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.


Tracy said...

Gustave Dore made a number of really nice illustrations for some book on the Crusades
It is an excellent illustration. I take it the one you featured previously is by the same artist?

The Red Witch said...

The previous illustration was by Gustave Dore too. It was on the fall of Antioch. I love his Paradise Lost illustrations, they are the best. I saved a few more for future posts as they liven up the page a bit.

What do you make of the celestial army?