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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

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behaved towards these formidable allies with a mixture of pusillanimity
and haughtiness, promises and lies, caresses and hostility, which
irritated without intimidating them, and rendered it impossible for them
to feel any confidence or conceive any esteem. At one time he was
thanking them profusely for the support they were bringing him against
the infidels; at another he was sending troops to harass them on their
road, and, when they reached Constantinople, he demanded that they should
swear fealty and obedience to him, as if they were his own subjects.
One day he was refusing them provisions and attempting to subdue them by
famine; and the next he was lavishing feasts and presents upon them. The
crusaders, on their side, when provisions fell short, spread themselves
over the country and plundered it without scruple; and, when they
encountered hostile troops of Greeks, charged them without warning. When
the emperor demanded of them fealty and homage, the count of Toulouse
answered that he had not come to the East in search of a master. Godfrey
do Bouillon, after resisting every haughty pretension, being as just as
he was dignified, acknowledged that the crusaders ought to restore to the
emperor the towns which had belonged to the empire, and an arrangement to
that effect was concluded between them. Bohemond had a proposal
submitted to Godfrey to join him in attacking the Greek empire and taking
possession at once of Byzantium; but Godfrey rejected the proposal, with
the reminder that he had come only to fight the infidels. The emperor,
fully informed of the greediness as well as ambition of Bohemond,
introduced him one day into a room full of treasures. "Here," said
Bohemond, "is wherewith to conquer kingdoms." Alexis had the treasures
removed to Bohemond's, who at first refused, and ended by accepting them.
It is even said that he asked the emperor for the title of Grand Domestic
or of General of the Empire of the East. Alexis, who had held that
dignity and who knew that it was the way to the throne, gave the Norman
chieftain a present refusal, with a promise of it on account of future
services to be rendered by him to the empire and the emperor.

The chiefs of the crusade were not alone in treating with disdain this
haughty, wily, and feeble sovereign. During a ceremony at which some
French princes were doing homage to the emperor, a Count Robert of Paris
went and sat down free-and-easily beside him; when Baldwin, count of
Hainault, took the intruder by the arm, saying, "When you are in a
country you must respect its masters and its customs." "Verily,"
answered Robert, "I hold it shocking that this jackanapes should be
seated, whilst so many noble captains are standing yonder." When the
ceremony was over, the emperor, who had, no doubt, heard the words,
wished to have an explanation; so he detained Robert, and asked him who
and whence he was. "I am a Frenchman," quoth Robert; "and of noble
birth. In my country there is, hard by a church, a spot repaired to by
such as burn to prove their valor. I have been there often without any
one's daring to present himself before me." The emperor did not care to
take up this sort of challenge, and contented himself with replying to
the warrior, "If you there waited for foes without finding any, you are
now about to have what will satisfy you. I have, however, a piece of
advice to give you; don't put yourself at the head or the tail of the
army; keep in the middle. I have learned how to fight with Turks; and
that is the best place you can choose." The crusaders and the Greeks
were mutually contemptuous, the former with a ruffianly pride, the latter
with an ironical and timid refinement.

This posture, on either side, of inactivity, ill-will, and irritation,
could not last long. On the approach of the spring of 1097, the crusader
chiefs and their troops, first Godfrey de Bouillon, then Bohemond and
Tancred, and afterwards Count Raymond of Toulouse, passed the Bosphorus,
being conveyed across either in their own vessels or those of the Emperor
Alexis, who encouraged them against the infidels, and at the same time
had the infidels supplied with information most damaging to the
crusaders. Having effected a junction in Bithynia, the Christian chiefs
resolved to go and lay siege to Nicaea, the first place, of importance,
in possession of the Turks. Whilst marching towards the place they saw
coming to meet then, with every appearance of the most woful destitution,
Peter the Hermit, followed by a small band of pilgrims escaped from the
disasters of their expedition, who had passed the winter, as he had, in
Bithynia, waiting for more fortunate crusaders. Peter, affectionately
welcomed by the chiefs of the army, recounted to them "in detail," says
William of Tyre, "how the people, who had preceded them under his
guidance, had shown themselves destitute of intelligence, improvident,
and unmanageable at the same time; and so it was far more by their own
fault than by the deed of any other that they had succumbed to the weight
of their calamities." Peter, having thus relieved his heart and
recovered his hopes, joined the powerful army of crusaders who had come
at last; and, on the 15th of May, 1097, the siege of Nicaea began.

The town was in the hands of a Turkish sultan, Kilidge-Arslan, whose
father, Soliman, twenty years before, had invaded Bithynia and fixed his
abode at Nicrea. He, being informed of the approach of the crusaders,
had issued forth, to go and assemble all his forces; but he had left
behind his wife, his children, and his treasures, and he had sent
messengers to the inhabitants, saying, "Be of good courage, and fear not
the barbarous people who make show of besieging our city; to-morrow,
before the seventh hour of the day, ye shall be delivered from your
enemies." And he did arrive on the 16th of May, says the Armenian
historian, Matthias of Edessa, at the head of six hundred thousand
horsemen. The historians of the crusaders are infinitely more moderate
as to the number of their foes; they assign to Kilidge-Arslan only fifty
or sixty thousand men, and their testimony is far more trustworthy, being
that of the victors. In any case, the Christians and the Turks fought
valiantly for two days under the walls of Niccea, and Godfrey de Bouillon
did justice to his fame for valor and skill by laying low a Turk
"remarkable amongst all," says William of Tyre, "for his size and
strength, whose arrows caused much havoc in the ranks of our men."
Kilidge-Arslan, being beaten, withdrew to collect fresh troops, and,
after six weeks' siege, the crusaders believed themselves on the point of
entering Nicaea as masters, when, on the 26th of June, they saw floating
on the ramparts the standard of the Emperor Alexis. Their surprise was
the greater in that they had just written to the emperor to say that the
city was on the point of surrendering, and they added, "We earnestly
invite you to lose no time in sending some of your princes with
sufficient retinue, that they may receive and keep in honor of your name
the city which will deliver itself up to us. As for us, after having put
it in the hands of your highness, we will not show any delay in pursuing,
with God's help, the execution of our projects." Alexis had anticipated
this loyal message. Being in constant secret communication with the
former subjects of the Greek empire, and often even with their new
masters the Turks, his agents in Nicaea had induced the inhabitants to
surrender to him, and not to the Latins, who would treat them as
vanquished. The irritation amongst the crusaders was extreme. They had
promised themselves, if not the plunder of Nicaea, at any rate great
advantages from their victory; and it was said in the camp that the
convention concluded with the emperor contained an article purporting
that "if, with God's help, there were taken any of the towns which had
belonged aforetime to the Greek empire all along the line of march up to
Syria, the town should be restored to the emperor, together with all the
adjacent territory and that the booty, the spoils, and all objects
whatsoever found therein should be given up without discussion to the
crusader in recompense for their trouble and indemnification for the
expenses." The wrath waxed still fiercer when it was know that the
crusaders would not be permitted to enter more the ten at a time the town
they had just taken, and that the Emperor Alexis had set at liberty the
wife of Pilidge-Arslai together with her two sons and all the Turks led
prisoners of war to Constantinople. The chiefs of the crusaders were
then selves indignant and distrustful; but "they resolved with on
accord," says William of Tyre, "to hide their resentment, and they
applied all their efforts to calming their people, while encouraging them
to push on without delay to the end of the glorious enterprise."

All the army of the crusaders put themselves in motion I cross Asia Minor
from the north-west to the south-east, and to reach Syria. At their
arrival before Nicaea they numbered, it is said, five hundred thousand
foot and one hundred thousand horse, figures evidently too great, for
everything indicates that at the opening of the crusade the three great
armies, starting from France and Italy under Godfrey de Bouillon,
Bohemond and Raymond of Toulouse, did not reach this number, and the, had
certainly lost many during their long march through their sufferings and
in their battles. However that may be, after they had marched all in one
mass for two days, and had then extended themselves over a larger area,
for the purpose, no doubt, of more easily finding provisions, the
crusaders broke up into two main bodies, led, one by Godfrey de Bouillon
and Raymond of Toulouse, the other by Bohemond and Tancred. On the 1st
of July, at daybreak, this latter body, encamped at a short distance from
Doryleum, in Phrygia, saw descending from the neighboring heights a cloud
of enemies who burst upon the Christians, first rained a perfect hail of
missiles upon them, and then penetrated into their camp, even to the
tents assigned to the women, children, and old men, the numerous
following of the crusaders. It was Kilidge-Arslan, who, after the fall
of Nicaea, had raised this new army of Saracens, and was pursuing the
conquerors on their march. The battle began in great disorder; the
chiefs in person sustained the first shock; and the duke of Normandy,
Robert Shorthose, took in his hand his white banner, embroidered with
gold, and waving it over his head, threw himself upon the Turks,
shouting, "God willeth it! God willeth it!" Bohemond obstinately sought
out Kilidge-Arslan in the fray; but at the same time he sent messengers
in all haste to Godfrey de Bouillon, as yet but a little way off, to
summon him to their aid. Godfrey galloped up, and, with some fifty of
his knights, preceding the rest of his army, was the first to throw
himself into the midst of the Turks. Towards mid-day the whole of the
first body arrived, with standards flying, with the sound of trumpets and
with the shouting of warriors. Kilidge-Arslan and his troops fell back
upon the heights whence they had descended. The crusaders, without
taking breath, ascended in pursuit. The Turks saw themselves shut in by
a forest of lances, and fled over wood and rock; and "two days afterwards
they were still flying," says Albert of Aix, "though none pursued them,
unless it were God himself." The victory of Doryleum opened the whole
country to the crusaders, and they resumed their march towards Syria,
paying their sole attention to not separating again.

It was not long before they had to grapple with other dangers against
which bravery could do nothing. They were crossing, under a broiling
sun, deserted tracts which their enemies had taken good care to ravage.
Water and forage were not to be had; the men suffered intolerably from
thirst; horses died by hundreds; at the head of their troops marched
knights mounted on asses or oxen; their favorite amusement, the chase,
became impossible for them; for their hawking-birds too--the falcons and
gerfalcons they had brought with them--languished and died beneath the
excessive heat. One incident obtained for the crusaders a momentary
relief. The dogs which followed the army, prowling in all directions,
one day returned with their paws and coats wet; they had, therefore,
found water; and the soldiers set themselves to look for it, and, in
fact, discovered a small river in a remote valley. They got water-drunk,
and more than three hundred men, it is said, were affected by it and

On arriving in Pisidia, a country intersected by Water-courses, meadows,
and woods, the army rested several days; but at that very point two of
its most competent and most respected chiefs were very nearly taken from
it. Count Raymond of Toulouse, who was also called Raymond of Saint-
Gilles, fell so ill that the bishop of Orange was reading over him the
prayers for the dying, when one of those present cried out that the count
would assuredly live, for that the prayers of his patron saint, Gilles,
had obtained for him a truce with death. And Raymond recovered. Godfrey
de Bouillon, again, whilst riding in a forest, came upon a pilgrim
attacked by a bear, and all but fallen a victim to the ferocious beast.
The duke drew his sword and urged his horse against the bear, which,
leaving the pilgrim, rushed upon the assailant. The frightened horse
reared; Godfrey was thrown, and, according to one account, immediately
remounted; but, according to another, he fell, on the contrary, together
with his horse; however, he sustained a fearful struggle against the
bear, and ultimately killed it by plunging his sword up to the hilt into
its belly, says 'William of Tyre, but with so great an effort, and after
receiving so serious a wound, that his soldiers, hurrying up at the
pilgrim's report, found him stretched on the ground, covered with blood,
and unable to rise, and carried him back to the camp, where he was, for
several weeks, obliged to be carried about in a litter in the rear of the

Through all these perils they continued to advance, and they were
approaching the heights of Taurus, the bulwark and gate of Syria, when a
quarrel which arose between two of the principal crusader chiefs was like
to seriously endanger the concord and strength of the army. Tancred,
with his men, had entered Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, and had
planted his flag there. Although later in his arrival, Baldwin, brother
of Godfrey de Bouillon, claimed a right to the possession of the city,
and had his flag set up instead of Tancred's, which was thrown into a
ditch. During several days the strife was fierce and even bloody; the
soldiers of Baldwin were the more numerous, and those of Tancred
considered their chief too gentle, and his bravery, so often proved,
scarcely sufficed to form an excuse for his forbearance. Chiefs and
soldiers, however, at last, saw the necessity for reconciliation, and
made mutual promises to sink all animosity. On returning to the general
camp, Tancred was received with marked favor; for the majority of the
crusaders, being unconcerned in the quarrel at Tarsus, liked him for his
bravery and for his gentleness equally. Baldwin, on the contrary, was
much blamed, even by his brother Godfrey; but he was far more ambitious
on his own account than devoted to the common cause. He had often heard
tell of Armenia and Mesopotamia, their riches and the large number of
Christians living there, almost equally independent of Greeks and Turks;
and, in the hope of finding there a chance of greatly improving his
personal fortunes, he left the army of the crusaders at Maresa, on the
very eve of the day on which the chiefs came to the decision that no one
should for the future move away from the flag, and taking with him a weak
detachment of two hundred horse and one thousand or twelve hundred foot,
marched towards Armenia. His name and his presence soon made a stir
there; and he got hold of two little towns which received him eagerly.
Edessa, the capital of Armenia and metropolis of Mesopotamia, was peopled
by Christians; and a Greek governor, sent from Constantinople by the
emperor, lived there, on payment of a tribute to the Turks. Internal
dissensions and the fear ever inspired by the vicinity of the Turks kept
the city in a state of lively agitation; and bishop, people, and Greek
governor, all appealed to Baldwin. He presented himself before Edessa
with merely a hundred horsemen, having left the remainder of his forces
in garrison at the town he had already occupied. All the population came
to meet him, bearing branches of olive and singing chants in honor of
their deliverer. But it was not long before outbreaks and alarms began
again; and Baldwin looked on at then, waiting for power to be offered
him. Still there was no advance; the Greek governor continued where be
was; and Baldwin muttered threats of his departure. The popular
disquietude was extreme; and the Greek governor, old and detested as he
was, thought to smooth all by adopting the Latin chief and making him his
heir. This, however, caused but a short respite; Baldwin left the
governor to be massacred in a fresh outbreak; the people came and offered
him the government, and he became Prince of Edessa, and, ere long, of all
the neighboring country, without thinking any more of Jerusalem, of
which, nevertheless, he was destined at no distant day to be king.

Whilst Baldwin was thus acquiring, for himself and himself alone, the
first Latin principality belonging to the crusaders in the East, his
brother Godfrey and the main Christian army were crossing the chain of
Taurus and arriving before Antioch, the capital of Syria. Great was the
fame, with Pagans and Christians, of this city; its site, the beauty of
its climate, the fertility of its land, its fish-abounding lake, its
river of Orontes, its fountain of Daphne, its festivals, and its morals,
had made it, under the Roman empire, a brilliant and favorite abode. At
the same time, it was there that the disciples of Jesus had assumed the
name of Christians, and that St. Paul had begun his heroic life as
preacher and as missionary. It was absolutely necessary that the
crusaders should take Antioch; but the difficulty of the conquest was
equal to the importance. The city was well fortified and provided with
a strong citadel; the Turks had been in possession of it for fourteen
years; and its governor Accien or Baghisian (_Yagui-Sian_, or _brother of
black_, according to Oriental historians), appointed by the sultan of
Persia, Malekschah, was shut up in it with seven thousand horse and
twenty thousand foot. The first attacks of the Christians failed; and
they had the prospect of a long siege. At the outset their situation had
been easy and pleasant; they encountered no hostility from the
country-people, who were intimidated or indifferent; they came and paid
visits to the camp, and admitted the crusaders to their markets; the
harvests, which were hardly finished, had been abundant: "the grapes,"
says Guibert of Nogent, "were still hanging on the branches of the
vines; on all sides discoveries were made of grain shut up, not in
barns, but in subterranean vaults; and the trees were laden with fruit."
These facilities of existence, the softness of the climate, the
pleasantness of the places, the frequency of leisure, partly pleasure
and partly care-for-nothingness, caused amongst the crusaders
irregularity, license, indiscipline, carelessness, and often perils and
reverses. The Turks profited thereby to make sallies, which threw the
camp into confusion and cost the lives of crusaders surprised or
scattered about. Winter came; provisions grew scarce, and had to be
sought at a greater distance and at greater peril; and living ceased to
be agreeable or easy. Disquietude, doubts concerning the success of the
enterprise, fatigue and discouragement made way amongst the army; and
men who were believed to be proved, Robert Shorthose, duke of Normandy,
William, viscount of Melun, called the Carpenter, on account of his
mighty battle-axe, and Peter the Hermit himself, "who had never
learned," says Robert the monk, "to endure such plaguy hunger," left the
camp and deserted the banner of the cross, "that there might be seen, in
the words of the Apocalypse, even the stars falling from heaven," says
Guibert of Nogent. Great were the scandal and the indignation. Tancred
hurried after the fugitives and brought then back; and they swore on the
Gospel never again to abandon the cause which they had preached and
served so well. It was clearly indispensable to take measures for
restoring amongst the army discipline, confidence, and the morals and
hopes of Christians. The different chiefs applied themselves thereto by
very different processes, according to their vocation, character, or
habits. Adhdmar, bishop of Puy, the renowned spiritual chief of the
crusade, Godfrey de Bouillon, Raymond of Toulouse, and the military
chieftains renowned for piety and virtue made head against all kinds of
disorder either by fervent addresses or severe prohibitions. Men caught
drunk had their hair cut off; blasphemous and reckless gamesters were
branded with a red-hot iron; and the women were shut up in separate
tents. To the irregularities within were added the perils of incessant
espionage on the part of the Turks in the very camp of the crusaders:
and no one knew how to repress this evil. "Brethren and lords," said
Bohemond to the assembled princes, "let me undertake this business by
myself; I hope, with God's help, to find a remedy for this complaint."
Caring but little for moral reform, he strove to strike terror into the
Turks, and, by counteraction, restore confidence to the crusaders. "One
evening," says William of Tyre, "whilst everybody was, as usual,
occupied in getting supper ready, Bohemond ordered some Turks who had
been caught in the camp to be brought out of prison and put to death
forthwith; and then, having had a huge fire lighted, he gave
instructions that they should be roasted and carefully prepared as if
for being eaten. If it should be asked what operation was going on, he
commanded his people to answer, 'The princes and governors of the camp
this day decreed at their council that all Turks or their spies who
should henceforth be found in the camp should be forced, after this
fashion, to furnish meat of their own carcasses to the princes as well
as to the whole army!'" "The whole city of Antioch," adds the
historian, "was stricken with terror at hearing the report of words so
strange and a deed so cruel. And thus, by the act and pains of
Bohemond, the camp was purged of this pest of spies, and the results of
the princes' meetings were much less known amongst the foe."

Bohemond did not confine himself to terrifying the Turks by the display
of his barbarities; he sought and found traitors amongst them. During
the incidents of the siege he had concocted certain relations with an
inhabitant of Antioch, named Ferouz or Emir-Feir, probably a renegade
Christian and seeming Mussulman, in favor with the Governor Accien or
Baghisian, who had intrusted to him, him and his family, the ward of
three of the towers and gates of the city. Emir-Feir, whether from
religious remorse or on promise of a rich recompense, had, after the
ambiguous and tortuous conversations which usually precede treason, made
an offer to Bohemond to open to him, and, through him, to the crusaders,
the entrance into Antioch. Bohemond, in covert terms, informed the
chiefs, his comrades, of this proposal, leaving it to be understood that,
if the capture of Antioch were the result of his efforts, it would be for
him to become its lord. The count of Toulouse bluntly rejected this
idea. "We be all brethren," said he, "and we have all run the same risk;
I did not leave my own country, and face, I and mine, so many dangers to
conquer new lord-ships for any particular one of us." The opinion of
Raymond prevailed, and Bohemond pressed the matter no more that day. But
the situation became more and more urgent; and armies of Mussulmans were
preparing to come to the aid of Antioch. When these fresh alarms spread
through the camp, Bohemond returned to the charge, saying, "Time presses;
and if ye accept the overtures made to us, to-morrow Antioch will be
ours, and we shall march in triumph on Jerusalem. If any find a better
way of assuring our success, I am ready to accept it and renounce, on my
own account, all conquest." Raymond still persisted in his opposition;
but all the other chiefs submitted to the overtures and conditions of
Bohemond. All proper measures were taken, and Emir-Fein, being apprised
thereof, had Bohemond informed that on the following night everything
would be ready. At the appointed hour three-score warriors, with
Bohemond at their head, repaired noiselessly to the foot of the tower
indicated; a ladder was hoisted and Emir-Feir fastened it firmly to the
top of the wall. Bohemond looked round and round, but no one was in a
hurry to mount. Bohemond, therefore, himself mounted; and, having
received recognition from Emir-Fein, he leaned upon the ramparts, called
in a low voice to his comrades, and rapidly re-descended to reassure them
and get them to mount with him. Up they mount; that and two other
neighboring towers are given up to them; the three gates are opened, and
the crusaders rush in. When day appeared, on the 3d of June, 1098, the
streets of Antioch were full of corpses; for the Turks, surprised, had
been slaughtered without resistance or had fled into the country. The
citadel, filled with those who had been able to take refuge there, still
held out; but the entire city was in the power of the crusaders, and the
banner of Bohemond floated on an elevated spot over against the citadel.

In spite of their triumph the crusaders were not so near marching on
Jerusalem as Bohemond had promised. Everywhere, throughout Syria and
Mesopotamia, the Mussulmans were rising to go and deliver Antioch; an
immense army was already in motion; there were eleven hundred thousand
men according to Matthew of Edessa, six hundred and sixty thousand
according to Foucher of Chartres, three hundred thousand according to
Raoul of Caen, and only two hundred thousand according to William of Tyre
and Albert of Aix. The discrepancy in the figures is a sufficient proof
of their untruthfulness. The last number was enough to disquiet the
crusaders, already much reduced by so many marches, battles, sufferings,
and desertions. An old Mussulman warrior, celebrated at that time
throughout Western Asia, Corbogha, sultan of Mossoul (hard by what was
ancient Nineveh), commanded all the hostile forces, and four days after
the capture of Antioch he was already completely round the place,
enclosing the crusaders within the walls of which they had just become
the masters. They were thus and all on a sudden besieged in their turn,
having even in the very midst of them, in the citadel which still held
out, a hostile force. Whilst they had been besieging Antioch, the
Emperor Alexis Comnenus had begun to march with an army to get his share
in their successes, and was advancing into Asia Minor when he heard that
the Mussulmans, in immense numbers, were investing the Christian army in
Antioch, and not in a condition, it was said, to hold out long. The
emperor immediately retraced his steps towards Constantinople, and the
crusaders found that they had no Greek aid to hope for. The blockade,
becoming stricter day by day, soon brought about a horrible famine in
Antioch. Instead of repeating here, in general terms, the ordinary
descriptions of this cruel scourge, we will reproduce its particular
and striking features as they have been traced out by contemporary
chroniclers. "The Christian people," says William of Tyre, "had recourse
before long, to procure themselves any food whatever, to all sorts of
shameful means. Nobles, free men, did not blush to hungrily stretch out
the hand to nobodies, asking with troublesome pertinacity for what was
too often refused. There were seen the very strongest, those whom their
signal valor had rendered illustrious in the midst of the army, now
supported on crutches, dragging themselves half-dead along the streets
and in the public places; and, if they did not speak, at any rate they
showed themselves, with countenances irrecognizable, silently begging
alms of every passer-by. No self-respect restrained matrons or young
women heretofore accustomed to severe restraints; they walked hither and
thither, with pallid faces, groaning and searching everywhere for
somewhat to eat; and they in whom the pangs of hunger had not
extinguished every spark of modesty went and hid themselves in the most
secret places, and gnawed their hearts in silence, preferring to die of
want rather than beg in public. Children still in the cradle, unable to
get milk, were exposed at the cross-roads, crying in vain for their usual
nourishment; and men, women, and children, all threw themselves greedily
upon any kind of food, wholesome and unwholesome, clean and unclean, that
they could scrape together here and there, and none shared with another
that which they picked up." So many and such sufferings produced
incredible dastardliness; and deserters escaped by night, in some cases
throwing themselves down, at the risk of being killed, into the
city-moat; in others getting down by help of a rope from the ramparts.
Indignation blazed forth against the fugitives; they were called
rope-dancers; and God was prayed to treat them as the traitor Judas.
William of Tyre and Guibert of Nogent, after naming some, and those the
very highest, end with these words: "Of many more I know not the names,
and I am unwilling to expose all that are well known to me."

"We are assured," says William of Tyre, "that in view of such woes and
such weaknesses, the princes, despairing of any means of safety, held
amongst themselves a secret council, at which they decided to abandon the
army and all the people, fly in the middle of the night, and retreat to
the sea." According to the Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa, the
princes would seem to have resolved, in this hour of dejection, not to
fly and leave the army to its fate, but "to demand of Corboghzi an
assurance for all, under the bond of an oath, of personal safety, on the
promise of surrendering Antioch to him; after which they would return
home." Several Arab historians, and amongst them Ibn-el-Athir, Aboul-
Faradje, and Aboul-Feda confirm the statement of conditions. Whatever
may have been the real turn taken by the promptings of weakness amongst
the Christians, Godfrey de Bouillon and Adhemar, bishop of Puy,
energetically rejected them all; and an unexpected incident, considered
as miraculous, reassured the wavering spirits both of soldiers and of
chiefs. A priest of Marseilles, Peter Bartholomew, came and announced to
the chiefs that St. Andrew had thrice appeared to him in a dream, saying,
"Go into the church of my brother Peter at Antioch; and hard by the high
altar thou wilt find, on digging up the ground, the head of the spear
which pierced our Redeemer's side. That, carried in front of the army,
will bring about the deliverance of the Christians." The appointed
search was solemnly conducted under the eye of twelve reputable
witnesses, priests and knights; the whole army was in attendance at the
closed gates of the church; the spear-head was found and carried off in
triumph; a pious enthusiasm restored to all present entire confidence;
and with loud shouts they demanded battle. The chiefs judged it proper
to announce their determination to the chief of the Mussulmans; and for
this mission they chose Peter the Hermit, who was known to them as a bold
and able speaker. Peter, on arriving at the enemy's camp, presented
himself without any mark of respect before the Sultan, Corbogha,
surrounded by his satraps, and said, "The sacred assembly of princes
pleasing to God who are at Antioch doth send me unto thy Highness, to
advise thee that thou art to cease from thy importunities, and that thou
abandon the siege of a city which the Lord in His divine mercy hath given
up to them. The prince of the apostles did wrest that city from
idolatry, and convert it to the faith of Christ. Ye had forcibly but
unjustly taken possession of it. They who be moved by a right lawful
anxiety for this heritage of their ancestors make their demand of thee
that thou choose between divers offers: either give up the siege of the
city, and cease troubling the Christians, or, within three days from
hence, try the power of our arms. And that thou seek not after any, even
a lawful, subterfuge, they offer thee further choice between divers
determinations: either appear alone in person to fight with one of our
princes, in order that, if victorious, thou mayest obtain all thou canst
demand, or, if vanquished, thou mayest remain quiet; or, again, pick out
divers of thine who shall fight, on the same terms, with the same number
of ours; or, lastly, agree that the two armies shall prove, one against
the other, the fortune of battle." "Peter," answered Corbogha
ironically, "it is not likely that the affairs of the princes who have
sent thee be in such state that they can thus offer me choice betwixt
divers proposals, and that I should be bound to accept that which may
suit me best. My sword hath brought them to such a condition that they
have not themselves any longer the power of choosing freely, and that
they be constrained to shape and unshape their wishes according to my
good pleasure. Go, then, and tell these fools that all whom I shall find
in full possession of all the powers of the manly age shall have their
lives, and shall be reserved by me for my master's service, and that all
other shall fall beneath my sword, as useless trees, so that there shall
remain of them not even a faint remembrance. Had I not deemed it more
convenient to destroy them by famine than to smite them with the sword, I
should already have gotten forcible mastery of the city, and they would
have reaped the fruits of their voyage hither by undergoing the law of

On returning to camp, Peter the Hermit was about to set forth in detail,
before all the people of the crusaders, the answer of Corbogha, his
pride, his threats, and the pomp with which he was surrounded; but
Godfrey de Bouillon, "fearing lest the multitude, already crushed beneath
the weight of their woes, should be stricken with fresh terror," stopped
Peter at the moment when he was about to begin his speech, and, taking
him aside, prevailed upon him to tell the result of his mission in a few
words, just that the Turks desired battle, and that it must be prepared
for at once. "Forthwith all, from the highest to the lowest, testify the
most eager desire to measure swords with the infidels, and seem to have
completely forgotten their miseries, and to calculate upon victory. All
resume their arms, and get ready their horses, their breastplates, their
helmets, their shields, and their swords. It is publicly announced
throughout the city that the next morning, before sunrise, every one will
have to be in readiness, and join his host to follow faithfully the
banner of his prince."

Next day, accordingly, the 28th of June, 1098, the feast of St. Peter and
St. Paul, the whole Christian army issued from their camp, with a portion
of the clergy marching at their head, and chanting the 68th Psalm, "Let
God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!" "I saw these things, I who
speak," says one of the chroniclers, Raymond d'Agiles, chaplain to the
count of Toulouse: "I was there, and I carried the spear of the Lord."
The crusaders formed in twelve divisions; and, of all their great chiefs,
the count of Toulouse alone was unable to assume the command of his; he
was detained in Antioch by the consequences of a wound, and he had the
duty of keeping in check the Turkish garrison, still masters of the
citadel. The crusaders presented the appearance of old troops ill clad,
ill provided, and surmounting by sheer spirit the fatigues and losses of
a long war; many sick soldiers could scarcely march; many barons and
knights were on foot; and Godfrey de Bouillon himself had been obliged to
borrow a horse from the count of Toulouse. During the march a gentle
rain refreshed souls as well as bodies, and was regarded as a favor from
heaven. Just as the battle was commencing, Corbogha, struck by the
impassioned, stern, and indomitable aspect of the crusaders, felt
somewhat disquieted, and made proposals, it is said, to the Christian
princes of what he had refused them the evening before--a fight between
some of their knights and as many Saracens; but they in their turn
rejected the proposition. There is a moment, during great struggles,
when the souls of men are launched forth like bomb-shells, which nothing
can stop or cause to recoil. The battle was long, stubborn, and, at some
points, indecisive: Kilidge-Arslan, the indefatigable sultan of Nicaea,
attacked Bohemond so briskly, that, save for the prompt assistance of
Godfrey de Bouillon and Tancred, the prince of Antioch had been in great
peril. But the pious and warlike enthusiasm of the crusaders at length
prevailed over the savage bravery of the Turks; and Corbogha, who had
promised the khalif of Bagdad a defeat of the Christians, fled away
towards the Euphrates with a weak escort of faithful troops. Tancred
pursued till nightfall the sultans of Aleppo and Damascus and the emir of
Jerusalem. According to the Christian chroniclers, one hundred thousand
infidels, and only four thousand crusaders, were left on the field of
battle. The camp of the Turks was given over to pillage; and fifteen
thousand camels, and it is not stated how many horses, were carried off.
The tent of Corbogha himself was, for his conquerors, a rich prize and an
object of admiration. It was laid out in streets, flanked by towers, as
if it were a fortified town; gold and precious stones glittered in every
part of it; it was capable of containing more than two thousand persons;
and Bohemond sent it to Italy, where it was long preserved. The
conquerors employed several days in conveying into Antioch the spoils of
the vanquished; and "every crusader," says Albert of Aix, "found himself
richer than he had been at starting from Europe."

This great success, with the wealth it was the means of spreading, and
the pretensions and hopes it was the cause of raising amongst the
crusaders, had for some time the most injurious effects. Division set in
amongst them, especially amongst the chiefs. Some abandoned themselves
to all the license of victory, others to the sweets of repose. Some,
fatigued and disgusted, quietly prepared for and accomplished their
return home; others, growing more and more ambitious and bold, aspired to
conquests and principalities in the East. Why should not they acquire
what Baldwin had acquired at Edessa, and what Bohemond was within an ace
of possessing at Antioch? Others were jealous of the great fortunes made
before their eyes: and Raymond of Toulouse was vexed at Bohemond's rule
in Antioch, and refused to give up to him the citadel. One and another
troubled themselves little more about the main end of their crusade, the
deliverance of Jerusalem, and devoted themselves to their personal
interests. A few days after the defeat of the Turks, the council of
princes deliberated upon the question of marching immediately upon
Jerusalem, and then all these various inclinations came out. After a
lively debate, the majority decided that they should wait till the heat
of summer was over, the army rested from its fatigues, and the
reinforcements expected from the West arrived. The common sort of
crusaders were indignant at this delay: "Since the princes will not lead
us to Jerusalem," was said aloud, "choose we among the knights a brave
man who will serve us faithfully, and, if the grace of God be with us, go
we under his leading to Jerusalem. It is not enough for our princes that
we have remained here a whole year, and that two hundred thousand men-at-
arms have fallen here! Perish all they who would remain at Antioch, even
as its inhabitants but lately perished!" But, murmuring all the while,
they staid at Antioch, in spite of a violent epidemic, which took off, it
was said, in a single month, fifty thousand persons, and amongst them the
spiritual chief of the crusade, Adhemar, bishop of Puy, who had the
respect and confidence of all the crusaders. To find some specious
pretext, or some pious excuse for this inactivity, or simply to pass the
time which was not employed as it had been sworn it should be, war-like
expeditions were made into Syria and Mesopotamia; some emirs were driven
from their petty dominions; some towns were taken; some infidels were
massacred. The count of Toulouse persisted during several weeks in
besieging Marrah, a town situated between Hamath and Aleppo. At last he
took it, but there were no longer any inhabitants to be found in it; they
had all taken refuge under ground. Huge fires lighted at the entrance of
their hiding-place forced them to come out, and as they came they were
all put to death or carried off as slaves; "which so terrified the
neighboring towns," says a chronicler, "that they yielded of their own
free will and without compulsion."

It was all at once ascertained that Jerusalem had undergone a fresh
calamity, and fallen more and more beneath the yoke of the infidels.
Abou-Kacem, khalif of Egypt, had taken it from the Turks; and his vizier,
Afdhel, had left a strong garrison in it. A sharp pang of grief, of
wrath, and of shame shot through the crusaders. "Could it be," they
cried, "that Jerusalem should be taken and retaken, and never by
Christians?" Many went to seek out the count of Toulouse. He was known
to be much taken up with the desire of securing the possession of Marrah,
which he had just captured; still great confidence was felt in him. He
had made a vow never to return to the West; he was the richest of the
crusader princes; he was conjured to take upon himself the leadership of
the army; to him had been intrusted the spear of the Lord discovered at
Antioch; if the other princes should be found wanting, let him at least
go forward with the people, in full assurance; if not, he had only to
give up the spear to the people, and the people would go right on to
Jerusalem, with the Lord for their leader. After some hesitation,
Raymond declared that the departure should take place in a fortnight, and
he summoned the princes to a preliminary meeting. On assembling "they
found themselves still less at one," says the chronicler, and the
majority refused to budge. To induce them, it is said that Raymond
offered ten thousand sous to Godfrey de Bouillon, the same to Robert of
Normandy, six thousand to the count of Flanders, and five thousand to
Tancred; but, at the same time, Raymond announced his intention of
leaving a strong garrison in Marrah to secure its defence. "What!"
cried the common folk amongst the crusaders, "disputes about Antioch and
disputes about Marrah! We will take good care there be no quarrel
touching this town; come, throw we down its walls; restore we peace
amongst the princes, and set we the count at liberty: when Marrah no
longer exists, he will no longer fear to lose it." The multitude rushed
to surround Marrah, and worked so eagerly at the demolition of its
ramparts that the count of Toulouse, touched by this popular feeling as
if it were a proof of the divine will, himself put the finishing touch to
the work of destruction and ordered the speedy departure of the army.
At their head marched he, barefooted, with his clergy and the bishop of
Akbar, all imploring the mercy of God and the protection of the saints.
After him marched Tancred with forty knights and many foot. "Who then
may resist this people," said Turks and Saracens one to another, "so
stubborn and cruel, whom, for the space of a year, nor famine, nor the
sword, nor any other danger could cause to abandon the siege of Antioch,
and who now are feeding upon human flesh?" In fact a rumor had spread
that, in their extreme distress for want of provisions, the crusaders had
eaten corpses of Saracens found in the moats of Marrah.

Several of the chiefs, hitherto undecided, now followed the popular
impulse, whilst others still hesitated. But on the approach of spring,
1099, more than eight months after the capture of Antioch, Godfrey of
Bouillon, his brother, Eustace of Boulogne, Robert of Flanders, and their
following, likewise began to march. Bohemond, after having accompanied
them as far as Laodicea, left them with a promise of rejoining them
before Jerusalem, and returned to Antioch, where he remained. Fresh
crusaders arrived from Flanders, Holland, and England, and amongst them
the Saxon prince, Edgar Atheling, who had for a brief interval been king
of England, between the death of Harold and the coronation of William the
Conqueror. The army pursued its way, pretty slowly, still stopping from
time to time to besiege towns, which they took and which the chiefs
continued to dispute for amongst themselves. Envoys from the khalif of
Egypt, the new holder of Jerusalem, arrived in the crusaders' camp, with
presents and promises from their master. They had orders to offer forty
thousand pieces of gold to Godfrey, sixty thousand to Bohemond, the most
dreaded by the Mussulmans of all the crusaders, and other gifts to divers
other chiefs. Aboul-Kacem further promised liberty of pilgrimage and
exercise of the Christian religion in Jerusalem; only the Christians must
not enter, unless unarmed. At this proposal the crusader chiefs cried
out with indignation, and declared to the Egyptian envoys that they were
going to hasten their march upon Jerusalem, threatening at the same time
to push forward to the borders of the Nile. At the end of the month of
flay, 1099, they were all masse upon the frontiers of Phoenicia and
Palestine, numbering according to the most sanguine calculations, only
fifty thousand fighting men.

Upon entering Palestine, as they came upon spots known in sacred history
or places of any importance, the same feelings of greed and jealousy
which had caused so much trouble in Asia Minor and Syria caused divisions
once more amongst the crusaders. The chieftain, the simple warrior
almost, who was the first to enter city, or burgh, or house, and plant
his flag there halted in it and claimed to be its possessor; whilst those
"whom nothing was dearer than the commandments of God," say the
chroniclers, pursued their march, barefooted, beneath the banner of the
cross, deplored the covetousness and the quarrels of their brethren.
When the crusaders arrived a Emmaus, some Christians of Bethlehem came
and implore their aid against the infidels. Tancred was there; and he,
with the consent of Godfrey, set out immediately, in the middle of the
night, with a small band of one hundred horsemen, and went and planted
his own flag on the top of the church at Bethlehem at the very hour at
which the birth of Jesus Christ had been announced to the shepherds of
Judea. Next day, June 10th 1099, on advancing, at dawn of day, over the
heights of Emmaus, the army of the crusaders had, all at once, beneath
their gaze the Holy City.

"Lo! Jerusalem appears in sight. Lo! every hand point, out Jerusalem.
Lo! a thousand voices are heard as one in salutation of Jerusalem.

"After the great, sweet joy which filled all hearts at this first glimpse
came a deep feeling of contrition, mingled with awful and reverential
affection. Each scarcely dared to raise the eye towards the city which
had been the chosen abode of Christ, where He died, was buried, and rose

"In accents of humility, with words low spoken, with stifled sobs, with
sighs and tears, the pent-up yearnings of a people in joy and at the same
time in sorrow sent shivering through the air a murmur like that which is
heard in leafy forests what time the wind blows through the leaves, or
like the dull sound made by the sea which breaks upon the rocks, or
hisses as it foams over the beach."

It was better to quote these beautiful stanzas from "Jerusalem Delivered"
than to reproduce the pompous and monotonous phrases of the chroniclers.
The genius of Tasso was capable of understanding and worthy to depict the
emotions of a Christian army at sight of the Jerusalem they had come to

We will not pause over the purely military and technical details of the
siege. It was calculated that there were in the city twenty thousand
armed inhabitants and forty thousand men in garrison, the most valiant
and most fanatical Mussulmans that Egypt could furnish. According to
William of Tyre, the most judicious and the best informed of the
contemporary historians, "When the crusaders pitched their camp over
against Jerusalem, there had arrived there about forty thousand persons
of both sexes, of whom there were at the most twenty thousand foot, well
equipped, and fifteen hundred knights." Raymond d'Agiles, chaplain to
the count of Toulouse, reduces still further to twelve thousand the
number of foot capable of bearing arms, and that of the knights to twelve
or thirteen hundred. This weak army was destitute of commissariat and
the engines necessary for such a siege. Before long it was a prey to the
horrors of thirst. "The neighborhood of Jerusalem," says William of
Tyre, "is arid; and it is only at a considerable distance that there are
to be found rivulets, fountains, or wells of fresh water. Even these
springs had been filled up by the enemy a little before the arrival of
our troops. The crusaders issued from the camp secretly and in small
detachments to look for water in all directions; and just when they
believed they had found some hidden trickier, they saw themselves
surrounded by a multitude of folks engaged in the same search; disputes
forthwith arose amongst them, and they frequently came to blows. Horses,
mules, asses, and cattle of all kinds, consumed by heat and thirst, fell
down and died; and their carcasses, left here and there about the camp,
tainted the air with a pestilential smell." Wood, iron, and all the
materials needful for the construction of siege machinery were as much to
seek as water. But a warlike and pious spirit made head against all.
Trees were felled at a great distance from Jerusalem; and scaling-towers
were roughly constructed, as well as engines for hurling the stones which
were with difficulty brought up within reach of the city. "All ye who
read this," says Raymond d'Agiles, "think not that it was light labor; it
was nigh a mile from the spot where the engines, all dismounted, had to
be transported to that where they were remounted." The knights protected
against the sallies of the besieged the workmen employed upon this work.
One day Tancred had gone alone to pray on the Mount of Olives and to gaze
upon the holy city, when five Mussulmans sallied forth and went to attack
him; he killed three of them, and the other two took to flight. There
was at one point of the city ramparts a ravine which had to be filled up
to make an approach; and the count of Toulouse had proclamation made that
be would give a denier to every one who would go and throw three stones
into it. In three days the ravine was filled up. After four weeks of
labor and preparation, the council of princes fixed a day for delivering
the assault; but as there had been quarrels between several of the
chiefs, and, notably, between the count of Toulouse and Tancred, it was
resolved that before the grand attack they should all be reconciled at a
general supplication, with solemn ceremonies, for divine aid. After a
strict fast, all the crusaders went forth armed from their quarters, and
preceded by their priests, bare-footed and chanting psalms, they moved,
in slow procession, round Jerusalem, halting at all places hallowed by
some fact in sacred history, listening to the discourses of their
priests, and raising eyes full of wrath at hearing the scoffs addressed
to them by the Saracens, and seeing the insults heaped upon certain
crosses they had set up and upon all the symbols of the Christian faith.
"Ye see," cried Peter the Hermit; "ye hear the threats and blasphemies of
the enemies of God. Now this I swear to you by your faith; this I swear
to you by the arms ye carry: to-day these infidels be still full of pride
and insolence, but to-morrow they shall be frozen with fear; those
mosques, which tower over Christian ruins, shall serve for temples to the
true God, and Jerusalem shall hear no longer aught but the praises of the
Lord." The shouts of the whole Christian army responded to the hopes of
the apostle of the crusade; and the crusaders returned to their quarters
repeating the words of the prophet Isaiah: "So shall they fear the name
of the Lord from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun."

On the 14th of July, 1099, at daybreak, the assault began at divers
points; and next day, Friday, the 15th of July, at three in the
afternoon, exactly at the hour at which, according to Holy Writ, Jesus
Christ had yielded up the ghost, saying, "Father, into Thy hands I
commend My spirit," Jerusalem was completely in the hands of the
crusaders. We have no heart to dwell on the massacres which accompanied
the victory so clearly purchased by the conquerors. The historians,
Latin or Oriental, set down at seventy thousand the number of Mussulmans
massacred on the ramparts, in the mosques, in the streets, underground,
and wherever they had attempted to find refuge: a number exceeding that
of the armed inhabitants and the garrison of the city. Battle-madness,
thirst for vengeance, ferocity, brutality, greed, and every hateful
passion were satiated without scruple, in the name of their holy cause.
When they were weary of slaughter, "orders were given," says Robert the
monk, "to those of the Saracens who remained alive and were reserved for
slavery, to clean the city, remove from it the dead, and purify it from
all traces of such fearful carnage. They promptly obeyed; removed, with
tears, the dead; erected outside the gates dead-houses fashioned like
citadels or defensive buildings; collected in baskets dissevered limbs;
carried them away, and washed off the blood that stained the floors of
temples and houses."

Eight or ten days after the capture of Jerusalem, the crusader chiefs
assembled to deliberate upon the election of a king of their prize.
There were several who were suggested for it and might have pretended to
it. Robert Shorthose, duke of Normandy, gave an absolute refusal,
"liking better," says an English chronicler, "to give himself up to
repose and indolence in Normandy than to serve, as a soldier, the King of
kings: for which God never forgave him." Raymond, count of Toulouse, was
already advanced in years, and declared "that he would have a horror of
bearing the name of king in Jerusalem, but that he would give his consent
to the election of anyone else." Tancred was and wished to be only the
first of knights. Godfrey de Bouillon the more easily united votes in
that he did not seek them. He was valiant, discreet, worthy, and modest;
and his own servants, being privately sounded, testified to his
possession of the virtues which are put in practice without any show. He
was elected King of Jerusalem, and he accepted the burden whilst refusing
the insignia. "I will never wear a crown of gold," he said, "in the
place where the Saviour of the world was crowned with thorns." And he
assumed only the title of Defender and Baron of the Holy Sepulchre.

It is a common belief amongst historians that after the capture of
Jerusalem, and the election of her king, Peter the Hermit entirely
disappeared from history. It is true that he no longer played an active
part, and that, on returning to Europe, he went into retirement near Huy,
in the diocese of Lige, where he founded a monastery, and where he died
on the 11th of July, 1115. But William of Tyre bears witness that
Peter's contemporaries were not ungrateful to him, and did not forget him
when he had done his work. "The faithful," says he, "dwellers at
Jerusalem, who, four or five years before had seen the venerable Peter
there, recognizing at that time in the same city him to whom the
patriarch had committed letters invoking the aid of the princes of the
West, bent the knee before him, and offered him their respects in all
humility. They recalled to mind the circumstances of his first voyage;
and they praised the Lord who had endowed him with effectual power of
speech and with strength to rouse up nations and kings to bear so many
and such long toils for love of the name of Christ. Both in private and
in public all the faithful at Jerusalem exerted themselves to render to
Peter the Hermit the highest honors, and attributed to him alone, after
God, their happiness in having escaped from the hard servitude under
which they had been for so many years groaning, and in seeing the holy
city recovering her ancient freedom."


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