Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I saw on the Internet that some Marilyn Monroe memorabilia sold in Las Vegas last weekend. Three chest x-rays taken in 1954 were sold for a large amount. There were also four x-rays of her abdomen taken at the same time. It seems rather wrong that someone has portions of her medical files and can sell them but memorabilia has value. The article in the Toronto Star states that a lock of Elvis Presley's hair would also be sold at the auction and the most bizarre thing they had sold was William Shatner's kidney stone for $75,000.
What has that to do with the Middle Ages? Well, they were collectors of celebrity memorabilia too, except that their celebs were superstars in the church. Going back to A Distant Mirror, I was struck by Duc de Berry's (Charles V's uncle and he of the Tres Riches Heures) collection of relics which included "one of Charlemagne's teeth, a piece of Elijah's mantle, Christ's cup from the Last Supper, drops of the Virgin's milk, enough of her hairs and teeth to distribute as gifts, soil from various Biblical sites, a narwhal's teeth, porcupine's quills, the molar tooth of a giant."
In another book, Glastonbury Abbey by James P. Carley, the author has a small chapter on relics in which he writes "Chaucer's description of the unscrupulous and corrupt Pardoner who makes unsuspecting simple folk gulls by selling them his false and valueless relics has a particularly strong resonance for modern readers, who find the medieval cult of relics naively superstitious and almost impossible to respect." I don't know. $75,000 for a kidney stone seems strange to me. It seems to me that I recall a peanut butter sandwich, half eaten by Elvis being sold once for a fair amount of money. If one considers those auctions of Princess Diana's dresses that fetched huge amounts of money, modern people can understand relics well enough if they stop and think about it. The author does concede that modern people have their own cult of the preserved bodies of political leaders like Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, and Eva Peron.
He goes on to list the collection of relics held at Glastonbury: "a part of Moses's and Aaron's rods, manna, a fragment of Isaiah's tomb, and parts of Daniel's body...; items related to the Virgin Mary, including a small portion of her milk, bones from St. John the Baptist; bones, teeth and clothing from the Apostles; numerous remains from the Holy Martyrs and Confessors" There were also King Arthur's bones and his queen, Guinevere, as well as Joseph of Arimathia's as yet undiscovered grave somewhere nearby.
The one relic that stands out for me is the Virgin's breast milk. Now, she only had one child so someone had been stealing milk from baby Jesus. If Mary was not milking herself, someone was milking the Holy Virgin. Someone was squeezing the sacred 'dumplings' to later sell the contents of the 'dumplings'. Something seems wrong about that. As well, when Mary had Jesus, nobody but her knew that Jesus was going to be that special so who would have known to think ahead to save some breast milk for later selling? You have to wonder why people did not consider those things before they purchased this stuff.
Carley goes on to relate how Erasmus visited Canterbury with John Colet and Colet was horrified to be presented with a 'reputed arm of St. George with dry blood and flesh still on it". Mmmmmm, yummy. "He also refused to accept a fragment of dirty linen which had reportedly been used by Becket 'to wipe the perspiration from his face or his neck, the runnings from his nose, or such other superfluities from which the human frame is not free." When you consider that people like Elvis Presley or Engelbert Humperdinck, among others, handed out sweat soaked handkerchiefs to their audiences to be treasured, the tradition goes on and includes post mortem Elvis sightings and healing the sick.
Carley went on to write that most of the relics of Glastonbury were destroyed with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, being called pagan images. He wrote, "Much superstition was no doubt overcome at the Reformation but it was done at a great psychological cost. Protestant man become considerably more alone in the world than were his Catholic predecessors, who had their tangible links with eternity." Don't worry James we still have Elvis.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Cult of the Warrior

Perhaps I should more accurately call this 'Don Quixote' since in Barbara Tuchman's book, A Distant Mirror, the knightly ideal is what the upper class strove for. It seems the harder they clung to the ideal, the less their behavior resembled it but they admired bravery and glory as ends in themselves and so it is a cult of the warrior.
Herodotus wrote something like this: "In the course of that fight Leonidas fell, having fought most gallantly, and many distinguished Spartans with him - their names I have learned, as those of men who deserve to be remembered; indeed, I have learned the names of all the three hundred." (as translated by Aubrey de Selincourt) It reminds me of a statement by Jean Froissart about the Thirty: "since that time I have seen sitting at the table of Charles king of France a Breton knights, sir Evan of Charuel who had been there; and he had his face so cut about and hacked that it plainly showed how that the encounter had been nobly fought. And in many places was the adventure related and recorded. and some thought it prowess and others foolhardiness."
It has a ring to it just like the 300 of Spartan fame. The Combat of the Thirty took place in 1351. It started with Robert de Beaumanoir, a Breton nobleman fighting for the French in the Hundred Years War, issuing a challenge to a single combat to Bramborough who was fighting for the English. At first it was thought to be a waste of effort to risk death for one single joust but then their friends heard of it and wanted in. So they got a group of thirty on each side to meet in a field near an oak halfway between Ploermel and Josselin, later marked with a stone. They fought for three hours. Froissart does not report it but it was later said that when Beaumanoir called for a recess to get a drink, Bramborough told him to drink his own blood and his thirst would pass. Bramborough should have kept his mouth shut because he was one of the later eight English casualties. The French won the battle, there were several dead on both sides and everyone was wounded. They fought with spears, swords, daggers and axes.
Froissart also wrote "Ernauton Biscete and le Mengeant de Sainte Basile fought hand to hand, without sparing themselves, and performed many gallant deeds, while all the others were fully employed; however, they fought so vigorously that they exhausted their strength, and both were slain on the spot." idiots.
It puts one to mind of what Dieneces said upon hearing that the arrows shot by the Persians would be so numerous that they would block out the sun,"This is pleasant new that the stranger from Trachis bring us: if the Persians hide the sun, we shall have our battle in the shade." Or when Leonidas was asked by Xerxes to surrender his arms, he replied "Come and get them." Except the Three Hundred were fighting to defend their homeland, they were not simply bored by a lull in the fighting. Leonidas knew they would not be coming back due to a prophecy that Sparta would not prevail unless they sacrificed their king. He chose only men who had sons who could take over as head of the family. It was not a silly game; they were laying down their lives for their homes and their families.
The famous Victorian novelist William Harrison Ainsworth wrote a novel about the Thirty. It is no longer in print but it can be read here.

And it might be worth it, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Healing Hands of the King

In The Return of the King, Ioreth, looking at the fair face of Faramir says, "Alas! if he should die. Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known."
While reading A Distant Mirror, which leads into the miracle of Joan of Arc being at the end of the Hundred Years War, I decided to get out my copy of Marina Warner's Joan of Arc to compare Warner's view of the events of the war to that of Tuchman. One of the commands issued by Joan's voices was that Charles VII must go to Rheims, which was in enemy hands at the time, to be crowned King of France and anointed with the special oil which was kept at Rheims for the anointing of kings since the days of Clovis. The oil was given to the Bishop Remigius by the Holy Spirit in the form of a white dove, according to Hincmar, the archbishop of Rheims in the 9th century.
After he had been crowned in a bare bones ceremony, he touched the relics of the martyr, St. Marcoul, and "through his intercession heal the scrofula, or king's evil, of his subjects. Scrofula is a disfiguring, incurable disease of the skin, and the only remedy in medieval times was believed to be the touch of the legitimate, God-appointed and God-pleasing king." This according to Warner's notes comes from the chronicle of Enguerrand Monstrelet. By healing people, Charles VII was confirming for himself and his people that he was the rightful king.
Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England, was the first to have been credited this power by Osbert de Clare and all subsequent kings of England are also supposed to have had this power to heal the King's Evil, as scrofula was called.
So the hands of the king really were healing hands, if you believe.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Even Historians Have to Say 'Holy Cow!' Once in a While

The title just about says it all. Still, reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, there are so many ways a historian reveals a bias in history writing; but it must be difficult to put together an account of the doings of kings without saying 'Holy Cow!' or something a little stronger. In her chapter on the Jacquerie, she wrote about Guillaume Cale riding to meet Charles II of Navarre by saying his 'common sense apparently deserted him'. Charles of Navarre 'preferred guile and treachery'. 'The capture of their leader by such easy and contemptuous treachery'' clearly shows the author's disgust with Charles of Navarre. He is not a likable guy.
Cale was the leader of a band of peasants who were fighting the nobility for better conditions for the poor. The peasants had been brutalized by the plague, Hundred Year's War and knights, who during a lull in the war turned to brigandage perpetrated against peasantry for the most part, as they were defenseless, being prohibited to bear arms. After Charles captured Cale, he 'massacred "3000" more peasants' and burned 300 alive. Then he beheaded Cale after reportedly crowning him as King of the Jacques with a circlet of red hot iron. Tuchman calls this 'wicked mockery' because, really, it must be hard to write about this cruelty and not comment on it ever.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sound Familiar?

I have been reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century which I have been enjoying very much. In the chapter on war, where she wrote about the beginning of the Hundred Years War, the author offers the comments that the initial phase of the war was ruinously expensive and Edward III passed the ruin on to others. Since, there was no real infrastructure to support and system of taxation to support it, kings had to raise money for battles with special taxes and in this case with some loans from Florentine bankers, Bardi and Peruzzi. When Edward did not gain as much money from the war and the hoped for monopoly of the wool trade, as he expected, the 'drain on the Italian companies bankrupted them.' The Peruzzi bank failed in 1343, the Bardi in 1344 and the crash brought down a third bank, Acciaivioli. 'Capital vanished, stores and workshops closed, wages and purchases stopped.'
Sound familiar? The banks were betting on Edward crushing the French and making a ton of money off booty, ransoms and wool instead of betting on bad mortgages. Same result.
Voltaire wrote that "History never repeats itself, man always does.".
While I am quoting writers, here is a good quote from Ambrose Bierce, "History: An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rules, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools"
"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives" Abba Eban
Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this" Gustave Flaubert
Maybe, instead of spending so much time on economics, the captains of industry should have to learn a bit of history. It might not make them behave better, but at least they will know who to point the finger at when things go wrong. (Not that they will)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why So Quiet?

Taking a break from such intense blogging. My garden needs weeding.
Plus the book, I am reading and want to review, is taking me a long time to read.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Travel Guide to Jerusalem

It Begins With a Description of Sacred Places of Jerusalem

If any wish to go from the West to the parts of Jerusalem, let him hold to the rising of the sun(east) only and he will find the locations of Jerusalem for prayer, just as it is here written down. In Jerusalem, there is a room covered with one stone where Solomon wrote his book Wisdom. And there, between the temple and the altar, on the marble before the altar, the blood of Zacharia was spilled. From there it is not far to the stone from which, through separate years, the Jews came and, anointing it, were lamenting and then were returning with a sigh. There is the home of Hezekiah, king of the Jews, to whom God had given 15 years. Then there is the home of Caiaphas and a column, to which Christ had been bound, when he had been struck by whips. At the port of Neopolitana, there is the general's tent of Pilate, where Christ was judged by the princes of the priests. Not far away is Golgotha, it is the place of the skull, where Christ the son of God was crucified, and where Adam had the first burial. Abraham sacrificed to God here. From which, just as far west as great stones can be thrown, is the place where Joseph of Arimathea buried the sacred body of the lord Jesus and there is a church splendidly built by Constantine the king. At the mount of Calvary, there are 13 paces west to the center of the world. At the left side, is the prison, where Christ had been imprisoned. On the right side, near the sepulcher, is a Latin monastery in honor of the Virgin, Blessed Mary, where her home had been. Where the high altar is in that monastery is where Mary, the virgin mother, stood and, with the sister of her mother, Maria Cleophe and Maria Magdalene, weeping and sorrowing, saw the Lord placed on the cross. There Jesus spoke to his mother: "Woman, behold your son" and to his disciple: "Behold your mother" From this place, twice as far as one is able to fire an arrow from a bow, on the east side, is the Temple of the Lord, having been built by Solomon, in which Christ had been presented by Simeon the Righteous. On the right side of this temple, Solomon built his won temple and between both temples there is a wonderfully constructed portico with marble columns. On the left side is the sheep pool (Pool of Bethesda which was near the Sheep Gate). From this, going east for a thousand paces, the Mount of Olives can be seen, where the lord Jesus prayed to his father saying: "Father, if it is able to become" and the rest. And he wrote the Pater Noster in stone and from which he ascended into heaven, saying to his disciples: "Go and teach all people" and the rest. Between the Temple of the Lord and the Mount of Olives is the valley of Jehoshaphat (Kidron Valley)where the virgin Mary was buried by the apostles. Into this valley, the Lord will come to judge the world. Nearby is a villa which is called Gethsemane, and where nearby is the garden across the brook of the Cedron, where Judas betrayed Jesus. Nearby is the sepulcher of Isaiah the prophet. From there, at a thousand paces to Bethany, is where Lazarus had been revived after being dead for four days. In the same location, nineteen miles towards Jericho, is the sycamore tree that Zacchaeus climbed so that he could see Jesus. In another part, at a thousand paces from Jericho, is the fountain of Heliseus (Elisha), which he blessed by mixing it with salt. Five miles from here is the river Jordan, in which the Lord had been baptized by John, at a distance of eight leagues from Jerusalem. Not far from this is the mount from which Helias (Elijah) had been seized. From the Jordan, it is a trip of eighteen days all the way to Mount Sinai, where God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and gave his law to him. And there is the great urn, which was unfailingly yielding the oil. Mount Thabor is distant from Jerusalem by a journey of three days, where the Lord had been transformed. At the foot of this mountain is said to be the Galilee and the sea of Tiberias, which is not a sea but a lake which the Jordan pours out of. On the right side of the city of Jerusalem, to the south and beyond the wall as far as one is able to fire an arrow is the Mount Sion, and there is the church that Solomon built. There Jesus dined with his disciples before the passion, and there he refilled them with the Holy Spirit; and where also the virgin Mary migrated from the secular, and gave back her spirit, whose holiest body was carried to the valley of Jehosaphath by the apostles. At the foot of this mountain to the south is the pool of Siloa, sprouting suddenly out of the earth. From which not far away is Sychem, where Joseph, coming from the valley of Hebron, sought his brothers. There is a villa which Jacob gave to Joseph his son and where his body rests. From which at a thousand paces is Sychar, where the Lord spoke to the Samaritan woman. Not far from this is the place where the angel wrestled with Jacob. That is where Bethlehem is, the city of David, where Christ was born, at a distance from Jerusalem of four miles to the south. And there is a church, having been built with marble columns, in which is the place where Jesus had been born. Not far from this, on the right side, is the manger of the Lord.
From which, at twelve miles, is the fortified town of Abraham, which is called Tocor, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried with their wives. On the left side in the mount of the Lord Sees, and there is the place where Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son.

This explains the journeys to Jerusalem.

After he washed off the blood, Anonymous went sightseeing. I can just imagine some local calling him over with a "psst, I have a lock of Jesus hair. Normally I wouldn't sell it but I need the money and you look like a nice guy. How 'bout a souvenir of the Holy Land". Or some other relic. This last piece is a travel brochure. It seems so strange following all the killing and starvation and blood. No one knows what happened to Anonymous after this. Many of the knights, having achieved what they set out to do - free Jerusalem and complete their pilgrimage to the holy places - went home, leaving people like Bohemond, Godfrey, Baldwin and Tancred struggling to hold on to their new realms with a lack of manpower. I would include Raymond in this list but he was not very good at land grabbing and spent the rest of his life in a snit at everyone else especially Bohemond and Tancred.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 39, cont.

Then the patriarch, bishop and other seigneurs had assembled at the river, because it was from part of the lands of Ascalon. There were many animals, oxen, camels, sheep and all sort of other things that are good booty. Nearly three hundred Arabs came and our men rushed to overcome them and seized two of their number, pursuing the others all the way to their main army. Moreover this deed having been done so late, the patriarch had it heralded through the entire host that tomorrow morning all will be prepared to fight at earliest dawn, and excommunicating any man taking any spoils before the battle is over. But by doing this, they could return with fortunate joy to take anything that the Lord has destined for them.

At first light, on the sixth day of the week, we entered a valley that was very, very beautiful with a beach next to the sea, in which they arranged their battle lines. The Duke instructed his line and the Count of Normandy ordered his own, Count of St. Giles his own, Count of Flanders his own, Count Eustache his own, Tancred and Gaston his own. Also, they arranged the foot soldiers and bowmen who would precede the knights, and thus all was arranged and they began immediately to war in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the left side was Duke Godfrey with his battle line, and the Count of St. Giles rode next to the sea on the right hand side, the Count of Flanders and Tancred with the others rode in the middle. Then our men began after a little while to trot. The pagans were standing prepared for the battle. Each one had his own skin bag hanging from his neck, from which they could drink while pursuing us; but this was not permitted to them, thanks be to God.

The Count of Normandy, seeing the standard of the emir who had a certain golden apple on top of a spear which was covered with silver, rushed vehemently against him and wounded him unto death. From another part, the Count of Flanders attacked them with very great harshness. Tancred therefore made his assault through the middle of their tents. The pagans, seeing this, immediately took flight. The multitude of pagans was innumerable and no one could know the number of them but God alone. The battle was immense, but divine virtue was so great which was allied with us, so strong, that we vanquished them on the spot. The enemies of God were standing blinded and amazed, and seeing the knights of Christ with open eyes, were not seeing anything, and they were not daring to rise up against the Christians, having been terrified by the strength of God. They were climbing trees from so great a fear, in which they were reckoning to hide themselves, but our men were knocking them to earth by arrow and with lances and swords killed them. Others were throwing themselves onto the ground not daring to stand against us. Our men, therefore, beheaded those just like a man might chop the head off an animal at the market. The Count of St. Giles killed many without number from these. Some were throwing themselves into the sea, others were fleeing here and there.

The emir, coming before the city, sorrowing and mourning, said with tears: "O spirit of the Gods, who ever saw or heard of such a thing? So much power, so much strength, such knights that never could they be vanquished by any people. By only so small number of Christians are these people overthrown. Alas for me sorrowing and sad, what more should I say? I am beaten by a beggarly people, defenseless and very poor, who have nothing but a day's provisions and a sack. These very people pursue the Egyptians, who they frequently received alms from when they were begging throughout our homeland. These having been lead here to meet our two hundred thousand soldiers, and I see those very soldiers with loose reins fleeing along the Babylonian road, and they dare not return to stand against the people of the Franks. I swear by Mohamed and by all divinity of the gods (many of the Franks did not understand that Islam was monotheistic) that I will not keep another assembly of knights, since I am expelled by a foreign people. Having been brought here, with all manner of arms and all machines, so that I could besiege them in Jerusalem and they journeyed in two days to come against me in battle. Alas for me! What more should I say? I will be forever dishonoured in the lands of Babylon."

Our men received his standard, which the Count of Normandy valued at 20 marks of silver and gave to the patriarch in honor of God and of the Sacred Sepulcher. His sword was bought for sixty besants. Thus our enemies were overcome by God's favor. All ships from the lands of the pagans departed. The men who were still on board, seeing the emir flee with his army, hoisted sail and set themselves off to the highest seas. Our men returned to their tents, and received innumerable spoils of gold, silver and all manner of goods and all species of animals and all sorts of tools and weapons. Whatever they wanted, they took away, and they destroyed the rest with fire.

Our men went back with joy to Jerusalem, bearing all goods with them which were deemed necessary to them. This battle had been enacted on the day before the ides of August, by the largess of our lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory now and always in the age of ages. Let every spirit say: Amen

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 39

Then our men held a council so that each man could give alms with prayers, so that God would choose he whom he wished to rule over the others and guide the city. They also ordered that all the dead Saracens to be thrown outside, before they got too stinky, since the city was nearly full with their cadavers. The surviving Saracens were dragging the dead before the exit of the gates and arranging a mountain of these, as if they were buildings. No one had ever heard of or seen so great a slaughter of pagan people because the pyre of them was arranged like pyramids, and no one knew the numbers of them except God alone. And Count Raymond had the emir and others who were with him given safe conduct all the way to Scalona(Ascalon), whole and unharmed.

On the eighth day after the city had been captured, they chose Duke Godfrey as prince of the city, who would subdue the pagans and guard the Christians. At the same time, they chose a patriarch, a very wise and honorable man by the name of Arnulf on the feast of St. Peter in Chains. Thus the city was captured by the Christians of God on the 15th day of July on the sixth day of the week (Saturday).

Meanwhile a messenger went to Tancred and Count Eustache, that they would prepare themselves to travel for the purpose of taking the city of Neopolitana. They left and lead with them many knights and foot soldiers and came to the city. And the inhabitants of the city surrendered themselves to them. Once more the Duke ordered them, that they come quickly to war which the emir of Babylon had prepared for us at the city Scalona(Ascalon). They, hurrying to seek the war with the Saracens, found a mountainous region and they came to Caesarea. Then, they, coming next to the sea at the city of Ramola, found many Arabs there who were the advance guards of the war. Our men, pursuing them, seized many of them who revealed all the plans for the battle, where they would be and how many there would be, and where they would be posted to fight against the Christians. Tancred, hearing this, immediately sent a messenger to Jerusalem to Duke Godfrey and the patriarch, and all the princes, saying "Let you know that war is being prepared for us at Ascalon. Therefore come quickly with all strength that you are able to muster." The the Duke ordered all, that they would faithfully be prepared to go to Asalon to meet our enemies. He exited the city on the third day of the week and with him went the patriarch and Robert Count of Flanders. The Bishop of Martirano went with them. The Count of St. Giles and Robert of Normandy said they would not go, unless they knew for certain there would be a war. (This happens to Raymond a lot) They arranged their knights so that some would travel to see if war truly broke out and they sent back many who soon would be prepared to go. They went and had witnessed the fight and quickly announced that they had seen it with their own eyes. Immediately the Duke, through the Bishop of Martirano whom he had taken along, ordered Jerusalem so that the knights who were there would ready themselves and come to the battle.

On the fourth day of the week, the princes left and fought the battle. The Bishop of Martirano returned (to Ascalon), carrying back words having been sent to the patriarch and the Duke. The Saracens coming out met him and lead the Bishop, having been seized, with them. Peter the Hermit stayed in Jerusalem, for reminding and instructing the Greeks and Latins and clerics that they should faithfully celebrate a procession for God and give alms with prayers so that God would give the victory to his own people. The clerics and priests, put their sacred vestments on and led a procession to the Temple of theLord, chanting masses and prayers so that he would defend the people.

The Arnulf that was chosen to be Patriarch appears to have been Adhemar's replacement and Raoul of Caen's teacher and friend. Raymond of Aguiler did not like him and also wrote that the other princes begged the Count of St. Giles to accept kingship of Jerusalem and he, very modestly turned it down. So when Duke Godfrey was then selected, he wanted Raymond out of the palace so he could set up his residence but Raymond did not want to give up the palace so another big argument broke out. I have to wonder if the other princes really did want Raymond be ruler of Jerusalem.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 38

Then our seigneurs arranged by what means they would be able to engineer the (takeover of) city so that our people could enter the Sepulcher to worship our Savior. They built two siege towers of wood and many other siege engines. Duke Godfrey built a tower with machines and Count Raymond did the same; from wood which they had dragged over from remote lands. The Saracens, seeing our men making these machines, amazingly fortified the city and the towers were growing larger by night. Our seigneurs, seeing from which side the city would be more weak, on the night of the sabbath, they carried our machines and wooden tower there on the eastern side. They set them up at the earliest light and make the tower ready and equipped it on the first, second and third day of the week. The Count of St. Giles repaired his machine for a southerly blow. Meanwhile we were distracted by the pressure of so much thirst as one man was not able with one denarii to have enough water to extinguish his thirst.

Night and day, on the fourth and fifth days, we wonderfully approached the city from all sides, but before we could attack, the bishops and the priests, by praying and reminding all, organized that they would celebrate with a procession for God around Jerusalem and they made prayers and fasts and gave alms faithfully. On the sixth day, at the earliest morning we attacked the city from all sides but we were unable to harm it at all. We were stupefied and very, very afraid. The hour was approaching, namely that in which our Lord Jesus Christ had been deemed worthy to endure the pillory of the cross on our behalf, our knights bravely were fighting on the tower, namely Duke Godfrey and Count Eustache, his brother. Then a certain knight, by the name of Laetholdus(Letholdus of Tournai), climbed up onto the wall of the city. Soon, as he climbed, all of the defenders of the city were in flight along the walls and through the city and our men pursuing them cut them off by killing and beheading them all the way to the Temple of Solomon. There was so much killing there that our men were setting their feet in the blood of the slain all the way up to their ankles.

Count Raymond lead his army from the south and set the tower next to the wall but between the fort and the wall there was a certain ditch that was too deep. Then our men agreed that they fill in the ditch and they made a proclamation that any man who would carry three stones to the ditch would be paid one denarius. The implementing of this lasted for three days and nights. Then with the ditch full, they brought the tower next to the wall. However, they who were inside were amazing fighting against us with fire and stones. the Count, hearing that the Franks were in the city, said to his own men: "Why do you delay? Behold all of the Franks are now inside the city." Then, the emir, who was inside the Tower of David, surrendered to the count and opened the gate, by which pilgrims were accustomed to fulfill vows of tribute, to him. Our pilgrims, entering into the city, were pursuing and killing Saracens all to way to the Temple of Solomon. From that location, they gave our men the greatest fight through the whole day so that the blood of those flowed through the whole temple. Then, of the vanquished pagans, our men seized enough men and women in the temple and killed those they wanted to kill and kept those alive that they wanted. On top of the Temple of Solomon there was the greatest assembly of pagans of both sexes, who Tancred and Gaston of Beert gave their standards to.

Soon they were running through the whole city, seizing gold and silver, horses and mules, and homes full of all good things. All of our men went rejoicing and crying aloud from too much happiness to worship at the sepulcher of our Savior Jesus. And gave back to him, the obligation they owed. On the morning, our men climbed carefully onto the roof of the temple and attacked the Saracens, men and women, beheading them with exposed swords. Others gave themselves over to throwing themselves off the temple. Seeing this, Tancred was exceedingly angry.

According to the rules of Medieval warfare, if you surrendered early, you could negotiate terms. If you fought to the end, you forfeited the right to negotiate. However Tancred, by giving his standard to the people on the roof, was taking possession of them as they were surrendering to him. This placed them under his protection and explains why he was so angry with the Franks. The emir at Antioch was very particular about what standard went on the roof of the citadel as well because that location then became the property of the conqueror who places his standard there to indicate ownership.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 37

He (the bishop of Ramola) remained there with gladness. We however rejoicing and exulting, went all the way to the city of Jerusalem on the third day of the week, eight days before the Ides of June (Tuesday, June 7, 1099?) and we miraculously besieged it. Robert of Normandy besieged it from the north, next to the church of the protomartyr (first martyr) St. Stephen, where he had been stoned to death in the name of Christ. Next to Robert was the Count of Flanders. From the west, Duke Godfrey and Tancred set up their siege. The Count of St. Giles besieged the city from the south, namely on Mount Sion around the Church of St. Mary, mother of our Lord, where the Lord dined with his disciples. (Last Supper?)

On the third day, some of our men , namely Raymond Pilet and Raymond de Taurina and many others, split off from the army for a foraging expedition and found two hundred Arabs and the soldiers of Christ battled against these nonbelievers; and, with God aiding them, they valiantly defeated them, and killed many of these and seized thirty horses. On the second day of the week (the following Monday), we most bravely approached the city, so wonderfully that, if ladders had been ready, the city would have been in our hands. However, we flattened a lesser wall and we set up one ladder against a greater wall, on which our knights were climbing and together were striking hard at the Saracens and defenders of the city with their swords and lances. There were many dead from our men but even more from theirs. However, during that siege, we were not able to find bread to buy for nearly the space of ten days, after which a herald came from our ships. We were held up by the too great pressure of thirst, such that through too great a terror and panic, we watered our horses and other animals six miles away. For the fountain of Syloa(Siloam), which was at the foot of Mount Syon, was sustaining us, but water was being sold dearly among us.

For, afterward the messenger from our ships came, our seigneurs accepted a plan among themselves by which they would send knights who would faithfully guard the men and ships in the port of Iaphia(Joppa). At earliest daylight, one hundred knights from the army of Raymond, Count of St. Giles, with Raymond Pilet, Achard of Montmerle, and William de Sabra, left and went with confidence to the port. Then thirty of our knights were separated from the others and found seventy Arabs, Turks, and Saracens from the army of the emir. The Christian knights bravely attacked them but the strength of these was so much greater than ours, that they surrounded them on all sides. They killed Achard of Montmerle, and the paupers who were foot soldiers. When they had hemmed in our men, who all were reckoning to be dead, a certain herald came to the others, saying to Raymond Pilet: "Why do you stand around here with these knights? Behold, our men are in too great a difficulty with Arabs, Turks and Saracens and perhaps in this very hour all are dead! Therefore rescue them from those, rescue them!" Our men, hearing this, immediately ran with very quick steps and hurriedly attacked them for battle. The pagan people, seeing the Christian knights, divided themselves and formed two battle lines. Our men, invoking the name of Christ, so bitterly attacked those nonbelievers that each knight would knock his man to the ground. They, seeing that they could not stand against the bravery of the Franks, trembling with too great a fear, they turned their backs around. Our men, pursuing them for the space of nearly four miles, killed many of them, and they kept one man alive, who would tell them news about their commands; and they also kept 103 horses.

On that same siege, we were oppressed by such a grave thirst that we stitched together the hides of oxen and buffalo, in which we could bear water for the space of nearly six miles. From these vessels, we were using fetid water and, with so much smelly water and barley bread with too great difficulty, we were afflicted every day. For the Saracens, hiding by all fountains and water, were lying in wait for our men and they were killing them and tearing them to pieces everywhere, and also they were leading any animals with them(Franks) into their own hollows and caves.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Peter Bartholomew

I am taking a moment to go back six months and more because Anonymous, while he seemed to initially believe that the item Peter Bartholomew found was the lance of Longinus, he said no more about it although Peter went rattling on. August Krey's book, The First Crusade; the accounts of eyewitnesses, includes not just the entire Deeds of the Franks but other chronicles and includes some letters.
Peter remained in the camp of Raymond, the Count of St. Giles, with Raymond of Aguilers, went on having more visions and St. Andrew had some advice to give the pilgrims about Antioch. He did not want Antioch turned over to the Emperor and said that some of their bad luck along the way was because they did not keep Nicea and make it fully Christian. Raymond wrote that none of the princes heeded St. Andrew's advice. Peter Bartholomew (and Peter the Hermit) was traveling south with the Count of St. Giles and was overheard speaking to St. Andrew in Rugia by a Simon while Raymond and the Bishop of Agde were also visited by visions during the time St. Andrew was in their tent. St. Andrew was annoyed with the Count of St. Giles because he did not take proper care of his relics that they found in Antioch.
During the siege of Arqa, Peter claimed that Jesus, St. Peter, St. Andrew and another figure came to see him. Peter was told that the Crusaders should cry "God help us!" to distinguish them from the non-believers who should all die. He also told Peter that he hated the Jews because they are non-believers and should not be spared.
While the Crusaders were fighting at Antioch, the Turks were battling the Egyptians (called by Anon 'Babylonians') over Jerusalem and other territories. The Egyptians won Jerusalem and sent envoys to the Count of St. Giles but they were unable to form an agreement. So it was the Egyptian occupation of Jerusalem that the Crusaders were heading south to fight. The main doubter of the finding of the lance had been the Bishop of Le Puy, perhaps due to Peter being a layman. Peter also had visions along the road where the Bishop had gone to hell for doubting the lance. At Arqa, Peter offered to undergo trial by fire to prove his words. It appears he went through the fire on Good Friday. Raymond reported that they built a very large fire, placed the lance in Peter's hands and sent him through. He said that Peter stopped in the middle(Peter said that he paused to speak with Jesus who was in there with him) and carried on. He also named two people who swore that they saw a bird overhead, plunge into the fire while Peter was passing through it and another who swore he saw another man, dressed in priestly robes, go into the flames and remained there. Raymond wrote that Peter was unhurt by the fire but, when the people saw he was unharmed, they swarmed him to touch him and, in the crush of bodies, he fell down and was trampled and his back was broken. Raymond Pilet had to rush into the crowd, swinging his sword, to free Peter. Peter lingered for a time and then died of his wounds and was buried at Arqa. Raymond of Aguilers carried on to Jerusalem and then nothing more is heard of him.
I often wondered why Bohemond did not take the lance for himself, since it was such a powerful talisman or did he believe his own abilities were great enough that he had no need of such things. For starters, Peter Bartholomew said that St. Andrew wanted the Count of St. Giles to have the lance and be the leader of the Crusade so it is no wonder that Bohemond doubted the lance from the beginning. Although Anonymous seems to have believed in the lance at first, Raoul of Caen had a different point of view. He wrote that the various Crusader armies had been fighting each other over food at the siege of Antioch and while these fights were raging, Peter, who Raoul calls a liar, stepped forward with his vision. Raoul wrote that Peter hid the tip of an Arab spear on himself and jumped into the hole when it was dark and went 'aha!'. He wrote that Bohemond detected that immediately as a trick (although Anonymous wrote that the lance was accepted as genuine) and said,
"Beautifully was it contrived that St. Andrew should appear to a man who, I hear, frequents taverns, roams the streets, is a friend to vanities and ingrained with folly! The holy apostle chose a fine person to whom to disclose the secret of heaven! For to whom would that trick not be evident? If a Christian had hidden it, why did he pass over the nearest altar for a hiding place, or if a Gentile or a Jew, why was it hidden within the walls of a church? Why near an altar? If it is ascribed to neither but to chance, in what historical account is Pilate found to have come to Antioch? Surely we knew that it was the lance of a soldier and a soldier of Pilate. But what follows is delightful! I hear that the finder leaped in, after the diggers had been laboring in vain, and that was granted to one man in the darkness which had been denied many in the open. Oh boorish foolishness! Oh boorish credulity!......the Provencals ascribe our victory which is from above, like light from the Father to their piece of iron. Let that grasping Count and stupid rabble regard it as their own! We however have won and shall win in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Raoul also wrote that the Counts of Normandy and Flanders, Arnulf and Tancred agreed with Bohemond. Raymond(Count of St. Giles) withdrew swearing to avenge the insults of the son of Guiscard with the dagger if not the lance and he tried to stir up the mob to attack Bohemond and kill him.
Raoul gave a very different description of the trial by fire. He wrote that there were two rows of woods set afire and that Peter had to walk between them for nine paces. Peter arrived on the other side burned and died the next day. Raymond and his people tried to attack and kill Arnulf, who they blamed for Peter's death but the Counts of Normandy and Flanders came to his rescue. Raoul (or Ralph) of Caen was not an eyewitness to these events but he did have access to eyewitnesses. He was a pupil of and friend to Arnulf, who replaced Adhemar as papal legate, and he became chaplain to Bohemond and later Tancred. Raymond's Provencals and the Normans hated each other and fought all along the way. Bernard Bachrach has a fine book on Raoul's Gesta Tancredi.
Before Peter died at Arqa, he told Raymond of Aguilers to bury the lance five leagues from the church of St. Trophim and have a church there and have a medal made there. The place was to be called Mount of Joy because St. Peter promised St. Trophim he would send the lance to him. Raymond (Count of St. Giles) was said by Raoul to have kept the lance and to have given it to Alexius in Constaninople in exchange for help in attacking Tancred at Antioch. It has been suggested that Alexius gave it back to Raymond as he already had a lance, which had been accepted as genuine, and that Raymond lost it to the Turks in a later expedition to Anatolia. Albert of Aachen wrote that he lost it to the Turks at Mersivan. There are several lances. Once owned by the Hapsburgs, which Hitler had coveted, and is displayed at the museum in Vienna on which the nail has potential to be authentic. The lance or tip of the lance which had been sold to France by a later emperor went missing during the French Revolution. The Vatican has a lance or the rest of the French lance, which had been given to the pope by the Turks after Constantinople fell. The Vatican does not display this lance and there is the one at Echmiadzin, which is said to have been found by the Turks at Mersivan.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 35 and 36

35.Duke Godfrey as well as Bohemond and the Count of Flanders went all the way to the city of Lichia(Laodicaea). There Bohemond separated himself from them and went back to Antioch. They went and besieged a certain city named Gibellum. Raymond, Count of St. Giles, hearing that innumerable pagan peoples were proceeding in haste against them in certain war; immediately he formed a plan with his men that he send a delegate to the seigneurs, who were in the siege at Gibellum, in order that they come as reinforcements to him. Hearing this, they immediately made a pact with the emir, making peace with him and they accepted gifts of horses and gold and leaving the city, came to aid us. But the pagans did not come to fight against us. The counts mentioned before set up camp beyond the river and they besieged a fort there.

After a short time, our men rode against Tripoli and found Turks, Arabs and Saracens outside the city, who attacked our men. Our men set them to flight and killed a great portion of the nobility of the city. There was so much killing of pagans and spilling of blood, that even the water which was flowing in the city, was seen to turn red and flow into their cisterns, from whence the others were very sad and sorrowful. Now they were trembling with so much fear that none of them would dare to go outside of the gate of the city.

Another day, our men rode beyond the Sem and found cows, sheep, asses and many animals and also camels which they seized as booty and numbered nearly three thousand. We besieged that before mentioned fort for three months less a day and there we celebrated the Passion of the Lord (Easter) on the fourth day before the Ides of April (April 10th?). Since our ships came near us at a certain port, as long as we were occupied in that siege, they were bringing a great market, in other words, grain, wine, meat, cheese, barley, oil and there was a very great abundance on that whole campaign. On that siege, many of our men happily received martyrdom, namely Anselm of Ribemont, William Picard and many other whose names I do not know. The king of Tripoli was often sending messengers to the seigneurs that they would leave the fortified town and enter into an agreement with him. Our leaders, hearing this, namely Duke Godfrey, Raymond Count of St. Giles, Robert of Normandy, Count of Flanders and, seeing that the ripening of new fruit had sped up, since we were consuming new beans in the middle of March, and grain in the middle of April, consulted, saying that it would be very good to be fulfilling the trip to Jerusalem with the new fruits.

36. We therefore left that fort and came to Tripoli on the sixth day of the week, the 13th day of May and we were there for three days. Then an agreement was reached between the seigneurs and the king of Tripoli, and he immediately released more than three hundred pilgrims who had been captured there, and gave to them 15,000 besants and 15 horses of great value. He even gave to us a great market of horses, asses, and every goods from which all of the army of Christ was too rich. A pact was made with them, since the emir of Babylon(Cairo) was preparing war, if they would be able to defeat him and seize Jerusalem, he would convert to Christianity and he would recognize his land (as coming) from them and by such means, the deed was settled.

We left the city in the second day of the week in the month of May and we passed along a narrow and hard road all day and night and we came to a fortified town which was named Bethelon; then to a city name Zebari next to the sea, on which(the road) we endured too great a great thirst. And thus, tired out, we arrived at a river named Braym. Then we traveled on the day and night of the Ascension of the Lord across the mountain, on which there was a too narrow road and we reckoned to find ambush by the enemies there but with God smiling upon us, none of them dared to make a move against us. Then our knights, who gone ahead of us, cleared the road ahead of us and we joined up at the city next to the sea which is called Baruth and from there we went to another city called Sagitta, from there to another called Sur(Tyre), and from Sur to the city of Acra. From Acra we went to a castle called Cayphus,(Haifa) and then we set up a camp next to Caesarea. There we celebrated the Pentecost, on the third day before the end of May. Then we went to the city of Ramola(Ramleh), which the Saracens abandoned empty on account of their fear of the Franks. Next to this was a distinguished church in which the most precious body of St. George rested, since it was there that he happily fell into martyrdom on behalf of Christ's name due to the treachery of the pagans. There our leaders held a council so that they could elect a bishop who would guard and repair this church and they gave tithes to him and, made rich with gold and silver, horses and other animals, he would devoutly and honorably live with those who were with him.

Anonymous does not say but Raymond of Aguilers does. When the Count of St. Giles first started heading south, Tancred was the first to follow him and the Count of Normandy. Tancred later joined up with the Duke of Lorraine. He also wrote that of the original 100,000 knights that set out, there were only 1000 left on the road with them, and of the 200,000 foot soldiers there were only five thousand left. Barbara Tuchman wrote that the numbers in Medieval documents were often rounded off and inflated because of the difficulty of working with Roman numerals. The Arabic number system we use today did not displace Roman numerals until the 14th century. Tomorrow I will take a moment to deal with Peter Bartholomew. Anonymous does not seem to write more about him but, while they were heading south, he underwent trial by fire which Raymond of Aguilers and Raoul of Caen do write about.
The illustration above is by Gustave Dore again. It depicts Godfrey of Bouillon and Bohemond. I assume Bohemond is the fellow on the left since he appears to be clean shaven.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 34

However, Bohemond was not able to reach an agreement with the Count of St. Giles over that which he was seeking and he returned angry to Antioch. Count Raymond, after a short delay, sent messengers to Antioch to Duke Godfrey, Count of Flanders, Robert of Normandy and Bohemond so that they would come to the city of Rugia to speak with him. They came there and all the seigneurs formed a plan by which they could with honor keep to the road to the Sacred Sepulcher, for which they had bestirred themselves and so that they would go all the way there. They had been unable to obtain an agreement between Bohemond and Raymond, not unless Count Raymond would give Antioch to him. The Count was unwilling to agree to this, because of the oath he made to the emperor. Then the counts and the duke returned to Antioch together with Bohemond. Count Raymond then returned to Marra where there were pilgrims. He ordered his men to fix up the palace and the fort which was above the gate of the city's bridge.

Raymond, seeing that he was the cause by which none of the other leaders would carry on the road to the Sacred Sepulcher, left Marra bare footed on the thirteenth day of January and went all the way to Capharda. He stayed there for three days. There the Count of Normandy directed himself to Count Raymond. Moreover the King of Caesarea had often decreed through his messengers to the counts at Marra and Caphara that he wished to have peace with them and he would give a payment to them of his own, and he would value Christian pilgrims, and he would swear an oath since he held so many under his rule, pilgrims would not be given offense to, and he would joyfully give them a market of horses and food items. Then our men left and went to camp next to Caesarea, above the river Farfar. And when the king of Caesarea saw a horde of Franks camped so near to the city, he was pained in mind, and ordered the market to be turned aside unless they would set themselves up further from the city. On the next day, he sent with them two Turks as heralds, who would show them the ford of the rivers, and would conduct them to where they could find booty. Then they went to a certain valley below a certain fortified town, and there they pillaged more that five thousand animals and enough grain and other goods, from whence the whole Christian army was much restored. However that fortified town gave itself to the count, and gave to him horses and the purest gold, and they swore by their own law that pilgrims would not be subjected to ill treatment in that place. We were there for five days. (note the 'we'. Anonymous was traveling with Raymond.) Having left there, we joyfully went to camp by a certain Arab fort. Then the lord of the fort came out and formed an agreement with the count. Leaving this place, we came to a certain most beautiful city by the name of Kephalia, situated in a certain valley, and it was crammed with all sorts of good things. The inhabitants, hearing the Franks had come, abandoned the city with gardens full of vegetables and homes full of food and they fled. On the third day from that city, we crossed through a very high and immense mountain (Ansarieh range) and we went into the valley of Sem, in which there was the greatest richness of all goods; and we were there for nearly fifteen days. Near us was a certain castle, in which there was assembled the greatest multitude of pagans. Our men attacked the castle, and valiantly had overcome it, until the Saracens had tossed outside a large herd of animals. (Monty Python and the Holy Grail leaps to mind "Fetchez la vache!") Our men went back to the tents bearing all goods. At earliest light, our men folded up their tents and went to besiege that same castle, and they were reckoning to set up the tents there; but the pagan people gave themselves over to flight (Sure they probably figured the Crusaders weren't happy with the cows and were coming to eat them.) and left the castle empty. However, going inside, our men found there large stores of grain, wine, wheat, oil, and everything that they needed. There we most devotedly celebrated the feast of the Purification of Blessed Mary, and the heralds of the city of Camela(Homs) came. For their king had sent horses and gold to the Count and made a pact with him that they would in no way offend Christians, and would cherish and honor them. Moreover the king of Tripoli sent, since he had formed a faithful pact and had friendship with the Count, ten horses and four mules and gold. But the Count said he would in no way receive peace from him unless he became a Christian.

However, leaving this optimum valley, we came to a certain castle which was called Archas(Arqa), on the Monday at noon, in the second week in the middle of February(Feb. 14, 1099), around which we extended our tents. The castle was full of innumerable pagan people, namely Turks, Saracens, Arabs, Publicani, and they had wonderfully fortified the town and valiantly defended it. Then fourteen of our knights, went out and attacked the city of Tripoli which was next to us. Those fourteen found approximately sixty Turks and others, who had in front of them an assembly of humans and animals of more than 1500. Fortified by the sign of the cross, (those crazy bastards) attacked them and by the aid of God, were miraculously able to defeat them and killed six of their number and they seized six horses.

Then Raymond Pilet and Raymond, Vicomte of Turenne, left the army of Count Raymond and went before the city of Tortosa and bravely attacked it, which had been too well fortified with a multitude of pagans. Moreover having done this too late, they retreated to a certain corner, camped there and set up many campfires so that it would appear as if the entire host was there. The pagans fled trembling with fear secretly at night and they abandoned the city full of goods. (Take my goat, just don't eat me) It even had a very good port next to the sea. On the next day, our men came to the city and looked everywhere but found it empty. And entering in, they lived in it while the siege lasted before the city of Archas. There was next to that city another city, which was called Maraclea(Maraqiya). The emir, who was ruling over it, made a pact with us and let our men and standards into the city.

Interestingly, with regards to this disagreement between Bohemond and Raymond, Raymond of Aguilers wrote that the Duke of Lorraine showed up in November having fought his way through to Antioch and he brought the news that Alexius was not coming. Then there was the discussion of what to do with Antioch because, if they left it unmanned, the Turks would retake it. The rest were all for giving it to Bohemond since he had influence over the Turks in the area. Count Raymond was the only fly in the ointment. Of course the count and Bohemond got into an argument over the booty at Marra. Bohemond's men did the least but got the largest share of the booty due to Bohemond's sneaky trick. The desperate poor who ate the dead at Marra also started to tear down the walls so no city would remain and there would be no need to fight over who would guard the city. This was the signal to Raymond that he should keep going to Jerusalem.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 33

After all this had been done, Raymond, Count of St. Giles, left Antioch with his men in the month of November and he went to a city, which was called Rugia, and through another which is called Albaria(Al-Bara). Four days before the end of November(28), he went to the city of Marra(Al-Numan), in which there was a great multitude of Saracens, Turks, Arabs, and other pagans congregated together. And the next day, the Count attacked them. A short time later, Bohemond with his own army followed the counts and joined up with him on the Sunday. On the second day, they invaded the town with such great force and so harshly and manfully, that ladders stood upright at the walls. But there was such a great strength of pagans that, on that day, they were not able to harm or even annoy them. The leaders, seeing that they were able to achieve nothing and were laboring in vain; it made Raymond Count of St. Giles build a certain wooden fort, strong and high. This fort was very clever and built on four wheels, on top of which could stand many knights and Everard the Hunter blew and strong blast on the military tuba. Below him were armed knights, who had lead the fort all the way next to the wall of the city, beside a certain tower. The pagan peoples seeing this, immediately built instruments which were throwing great rocks over the fort, thus so that they could almost kill our knights. They were also launching greek fire over the fort, reckoning thus to burn and ruin it. But the All-Powerful God was unwilling that the fort would burn in this manner. It was towering over all the walls of the city. Then our knights, who were in the upper balcony, namely William de Montpellier and many others, were throwing immense stones onto those who were standing on the walls of the city, and thus were striking them hard on their shields, so that both the shield and the enemy fell downwards into the city dead. While they were doing this, others were holding glorious banners on their spears and, with lances and iron hooks, they were reckoning to drag the Turks towards themselves and thus they were battling until nightfall. Behind the fort were standing priests and clerics wearing their sacred vestments, praying and beseeching God that he would defend his own people, exalt Christianity and get rid of paganism.

In other parts, our knights were struggling daily with them, setting up ladders against the wall of the city, but the strength of the pagans was so great that they were not able to make any headway. Then Gulferius de Daturre first climbed the ladder on the wall but immediately the ladder had been broken by the numbers of other climbing the ladder. However, he himself climbed up with some others onto the wall. Those, who had climbed, were clearing a space around themselves at the wall. The others also found another ladder, and hurriedly set it up against the wall and up it climbed many knights and foot soldiers. On the spot, they climbed onto the wall. The Saracens so robustly attacked those on the wall and on the ground with arrows and barbs as well as their lances, so that many of our men backed away from the wall trembling with fear. Those very valiant men who remained on the wall so long endured the attacks from the Turks, so long that others who were under the fort, could dig under the wall of the city. The Saracens, seeing that our men had dug under the wall, immediately took flight trembling with fear into the city. This deed had been done on the day of the Sabbath at the hour of the evening as the sun was setting, the 11th day of December.(the dates are kind of troubling. It should be December but Anon writes intrante Decembri)

Then Bohemond arranged to speak through an interpreter to the Saracen leaders, so that they with their wives and children and other properties could place themselves in one palace which is above the gate, and he himself would defend them from the sentence of death. All our men broke into the city and they found something good in the homes and small pits, each of these was holding an individual. Moreover as had been done on that day, anyone they were finding anywhere, they were killing whether male or female. No corner of the city was empty of the bodies of Saracens and one was scarcely able to go through the streets of the city unless by stepping on the bodies of Saracens. Then Bohemond seized those who he had ordered to go into the palace, and he took from them all that they had, namely gold, silver and other valuables, some he ordered to be killed, others he ordered to be lead for sale at Antioch.
The Franks were delayed in that city for one month and four days, in which the bishop of Orange fell dead. There were, among our men, those who could find nothing to do, there was such a long delay, stretched out so much by famine since they were unable to go outside to find booty, that they were tearing open bodies of the dead, because they were finding besants concealed in their stomachs; others cut their bodies up into pieces in vain and were cooking them to eat them.

Raoul of Caen, wrote in his Gesta Tancredi (Deeds of Tancred) of the extreme shame that some of the Franks were tormented by such a fierce hunger that they grilled and voraciously ate the dead Saracens and even their dogs. (chapter 97) It is likely that the delay caused by Raymond and Bohemond's quarrel over Antioch in a land that had been depleted of food by an almost 2 year war pushed the poorer pilgrims to desperate measures.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 32

Position of the city. This city, Antioch of course, is very beautiful and respectable because within its walls are four very great mountains and very, very high. On the heights also a castle was wonderfully built and very strong. Below it and near at hand is the respectable city, with all respectable ornaments since there are many churches built there. The city contains 360 monasteries. The patriarch holds under his sway 153 bishops.

The city is closed in by two walls. The greater wall is very high and wonderfully wide, and made of great stones; on which 450 towers are arranged. By all means, it is a beautiful city. On the east, it is closed in by the four great mountains. On the west, the other side, a certain river, which is called the Farfar, flows by the walls of the city. This city has great prestige. For, beforehand it was ruled by a succession of 75 kings, of which dynasty the head was King Antiochus, from whom it was named Antioch. The Franks held this city in siege for 8 months and 1 day. Afterwards they were locked up inside the city for three months by the Turks and from other pagans, who made up the greater number of men, either of Christians or pagans. However once, by the aid of God and the Sacred Sepulcher, these had been defeated by the Christians of God, we rested with joy and great cheer in Antioch for 5 months and 8 days.

Anonymous must be bored, waiting around for the Crusaders to get moving. Raymond of Aguilers, amusingly to me, writes that Bohemond drove his boss the Count of St. Giles away from the citadel saying that he promised the emir that he would hold it. After all, they all promised whoever could take the city could keep it and he did. The Count, because he was ill, real or faked, stayed behind on the day of the sortie which is why he got to be in front of the citadel, he was clearly trying to grab it for himself but was having difficulty out-weaseling the head weasel.(weasel appears to have been one of the nicknames of Bohemond's father) It appears Bohemond and Raymond (the Count) were cousins by marriage, although Bohemond's cousin Matilda must have died since the Count was on his third wife, Elvira, at the time of the Crusade. When you start looking at the families of the Crusaders, Bohemond was related to quite a few of them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 31

After a short time, the venerable Raymond, Count of St. Giles, went and entered the land of the Saracens and came to a certain city which is called Albara, which he invaded with his army. He captured it forthwith and killed all Saracen men and women, great and small, that he could seize. The others, whom he called back to the faith of Christ, he held under his own rule and he sought the advice of their wisest men so that he could have a bishop ordained most devoutly in the city, who would call the city back faithfully to the worship of Christ and from the house of the devil and consecrate a temple to the true and living God and holy words. They finally chose a certain respectable man and wisest of men and lead him to Antioch to be confirmed. This was done. Others who remained in Antioch, were equal in joy and happiness.

The time set for departing was approaching, namely the Feast of All Saints, and all of our nobles returned as one into Antioch and all at the same time began to seek how they could succeed in traveling along the road to the Sacred Sepulcher, saying that because the agreed on time for going was approaching, it was no hour for more disturbance. Moreover Bohemond was daily seeking an agreement upheld by which all that the seigneurs held in the city would be returned to him, but the Count of St. Giles was unwilling to soften himself to any agreement with Bohemond because he was fearing himself to have sworn falsely against the emperor. However they often were assembled in the church of St. Peter, for the purpose of doing what was just. Bohemond read aloud his agreement and declared his ownership. The Count of St. Giles revealed at the same time his own words and the oath which he had made to the emperor, by the advice of Bohemond. The bishops, Duke Godfrey, Cont of Flanders, Count of Normandy, and other leaders were divided from the others and entered in to where the seat of St. Peter was so that they could decide among themselves and keep apart from the two. After, fearing the path to the Sacred Sepulcher might be interrupted, they were unwilling to frankly speak their judgement. Then the Count of St. Giles said: "The road to the Sacred Sepulcher remains. If Bohemond wishes to continue with us, but anything our equals, namely Duke Godfrey, Count of Flanders and Robert of Normandy, and other nobles will praise, I would faithfully consent to, save fidelity to the emperor." Bohemond praise this all, and both promised in the hands of bishops, that by no means would the journey to the Sacred Sepulcher be disturbed by them. Then Bohemond took advice with his own men, how he would fortify the fort on the high mountain with men and food. Similarly, the Count of St. Giles took advice with his men, how he would fortify the palace of the emir of Cassianus, and the tower which is above the gate of the bridge, which is on the side pointing to the port of St. Simeon. He said he fortified it with men and food who abandoned it not long ago.

Krey's footnotes to this text state that Count Raymond's insistence on the rights of the emperor was remarkable because he was the only one who did not take the prescribed oath. Albara is also called Bara and is one of the 'ghost towns' of Syria. Here are some photos of the ruins.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 10, Chapter 30

When all our enemies (for which we give thanks to God, the three and the one, with the greatest of honors) had been completely defeated, they were fleeing here and there, some only half alive, others wounded. They were falling dead in the valleys, groves, fields and pathways. The victorious people of Christ, namely the pilgrims, were returning joyfully to the city in their happy triumph over the defeated enemies. Our leaders, that is Duke Godfrey, Raymond the Count of St. Giles, Bohemond, Count of Normandy, and the Count of Flanders and others immediately sent their noblest knight Hugo the Great to the emperor of Constantinople so that he would come and receive the city and have meetings with those who had performed this feat. Hugo went and did not return.

Afterwards, when these deeds had been done, all of the assembled leaders arranged a plan, by which they would fruitfully prosper in leading and ruling the people, until they undertook to complete the pilgrimage to the Sacred Sepulcher, for which they had endured much danger. A plan was found since they did not yet dare to penetrate further into pagan land, because there, in the summer time, it was very hot and very arid; therefore they agreed on a considered limit of staying until Kalends of November(Nov. 1). Then the leaders split up and each one profited from his own land, until the time for departing would be near. The princes had it heralded through the city, that if any poor man was perhaps lacking in gold and silver who had participated in the fighting, he could enter an agreement and remain behind if he wished and he would be released from his vow with joy.

Moreover, there was there a certain soldier from the army of the Count of St. Giles, whose name was Raymond Pilet. He kept many men, knights and footsoldiers. He went out with his assembled army and manfully penetrated into Saracen lands. He was successful beyond two cities and came to a certain fort which was named Talamania(Al-Bara?). The inhabitants of the fort, namely the Syrians, immediately and spontaneously surrendered to him. And when they had been there for nearly 8 days, messengers came to them saying that there was a fortified town full of a multitude of Saracens nearly. The Christian knights went to that fort and attacked them on all sides, which was captured without delay with the aid of Christ. They then seized all of the colonists of that place and those, who were unwilling to receive Christianity, they killed; those who preferred to recognize Christ saved their life. Having completed this act, our men returned with great joy to the previous fort. On the third day, they went out and came to a certain city named Marra(Ma'arrat an-Numan), which was nearby to them. Moreover that was a large assembly of Turks there and Saracens from the city of Aleppo and from all cities and fortified towns which were around them. When the barbarians came out to fight us, and our men, reckoning to struggle with them in battle, forced them into flight but however they were attacking our men for a whole day in turns and the invasion lasted all the way to evening. For the heat was immense. Our men were unable to endure so much thirst, since they were unable to find any water for drinking there, nevertheless they wished to return safely to their fort. For the Syrians and the common folk had been seized with too great a dismay because of the sins of them, so the Franks began to make their way back. However the Turks, seeing them retreating, immediately began to pursue those and victory was attending to the Turks. Many men from that group returned in spirit to God, for love of whom they were in that congregation. This massacre had been done on the fifth day of the month of July. Moreover the Franks returned to those who remained in their fort and Raymond stayed there with his own people for many days.

The others, who remained in Antioch, stood there with joy and great happiness, of whom the guide and pastor became the Bishop of Le Puy (Adhemar, the Papal legate). He was seized (by the will of God) with a grave sickness and the will of God transported him from this age, and he rests in peace, sleeping in the Lord, on the feast of St. Peter which is called 'Ad Vincula'(St. Peter in Chains, August 1). Then there was a great anguish and immense tribulation in the entire Christian militia, since he was a support to the poor, advisor to the rich, and he himself was ordaining priests, was speaking before and summoning knights, saying: "None of you is able to be saved unless he respects the poor and cherishes the poor, and you are not able to be saved without them, and they are unable to live without you. Thus it is fitting that daily they pray on behalf of your sins to God, whom you offend daily with many things.. From whence I ask you that you esteem them for the love of God, and you would be able to sustain them in so many things."

The Bishop of Le Puy, as the official Papal envoy, kept this a proper Crusade and was a unifying force with the diverse armies. His passing leaves them freer to go their own ways. I am curious as to why Hugo did not come back.
A number of historians all say that Anonymous appears to have joined Raymond Pilet on this expedition and remained with his forces after this.
I found a great article on the First Crusade on the BBC website 'H2G2', link here.
On Raymond Pilet, "They didn't have it all their own way, however. Raymond Pilet, a lesser noble of Raymond of Toulouse's army, set up an expedition to go further southeast from the Ruj valley, to do a bit of conquering and plundering of his own. He reached the Jabal as-Summaq, the fertile plateau where the previous year Bohemond and Robert of Flanders had found such rich pickings before they stumbled across Duqaq's army. He bit off more than he could chew when he attacked the sizable town of Marrat on 27 July, 1098. He didn't bring enough water and when he arrived at Marrat, it was strongly defended. The inhabitants came out and attacked Raymond's troops who were weak from thirst. Many were killed and they had to retreat in disarray."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some Thoughts on Book 9, Gesta Francorum

Book 9 was full of visions and supernatural events starting with the fire from the sky that fell into the camp of the Turks and filled them with terror to the Spear of Destiny and the celestial army rescuing the Crusaders.
Raymond of Aigulers also wrote a chronicle of the First Crusade and was an eye witness. He wrote more fully than Anonymous did about the finding of the Lance. Twelve men were instructed to dig for the Lance, just as there were twelve apostles. Peter Bartholomew jumped in to help and became the 13th. At the Last Supper, Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest and so this might not have helped Peter's case later on since the bishops and priests already distrusted his visions because he was a layman and not a 'company man'. Peter told Raymond that he was afraid to tell anyone about his visions because he thought they would think he was making it all up to get more food. Peter had his vision before Stephen the priest but, when the priest also said that a miracle would happen in five days, it granted some legitimacy to Peter's vision.
Anna also wrote about the finding of the lance but she said it was a nail and she thought it was Peter the Hermit who found it. Constantinople had, at the time, its own lance so the authenticity of the relic could be questioned. There are several lances that claim to be 'the lance'. The Hapsburgs had one that they bought from the Byzantines. It has been recently tested and, while the spear itself is not old enough, the nail attached to it is and could therefore be a genuine relic.(article on it here) The Lance found in Antioch disappeared after the war and Raymond thought the Arabs seized it although, if Anna is correct and it was a nail, perhaps the Hapsburgs got both the Byzantine lance and the nail from Antioch.
The day after these visions were revealed, Raymond wrote that a star broke into three parts and fell into the camp of the Turks. This would probably be the fire that fell from the sky. It likely did terrify the Turks. What a omen on the eve of battle! I think I would turn around and go home.
Raymond wrote that the arrows of the enemy were unable to pierce anyone around him as he personally bore the Lance into the battle but he did also mention a light shower of rain. Since a friend has suggested that the celestial army was fog descending from the mountain, this might support her hypothesis. Raymond did not write of the army and Anonymous did not say he saw them with his own eyes.
The three saints who were leading the celestial army were St. George, St. Mercurius and St. Demetrius. St. George should need no introduction to anyone. He is the knight who slew the dragon and who was the patron saint of England. Some might be surprised to learn that he was a Roman in the army of Diocletian and living in Palestine. His feast day is April 23. St. Mercurius is not as well known. He appears to have been a Scythian born in Cappadocia in the Roman army under Decius, his Arab name means 'holder of two swords' which makes me wonder if he is connected to Balan in any way. His feast day is November 11 in the West. St. Demetrius is from Thessalonia or was killed in Thessalonia. He was another Roman soldier, persecuted under Diocletian or Galerius. His story is not well known but his feast day is October 26. All three make excellent military miracle workers since they were all soldiers in their day.
Last but not least, I find it interesting that the emir who was charged with guarding the citadel would surrender to no one but Bohemond. Considering the slaughter that was inflicted on Jerusalem's population which fell without Bohemond being there, it was probably a wise choice and speaks well of Bohemond. The Crusaders pursuing the fleeing Turks at Antioch thought they did well when they found the Turks' women in the tents and only stabbed them all, rather than rape them first and then stab them; but Bohemond had probably already returned to the city and he could not stop what the armies under the other leaders were doing anyway.
The image above was snagged from Wikipedia Commons and is supposed to be the spear that was found at Antioch and is now at a monastery in Echmiadzin in Turkey.