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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #90 on: March 01, 2009, 09:29:24 pm »

The crusaders had negotiated with the Fatimids of Egypt during their march to Jerusalem, but no satisfactory compromise could be reached — the Fatimids were willing to give up control of Syria but not Palestine, but this was unacceptable to the crusaders, whose goal was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was captured from the Fatimids on July 15, 1099, after a long siege, and immediately the crusaders learned that a Fatimid army was on its way to besiege them.

The crusaders acted quickly. Godfrey of Bouillon was named Defender of the Holy Sepulchre on July 22, and Arnulf of Chocques, named patriarch of Jerusalem on August 1, discovered a relic of the True Cross on August 5. Fatimid ambassadors arrived to order the crusaders to leave Jerusalem, but they were ignored. On August 10 Godfrey led the remaining crusaders out of Jerusalem towards Ascalon, a day's march away, while Peter the Hermit led both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox clergy in prayers and a procession from the Holy Sepulchre to the Temple. Robert II of Flanders and Arnulf accompanied Godfrey, but Raymond IV of Toulouse and Robert of Normandy stayed behind, either out of a quarrel with Godfrey or because they preferred to hear about the Egyptian army from their own scouts. When the Egyptian presence was confirmed, they marched out as well the next day. Near Ramla, they met Tancred and Godfrey's brother Eustace, who had left to capture Nablus earlier in the month. At the head of the army, Arnulf carried the relic of the Cross, while Raymond of Aguilers carried the relic of the Holy Lance that had been discovered at Antioch the previous year.

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