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.

No comments: