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the First Crusade

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Author Topic: the First Crusade  (Read 7020 times)
Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #60 on: March 01, 2009, 08:49:03 pm »

2. Version of Raymond d'Aguiliers

And since already in the third month of the siege food was bought too dearly, Bohemund and the Count of Flanders were chosen to lead an army into Hispania for food, the Count and the Bishop of Puy being left as a guard in the camp. For the Count of Normandy was away at the time, and the Duke was very ill. However, when the enemy learned this, they repeated their customary assaults. The Count, moreover, was compelled to attack them in his usual manner, and, after forming the ranks of the foot soldiers, he, with some knights, pursued the assailants. He captured and killed two of them on the slope of the little mountain and forced all the enemy to enter by the bridge. As our foot soldiers saw this, they left their posts and their standards and ran in a mob up to their bridges. And when there, as if already in safety, they cast stones and weapons upon those who were defending the bridge. The Turks, after forming a line, began to rush against our men by the bridge and by a path which was lower down. Meanwhile, our knights chased toward our bridge a certain horse whose master they had overthrown. When our people saw this, thinking our knights in flight, they showed their backs to the attack of the enemy without delay. Then the Turks killed without ceasing those who fled. Even if the knights of the Franks wished to resist and fight for their people, they were caught by the crowd of fleeing footmen, by their arms, and by the manes and tails of the horses, and were either thrown from their horses, or, out of compassion and regard for the safety of their people, were brought to flight. The enemy, indeed, without delay, without pity, slaughtered and pursued the living and despoiled the bodies of the dead. Moreover, it was not enough for our men to leave their arms, take flight, despise shame, but they rushed into the river to be overwhelmed with stones or arrows of the enemy, or to remain under water. If skill and strength in swimming bore anyone across the river, he reached the camp of his companions. However, our flight extended from their bridge to our bridge. They there killed about fifteen of our knights and about twenty foot soldiers. The standard bearer of the Bishop was killed there, and his standard was captured. A certain very noble youth, Bernard Raymond of Beziers, died there.

Let the servants of God neither complain nor be angry with us, if our men bequeathed such open shame to the memory of our army; since God, who in this way desired to drive to penance the minds of adulterers and robbers, at the same time gladdened our army in Hispania. For a rumor, going forth from our camp, announced to Bohemund and his fellows that all was prosperous, and that the Count had gained a most noble victory. Moreover, this report aroused their spirits no little. After Bohemund had besieged a certain village, be heard some of his peasants suddenly fleeing and shouting, and when he had sent knights to meet them, they saw an army of Turks and Arabs close at hand. Moreover, among those who had set out to determine the cause of the flight and outcry was the Count of Flanders, and with him certain Provençals. For all from Burgundy, Auvergne, Gascony, and all Goths are called Provçencals, while the others are called of the Frankish race: that is, in the army; among the enemy, however, all are spoken of as Frankish. This Count of Flanders, as we have said, however, thinking it a disgrace to report about the enemy before attacking them, rushed impetuously against the phalanxes of the Turks. The Turks, indeed, unaccustomed to conduct battles with swords, took to flight for refuge. Nor did the Count sheathe his sword until he had removed a hundred of the enemy from life. When he was now returning to Bohemund as victor, he saw twelve thousand Turks coming behind him, and rising up on the nearest hill toward the left he saw a countless multitude of foot soldiers. Then, after communicating his plan to the rest of the army, be took a number of men back with him and violently attacked the Turks. Bohemund, indeed, followed at a distance with the rest and guarded the rear lines. For the Turks have this custom in fighting: even though they are fewer in number, they always strive to encircle their enemy. This they attempted to do in this battle also, but by the foresight of Bohemund the wiles of the enemy were prevented. When, however, the Turks, and the Arabs, coming against the Count of Flanders, saw that the affair was not to be conducted at a distance with arrows, but at close quarters with swords, they turned in flight. The Count followed them for two miles, and in this space be saw the bodies of the killed lying like bundles of grain reaped in the field. The ambushes which Bohemund had encountered were scattered and put to flight in the same way. But the countless horde of foot soldiers, of which we spoke above, slipped away in flight through places impassable to horses. I would dare, I say, were it not arrogant to judge, to place this battle ahead of the fights of the Maccabees, since if Maccabaeus with three thousand felled forty-eight thousand of the enemy, more than sixty thousand of the enemy were here turned in flight by a force of forty knights. I do not, indeed, belittle the valor of the Maccabees, nor exalt the valor of our knights, but I say that God, then marvelous in Maccabaeus, was now more marvelous in our troops.

A (strange) result of this achievement was that after the enemy had been put to flight the courage of our men decreased, so that they did not dare to pursue those whom they saw headlong in flight. Accordingly, when the army returned victorious and empty-handed, there was such famine in the camp that two solidi were scarcely enough to keep one man in bread for a day, nor were other things to be obtained less dearly.


August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 134-36

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