Monday, May 31, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapter 29

After a complete fast lasting three days, and celebratory processions from one church to the another, they confessed their sins and faithfully took the communion of Christ's body and blood. And after they gave alms, they celebrated mass. Then, they set up six unwavering battle lines beyond the city. In the first line, was the most important, namely Hugo the Great (brother of the king of France) with the Frankish people and the Count of Flanders. In the second was Duke Godfrey with his own army. In the third was Robert the Norman with his knights. In the fourth was the Bishop of Le Puy carrying with him the lance of our Savior with his own people and with the army of Raymond, Count of St. Giles, who had remained above to guard the citadel for fear of the Turks that they not descend into the city. In the fifth line was Tancred, with his own people. In the sixth was Bohemond, with his knights. Our bishops, priests, clerics, and monks, having put on their sacred vestments, exited with us, begging and praying to the Lord that he would save us and guard us and deliver us from all evil. Others were standing on the wall by the gate, holding sacred crosses in their hands, making the sign of the cross and blessing us. Thus we were arranged, and protected by the sign of the cross, and we exited through the gate which was before the mosque.

Afterwards Curbara saw the battle lines of the Franks exit so beautifully arranged one after the other, said: "Allow them to exit so that we would better have them in our power." After we were outside the city and Curbara saw the people of the Franks, he was greatly afraid. So he ordered his own emir, who had all under his care, that if he would see a rising fire at the head of the host, on the spot he should have this heralded, and all the army should withdraw, knowing the Turks to have lost the battle.

Without delay, Curbara began to withdraw back towards the mountain, and our men pursued them little by little. Then the Turks divided and one part went towards the sea and the other part stood there, reckoning to pin us between the two. Our men, seeing this, did the same. Then there were seven battle lines arranged, from the line of Duke Godfrey and of the count of Normandy and the head of this last was Count Raynald. They were sent out to meet the Turks, who were coming from the direction of the sea. Moreover the Turks battled with them and many of our men were killed with arrows. And there was another troop arranged by the river all the way to the mountain, which stood apart by two milestones. Troops began to come out from both parts and surrounded our men on both sides, throwing missiles, firing arrows and wounding them.

Also from the mountains, an uncountable army came out, having white horses and the standards they were carrying were all of white. Our men, seeing this army, were not knowing what this was and who they were, then they recognized the aid of Christ, whose generals were saints, St. George, St. Mercurius and St. Demetrius. These words must be believed since many of our men saw this.

Then the Turks, who were standing on the side of the sea, seeing that they were not able to endure more, set fire to the grass so that those, who were with the tents, seeing this, fled. And those, recognizing this signal, seized all honorable spoils and fled. Our men were soldiering little by little to where the greatest strength of them was, that is by their tents. Duke Godfrey, the Count of Flanders and Hugo the Great were riding next to the water where the strength of them was. These men, fortified with the sign of the cross, jointly attacked them first. The other battle lines, seeing this, similarly attacked the others. But the Persians and the Turks were crying out. And thus we, invoking the living and true God, rode against them and we began the battle in the name of Jesus Christ and the Sacred Sepulcher, and with God aiding us, we defeated them.

Then the Turks, trembling, took flight, and our men pursued them up to their tents. These soldiers of Christ loved to hunt down the Turks more than to seek spoils. And they pursued them all the way to the Iron Bridge, and then all the way to Tancred's Castle. They threw away their tents, gold, silver, many ornaments, also sheep and cattle, horses and mules, camels and asses, grain and wine, white and many other things which were necessary to us.

The Armenians and Syrians, who were living in those parts, hearing that we had defeated the Turks, came running to the mountains to attack them, and however many of them they captured, they killed. We however, returning to the city with great joy, praised and blessed God, who gave this victory to his own people.

The emir, who was guarding the citadel, seeing Curbara and all the others fleeing from the field before the army of Franks, was more afraid. Immediately with a great hurry, he was seeking the standard of the Franks. Therefore the Count of St. Giles, who was standing in front of the citadel, ordered his own standard to be carried to him. The emir accepted it and carefully placed in on a tower. Immediately the Longobards said, who were standing there with him: "This standard is not Bohemond's." He asked them: "Whose is it?" They said: "Count of St. Giles." The emir went and got it, and taking down the standard, returned to the count. At that very hour, the venerable Bohemond came and gave him his own standard. He moreover received it with great joy and entered into an agreement with Lord Bohemond so that the pagans who wished to receive Christian would be with him(Bohemond) and those who wished to go away, would be permitted to leave whole and unhurt. Bohemond agreed to whatever the emir proposed and immediately sent his servants into the citadel. The emir was baptized after not many days, with his people who preferred to recognize Christ. Those who wanted to hold to their own laws, Lord Bohemond had given safe conduct to the land of the Saracens.

This battle had been fought on the fourth day before the Kalends of July, on the vigil of the apostles Peter and Paul, reigning by the Lord, our Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory in eternal ages. Amen.

Gustave Dore made a number of really nice illustrations for some book on the Crusades. The above illustration is called 'Bohemond and Tancred in Battle'. Nice to see that the Crusaders could be merciful, seeing what happens in Jerusalem. Maybe Bohemond should have been there to prevent the slaughter.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapter 28

Then, hearing the words of he who carried back the revelation through words of the apostle of Christ,hurrying we immediately went to that place in the church of St. Peter that he had shown him. And thirteen men dug there from morning until evening, and thus that man found the lance just as he indicated. And they accepted it with great joy and fear, and a great happiness had arisen in the whole city. From that hour, we accepted among ourselves the plan to fight. After this our leaders got an assembly together, seeing that they would send a messenger to the Turks, the enemies of Christ, who would argue through an interpreter with them through carefully chosen words asking how they could intrude so very arrogantly into the land of Christians, and why they have encamped there, and why they would kill and harass the servants of Christ. And when they were done speaking, they found two men, namely Peter the Hermit and Herluin and said this to them: "Go to the accursed army of the Turks and carefully tell them about all this, asking them why they so daringly and most arrogantly intrude on the land of Christians and our own."

This being said, the messengers withdrew and came to that profane assembly, saying all the words that had been sent to Curbara and the others thus: "Our leaders and siegneurs wonder greatly enough at how rashly and most arrogantly you intrude on the land of Christians and their own. We reckon and believe that perhaps as you have therefore come here, you wish above all to be baptized as Christians, or perhaps you have come here to punish the Christians? Therefore they ask you that you all quickly withdraw from the land of God and Christians, which blessed Peter the Apostle formerly now by his preaching turned back to Christ. But they would permit this to you that you take away your things, such as mules, horses, asses, and camels, also your sheep and cattle and all other items with you as you will be willing to bear."

Then Curabara, the prince of the army of the Sultan of Persia, with all others, responded full of arrogance and ferocity by this speech: "We do not desire or want your God or your Christianity, and we reject you and all with you. Now we will come against you, because we wonder greatly how your seigneurs and leaders, whom you call to mind, can call this land to be their own which we have taken away from an effeminate people? Therefore, go back as fast as you can and say to your leaders, if they desire above all to be baptized as Turks, that they wish to deny their god to whom they incline their necks and reject your laws, we will give them this land and more as well, and the city and citadel. Moreover none of your men will remain foot soldiers but they will be all knights just as we are and we will always have the greatest friendship with them. If otherwise, let them know they would all undergo the sentence of death, or be lead in chains to Corrozana in perpetual captivity, where they will serve us and our children for all time."

Our messengers quickly returned to our men, bearing all that they had said to those cruelest of people. It was reported Herluin had known the other language, and was interpreter to Peter the Hermit. Meanwhile our army was trembling for two reasons because they did not know what was going on; on the one hand a tortuous hunger was squeezing us, fear of the Turks was constricting them on the other.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapters 26 & 27

26. Then the Turks who were above us in the citadel began to constrain us amazingly so that they hemmed in three of our knights in a tower which was in front of the citadel. The gentiles exited and rushed against them so bitterly that they were unable to endure the attack. Two of the knights left the tower, wounded, and the third manfully defended himself against the attack of the Turks all day so well that on that day he razed two Turks down above the entrance with broken spears. For he had three broken spears in his hands that day. His name was Crazy Hugo, from the army of Godfrey of Mont Scabioso.

The venerable Bohemond, seeing that he was not able to lead his people as far as the citadel to fight - for they were locked up in the houses, some fearing famine and others for fear of the Turks - he was very angry and immediately ordered that the city be set on fire, in that part where Cassianus had his palace. Seeing this, those who were in the city abandoned the houses and everything they had and fled, some into the citadel, others to the gate with the Count of St. Giles, other to the gate of Duke Godfrey, each one to his own people. Then, too great a storm arose with a sudden wind, so that no one was able to keep to a straight course. The wise Bohemond was very fully sad at this, fearing for the church of St. Peter and St. Mary and other churches. This wrath lasted from the third hour all the way to the middle of the night. Nearly two thousand churches and homes had been burned. However when the middle of the night arrived, suddenly all fires diminished in ferocity.

The Turks, living in the citadel, were fighting beyond the city with our men day and night, and not anything could separate us from our arms. Our men, seeing this, because they were not able to endure this for a long time, since those who had bread had no time to eat it and those who had water had no time to drink, they built a wall between them and us from rocks and clay and they built a fort and machines so that they would be safe. A part of the Turks remained in the citadel to fight us, others were camped near a fort in a valley.
Since night fell, a fire appeared in the sky coming from the West, and approaching fell in the midst of the army of the Turks. From this, our men and the Turks were amazed. Moreover after this happened, on the next day, trembling Turks fled all equally for fear of the fire to before the gate of Lord Bohemond and camped there. The rest who were in the citadel were conducting war with us day and night, by firing arrows and wounding or killing. Others were besieging the city so that none of us dared to enter or exit the city unless at night and in secret. Thus we were truly besieged and oppressed by them, whose numbers were uncountable. Thus those unclean enemies of God were holding us so shut up in the city of Antioch that many were dead of hunger, since a small bread was being sold for one besant. We will not speak of wine. And they were eating the meat of horses and asses and selling it as well. They were selling a cock for fifty solides, an egg for two solides, one nut for one denaria, for everything was very dear. They were cooking and eating leaves of fig trees, vines and thistles and all trees, there was such an immense hunger. They were boiling the dried leather of of nags, camels and asses as well as cattle or buffalo and eating this. These and many worries and straits we endured in the name of Christ and the pilgrimage to the Sacred Sepulcher that must be freed. We endured such tribulations, hunger and fear for twenty-six days.

27. Then the foolish Stephen Count of Carnotensis(de Blois) who all our nobles had chosen so that he would be our leader, had greatly contrived to be weighed down with infirmity before Antioch had been captured and had disgracefully withdrawn to a fort which was called Alexandretta. We were expecting him to come every day to aid us who were shut up in the city and destitute in healing aid. Afterwards he heard the Turks had surrounded and besieged us, he secretly climbed up and nearby mountain where he could stand near Antioch and saw uncountable tents and a seized by a violent fear of capture, he quickly fled with his own army. Moreover, coming to his own fort, he looted it and quickly went back by the same route he came. Afterwards he went out to meet the emperor at Philomena, and called him apart in secret to say: "You should know again since Antioch has been captured and the citadel has not in the least been captured, our men are besieged with grave pressure, so that I reckon they had already been killed by the Turks. Therefore, you should return as quickly as you are able and the Turks will not find you and these people that you lead with you." Then the emperor, shook with fear, secretly called Guy, the brother of Bohemond (a half brother who was a mercenary in Alexius' army) and others, and said to them: "Sirs, what should we do? Behold, all of our men are beset and drawn apart by a siege, and perhaps in the very hour, all are dead at the hands of the Turks or are being lead into captivity just as this unpleasant count who is shamefully fleeing tells us. If you wish, we will turn back by the quick route, so that we shall not die in what manner of sudden death as even they have died."

When Guy, a most honorable knight, heard such a thing, he began to wail with everyone and to strike a most vehement howl. All were saying with one voice: "O true God, in one and the trinity, for what reason do you permit this to be done? Why did you permit your people following you and wishing to liberate the path to you and the Sacred Sepulcher, to fall into the hands of the enemies? Certainly if the truth is this word which we are unable to hear from this notorious man, we and other Christians will wholly forsake you, nor will we call you to mind, and none of us will dare to invoke your name beyond this." And he made this speech very greatly dejected with the entire force so that none of them either bishops or abbots, clerks or laity, would dare to invoke the name of Christ for many days. For no one was able to console Guy, wailing and smiting himself with his own hands, breaking his fingers and saying: Alas for me Lord, my Bohemond, pride and honor of the whole world, whom all the world fears and loves! (What about his nephew Tancred? :-( ) Alas sad me! I sorrowing earned not to see your most honorable aspect which I was desiring to see more than any thing. Who would give to me that I would die for you, sweetest friend and lord? (Oh lord!) Why did I not immediately die upon leaving my mother's womb? (a bit over the top really) Why did I come to this mournful day? Why was I not drowned in the sea? (yeah, why?) Why did I not fall from my horse and break my neck (yawn) so that I would receive a hasty destruction? If only I would receive happy martyrdom and witness you receive your most glorious end!" When everyone had run to him to console him, so that he would give lamenting an end, he said to them again: "Perhaps you will believe this of that half-gray, unwise knight, I never heard anyone speak about soldiering, that he would do the same as this one. But he withdrew dishonorably and shamefully, just as we are unwilling and unhappy to do and anyone whom I call a wretch, you know to be false."

Meanwhile, the emperor ordered his own men saying: "Go and lead these people to that land in Bulgaria and explore and destroy all places that harbor Turks so that they will be able to find nothing." Our men, turning around, had wanted and not wanted to return, sorrowing most bitterly unto death, there were many dead among the pilgrims, too feeble and unwell to follow the soldiers. They were falling dead on the road. All the rest returned to Constantinople.

In case you wonder why I sneer at the grief of Guy, this is the same fellow who climbed over the walls of Antioch and ran away when the fighting got fierce in Chapter 23 following the first onslaught of Kerbogha(Curbara).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapters 24 & 25

24. One day, our leaders were standing above the citadel, sad and sorrowing, when a certain priest came to them and said: "Seigneurs, if it pleases you to hear a certain thing, which I saw in a vision. When it was night, I was lying down in the church of St. Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of our world appeared to me with his mother and his main apostle St. Peter; and he stood before me and said to me: 'Do you know me? To which I responded: 'No' Again therefore, he asked me: "'Do you know me?' I said to him: 'I do not know you by any means; unless by that cross which I see above your head, you are our Savior.' To which he said: 'I am.' Immediately I fell at his feet, asking humbly that he would fight for us against the violence of those who have a larger force than we do. The Lord responded: 'I have well helped you and I will help you from this time forward. I permitted you to capture the city of Nicea, and to defeat all in battle and I conducted you here and consoled you in your sorrows that you endured in the siege of Antioch. Behold, by timely aid, I sent you safe and sound into the city and see many depraved and wanton people working with Christians and the depraved pagan women, from which a great stench has risen unto heaven. Then the gracious Virgin and St. Peter fell to his feet, asking him and praying that in this trial, he would aide his own people. And St. Peter said: 'Lord, the pagan people had held my home for this whole time, in which many unspeakable evils had been done. Only expel the enemies from here, Lord, and the angels will rejoice in heaven.' And the Lord said to me: 'Go then and tell my people let them return to me, and I will return to them, and after five days I will send great aid to them. And let them daily chant this response "We are united" the whole and the verse. Seigneurs, if you do not believe this to be the truth; permit me only to climb this tower and throw me off of it, if I am unharmed, you will believe this to be the truth. If however I have endured any injuries, cut off my head and throw me into the fire."

Then the Bishop of Le Puy ordered that Bible and a cross be brought, on the spot he swore that this was the truth. Our leaders deliberated at that hour, so they all should swear an oath that none of them would flee neither for death or for life, so long as they were alive. The first to have spoken this oath was Bohemond, then the Count of St. Giles, Robert the Norman, Duke Godfrey, and the Count of Flanders. Tancred swore and promised this as well for however long he had forty knights with him, he would not only not withdraw from this battle but not withdraw from the journey to Jerusalem. The Christian assembly rejoiced greatly at this, hearing of the oath.

25. However, there was a certain pilgrim among our army whose name was Peter, to whom St. Andrew the apostle had appeared before we entered the city, saying: "Where do you go, good man?" To whom, Peter responded: "Who are you?" The apostle said to him: "I am Andrew the apostle. Know, my son, that as you would enter the villa, going to the church of St. Peter there you with find the lance of our Savior Jesus Christ, with which he was wounded as he was hanging from the cross." Having said this, the apostle immediately withdrew.

However, fearing to reveal the advice of the apostle, he was unwilling to reveal this to our pilgrims. He was thinking to have seen this vision himself. And he said to him: "Lord, who will believe this?" In that very hour, St. Andrew received him and carried him all the way to the place where the lance was hidden in the earth.

When we were thus so that we were said to be overcome again, St. Andrew came again and said to him: "Why do you not lift up the lance from the ground as I told you to? You know again, that anyone who carries this lance into war, will never be overcome by an enemy." Peter immediately revealed this mystery of the apostle to our men. However the people did not believe him but denied this saying: "For what should we believe this?" For all were trembling from fear and were expecting to die soon. He approached and swore this all to be most truthful, since St. Andrew twice appeared to him in a vision, and said to him: "Rise up! Go and tell the people of God not to fear, but believe with their whole heart in one true God and they will be victorious everywhere. And the Lord was sending to them after five days such a thing from whence they would remain happy and joyful, and if they wished to fight, so that they would go united to war. Their enemies would be completely defeated and no one would stand against them." Hearing that their enemies would be completely defeated by them, they immediately began to revive and comforted each other in turns saying: "Be alert and be strong and careful everywhere. Since God will be near to us in aid, and will be the greatest refuge for his own people who he sees remaining in sorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapter 22 & 23

We can skip over Chapter 22. It is dreadfully boring. I will give you a brief idea of what it says. Curbara's mother calls him over because she is worried that he will be killed by the Franks. He tells her that she is a crazy woman. She says the Christian god is very strong and watches out for his people. He tells her that Bohemond and Tancred are not gods and it is they he has to defeat. She goes home to Aleppo sad and he goes off to war. Back to Antioch.

Chapter 23 On the third day, Curbara armed himself and the greatest part of the Turks with him and went to the city from the part where the citadel was situated. Moveover we, reckoning to be able to resist them, prepared for war against them. But the strength of them was so great, that we were unable to fight them, and thus we were forced to go into the city, by which there was a wonderfully tight and narrow door where there were many dead by the pressure of others. Meanwhile some were fighting outside the city, others inside on the fifth day of the week through the whole day all the way to nightfall. Among these was William de Grandmesnil, his brother Alberic, Guy Trousseau, and Lambert the Poor, these men were trembling with fear from the battle yesterday that lasted all the way til night. So they snuck out secretly by night over the wall and, fleeing on foot, headed for the sea and thus nothing remained on their hands and feet but the bones. Many men fled with them; I do not know who. Then arriving at the ships which were at the port of St. Simeon; they said: "Why do you stand here wretched ones? All of our men are dead and we scarcely escaped alive since the army of the Turks besieges the others in the city." But they, hearing such a tale, stood amazed and terrified, and they ran with fear to the ships and set themselves off to the sea. Then, the Turks, following them, killed those that they could find and the ships, that still remained in the rivers, had been set on fire and they seized the cargo of them.

Then we who remained were unable to endure the force of their arms(coming from the citadel which they had not yet captured), and we made a wall between them and ourselves which we guarded day and night. Meanwhile, we were oppressed by such great hunger that we ate our horses and our donkeys.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 9, Chapter 21

I was thinking that I was at last most of the way through the book since there are ten books in all. Yesterday, while I was printing up Book 9, I noticed the page count for Book 9 and I also looked at the page count for Book 10. Holy Moley!!! I think those two books are as long or longer than the previous eight. I am going to have to step it up a bit if I want to start on Gesta Romanorum for June so hold on to your hats. We are going into warp drive.

Cassianus the emir of Antioch sent an ambassador to Curbara(Kerbogha, the emir of Mosul), the principal knight to the Sultan of Persia(Barkyaruq, son of Malikshah), who was then at Corrozana, so that he would run to save him while there was time since the very strong people of the Franks were violently besieging him and had confined him in Antioch. If he would devote some aid to him, he would surrender the city of Antioch to him or would make him rich with a very great reward. Now he would bring a very large army of Turks, that he gathered together for a long time, and he explained the lawlessness of the Christians who must be killed to the Caliph their apostle, immediately he started making the journey on the long road to Antioch. The emir of Jerusalem came with his own army to help. The king of Damascus went there with a great number of people, namely Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Publicani, Azimites, Kurds, Persians, Agulani, and many other innumerable peoples. There were three thousand of the Agulani; they feared neither lances nor arrows nor any weapons. All their people and horses were covered on all sides with iron, and they themselves were unwilling to bear weapons to war unless they bore only swords.

This is a serious threat to the Crusaders. At some point Stephen of Blois runs away and, heading back to Constantinople, meets Alexius coming to bring aid to the Crusaders. Stephen persuades Alexius that the Crusaders are lost and there is no point in helping them so Alexius turns back, leaving the Crusaders in a city with no food and an exhausted army.

All of these people were coming to besiege Antioch, to break up the association of Franks. And when they approached the city, Sensadolus, the son of Cassianus emir of Antioch, went out to meet them, and right from the first ran weeping to Curbara, asking him questions and saying: "Most unbeatable prince, I beg you as a suppliant, how far would you bring aid to me, since the Franks who besieged me on all sides in the town of Antioch, now hold the rule of the city. They desire to remove us from the region of Romania as well as Syria and Corrozana. All has been brought about as they wished. They killed my father. Nothing other remains except to kill me and you and all of our people. For I was expecting your aid a long time ago as you would bring aid to me in this danger and I would faithfully bring aid to you in this danger." Curbara said to him: "If you wish that I would be wholeheartedly engaged in your profit, and I will loyally rescue you from this danger, you must place this town into my hands; and then you will see in what way I will be to your profit. I will place it under guardianship of my men." Sensadolus said to him: "If you are able to kill all of the Franks, and hand their heads to me, then I will give the city to you and I will become one of your men and I will loyally guard that city for you." Curbara said to him: "It will not be thus, but you must place the city into my hands right from the start." Both wanting to and not wanting to, he gave the city to Curbara.

On the third day after we entered the city, their first scouts arrived before the city. Moreover their army was at the encampment at the Iron Bridge; and had broken into the tower and killed all those they found there. No one escaped alive except the lord of that whom we found bound in iron chains after the larger battle had been fought. On the next day, the army of pagans had approached the city and encamped between the two rivers and remained there for two days. Having received thus the fort, Curbara called on of his own emirs, mature and mild and who knew the truth, and said to him: "I wish that you go into my confidence to guard this fort since for a very long time I knew you to be most faithful, and on that account I pray that you will save this fort using the greatest of caution." The emir replied to him: "Ever I wish to obey you in such offices. But I will do this, if by chance the Franks throw you down in mortal combat and win, I will immediately hand this fort over to them." Curbara said this to him: "I know you to be so honorable and prudent, that anything you wish to do for the good, I consent to."

Then Curbara returned to his army and next the Turks, deluded about the assembly of Franks, brought before the sight of Curbara a certain most vile sword covered in rust, and an even worse wooden bow, and a lance that was useless, which the poor pilgrims had carried and said: "See what weapons the Franks carry to meet us in war." Then Curbara began to laugh, gradually saying to all: "These are the splendid military weapons, which the Christians bear against us in Asia, with which they reckon and are confident to expel us beyond the confines of Corrosana, and to obliterate all of our people beyond the river of the Amazons, who would drive out all of our parents from Romania and the royal city of Antioch which is the honorable head of all Syria?" Soon he called together his secretaries and said: "Write quickly many reports which are to be read in Corrozana; namely to our Apostle the Caliph, and to our king Lord Sultan, that bravest of knights, and all others of the wisest knights of Corrosana, greetings and great honor. Let them delight and be joyful enough with happy concord and satisfy their bellies. Let them rule and sermonize through their regions, so that all men give themselves over to wantonness and luxury, and to rejoice to father many sons, who will prevail in fighting against the Christians strongly. And let them gladly receive these three arms, which we had once taken away from company of Franks, and let them know what sort of weapons the Franks carry against us. I have them closed up in Antioch, and I hold a fort(the citadel) by my free will while they are down in the city. I also have all those now in my hand and I will make them surrender or die or I will lead them to Corrozana in captivity, there they will be driven like cattle by our men with their own weapons. They will be driven off and expelled from all of our borders, just as they threw our relatives out of Romania and Syria. I swear only to you by Mohammed and by all the names of god, since I will not return before your presence, unless I will conquer the royal city of Antioch, and all of Syria as well as Romania and Bulgaria all the way to Apulia with my strong right hand, to God's honor and yours and all who are of the Turkish people." In this way, he finished his words.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 8, Chapter 20

There was a certain emir, who was Turkish, to whom was the name Pirus, who had formed the greatest of friendship with Bohemond. Often Bohemond was pressuring him through messengers sent so that he would receive him in the south of the city very friendly. Bohemond promised him Christianity would be freer and he was trusting that he could make him rich with much honor. He agreed to these words and promises, saying: "I guard three towers. I willingly promise to deliver these very towers. In whatever hour he will want, I will receive him in those towers." Therefore Bohemond was secure about his entry into the city and rejoicing with a serene mind, he went with a calm face to all the nobles bearing humorous words to them, saying: "Knights and most prudent of men, see in what means we all live in too great poverty and misery, nobles and commoners alike, and we are unaware deep inside from what part this will turn out better for us. Therefore if it seems good and honorable to you, one of us should choose on behalf of the others, and if he would be able to win the city by some clever device or to contrive some other means, we should be agreed to give up the city to him as a gift." They had vetoed and had refused all this, saying: "No one can take away this city but all have an equal share in it. Just as we have had equal labor, we should have equal honors." Thus, Bohemond, hearing these words, laughing a little under his breath, left on the spot.

Not long after, we had heard from messengers about an army of our enemies, Turks, Publicani, Agulani, Azimites, and many other nations, and immediately all of the leaders got together and held a council, saying because: "If Bohemond will be able to acquire the city by himself or through others, we willingly with one heart give this to him. With this one condition - so that if the emperor will come to us in aide and just as he promised in all contracts with us and swore to attend us and wished it - we would return it to him as is right. If not, however Bohemond shall have it in his power." Soon therefore, Bohemond began humbly to beg his friend daily by petition, promising with greatest of humility and kindness, in this manner: "Behold, it truly is the time. We have only this chance, in which we are able to accomplish whatever good things we wish. So help me now my friend Pirrus." He was happy enough with the message. Bohemond said to him that he ought to do everything as he swore to do. And thus, on the next night, Pirrus warily sent his own son as a hostage to Bohemond so that Bohemond would be more secure about the entrance to city. Pirrus sent to him also these words in this manner that tomorrow all of the Franks would be summoned together and pretend as though they were advancing into the land of the Saracens for looting and then quickly turn back by the mountain on the right. He said: "I will be intently waiting the troops deployed in that field, and I will receive them in the towers that I have in my power and guard." Then Bohemond ordered quickly to be called to himself his servant namely Mala Corona, and instructed him so that he would remind the great people of the Franks as a herald, so that they would faithfully prepare themselves to go into the land of the Saracens. And thus it was done. In this way, Bohemond entrusted this plan to Duke Godfrey, Count of Flanders, as well as the Count of St. Giles, and the Bishop of Le Puy, saying : "By the grace of God favoring us, this night Antioch will be surrendered to us."

These things had been arranged in this way. The knights would hold the plains and the foot soldiers would hold the mountain. They rode their horses all night and had walked all the time until near dawn and then they began to approach the towers where Pirrus was keeping a vigil. Immediately Bohemond descended from his horse and spoke to all saying: "Go with a secure mind and happy union and climb the ladder into Antioch, which we will have immediately in our hands if it is pleasing to God." They came to the ladder which now had already been set up and strongly tied to the wall of the city, the nearly sixty of out men climbed up that ladder, and they divided themselves among the towers which Pirrus was watching. Pirrus seeing this, because so few of our men had climbed up, began to tremble, fearing for himself and our men that they not fall into the hands of the Turks, and he said: "Micro Francos echome (That is, we have few Franks) Where is the most fierce Bohemond? Where is the undefeatable one?" Meanwhile a certain man serving the Longobards, went down the ladder and ran quickly to Bohemond saying: "Why are you standing here? For what reason did you come? Behold, we now hold the three towers!" He moved with others and rejoicing came to the ladder. Seeing this, those who were already in the towers began with a happy voice to shout: "God wills it." We were shouting the same. Now they began wonderfully to climb and they climbed and ran hurrying to other towers. Any who were found inside were killed, also the brother of Pirrus was killed. Meanwhile, the ladder broke, on which we were climbing, from whence a great distress and sadness arose in our men. Although the ladder had been broken, a certain gate which was next to us on the left had been closed which remained unknown to them. For it was night, but by coaxing and prying, we found it and we all ran to it and and having broken it open, we streamed in through that door.
Then an immeasurable uproar resonated wonderfully through
the whole city. Bohemond did not rest at this but he ordered his noble standard personally to be carried on top of the citadel on
that mountain. All people were shrieking equally in the city.
However at first daylight, those who were outside in their tents,
hearing a vehement rumor shouted thorough the city, exited
quickly and saw the standard of Bohemond on top of the
mountain. And quickly running in haste, they all came, and went
through the gates into the city; and killed the Turks and Saracens
whom they could seize there as well as those who were fleeing
upwards into the citadel. Others of the Turks were getting out
through the gates and by fleeing, escaped alive. Their Lord
Cassianus greatly fearing the people of the Franks gave himself
completely over to flight, with many others who were with him.
And by fleeing, he came to the land that Tancred was holding not
far from the city. Their horses were worn out, and they sent
them into a certain village and hid them in a home. The
inhabitants of the mountain recognized him, namely the Syrians
and Armenians, and immediately seized him and lopped off his
head and carried it into the presence of Bohemond. Thus by this
deed, they would win glory and receive their freedom. His belt
and scabbard was appraised at sixty besants.

All of these deeds had been accomplished on the third day of
the month of June, the fifth day of the week, 3 days before the
Nones of June. And all of the flat places of the city were full of
the bodies of the dead, so that no one would be able to endure to
be there because of too great a stench. In truth, no one was able
to go along the roads of the city unless over the bodies of the

Cassianus' Arab name was Yaghi Siyan. And the 3rd of June was a Thursday.


It is amusing how much Tancred and Bohemond behave in similar ways, with the same ferocity and reckless behavior. Hardly surprising since they are close genetic relatives. There has been some dispute about the nature of their relationship to each other - cousins or nephew and uncle. I think it has been resolved that Tancred is Bohemond's nephew. He seems to look up to Bohemond in a way you would not not do if you were cousins. Anna Comnena wrote that he was Bohemond's nephew although she stated that she was not sure if they were related on his mother or his father's side. Anonymous has yet to say anything about that.
Tancred's parents are supposed to be Bohemond's sister Emma and Odo the Marquis. So it has been stated by Ralph of Caen, a contemporary, who wrote a biography of Tancred called Gesta Tancredi. Amazingly, it has only just in 2005 been published in English, according to Google Books.
It seems the whole Guiscard family was fierce. Anna wrote, "(Contosephanus) overlooked his orders and sailed to Otranto, a city on the coast of Lombardy. The place was defended by a woman, the mother, so it was said, of Tancred, though whether she was a sister of the notorious Bohemond or not I cannot tell.......this woman gladiator by her talk and lying promises kept Contostephanus's plans in abeyance. Meanwhile the son for whom she was waiting did arrive, with attendant counts. He fought Contostephanus and beat him conclusively."(Book 12) Of course it is not surprising that Emma would fight since her mother Sichelgaita was known to put on armor and wade into battle with her husband Robert Guiscard, as Anna wrote "She went on campaign with her husband and when she donned armour was indeed a formidable sight."(Book 1) Sichelgaita, however, is not Bohemond's mother. He was the son of a first marriage to Alberada. Actually, I am not even sure Gaita was Emma's mother. There is a divided opinion on if Emma was Bohemond's full sister or half sister and if Alberada was not her mother as well.
Other comments about Bohemond include, "Bohemond, who was in any case a warlike man and loved danger". Or when he was facing Alexius in battle, Bohemond was tricked into racing ahead of his own troops in pursuit of the imperial standards which is where Alexius should have been. Then Alexius went and defeated Bohemond's troops while Bohemond was off on a mad dash. He was later found on an island on the river Salabria, eating grapes and bragging about how he had beaten Alexius, making a joke about the name of the place where the battle was - Lykostomion- when he was told that he had not. He jumped up, angry, and rushed back to fight. Eventually Bohemond did defeat Alexius, hence the animosity between the two, but Bohemond's progress towards usurping the Byzantine throne was stopped when Alexius send messengers to Bohemond's lieutenants pointing out that they had been fighting for four years and has Bohemond paid them yet. He did not have any money to pay them and, when his men figured that out, they went home and the party was over.
Anna also wrote of Bohemond, "Bohemond resembled his father in all respects, in daring, strength, aristocratic and indomitable spirit. In short, Bohemond was the exact replica and living image of his father. He at once attacked Canina, Hiericho and Avlona like a streaking thunderbolt, with threats and irrepressible fury. He seized them, and fighting on took the surrounding areas bit by bit and destroyed them by fire. Bohemond was in fact like the acrid smoke which preceded the fire, the preliminary skirmish which comes before the great assault, Father and son you might liken to caterpillars and locusts, for what was left by Robert, his son fed on and devoured." In short, he was like a force of nature.
You have to wonder, if Bohemond had more resources at his command to keep expanding his kingdom at Antioch, we would be speaking about him like we do about people like Napoleon, Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionhearted or Julius Caesar. He shares some personality traits with all of these but he ultimately failed and has been largely forgotten. What a pity but I guess I should spare some pity for all of his victims as well. He was a warmonger after all.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 8, Chapter 19

At last nearly all paths had been closed to the Turks and they were cut off on all sides, excepting that side where a fort was by the river and a certain monastery(St. George). If this fort had been completely fortified by our men, none of them(Turks) would dare to step outside of the city. Our men at length got together, and with one voice in agreement said: "Let us choose one from our numbers, who will firmly hold that fort and bar the way to the mountains and the plains to our enemies and even the entrance and exits to the city." Tancred was first on his feet to put himself before the others saying: " If I would know what would be to my profit(reward), I would diligently strengthen that fort with my own men only, and that path by which our enemies are accustomed to frequently indulge their savagery, I would valiantly prevent them." They without a delay pledged four hundred silver marks to him. Tancred was done talking, right away he went out with his own most noble knights and servants, and outside of the temple, he blocked the way on both sides to the Turks. Thus terrified, none of them(Turks) would dare to step outside the city from fear of him, neither to go near fodder or near wood or near any other necessary item. Tancred remained there with his men and he zealously began to restrict the city. Also that day was coming a great force of Armenians and Syrians securely through the mountains, who were carrying food aid to the Turks of the city. Tancred went out to meet these and seized them and everything they were carrying, namely corn, wine, barley, oil, and other items of this sort. In this way, Tancred was conducting himself so toughly and favorably that he was having the paths to the Turks barred and cut off until Antioch had been captured.

I would not be able to describe all the things that we had done before the city had been captured, since there is no one in these parts either of the clergy or the laity who is able to write it all down or tell of it, just as a history. However, I will tell something about it.

Every time supplies show up, Anonymous gives a list of what there was. I assume it was because, he like the rest, was starving most of the time so food was intensely interesting. The monastery of St. George's was later called Tancred's Fort.
I did not look really, really hard but I couldn't find any photos of remains of this fort. There are not much of the remains of old Antioch in Antakya. I did find this interesting blog which includes a couple of nice photos of Antakya and some commentary about Antioch.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 7, Chapter 18 cont.

On the next day, at first light, some Turks came out of the city and gathered up all of the rotting bodies of dead Turks that they were able to find along the banks of the stream, except those that were lying hidden on the riverbed of the stream, and they buried them at the mosque which was across the bridge before the city gate. And at the same time, they buried them together with cloaks, golden besants, bows, arrows and other items which we were unable to name. Our men, hearing that the Turks had buried their dead, got themselves ready and came hurrying to that diabolical palace and ordered the tombs of them to be opened and violated, and dragged the bodies out of the graves. And they threw all of their bodies into a certain pit and carried off their severed heads to our tents so that it could be more accurately known the numbers of them, except those which had been loaded onto four horses of the messengers of the emir of Babylon(Cairo) and sent to the sea. The Turks sorrowed very much, seeing this. They were sad unto death. For they were sorrowing daily; they were doing nothing other than mourn and wail. On the third day, we began together with great joy to build the fortress that had been mentioned before, from stones just like the ones that we had removed from the mounds of the Turks. Thus, the fort having been completed, we soon began to close in on our enemies from all sides. The undeserved arrogance of those had been reduced. Moreover, we were strolling securely here and there to the gate and to the mountains, praising and glorifying our Lord God, to whom is all honor and glory through ages of ages. Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 7, Chapter 18 cont.

Thus Bohemond held not to the road which they held but came to us, who were gathered together, quickly with few knights. Then, fired up by the killing of our men, we called upon the name of Christ and trusting in the way to the Sacred Sepulcher, together and at the same time, we went out to meet them in battle and we attacked them with one heart and mind. The enemies of God and our enemies were standing on all sides astonished and violently frightened. They were reckoning to defeat and kill our men, just as they had done to the people with the Count and Bohemond. But the all powerful God would not allow this from them. Therefore the knights of the true God, armed on all sides by the sign of the cross, bitterly pressed them and gave a strong attack. Moreover they fled quickly across the middle of the narrow bridge to their entrance. Those who were unable to cross the bridge alive, before too great a multitude of people and pack horses, received there everlasting ruin with the devil and his angels. Thus our men defeated them, driving them into the stream and destroying them. The water of the swift flowing stream seemed on all sides to flow red with the blood of the Turks. And if by chance any of them had wished to crawl across the supports of the bridge or by swimming to land worked hard to get out, he would have been wounded by our men who were standing on both banks of the river. A cheering by our men as well as the clamor by their men resounded up to heaven. Rains of projectiles and arrows were hiding the sky and the brightness of God. Christian women in the city came to the windows along the wall, watching the wretched fate of the Turks and secretly clapping their hands. The Armenians and Syrians, by order of the Turkish leaders, either reluctantly or of their own accord, were firing arrows outside the city at our men. There were even twelve dead in spirit and body of emirs of the troops of Turks in that battle, and others of the most skillful and strongest of knights, who had defended the city better in their fighting. The number of these was 1500. The others who remained alive, now were not daring to shout any more or croak day and night like they were accustomed to before. Thus night only separated us from them, and night divided both of us from fighting, throwing, launching darts, and firing arrows.(night ended the battle) Then our enemies were overcome by the power of God and the Sacred Sepulcher and beyond that, they were not vigorous enough to have so much strength either in voice or in works like before. Thus we were very much able to recover on that day many things which were necessary enough to us and horses.( c. March 1098)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 7, Chapter 18

Our men had returned in triumph, going with God, and rejoicing about the triumph which they had on that day defeating our enemies, who were always overcome in all things, fleeing here and there, roaming and wandering, some to Corrozana, others went into the land of the Saracens. Moveover, our leaders, seeing that our enemies who remained in the city were dealing harshly with us and constraining us, watching day and night and plotting in what ways they would be able to harm us, held a meeting and said: "Before we lose our people, let us build a castle by the mosque that is before the city gate, where the bridge is, and perhaps there we will be able to discomfit our enemies." They all agreed and praised what seemed good to be done. The Count of St. Giles spoke first saying: "Be an aid to me for the building of the castle and I will fortify it and save it." Bohemond responded: "If you and the others wish it, I will go with you to the harbor of St. Simeon to carefully lead back men who are there, so that they can accomplish this work, the others who are about to remain should fortify themselves on all sides for the purpose of defense.

Therefore, the Count and Bohemond left for the port of St. Simeon. We, who remained, assembled in one spot, began construction of the castle, then the Turks prepared themselves there, and came out of the city to meet us in battle. Thus they rushed in against us and set our men to flight and killed many of our men, for which we were very sad.

Moreover on the next day, the Turks, seeing that our leaders were away and because they had left on previous day for the port, prepared themselves and went out to block those coming from the port. Then, seeing the Count and Bohemond coming and leading those people, soon they began to hiss and snarl and to shout with a most furious din, circulating around our men, throwing spears and launching arrows, wounding and cruelly beheading. For they attacked our men so bitterly that our men fled to the nearby mountain and wherever the way was open to flee. Any who were able quickly to disentangle themselves and escape, got out alive, those who were unable to flee were killed. There were on that day more than a thousand of our knights and foot soldiers martyred. We believe they ascended to heaven and received the white robe of martyrdom.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 6, Chapter 17

Then Lord Bohemond hearing that there were uncountable Turks coming to fight us, warily went to the others, saying: "Lords and most skillful knights, what shall we do about this deed that is about to be done? For we are not so many that we can prevail by fighting on two fronts. But you know what we should do? Let our people be divided into two groups. Part of the footsoldiers should remain constantly to guard the tents and part who can go can continue the siege against those who are in the city. The rest of our knights can come with us to meet our enemies, who are encamped near us in the fortress of Areg beyond the Iron Bridge."

This having been done, the valiant Bohemond exited the tents with his most skilled knights and went to set up between the river and the lake. At first daybreak he ordered scouts to go out immediately and see how many troops of Turks there were and where they would be or for certain where they would be going. They went out and quietly began to ask where the battle lines of the Turks would be concealed. At last seeing innumerable Turks separated to advance from a part near the river divided into two battle lines, the greatest strength of theirs was coming in the rear. The spies, after they had quickly returned, said: "Behold, behold they come! Therefore make yourselves ready since they are now near you." And the very wise Bohemond said to the others: "Lords and most invincible knights, prepare together for war.: And they answered: "You are wise and skillful, you are great and magnificent, you are strong and victorious, you are the arbiter of war and the judge of battles, do this entirely. This is beyond us. Take command. All that seems good to you, we will do and arrange" Then Bohemond gave orders, so that each prince lined up in the battle lines according to their ranks. And they did it thus and six battle lines were drawn up. Five of these would go as one to attack the Turks. After a little while, Bohemond was stepping in the back with his own battle line. Therefore, they were joined next to ours, as one hand in hand we struck hard at the others. A clamor was resounding up to heaven. Everyone was fighting at the same time. Rains of spears were veiling the sky. Afterwards, the greatest strength of those which was held in reserve, severely attacked our men. In this way so that our own men were now being pushed back. Because he saw this, the most learned Bohemond groaned. Then he sent before his own constable, namely Robert FitzGerard, saying: "Go as quickly as you are able as a strong man and be stern in aid to God and to the Sacred Sepulcher. For you know in return that this war is not earthly but spiritual. Be therefore the bravest champion of Christ. Go in pace. The Lord will be with you everywhere." Bohemond did this and, from all sides well fortified by the sign of the cross, just as the lion, having endured famine for three or four days, emerges from his lair , roaring and thirsting for sheep's blood, thoughtlessly charges among the flocks of sheep and tearing the sheep fleeing hither and thither to pieces, thus he was going among the flocks of the Turks. So zealously he stood against those that the tips of his banners were fluttering over the heads of the Turks.

The battle lines of the others, seeing the standard of Bohemond born so honorably before the others, they returned to the field with our men and together they attacked the Turks, who completely amazed took flight. Then our men pursued them all the way to the Iron Bridge and cut them off. Moreover retreating, the Turks hurried back into their forts, and they took everything they could find there and they looted the fort and set fire to it and fled. The Armenians and Syrians, knowing the Turks to have lost the battle, came out and stood guard in narrow places and killed and seized many of those.

Therefore our enemies had been overcome, granted by God, on this day. Our men recovered enough horses and other goods which were very necessary to them. And they carried one hundred severed heads before the gate of the city where the ambassador of the emir of Babylon(Cairo) had his camp, who was sending his nobles. They who remained with the tents, had battled all day with those who were in the city, before the three gates of the city. This battle had been waged on the (Shrove) Tuesday before the start of the fasting (Lent), five days(Feb. 9) before the Ides of February, supporting God with our lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns through never ending ages of ages. Amen.

Bohemond as Leonidas "Prepare for glory!! Tonight we dine in heaven!!" And the words of Dieneces"This is pleasant news that the stranger from Trachis brings us, if the Persians hide the sun, we will have our battle in the shade." (about the heavy rain of projectiles coming down) Boo-yah. Except Bohemond survives victorious. Maybe a certain friend of mine is correct and Gerard Butler should play Bohemond in a movie of his life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 6, Chapter 16

Meanwhile, the hostile Tetigus (A Byzantine general sent along with the army by the emperor to guide the Crusaders see below) hearing that an army of Turks had come against us, said himself to have feared, judging us to have been completely ruined and to have fallen into the hands of the enemies, forming all sorts of lies, he said: "Sires and most skilled men, see that we are here now in the greatest of need, and from no parts will aid come to us. Behold only, allow me to return to my homeland in Romania and I will without a doubt arrange from there that many ships come by sea with an abundance of corn, wine, barley, meat, wheat and cheese, in short all goods that are necessary to us. I will arrange some horses to be lead for selling and I will arrange a market to come across the land with the guarantee of the emperor. Behold, I swear this to you faithfully and I will attend to it. Also to this, my servants and my tent are in the camp and from this you can believe me firmly, by these guarantees I will return."

Thus, in this way, he had finished his speech. He was an enemy, he left all of his own things at the camp but he was persisting in his lie and will continue in his lie. There was the greatest need upon us, since the Turks were pressing upon us on all sides, so that no one would dare to leave his tent. For they were hemming us in on one side and hunger was tormenting us from the other. The rescue of aid had failed for us, the weakened and most impoverished people were fleeing to Cyprus, Romania, and into the mountains. We did not dare go especially towards the sea because of fear of the most villainous Turks. There was no way open to us.

Tetigus, called Taticius by Anna, was a Saracen general in Alexius's army. He was a Grand Primicerius, a post of which E.R.A. Sewter has written in the footnotes to my translation of "Alexiad' that he was an officer of the imperial household and it was a position reserved for eunuchs. This is one reason perhaps why the Franks and Normans might have scorned him. As well, he was one of the leaders of the imperial army when Bohemond and his father tried to wrest the empire from the Byzantines which means that Bohemond and he had a long history of enmity. He went along with the Crusaders to guide and advise them (not that they listened to him at all) and to take charge of any cities that they captured since they swore they would turn these over to the emperor. Of course that was never going to happen either. He was probably a decent man and was not lying.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 6, Chapter 15

Then William the Carpenter and Peter the Hermit, because of their great misfortune and misery, left in secret. Tancred, following them, caught them and brought them back in disgrace, they gave the right hand and a guarantee, to him, that they would gladly return to camp and give satisfaction to the leaders. Then, William lay down all night in the tent of Lord Bohemond like a bad thing. The next day, at first light, he went blushing and stood in the presence of Bohemond. Addressing him, Bohemond said: " O ruin and disgrace of all the Franks, shame and calamity of the Gauls, O most worthless of all those who tread upon the earth, why do you so shamefully flee? Perhaps in this you had wished to betray these knights and host of Christ, just you betrayed others in Spain." To this, he was completely silent, and no words proceeded from his mouth. Nearly all of the Franks had gotten together and had humbly asked that he permit no worse to be done to him. Bohemond nodded with a calm face and said: "This I would agree willingly to for your love, if he swears with a whole heart and mind to me that he will not withdraw from the journey to Jerusalem either for good or bad and Tancred will agree that nothing bad will happen to him either from him or his own men" Hearing these words, William ceased voluntarily and on the spot he was sent away. After William the Carpenter had been seized by the greatest wantonness, he was not long in delaying running away.

God has given this poverty and misery because of our transgressions, for in the whole host, no one could find a thousand knight who had good horses.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 6, Chapter 14

Then the Turks, those enemies of God and sacred Christianity, in whose hands was held the city of Antioch, hearing that Lord Bohemond and the Count of Flanders had left the siege, came out of the city and boldly came to battle with us, looking for ways in which the siege lines were weaker and knowing the most skillful knights to be away. On one Tuesday, they found that they were able to resist us and to even to hurt us. Those most wicked barbarians came warily and rushed in to attack us zealously, and killed most of our knights and footsoldiers, who were taken off guard. Also on that bitter day, the Bishop of Le Puy lost his own seneschal, who had been carrying and guiding his standard. And if the river had not been between us and them, they would have attacked us more frequently, and would have done the greatest harm to our people.

As that most cautious of men, Bohemond was leaving with his own army for the land of the Saracens, he came to Tancred's Mountain, thinking that perhaps there he would prevail in finding something which he would be able to carry away. For he had been sent in search through the whole land and some men found stuff, others went back empty handed. Then the wise Bohemond rebuked those men saying "O unlucky and most wretched people. O vilest of all Christianity, why are you willing to go away so quickly? Allow, only allow until where we will be assembled in one group and do not wander as sheep who do not have a shepherd. Moreover, if our enemies find you wandering, they will kill you, since they are vigilant day and night in order to find you without a guide or separated from the group. They labor every day to kill you and even to lead you into captivity." And when he was done saying this, he returned to his own camp, with his own men more empty-handed than full.

However the Armenians and Syrians seeing that our men returned empty handed, formed a agreement where they were crossing through the mountains and known places, delicately asking for and buying corn and food, which they were carrying back to the camp in which there was great famine and were selling the load of one ass for eight 'purpuratis', which was worth a hundred and twenty solid denaries. There were many dead from our people, not having the price from whence they were able to buy so dearly.

Some Comments and Links About the First Crusade

Reading that the Crusaders built a tower near Antioch, made me curious if anything remained of the tower. The first difficulty that comes up is the name of the tower. Anonymous does not give it a name; he simply says there was a tower on Mount Maregart. Antioch was built beside a mountain called Mount Silpius by one of Alexander the Great's generals, Seleucus. Looking at a book called The First Crusade; the accounts of eyewitnesses and participants by August C. Krey, he seems to think that this tower was at Margat. Just about everyone else calls this tower Malregard, that is "evil glance" or "looking bad" or "bad omen" however you want to translate the French name.
Margat was on the coast and seems a bit far to be the tower, where other authors are sure the tower was built on Mount Silpius near Bohemond's camp. The history of Margat seems to cancel it out as a candidate but I did find an interesting account of its fall from an Arab perspective in the Third Crusade here. There do not seem to be any accounts of the First Crusade from an Arab eyewitness perspective but some later Arab writers like Ibn Al-Athir wrote about the First Crusades and a biography of Saladin. Also interesting to read are accounts like Usmah Ibn Munqidh's autobiography about life under the Frankish occupiers here.
Making the search for Bohemond's tower harder is that most of ancient Antioch is buried under the modern Turkish city of Antakya and there seem to be little that has been uncovered. However it does make more sense to build a watchtower near the city since the Crusaders had not lifted their siege and remained there for about a year and a half.
I found a nice map of all the Crusader forts in the Middle East. I don't know how accurate it is but there are also some very good books on the Crusades worth buying besides the Krey book. I have had a good look at a book called The First Crusade: A New History by Thomas Ashbridge. It looks very, very good with maps of the routes they took and ancient cities so you can see the layout of the battles. August C. Krey's book is also excellent but an older book and includes some funny details like calling the Arabs 'barbarian hordes' where Anonymous clearly hasn't but he has broken up the account in Gesta with many other eyewitness accounts to give you a chronological history from various points of view. If you just want a copy of Deeds of the Franks, Oxford Medieval Texts has an excellent version with Latin on one page and the English translation facing it. It is pricey but you get the assurance of it being of the best quality in scholarship.
One more link I would like to post is a photo of the Cilician Gates which is the mountain pass that Anonymous describes as narrow and dangerous. The Taurus mountain range which they had to pass through was very difficult to pass indeed. Here is one photo and here is another rather bleak looking mountain.
Although Anonymous does not say as much, after Baldwin took that town from Tancred, Tancred returned to the main Crusader army but Baldwin did not. Baldwin headed east and carved a kingdom for himself in Edessa. Judging by the accounts of Fulcher of Chartres, Baldwin was prepared for all kinds of back stabbing to carve out a kingdom for himself. Should I be using judgemental words? Why not since this is not a academic or 'scholarly work'. Anyway, while I was trying to find out more about the tower, I came across all kinds of information as to what lies ahead of the Crusaders or later Crusades. They eventually won Jerusalem but at what a cost in human suffering.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 5, Chapter 13

All of our leaders had assembled together and arranged a plan, saying, "Let us build a fort on the heights of Mount Maregart (Al Marqab), where we will be able to be safe and secure from the threat of the Turks." Once the fort had been built and well fortified, all of the leaders would take turns guarding it. At last, grain and all food for the body began to be too dear before the birth of the Lord (Christmas). We inside the fort, did not dare to go outside, nor were we able to find anything in the land of the Christians for eating. No one dared to go into the land of the Saracens unless in a large group. Towards the end, our leaders set up a plan, where they would appoint people to bring back supplies. They formed this plan so that part of our men would go carefully to draw tariffs and others would guard the army, others would remain and faithfully guard our enemy. Then Bohemond said: "Gentlemen and most prudent knights, if you wish and it seems good to you, I will make this quest with the Count of Flanders." And after a most glorious and solemn Nativity had been celebrated, on Monday the second day of the week, they went out with others as well as 20,000 knights and footsoldiers, who were sound and unharmed and they went into the land of the Saracens. Of course there were gathering many Turks, Arabs and Saracens, who were from Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo and other regions, who were coming to give strength to Antioch. These, hearing that the people of the Christians would be lead through their land, prepared themselves to go to war against the Christians, and at the earliest daybreak they came to the place where our people were assembled. The barbarians divided themselves and formed two battle lines, one in front and the other in behind, desiring to encircle us on all sides. The distinguished Count of Flanders, who had all the way faithfully carried his arms daily bolstered by his faith and the sign of the cross, ran at them as one with Bohemond. Our men together made an attack on them. They immediately took flight, and quickly turned their backs to us. There were many dead from their numbers, and our men took their horses and others spoils. Others, who had remained alive, quickly fled and were lost to the wrath of perdition. We, returning with great leaps and bounds, praised and exalted the Trinity and the One God, who lives and reigns now and forever. Amen.

end of book 5, for anyone who is joining this account in the middle, Book 1, Chapter 1 is here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 5, Chapter 12

When we had begun to approach the Iron Bridge, our scouts who always were accustomed to go before us, found uncountable groups of Turks assembled to meet us, who were hurrying to give aid to Antioch. Our men, rushing in with one heart and mind defeated the Turks. The barbarians were startled and gave flight and there were many dead from their group in that struggle. Our men having overcome those by the grace of God, received many spoils, horses, camels, mules, asses, laden with corn and wine. Then our men, returning, set up camp on the banks of the river. Farther on, that wise man Bohemond went with four thousand knights to the gate of the city, to watch if by chance anyone was entering or leaving the city in secret by night. The next day, they went all the way to Antioch at noon, on the fourth day of the week, which is 12 days before the kalends of November, and most wonderfully besieged three gates of the city, since the place for siege was lacking for us in other parts, due to a high and much too narrow mountain which would crowd us all together. However, our enemies the Turks, who were inside the city, were fearing us so much that not one of them would dare to strike at any of our men for nearly the space of fifteen days. After our camps encircled Antioch, we discovered much abundance, namely vineyards full of grapes everywhere and small pits full of grain, orchards crammed full of apples and other goods which are useful to the body.

The Armenians and Syrians who were inside the city, came out and paraded themselves as if to flee, they were with us every day but left their wives in the city. They were ingeniously seeking to find out our numbers and what sort of men we were, and carry back all this information to those who were shut up in the city. After the Turks had been educated about us, they began little by little to come out of the city, they hemmed our pilgrims in on all sides, not only from one part, but they came out from everywhere in secret to meet us from the sea and from the mountain.

However, there was not far away a fortified town called Aregh, where there was a very strong contingent of Turks, who were frequently attacking our men. Our leaders, upon hearing such a thing and grieving very much about this, sent some from their own knights to carefully scout out the area where the Turks were. Having discovered the place where they were lurking, our soldiers, who were seeking them, encountered them. But, when our men were returning to where they knew Bohemond to be with his army, they were set upon by the Turks and two of those men were killed. Hearing this, Bohemond arose with his men as the strongest champion of Christ and the barbarians rushed in to attack them, because our men were few, however united as one, they entered into battle. There were many dead among our enemies, and other having been captured were lead before the gate of the city and there they were beheaded so that those who remained in the city would be more dejected.

Certain others were coming out of the city and, climbing a certain gate, were firing arrows at us, in this way their arrows fell onto the path of Lord Bohemond and the arrows thrown killed one of the women.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 4, Chapter 11

The bigger army, namely Raymond the Count of St. Giles, and the most learned Bohemond, and Duke Godfrey and many others, came into the land of the Armenians (Cappadocia) thirsting and burning for the blood of the Turks. Then they came to a certain fort, which had been built so strongly that they could do nothing to it. There was however a man there by the name of Symeon, who had been born in these parts and who sought this land so that he could defend it from the hands of the Turkish enemy. They gave him this land on the spot and he remained there with his own people. And then we left there and happily came to Caesarea in Cappadocia. However we had left Cappadocia and came to a certain most beautiful city and beyond measure most fertile, which a little while before our coming there had been besieged by the Turks over three weeks but the Turks were unable to overcome. Soon after our arrival there, without more ado the city surrendered itself into our hands with great joy. A certain knight, named Peter of Alps, sought this from the nobles, seeing that he would defend the city with firm adherence to God and the Sacred Sepulcher, and the noblemen and the emperor. They gave this favor to him with much love. On the next night, Bohemond heard that the Turks, who had besieged the city, were moving ahead of us in large numbers. So he prepared himself alone with his knights, seeing that he would fight them from all sides, but he was not able to find them.

Then we came to a certain city called Coxon in which there was the greatest abundance of goods which were essential to us. Therefore the Christian foster sons of the city gave it back to us immediately and we remained there very well for three days. There our men were much recovered. Count Raymond, hearing therefore that the Turks who guarded Antioch had departed, formed his own plan where he would send some of his own knights there, who would take guardianship for him assiduously. Then he chose those who he was wanting to dispatch, namely Viscount Peter of Castellon, Wilhelm of Montpellier, Peter of Roasa, Peter Raymond of Haute Poul with five hundred knights. They came to the valley next to Antioch to a certain fortified town of the Publicani, and there they heard that the Turks were in the city and were preparing strong defenses for it. Peter of Roasa separated himself there from the others and that night he crossed near Antioch, came into the valley of Rugia and found Turks, Saracens and had fought with those, and killed many of them and had pursued the others vigorously. The inhabitants of these lands, the Armenians, seeing him so forcefully overcoming the pagans, placed themselves in his hands immediately. He himself suddenly captured the city of Rusa and many forts.

However, we who remained, leaving there, we came to a diabolical mountain which was so high and narrow that none of our men would dare to go before another along that path which was stretching out across the mountain. The horses were falling over the edge and one of the pack horses was pulling down another. Therefore the knights were sad standing on all sides and were striking themselves with their own hands with too much sadness and sorrow, doubting what they should do and selling their arms, their shields, their best breastplates, with helmets only for about three or five denaries, or for just anything they could get for them. However those who were unable to sell them, threw them down for free and left. Then, exiting the accursed mountain, we came to a city which was called Marash. The inhabitants of that city came out to meet us, bringing the greatest market, and there we had all abundance. While waiting, Lord Bohemond came. And thus our knights came into the valley, in which the royal city of Antioch had been placed, which was the capital of all Syria and which the Lord Jesus Christ handed over to the blessed Peter, the chief of his apostles, just as he had recalled him to the labor of the sacred faith, Jesus who lived and reigned with God the Father united with the Holy Spirit through all ages of ages. Amen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 4, Chapter 10, cont.

Meanwhile, we began to enter a very good land, full of food for the body and all luxurious goods; and from then on, we approached Ycino. The inhabitants of those lands were urging and reminding us to carry water with us in full skins, since one day's journey out from there is the greatest lack of water. We did do this, then we came to a certain river, and there we camped for two days. However we began to send out scouts to go before us and then we came to Heraclea (Erachiam), in which was no small gathering of Turks, waiting and plotting in what way they could harm the soldiers of Christ. The soldiers of the all-powerful God, entering in, boldly attacked those Turks. And thus our enemies had been vanquished on that day, and were fleeing as quickly as the arrow flies, having been sent out with a strong pull from string and bow. Therefore, our men immediately entered into the city, and there we remained for four days.

There, Tancred, son of the Marquis, separated himself from the others, as well as Count Baldwin, brother of Duke Godfrey, and they entered the valley of Botenthrot at the same time. Tancred then went off on his own and came to Tharsus with his army. And then the Turks rushed out of the city and came forward to meet them, and they moved quickly in one formation to fight against the Christians. Thus, our men having approached and having fought, our enemies gave flight, turning around and returning to the city by a quick route. Tancred, a true soldier of Christ, loosened his leather straps and set up camp before the city gate. Then, that famous man, Count Baldwin came from other parts and seeing that he deemed the demanding Tancred worthy to resume a very great friendship with, he offered him a partnership in the city. Tancred said to him: "I refuse fellowship from you in all ways in this." With night thus coming on, all of the Turks, trembling, ran off as one. Then the inhabitants of the city came out under cover of the night, crying out with a high voice: "Run most invincible Franks, run! Since the Turks have been awakened to fear by you, all of them have withdrawn
the same."

However as day arose, the elders of the city came and gave us the city of their own accord, saying to those who were squabbling over this in turns: "Permit only the leaders. Permit. since we wish and we seek to be ruled and he to rule over us who yesterday had fought so bravely against the Turks." In this way, Baldwin, the famous count, was arguing and squabbling with Tancred, saying: "Let us go in together and plunder the city. and he who is more able to hold it, let him keep it, and he who is able to capture it, let him capture it." That strongest of men, Tancred answered him saying: "It is unfit to me to do this. For I am unwilling to loot Christians. The men of this city have chosen me to be lord over them and they desire to have me." However, that strong man, Tancred, had been unable to grapple with Count Baldwin, since he had such a large army, willing and unwilling, he withdrew, and as a man fell back with his own army; and two of the best surrendered cities were given to him immediately, namely Athena(Adana) and Manustra(Mamistra) and many fortified towns.

I have attached a link to a map called the Tabula Peutingeriana. It is not meant to be a scale representation but it is a road map for how to get from one place to another with distances in between. Section 9 shows many of the places that the Crusaders are at, at this point. Worth a look at.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You Say Dead Sheep, I Say Mutton.

While translating this last passage I had some difficulty with a word multones. I could not find it in all the Latin dictionaries that I own. The two versions of Gesta, that I have bookmarked to verify my own translations, translated this word as 'sheep' which struck me as odd. So I searched for more information. I found one article online, which I should have bookmarked because I am unable to find it now, which suggested that the word was derived from coins minted by the Franks called 'multones' which had the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God on one side and may be where we get the word 'mutton' from.
The entry for mutton in the Oxford English Dictionary says that in post-classical latin multo began to mean a male sheep, and then:"The Latin word and subsequently the Anglo-Norman and Old French words came to denote both 'sheep' and 'ram',replacing both classical Latin ovis ewe, sheep; and the classical Latin vervex wether."
I wonder how multo, which means 'much', changed to mean male sheep. Or a gold coin. Chasing this down involves knowing more about money and coinage. It is surprising, when you see how much museum space is given to coins, that, when you really want to know something about a particular coin, it is incredibly hard to find. This is so especially on the Net. I am unable to find an image of a multones or who began to coin them. There also seems to be a lack of images or samples in museums of Merovingian, Carolingian and Capetian coins. It seems few have survived the ravages of time.
It is also amusing that when it comes to many food items like 'cow' or 'sheep', we kept the Anglo Saxon word but when those animals become meat, the names for them switch to the Norman 'beef' or 'mutton'.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 4, Chapter 10

Afterwards, the Turks, enemies of God and sacred Christianity, were completely trounced, fleeing four days and nights here and there; it happened that Soliman, their leader, son of Soliman the Elder, was fleeing from Nicea. He found ten thousand Arabs, who said to him: "O unhappy and more unlucky of all people, why do you flee trembling?" To which Soliman answered weeping, "Because once when I would have defeated all the Franks and I reckoned to place them bound into captivity, then with a few at a time I would tie them together taking turns, but then looking back, I saw so many men without number of these people, that if you or any other came upon them, it would be reckoned that all the mountains, hills and valleys and all flat places were filled with their multitudes. Therefore, understanding this, we immediately began to take a sudden road, fearing so amazingly, that scarcely we had evaded falling into their hands, from whence we came here in very great fear. And if you will believe my words and me, take yourself hence from here, since if they are able barely to learn of you, scarcely will even one of you escape, living any further." But they, hearing such a story, turned themselves back around and spread themselves out over Romania. Then, we came following those wicked Turks, who were fleeing daily before us. But when they came to any forts or cities, they influenced and fooled the inhabitants of those lands saying "We had defeated the Christians and overcame those, in such a way that none of them ever would now dare to set their troops up before us, therefore let us pass to come inside." Entering in, they then looted churches, homes and all other places, and were taking horses, asses and mules with them as well as gold and silver and anything else that they were able to seize. As well they were taking sons of Christians with them and were burning and destroying everything that was convenient or useful, fleeing and trembling with fear before our face. And as we were pursuing them through the desert, a dry and uninhabitable land, from which we barely escaped or returned alive, hunger and thirst were constraining us on all sides, and there was nothing in that place for eating for us unless plucking and chafing chance grain with our own hands, such food we were living on very wretchedly. There was much death among our horses as those who had been knights became foot soldiers, and through the want of horses, oxen were ridden as packhorses in that place and for no small necessity our goats, sheep and dogs were taking their places as beasts of burden.