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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, 08:52:31 pm »

4. Version of Raymond d'Aguiliers

And so the poor began to leave, and many rich who feared poverty. If any for love of valor remained in camp, they suffered their horses to waste away by daily hunger. Indeed, straw did not abound; and fodder was so dear that seven or eight solidi were not sufficient to buy one night's food for a horse. Another calamity also befell the army, for Bohemund, who had become most distinguished in Hispania said that be would leave; that be bad come for honor, and (now) beheld his men and horses perishing for want; and he (further) said that he was not a rich man, I whose private resources would suffice for so long a siege. We found out afterwards that he had said this for the reason that he was ambitiously longing to become head of the city of Antioch.

Meanwhile, there was a great earthquake on the third day before the Kalends of January, and we beheld a very marvelous sign in the sky. For in the first watch of the night the sky was so red in the north that it seemed as if dawn had arisen to announce the day. And though in this way God chastised His army, so that we were intent upon the light which was rising in the darkness, yet the minds of some were so blind and abandoned that they were recalled neither from luxury nor robbery. At this time the Bishop prescribed a fast of three days and urged prayers and alms, together with a procession, upon the people; moreover, he commanded the priests to devote themselves to masses and prayers, the clerics to psalms. Thereupon, the merciful Lord, remembering His compassion, put off the punishment of His children, lest the arrogance of their adversaries increase.

There was, besides, in our army a certain member of the Emperor's household whom he had given to us in his place, Tatius by name, mangled in nose and all virtue. I had almost forgotten him, since be deserved to be abandoned to oblivion forever. This man, however, was daily whispering in the ears of the princes that they should scatter to the neighboring camp, and then assail the people of Antioch by frequent assaults and ambush. However, as all this was made clear to the Count (for he had been sick since the day when he was forced to flee at the bridge), be called his princes and the Bishop of Puy together. After holding a council, he gave them fifty marks of silver on this condition, truly, that if any of his knights lost a horse, it should be restored to him out of those fifty marks and other (resources) which had been given to the brotherhood. Moreover, this kind of cooperation was of great profit at that time, since the poor of our army, who wanted to cross the river to gather herbs, feared the frequent assaults of the enemy, and since very rarely did any care to go against the enemy, because their horses were starved and weak, and, in addition, so few that scarcely one hundred could be found in the whole army of the Count and Bishop. A similar lot bad befallen Bohemund and the other princes. Accordingly, for this reason our knights were not afraid to meet the enemy, especially those who had had or weak horses, since they knew that if they lost their horses they would obtain better ones. Moreover, something else occurred, namely that all the princes except the Count promised the city to Bohemund, provided it was taken. So Bohemund and the other princes swore to this agreement, that they would not withdraw from the siege of Antioch for seven years, unless the city was taken.

While these matters were happening in the camp, rumor also announced that the army of the Emperor was coming. It was reported to have been assembled from many peoples; namely, Slavs and Patzinaks and Cumans and Turcopoles. For they are called Turcopoles who either were reared among the Turks, or were born of a Turkish father and a Christian mother. These peoples, moreover, because they had hurt us on the march confessed that they were afraid to meet us. All this, however, that mangled Tatius had made up, and he had made such comments in order to be able to get away. This man, after heaping up not only (these) statements, but even the very greatest insults, betrayal of his companions, and perjury, slipped away in flight, after having granted to Bohemund two or three cities, Turso, Mamistra, Adana. Accordingly, after acquiring everlasting shame for himself and his people in this way, be feigned a journey to the army of the Emperor, and, leaving his tents and his servants, he set out with the curse of God.

It was announced to us at this time that the chief of the Caliph was coming to the help of Antioch with a large army, which he was leading from Chorosan. On this account, after a council had been held in the house of the Bishop, it was decided that the foot soldiers should guard the camp and the knights should go out of the camp against the enemy; for they said that if the many unwarlike and fearful in our army saw a multitude of Turks, they would afford examples of fright, rather than of boldness. Our men, therefore, set forth at night, lest those in the city should notice (their departure) and report it to those who were coming to aid them, and hid themselves among the little mountains about two leagues distant from our camp.

However, when it became morning, the enemy appeared with the sun. Let them hearken, let them hearken, I beg, who have at one time and another tried to hurt the army, so that, when they recognize that God enlarges His compassion among us, they may hasten to make restitution by lamenations of penance. Accordingly, after the knights had been formed in six squadrons, God multiplied them so much that they who had scarcely seemed to number seventy before the formation, after it were sworn to number more than two thousand in each squadron. What, indeed, shall I say of their boldness, when the knights even sang the military songs so festively that they regarded the coming battle as if it were a game? Moreover, the battle happened to be fought in this place where the swamp and river are a mile apart. This, however, prevented the enemy from spreading out, so that they could not encircle us in their usual manner. For God, who had given us other things, afforded us six successive valleys for advancing to battle. In one hour after going forth the field was taken, and while the sun shone brightly, the battle was committed to arms and shields. Our men, moreover, at first advanced a little, while the Turks, though they scattered to shoot with their bows, yet made a move to retreat. But our men suffered very much until the first ranks of the Turks were pushed into the rear, for as we learned from their deserters, there were said to be not less than twenty-eight thousand horsemen in this battle. And when the first line of the Turks was sufficiently mixed up with the following lines, the Franks called upon the Lord and charged. Nor was there delay; the Lord, strong and mighty in battle, was present. He protected His children, and hurled down the enemy. So the Franks pursued them even to their very strongly fortified camp, which was about ten miles from the place of battle. But the custodians of the camp, upon seeing this, set fire to it and fled. We were, however, so rejoiced and exultant at this, that we hailed as a second victory the burning of the camp.

And thus on that same day the light in the camp was so great that there was no place toward the city where fighting was not going on. For the enemy had arranged that, while we were most fiercely engaged by the besieged, we should be overwhelmed by their unexpected aid from the rear. But God, who granted victory to our knights, fought among our foot soldiers (also). And on that day we obtained no less a triumph over the besieged than our knights reported over the helpers. Accordingly, after the victory and the spoils had been won, the several heads of the dead were brought to the camp. And that we might cause fear among the enemy by the evidence of the (fate of) their scattered allies, the heads that had been brought along were suspended on stakes. This we believed later to have been done by the disposition of God. For when the standard of the Blessed Mary had been captured, they put it point downward in the ground, as if to shame us. And thus it happened hat they were restrained from taunting us by the sight of the uplifted heads of their men.

At this time there were in our camp envoys from the King of Babylon, who, upon seeing the wonders which God was working through His servents, glorified Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary, who through His poor had ground to dust their mightiest tyrants. These envoys, moreover, promised us favor and good will with their king; besides, they told of very many good deeds of their king toward the Egyptian Christians and our pilgrims. Thereupon, our envoys were sent back with them to enter upon a treaty and friendship with the King.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 139-42

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