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.


Anonymous said...

Do you know where the word 'purpuratis'came from? Sounds like "purple money" so maybe it was really purple? But how did they achieve it?


Tracy said...

OK, why were these experienced soldiers off-guard? Surely, with Bohemond gone, they should have been more alert to the possibility of attack, not less?

The Red Witch said...

@Do you know where the word 'purpuratis'came from?

Unfortunately I don't and I saw other translators calling them different coins so I just left the word that Anonymous used.

@OK, why were these experienced soldiers off-guard?

It was a long siege. People get bored. Plus they were probably tired because they were starving.

Tracy said...

Just shows how good a leader Bohemond was, that he could keep his men motivated under such appalling conditions.

The Red Witch said...

Think Faramir. :-D
He clearly had some leadership abilities because the brother of the King of France was along and yet Bohemond seems to be the de facto leader of the main body of Crusaders.

Tracy said...

Think Faramir. :-D
You know me - much as I like Faramir (and I have a real soft spot for him) Aragorn is the man! :)