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.


Tracy said...

You're right, it is very strange. Maybe it's a kind of 'hey, you should come on the next Crusade!' advert 'never mind being up to your ankles in Saracens' blood, look what you can visit afterwards!'

Anachronist said...

Perhaps this part was written later as an addition to the original account; maybe even by somebody else. I suppose Tracy might be right - it was also an ad to make other people come and populate the freshly conquered teritory as most of the original crusaders decided to return home.

The Red Witch said...

It is difficult to know. Anonymous tells nothing about himself. It is rather startling after the bloodbath of Ascalon, where the enemy is joyously slaughtered like animals in a feed lot, and then he turns around and says, wow look at the columns on that magnificent church.

Anachronist said...

The difference of topic and style are exactly two discrepancies that might suggest the last part originally didn't belong to "the Deeds of Franks".