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

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