so many of them perished in Hungary,
that contemporary writers, despairing of giving any adequate idea of
their multitudes, state that the fields were actually heaped with
their corpses, and that for miles in its course the waters of the
Danube were dyed with their blood. It was at Mersburg, on the Danube,
that the greatest slaughter took place, -- a slaughter so great as to
amount almost to extermination. The Hungarians for a while disputed
the passage of the river, but the crusaders forced their way across,
and attacking the city with the blind courage of madness, succeeded in
making a breach in the walls. At this moment of victory an
unaccountable fear came over them. Throwing down their arms they fled
panic-stricken, no one knew why, and no one knew whither. The
Hungarians followed, sword in hand, and cut them down without remorse,
and in such numbers, that the stream of the Danube is said to have
been choked up by their unburied bodies.

This was the worst paroxysm of the madness of Europe; and this
passed, her chivalry stepped upon the scene. Men of cool heads, mature
plans, and invincible courage stood forward to lead and direct the
grand movement of Europe upon Asia. It is upon these men that romance
has lavished her most admiring epithets, leaving to the condemnation
of history the vileness and brutality of those who went before. Of
these leaders the most distinguished were Godfrey of Bouillon Duke of
Lorraine, and Raymond Count of Toulouse. Four other chiefs of the
royal blood of Europe also assumed the Cross, and led each his army to
the Holy Land: Hugh, Count of Vermandois, brother of the King of
France; Robert, Duke of Normandy, the elder brother of William Rufus;
Robert Count of Flanders, and Boemund Prince of Tarentum, eldest son
of the celebrated Robert Guiscard. These men were all tinged with the
fanaticism of the age, but none of them acted entirely from religious
motives. They were neither utterly reckless like Gautier sans Avoir,
crazy like Peter the Hermit, nor brutal like Gottschalk the Monk, but
possessed each of these qualities in a milder form; their valour being
tempered by caution, their religious zeal by worldly views, and their
ferocity by the spirit of chivalry. They saw whither led the torrent
of the public will; and it being neither their wish nor their interest
to stem it, they allowed themselves to be carried with it, in the hope
that it would lead them at last to a haven of aggrandizement. Around
them congregated many minor chiefs, the flower of the nobility of
France and Italy, with some few from Germany, England, and Spain. It
was wisely conjectured that armies so numerous would find a difficulty
in procuring provisions if they all journeyed by the same road. They,
therefore, resolved to separate, Godfrey de Bouillon proceeding
through Hungary and Bulgaria, the Count of Toulouse through Lombardy
and Dalmatia, and the other leaders through Apulia to Constantinople,
where the several divisions were to reunite. The forces under these
leaders have been variously estimated. The Princess Anna Comnena talks
of them as having been as numerous as the sands on the sea-shore, or
the stars in the firmament. Fulcher of Chartres is more satisfactory,
and exaggerates less magnificently, when he states, that all the
divisions, when they had sat down before Nice in Bithynia, amounted to
one hundred thousand horsemen, and six hundred thousand men on foot,
exclusive of the priests, women and children. Gibbon is of opinion
that this amount is exaggerated; but thinks the actual numbers did not
fall very far short of the calculation. The Princess Anna afterwards
gives the number of those under Godfrey of Bouillon as eighty thousand
foot and horse; and supposing that each of the other chiefs led an
army as numerous, the total would be near half a million. This must be
over rather than under the mark, as the army of Godfrey of Bouillon
was confessedly the largest when it set out, and suffered less by the
way than any other.

The Count of Vermandois was the first who set foot on the Grecian
territory. On his arrival at Durazzo he was received with every mark
of respect and courtesy by the agents of the Emperor, and his
followers were abundantly supplied with provisions. Suddenly however,
and without cause assigned, the Count was arrested by order of the
Emperor Alexius, and conveyed a close prisoner to Constantinople.
Various motives have been assigned by different authors as having
induced the Emperor to this treacherous and imprudent proceeding. By
every writer he has been condemned for so flagrant a breach of
hospitality and justice. The most probable reason for his conduct
appears to be that suggested by Guibert of Nogent, who states that
Alexius, fearful of the designs of the crusaders upon his throne,
resorted to this extremity in order afterwards to force the Count to
take the oath of allegiance to him, as the price of his liberation.
The example of a prince so eminent as the brother of the King of
France, would, he thought, be readily followed by the other chiefs of
the Crusade. In the result he was wofully disappointed, as every man
deserves to be who commits positive evil that doubtful good may ensue.
But this line of policy accorded well enough with the narrowmindedness
of the Emperor, who, in the enervating atmosphere of his highly
civilized and luxurious court, dreaded the influx of the hardy and
ambitious warriors of the West, and strove to nibble away by unworthy
means, the power which he had not energy enough to confront. If danger
to himself had existed from the residence of the chiefs in his
dominions, he might easily have averted it, by the simple means of
placing himself at the head of the European movement, and directing
its energies to their avowed object, the conquest of the Holy Land.
But the Emperor, instead of being, as he might have been, the lord and
leader of the Crusades, which he had himself aided in no
inconsiderable degree to suscitate by his embassies to the Pope,
became the slave of men who hated and despised him. No doubt the
barbarous excesses of the followers of Gautier and Peter the Hermit
made him look upon the whole body of them with disgust, but it was the
disgust of a little mind, which is glad of any excuse to palliate or
justify its own irresolution and love of ease.

Godfrey of Bouillon traversed Hungary in the most quiet and
orderly manner. On his arrival at Mersburg he found the country
strewed with the mangled corpses of the Jew-killers, and demanded of
the King of Hungary for what reason his people had set upon them. The
latter detailed the atrocities they had committed, and made it so
evident to Godfrey that the Hungarians had only acted in self-defence,
that the high-minded leader declared himself satisfied and passed on,
without giving or receiving molestation. On his arrival at
Philippopoli, he was informed for the first time of the imprisonment
of the Count of Vermandois. He immediately sent messengers to the
Emperor, demanding the Count's release, and threatening, in case of
refusal, to lay waste the country with fire and sword. After waiting a
day at Philippopoli he marched on to Adrianople, where he was met by
his messengers returning with the Emperor's refusal. Godfrey, the
bravest and most determined of the leaders of the Crusade, was not a
man to swerve from his word, and the country was given up to pillage.
Alexius here committed another blunder. No sooner did he learn from
dire experience that the crusader was not an utterer of idle threats,
than he consented to the release of the prisoner. As he had been
unjust in the first instance, he became cowardly in the second, and
taught his enemies (for so the crusaders were forced to consider
themselves) a lesson which they took care to remember to his cost,
that they could hope nothing from his sense of justice, but every
thing from his fears. Godfrey remained encamped for several weeks in
the neighbourhood of Constantinople, to the great annoyance of
Alexius, who sought by every means to extort from him the homage he
had extorted from Vermandois. Sometimes he acted as if at open and
declared war with the crusaders, and sent his troops against them.
Sometimes he refused to supply them with food, and ordered the markets
to be shut against them, while at other times he was all for peace and
goodwill, and sent costly presents to Godfrey. The honest,
straightforward crusader was at last so wearied by his false kindness,
and so pestered by his attacks, that, allowing his indignation to get
the better of his judgment, he gave up the country around
Constantinople to be plundered by his soldiers. For six days the
flames of the farm-houses around struck terror into the heart of
Alexius, but as Godfrey anticipated they convinced him of his error.
Fearing that Constantinople itself would be the next object of attack,
he sent messengers to demand an interview with Godfrey, offering at
the same time to leave his son as a hostage for his good faith.
Godfrey agreed to meet him, and, whether to put an end to these
useless dissensions, or for some other unexplained reason, he rendered
homage to Alexius as his liege lord. He was thereupon loaded with
honours, and, according to a singular custom of that age, underwent
the ceremony of the "adoption of honour," as son to the Emperor.
Godfrey, and his brother Baudouin de Bouillon, conducted themselves
with proper courtesy on this occasion, but were not able to restrain
the insolence of their followers, who did not conceive themselves
bound to keep any terms with a man so insincere as he had shown
himself. One barbarous chieftain, Count Robert of Paris, carried his
insolence so far as to seat himself upon the throne, an insult which
Alexius merely resented with a sneer, but which did not induce him to
look with less mistrust upon the hordes that were still advancing.

It is impossible, notwithstanding his treachery, to avoid feeling
some compassion for the Emperor, whose life at this time was rendered
one long scene of misery by the presumption of the crusaders, and his
not altogether groundless fears of the evil they might inflict upon
him, should any untoward circumstance force the current of their
ambition to the conquest of his empire. His daughter, Anna Comnena,
feelingly deplores his state of life at this time, and a learned
German, [M. Wilken's Geschichte der Kreuzzuge.] in a recent work,
describes it, on the authority of the Princess, in the following

"To avoid all occasion of offence to the Crusaders, Alexius
complied with all their whims, and their (on many occasions)
unreasonable demands, even at the expense of great bodily exertion, at
a time when he was suffering severely under the gout, which eventually
brought him to his grave. No crusader who desired an interview with
him was refused access: he listened with the utmost patience to the
long-winded harangues which their loquacity or zeal continually
wearied him with: he endured, without expressing any impatience, the
unbecoming and haughty language which they permitted themselves to
employ towards him, and severely reprimanded his officers when they
undertook to defend the dignity of the Imperial station from these
rude assaults; for he trembled with apprehension at the slightest
disputes, lest they might become the occasion of greater evil. Though
the Counts often appeared before him with trains altogether unsuitable
to their dignity and to his -- sometimes with an entire troop, which
completely filled the Royal apartment -- the Emperor held his peace.
He listened to them at all hours; he often seated himself on his
throne at day-break to attend to their wishes and requests, and the
evening twilight saw him still in the same place. Very frequently he
could not snatch time to refresh himself with meat and drink. During
many nights he could not obtain any repose, and was obliged to indulge
in an unrefreshing sleep upon his throne, with his head resting on his
hands. Even this slumber was continually disturbed by the appearance
and harangues of some newly-arrived rude knights. When all the
courtiers, wearied out by the efforts of the day and by
night-watching, could no longer keep themselves on their feet, and
sank down exhausted -- some upon benches and others on the floor --
Alexius still rallied his strength to listen with seeming attention to
the wearisome chatter of the Latins, that they might have no occasion
or pretext for discontent. In such a state of fear and anxiety, how
could Alexius comport himself with dignity and like an Emperor ?"

Alexius, however, had himself to blame, in a great measure, for
the indignities he suffered: owing to his insincerity, the crusaders
mistrusted him so much, that it became at last a common saying, that
the Turks and Saracens were not such inveterate foes to the Western or
Latin Christians as the Emperor Alexius and the Greeks.[Wilken] It
would be needless in this sketch, which does not profess to be so much
a history of the Crusades as of the madness of Europe, from which they
sprang, to detail the various acts of bribery and intimidation,
cajolery and hostility, by which Alexius contrived to make each of the
leaders in succession, as they arrived, take the oath of allegiance to
him as their Suzerain. One way or another he exacted from each the
barren homage on which he had set his heart, and they were then
allowed to proceed into Asia Minor. One only, Raymond de St. Gilles,
Count of Toulouse, obstinately refused the homage.

Their residence in Constantinople was productive of no good to the
armies of the Cross. Bickerings and contentions on the one hand, and
the influence of a depraved and luxurious court on the other,
destroyed the elasticity of their spirits, and cooled the first ardour
of their enthusiasm. At one time the army of the Count of Toulouse was
on the point of disbanding itself; and, had not their leader
energetically removed them across the Bosphorus, this would have been
the result. Once in Asia, their spirits in some degree revived, and
the presence of danger and difficulty nerved them to the work they had
undertaken. The first operation of the war was the siege of Nice, to
gain possession of which all their efforts were directed.

Godfrey of Bouillon and the Count of Vermandois were joined under
its walls by each host in succession, as it left Constantinople. Among
the celebrated crusaders who fought at this siege, we find, besides
the leaders already mentioned, the brave and generous Tancred, whose
name and fame have been immortalized in the Gerusalemme Liberata, the
valorous Bishop of Puy, Baldwin, afterwards King of Jerusalem, and
Peter the Hermit, now an almost solitary soldier, shorn of all the
power and influence he had formerly possessed. Kilij Aslaun, the
Sultan of Roum, and chief of the Seljukian Turks, whose deeds,
surrounded by the false halo of romance, are familiar to the readers
of Tasso, under the name of Soliman, marched to defend this city, but
was defeated after several obstinate engagements, in which the
Christians showed a degree of heroism that quite astonished him. The
Turkish chief had expected to find a wild undisciplined multitude,
like that under Peter the Hermit, without leaders capable of enforcing
obedience; instead of which he found the most experienced leaders of
the age at the head of armies that had just fanaticism enough to be
ferocious, but not enough to render them ungovernable. In these
engagements, many hundreds fell on both sides; and on both sides the
most revolting barbarity was practised: the crusaders cut off the
heads of the fallen Mussulmans, and sent them in paniers to
Constantinople, as trophies of their victory. After the temporary
defeat of Kilij Aslaun, the siege of Nice was carried on with
redoubled vigour. The Turks defended themselves with the greatest
obstinacy, and discharged showers of poisoned arrows upon the
crusaders. When any unfortunate wretch was killed under the walls,
they let down iron hooks from above, and drew the body up, which,
after stripping and mutilating, they threw back again at the
besiegers. The latter were well supplied with provisions, and for
six-and-thirty days the siege continued without any relaxation of the
efforts on either side. Many tales are told of the almost superhuman
heroism of the Christian leaders -- how one man put a thousand to
flight; and how the arrows of the faithful never missed their mark.
One anecdote of Godfrey of Bouillon, related by Albert of Aix, is
worth recording, not only as showing the high opinion entertained of
his valour, but as showing the contagious credulity of the armies -- a
credulity which as often led them to the very verge of defeat, as it
incited them to victory. One Turk, of gigantic stature, took his
station day by day on the battlements of Nice, and, bearing an
enormous bow, committed great havoc among the Christian host. Not a
shaft he sped, but bore death upon its point; and, although the
Crusaders aimed repeatedly at his breast, and he stood in the most
exposed position, their arrows fell harmless at his feet. He seemed to
be invulnerable to attack; and a report was soon spread abroad, that
he was no other than the Arch Fiend himself, and that mortal hand
could not prevail against him. Godfrey of Bouillon, who had no faith
in the supernatural character of the Mussulman, determined, if
possible, to put an end to the dismay which was rapidly paralyzing the
exertions of his best soldiers. Taking a huge cross-bow, he stood
forward in front of the army, to try the steadiness of his hand
against the much-dreaded archer: the shaft was aimed directly at his
heart, and took fatal effect. The Moslem fell amid the groans of the
besieged, and the shouts of Deus adjuva! Deus adjuva! the war-cry of
the besiegers.

At last the crusaders imagined that they had overcome all
obstacles, and were preparing to take possession of the city, when to
their great astonishment they saw the flag of the Emperor Alexius
flying from the battlements. An emissary of the Emperor, named
Faticius or Tatin, had contrived to gain admission with a body of
Greek troops at a point which the crusaders had left unprotected, and
had persuaded the Turks to surrender to him rather than to the
crusading forces. The greatest indignation prevailed in the army when
this stratagem was discovered, and the soldiers were, with the utmost
difficulty, prevented from renewing the attack and besieging the Greek

The army, however, continued its march, and by some means or other
was broken into two divisions; some historians say accidentally,
[Fulcher of Chartres. -- Guibert de Nogent. -- Vital.] while others
affirm by mutual consent, and for the convenience of obtaining
provisions on the way. [William of Tyre. -- Mills. -- Wilken, &c.] The
one division was composed of the forces under Bohemund, Tancred, and
the Duke of Normandy; while the other, which took a route at some
distance on the right, was commanded by Godfrey of Bouillon and the
other chiefs. The Sultan of Roum, who, after his losses at Nice, had
been silently making great efforts to crush the crusaders at one blow,
collected in a very short time all the multitudinous tribes that owed
him allegiance, and with an army which, according to a moderate
calculation, amounted to two hundred thousand men, chiefly cavalry, he
fell upon the first division of the Christian host in the valley of
Dorylaeum. It was early in the morning of the 1st of July 1097, when
the crusaders saw the first companies of the Turkish horsemen pouring
down upon them from the hills. Bohemund had hardly time to set himself
in order, and transport his sick and helpless to the rear, when the
overwhelming force of the Orientals was upon him. The Christian army,
composed principally of men on foot, gave way on all sides, and the
hoofs of the Turkish steeds, and the poisoned arrows of their bowmen,
mowed them down by hundreds. After having lost the flower of their
chivalry, the Christians retreated upon their baggage, when a dreadful
slaughter took place. Neither women nor children, nor the sick, were
spared. Just as they were reduced to the last extremity, Godfrey of
Bouillon and the Count of Toulouse made their appearance on the field,
and turned the tide of battle. After an obstinate engagement the Turks
fled, and their rich camp fell into the bands of the enemy. The loss
of the crusaders amounted to about four thousand men, with several
chiefs of renown, among whom were Count Robert of Paris and William
the brother of Tancred. The loss of the Turks, which did not exceed
this number, taught them to pursue a different mode of warfare. The
Sultan was far from being defeated. With his still gigantic army, he
laid waste all the country on either side of the crusaders. The
latter, who were unaware of the tactics of the enemy, found plenty of
provisions in the Turkish camp; but so far from economizing these
resources, they gave themselves up for several days to the most
unbounded extravagance. They soon paid dearly for their heedlessness.
In the ravaged country of Phrygia, through which they advanced towards
Antiochetta, they suffered dreadfully for want of food for themselves
and pasture for their cattle. Above them was a scorching sun, almost
sufficient of itself to dry up the freshness of the land, a task which
the firebrands of the Sultan had but too surely effected, and water
was not to be had after the first day of their march. The pilgrims
died at the rate of five hundred a-day. The horses of the knights
perished on the road, and the baggage which they had aided to
transport, was either placed upon dogs, sheep, and swine, or abandoned
altogether. In some of the calamities that afterwards befell them, the
Christians gave themselves up to the most reckless profligacy; but
upon this occasion, the dissensions which prosperity had engendered,
were all forgotten. Religion, often disregarded, arose in the stern
presence of misfortune, and cheered them as they died by the promises
of eternal felicity.

At length they reached Antiochetta, where they found water in
abundance, and pastures for their expiring cattle. Plenty once more
surrounded them, and here they pitched their tents. Untaught by the
bitter experience of famine, they again gave themselves up to luxury
and waste.

On the 18th of October they sat down before the strong city of
Antioch, the siege of which, and the events to which it gave rise, are
among the most extraordinary incidents of the Crusade. The city, which
is situated on an eminence, and washed by the river Orontes, is
naturally a very strong position, and the Turkish garrison were well
supplied with provisions to endure a long siege. In this respect the
Christians were also fortunate, but, unluckily for themselves, unwise.
Their force amounted to three hundred thousand fighting men; and we
are informed by Raymond d'Argilles, that they had so much provision,
that they threw away the greater part of every animal they killed,
being so dainty, that they would only eat particular parts of the
beast. So insane was their extravagance, that in less than ten days
famine began to stare them in the face. After making a fruitless
attempt to gain possession of the city by a coup de main, they,
starving themselves, sat down to starve out the enemy. But with want
came a cooling of enthusiasm. The chiefs began to grow weary of the
expedition. Baldwin had previously detached himself from the main body
of the army, and, proceeding to Edessa, had intrigued himself into the
supreme power in that little principality. The other leaders were
animated with less zeal than heretofore. Stephen of Chartres and Hugh
of Vermandois began to waver, unable to endure the privations which
their own folly and profusion had brought upon them. Even Peter the
Hermit became sick at heart ere all was over. When the famine had
become so urgent that they were reduced to eat human flesh in the
extremity of their hunger, Bohemund and Robert of Flanders set forth
on an expedition to procure a supply. They were in a slight degree
successful; but the relief they brought was not economized, and in two
days they were as destitute as before. Faticius, the Greek commander
and representative of Alexius, deserted with his division under
pretence of seeking for food, and his example was followed by various
bodies of crusaders.

Misery was rife among those who remained, and they strove to
alleviate it by a diligent attention to signs and omens. These, with
extraordinary visions seen by the enthusiastic, alternately cheered
and depressed them according as they foretold the triumph or pictured
the reverses of the Cross. At one time a violent hurricane arose,
levelling great trees with the ground, and blowing down the tents of
the Christian leaders. At another time an earthquake shook the camp,
and was thought to prognosticate some great impending evil to the
cause of Christendom. But a comet which appeared shortly afterwards,
raised them from the despondency into which they had fallen; their
lively imaginations making it assume the form of a flaming cross
leading them on to victory. Famine was not the least of the evils they
endured. Unwholesome food, and the impure air from the neighbouring
marshes, engendered pestilential diseases, which carried them off more
rapidly than the arrows of the enemy. A thousand of them died in a
day, and it became at last a matter of extreme difficulty to afford
them burial. To add to their misery, each man grew suspicious of his
neighbour; for the camp was infested by Turkish spies, who conveyed
daily to the besieged intelligence of the movements and distresses of
the enemy. With a ferocity, engendered by despair, Bohemund caused two
spies, whom he had detected, to be roasted alive in presence of the
army, and within sight of the battlements of Antioch. But even this
example failed to reduce their numbers, and the Turks continued to be
as well informed as the Christians themselves of all that was passing
in the camp.

The news of the arrival of a reinforcement of soldiers from
Europe, with an abundant stock of provisions, came to cheer them when
reduced to the last extremity. The welcome succour landed at St.
Simeon, the port of Antioch, and about six miles from that city.
Thitherwards the famishing crusaders proceeded in tumultuous bands,
followed by Bohemund and the Count of Toulouse, with strong
detachments of their retainers and vassals, to escort the supplies in
safety to the camp. The garrison of Antioch, forewarned of this
arrival, was on the alert, and a corps of Turkish archers was
despatched to lie in ambuscade among the mountains and intercept their
return. Bohemund, laden with provisions, was encountered in the rocky
passes by the Turkish host. Great numbers of his followers were slain,
and he himself had just time to escape to the camp with the news of
his defeat. Godfrey of Bouillon, the Duke of Normandy, and the other
leaders had heard the rumour of this battle, and were at that instant
preparing for the rescue. The army was immediately in motion, animated
both by zeal and by hunger, and marched so rapidly as to intercept the
victorious Turks before they had time to reach Antioch with their
spoil. A fierce battle ensued, which lasted from noon till the going
down of the sun. The Christians gained and maintained the advantage,
each man fighting as if upon himself alone had depended the fortune of
the day. Hundreds of Turks perished in the Orontes, and more than two
thousand were left dead upon the field of battle. All the provision
was recaptured and brought in safety to the camp, whither the
crusaders returned singing Allelulia! or shouting Deus adjuva! Deus

This relief lasted for some days, and, had it been duly
economized, would have lasted much longer; but the chiefs had no
authority, and were unable to exercise any control over its
distribution. Famine again approached with rapid strides, and Stephen
Count of Blois, not liking the prospect, withdrew from the camp, with
four thousand of his retainers, and established himself at
Alexandretta. The moral influence of this desertion was highly
prejudicial upon those who remained; and Bohemund, the most impatient
and ambitious of the chiefs, foresaw that, unless speedily checked, it
would lead to the utter failure of the expedition. It was necessary to
act decisively; the army murmured at the length of the siege, and the
Sultan was collecting his forces to crush them. Against the efforts of
the crusaders Antioch might have held out for months; but treason
within effected that, which courage without might have striven for in

Baghasihan, the Turkish Prince or Emir of Antioch, had under his
command an Armenian of the name of Phirouz, whom he had intrusted with
the defence of a tower on that part of the city wall which overlooked
the passes of the mountains. Bohemund, by means of a spy who had
embraced the Christian religion, and to whom he had given his own name
at baptism, kept up a daily communication with this captain, and made
him the most magnificent promises of reward, if he would deliver up
his post to the Christian knights. Whether the proposal was first made
by Bohemund or by the Armenian is uncertain, but that a good
understanding soon existed between them, is undoubted; and a night was
fixed for the execution of the project. Bohemund communicated the
scheme to Godfrey and the Count of Toulouse, with the stipulation
that, if the city were won, he, as the soul of the enterprise, should
enjoy the dignity of Prince of Antioch. The other leaders hesitated:
ambition and jealousy prompted them to refuse their aid in furthering
the views of the intriguer. More mature consideration decided them to
acquiesce, and seven hundred of the bravest knights were chosen for
the expedition, the real object of which, for fear of spies, was kept
a profound secret from the rest of the army. When all was ready, a
report was promulgated, that the seven hundred were intended to form
an ambuscade for a division of the Sultan's army, which was stated to
be approaching.

Every thing favoured the treacherous project of the Armenian
captain, who, on his solitary watchtower, received due intimation of
the approach of the crusaders. The night was dark and stormy; not a
star was visible above, and the wind howled so furiously as to
overpower all other sounds: the rain fell in torrents, and the
watchers on the towers adjoining to that of Phirouz could not hear the
tramp of the armed knights for the wind, nor see them for the
obscurity of the night and the dismalness of the weather. When within
shot of the walls, Bohemund sent forward an interpreter to confer with
the Armenian. The latter urged them to make haste, and seize the
favourable interval, as armed men, with lighted torches, patrolled the
battlements every half hour, and at that instant they had just passed.
The chiefs were instantly at the foot of the wall: Phirouz let down a
rope; Bohemund attached it to the end of a ladder of hides, which was
then raised by the Armenian, and held while the knights mounted. A
momentary fear came over the spirits of the adventurers, and every one
hesitated. At last Bohemund, [Vide William of Tyre.] encouraged by
Phirouz from above, ascended a few steps on the ladder, and was
followed by Godfrey, Count Robert of Flanders, and a number of other
knights. As they advanced, others pressed forward, until their weight
became too great for the ladder, which, breaking, precipitated about a
dozen of them to the ground, where they fell one upon the other,
making a great clatter with their heavy coats of mail. For a moment
they thought that all was lost; but the wind made so loud a howling as
it swept in fierce gusts through the mountain gorges -- and the
Orontes, swollen by the rain, rushed so noisily along -- that the
guards heard nothing. The ladder was easily repaired, and the knights
ascended two at a time, and reached the platform in safety, When sixty
of them had thus ascended, the torch of the coming patrol was seen to
gleam at the angle of the wall. Hiding themselves behind a buttress,
they awaited his coming in breathless silence. As soon as he arrived
at arm's length, he was suddenly seized, and, before he could open his
lips to raise an alarm, the silence of death closed them up for ever.
They next descended rapidly the spiral staircase of the tower, and,
opening the portal, admitted the whole of their companions. Raymond of
Toulouse, who, cognizant of the whole plan, had been left behind with
the main body of the army, heard at this instant the signal horn,
which announced that an entry had been effected, and, leading on his
legions, the town was attacked from within and without.

Imagination cannot conceive a scene more dreadful than that
presented by the devoted city of Antioch on that night of horror. The
crusaders fought with a blind fury, which fanaticism and suffering
alike incited. Men, women, and children were indiscriminately
slaughtered till the streets ran in gore. Darkness increased the
destruction, for when morning dawned the crusaders found themselves
with their swords at the breasts of their fellow-soldiers, whom they
had mistaken for foes. The Turkish commander fled, first to the
citadel, and that becoming insecure, to the mountains, whither he was
pursued and slain, his grey head brought back to Antioch as a trophy.
At daylight the massacre ceased, and the crusaders gave themselves up
to plunder. They found gold, and jewels, and silks, and velvets in
abundance, but, of provisions, which were of more importance to them,
they found but little of any kind. Corn was excessively scarce, and
they discovered to their sorrow that in this respect the besieged had
been but little better off than the besiegers.

Before they had time to instal themselves in their new position,
and take the necessary measures for procuring a supply, the city was
invested by the Turks. The Sultan of Persia had raised an immense
army, which he intrusted to the command of Kerbogha, the Emir of
Mosul, with instructions to sweep the Christian locusts from the face
of the land. The Emir effected junction with Kilij Aslaun, and the two
armies surrounded the city. Discouragement took complete possession of
the Christian host, and numbers of them contrived to elude the
vigilance of the besiegers, and escape to Count Stephen of Blots at
Alexandretta, to whom they related the most exaggerated tales of the
misery they had endured, and the utter hopelessness of continuing the
war. Stephen forthwith broke up his camp and retreated towards
Constantinople. On his way he was met by the Emperor Alexius, at the
head of a considerable force, hastening to take possession of the
conquests made by the Christians in Asia. As soon as he heard of their
woeful plight, he turned back, and proceeded with the Count of Blots
to Constantinople, leaving the remnant of the crusaders to shift for

The news of this defection increased the discouragement at
Antioch. All the useless horses of the army had been slain and eaten,
and dogs, cats, and rats were sold at enormous prices. Even vermin
were becoming scarce. With increasing famine came a pestilence, so
that in a short time but sixty thousand remained of the three hundred
thousand that had originally invested Antioch. But this bitter
extremity, while it annihilated the energy of the host, only served to
knit the leaders more firmly together; and Bohemund, Godfrey, and
Tancred swore never to desert the cause as long as life lasted. The
former strove in vain to reanimate the courage of his followers. They
were weary and sick at heart, and his menaces and promises were alike
thrown away. Some of them had shut themselves up in the houses, and
refused to come forth. Bohemund, to drive them to their duty, set fire
to the whole quarter, and many of them perished in the flames, while
the rest of the army looked on with the utmost indifference. Bohemund,
animated himself by a worldly spirit, did not know the true character
of the crusaders, nor understand the religious madness which had
brought them in such shoals from Europe. A priest, more clear-sighted,
devised a scheme which restored all their confidence, and inspired
them with a courage so wonderful as to make the poor sixty thousand
emaciated, sick, and starving zealots, put to flight the well-fed and
six times as numerous legions of the Sultan of Persia.

This priest, a native of Provence, was named Peter Barthelemy, and
whether he were a knave or an enthusiast, or both; a principal, or a
tool in the hands of others, will ever remain a matter of doubt.
Certain it is, however, that he was the means of raising the siege of
Antioch, and causing the eventual triumph of the armies of the Cross.
When the strength of the crusaders was completely broken by their
sufferings, and hope had fled from every bosom, Peter came to Count
Raymond of Toulouse, and demanded an interview on matters of serious
moment. He was immediately admitted. He said that, some weeks
previously, at the time the Christians were besieging Antioch, he was
reposing alone in his tent, when he was startled by the shock of the
earthquake, which had so alarmed the whole host. Through violent
terror of the shock he could only ejaculate, God help me! when turning
round he saw two men standing before him, whom he at once recognized
by the halo of glory around them as beings of another world. One of
them appeared to be an aged man, with reddish hair sprinkled with
grey, black eyes, and a long flowing grey beard. The other was
younger, larger, and handsomer, and had something more divine in his
aspect. The elderly man alone spoke, and informed him that he was the
Holy Apostle St. Andrew, and desired him to seek out the Count
Raymond, the Bishop of Puy, and Raymond of Altopulto, and ask them why
the Bishop did not exhort the people, and sign them with the cross
which he bore. The Apostle then took him, naked in his shirt as he
was, and transported him through the air into the heart of the city of
Antioch, where he led him into the church of St. Peter, at that time a
Saracen mosque. The Apostle made him stop by the pillar close to the
steps by which they ascend on the south side to the altar, where hung
two lamps, which gave out a light brighter than that of the noonday
sun; the younger man, whom he did not at that time know, standing afar
off, near the steps of the altar. The Apostle then descended into the
ground and brought up a lance, which he gave into his hand, telling
him that it was the very lance that had opened the side whence had
flowed the salvation of the world. With tears of joy he held the holy
lance, and implored the Apostle to allow him to take it away and
deliver it into the hands of Count Raymond. The Apostle refused, and
buried the lance again in the ground, commanding him, when the city
was won from the infidels, to go with twelve chosen men, and dig it up
again in the same place. The Apostle then transported him back to his
tent, and the two vanished from his sight. He had neglected, he said,
to deliver this message, afraid that his wonderful tale would not
obtain credence from men of such high rank. After some days he again
saw the holy vision, as he was gone out of the camp to look for food.
This time the divine eyes of the younger looked reproachfully upon
him. He implored the Apostle to choose some one else more fitted for
the mission, but the Apostle refused, and smote him with a disorder of
the eyes, as a punishment for his disobedience. With an obstinacy
unaccountable even to himself, he had still delayed. A third time the
Apostle and his companion had appeared to him, as he was in a tent
with his master William at St. Simeon. On that occasion St. Andrew
told him to bear his command to the Count of Toulouse not to bathe in
the waters of the Jordan when he came to it, but to cross over in a
boat, clad in a shirt and breeches of linen, which he should sprinkle
with the sacred waters of the river. These clothes he was afterwards
to preserve along with the holy lance. His master William, although he
could not see the saint, distinctly heard the voice giving orders to
that effect. Again he neglected to execute the commission, and again
the saints appeared to him, when he was at the port of Mamistra, about
to sail for Cyprus, and St. Andrew threatened him with eternal
perdition if he refused longer. Upon this he made up his mind to
divulge all that had been revealed to him.

The Count of Toulouse, who, in all probability, concocted this
precious tale with the priest, appeared struck with the recital, and
sent immediately for the Bishop of Puy and Raymond of Altapulto. The
Bishop at once expressed his disbelief of the whole story, and refused
to have anything to do in the matter. The Count of Toulouse, on the
contrary, saw abundant motives, if not for believing, for pretending
to believe; and, in the end, he so impressed upon the mind of the
Bishop the advantage that might be derived from it, in working up the
popular mind to its former excitement, that the latter reluctantly
agreed to make search in due form for the holy weapon. The day after
the morrow was fixed upon for the ceremony, and, in the mean time,
Peter was consigned to the care of Raymond, the Count's chaplain, in
order that no profane curiosity might have an opportunity of
cross-examining him, and putting him to a nonplus.

Twelve devout men were forthwith chosen for the undertaking, among
whom were the Count of Toulouse and his chaplain. They began digging
at sunrise, and continued unwearied till near sunset, without finding
the lance; -- they might have dug till this day with no better
success, had not Peter himself sprung into the pit, praying to God to
bring the lance to light, for the strengthening and victory of his
people. Those who hide know where to find; and so it was with Peter,
for both he and the lance found their way into the hole at the same
time. On a sudden, he and Raymond, the chaplain, beheld its point in
the earth, and Raymond, drawing it forth, kissed it with tears of joy,
in sight of the multitude which had assembled in the church. It was
immediately enveloped in a rich purple cloth, already prepared to
receive it, and exhibited in this state to the faithful, who made the
building resound with their shouts of gladness.

Peter had another vision the same night, and became from that day
forth "dreamer of dreams," in general, to the army. He stated on the
following day, that the Apostle Andrew and "the youth with the divine
aspect" appeared to him again, and directed that the Count of
Toulouse, as a reward for his persevering piety, should carry the Holy
Lance at the head of the army, and that the day on which it was found
should be observed as a solemn festival throughout Christendom. St.
Andrew showed him, at the same time, the holes in the feet and hands
of his benign companion; and he became convinced that he stood in the
awful presence of THE REDEEMER.

Peter gained so much credit by his visions that dreaming became
contagious. Other monks beside himself were visited by the saints, who
promised victory to the host if it would valiantly hold out to the
last, and crowns of eternal glory to those who fell in the fight. Two
deserters, wearied of the fatigues and privations of the war, who had
stealthily left the camp, suddenly returned, and seeking Bohemund,
told him that they had been met by two apparitions, who, with great
anger, had commanded them to return. The one of them said, that he
recognized his brother, who had been killed in battle some months
before, and that he had a halo of glory around his head. The other,
still more hardy, asserted that the apparition which had spoken to him
was the Saviour himself, who had promised eternal happiness as his
reward if he returned to his duty, but the pains of eternal fire if he
rejected the cross. No one thought of disbelieving these men. The
courage of the army immediately revived; despondency gave way to hope;
every arm grew strong again, and the pangs of hunger were for a time
disregarded. The enthusiasm which had led them from Europe burned forth
once more as brightly as ever, and they demanded, with loud cries, to
be led against the enemy. The leaders were not unwilling. In a battle
lay their only chance of salvation; and although Godfrey, Bohemund,
and Tancred received the story of the lance with much suspicion, they
were too wise to throw discredit upon an imposture which bade fair to
open the gates of victory.

Peter the Hermit was previously sent to the camp of Kerbogha to
propose that the quarrel between the two religions should be decided
by a chosen number of the bravest soldiers of each army. Kerbogha
turned from him with a look of contempt, and said he could agree to
no proposals from a set of such miserable beggars and robbers. With
this uncourteous answer Peter returned to Antioch. Preparations were
immediately commenced for an attack upon the enemy: the latter
continued to be perfectly well informed of all the proceedings of the
Christian camp. The citadel of Antioch, which remained in their
possession, overlooked the town, and the commander of the fortress
could distinctly see all that was passing within. On the morning of
the 28th of June 1098 a black flag, hoisted from its highest tower,
announced to the besieging army that the Christians were about to
sally forth.

The Moslem leaders knew the sad inroads that famine and disease
had made upon the numbers of the foe: they knew that not above two
hundred of the knights had horses to ride upon, and that the foot
soldiers were sick and emaciated; but they did not know the almost
incredible valour which superstition had infused into their hearts.
The story of the lance they treated with the most supreme contempt,
and, secure of an easy victory, they gave themselves no trouble in
preparing for the onslaught. It is related that Kerbogha was playing a
game at chess, when the black flag on the citadel gave warning of the
enemy's approach, and that, with true oriental coolness, he insisted
upon finishing the game ere he bestowed any of his attention upon a
foe so unworthy. The defeat of his advanced post of two thousand men
aroused him from his apathy.

The crusaders, after this first victory, advanced joyfully towards
the mountains, hoping to draw the Turks to a place where their cavalry
would be unable to manoeuvre. Their spirits were light and their
courage high, as led on by the Duke of Normandy, Count Robert of
Flanders, and Hugh of Vermandois, they came within sight of the
splendid camp of the enemy. Godfrey of Bouillon and Adhemar, Bishop of
Puy, followed immediately after these leaders, the latter clad in
complete armour, and bearing the Holy Lance within sight of the whole
army: Bohemund and Tancred brought up the rear.

Kerbogha, aware at last that his enemy was not so despicable, took
vigorous measures to remedy his mistake, and, preparing himself to
meet the Christians in front, he despatched the Sultan Soliman, of
Roum, to attack them in the rear. To conceal this movement, he set
fire to the dried weeds and grass with which the ground was covered,
and Soliman, taking a wide circuit with his cavalry, succeeded, under
cover of the smoke, in making good his position in the rear. The
battle raged furiously in front; the arrows of the Turks fell thick as
hail, and their well-trained squadrons trod the crusaders under their
hoofs like stubble. Still the affray was doubtful; for the Christians
had the advantage of the ground, and were rapidly gaining upon the
enemy, when the overwhelming forces of Soliman arrived in the rear.
Godfrey and Tancred flew to the rescue of Bohemund, spreading dismay
in the Turkish ranks by their fierce impetuosity. The Bishop of Puy
was left almost alone with the Provencals to oppose the legions
commanded by Kerbogha in person; but the presence of the Holy Lance
made a hero of the meanest soldier in his train. Still, however, the
numbers of the enemy seemed interminable. The Christians, attacked on
every side, began at last to give way, and the Turks made sure of

At this moment a cry was raised in the Christian host that the
saints were fighting on their side. The battle-field was clear of the
smoke from the burning weeds, which had curled away, and hung in white
clouds of fantastic shape on the brow of the distant mountains. Some
imaginative zealot, seeing this dimly through the dust of the battle,
called out to his fellows, to look at the army of saints, clothed in
white, and riding upon white horses, that were pouring over the hills
to the rescue. All eyes were immediately turned to the distant smoke;
faith was in every heart; and the old battle-cry, God wills it! God
wills it! resounded through the field, as every soldier, believing
that God was visibly sending His armies to his aid, fought with an
energy unfelt before. A panic seized the Persian and Turkish hosts,
and they gave way in all directions. In vain Kerbogha tried to rally
them. Fear is more contagious than enthusiasm, and they fled over the
mountains like deer pursued by the hounds. The two leaders, seeing the
uselessness of further efforts, fled with the rest; and that immense
army was scattered over Palestine, leaving nearly seventy thousand of
its dead upon the field of battle.

Their magnificent camp fell into the hands of the enemy, with its
rich stores of corn, and its droves of sheep and oxen. Jewels, gold,
and rich velvets in abundance were distributed among the army. Tancred
followed the fugitives over the hills, and reaped as much plunder as
those who had remained in the camp. The way, as they fled, was covered
with valuables, and horses of the finest breed of Arabia became so
plentiful, that every knight of the Christians was provided with a
steed. The crusaders, in this battle, acknowledge to have lost nearly
ten thousand men.

Their return to Antioch was one of joy indeed: the citadel was
surrendered at once, and many of the Turkish garrison embraced the
Christian faith, and the rest were suffered to depart. A solemn
thanksgiving was offered up by the Bishop of Puy, in which the whole
army joined, and the Holy Lance was visited by every soldier.

The enthusiasm lasted for some days, and the army loudly demanded
to be led forward to Jerusalem, the grand goal of all their wishes:
but none of their leaders was anxious to move; -- the more prudent
among them, such as Godfrey and Tancred, for reasons of expediency;
and the more ambitious, such as the Count of Toulouse and Bohemund,
for reasons of self-interest. Violent dissensions sprang up again
between all the chiefs. Raymond of Toulouse, who was left at Antioch
to guard the town, had summoned the citadel to surrender, as soon as
he saw that there was no fear of any attack upon the part of the
Persians; and the other chiefs found, upon their return, his banner
waving on its walls. This had given great offence to Bohemund, who had
stipulated the principality of Antioch as his reward for winning the
town in the first instance. Godfrey and Tancred supported his claim,
and, after a great deal of bickering, the flag of Raymond was lowered
from the tower, and that of Bohemund hoisted in its stead, who assumed
from that time the title of Prince of Antioch. Raymond, however,
persisted in retaining possession of one of the city gates and its
adjacent towers, which he held for several months, to the great
annoyance of Bohemund and the scandal of the army. The Count became in
consequence extremely unpopular, although his ambition was not a whit
more unreasonable than that of Bohemund himself, nor of Baldwin, who
had taken up his quarters at Edessa, where he exercised the functions
of a petty sovereign.

The fate of Peter Barthelemy deserves to be recorded. Honours and
consideration had come thick upon him after the affair of the lance,
and he consequently felt bound in conscience to continue the dreams
which had made him a personage of so much importance. The mischief of
it was, that like many other liars he had a very bad memory, and he
contrived to make his dreams contradict each other in the most
palpable manner. St. John one night appeared to him, and told one
tale, while, a week after, St. Paul told a totally different story,
and held out hopes quite incompatible with those of his apostolic
brother. The credulity of that age had a wide maw, and Peter's visions
must have been absurd and outrageous indeed, when the very men who had
believed in the lance refused to swallow any more of his wonders.
Bohemund at last, for the purpose of annoying the Count of Toulouse,
challenged poor Peter to prove the truth of his story of the lance by
the fiery ordeal. Peter could not refuse a trial so common in that
age, and being besides encouraged by the Count and his chaplain,
Raymond, an early day was appointed for the ceremony. The previous
night was spent in prayer and fasting, according to custom, and Peter
came forth in the morning bearing the lance in his hand, and walked
boldly up to the fire. The whole army gathered round, impatient for
the result, many thousands still believing that the lance was genuine
and Peter a holy man. Prayers having been said by Raymond d'Agilles,
Peter walked into the flames, and had got nearly through, when pain
caused him to lose his presence of mind: the heat too affected his
eyes, and, in his anguish, he turned round unwittingly, and passed
through the fire again, instead of stepping out of it, as he should
have done. The result was, that he was burned so severely, that he
never recovered, and, after lingering for some days, he expired in
great agony.

Most of the soldiers were suffering either from wounds, disease,
or weariness, and it was resolved by Godfrey, -- the tacitly
acknowledged chief of the enterprize, -- that the army should have
time to refresh itself ere they advanced upon Jerusalem. It was now
July, and he proposed that they should pass the hot months of August
and September within the walls of Antioch, and march forward in
October with renewed vigour, and numbers increased by fresh arrivals
from Europe. This advice was finally adopted, although the enthusiasts
of the army continued to murmur at the delay. In the mean time the
Count of Vermandois was sent upon an embassy to the Emperor Alexius at
Constantinople, to reproach him for his base desertion of the cause,
and urge him to send the reinforcements he had promised. The Count
faithfully executed his mission, (of which, by the way, Alexius took
no notice whatever,) and remained for some time at Constantinople,
till his zeal, never very violent, totally evaporated. He then
returned to France, sick of the Crusade, and determined to intermeddle
with it no more.

The chiefs, though they had determined to stay at Antioch for two
months, could not remain quiet for so long a time. They would, in all
probability, have fallen upon each other, had there been no Turks in
Palestine upon whom they might vent their impetuosity. Godfrey
proceeded to Edessa, to aid his brother Baldwin in expelling the
Saracens from his principality, and the other leaders carried on
separate hostilities against them as caprice or ambition dictated. At
length the impatience of the army to be led against Jerusalem became
so great that the chiefs could no longer delay, and Raymond, Tancred,
and Robert of Normandy marched forward with their divisions, and laid
siege to the small but strong town of Marah. With their usual
improvidence, they had not food enough to last a beleaguering army for
a week. They suffered great privations in consequence, till Bohemund
came to their aid and took the town by storm. In connexion with this
siege, the chronicler, Raymond d'Agilles, (the same Raymond, the
chaplain, who figured in the affair of the Holy Lance,) relates a
legend, in the truth of which he devoutly believed, and upon which
Tasso has founded one of the most beautiful passages of his poem. It
is worth preserving, as showing the spirit of the age and the source
of the extraordinary courage manifested by the crusaders on occasions
of extreme difficulty. "One day," says Raymond, "Anselme de Ribeaumont
beheld young Engelram, the son of the Count de St. Paul, who had been
killed at Marsh, enter his tent. 'How is it,' said Anselme to him,
'that you, whom I saw lying dead on the field of battle, are full of
life ?' -- 'You must know,' replied Engelram, 'that those who fight
for Jesus Christ never die.' -- ' But whence,' resumed Anselme, 'comes
that strange brightness that surrounds you ?' Upon this Engelram
pointed to the sky, where Anselme saw a palace of diamond and crystal.
'It is thence,' said he, 'that I derive the beauty which surprises
you. My dwelling is there; a still finer one is prepared for you, and
you shall soon come to inhabit it. Farewell! we shall meet again
to-morrow.' With these words Engelram returned to heaven. Anselme,
struck by the vision, sent the next morning for the priests, received
the sacrament; and although full of health, took a last farewell of
all his friends, telling them that he was about to leave this world. A
few hours afterwards, the enemy having made a sortie, Anselme went out
against them sword in hand, and was struck on the forehead by a stone
from a Turkish sling, which sent him to heaven, to the beautiful
palace that was prepared for him."

New disputes arose between the Prince of Antioch and the Count of
Toulouse with regard to the capture of this town, which were with the
utmost difficulty appeased by the other chiefs. Delays also took place
in the progress of the army, especially before Arches, and the
soldiery were so exasperated that they were on the point of choosing
new leaders to conduct them to Jerusalem. Godfrey, upon this, set fire
to his camp at Arches, and marched forward. He was immediately joined
by hundreds of the Provencals of the Count of Toulouse. The latter,
seeing the turn affairs were taking, hastened after them, and the
whole host proceeded towards the holy city, so long desired amid
sorrow, and suffering, and danger. At Emmaus they were met by a
deputation from the Christians of Bethlehem, praying for immediate aid
against the oppression of the infidels. The very name of Bethlehem,
the birthplace of the Saviour, was music to their ears, and many of
them wept with joy to think they were approaching a spot so hallowed.
Albert of Aix informs us that their hearts were so touched that sleep
was banished from the camp, and that, instead of waiting till the
morning's dawn to recommence their march, they set out shortly after
midnight, full of hope and enthusiasm. For upwards of four hours the
mail-clad legions tramped steadfastly forward in the dark, and when
the sun arose in unclouded splendour, the towers and pinnacles of
Jerusalem gleamed upon their sight. All the tender feelings of their
nature were touched; no longer brutal fanatics, but meek and humble
pilgrims, they knelt down upon the sod, and with tears in their eyes,
exclaimed to one another, "Jerusalem ! Jerusalem!" Some of them kissed
the holy ground, others stretched themselves at full length upon it,
in order that their bodies might come in contact with the greatest
possible extent of it, and others prayed aloud. The women and children
who had followed the camp from Europe, and shared in all its dangers,
fatigues, and privations, were more boisterous in their joy; the
former from long-nourished enthusiasm, and the latter from mere
imitation, [Guibert de Nogent relates a curious instance of the
imitativeness of these juvenile crusaders. He says that, during the
siege of Antioch, the Christian and Saracen boys used to issue forth
every evening from the town and camp in great numbers under the
command of captains chosen from among themselves. Armed with sticks
instead of swords, and stones instead of arrows, they ranged
themselves in battle order, and shouting each the war-cry of their
country, fought with the utmost desperation. Some of them lost their
eyes, and many became cripples for life from the injuries they
received on these occasions.] and prayed, and wept, and laughed till
they almost put the more sober to the blush.

The first ebullition of their gladness having subsided, the army
marched forward, and invested the city on all sides. The assault was
almost immediately begun; but after the Christians had lost some of
their bravest knights, that mode of attack was abandoned, and the army
commenced its preparations for a regular siege. Mangonels, moveable
towers, and battering rams, together with a machine called a sow, made
of wood, and covered with raw hides, inside of which miners worked to
undermine the walls, were forthwith constructed; and to restore the
courage and discipline of the army, which had suffered from the
unworthy dissensions of the chiefs, the latter held out the hand of
friendship to each other, and Tancred and the Count of Toulouse
embraced in sight of the whole camp. The clergy aided the cause with
their powerful voice, and preached union and goodwill to the highest
and the lowest. A solemn procession was also ordered round the city,
in which the entire army joined, prayers being offered up at every
spot which gospel records had taught them to consider as peculiarly

The Saracens upon the ramparts beheld all these manifestations
without alarm. To incense the Christians, whom they despised, they
constructed rude crosses, and fixed them upon the walls, and spat upon
and pelted them with dirt and stones. This insult to the symbol of
their faith raised the wrath of the crusaders to that height that
bravery became ferocity and enthusiasm madness. When all the engines
of war were completed the attack was recommenced, and every soldier of
the Christian army fought with a vigour which the sense of private
wrong invariably inspires. Every man had been personally outraged, and
the knights worked at the battering-rams with as much readiness as the
meanest soldiers. The Saracen arrows and balls of fire fell thick and
fast among them, but the tremendous rams still heaved against the
walls, while the best marksmen of the host were busily employed in the
several floors of the moveable towers in dealing death among the Turks
upon the battlements. Godfrey, Raymond, Tancred, and Robert of
Normandy, each upon his tower, fought for hours with unwearied energy,
often repulsed, but ever ready to renew the struggle. The Turks, no
longer despising the enemy, defended themselves with the utmost skill
and bravery till darkness brought a cessation of hostilities. Short
was the sleep that night in the. Christian camp. The priests offered
up solemn prayers in the midst of the attentive soldiery for the
triumph of the Cross in this last great struggle, and as soon as
morning dawned every one was in readiness for the affray. The women
and children lent their aid, the latter running unconcerned to and fro
while the arrows fell fast around them, bearing water to the thirsty
combatants. The saints were believed to be aiding their efforts, and
the army, impressed with this idea, surmounted difficulties under
which a force thrice as numerous, but without their faith, would have
quailed and been defeated. Raymond of Toulouse at last forced his way
into the city by escalade, while at the very same moment Tancred and
Robert of Normandy succeeded in bursting open one of the gates. The
Turks flew to repair the mischief, and Godfrey of Bouillon, seeing the
battlements comparatively deserted, let down the drawbridge of his
moveable tower, and sprang forward, followed by all the knights of his
train. In an instant after, the banner of the Cross floated upon the
walls of Jerusalem. The crusaders, raising once more their redoubtable
war-cry, rushed on from every side, and the city was taken. The battle
raged in the streets for several hours, and the Christians,
remembering their insulted faith, gave no quarter to young or old,
male or female, sick or strong. Not one of the leaders thought himself
at liberty to issue orders for staying the carnage, and if he had, he
would not have been obeyed. The Saracens fled in great numbers to the
mosque of Soliman, but they had not time to fortify themselves within
it ere the Christians were upon them. Ten thousand persons are said to
have perished in that building alone.

Peter the Hermit, who had remained so long under the veil of
neglect, was repaid that day for all his zeal and all his sufferings.
As soon as the battle was over, the Christians of Jerusalem issued
forth from their hiding-places to welcome their deliverers. They
instantly recognized the Hermit as the pilgrim who, years before, had
spoken to them so eloquently of the wrongs and insults they had
endured, and promised to stir up the princes and people of Europe in
their behalf. They clung to the skirts of his garments in the fervour
of their gratitude, and vowed to remember him for ever in their
prayers. Many of them shed tears about his neck, and attributed the
deliverance of Jerusalem solely to his courage and perseverance. Peter
afterwards held some ecclesiastical office in the Holy City, but what
it was, or what was his ultimate fate, history has forgotten to inform
us. Some say that he returned to France and founded a monastery, but
the story does not rest upon sufficient authority.

The grand object for which the popular swarms of Europe had
forsaken their homes was now accomplished. The Moslem mosques of
Jerusalem were converted into churches for a purer faith, and the
mount of Calvary and the sepulchre of Christ were profaned no longer
by the presence or the power of the infidel. Popular frenzy had
fulfilled its mission, and, as a natural consequence, it began to
subside from that time forth. The news of the capture of Jerusalem
brought numbers of pilgrims from Europe, and, among others, Stephen
Count of Chartres and Hugh of Vermandois, to atone for their
desertion; but nothing like the former enthusiasm existed among the

Thus then ends the history of the first Crusade. For the better
understanding of the second, it will be necessary to describe the
interval between them, and to enter into a slight sketch of the
history of Jerusalem under its Latin kings, the long and fruitless
wars they continued to wage with the unvanquished Saracens, and the
poor and miserable results which sprang from so vast an expenditure of
zeal, and so deplorable a waste of human life.

The necessity of having some recognized chief was soon felt by the
crusaders, and Godfrey de Bouillon, less ambitious than Bohemund, or
Raymond of Toulouse, gave his cold consent to wield a sceptre which
the latter chiefs would have clutched with eagerness. He was hardly
invested with the royal mantle before the Saracens menaced his
capital. With much vigour and judgment he exerted himself to follow up
the advantages he had gained, and marching out to meet the enemy
before they had time to besiege him in Jerusalem, he gave them battle
at Ascalon, and defeated them with great loss. He did not, however,
live long to enjoy his new dignity, being seized with a fatal illness
when he had only reigned nine months. To him succeeded his brother,
Baldwin of Edessa. The latter monarch did much to improve the
condition of Jerusalem and to extend its territory, but was not able
to make a firm footing for his successors. For fifty years, in which
the history of Jerusalem is full of interest to the historical
student, the crusaders were exposed to fierce and constant
hostilities, often gaining battles and territory, and as often losing
them, but becoming every day weaker and more divided, while the
Saracens became stronger and more united to harass and root them out.
The battles of this period were of the most chivalrous character, and
deeds of heroism were done by the handful of brave knights that
remained in Syria, which have hardly their parallel in the annals of
war. In the course of time, however, the Christians could not avoid
feeling some respect for the courage, and admiration for the polished
manners and advanced civilization of the Saracens, so much superior to
the rudeness and semi-barbarism of Europe at that day. Difference of
faith did not prevent them from forming alliances with the dark-eyed
maidens of the East. One of the first to set the example of taking a
Paynim spouse was King Baldwin himself, and these connexions in time
became, not only frequent, but almost universal, among such of the
knights as had resolved to spend their lives in Palestine. These
Eastern ladies were obliged, however, to submit to the ceremony of
baptism before they could be received to the arms of a Christian lord.
These, and their offspring, naturally looked upon the Saracens with
less hatred than did the zealots who conquered Jerusalem, and who
thought it a sin deserving the wrath of God to spare an unbeliever. We
find, in consequence, that the most obstinate battles waged during the
reigns of the later Kings of Jerusalem were fought by the new and raw
levies who from time to time arrived from Europe, lured by the hope of
glory, or spurred by fanaticism. The latter broke without scruple the
truces established between the original settlers and the Saracens, and
drew down severe retaliation upon many thousands of their brethren in
the faith, whose prudence was stronger than their zeal, and whose
chief desire was to live in peace.

Things remained in this unsatisfactory state till the close of the
year 1145, when Edessa, the strong frontier town of the Christian
kingdom, fell into the bauds of the Saracens. The latter were
commanded by Zenghi, a powerful and enterprising monarch, and, after
his death, by his son Nourheddin, as powerful and enterprising as his
father. An unsuccessful attempt was made by the Count of Edessa to
regain the fortress, but Nourheddin, with a large army, came to the
rescue, and after defeating the Count with great slaughter, marched
into Edessa and caused its fortifications to be rased to the ground,
that the town might never more be a bulwark of defence for the kingdom
of Jerusalem. The road to the capital was now open, and consternation
seized the hearts of the Christians. Nourheddin, it was known, was
only waiting for a favourable opportunity to advance upon Jerusalem,
and the armies of the Cross, weakened and divided, were not in a
condition to make any available resistance. The clergy were filled
with grief and alarm, and wrote repeated letters to the Pope and the
sovereigns of Europe, urging the expediency of a new Crusade for the
relief of Jerusalem. By far the greater number of the priests of
Palestine were natives of France, and these naturally looked first to
their own country. The solicitations they sent to Louis the Seventh
were urgent and oft repeated, and the chivalry of France began to talk
once more of arming in the defence of the birthplace of Jesus. The
kings of Europe, whose interest it had not been to take any part in
the first Crusade, began to bestir themselves in this; and a man
appeared, eloquent as Peter the Hermit, to arouse the people as he had

We find, however, that the enthusiasm of the second did not equal
that of the first Crusade: in fact, the mania had reached its climax
in the time of Peter the Hermit, and decreased regularly from that
period. The third Crusade was less general than the second, and the
fourth than the third, and so on, until the public enthusiasm was
quite extinct, and Jerusalem returned at last to the dominion of its
old masters without a convulsion in Christendom. Various reasons have
been assigned for this; and one very generally put forward is, that
Europe was wearied with continued struggles, and had become sick of
"precipitating itself upon Asia." M. Guizot, in his admirable lectures
upon European civilization, successfully combats this opinion, and
offers one of his own, which is far more satisfactory. He says, in his
eighth lecture, "It has been often repeated, that Europe was tired of
continually invading Asia. This expression appears to me exceedingly
incorrect. It is not possible that human beings can be wearied with
what they have not done -- that the labours of their forefathers can
fatigue them. Weariness is a personal, not an inherited feeling. The
men of the thirteenth century were not fatigued by the Crusades of the
twelfth. They were influenced by another cause. A great change had
taken place in ideas, sentiments, and social conditions. The same
desires and the same wants were no longer felt. The same things were
no longer believed. The people refused to believe what their ancestors
were persuaded of."

This is, in fact, the secret of the change; and its truth becomes
more apparent as we advance in the history of the Crusades, and
compare the state of the public mind at the different periods when
Godfrey of Bouillon, Louis VII. and Richard I. were chiefs and leaders
of the movement. The Crusades themselves were the means of operating a
great change in national ideas, and advancing the civilization of
Europe. In the time of Godfrey, the nobles were all-powerful and
all-oppressive, and equally obnoxious to kings and people. During
their absence along with that portion of the community the deepest
sunk in ignorance and superstition, both kings and people fortified
themselves against the renewal of aristocratic tyranny, and in
proportion as they became free, became civliized. It was during this
period that in France, the grand centre of the crusading madness, the
communes began to acquire strength, and the monarch to possess a
tangible and not a merely theoretic authority. Order and comfort began
to take root, and, when the second Crusade was preached, men were in
consequence much less willing to abandon their homes than they had
been during the first. Such pilgrims as had returned from the Holy
Land came back with minds more liberal and expanded than when they set

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