Saturday, May 1, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book III, Chapter ix

Meanwhile, with the city having been returned and the Turks taken to Constantinople, the emperor more and more joyful because the city had been returned to his dominion, he ordered a great distribution of alms to our poor. Then on the first day, on which we withdrew from the city, we came to a certain bridge, where we remained for two days. On the third day, however, before the sun began to rise, our men rose, and since it was night, they could not see to hold one road but were divided into two paths and they came to be divided over two days. On one path was Bohemond and Robert of Normandy, and the wise Tancred, and many others. On the other path was the Count of St. Giles, Duke Godfrey, the Bishop of Le Puy, Hugo the Great, the Count of Flanders and many others.

On the third day, the Turks attacked with a vengeance Bohemond more than anyone and those who were with him. Immediately the Turks began to hiss, babble and shout with a high voice making a devilish sound I do not know how in their own language. Sensible Bohemond, seeing innumerable Turks nearby, hissing and calling with a demonic voice, on the spot he ordered all soldiers to dismount and quickly set up the tents. Before the tents could be set up, he again said to all soldiers: " Nobles and most brave soldiers of Christ, behold now the close quarters for war that is all around us. Therefore, let all knights be in opposition to them like men and rather let the foot soldiers skillfully set up the tents."

After this had been done, the Turks now surrounded us on all sides, struggling and shooting and pointing spears and shooting arrows wonderfully far and wide. Although we were unable to thus resist them, nor were we to be buried under the mass of so great an enemy, however we endured the close quarters unanimously. Also our women on that day, who were for us as the greatest refuge, brought water for drinking to the combatants and always bravely strengthened those, fighting and defending. Thus wise Bohemond on the spot gave orders to others, just as to the Count of St. Giles,Duke Godfrey, Hugo the Great and the Bishop of Le Puy and to all other soldiers of Christ that they hurry and come to war sooner saying: "And if today they wish to grapple with the enemy, they should come as men." Therefore, the Duke Godfrey, brave and daring, and Hugo the Great came at the same time with their armies; also the Bishop of Le Puy had followed these, as one with his own army, and the Count of St. Giles next to those with a very large following.

Therefore our men were greatly astonished when such a great multitude of Turks had appeared with Arabs and Saracens and others whom I do not know how to count, since on all sides the hills and valleys and all flat places inside and out were nearly covered with this exommunicate race. Thus there was secret talk among us, praising and advising and saying: "Be unanimous in faith to Christ and the victory of the Sacred Cross, since today, if it pleases God, you will be raised up to all riches."

Interestingly Raymond, Canon of Le Puy, wrote that Bohemond was rashly separated from the rest of the army. Anonymous was not the only person chronicling the progress of the Crusaders.


Tracy said...

Also our women on that day, who were for us as the greatest refuge, brought water for drinking to the combatants and always bravely strengthened those, fighting and defending
Were these women who had followed the Crusaders from home (camp followers)? Or were they local women?

The Red Witch said...

They were pilgrims and women brought with them from Europe for the most part. The Crusaders themselves considered themselves pilgrims and were escorting some non-fighting pilgrims. The ultimate crusading women were Eleanor of Aquitaine and her ladies in waiting dressed as Amazons. Someone complained about their luggage creating problems for movements of troops.