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.

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