The First Crusade. A short narrative from contemporary sources
(After Fulcher’s preface, which seems admirably suited to this account, the chapter deals with the call for Crusaders from the West. The condition of Europe on the eve of the Crusade is too large a subject to be treated adequately here, but Fulcher’s brief summary contains a very suggestive survey of the situation and is interestingly supplemented by Ekkehard’s contrast of conditions in East and West Frankland. Most of the causes of the movement may be inferred from Urban’s speech at Clermont.
The Council of Clermont was held in November 1095 and lasted for ten days, from the eighteenth to the twenty-eighth of the month, the famous address of Urban being delivered on the day before the close of the Council. The four writers who were presumably present wrote their versions of the speech several years after it occurred, that of Fulcher being perhaps the earliest. Each may have preserved notes taken at the time, but it is ex–tremely interesting to observe that each stresses that phase of the speech which especially appealed to him. Robert the Monk seems to have responded as a patriotic Frenchman, Balderic as a member of the Church hierarchy, Guibert as a mystic, Fulcher, here, as always, as the simple curé—all as churchmen. Enough has been added by the writers to indicate that most of Urban’s audience, which consisted principally of the clergy, became un–official preachers of the Crusade when they returned to their own districts. This is indicated also by Urban’s letter to the Crusaders in Flanders, written less than a month after the Council, which was half plea and half instruction to men already aroused. Urban himself spoke at other places in France before returning to Italy to stir up the people there, but he did not go to Germany for the reasons mentioned by both Fulcher and Ekkehard. The appeal there, though indirect, was powerful, as the second chapter proves. The call to the Crusade was sounded and resounded by Urban, even to the time of his death, and by hundreds of others both during his lifetime and long thereafter.)
1. Conditions in Europe at the beginning of the Crusades.
(Fulcher.) In the year of our Lord 1095, in the reign of the so-called Emperor Henry in Germany and of King Philip in France, throughout Europe evils of all kinds waxed strong because of vacillating faith. Pope Urban II then ruled in the city of Rome. He was a man admirable in life and habits, who always strove wisely and energetically to raise the status of Holy Church higher and higher.
But the devil, who always desires man’s destruction and goes about like a raging lion seeking whom he may devour, stirred up to the confusion of the people a certain rival to Urban, Wibert by name. Incited by the stimulus of pride and supported by the shamelessness of the aforesaid Emperor of the Bavarians, Wibert attempted to usurp the papal office while Urban’s predecessor, Gregory, that is Hildebrand, was the legitimate Pope; and he thus caused Gregory himself to be cast out of St. Peter’s. So the better people refused to recognize him because he acted thus perversely. After the death of Hildebrand, Urban, lawfully elected, was consecrated by the cardinal bishops, and the greater and holier part of the people submitted in obedience to him. Wibert, however, urged on by the support of the aforesaid Emperor and by the instigation of the Roman citizens, for some time kept Urban a stranger to the Church of St. Peter; but Urban, although he was banished from the Church went about through the country, reconciling to God the people who had gone somewhat astray. Wibert, however, puffed up by the primacy of the Church, showed himself indulgent to sinners, an exercising the office of pope, although unjustly, amongst his adherents, he denounced as ridiculous the acts of Urban. But in the year in which the Franks first passed through Rome on their way to Jerusalem, Urban obtained the complete papal power everywhere, with the help of a certain most noble matron, Matilda by name, who then had great influence in the Roman state. Wibert was then in Germany. So there were two Popes; and many did not know which to obey, or from which counsel should be taken, or who should remedy the ills of Christianity. Some favored the one, some the other. But it was clear to the intelligence of men that Urban was the better, for he is rightly considered better who controls his passions, just as if they were enemies. Wibert was Archbishop of the city of Ravenna. He was very rich and reveled in honor and wealth. It was a wonder that such riches did not satisfy him. Ought he to be considered by all an exemplar of right living, who, himself a lover of pomp, boldly assumes to usurp the scepter of Almighty God? Truly, this office must not be seized by force but accepted with fear and humility.
What wonder that the whole world was a prey to disturbance and confusion? For when the Roman Church, which is the source of correction for all Christianity, is troubled by any disorder, the sorrow is communicated from the nerves of the head to the limbs subject to it, and these suffer sympathetically. This Church, indeed our mother, as it were, at whose bosom we were nourished, by whose doctrine we were instructed and strengthened, by whose counsel we were admonished, was by this proud Wibert greatly afflicted
For when the head is thus struck, the limbs at once are sick. If the head be sick, the other limbs suffer. Since the head was thus sick, pain was engendered in the enfeebled limbs; for in all parts of Europe peace, goodness, faith, were boldly trampled underfoot, within the church and without, by the high, as well as by the low. It was necessary both that an end be put to these evils, and that, in accordance with the plan suggested by Pope Urban, they turn against the pagans the strength formerly used in prosecuting battles among themselves….
He saw, moreover, the faith of Christendom greatly degraded by all, by the clergy as well as by the laity, and peace totally disregarded; for the princes of the land were incessantly engaged in armed strife, now these, now those quarreling among themselves. He saw the goods of the land stolen from the owners; and many, who were unjustly taken captive and most barbarously cast into foul prisons, he saw ransomed for excessive sums, or tormented there by the three evils, starvation, thirst,` and cold, or allowed to perish by unseen death. He also saw holy places violated, monasteries and villas destroyed by fire, and not a little human suffering, both the divine and the human being held in derision.
When he heard, too, that interior parts of Romania [Anatolia] were held oppressed by the Turks, and that Christians were subjected to destructive and savage attacks, he was moved by compassionate pity; and, prompted by the love of God, he crossed the Alps and came into Gaul. He there called a council at Clermont in Auvergne, which council had been fittingly proclaimed by envoys in all directions. It is estimated that there were three hundred and ten bishops and abbots who bore the crosier. When they were assembled on the day appointed for the council, Urban, in an eloquent address full of sweetness, made known the object of the meeting. With the plaintive voice of the afflicted Church he bewailed in a long discourse the great disturbances which, as has been mentioned above, agitated the world where faith had been undermined. Then, as a supplicant, he exhorted all to resume the fullness of their faith, and in good earnest to try diligently to withstand the deceits of the devil, and to raise to its pristine honor the status of Holy Church, now most unmercifully crippled by the wicked.
“Dearest brethren,” he said, “I, Urban, invested by the permission of God with the papal tiara, and spiritual ruler over the whole world, have come here in this great crisis to you, servants of God, as a messenger of divine admonition. I wish those whom I have believed good and faithful dispensers of the ministry of God to be found free from shameful dissimulation. For if there be in you any disposition or crookedness contrary to God’s law, because you have lost the moderation of reason and justice, I shall earnestly endeavor to correct it at once, with divine assistance. For the Lord has made you stewards over His family, that you provide it with pleasant-tasting meat in season. You will be blessed, indeed, if the Lord shall find you faithful in stewardship. You are also called shepherds; see that you do not the work of hirelings. Be true shepherds and have your crooks always in your hands. Sleep not, but defend everywhere the flock committed to your care. For if through your carelessness or neglect the wolf carries off a sheep, doubtless you will not only lose the reward prepared for you by our Lord, but, after having first been tortured by the strokes of the lictor, you will also be savagely hurled into the abode of the damned. In the words of the gospel, ‘Ye are the salt of the earth’! But, it is asked, ‘If ye fail, wherewith shall it be salted [i.e. preserved]?’ Oh, what a salting! Indeed, you must strive by the salt of your wisdom to correct this foolish people, overeager for the pleasures of the world, lest the Lord find them insipid and rank, corrupted by crimes at the time when He wishes to speak to them. For if because of your slothful performance of duty He shall discover any worms in them, that is to say any sins, He will in contempt order them to be cast forthwith into the abyss of uncleanness; and because you will be unable to make good to Him such a loss, He will surely banish you, condemned by His judgment, from the presence of His love. But one that salteth ought to be prudent, foresighted, learned, peaceful, watchful, respectable, pious, just, fair-minded, pure. For how can the unlearned make others learned, the immodest make others modest, the unclean make others clean? How can he make peace who hates it? If anyone has soiled hands, how can he cleanse the spot from one contaminated? For it is written, ‘If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit.” Accordingly, first correct yourselves, so that without reproach you can then correct those under your care. If, indeed, you wish to be the friends of God, do generously what you see is pleasing to Him.
“See to it that the affairs of Holy Church, especially, are maintained in their rights, and that simoniacal heresy in no way takes root among you. Take care lest purchasers and venders alike, struck by the lash of the Lord, be disgracefully driven through narrow ways into utter confusion. Keep the Church in all its orders, entirely free from the secular power; have given to God faithfully one-tenth of the fruits of the earth, neither selling them, nor withholding them. Whoever lays violent hands on a bishop, let him be considered excommunicated. Whoever shall have seized monks, priests, or nuns, and their servants, or pilgrims, or traders, and shall have despoiled them, let him be accursed. Let thieves and burners of houses and their accomplices be excommunicated from the church and accursed. Therefore, we must consider especially, as Gregory says, how great will be his punishment who steals from another, if he incurs the damnation of hell who does not distribute alms from his own possessions. For so it happened to the rich man in the Gospel, who was punished not for stealing anything from another, but because, having received wealth, he used it badly.
“By these evils, therefore, as I have said, dearest brethren, you have seen the world disordered for a long time, and to such a degree that in some places in your provinces, as has been reported to us (perhaps due to your weakness in administering justice), one scarcely dares to travel for fear of being kidnapped by thieves at night or highwayman by day, by force or by craft, at home or out of doors. Wherefore, it is well to enforce anew the “Truce [of God],” commonly so-called, which was long ago established by our holy fathers, and which I most earnestly entreat each one of you to have observed in his diocese. But if any one, led on by pride or ambition, infringes this injunction voluntarily, let him be anathema in virtue of the authority of God and by the sanction of the decrees of this council.”
When these and many other things were well disposed of, all those present, priests and people alike, gave thanks to God and welcomed the advice of the Lord Pope Urban, assuring him, with a promise of fidelity, that these decrees of his would be well kept.
2. Urban’s plea for a Crusade. (November 27, 1095.)
( Gesta. ) When now that time was at hand which the Lord Jesus daily points out to His faithful, especially in the Gospel, saying, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” a mighty agitation was carried on throughout all the region of Gaul. (Its tenor was) that if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart and mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after Him, he would no longer hesitate to take up the way to the Holy Sepulcher.
And so Urban, Pope of the Roman see, with his archbishops, bishops, abbots, and priests, set out as quickly as possible beyond the mountains and began to deliver sermons and to preach eloquently, saying: “Whoever wishes to save his soul should not hesitate humbly to take up the way of the Lord, and if he lacks sufficient money, divine mercy will give him enough.” Then the apostolic lord continued, “Brethren, we ought to endure much suffering for the name of Christ—misery, poverty, nakedness, persecution, want, illness, hunger, thirst, and other (ills) of this kind, just as the Lord saith to His disciples: ‘Ye must suffer much in My name,’ and ‘Be not ashamed to confess Me before the faces of men; verily I will give you mouth and wisdom,’ and finally, ‘Great is your reward in Heaven.”‘ And when this speech had already begun to be noised abroad, little by little, through all the regions and countries of Gaul, the Franks, upon hearing such reports, forthwith caused crosses to be sewed on their right shoulders, saying that they followed with one accord the footsteps of Christ, by which they had been redeemed from the hand of hell.
(Fulcher.) But the Pope added at once that another trouble, not less, but still more grievous than that already spoken of, and even the very worst, was besetting Christianity from another part of the world. He said: “Since, O sons of God, you have promised the Lord to maintain peace more earnestly than heretofore in your midst, and faithfully to sustain the rights of Holy Church, there still remains for you, who are newly aroused by this divine correction, a very necessary work, in which you can show the strength of your good will by a certain further duty, God’s concern and your own. For you must hasten to carry aid to your brethren dwelling in the East, who need your help, which they often have asked. For the Turks, a Persian people, have attacked them, as many of you already know, and have advanced as far into the Roman territory as that part of the Mediterranean which is called the Arm of St. George [the straits separating Constantinople from Asia Minor]; and, by seizing more and more of the lands of the Christians, they have already often conquered them in battle, have killed and captured many, have destroyed the churches, and have devastated the kingdom of God. If you allow them to continue much longer, they will subjugate God’s faithful yet more widely.
“Wherefore, I exhort with earnest prayer—not I, but God— that as heralds of Christ, you urge men by frequent exhortation, men of all ranks, knights as well as foot-soldiers, rich as well as poor, to hasten to exterminate this vile race from the lands of your brethren and to aid the Christians in time. I speak to those present; I proclaim it to the absent; moreover, Christ commands it. And if those who set out thither should lose their lives on the way by land, or in crossing the sea, or in fighting the pagans, their sins shall be remitted. This I grant to all who go, through the power vested in me by God. Oh, what a disgrace, if a race so despised, base, an the instrument of demons, should so overcome a people endowed with faith in the all-powerful God, and resplendent with the name of Christ! Oh, what reproaches will be charged against you by the Lord Himself if you have not helped those who are counted, like yourselves, of the Christian faith! Let those who have been accustomed to make private war against the faithful carry on to a successful issue a war against infidels, which ought to have been begun ere now. Let these who for a long time have been robbers now become soldiers of Christ. Let those who once fought against brothers and relatives now fight against barbarians, as they ought. Let those who have been hirelings at low wages now labor for an eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out to the detriment of body and soul now labor for a double glory. On the one hand will be the sad and poor, on the other the joyous and wealthy; here the enemies of the Lord; there His friends. Let no obstacle stand in the way of those who are going, but, after their affairs are settled and expense money is collected, when the winter has ended and spring has come, let them zealously undertake the journey under the guidance of the Lord.”
(Robert the Monk.) . . . “Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by God—as shines forth in very many of your works—set apart from all nations by the situation of your country, as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor of the Holy Church! To you our discourse is addressed, and for you our exhortation is intended. We wish you to know what a grievous cause has led us to your country, what peril, threatening you and all the faithful, has brought us.
“From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation, forsooth, which has neither directed its heart nor entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage, and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and, dragging forth the end of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until his viscera have gushed forth, and he falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks, and then, attacking them with naked swords, they attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent. The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and deprived of territory so vast in extent that it can not be traversed in a march of two months. On whom, therefore, is the task of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you? You, upon whom above other nations God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily energy, and the strength to humble the hairy scalp of those who resist you.
“Let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements; likewise, the glory and greatness of King Charles the Great, and his son Louis, and of your other kings, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the pagans, and have extended in these lands the territory of the Holy Church. Let the Holy Sepulcher of the Lord, our Savior, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially move you, and likewise the holy places, which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with filthiness. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, be not degenerate, but recall the valor of your forefathers!
“However, if you are hindered by love of children, parents, and wives, remember what the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘He that loveth father, or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.’ ‘Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake shall receive an hundred-fold and shall inherit everlasting life.’ Let none of your possessions detain you, no solicitude for your family affairs, since this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the sea and surrounded by mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough for its cultivators. Hence it is that you murder and devour one another, that you wage war, and that frequently you perish by mutual wounds. Let therefore hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to your selves. That land which, as the Scripture says, ‘floweth with milk and honey,’ was given by God into the possession of the children of Israel.
“Jerusalem is the navel of the world; the land is fruitful above others, like another paradise of delights. This the Redeemer of the human race has made illustrious by His advent, has beautified by His presence, has consecrated by suffering, has redeemed by death, has glorified by burial. This royal city, therefore, situated at the center of the world, is now held captive by His enemies, and is in subjection to those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathen. Therefore, she seeks and desires to be liberated and does not cease to implore you to come to her aid. From you, especially, she asks succor, because, as we have already said, God has conferred upon you, above all nations, great glory in arms. Accordingly, undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the kingdom of heaven.”
When Pope Urban had said these and very many similar things in his urbane discourse, he so influenced to one purpose the desires of all who were present that they cried out, “God wills it! God wills it!” When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, with eyes uplifted to heaven he gave thanks to God and, with his hand commanding silence, said:
“Most beloved brethren, today is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name there am I in the midst of them.’ Unless the Lord God had been present in your minds, all of you would not have uttered the same cry. For, although the cry issued from numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry was one. Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let this then be your battle-cry in combat, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: ‘God wills it! God wills it!’
“And we do not command or advise that the old, or the feeble, or those unfit for bearing arms, undertake this journey; nor ought women to set out at all without their husbands, or brothers, or legal guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a burden than an advantage. Let the rich aid the needy; and, according to their means, let them take with them experienced soldiers. The priests and clerks of any order are not to go without the consent of their bishops; for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without such permission. Also, it is not fitting that laymen should enter upon the pilgrimage without the blessing of their priests.
“Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage and shall make his vow to God to that effect and shall offer himself to Him as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead, or on his breast. When, having truly fulfilled his vow, he wishes to return, let him place the cross on his back between his shoulders. Such, indeed, by twofold action will fulfill the precept of the Lord, as He commands in the Gospel, ‘He that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me.’
3. The immediate response.
(Fulcher.) After this speech, those present were very enthusiastic in the cause, and many, thinking that nothing could be more laudable than such an undertaking, at once offered to go and diligently exhort the absent. Among these was the Bishop of Puy, Adhemar by name, who later acting as the Pope’s vice-regent prudently and wisely led the whole army of God and vigorously inspired them to accomplish the undertaking. So, when those things which have been mentioned were determined upon in the council and unanimously approved of, and after the papal blessing was given, they withdrew to their homes to make known to those who were not present at the council what had been done. When these tidings were proclaimed throughout the provinces, they agreed under oath that the peace which was called the Truce should be kept mutually by all. Finally, then, many persons of every class vowed, after confession, that they were going with a pure intent whither they were ordered to go.
Oh, how fitting and how pleasing to us all to see those beautiful crosses, whether of silk, or of woven gold, or of any kind of cloth, which these pilgrims, by order of Pope Urban, sewed on the shoulders of their mantles, or cassocks, or tunics, once they had made the vow to go. It was indeed proper that soldiers of God who prepared to fight for His honor should be signed and fortified by this fitting emblem of victory; and, since they thus marked themselves with this symbol under the acknowledgment of faith, finally they very truly obtained the Cross of which they carried the symbol. They adopted the sign that they might follow the reality of the sign.
It is evident that a good intention brings about the achievement of a good work, and that good work earns the soul’s salvation. For if it is good to intend well, it is still better to accomplish a good work which has been planned. Therefore the best thing one can do is to provide for the salvation of his soul by a worthy action. Let each one then plan good deeds, which by still more worthy action he will fulfill, so that he shall at length receive the never ending reward which he has earned. So Urban, a man prudent and revered, conceived a work by which later the whole universe prospered. For se restored peace and reestablished the rights of the church in their pristine condition. And with a lively determination he also made an effort to drive out the pagans from the Christian lands. Therefore, since he endeavored in every way to glorify everything which was God’s, almost all voluntarily submitted themselves to his paternal direction
(Ekkehard.) The West Franks could easily be induced to leave their lands, since for several years Gaul had suffered, now from civil war, now from famine, and again from excessive mortality; and, finally, that disease which had its origin in the vicinity of the church of St. Gertrude of Nivelle alarmed them to such an extent that they feared for their lives. This was the nature of the disease. The patient, attacked in any part of the body by invisible fire, suffered unspeakable torment for a long time, and without remedy, until either he lost his life from the agony, or he lost both the torture and the afflicted limb at the same time. There are to this day living witnesses of this disease, maimed either in hands or feet by the scourge.
Of the other nations, some peoples or individuals acknowledged that they had been called to the land of promise not only by the proclamation of the Pope, but also by certain prophets who had lately arisen among them, or by signs and revelations from heaven; others confessed that they had been constrained to take the vows by reason of embarrassed circumstances. Indeed, the majority set out encumbered with their wives and children and all their household effects.
But for the East Franks, the Saxons, the Thuringians, the Bavarians, and the Alemanni, this trumpet call sounded only faintly, particularly because of the schism between the empire and the papacy, from the time of Pope Alexander even until today. This, alas, has strengthened our hatred and enmity against the Romans, as it has theirs towards us! And so it came to pass that almost all the Teutonic race, at first ignorant of the reason for this setting out, laughed to scorn the many legions of knights passing through their land, the many companies of foot soldiers, and the crowds of country people, women, and little ones. They regarded them as crazed with unspeakable folly, inasmuch as they were striving after uncertainties in place of certainties and were leaving for naught the land of their birth, to seek with certain danger the uncertain land of promise; and, while giving up their own possessions, they were yearning after those of strangers. But although our people are more perverse than other races, yet in consideration of the promise of divine pity, the enthusiasm of the Teutons was at last turned to this same proclamation, for they were taught, forsooth, what the thing really meant by the crowds passing through their lands.
4. Urban’s instructions to the assembling Crusaders.
Urban, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful, both princes and subjects, waiting in Flanders; greeting, apostolic grace, and blessing.
Your brotherhood, we believe, has long since learned from many accounts that a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient. More than this, blasphemous to say, it has even grasped in intolerable servitude its churches and the Holy City of Christ, glorified by His passion and resurrection. Grieving with pious concern at this calamity, we visited the regions of Gaul and devoted ourselves largely to urging the princes of the land and their subjects to free the churches of the East. We solemnly enjoined upon them at the council of Auvergne (the accomplishment of) such an undertaking, as a preparation for the remission of all their sins. And we have constituted our most beloved son, Adhemar, Bishop of Puy, leader of this expedition and undertaking in our stead, so that those who, perchance, may wish to undertake this journey should comply with his commands, as if they were our own, and submit fully to his loosings or bindings, as far as shall seem to belong to such an office. If, moreover, there are any of your people whom God has inspired to this vow, let them know that he (Adhemar) will set out with the aid of God on the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary [15 August], and that they can then attach themselves to his following.
(Written toward the end of December, 1095.)
THE MARCH TO CONSTANTINOPLE
(Despite Urban’s efforts to keep the expedition within the bounds of a common plan and to maintain some degree of organization, the enthusiasm which he aroused was too great to be restrained. Without waiting for the appointed day, various bands, commonly known as the Peasants’ Crusade, started from the Rhine country, eager to be the first to gain the great rewards. … Though the final fate of the first of these companies is described in the third chapter, they had all started before the main body, and their conduct had left a deep impression upon the peoples through whose lands they journeyed. The difficulties of the main army in these same regions were probably due in no small measure to the excesses which the Peasants had committed. The main armies followed separate routes to Constantinople; the march of Bohemund [eldest son of Robert Guiscard, the Norman adventurer who had earlier made himself Duke of Apulia in Italy, and then attacked the Byzantine Empire], described by the Anonymous, who accompanied him, is given here.)
Bohemund’s march to Constantinople. (October 26, I096 April 10, 1097)
(Gesta.) But Bohemund, powerful in battle, who was engaged in the siege of Amalfi on the sea of Salerno, heard that a countless host of Christians from among the Franks had come to go to the Sepulcher of the Lord, and that they were prepared for battle against the pagan horde. He then began to inquire closely what fighting arms these people bore, and what sign of Christ they carried on the way, or what battle-cry they shouted. The following replies were made to him in order: “They bear arms suitable for battle; on the right shoulder, or between both shoulders, they wear the cross of Christ; the cry, ‘God wills it! God wills it ! God wills it !’ they shout in truth with one voice.” Moved straightway by the Holy Spirit, he ordered the most precious cloak which he had with him cut to pieces, and straightway he had the whole of it made into crosses. Thereupon, most of the knights engaged in that siege rushed eagerly to him, so that Count Roger remained almost alone.
Returning again to his own land, Lord Bohemund diligently prepared himself to undertake in true earnest the journey to the Holy Sepulcher. At length, he crossed the sea with his army. With him were [his nephew,] Tancred, son of Marchisus, Richard of Principati, and Rainulf, his brother, Robert of Anse, Herman of Cannae, Robert of Surda Valley, Robert, son of Tostanus, Hunfred, son of Raoul, Richard, son of Count Rainulf, the Count of Roscignoio, with his brothers, Boellus of Chartres, Albered of Cagnano, and Hunfred of Mt. Scaglioso. All of these crossed the sea to do service for Bohemund and landed in the region of Bulgaria, where they found a very great abundance of grain, wine, and bodily nourishment. Thence descending into the valley of Andronopoli, they waited for his forces, until all had likewise crossed the sea. Then the wise Bohemund ordered a council with his people, comforting and admonishing all (with these words): “Seignors, take heed all of you, for we are pilgrims of God. We ought, therefore, to be better and more humble than before. Do not plunder this land, since it belongs to Christians, and let no one, at the cost of blessing, take more than he needs to eat.”
Departing thence, we journeyed through great plenty from villa to villa, city to city, fortress to fortress, until we reached Castoria.
There we solemnly celebrated Christmas. We remained there for several days and sought a market, but the people were unwilling to accord it to us, because they feared us greatly, thinking that we came not as pilgrims, but to devastate their land and to kill them. Wherefore we took their cattle, horses, asses, and everything that we found. Leaving Castoria, we entered Pelagonia, in which there was a certain fortified town of heretics. This we attacked from all sides and it soon yielded to our sway. Thereupon we set it on fire and burned the camp with its inhabitants, that is, the congregation of heretics. Later, we reached the river Vardar And then Lord Bohemund went across with his people, but not with all, for the Count of Roscignolo with his brothers remained behind.
Thereupon, an army of the Emperor came and attacked the Count with his brothers and all who were with them. Tancred, hearing of this, went back and, hurling himself into the river, reached the others by swimming; and two thousand went into the river following Tancred. At length, they came upon the Turcopoles and Patzinaks struggling with our men. They (Tancred and his men) charged the enemy suddenly and bravely and overcame them gloriously. Several of them they seized and led them, bound, into the presence of Bohemund, who spoke to them as follows: “Wherefore, miserable men, do you kill Christ’s people and mine? I have no quarrel with your Emperor.” They replied, “We cannot do otherwise; we have been placed in the service of the Emperor and whatever he commands we must fulfill.” Bohemund allowed them to depart unpunished. This battle was fought in the fourth day of the week, which is the beginning of the fast. Through all, blessed is the Lord! Amen.
The unhappy Emperor sent one of his own men, whom he greatly loved, and whom they call Corpalatius, together with our envoys, to conduct us in security through his land until we should come to Constantinople. And as we paused before their cities, he ordered the inhabitants to offer us a market, just as those also did of whom we have spoken. Indeed, they feared the most brave host of Lord Bohemund so greatly that they permitted none of us to enter the walls of the city. Our men wanted to attack and seize a certain fortified town because it was full of all kinds of goods But the renowned man, Bohemund, refused to consent, not only in justice to the land, but also because of his pledge to the Emperor. Therefore, he was greatly angered on this account with Tancred and all the rest. This happened toward evening. When morning came, the inhabitants of the town came out, and, in procession, bearing crosses in their hands, they came into the presence of Bohemund. Delighted, he received them; and with gladness he permitted them to depart. Next we came to a certain town, which is called Serrhae, where we fixed our tents and had a market sufficient for that time. There the learned Bohemund made a very cordial agreement with two Cortalotii; and out of regard for their friendship, as well as in justice to the land, he ordered all the stolen animals which our men had to be returned. The Corpalatius promised him that he would dispatch messengers to return the animals to their owners in order. Then we proceeded from castle to castle and from villa to villa to the city of Rusa. The people of the Greeks came out, bringing us the greatest market, and went joyfully to meet Lord Bohemund. There we pitched our tents in the fourth day of the week before the feast of the Lord.
There, also, the learned Bohemund left all his host and went on ahead to speak with the Emperor at Constantinople. He gave commands to his vassals, saying, “Approach the city gradually. I, however, will go on in advance.” And he took with him a few knights Tancred remained at the head of the army of Christ, and, seeing the pilgrims buying food, he said to himself that he would go off the road and lead his people where they would live happily. At length he entered a certain valley, filled with goods of all kinds that are suitable nourishment for the body, and in it we most devoutly celebrated Easter.
ALEXIUS AND THE CRUSADERS;
(The conduct of Emperor Alexius and the people of his empire toward the Crusaders, as they passed through the land on their way to Constantinople, seemed incomprehensible to the Latins at the time and has been more or less baffling to all later writers. There is some doubt as to whether or not Alexius had sent a definite appeal for help to the West at this time. Chalandon, whose study of the reign of Alexius represents probably the most authoritative modern investigation of the subject, maintains the thesis that Alexius did not call for help, and that the empire in 1096 was less in need of aid than at any time since 1071. Certainly, the Emperor’s conduct appears more intelligible if the Crusaders can be regarded as his uninvited guests. Their not infrequent acts of violence may even have led him to suspect their motives, which suspicion the presence of Bohemund and his Normans from southern Italy—old foes of the Eastern Empire—only served to strengthen. Possibly there were other causes, also, to arouse the Emperor. Kohler has suggested that Urban, in arousing the expedition, cherished the hope of gaining the submission of the Greek Church, either as a reward for this help, or by intimidation and force, if necessary. But whether or not there was any just cause for the Emperor’s suspicions, the statements of his daughter, together with his own unquestionable zeal to hasten each band away from Constantinople and across the Bosporus before the next band arrived, indicates very clearly that he did distrust the Latins. And yet, as one reads the Latin accounts, it is difficult to find in them evidence of guile toward Alexius or a covert design upon the possession of his empire. The constant combination of friendly messages from the Emperor and rough treatment from his soldiers aroused a good deal of distrust on the part of the Crusaders, but at first they seemed to give the Emperor the benefit of the doubt….
5. Bohemund and the Emperor. (April 10-May, 1097.)
( Gesta. ) When the Emperor heard that the most honorable man, Bohemund, had come to him, he commanded that he be received with honor and carefully lodged outside the city . When he had been so lodged, the evil Emperor sent for him to come to speak with him in secret. Thither, also, came Duke Godfrey with his brother, and at length the Count of St. Gilles approached the city. Then the Emperor in anxious and fervid rage was pondering some way by which they might seize these knights of Christ adroitly and by fraud. But Divine Grace disclosing (his plans), neither time nor place was found by him, or his men, to do them ill. At last, all the noble leaders who were at Constantinople were assembled. Fearing lest they should be deprived of their country, they decided in their counsels and ingenious calculations that our dukes, counts, or all the leaders, ought to make an oath of fealty to the Emperor. These absolutely refused and said: “It is indeed unworthy of us, and, furthermore, it seems to us unjust to swear an oath to him.” Perchance we shall yet often be deceived by our leaders. In the end, what were they to do? They say that under the force of necessity they humiliated themselves, willy-nilly, to the will of the most unjust Emperor. To that most mighty man Bohemund, however, whom he greatly feared because in times past he (Bohemund) had often driven him from the field with his army, the Emperor said that, if he willingly took the oath to him, he would give him, in return, land in extent from Antioch fifteen days journey, and eight in width. And he (the Emperor) swore to him in such wise that, if he loyally observed that oath, he would never pass beyond his own land. Knights, so brave and so sturdy, why did they do this? For the reason that they were constrained by much necessity. The Emperor also gave to all our men a pledge of security. He likewise took oath that he, together with his army, would come with us, by land and by sea; that he would afford us faithfully a market by land and sea, and that he would diligently make good our losses; in addition, that he did not wish, and would not permit, any of our pilgrims to be disturbed or come to grief on their way to the Holy Sepulchre.
(Anna [daughter of Alexius]) But when Bohemund had arrived at Apri with his companions, realizing both that he was not of noble birth, and that for lack of money he had not brought with him a large enough army, he hastened, with only ten Gauls, ahead of the other counts and arrived at Constantinople. He did this to win the favor of the Emperor for himself, and to conceal more safely the plans which he was concocting against him. Indeed, the Emperor, to whom the schemes of the man were known, for he had long since become acquainted with the hidden and deceitful dealings of this same Bohemund, took great pains to arrange it so that before the other counts should come he would speak with him alone. Thus having heard what Bohemund had to say, he hoped to persuade him to cross before the others came, lest, joined with them after their coming, he might pervert their minds.
When Bohemund had come to him, the Emperor greeted him. with gladness and inquired anxiously about the journey and where he had left his companions. Bohemund responded to all these things as he thought best for his own interests, affably and in a friendly way, while the Emperor recalled in a familiar talk his bold undertakings long ago around Durazzo and Larissa and the hostilities between them at that time. Bohemund answered, “Then I confess I was your enemy, then I was hostile. But, behold, I now stand before you like a deserter to the ranks of the enemy! I am a friend of your Majesty.” The Emperor proceeded to scrutinize the man, considering him cautiously and carefully and drawing out what was in his mind. As soon as he saw that Bohemund was ready to consent to swear an oath of fealty to him, he said, “You must be tired from the journey and should retire to rest. We will talk tomorrow about anything else.”
…Never, indeed, have I seen a man so dishonest [as Bohemund]. In everything, in his words as well as in his deeds, he never chose the right path; and when anyone deviates from the moderation of virtue, it makes little difference to whatsoever extreme he goes, for he is always far from honesty.
For the rest, the Emperor then summoned Bohemund and exacted from him the usual oath of the Latins. The latter, knowing well his own resources, and realizing that he was neither of noble birth nor well supplied by fortune with wealth, for he had no great force, but only a moderate number of Gauls with him, and being, besides, dishonest in character, readily submitted himself to the will of the Emperor.
After this, the Emperor saw to it that a room in the palace was so filled with a collection of riches of all kinds that the very floor was covered with costly raiment, and with gold and silver coins, and certain other less valuable things, so much so that one was not able even to walk there, so hindered was he by the abundance of these things. The Emperor ordered the guide suddenly and unexpectedly to open the doors, thus revealing all this to Bohemund. Amazed at the spectacle, Bohemund exclaimed: “If such riches were mine, long ago I would have been lord of many lands !” The guide answered, “And all these things the Emperor bestows upon you today as a gift.” Most gladly Bohemund received them and with many gracious thanks he left…for when this man of evil design had left his country in which he possessed no wealth at all (under the pretext, indeed, of adoring at the Lord’s Sepulchre, but in reality endeavoring to acquire for himself a kingdom), he found himself in need of much money, especially, indeed, if he was to seize the Roman power….
Moreover, the Emperor, who understood fully his wicked intention and perverse mind, skillfully managed carefully to remove whatever might further Bohemund’s ambitious designs. Wherefore, Bohemund, seeking a home for himself in the East and using Cretan scheming against Cretans, did not obtain it. For the Emperor feared lest, after obtaining power, he would use it to place the Latin counts under obligation to him, finally thus accomplishing easily what he wished. But since he did not want Bohemund to surmise that he was already discovered, the Emperor misled him by this hope: “Not yet,” he said, “has the time come for the thing which you say; but after a little it shall come about by your fortitude and trust in me.”
After the Emperor had bestowed upon the Gauls promises, gifts, and honors of every kind, the next day he solemnly took his seat on the imperial throne. Summoning Bohemund and all the counts, he talked about the things which would happen to them on the journey. He wanted, likewise, to show what methods and means of warfare the Turks were wont to employ, and to give directions how the line of battle should be drawn up against them, how ambushes should be set, and how they ought not to follow the fleeing Turks too far. And so, both by gifts of money and by flattering speeches, he soothed the rude nature of the people, and, after giving useful advice, he persuaded them to pass over the sea….
(Gesta.) The Count of St. Gilles, however, was lodged outside the city in a suburb, and his force had remained behind. Accordingly, the Emperor bade the Count do homage and fealty to him, as the others had done. And while the Emperor was making these demands, the Count was meditating how he might take vengeance on the army of the Emperor. But Duke Godfrey and Robert, Count of Flanders, and the other princes said to him that it would be unjust to fight against Christians. The wise man, Bohemund, also said that if the Count should do the Emperor any injustice, and should refuse to do him fealty, he himself would take the part of the Emperor. Accordingly, the Count, after receiving the advice of his men, swore that he would not consent to have the life and honor of Alexius sullied either by himself or by anyone else. When he was called upon for homage, he answered that he would not do this at the risk of his head.
Then the host of Lord Bohemund approached Constantinople. Tancred, indeed, and Richard of Principati, and almost the whole of Bohemund’s force with them, crossed the Strait by stealth, to avoid the oath to the Emperor. And now the army of the Count of St. Gilles approached Constantinople. The Count remained there with his own band. Therefore the illustrious man, Bohemund, stayed behind with the Emperor, in order to plan with him how they might provide a market for the people who were beyond the city of Nicaea.
8. Siege and capture of Nicaea. (May 14-June 99, 1097.)
(Gesta.) And thus Duke Godfrey went first to Nicomedia, together with Tancred and all the rest, and they were there for three days. The Duke, indeed, seeing that there was no road open by which he could conduct these hosts to the city of Nicaea, for so great an army could not pass through the road along which the others had passed before, sent ahead three thousand men with axes and swords to cut and clear this road, so that it would lie open even to the city of Nicaea. They cut this road through a very narrow and very great mountain and fixed back along the way iron and wooden crosses on posts, so that the pilgrims would know the way. Meanwhile, we came to Nicaea, which is the capital of all Romania, on the fourth day, the day before the Nones of May, and there encamped. However, before Lord Bohemund had arrived, there was such scarcity of bread among us that one loaf was sold for twenty or thirty denarii. After the illustrious man, Bohemund, came, he ordered the greatest market to be brought by sea, and it came both ways at the same time, this by land and that by sea, and there was the greatest abundance in the whole army of Christ.
Moreover, on the day of the Ascension of the Lord [14 May] we began to attack the city on all sides, and to construct machines of wood, and wooden towers, with which we might be able to destroy towers on the walls. We attacked the city so bravely and so fiercely that we even undermined its wall. The Turks who were in the city, barbarous horde that they were, sent messages to others who had come up to give aid. The message ran in this wise: that they might approach the city boldly and in security and enter through the middle gate, because on that side no one would oppose them or put them to grief. This gate was besieged on that very day—the Sabbath after the Ascension of the Lord—by the Count of St. Gilles and the Bishop of Puy. The Count, approaching from another side, was protected by divine might, and with his most powerful army gloried in terrestrial strength. And so he found the Turks, coming against us here. Armed on all sides with the sign of the cross, he rushed upon them violently and overcame them. They turned in flight, and most of them were killed. They came back again reinforced by others, joyful and exulting in assured [victory], and bearing along with them the ropes with which to lead us bound to Chorosan. Coming gladly, moreover, they began to descend from the crest of the mountain a short distance. As many as descended remained there with their heads cut off at the hands of our men; moreover, our men hurled the heads of the killed far into the city, that they (the Turks) might be the more terrified thereat. Then the Count of St. Gilles and the Bishop of Puy took counsel together as to how they might have undermined a certain tower which was opposite their tents. Men were assigned to do the digging, with crossbowmen and bowmen to defend them on all sides. So they dug to the foundations of the wall and fixed timbers and wood under it and then set fire to it. However, evening had come; the tower had already fallen in the night, and because it was night they could not fight with the enemy. Indeed, during that night the Turks hastily built up and restored the wall so strongly that when day came no one could harm them on that side.
Now the Count of Normandy came up, Count Stephen and many others, and finally Roger of Barneville. At length Bohemund, at the very front, besieged the city. Beside him was Tancred, after him Duke Godfrey, then the Count of St. Gilles, next to whom was the Bishop of Puy. It was so besieged by land that no one dared to go out or in. There all our forces were assembled in one body, and who could have counted so great an army of Christ? No one, as I think, has ever before seen so many distinguished knights, or ever will again !
However, there was a large lake on one side of the city, on which the Turks used to send out their ships, and go back and forth and bring fodder, wood, and many other things. Then our leaders counseled together and sent messengers to Constantinople to tell the Emperor to have ships brought to Civitote, where there is a fort, and that he should order oxen to be brought to drag the ship over the mountains and through the woods, until they neared the lake. This was done forthwith, and he sent his Turcopoles with them. They did not want to put the ships on the lake on the very day that they were brought across, but under cover of night they launched them on the lake itself. (The boats were) filled with well-armed Turcopoles. Moreover, at earliest daybreak the ships stood in good order and hastened through the lake against the city. The Turks marveled upon seeing them, not knowing whether they were manned by their own forces or the Emperor’s. However, after they recognized that it was the host of the Emperor, they were frightened even to death, weeping and lamenting; and the Franks were glad and gave glory to God.
The Turks, moreover, seeing that they could have no further aid from their armies, sent a message to the Emperor that they would willingly surrender the city, if he would permit them to go entirely away with their wives and children and all their substance. Then the Emperor, full of vain and evil thinking, ordered them to depart unpunished, without any fear, and to be brought to him at Constantinople with great assurance (of safety). These he cared for zealously, so that he had them preserved against any damage or hindrance from the Franks. We were engaged in that siege for seven weeks and three days. Many of our men there received martyrdom, and, glad and rejoicing, gave back their happy souls to God. Many of the very poor died of hunger for the name of Christ, and these bore triumphantly to heaven their robes of martyrdom, crying with one voice, “Avenge, Lord, our blood which has been shed for Thee, who are blessed and praiseworthy forever and ever. Amen.” In the meanwhile, after the city had been surrendered and the Turks had been conducted to Constantinople, the Emperor, more and more rejoiced because the city had been surrendered to his power, ordered the greatest alms to be distributed to our poor.
FROM NICAEA TO ANTIOCH
(In the march across Asia Minor the Crusaders for the first time encountered their real enemy, the Seljuk Turks. These had previously contented themselves with an effort to slip into Nicaea, their capital, but the odds were too great and the city was allowed to fall. Now, however, with the Crusaders on the march, the superior knowledge of the country enjoyed by the Turks and their swifter horses combined to offset the numerical advantage of the Christians. For the Latins considerably outnumbered the Turks, in spite of the fact that they were so far away from home in the heart of the enemy’s territory. The explanation of this anomalous situation lies in the condition of the Turkish and Moslem realm. The Caliph of Baghdad had become spiritual head of the Moslems. The Caliph of Egypt was head of the Ishmaelite section of the Moslems and bitterly opposed to the Caliph of Baghdad. Their fighting ground was Syria. Sixty years before the First Crusade, a new vitality had been injected into the Caliphate of Baghdad by the creation of the Seljuk Sultanate. These Seljuks, who were the most advanced of the Turks, had but recently taken on the Moslem faith. With all the zeal of neophytes, they devoted themselves to the spread of their religion. Under their earlier Sultans, they had extended their domain across Western Asia to the very gates of Constantinople. The second of their Sultans to rule Western Asia, Alp Arslan, had won a brilliant victory over the Eastern Empire at Manzikert in 1071, which opened Asia Minor to the Turks. Their ideas of political organization, however, were as rudimentary as those of the peoples of the West, and Asia Minor was given to a relative on the feudal basis of personal loyalty and homage to the Sultan. The vast empire of the Sultans soon became unmanageable. The third Sultan, Malik Shah, found his vassals restless and had to suppress at least one revolt. Upon his death in 1092, quarrels arose among his sons which lasted for more than a generation. During this time, the numerous feudal vassals exercised practical independence. They not only participated in the wars between the rivals, but often warred with one another. It was at this juncture that the Crusaders came. The Turks were so embittered among themselves that they refused to make common cause against the invaders, and, as a result, the Crusaders were able to overcome one after another of their principalities. The first of these, called the Sultanate of Rum (Romania), included practically all of Asia Minor. This had been given to Suliman by Alp Arslan and had been extended by him to Nicaea, which he made his capital. This Suliman was well known and feared by the Greeks. His son, Kilij Arslan Daud, whom the Crusaders called Soliman, was ruling at the time of the Crusade (1092-1106) and led the fighting in Asia Minor against the Christians.
At Nicaea the various bands were formed into one army, and there the different authors serve to correct and corroborate one another in account of their common experiences. Two exceptions occur, one in regard to the battle of Dorylaeum, when the army was temporarily divided, and the other when Baldwin and Tancred left the main army on jour of adventure in Cilicia. The division of the army before Dorylaeum ended by the battle, and the digression of Baldwin to Edessa took him permanently from the main army, while that of Tancred ended when the army joined him before Antioch. Fulcher, who accompanied Baldwin, therefore ceases at this time to qualify as an eye-witness of events which ocurred in the main army. For Tancred’s separate acts the account by Anonymous may be supplemented by that of Raoul de Caen, who probably gained his story from Tancred himself. Events followed one another in such rapid succession as to confuse writers who delayed the composition of their narratives for some time. This is especially true of Raymond, whose story must be carefully checked by the letters and the Gesta.)
1 . Battle of Dorylaeum. ( July 1, 1097. )
(Gesta.) Then on the first day after leaving the city, we came to a certain bridge and remained there for two days. On the third day, however, before day had begun to dawn, our men arose. Since it was night, they were unable to keep to one road, but were divided into two lines and, thus divided, proceeded for two days. In one line were the following men: Bohemund, Robert of Normandy, the renowned Tancred, and several others; in the other were the Count of Gilles, Duke Godfrey, the Bishop of Puy, Hugh the Great, Count of Flanders, and many others. But on the third day the Turks rushed violently upon Bohemund and those who were with him.
Forthwith the Turks began to whistle and chatter and shout at the top of their voices, uttering a diabolical sound, I know not how, in their own tongue. The wise man, Bohemund, seeing innumerable Turks whistling and shouting from afar with demoniacal voices, straightway ordered all the knights to dismount and quickly pitch their tents. Before the tents had been pitched, he spoke again to all the knights: “Seignors and bravest knights of Christ, behold the battle is now close about us on all sides. Therefore, let all the knights advance manfully against the enemy, and let the foot-soldiers spread the tents carefully and very quickly.” But after this was all done, the Turks were already encircling us on all sides, slashing, hurling, piercing, and shooting far and wide in wondrous fashion. Though we could not resist them, nor withstand the press of so great an enemy, yet we (held out) there together. Our women, also, were on that day of greatest support to us. They brought drinking water to our fighters, and, furthermore, ever comforted those who were fighting and defending them. Accordingly, the wise man, Bohemund, straightway sent word to the others (to wit, the renowned Count of St. Gilles, the famous Duke Godfrey, Hugh the Great, the most honorable Bishop of Puy, and all the other knights of Christ) to hurry and come to the battle as quickly as possible, saying that, if they wished to fight that day, let them come bravely. They utterly refused (at first), laughing at the messengers and saying, “Surely this is all false!” For we did not believe that those people were so impudent that they already dared to rise up and fight again with us. Finally, Duke Godfrey, bold and brave, and Hugh the Great went ahead with their armies. The Bishop of Puy also followed them with his army, and the Count of St. Gilles after them with the great host.
Our men wondered exceedingly whence had arisen so great a multitude of Turks, Arabs, Saracens, and others whom I know not how to enumerate, for almost all the mountains and hills and valleys and all the level places, within and without, were on all sides covered with that excommunicate race. Accordingly, secret speech was held among us, praising and advising and saying, “Be of one mind in the faith of Christ, and in the victory of the Standard of the Holy Cross, because this day, if it please God, you will all have been made rich.” Straightway our lines of battle were formed. On the left side was the wise man, Bohemund, Robert of Normandy, the renowned Tancred, the most honorable Robert of Anse, and the famous Richard of Principati. The Bishop of Puy, indeed, came over another mountain, surrounding the incredulous Turks on all sides. On the left side, also, rode the most mighty knight, Raymond, Count of St. Gilles. On the right wing was the honorable Duke Godfrey, and the most fierce knight, the Count of Flanders, Hugh the Great, and many others whose names I do not know. Immediately, however, upon the arrival of our troops the Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Agulani, and all the barbarous nations quickly turned in flight through the mountain passes and over the level places. Moreover, the number of the Turks, Persians, Publiconi, Saracens, Agulani and other pagans was three hundred and sixty thousand, besides the Arabs, whose number no one knows, unless it be God alone. They fled, indeed, very quickly to their tents, but they were not permitted to remain there long. Again they took to flight, and we followed them, killing them one whole day; and we took much booty—gold, silver, horses, asses, camels, sheep, cattle, and very many other things which we do not know. Had not God been with us in the battle and quickly sent us a second battle line, not one of us would have escaped, for this fight lasted from the third hour even to the ninth. But Almighty God, holy and merciful, who neither permitted His knights to perish nor to fall into the hands of the enemy, hastily sent us His aid. Two honorable knights of ours, Godfrey of Mount Scaglioso, and William, son of Marchisus, brother of Tancred, died there, and (also) other knights and foot-soldiers whose names I do not know.
Whoever will be wise or learned enough to dare to describe the valor, skill, and fortitude of the Turks, who thought to frighten the host of the Franks with the threats of their arrows, just as they frighten the Arabs, Saracens, Armenians, Syrians, and Greeks? But, please God, never will they be so powerful as our men. Indeed, they say that they are of the Frankish race, and that no one ought naturally to be a knight except the Franks and themselves. I shall speak the truth, which no one will dare deny. Certainly, if they had ever been firm in the faith of Christ…, no one could have found more powerful, braver, or more skillful fighters than they. And yet, by the grace of God, they were conquered by our men! This battle was fought on the first day of July.
But after the Turks, enemies of God and holy Christianity, had been entirely beaten, fleeing hither and thither for four days and nights, it happened that Soliman, their Duke, son of the old Soliman, fled from Nicaea. He found ten thousand Arabs who said to him, “O, unhappy and more unhappy than all the Gentiles! why do you flee, terrified?” To them Soliman tearfully replied: “Because just recently, when I had all the Franks beaten and thought them already bound in captivity, and when I would soon have tied them to one another, then, looking back, I saw such an innumerable host of them that, if any of you had been there, you would have thought that all the mountains, hills, valleys, and level places were filled with their multitude. Upon seeing them, we began immediately to take to sudden flight, so amazingly afraid that we hardly escaped from their hands; wherefore we are still in very great terror. And if you wish to believe me and my words, take yourselves hence, because if they can only learn of you, scarcely one of you will any longer remain alive.” The enemy, upon hearing such tidings, turned their backs again and spread out through all Romania.
2. Hardships of the march through Asia Minor. (July 3-October, 1097.)
(Gesta.) Then we went on pursuing the most iniquitous Turks, who daily fled before us. But they went to all the fortified towns or cities, deceiving and deluding the inhabitants of those lands, saying: “We have conquered all the Christians and have so overcome them that no one of them will ever dare to arise before us; only let us come in.” They destroyed the churches, homes, and everything else, upon entering, and carried off with them the horses, asses, mules, gold, and silver, and whatever they could find. In addition, also, they carried off the children of Christians with them and burned and devastated everything that was convenient or useful, fleeing, greatly frightened, before our faces. Accordingly, we were following them through deserts, and dry and uninhabitable land, from which we scarcely escaped and came out alive. Hunger and thirst pinched us on all sides, and there was absolutely nothing for us to eat, unless, by chance, tearing and grinding grain with our hands, we continued to exist on such food as wretchedly as possible. There most of our cavalry ceased to exist, because (thereafter) many of these became foot-soldiers. For want of horses, our men used oxen in place of cavalry horses, and because of the very great need, goats, sheep, and dogs served as beasts of burden.
Meanwhile we began to enter the best land, filled with bodily nourishment, delicacies, and goods of all kinds, and then we approached Iconium. The inhabitants of that land persuaded and advised us to take along skins filled with water, because there is the greatest lack of water about one day’s march from there. We accordingly did so, until we came to a certain river, and there we lodged for two days. However, our scouts began to go on ahead until they came to Heraclea, in which town there was a very large gathering of Turks, waiting and plotting how they could harm and put to grief the knights of Christ. The knights of Almighty God found and boldly attacked these Turks. And thus our enemy was overcome on that day, and they fled as swiftly as an arrow flies when discharged with a mighty pull of string and bow. Our men, accordingly, entered the city immediately and remained there for four days.
3. Baldwin and Tancred depart from the main army. (Early September, 1097.)
(Gesta.) There Tancred, son of Marchisus, and Baldwin, the famous Count, brother of Duke Godfrey, separated from the others, and together went into the valley of Botrenthrot. Tancred went to Tarsus alone with his troops. At length, the Turks came out from the city and advanced to meet them; then, gathered together, they hastened to battle against the Christians. As our men approached and fought, our enemy fled, returning rapidly to the city.
But Tancred, distinguished and honorable knight of Christ, loosened his breastplate and encamped before the gate of the city. From another side, thereupon, came the famous man, Count Baldwin, with his army, demanding and requesting Tancred, most harsh knight, that with the greatest friendship he would deign to take him most kindly into partnership in the city. To him Tancred said, “I absolutely refuse to take you into partnership.” And so when night came, the terrified Turks took to flight in a body. Then the inhabitants of the city came out under the shadows of the night, shouting at the top of their voices, “Run! most invincible Franks, run! For the Turks, driven out by fear of you, are all departing.” Moreover at daybreak, the leaders of the city came and willingly surrendered it, saying to those who were quarreling about this matter among themselves, “Stop, Seignors, stop! for we seek and wish for lord and ruler him who yesterday so bravely fought with the Turks.” Baldwin, thereupon, wonderful Count, quarreled and disputed with Tancred, saying, “Let us enter together, and despoil the city, and let him who is the more able hold it, and him who can, take it.” “On the contrary,” most brave Tancred said, “I will have none of this, for I am unwilling to despoil Christians. The men of this city have chosen me lord over them, and they desire to have me.” Nevertheless the brave man, Tancred, was unable to struggle long with Baldwin, most learned Count, because his army was large. Therefore Tancred left the city, willy-nilly, and manfully withdrew with his army. Immediately there were surrendered to him two very fine cities, Adana and Mamistra, and very many fortified towns.
4. The march through Armenia. (The third week in October, 1097.)
(Gesta.) The greater army, namely, Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, the most learned Bohemund, Duke Godfrey, and the other princes, entered the land of Armenia, raging and thirsting after the blood of the Turks. At length, they came to a certain fortified place which was so strong that they could do nothing to it. There was there, however, a certain man named Simeon, who had been born in that region, and who sought this land that he might defend it against the hostile Turks. To him they willingly gave the land, and he remained there with his people. Then, going from this place, we came happily to Caesarea of Cappadocia. Going out of Cappadocia, however, we came to a certain very beautiful and exceedingly fruitful city, which the Turks had besieged for three weeks before our arrival, but had not conquered. Immediately upon our arrival there, it straightway surrendered into our hands with great pleasure. A certain knight whose name was Peter of the Alps begged this from all the seignors to defend it in fealty to God, the Holy Sepulcher, the seignors, and the Emperor. They granted it to him freely, with great affection. On the following night Bohemund heard that the Turks who had been engaged in the siege of the city were ahead of us in great numbers. Straightway he made himself ready to attack them on all sides with his knights alone, but he could not find them. Then we came to a certain city, Coxon by name, in which there was the greatest abundance of all goods which we needed. Thereupon, the Christian inhabitants of that city surrendered immediately, and we remained there three days very well provided for, and our men were greatly refreshed.
When Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, heard that the Turks who were in custody at Antioch had withdrawn, he concluded on his own counsel that he would send thither some of his knights to guard the place diligently. Then he chose those whom he wished to appoint, namely Peter, Viscount of Castillon, William of Montpellier. Peter of Roasa, Peter Raymond of Hautpoul, with five hundred knights. They came, accordingly, into a valley near Antioch to a certain fortified place of the Publicani, and there they heard that the Turks were in the city and ready to defend it vigorously. Peter of Roasa there separated from the others and with the approach of night crossed near Antioch and entered the valley of Rugia. He found Turks and Saracens, fought with them, killed many of them, and pursued the rest closely. The Armenian inhabitants of the land, seeing that he had bravely overcome the pagans, straightway surrendered to him. He immediately took the city of Rusa, and very many fortified places.
However, we who had remained, going thence, entered a diabolical mountain, which was so high and steep that none of us dared to step before another through the pass which was open in the mountain. There horses fell headlong, and one pack animal pushed over another. The knights stood there, sad; they beat themselves with their hands for their great grief and sadness, uncertain what they should do about themselves and their arms, selling their shields and their best breastplates, together with their helmets, for only three or five denarii, or whatever they could get. Those who could not sell them threw them away for nothing and marched on. And so we went out of the accursed mountain and came to a city called Marasch. The inhabitants of that city came out rejoicing to meet us, and bringing along the greatest market. There we had all supplies while we waited for Lord Bohemund to arrive. And thus our knights reached the valley in which is situated the regal city of Antioch, the capital of all Syria, which the Lord Jesus Christ handed over to the blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles…
When we had begun to approach the Iron Bridge, our advance guard, who were accustomed to precede us, found innumerable Turks assembled to meet us. They were on their way to give aid to Antioch. Accordingly, our men rushed upon them with one heart and one mind and overcame the Turks. The barbarians were thrown into consternation and fled, and many of them died in the struggle. Our men, therefore, having defeated them by the grace of God, captured great spoils—horses, camels, mules, asses laden with grain and wine. At length our men went and encamped on the bank of the river. Forthwith, the wise man, Bohemund, went with four thousand knights to watch before the gate of the city, (to see) whether, perchance, anyone was leaving or entering the city secretly by night.
(Raymond.) And so, after conquering and scattering the Turks, we came peacefully and quickly across Romania up to Antioch. But the Count kept his army a short distance behind because of his illness. …
When we neared Antioch it was not the advice of many princes to besiege it, especially since winter was at hand, and the army was scattered among the castles and diminished by the stormy weather. They said, likewise, that they ought to await the Emperor’s forces and the army which was announced to be coming from France, and thus they urged that we spend the winter up to spring. But others of the princes, among whom was the Count, said: “We have come by the inspiration of God; through His mercy we obtained Nicaea, a very strongly fortified city, and through the same clemency we have obtained victory and security from the Turks; there has been peace and concord in our army. Thus we should commit our lot to Him. We ought not to fear kings, or the chiefs of kings, nor yet places, or times, when God has snatched us from so many dangers.” Accordingly, we went to Antioch and pitched our camp so near that the enemy from their towers frequently wounded our men and our horses in the tents.
5. Beginning of the siege of Antioch. (October 21( ?)-end of November, 1097.)
(Gesta.) On the next day, moreover, they came even to Antioch at mid–day…In marvelous fashion we besieged three gates of the city, since on the other side there was no place from which to besiege (them), for a very steep mountain constrained us. However, our enemies, the Turks who were within the city, were so afraid of us on all sides that none of them dared to offend any of our men for a space of almost fifteen days. Camping immediately in front of Antioch, we found there every abundance—vines full everywhere, pits full of grain, trees bent down with fruit, and many other goods useful for the body. The Armenians and Syrians who were within the city came out and, pretending that they were fleeing, were with us daily, but their wives were in the city. Indeed, they craftily investigated our condition and strength and reported everything to those excommunicates who were shut up in the city. But after the Turks had been informed of our condition, they began little by little to go out from the city and to harass our pilgrims, not only on one side, but on all sides, for they were in hiding everywhere, from sea to mountain, to meet us.
Moreover, there was at no great distance a certain fortress named Aregh, where many very brave Turks, who frequently disturbed our men, were gathered. Thereupon, when our seignors heard such reports, they were exceedingly sorry, and sent some of the knights to explore carefully the place where the Turks were. When they had found the place where they were concealed, our knights, who were seeking them, encountered them. But while our men were retiring little by little to the place where they knew Bohemund was located with his army, two of them were immediately killed. Bohemund, upon hearing of this, arose bravely with his men. The barbarians rushed against them, because our men were few; yet, united, they entered battle. Verily many of our enemy were killed, and others, taken captive before the gates of the city, were there beheaded, in order that those who were in the city might become the sadder. Others, indeed, used to come out from the city and climb upon a certain gate and shoot arrows at us, so that their arrows fell into the camp of Lord Bohemund, and one woman was killed by the shot of an arrow. Accordingly, all our leaders assembled and held a council, saying, “Let us build a fortress on the top of Mt. Maregort, a mount above the hosts of Bohemund, by means of which we can remain secure and safe from the fear of the Turks.” And so when this fortress was built and fortified, all the leaders guarded it in turn.
(Raymond.) Since the occasion offers itself to us, we ought to speak about Antioch and its location so that the battles and assaults which were made there may be easily understood by those who have not seen it. There is a certain plain among the mountains of Lebanon which in width is one day’s travel, and in length a day and a half. This plain has on its western side a certain swamp; on the east, a river which, after encircling a certain part of this plain, so winds back to the foot of the mountains which are in the middle of that land that there is no passage between the mountains and the stream, and thus it flows into the Mediterranean, which is very close to Antioch. Moreover, Antioch is so situated in those passes which the river, clinging to the aforesaid mountains, makes that on the west the river, flowing against the lower wall, leaves a certain portion of land in the form of a bow between it and the city. The city, situated in this manner on the east, rises up toward the east, and within its embrace are enclosed the crests of three mountains. That mountain, indeed, which is located on the north is divided from the others by a very great precipice, so that no access, or rather a most difficult one, is afforded from it to the others. Moreover, on the northern hill there is a certain castle; on the middle hill another castle, which is called in Greek Colax, and on the third hill only towers. Moreover, this city, two miles in perimeter, is so fortified by walls, towers, and fore-walls that it fears the attack of no machine and the assault of no man, even if every race of man should come together against it.
This city, such as we have described, this well fortified city, the army of the Franks besieged from the northern side. Nevertheless, though there were one hundred thousand men in the army, they made no assault there except that they pitched their camp near it. There were, furthermore, in the city two thousand of the best knights, and four or five thousand common knights, and ten thousand and more footmen. Indeed, these very lofty walls were fortified by a valley and swamp, so that, the gates being guarded, the rest remained secure. When we first came we pitched camp so rashly that if our practice had been known by the enemy beforehand, any part of our camp could have been destroyed by them, since in our army no regular method of watches or encamping was observed. It happened, also, that all the castles of this region and the neighboring cities had surrendered to our men, not only from fear of our army, but also for the sake of escaping Turkish servitude. This fact scattered our knights widely; for each one, wanting to look after his own affairs most, thought nothing of the common interest. Meanwhile, those who remained in the camp had such an abundance of food that they did not care to eat anything except the thighs and the shoulders of cattle, and only a few were willing to eat the breast; but of grain and wine nothing is to be said, except that they were taken most lightly.
While this was going on in the camp, the enemy at first hid themselves within the walls, so that no one was seen there except the watchmen. However, when they learned that our men, scattered and unarmed, were devastating the villages and fields, the enemy came, I know not whether from Antioch or from another city two days distant, and began to kill our men whom they found thus straggling and unarmed. These acts diminished the food supply in our camp somewhat. The enemy, indeed, beset the roads much too fiercely for any chance of robbery and destruction. However, since these matters had become clearly known in the camp, Bohemund was chosen to go out against them. Moreover, the Counts of Flanders and Normandy set out with him. They could not lead out more than one hundred and fifty knights, and had not the shame of returning restrained them, they would have turned back because of the few knights. Thus, God urging them, they set forth, found the enemy and pursued them and forced them to destruction in the river. When they had thus gained the victory and spoils, they returned with great exultation to the camp. In the meanwhile the Genoese ships had landed on the coast, which was about ten miles from the camp. That place, moreover, was called the Port of St. Simeon.
And now the enemy, going forth from the city little by little, killed the squires or peasants who were herding the horses and cattle beyond the river, and they took great plunder into the city. For we had placed the tents near the river and had made a bridge of the ships which were found there. However, the city also had a bridge, which was on the lower western corner, and there was a certain little mountain opposite us, where there were two mosques and some casalis of tombs. We mention these things, moreover, that the deeds which we will describe as done there will be easily clear. Just as we said, when the boldness of the enemy had somewhat increased, our men going forth from the camp, though frequently fewer than the enemy, were, nevertheless, not afraid to attack them. The Turks, however, though frequently scattered and put to flight, rose up again for battle there, not only because they had the swiftest horses and were nimble and unburdened with arms, other than bows, but also because in the bridge, which we have mentioned, they had a hope of refuge. They looked forward to the chance of shooting arrows at a distance from the little mountain, for their bridge was about one mile distant from our bridge. On the plain, moreover, which lay between the two bridges there were constant assaults and daily fights. It happened, indeed, at the beginning of the siege that the Count and the Bishop of Puy placed their camp near the river, and thus nearer the enemy, they were most frequently attacked by them. And so it came about through assaults of this kind that they lost all their horses, because the Turks, not prepared to fight with lances or swords, but with arrows at a distance, were to be feared while they fled, as well as when they pursued.
6. Summary of the march to Antioch, the Battle of Dorylaeum, and the beginning of the siege. (June 28-November, 1097.)
(Anselm.) However, moving camp from Nicaea on the fourth day before the Kalends of July, we kept to the march for three days. On the fourth day, the Turks, with forces gathered from all sides, again attacked a smaller part of our army; moreover, they killed many of our men and drove all the rest within the camp itself. The men in command of this part of the army were Bohemund, Count of the Romans, Count Stephen, and the Count of Flanders. To these in such fearful straits there suddenly appeared the standards of the larger army; in the front rode Hugh the Great, and the Duke of Lorraine, but the Count of St. Gilles, as well as the venerable Bishop of Puy, were following. For they had heard of the battle and were hastening to their aid. Moreover, the Turks are estimated as 260,000, upon whom our men advanced, killing many and forcing the rest to flight. On this day I returned from the Emperor, to whom the princes had sent me for our common interest. From this day our princes, remaining together in one army, did not separate from each other. And while we were thus crossing the regions of Romania and Armenia we found no obstacle except that after we had passed Iconium our advance guard encountered a few Turks. These were put to flight, and on the twelfth day before the Kalends of November we laid siege to Antioch. Then we took by force the neighboring cities of Tarsus and Laodicaea. One day, however, before we had surrounded the city in siege, we put to flight at the Iron Bridge some Turks who had gone out to devastate the region, and we snatched from them many Christians; moreover, we led back horses and camels (laden) with very great plunder. But after we had surrounded the city in siege, the Turks of the nearest castle were daily killing those of the army going in and out. The princes of our army came upon them in hiding and killed four hundred of them and drove others headlong into a certain river. Some, however, they brought along with them.
Know that we are besieging Antioch with all diligence to take it very shortly, as we think. We are abundantly supplied with grain, wine, oil, and all goods beyond belief. However, I ask you and all to whom this letter shall have come to pray God for us and for our dead. The following are those who have perished in arms: At Nicaea, Baldwin of Ghent, Baldwin Chalderuns, who was the first to do battle with the Turks. On the Kalends of July in battle, Robert of Paris, Lisiard of Flanders, Hilduin of Mazingarbe, Ansellus of Caillnl, Manasses of Clermont. The following are those who died in peace at Nicaea: Wido of Vitry, Odo of Varneuil, Hugh of Rheims; at the castle Sparnum, the venerable abbot Roger, my chaplain; at Antioch, Alard of Spiniacum, Hugh of Calniacum.l2 Again and again I urge you, readers of this letter, to pray for us, and you, Lord Archbishop, not to delay recommending the same task to your bishops. And know for a fact that we have acquired two hundred cities and fortresses for the Lord. Let the Mother Church of the West be joyful; she who has borne such offspring to acquire so glorious a name for her and to aid so marvelously the Church of the East. And that you may believe this (to be genuine), know that you have sent me a tapestry through Raymond of Cassel. Farewell.
(The Crusading Princes.) Bohemund, son of Robert, and Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, likewise Duke Godfrey and Hugh the Great, to the lords and vassals of the whole world who cherish the Catholic faith in hope of eternal life.
In order that it may be known to all how peace has been made between ourselves and the Emperor, and how it has fared with us in the land of the Saracens since we have come there, we are sending to you this, our legate, who will diligently set forth in order all that has been done by us.
The first matter to be told is that the Emperor, in the middle of May, pledged us his faith and security on oath, giving us, likewise, hostages, namely his nephew and his son-in-law. In addition to this, he added that he would not further attempt to molest any pilgrim to the Holy Sepulcher. Later, he sent his protopatron through all his land, sending him even to Durazzo, and commanded that no one should dare to harm any pilgrim; that if any one should violate this command, he would fittingly suffer the penalty of hanging instantly. What more? Let us return now to these matters by which your hearts should be filled with the greatest joy.
At the end of the month of May, indeed, we made a stand to do battle with the Turks. Thanks to God, however, we overcame them. Of them, moreover, thirty thousand are undoubtedly dead; of us but three thousand rest in peace, who are without any doubt glorying in eternal life. There, indeed, all of us gained in countless measure an abundance of gold, silver, and precious garments, as well as armor. We also seized the huge city of Nicaea with great valor, and beyond it we acquired forts and towns along a ten days’ journey. After this, however, we engaged in a great battle at Antioch which we bravely won, to such an extent that of their number seventy thousand were killed, but of our own only ten thousand lie dead in peace. Who has seen such joy? For whether we live or die, we are of the Lord! Besides this, know for a fact that the King of the Persians has sent word that he will do battle with us on the feast of All Saints, asserting that if he overcomes us, he, with the King of Babylon and many other pagan kings, will not cease to advance against the Christians; but if he should lose, he has pledged his word that he and all whom he can persuade will become Christians. Wherefore, we urgently pray you all constantly to fast, give alms, and say masses with devotion. Help us especially, however, with many devout prayers and alms on the third day before the festival, which is Friday, on which we will engage mightily in battle, Christ triumphing. Farewell.
(Stephen.) Count Stephen to Adele, his most sweet and most beloved wife, and to his very dear children and all his vassals, noble and common; the grace and blessing of his whole greeting.
You may believe most certainly, dearest, that this messenger, whom I have sent for your delight, left me before Antioch in good health and unharmed, and, through God’s grace, in the greatest prosperity. There, with the chosen army of Christ and in His great might, we had already advanced toward the seat of the Lord Jesus for twenty-three successive weeks. You may know for a fact, my beloved, that I now have twice as much of gold, silver, and other riches as your love assigned me at the time when I parted from you. For all our princes, with the common consent of the whole army, constituted me, even though I was unwilling, their lord and director and governor of all their acts up to the present time.
You have heard (fully) enough that after the capture of Nicaea we had a considerable battle with the treacherous Turks, and that at first, the Lord God aiding us, we defeated them. After this, we acquired the whole region of Romania and later Cappadocia. And we learned that there dwelt in Cappadocia a certain Turkish prince, Assam. Thither we directed our march. We took by storm all his fortresses and pursued him into a very strong castle situated on the top of a cliff. Also, we gave the land of Assam himself to one of our princes, and in order that he might conquer the aforesaid Assam, we left him there with many soldiers of Christ. Then, through the midst of Armenia we routed the unspeakable Turks, who had incessantly followed us, (and pursued them) up to the great Euphrates river and even to the bank of this river, where they dropped all their baggage and pack saddles and fled through the river into Arabia. But the braver of these Turks, entering Syria, hastened by forced marches night and day, in order that they might enter the royal city of Antioch before our arrival. The whole army of God, however, upon learning of this (victory), gave fitting thanks and praise to the Omnipotent Lord.
7. The foraging expedition of Bohemund and Robert of Flanders. (December 28, 1097-January 2( ?), 1098.)
(Gesta.) Now grain and all food began to be excessively dear before the birthday of the Lord. We did not dare to go outside; we could find absolutely nothing to eat within the land of the Christians, and no one dared to enter the land of the Saracens without a great army. At last holding a council, our seignors decided how they might care for so many people. They concluded in the council that one part of our force should go out diligently to collect food and to guard the army everywhere, while the other part should remain faithfully to watch the enemy. At length, Bohemund said, “Seignors, and most distinguished knights, if you wish, and it seems honorable and good to you, I will be the one to go out with the Count of Flanders on this quest.” Accordingly, when the services of the Nativity had been most gloriously celebrated on Monday, the second day of the week, they and more than twenty thousand knights and footmen went forth and entered the land of the Saracens, safe and unharmed.
There were assembled, indeed, many Turks, Arabs, and Saracens from Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, and other regions, who were on their way to reinforce Antioch. So, when they heard that a Christian host was being led into their land, they made themselves ready there for battle against the Christians, and at earliest daybreak they came to the place where our people were gathered together. The barbarians divided themselves and formed two battle lines, one in front and one behind, seeking to surround us from every side. The worthy Count of Flanders, therefore, girt about on all sides with the armor of true faith and the sign of the cross, which he loyally wore daily, went against them, together with Bohemund, and our men rushed upon them all together. They immediately took to flight and hastily turned their backs; very many of them were killed, and our men took their horses and other spoils. But others, who had remained alive, fled swiftly and went away to the wrath of perdition. We, however, returning with great rejoicing, praised and magnified God, Three in One, who liveth and reigneth now and forever, Amen.
Finally, the Turks in the city of Antioch, enemies of God and Holy Christianity, hearing that Lord Bohemund and the Count of Flanders were not in the siege, came out from the city and boldly advanced to do battle with us. Knowing that those most valiant knights were away, they lay in ambush for us everywhere, more especially on that side where the siege was lagging. One Wednesday they found that they could resist and hurt us. The most iniquitous barbarians came out cautiously and, rushing violently upon us killed many of our knights and foot-soldiers who were off their guard. Even the Bishop of Puy on that bitter day lost his seneschal, who was carrying and managing his standard.
8. The Capture of Antioch.
(Raymond)… When the Turks had obtained Antioch fourteen years before, they had converted Armenians and Greek youths, as if for want of servants, and had given them wives. When such men as these had a chance to escape, they came to us with horses and arms. And when the report that aid was coming to the enemy became frequent, many of our men and the Armenian merchants began to flee in terror. Meanwhile, good knights who were scattered among the fortresses came and brought arms.. and courage, ever ready to undergo dangers with brothers and for brothers, had come (in place of the faint-hearted fugitives), one of the converted who was in the city sent word to our princes through Bohemund that he would surrender the city to us.
Accordingly, when the plan had been communicated, the princes sent Bohemund and the Duke of Lorraine and the Count of Flanders to try it out. And when they had come to the hill of the city at midnight, an intermediary sent back by him who was surrendering the city said, “Wait until the light passes.” For three or four men went along the walls of the city with lamps all night, arousing and admonishing the watchers. After this, however, our men approached the wall, raised a ladder, and began to ascend it. A certain Frank, Fulger by name, brother of Budellus of Chartres, was the first boldly to ascend the wall; the Count of Flanders, following, sent word to Bohemund and the Duke to ascend; and since all hurried, each to go ahead of the other, the ladder was broken. But those who had climbed up went down into the city and opened a certain little postern. Thus our men went in, and they did not take captive any of those whom they found. When the dawn of day appeared, they shouted out. The whole city was disturbed at this shout, and the women and small children began to weep. Those who were in the castle of the Count, aroused at this outcry since they were nearer (it), began to say to one another, “Their aid has come!” Others, however, replied, “That does not sound like the voice of joyful people.” And when the day brightened, our standards appeared on the southern hill of the city. When the disturbed citizens saw our men on the mountain above them, some fled through the gate, others hurled themselves headlong. No one resisted; in truth, the Lord had confounded them. Then after a long time, a joyful spectacle was made for us, in that those who had so long defended Antioch against us were now unable to flee from Antioch. Even if some of them had dared to take flight, yet they could not escape death. A certain incident occurred there, joyful and delightful enough for us. For when some Turks strove to flee among the cliffs which divide the hill in two from the north, they encountered some of our men, and when the Turks were forced to go back, the repulsed fugitives went with such rapidity that they all fell over the precipice together. Our joy over the fallen enemy was great, but we grieved over the more than thirty horses who had their necks broken there.
How great were the spoils captured in Antioch it is impossible for us to say, except that you may believe as much as you wish and then add to it. Moreover, we cannot say how many Turks and Saracens then perished; it is, furthermore, cruel to explain by what diverse and various deaths they died. When those foes who guarded the castle on the middle hill saw the destruction of their men and that our men were refraining from besieging them, they kept their castle. Gracianus, however, who had gone out by a certain postern, was captured and beheaded by some Armenian peasants; and his head was brought to us. This, I believe, was done by the ineffable disposition of God, that he who had caused many men of this same race to be beheaded should be deprived of his head by them. The city of Antioch was captured on the third day before the Nones of June; it had been besieged, however, since about the eleventh day before the Kalends of November.
12. Summary of the siege of Antioch. (End of October 1097— June 3, 1098).
(Stephen). Hastening to the aforesaid city of Antioch with great joy, we placed it in siege and there we very often had many conflicts with the Turks. Seven times, in truth, we fought with the inhabitants of Antioch, and with innumerable allies advancing to their aid, whom we chanced to meet. We fought them with fiercer spirits, Christ leading, and in all the seven aforesaid battles, the Lord God cooperating, we were victorious; and most truly we killed numbers of them beyond all count. But in these same battles, and in very many attacks made against the city, they killed many of our brothers who worship Christ, whose souls have truly gone to the joys of Paradise.
Moreover, we found Antioch a city great beyond belief, very strong and unassailable. And too, more than five thousand bold Turkish knights had collected within the city, not to mention the Saracens, Publicani, Arabs, Turcopoles, Syrians, Armenians, and various other peoples, of whom an infinite multitude had come together there. Thus, in the work of besieging these enemies of God and of ourselves, by the grace of God we have endured up to this time many trials and countless afflictions. Likewise, many have already consumed all their substance in this most holy passion. Very many of our Frankish-born, indeed, would have undergone temporal death through hunger, had not the clemency of God and our wealth come to their aid. Furthermore, through the whole winter we have endured excessive cold for the Lord Christ, and an immoderate abundance of rain. What some say, that in all Syria one can scarcely endure the heat of the sun, is false, for winter among them is like our western winter.
Moreover, when Caspiarlus, Emir of Antioch, that is, its prince and lord, saw himself so closely pressed by us, he sent his son, Sensadolus by name, to the prince who holds Jerusalem, and to Rodoan, Prince of Aleppo and to Docap, Prince of Damascus. He likewise sent him into Arabia for Bolgnuth and into Chorosan for Hamelnuth. These five emirs, with twelve thousand chosen Turkish knights, suddenly came to aid Antioch. But unaware of all this, we had sent many of our knights among the cities and fortresses. We have, indeed, one hundred and sixty-five towns and fortresses throughout Syria within our own dominion. But a short time before they came to the city, we, with seven hundred knights, went out three leagues to meet them at a certain plain near the Iron Bridge. God, moreover, fought for us, His faithful, against them; for on this day, with the might of God, we were victorious in fighting them, and we killed large numbers of them, God ever fighting in our behalf. We likewise brought back to the army more than two hundred of their heads, so that Christ’s people might derive great joy therefrom. Moreover, the Emperor of Babylon sent his Saracen envoys with letters to us in camp, and by this means he established peace and concord with us.
I love to tell you, dearest, what befell us this Lent. Our princes decided to erect a fort before a certain gate which was situated between our camp and the sea. The Turks, passing out through this gate daily, used to kill our men on their way to the sea, for the city of Antioch is five leagues distant from the sea. On this account they sent the distinguished Bohemund and Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, with a company of only sixty knights, to the sea, thence to fetch sailors to aid in this work. However, when they were returning to us with these sailors, an army of Turks, which had assembled, came upon our two unsuspecting princes and drove them into perilous flight. In this rout, unexpected, as we have said before, we lost more than five hundred foot-soldiers to the glory of God; of our knights, we lost only two for certain. Moreover, on that very day we went out along the road to receive our brothers with joy, knowing nothing of their misfortune.
But while we were approaching the aforesaid gate of the city, a horde of knights and foot‑soldiers from Antioch, bearing themselves in a triumphant manner, rushed likewise against us. Upon seeing them, we sent word to the Christian camp that all should follow us ready for battle. While our men were still assembling, the separated princes—namely Bohemund and Raymond, with the remainder of their army—came up and recounted the great misfortune which had befallen them. At this very bad news, our men, inflamed with anger against the sacrilegious Turks, and ready to die for Christ, went into battle for the loss of their brothers. However, the enemy of God and of ourselves fled before us in haste and tried to enter their city, but by the grace of God the affair turned out far otherwise. For when they wanted to cross over the river by the bridge which ended at a mosque, we, following them closely, killed many of them before they reached the bridge; many we hurled off into the river, all of whom were killed; moreover, we killed many on the bridge and likewise very many before the entrance to the city. Verily I tell you, my beloved, and you may believe most truly, that in that same battle we killed thirty emirs, that is, princes, and three hundred other noble Turkic knights, not to mention the other Turks and pagans. Indeed, the dead Turks and Saracens are reckoned 1230 in number! Of our men, however, we lost not one single man.
Moreover, on the day following Easter, while my chaplain Alexander, was writing this letter with the greatest haste, a portion of our men who were lying in wait for the Turks had a victorious battle with them, the Lord leading, and they killed sixty of their knights, whose heads they brought back to the army.
These things which I am writing to you, dearest, are indeed few of the many (that have happened), and since I cannot express to you all that my heart holds, dearest, I (only) bid you do well and make excellent arrangement for your land, and treat your children and your vassals with honor, as befits you, for you will surely me as soon as I can possibly come. Farewell.
We have informed you how we fared in the siege and capture of Nicaea, in our departure thence and our journey through all Romania and Armenia. It now remains for us to tell you a little about the siege of Antioch, the many kinds of danger we there tasted, and the innumerable battles which we fought against the King of Aleppo, the King of Damascus, and against the adulterous King of Jerusalem.
Antioch has been besieged by the army of the Lord since the thirteenth day before the Kalends of November with exceeding valor and courage beyond words. What unheard of battles you might have perceived there at a certain gateway to the west! How marvelous it would seem to you, were you present, to see them daily rushing forth through six gates—both they and ourselves fighting for safety and life! At that time our princes, seeking to enclose the city more and more closely, first besieged the eastern gate, and Bohemund, having built a fort there, stationed a part of his army in it. However, since our princes then felt somewhat elated, God, who chasteneth every son whom he loveth, so chastened us that hardly seven hundred horses could be found in our army; and thus, not because we lacked proven and valiant men, but from lack of horses, or food, or through excessive cold, almost all were dying. The Turks, moreover, supplied with horses and all necessities in abundance, were wont daily to ride around our camp, a certain stream which lay between serving as a wall. There was likewise a castle of the Turks almost eight miles away; and these Turks were daily killing many of our men, who were going back and forth from our army. Our princes went out against them and with God’s help put them to flight and killed many of them. Therefore the ruler of Antioch, seeing himself afflicted, called the King of Damascus to his aid. By God’s providence, this King met Bohemund and the Count of Flanders, who had gone to find food with a part of our army, and, God’s help prevailing, he was defeated and routed by them. The ruler of Antioch, still concerned about his safety, sent to the King of Aleppo and aroused him with promises of very great wealth, to the end that he should come with all his forces. Upon his arrival, our princes went forth from camp, and that day, God being their helper, with seven hundred knights and a few footsoldiers they defeated twelve thousand Turks with their King, put them to flight, and killed many of them. Our men regained not a few horses from that battle, and returned rejoicing with victory. Growing stronger and stronger, therefore, from that day our men took counsel with renewed courage as to how they might besiege the western gate which cut off access to the sea, wood, and fodder. By common agreement, therefore, Bohemund and the Count of St. Gilles went to the coast to fetch those who were staying there. Meanwhile, those who had remained to look after the possessions, seeking to acquire a name for themselves, went out incautiously one day after breakfast, near that western gate from which they were ingloriously repulsed and put to flight. On the third day after this, Bohemund and the Count of St. Gilles, on their way back, sent word to the princes of the army to meet them, (intending) together to besiege the gate. However, since the latter delayed for a short time, Bohemund and the Count of St. Gilles were beaten and put to flight. Therefore all our men, grieving and bewailing their disgrace, as well, for a thousand of our men fell that day, formed their lines and defeated and put to flight the Turks, who offered great resistance. On this day, moreover, almost fourteen hundred of the enemy perished both by weapons and in the river, which was swollen with winter rains.
And so, when this had been accomplished, our men began to built the fortress, which they strengthened, also, with a double moat and a very strong wall, as well as with two towers. In it they placed the Count of St. Gilles with machine men and bowmen. Oh, with what great labor we established the fortress! One part of our army served the eastern front, another looked after the camp, while all the rest worked on this fortress. Of the latter, the machine men and bowmen kept watch on the gate; the rest, including the princes themselves, did not stop in the work of carrying stones, and building the wall. Why recount the trials of many kinds, which, even if passed over in silence, are sufficiently evident in themselves— hunger, intemperate weather, and the desertion of faint-hearted soldiers? The more bitter they were, the more ready our men were in enduring them. Yet, indeed, we think that we should by no means pass in silence the fact that on a certain day the Turks pretended that they would surrender the city and carried the deception so far as to receive some of our men among them, and several of their men came out to us. While this was going on in this manner, they, like the faithless people that they were, set a trap for us in which Walo, the Constable, and others of them as well as of us were destroyed. A few days after this, moreover, it was announced to us that Corbara, chief of the army of the king of the Persians, had sworn to our death, and had already crossed the great Euphrates river with an innumerable army. God, however, who does not desert those who place their trust in Him did not abandon His people, but on the Nones of June compassionately gave to us the city of Antioch, which three of its citizens betrayed. We, however, devastated the city, and on that same day killed all the pagans in it, except some who were holding out in the castle of the city.
5. Summary of events. (June 5—beginning of July 1098)
(Anselm.) But on the following day Corbara approached with the King of Damascus, Duke Baldach, the King of Jerusalem, and very many others and laid siege to the city. Accordingly, we were both besieged by them, and (were ourselves) besieging the aforesaid few in the castle of the city, and we were thus driven to eat the flesh of horses and asses. Moreover, on the second day after their arrival they killed Roger of Barneville. On the third day, they attacked the fortress which we had erected against the Antiochenes, but accomplished nothing. However, they did inflict a wound upon Roger, chatellain of Lille, from which he died. Seeing that they were accomplishing nothing on that side, they ascended the hills. However, when we went out against them, we were beaten and put to flight. Then they entered inside the wall, and that day and the following night we were only a stone’s throw from each other. On the following day at daybreak they called upon Baphometht at the top of their voices, but we, calling upon our God in our hearts, made a charge upon them and drove them all outside the walls of the city. There Roger of Betheniville died. But they moved their camp and set siege to all the gates of the city, seeking to compel our surrender through lack of food.
Thereupon, when His servants had been placed in such tribulation, God stretched forth His right hand in aid and mercifully revealed the Lance with which the body of Christ was pierced. It lay buried, moreover, to a depth of two men’s stature beneath the g floor in the church of St. Peter. So, when this precious gem was found, all our spirits were revived.
On the vigil of the apostles Peter and Paul, (our princes), after taking counsel among themselves, sent envoys to Corbara to say: “The army of the Lord sends this message: ‘Leave us and the inheritance of St. Peter, or, otherwise, thou shalt be put to flight by arms'” When he heard this, Corbara unsheathed his sword and swore by his kingdom and throne that he would defend himself from all the Franks; and he further said that he himself owned the land and would possess it, justly or unjustly. For, he answered, they would hear no word from him until, abandoning Antioch, they denied Christ and professed the law of the Persians. When this message was heard, the Christians, cleansed by confession, and stoutly armed by partaking of the body and blood of Christ, went out from the gate ready for battle. The first to go forth was Hugh the Great, with his Franks; next the Count of the Normans and the Count of Flanders; after them, the venerable Bishop of Puy and the battle line of the Count of St. Gilles; after him, Tancred; and last of all, unconquered Bohemund. When, accordingly, the lines had been formed, with the Lance of the Lord and the Cross before them, they began battle with the greatest confidence. God helping, they turned in flight the Turkish princes, who were confused and utterly beaten, and killed countless numbers of them. Returning, therefore, with victory, we gave thanks to the Lord and celebrated the festival of the apostles with the greatest rejoicing. On that day the citadel was surrendered to us, the son of the King of Antioch having fled with Corbara. The King himself had been killed by peasants while fleeing in the mountains on the day that the city was surrendered.
We have sent this news to you, father, that you may take pleasure in the rescue of the Christians and the liberation of Antioch, and that you may pray God with greater devotion for all of us. For we place great faith in your prayers, and all that we accomplish we ascribe, not to our merit, but to your prayers. Now we pray y to keep our land in peace, and to defend the churches and the poor from the hands of tyrants. We pray, likewise, that you take council about the false pilgrims, either that they again take up the sign of the saving cross with penance, and resume the journey of the Lord, or that they undergo the peril of excommunication. Know for certain that the door of the land has been opened to us, and that among our other good fortunes, the King of Babylon, by envoys sent to us, has said that he will obey our will. Farewell. We beseech in the name of the Lord Jesus that all whom this letter reach pray God for us and our dead.
(Crusading Princes). But when we wished to attack the citadel on the next day, we saw overrunning all the fields an infinite multitude of Turks, whose coming we had been expecting for many days, while outside the city. These besieged us on the third day and more than one hundred of their soldiers entered the citadel for they wanted to break through the gate into the portion of the city located below the citadel, common to both ourselves and them.
But taking a stand on another hill opposite the citadel, we guarded the road passing between the two armies down to the city, lest many more of them break in upon us. Fighting night and day, within and without, we forced them to enter the gates of the citadel which led them to the city, and to return to their camp. Accordingly, when they saw that they could do no harm on that side, they surrounded us all about, so that none of our men could go out or come to us. As a result of this, we were all so destitute and afflicted that many of our men, dying of starvation and many other wants, killed and ate our famished horses and asses.
But meanwhile, by the most kind compassion of Almighty God, who comes to our aid, and is watchful in our behalf, we found the Lance of the Lord by which the side of our Savior was pierced at the hands of Longinus. St. Andrew the apostle thrice appeared to a certain servant of God and pointed out where the Lance lay buried in the church of St. Peter, chief of the apostles. We were so comforted and strengthened by finding it, and by many other divine revelations, that we, who before had been afflicted and timid, were then most boldly and eagerly urging one another to battle.
Accordingly, on the vigil of the apostles, Peter and Paul, after we had been besieged for three weeks and four days, we placed our trust in God and, having confessed all our iniquities, sought the gates of the city from which we went out with the whole army, ready for battle. We were so few that they were sure that we were not fighting against them, but rather fleeing. However, when all our men were ready, and the lines of foot-soldiers, as well as of knights, had been definitely formed, we boldly sought out with the Lance of the Lord (the points) where their valor and endurance was greatest; and from the first stand of battle we forced them to flee. However, as is their custom, they began to scatter themselves everywhere, and, by occupying hills and seizing roads wherever they could, they wanted to encircle us. But the grace and mercy of God so aided us, who had been instructed against their wiles and stratagems by many battles, that we, who were very few in comparison with them, forced them all together into one body; and God’s right hand fighting with us, we forced them, so gathered, to flee and abandon their camp with all that was in it. When we had conquered them, after pursuing them all day and killing very many of their knights, we returned to the city, happy and rejoicing. Moreover, a certain Emir who was in the aforesaid citadel with a thousand men surrendered to Bohemund, and at his hand they unanimously yielded to the Christian faith. And thus our Lord Jesus Christ has bound the city of Antioch to the Roman religion and faith.
DISSENSION AMONG THE LEADERS
(With the overthrow of Kerbogha all pressing danger from the Seljukian Turks and the Caliph of Baghdad was ended for several years at least. Henceforth the most serious obstacle from the Moslem side consisted in the Fatimite Caliph of Egypt. The latter, however, had entered into negotiations with the Crusaders, so that there was little cause to worry on that score. All Syria was now at the disposal of the Christians, and the fear of immediate danger was removed. But this situation threatened even greater perils to the cause of the Crusaders. For the main incentive for close cooperation and harmony was lost with the removal of danger from common foes. The death of Adhemar, papal vicar, at this juncture aggravated the state of affairs, for it took away the only leader who had claims upon the allegiance of them all. As a result, the leaders quarreled and all but fought with each other. On one pretext and another the journey to Jerusalem was postponed to satisfy their selfish ambitions. The amazing pressure exerterted at length by the common knights and foot-soldiers for some unity of action and adhesion to the original vow deserves much greater attention in the history of feudal organization than has usually been accorded it.)
THE CAPTURE OF JERUSALEM
(The last quarrel between the leaders at Archas apparently cleared the minds of all. Their attitude thereafter seemed one of grim determination to fulfill their vow as quickly as possible. The description of the siege and the capture of Jerusalem offers very graphic testimony as to the degree of civilization attained by eleventh century Europe. With Jerusalem in their possession, the Crusaders were still threatened by the vacillating ruler of Egypt, or Babylon, as they called it. Jerusalem had been surrendered to the Saracens of Egypt by its Seljuk rulers when the Crusaders were at Antioch. The inability of the Caliph to send an army to the relief of the city while it was being besieged is sufficient evidence of his weakness. The ease with which the Crusaders disposed of Al-Afdhal’s host, while it confirms this weakness, also affords eloquent testimony to the prestige which Western courage and skill had won among the Moslems.)
1. March to Jerusalem (May 13—June 7, 1099.)
(Gesta.) Accordingly, we left the fortified town and came to Tripoli on the sixth day of the week on the thirteenth day of incoming May, and we stayed there for three days. At length, the King of Tripoli made an agreement with the leaders, and he straight‑ away loosed to them more than three hundred pilgrims who had been captured there and gave fifteen thousand besants and fifteen horses of great value; he likewise gave us a great market of horses, asses, and all goods, whence the whole army of Christ was greatly enriched. But he made an agreement with them that if they could win the war which the Emir of Babylon was getting ready against them and could take Jerusalem, he would become a Christian and would recognize his land as (a fief held) from them. In such manner it was settled.
We left the city on the second day of the week in the month of May and, passing along a narrow and difficult road all day and night, we came to a fortress, the name of which was Botroun. Then we came to a city called Gibilet near the sea, in which we suffered very great thirst, and, thus worn out, we reached a river named Ibrahim. Then on the eve of the day of the Ascension of the Lord we crossed a mountain in which the way was exceedingly narrow, and there we expected to find the enemy lying in ambush for us. But God favoring us, none of them dared to appear in our way. Then our knights went ahead of us and cleared the way before us, and we arrived at a city by the sea which called Beirut, and thence we went to another city called Sidon thence to another called Tyre, and from Tyre to the city of Acre. But from Acre we came to a fortified place the name of which was Cayphas, and then we came near Caesarea. There was celebrated Pentecost on the third day of outgoing May. Then we came to Ramlah, which through fear of the Franks the Saracens left empty. Near it was the famous church in which rested the most precious body of St. George, since for the name of Christ he there happily received martyrdom from the treacherous pagans. There our leaders held a council to choose a bishop who should have charge of this place and erect a church. They gave tithes him and enriched him with gold and silver, and with horses and other animals, that he might live the more devoutly and honorably with those who were with him. He remained there with joy.
(Raymond) …But when the Saracens who lived in Ramlah heard that we had crossed the river near by, they left their fortifications and arms, and much grain in the fields, and crops, which we gathered. And when we came to it on the next day, we found out that God was truly fighting for us. So we offered vows to St. George because he had confessed himself our guide. The leaders and all the people agreed that we should there choose a bishop, since that was the first church which we found in the land of Israel, and, also in order that St. George might entreat God in our behalf, and might lead us faithfully through the land in which He was not worshipped. Moreover, Ramlah is about fifteen miles from Jerusalem. Therefore, we there held a conference. Some said, “Let us not go to Jerusalem at present, but towards Egypt; we will obtain not only Jerusalem, but likewise Alexandria and Babylon and very many kingdoms. If we go to Jerusalem and, failing of sufficient water, give up the siege, we will accomplish neither this nor the other afterwards.” But others said in opposition, “There are scarcely fifteen hundred knights in the army, and the number of armed men is not great; and yet it is now suggested that we go to very distant and unknown regions, where we will be able neither to get help from our people nor to place a garrison in a city, if we capture one; nor, even if it should be necessary, would we be able to return thence. But none of this; let us hold to our way, and let God provide for His servants for the siege, for thirst, for hunger, and for other things !”
Accordingly, after leaving a garrison in the fortress of Ramlah with the new bishop, we loaded our camels and oxen, and then all our baggage animals and horses, and turned our march to Jerusalem. However, the word which Peter Bartholomew had commanded us— that we should not approach Jerusalem except with bared feet—we forgot and held in low regard, each one, from ambition to occupy castles and villas, wishing to go ahead of the next. For it was a custom among us that if any one came to a castle or villa first and placed his standard there with a guard, it was touched by no one else afterward. Therefore, because of this ambition they arose at midnight and, without waiting for companions, gained all those mountains and villas which are in the meadows of the Jordan. A few, however, to whom the command of God was more precious, walked with naked feet and sighed heavily for the contempt of the Divine word; and yet no one recalled a companion or friend from that ambitious chase. Moreover, when by such arrogant procedure we had come near Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem came forth to meet the first of our men and wounded the horses severely. Of those men three or four fell on that day, and many were wounded.
2. The Siege. (June 7—July 15, 1099.)
(Gesta.) Rejoicing and exulting, we reached the city of Jerusalem on Tuesday, on the third day of the week, the eighth day before the Ides of June, and began to besiege the city in a marvelous manner. Robert the Norman besieged it from the north side, near the church of St. Stephen, which was built on the very spot where that first martyr won eternal happiness by being stoned in Christ’s name. Next to the Norman Count was Robert, Count of Flanders, while Duke Godfrey and Tancred besieged the city from the west. The Count of St. Gilles located himself on the south, on Mount Zion, near the church of St. Mary, the mother of the Lord, where Christ once supped with His disciples.
On the third day some of our men, namely Raymond Piletus and Raymond of Turenne, went out on a foraging expedition. They encountered a force of two hundred Arabs, and the soldiers of Christ fought these unbelievers. With the Lord’s help, they fought so valiantly that they killed many of the enemy and captured thirty horses. On the second day of the following week, we made an attack on the city, and so bravely did we fight that, if scaling ladders had been ready for our use, the city most certainly would have fallen into our hands. As it was, we pulled down the outer wall and placed one ladder against the main wall, upon which some of our men ascended and fought hand to hand with swords and lances against the Saracen defenders of the city. Many of our men were killed in this attack, but more of the enemy.
For a period of ten days during the siege we were not able to buy bread at any price, until a messenger came announcing the arrival of our ships. We also suffered greatly for thirst. In fear and terror we were forced to water our horses and other animals at a distance of six miles from camp. The Pool of Siloam, at the foot of Mount Zion, sustained us, but, nevertheless, water was sold among us very dearly.
When the messenger arrived from our ships, the leaders took counsel and decided that armed men should be sent to guard the ships and sailors at the port of Joppa. So one hundred men from the army of Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, under Raymond Piletus, Achard of Montemerle, and William of Sabran, left camp in the early dawn and started confidently toward Joppa. Thirty of these knights separated themselves from the rest of the band and met seven hundred Arabs, Turks, and Saracens from the army of the Emir. The soldiers of Christ boldly attacked the enemy, whose force was so superior to ours that they soon surrounded us. Achard and some of the poor footmen were killed. While this band was completely surrounded, and all believed that they would be killed, a messenger was sent to Raymond Piletus, who said, “Why do you stand here with these knights? Lo, all of our men are in serious danger from the Arabs, Turks, and Saracens, and may all be dead by this time. Hasten to them and aid them.” As soon as they heard this, our men hastened to the scene of battle. When the pagans saw the rest of our knights approaching, they formed themselves into two lines. Our men rushed upon the unbelievers, shouting the name of Christ, each determined to bring down his man. The enemy soon realized that they would not be able to withstand the bravery of the Franks, so they turned their backs and fled in terror. Our men, pursuing them a distance of four miles, killed many of them, but kept one alive to give them information. One hundred and three horses were captured.
During this siege we were so distressed with thirst that we sewed up skins of oxen and buffaloes and in these carried water for a distance of six miles. Between fetid water and barley bread we were daily in great want and suffering. Moreover, the Saracens hid in ambush at the watering places and either killed and wounded our animals or drove them away to caverns in the hills.
3. Final assault and capture. (July 15, 1099.)
(Gesta.) At length, our leaders decided to beleaguer the city with siege machines, so that we might enter and worship the Savior at the Holy Sepulcher. They constructed wooden towers and many other siege machines. Duke Godfrey made a wooden tower and other siege devices, and Count Raymond did the same, although it was necessary to bring wood from a considerable distance. However, when the Saracens saw our men engaged in this work, they greatly strengthened the fortifications of the city and increased the height of the turrets at night. On a certain Sabbath night, the leaders, after having decided which parts of the wall were weakest, dragged the tower and the machines to the eastern side of the city. Moreover, we set up the tower at earliest dawn and equipped and covered it on the first, second, and third days of the week. The Count of St. Gilles erected his tower on the plain to the south of the city.
While all this was going on, our water supply was so limited that no one could buy enough water for one denarius to satisfy or quench his thirst. Both day and night, on the fourth and fifth days of the week, we made a determined attack on the city from all sides. However, before we made this assault on the city, the bishops and priests persuaded all, by exhorting and preaching, to honor the Lord by marching around Jerusalem in a great procession, and to prepare for battle by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Early on the sixth day of the week we again attacked the city on all sides, but as the assault was unsuccessful, we were all astounded and fearful. However, when the hour approached on which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer on the Cross for us, our knights began to fight bravely in one of the towers—namely, the party with Duke Godfrey and his brother, Count Eustace. One of our knights, named Lethold, clambered up the wall of the city, and no sooner had he ascended than the defenders fled from the walls and through the city. Our men followed, killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that men waded in blood up to their ankles.
Count Raymond brought his army and his tower up near the wall from the south, but between the tower and the wall there was a very deep ditch. Then our men took counsel how they might fill it, and had it proclaimed by heralds that anyone who carried three stones to the ditch would receive one denarius. The work of filling it required three days and three nights, and when at length the ditch was filled, they moved the tower up to the wall, but the men defending this portion of the wall fought desperately with stones and fire. When the Count heard that the Franks were already in the city, he said to his men, “Why do you loiter? Lo, the Franks are even now within the city.” The Emir who commanded the Tower of St. David surrendered to the Count and opened that gate at which the pilgrims had always been accustomed to pay tribute. But this time the pilgrims entered the city, pursuing and killing the Saracens up to the Temple of Solomon, where the enemy gathered in force. The battle raged throughout the day, so that the Temple was covered with their blood. When the pagans had been overcome, our men seized great numbers, both men and women, either killing them or keeping them captive, as they wished. On the roof of the Temple a great number of pagans of both sexes had assembled, and these were taken under the protection of Tancred and Gaston of Beert. Afterward, the army scattered throughout the city and took possession of the gold and silver, the horses and mules, and the houses filled with goods of all kinds.
Later, all of our people went to the Sepulcher of our Lord, rejoicing and weeping for joy, and they rendered up the offering that they owed. In the morning, some of our men cautiously ascended to the roof of the Temple and attacked the Saracens, both men and women, beheading them with naked swords; the remainder sought death by jumping down into the temple. When Tancred heard of this, he was filled with anger.
 Extracted from: August C. Krey, ed. and tr., The First Crusade. The Accounts of Eye-witnesses and Participants (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 1921). Public domain. The text has been modified in places for clarity, standard American spelling, etc., and has also been abridged in places. E-Text prepared by Clifford J. Rogers.
Simony is the purchase of church offices.
 Depending on the origin of the denarius (silver penny) in question, this would be on the order of a hundred times the normal price.