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.


5 comments:

Kristin said...

So the pilgrims were also fighting? And they could keep the women and children to do with as they pleased. Nice.

Tracy said...

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.
Wonderful!

Duke Godfrey built a tower with machines and Count Raymond did the same; from wood which they had dragged over from remote lands.
They must have dragged that wood one hell of a distance - don't get the impression they've been hiking through prime forest for most of the journey, and such a huge amount, to build not one but two siege towers plus siege engines.

The Red Witch said...

@So the pilgrims were also fighting?

The whole trip was technically a pilgrimage. A large number of soldiers, once they got to Jerusalem, went home right after, leaving the leaders with the problem of holding on to the land with few men to back them up. The fighting pilgrims are the knights.

@They must have dragged that wood one hell of a distance

There were Venetian ships at the port of Joppa. Large portions of the Middle East had forests until people cut them down and the soil eroded.

anachronist said...

Temple of Solomon was the place of one big carnage then and it was all one big pilgrimage. Sheesh... I wonder whether they really found something inside.

The Red Witch said...

In the chaos of the killing and looting, some one may have but did you note Peter Bartholomew saying that Jesus told him that they should not spare the Jews? No doubt there were large numbers of Jewish people among the slain.