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.


Tracy said...

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.
You were planning on finishing it by the end of May?!

Have you ever been tempted to follow in the footsteps of the Crusades? I'm reading The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux, and he's just got to Istanbul, and was planning on getting trains and buses to Syria, via Antakya (Antioch) but decided to catch a Turkish ferry to Haifa via Alexandria instead.

The Red Witch said...

It is tempting. I would love to walk the entire Camino of Santiago. Historical tours are awesome. Theroux should have taken that terrible route through the Taurus Mountains. I have seen some shows on Cappadocia that look very, very interesting too. Turkey can give England a run for the money in the antiquities department.
Yes I was trying to finish it before the end of May. All of the other books were 4-9 pages printed up. 23 and 29 for the last two took me by surprise. Chapters 1-8 turn out to be 51 pages and 9 -10 are 52! I was expecting only another 14 pages. I will have to move faster.