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.