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Gesta Francorum


Circa 1100-1101, an anonymous writer connected with Bohemund of Antioch wrote the Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymytanorum (The Deeds of the Franks) This text was used by the later writers as a source.

Selections:

See also:
Rosalind M. Hill, ed. and trans., Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum: The Deeds of the Franks (London: 1962), [Latin text with English translation.]

1. Urban II: Speech at Clermont

When now that time was at hand which the Lord Jesus daily points out to His faithful, especially in the Gospel, saying, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me," a mighty agitation was carried on throughout all the region of Gaul. (Its tenor was) that if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart and mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after Him, he would no longer hesitate to take up the way to the Holy Sepulchre.

And so Urban, Pope of the Roman see, with his archbishops, bishops, abbots, and priests, set out as quickly as possible beyond the mountains and began to deliver sermons and to preach eloquently, saying: "Whoever wishes to save his soul should not hesitate humbly to take up the way of the Lord, and if he lacks sufficient money, divine mercy will give him enough." Then the apostolic lord continued, "Brethren, we ought to endure much suffering for the name of Christ - misery, poverty, nakedness, persecution, want, illness, hunger, thirst, and other (ills) of this kind, just as the Lord saith to His disciples: 'Ye must suffer much in My name,' and 'Be not ashamed to confess Me before the faces of men; verily I will give you mouth and wisdom,' and finally, 'Great is your reward in Heaven."' And when this speech had already begun to be noised abroad, little by little, through all the regions and countries of Gaul, the Franks, upon hearing such reports, forthwith caused crosses to be sewed on their right shoulders, saying that they followed with one accord the footsteps of Christ, by which they had been redeemed from the hand of hell.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 28-30.

2. The End of the Popular Crusade

But the abovementioned Peter was the first to reach Constantinople, on the Kalends of August, and with him was a very large host of Alemanni. There he found assembled Lombards, and Longobards, and many others. The Emperor had ordered such a market as was in the city to be given to these people. And he said to them, "Do not cross the Strait until the chief host of the Chritians has come, for you are not so strong that you can do battle with the Turks." The Christians conducted themselves badly, inasmuch as they tore down and burned buildings of the city and carried off the lead with which the churches were constructed sold it to the Greeks. The Emperor was enraged thereat and ordered them to cross the Strait. After they bad crossed, they did not cease doing all manner of evil, burning and plundering houses and churches. At length they reached Nicomedia, where the Lombards and Longobards and Alemanni separated from the Franks because the Franks were constantly swelled with arrogance.

The Lombards and Longobards chose a leader over themselves whose name was Reinald. The Alemanni did likewise. They entered Romania and proceeded for four days beyond the city of Nicaea. They found a certain fortress, Xerogord by name, which was empty of people, and they seized it. In it they found an ample supply of grain, wine, and meat, and an abundance of all goods. The Turks, accordingly, bearing that the Christians were in the fortress, came to besiege it. Before the gate of the fortress was a cistern, and at the foot of the fortress was a fountain of running water, near which Reinald went out to trap the Turks. But the Turks, who came on the day of the Dedication of St. Michael, found Reinald and those who were with him and killed many of them. Those who remained alive fled to the fortress, which the Turks straightway besieged, thus depriving them of water. Our people were in such distress from thirst that they bled their horses and asses and drank the blood; others let their r girdles and handkerchiefs down into the cistern and squeezed out the water from them into their mouths; some urinated into one another's hollowed hands and drank; and others dug up the moist ground and lay down on their backs and spread the earth over their breasts to relieve the excessive dryness of thirst. The bishops and priests, indeed, continued to comfort our people, and to admonish them not to yield, saying, "Be everywhere strong in the faith of Christ, and do not fear those who persecute you, just as the Lord saith, 'Be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul."' This distress lasted for eight days. Then the lord of the Alemanni made an agreement with the Turks to surrender his companions to them; and, feigning to go out to fight, he fled to them, and many with him. Those, however, who were unwilling to deny the Lord received the sentence of death; some, whom they took alive, they divided among themselves, like sheep; some they placed as a target and shot with arrows; others they sold and gave away, like animals. Some they took captive to their own home, some to Chorosan, some to Antioch, others to Aleppo, or wherever they themselves lived. These were the first to receive a happy martyrdom in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Next, the Turks, hearing that Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless were in Civitote, which is located above the city of Nicaea, went there with great joy to kill them and those who were with them. And when they had come, they encountered Walter with his men (all of) whom the Turks soon killed. But Peter the Hermit had gone to Constantinople a short while before because he was unable to restrain that varied host, which was not willing to listen either to him or to his words. The Turks, indeed, rushed upon these people and killed many of them. Some they found sleeping, some lying down, others naked - all of whom they killed. With these people they found a certain priest celebrating mass, whom they straightway martyred upon the altar. Those who could escape fled to Civitote; others hurled themselves headlong into the sea, while some hid in the forests and mountains. But the Turks, pursuing them to the fortress, collected wood to bum them with the fort. The Christians who were in the fort, therefore, set fire to the wood that had been collected, and the fire, turning in the direction of the Turks, cremated some of them; but from the fire the Lord delivered our people at that time. Nevertheless, the Turks took them alive and divided them, just as they had done the others, and scattered them through all these regions, some to Chorosan, and others to Persia. This all happened in the month of October. The Emperor, upon hearing that the Turks had so scattered our people, was exceedingly glad and sent for them (the Turks) had them cross the Strait.. After they were across, he purchased all their arms.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 71-72

3. Account of Main Crusade Armies

Soon they departed from their homes in Gaul, and then formed three groups.

One party of Franks, namely, Peter, the Hermit Duke Godfrey, Baldwin, his brother, and Baldwin, Count of the Mount, entered the region of Hungary. These most powerful; knights, and many others whom I do not know, went by the way which Charles ; the Great, wonderworking king of France, long ago had made,!, even to Constantinople. . . .

The second party - to wit, Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, and the Bishop of Puy - entered the region of Slavonia.

The third division, however, went by the ancient road to Rome. In this division were Bohemund, Richard of Principati, Robert, Count of Flanders, Robert the Norman, Hugh the Great, Everard of Puiset, Achard of Montmerle, Ysooard of Mousson, and many others. Next, they went to the port of Brindisi, or Bari, or Otranto. Then Hugh the Great, and William, son of Marchisus, took to the sea at the port of Bari and, crossing the strait, came to Durazzo. But the governor of this place, his heart touched with evil design, took these most renowned men captive immediately upon hearing that they had landed there and ordered them to be conducted carefully to the Emperor at Constantinople, where they should pledge loyalty to him.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 57

4. Bohemund

But Bohemund, powerful in battle, who was engaged in the siege of Amalfi on the sea of Salerno, heard that a countless host of Christians from among the Franks had come to go to the Sepulchre of the Lord, and that they were prepared for battle against the pagan horde. He then began to inquire closely what fighting arms these people bore, and what sign of Christ they carried on the way, or what battle cry they shouted. The following replies were made to him in order: "They bear arms suitable for battle; on the right shoulder, or between both shoulders, they wear the cross of Christ; the cry, 'God wills it! God wills it! God wills it!' they shout in truth with one voice." Moved straightway by the Holy Spirit, he ordered the most precious cloak which he had with him cut to pieces, and straightway he bad the whole of it made into crosses. Thereupon, most of the knights engaged in that siege rushed eagerly to him, so that Count Roger remained almost alone.

Returning again to his own land, Lord Bohemund diligently prepared himself to undertake in true earnest the journey to the Holy Sepulchre. At length, he crossed the sea with his army. With him were Tancred, son of Marchisus, Richard of Principati, and Rainulf, his brother, Robert of Anse, Herman of Cannae, Robert of Surda Valley, Robert, son of Tostanus, Hunfred, son of Raoul , Richard, son of Count Rainulf, the Count of Roscignolo, with his brothers, Boellus of Chartres, Albered of Cagnano, and Hunfred of Mt. Seaglioso. All of these crossed the sea to do service for Bohemund and landed in the region of Bulgaria, where they found a very great abundance of grain, wine, and bodily nourishment. Thence descending into the valley of Andronopoli, they waited for his forces, until all bad likewise crossed the sea. Then the wise Bobemund ordered a council with his people, comforting and admonishing all (with these words). "Seignors, take heed all of you, for we are pilgrims of God. We ought, therefore, to be better and more humble than before. Do not plunder this land, since it belongs to Christians, and let no one, at the cost of blessing, take more than be needs to eat."

Departing thence, we journeyed through great plenty from villa to villa, city to city, fortress to fortress, until we reached Castoria. There we solemnly celebrated the nativity of the Lord. We remained there for several days and sought a market, but the people were unwilling to accord it to us, because they feared us greatly, thinking that we came not as pilgrims, but to devastate their land and to kill them. Wherefore we took their cattle, horses, asses, and everything that we found. Leaving Castoria, we entered Pelagonia, in which there was a certain fortified town of heretics. This we attacked from all sides and it soon yielded to our sway. Thereupon, we set it on fire and burned the camp with its inhabitants, that is, the congregation of heretics. Later, we reached the river Vardar. And then Lord Bohemund went across with his people, but not with all, for the Count of Roscignolo with his brothers remained behind.

Thereupon , an army of the Emperor came and attacked the Count with his brothers and all who were with them. Tancred, hearing of this, went back and, hurling himself into the river, reached the others by swimming; and two thousand went into the river following Tancred. At length, they came upon the Turcopoles and Patzinaks struggling with our men. They (Tancred and his men) charged the enemy suddenly and bravely and overcame them gloriously. Several of them they seized and led them, bound, into the presence of Bohemund, who spoke to them as follows: "Wherefore, miserable men, do you kill Christ's people and mine? I have no quarrel with your Emperor." They replied, "We cannot do otherwise; we have been placed in the service of the Emperor, and whatever he commands we must fulfill." Bohemund allowed them to depart unpunished. This battle was fought in the fourth day of the week, which is the beginning of the fast. Through all, blessed is the Lord! Amen.

The unhappy Emperor sent one of his own men, whom be greatly loved, and whom they call Corpalatius, together with our envoys, to conduct us in security through his land until we should come to Constantinople. And as we paused before their cities, he ordered the inhabitants to offer us a market, just as those also did of whom we have spoken. Indeed, they feared the most brave host of Lord Bohemund so greatly that they permitted none of us to enter the walls of the city. Our men wanted to attack and seize a certain fortified town because it was full of all kinds of goods. But the renowned man, Bohemund, refused to consent not only in justice to the land, but also because of his pledge to the Emperor. Therefore, he was greatly angered on this account with Tancred and all the rest. This happened toward evening. When morning came, the inhabitants of the town came out, and, in procession, bearing crosses in their hands, they came into the presence of Bohemund. Delighted, he received them; and with gladness he permitted them to depart. Next we came to a certain town, which is called Serrhae, where we fixed our tents and bad a market sufficient for that time. There the learned Bohemund made a very cordial agreement with two Corpalatii; and out of regard for their friendship, as well as in justice to the land, he ordered all the stolen animals which our men had to be returned. The Corpalatius promised him that he would despatch messengers to return the animals to their owners in order. Then we proceeded from castle to castle and from villa to villa to the city of Rusa. The people of the Greeks came out, bringing us the greatest market, and went joyfully to meet Lord Bohemund. There we Pitched on, tents in the fourth day of the week before the feast of the Lord.

There, also, the learned Bohemund left all his host an( went on ahead to speak with the Emperor at Constantinople. He gave commands to his vassals, saying, "Approach the city gradually. I, however, will go on in advance." And he took with him a few at the head of the army of Christ, and, seeing the pilgrims buying food, he said to himself that he would go off the road and lead his people where they would live happily. At length be entered a certain valley, filled with goods of all kinds that are suitable nourishment for the body, and in it we most devoutly celebrated Easter.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 62-64

5. Godfrey of Bouillon

Duke Godfrey was the first of all the seignors to come to Constantinople with a great army. He arrived two days before the Nativity of Our Lord and camped outside the city, until the, iniquitous Emperor ordered him to be lodged in a suburb of the city. And when the Duke had been so lodged, he used to send his squires, under pledge, day by day to fetch hay and other necessities for the horses. When now they planned to go wherever they wished, on the strength of their pledge, the evil Emperor placed a watch upon them and commanded his Turcopoles and Patzinaks to attack and kill them. Thereupon, when Baldwin, brother of the Duke, heard of this, he placed himself in ambush and then found them killing his people. He attacked them in great anger and, God helping, overcame them. Capturing sixty of them, he killed some and presented the rest to the Duke, his brother. When the Emperor had heard of this, he was exceedingly angry. Then the Duke, seeing that the Emperor was enraged, went with his men out of the suburb and encamped outside the city. Moreover, toward evening the Emperor ordered his forces to attack the Duke and the people of Christ. The unconquered Duke and the knights of Christ pursued these, killed seven of them, and drove the rest even to the gates of the city. The Duke, returning to his tents, remained there for five days, until he had entered into an agreement with the Emperor. The Emperor told him to cross the Strait of St. George, and promised to have every kind of market there, just as at Constantinople, and to distribute alms to the poor, upon which they could live.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 80

6. Bohemund

When the Emperor heard that the most honorable man, Bohemund, had come to him, he commanded that he be received with honor and carefully lodged outside the city. When he had been so lodged, the evil Emperor sent for him to come to speak with him in secret. Thither, also, came Duke Godfrey with his brother, and at length the Count of St. Gilles approached the city. Then the Emperor in anxious and fervid rage was pondering some way by which they might seize these knights of Christ adroitly and by fraud. But Divine Grace disclosing (his plans), neither time nor place was found by him, or his men, to do them ill. At last, all the noble leaders who were at Constantinople were assembled. Fearing lest they should be deprived of their country, they decided in their counsels and ingenious calculations that our dukes, counts, or all the leaders, ought to make an oath of fealty to the Emperor. These absolutely refused and said: "It is indeed unworthy of us, and, furthermore, it seems to us unjust to swear an oath to him." Perchance we shall yet often be deceived by our leaders. In the end, what were they to do? They say that under the force of necessity they humiliated themselves, willy-nilly, to the will of the most unjust Emperor. To that most mighty man Bohemund, however, whom he greatly feared because in times past be (Bohemund) had often driven him from the field with his army, the Emperor said that, if he willingly took the oath to him, he would give him, in return, land in extent from Antioch fifteen days journey, and eight in width. And he (the Emperor) swore to him in such wise that, if he loyally observed that oath, he would never pass beyond his own land. Knights, so brave and so sturdy, why did they do this? For the reason that they were constrained by much necessity. The Emperor also gave to all our men a pledge of security. He likewise took oath that he, together with his army, would come with us, by land and by sea; that be would afford us faithfully a market by land and sea, and that be would diligently make good our losses; in addition, that be did not wish, and would not permit, any of our pilgrims to be disturbed or come to grief on their way to the Holy Sepulchre.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 93-94

7. Raymond of Toulouse

The Count of St. Gilles, however, was lodged outside the city in a suburb, and his force bad remained behind. Accordingly, the Emperor bade the Count do homage and fealty to him, as the others had done. And while the Emperor was making these demands, the Count was meditating how he might take vengeance on the army of the Emperor. But Duke Godfrey and Robert, Count of Flanders, and the other princes said to him that it would be unjust to fight against Christians. The wise man, Bohemund, also said that if the Count should do the Emperor any injustice, and should refuse to do him fealty, he himself would take the part of the Emperor. Accordingly, the Count, after receiving the advice of his men, swore that he would not consent to have the life and honor of Alexius sullied either by himself or by anyone else. When be was called upon for homage, he answered that he would not do this at the risk of his head.

Then the host of Lord Bohemund approached Constantinople. Tancred, indeed, and Richard of Principati, and almost the whole of Bohemund's force with him, crossed the Strait by stealth, to avoid the oath to the Emperor. And now the army of the Count of St. Gilles approached Constantinople. The Count remained there with his own band. Therefore the illustrious man, Bohemund, stayed behind with the Emperor, in order to plan with him how they might provide a market for the people who were beyond the city of Nicaea.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 98-99

8. The Victory at Nicea

And thus Duke Godfrey went first to Nicomedia, together with Tancred and all the rest, and they were there for three days. The Duke, indeed, seeing that there was no road open by which he could conduct these hosts to the city of Nicaea, for so great an army could not pass through the road along which the others had passed before, sent ahead three thousand men with axes and swords to cut and clear this road, so that it would lie open even to the city of Nicaea. They cut this road through a very Darrow and very great mountain and fixed back along the way iron and wooden crosses on posts, so that the pilgrims would know the way. Meanwhile, we came to Nicaea, which is the capital of all Romania, on the fourth day, the day before the Nones of May, and there encamped. However, before Lord Bohemund bad arrived, there was such scarcity of bread among us that one loaf was sold for twenty or thirty denarii. After the illustrious man, Bobemund, came, be ordered the greatest market to be brought by sea, and it came both ways at the same time, this by land and that by sea, and there was the greatest abundance in the whole army of Christ.

Moreover, on the day of the Ascension of the Lord we began to attack the city on all sides, and to construct machines of wood, and wooden towers, with which we might be able to destroy towers on the walls. We attacked the city so bravely and so fiercely that we even undermined its wall. The Turks who were in the city, barbarous horde that they were, sent messages to others who had come up to give aid. The message ran in this wise: that they might approach the city boldly and in security and enter through the middle gate, because on that side no one would oppose them or put them to grief. This gate was besieged on that very day - the Sabbath after the Ascension of the Lord - by the Count of St. Gilles and the Bishop of Puy. The Count, approaching from another side, was protected by divine might, and with his most powerful army gloried in terrestrial strength. And so he found the Turks, coming against us here. Armed on all sides with the sign of the cross, he rushed upon them violently and overcame them. They turned in flight, and most of them were killed. They came back again, reinforced by others, joyful and exulting in assured (outcome) of battle, and bearing along with them the ropes with which to lead us bound to Chorosan. Coming gladly, moreover, they began to descend from the crest of the mountain a short distance. As many as descended remained there with their beads cut off at the bands of our men; moreover, our men hurled the heads of the killed far into the city, that they (the Turks) might be the more terrified thereat. Then the Count of St. Gilles and the Bishop of Puy took counsel together as to how they might have undermined a certain tower which was opposite their tents. Men were assigned to do the digging, with arbalistae and bowmen to defend them on all sides. So they dug to the foundations of the wall and fixed timbers and wood under it and then set fire to it. However, evening had come; the tower had already fallen in the night, and because it was night they could not fight with the enemy. Indeed, during that night the Turks hastily built up and restored the wall so strongly that when day came no one could harm them on that side.

Now the Count of Normandy came up, Count Stephen and many others, and finally Roger of Barneville. At length Bohemund, at the very front, besieged the city. Beside him was Tancred, after him Duke Godfrey, then the Count of St. Gilles, next to whom was the Bishop of Puy. it was so besieged by land that no one dared to go out or in. There all our forces were assembled in one body, and who could have counted so great an army of Christ? No one, as 1 think, has ever before seen so many distinguished knights or ever will again!

However, there was a large lake on one side of the city, on which the Turks used to send out their ships, and go back and forth and bring fodder, wood, and many other things. Then our leaders counselled together and sent messengers to Constantinople to tell the Emperor to have ships brought to Civitote, where there is a fort, and that he should order oxen to be brought to drag the ships over the mountains and through the woods, until they neared the lake. This was done forthwith, and he sent his Turcopoles with them. They did not want to put the ships on the lake on the very day that they were brought across, but under cover of night they launched them on the lake itself, (The boats were) filled with Turcopoles well decorated with arms. Moreover, at earliest daybreak the ships stood in good order and hastened through the lake against the city. The Turks marvelled upon seeing them, not knowing whether they were manned by their own forces or the Emperor's. However, after they recognized that it was the host of the Emperor, they were frightened even to death, weeping and lamenting; and the Franks were glad and gave glory to God.

The Turks, moreover, seeing that they could have no further aid from their armies, sent a message to the Emperor that they would willingly surrender the city, if he would permit them to go entirely away with their wives and children and all their substance. Then the Emperor, full of vain and evil thinking, ordered them to depart unpunished, without any fear, and to be brought to him at Constantinople with great assurance (of safety). These he cared for zealously, so that he had them prepared against any damage or hindrance from the Franks. We were engaged in that siege for seven weeks and three days. Many of our men there received martyrdom, and, glad and rejoicing, gave back their happy souls to God. Many of the very poor died of hunger for the name of Christ, and these bore triumphantly to heaven their robes of martyrdom crying with one voice, "Avenge, Lord, our blood which has been shed for Thee, who are blessed and praiseworthy forever and ever. Amen." In the meanwhile, after the city had been surrendered and the Turks had been conducted to Constantinople, the Emperor, more and more rejoiced because the city had been surrendered to his power, ordered the greatest alms to be distributed to our poor.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 101-103

9. The Battle of Dorylaeum

On the third day, the Turks made a violent assault on Bohemund and his companions. The Turks began unceasingly to shout, babble, and cry in a loud voice, making some devilish sound, I know not how, in their own tongue. When the wise Bohemund saw from afar the innumerable Turks shouting and crying a diabolical sound, be straightway ordered all the knights to dismount and pitch the tents immediately. Before the tents had been erected, be spoke to all the soldiers: "My lords and strongest of Christ's soldiers! A difficult battle is now building up around us. Let everyone advance against them courageously and let the infantry put up the tents carefully and quickly."

By the time all this had been done, the Turks had already surrounded us on all sides. They attacked us, slashing, hurling, and shooting arrows far and wide, in a manner strange to behold. Although we could scarcely bold them back or even bear up under the weight of such a host, nevertheless we all managed to hold our ranks. Our women were a great blessing to us that day, for they carried drinking water zip to our fighting men and comforted the fighters and defenders. The wise Bohemund at once commanded the others, namely the Count of St-Gilles, Duke Godfrey, Hugh of France, the Bishop of Le Puy, and all the rest of Christ's soldiers to make speed and to march quickly to the battle scene. He said: "If they wish to fight today, let them come on with full force." The strong and courageous Duke Godfrey and Hugh of France both came on ahead with their forces. The Bishop of Le Puy followed with his troops, and the Count of St-Gilles with a large force came after him.

Our people were very curious about where such a multitude of Turks, Arabs, Saracens, and others whom I cannot name, had come from. Indeed this excommunicated race filled all the mountains, hills, valleys, and plains on all sides, both inside and outside of the battlefield. We had a secret parley among ourselves and, after praising God and taking counsel, we said: "Let us all unite in Christ's faith and the victory of the Holy Cross, for, God willing, today we shall all be made rich."

Our forces were drawn up in one continuous battle line. On the left there were Bohemund, Robert the Norman, the prudent Tancred, Robert of Ansa, and Richard of the Principate . The Bishop of Le Puy approached by way of another mountain and thus the unbelieving Turks were surrounded on all sides. [note: Bishop Adhémar of Le Puy had, in other words, led a company of southern French knights through the mountains, around and behind the Turkish lines. The sudden appearance on the field of the Bishop and his knights, who came up behind the Turkish flanks, threw the Turks into panic and assured victory for the Crusaders.] Raymond of St-Gilles also fought on the left side. On the right there were Duke Goddfrey, the Count of Flanders (a most valiant knight), and Hugh of France, together with many others whose names I know not.

As soon as our knights arrived, the Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Angulans,32 and all the barbarian tribes speedily took flight through the byways of the mountains and plains. The Turks, Persians, Paulicians, Saracens, Angulans, and other pagans numbered 360, 000, besides the Arabs, whose numbers are known only to God. With extraordinary speed they fled to their tents but were unable to remain there long. Again they took flight and we followed, killing them as we went, for a whole day. We took many spoils: gold, silver, horses, donkeys, camels, sheep, cattle, and many other things of which we know not. Had the Lord not been with us in the battle and had he not suddenly sent us the other force, none of our men would have escaped, for the battle lasted from the third to the ninth hour. But Almighty God is merciful and kind. He did not allow his troops to perish, nor did he deliver them into the hands of the enemy; rather he sent help to us quickly. Two of our honored knights were killed, namely Godfrey of Monte-Scaglioso and William the son of the Marquis and the brother of Tancred. Some other knights and infantrymen whose names I do not know were also killed.

Who will ever be wise or learned enough to dare to describe the prudence, prowess, and valor of the Turks? They believed they could terrify the Frankish race by threatening them with their arrows, as they had terrified the Arabs, Saracens, Armenians, Syrians, and Greeks. But, please God, they will never be as powerful as our men. Indeed, the Turks say that they are related to the Franks and that no man ought by nature to be a knight save the Franks and themselves. I speak the truth, which no one can deny. that if they had always been steadfast in Christ's faith and in Christianity, if they had wished to confess one triune Lord, and if they had honestly believed in good faith that the Son of God was born of the Virgin, that he suffered and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven in the presence of his disciples, that he has sent the perfect comfort of the Holy Spirit, and that he reigns in heaven and on earth; if they bad believed all this, it would have been impossible to find a people more powerful, more courageous, or more skilled in the art of war. By the grace of God, however, we defeated them. The battle took place on the first of July.

Source:

Translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 49-51
Copyright note: Professor Brundage informed the Medieval Sourcebook that copyright was not renewed on this work. Moreover he gave permission for use of his translations.

10. The Siege of Antioch

Now grain and all food began to be excessively dear before the birthday of the Lord. We did not dare to go outside; we could find absolutely nothing to eat within the land of the Christians, , and no one dared to enter the land of the Saracens without a' great army. At last holding a council, our seignors decided how they might care for so many people. They concluded in the council that one part of our force should go out diligently to collect food and to guard the army everywhere, while the other part should remain faithfully to watch the enemy. At length, Bohemund said, "Seignors, and most distinguished knights, if you wish, and it seems honorable and good to you, I will be the one to go out with, the Count of Flanders on this quest." Accordingly, when the services of the Nativity had been most gloriously celebrated on Monday, the second day of the week, they and more than twenty thousand knights and footmen went forth and entered the land of the Saracens, safe and unharmed.

There were assembled, indeed, many Turks, Arabs, and Saracens from Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, and other regions, who were on their way to reinforce Antioch. So, when they heard that a Christian host was being led into their land, they made themselves ready there for battle against the Christians, and at earliest daybreak they came to the place where our people were gathered together. The barbarians divided themselves and formed two battle lines, one in front and one behind, seeking to surround us from every side. The worthy Count of Flanders, therefore, girt about on all sides with the armor of true faith and the sign of the cross, which he loyally wore daily, went against them, together with Bohemund, and our men rushed upon them all together. They immediately took to flight and hastily turned their backs; very many of them were killed, and our men took their horses and other spoils. But others, who had remained alive, fled swiftly and went away to the wrath of perdition. We, however, returning with great rejoicing, praised and magnified God, Three in One, who liveth and reigneth now and forever, Amen.

Finally, the Turks in the city of Antioch, enemies of God and Holy Christianity, bearing that Lord Bohemund and the Count of Flanders were not in the siege, came out from the city and boldly advanced to do battle with us. Knowing that those most valiant knights were away, they lay in ambush for us everywhere, more especially on that side where the siege was lagging. One Wednesday they found that they could resist and hurt us. The most iniquitous barbarians came out cautiously and, rushing violently upon us, killed many of our knights and foot soldiers who were off their guard. Even the Bishop of Puy on that bitter day lost his seneschal, who was carrying and managing his standard. And had it riot been for the stream which was between us and them, they would have attacked us more often and done the greatest hurt to our people.

At that time the famous man, Bohemund, advancing with his army from the land of the Saracens, came to the mountain of Tancred, wondering whether perchance he could find anything to carry away, for they were ransacking the whole region. Some, in truth, found something, but others went away empty-handed. Then the wise man, Bohemund, upbraided them, saying: "Oh, unhappy and most wretched people! O, most vile of all Christians! Why do you want to go away so quickly? Only stop; stop until we shall all be gathered together, and do not wander about like sheep without a shepherd. Moreover, if the enemy find you wandering, they will kill you, for they are watching by night and by day to find you alone, or ranging about in groups without a leader; and they are striving daily to kill you and lead you into captivity." When his words were finished, he returned to his camp with his men, more empty-handed than laden.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 132-34

11. The Sufferings of the Crusaders at Antioch

When the Armenians and Syrians, however, saw that our men were returning utterly empty-handed, they counselled together and went away through the mountains and places of which they had previous knowledge, making subtle inquiry and buying grain and other bodily sustenance. This they brought to the camp, in which hunger was great beyond measure, and they sold a single assload for eight perpre, which is worth one hundred and twenty solidi of denarii. There, indeed, many of our men died because they did not have the means wherewith to buy at such a dear price.

William Carpenter and Peter the Hermit secretly left because of the great sorrow and misery. Tancred pursued and caught them,, and brought them back in disgrace. They gave him a pledge that they would return willingly to camp and render satisfaction to seignors. Then William lay all that night, like an evil thing, in the tent of Bohemund. On the next day at early dawn he came shamefacedly and stood in the presence of Bohemund, who, addressing him, said, "O, the misfortune and infamy of all France, the disgrace and villainy of Gaul! O, most evil of all whom the earth endures! Why did you so vilely flee? Was it, perchance, for the reason that you wished to betray these knights and the host of Christ, as you betrayed others in Hispania?" He was entirely silent and no speech proceeded from his mouth, Almost all those of Frankish race gathered together and humbly asked Lord Bohemund not to let anything worse befall him. He nodded, with calm countenance, and said, "To this I willingly consent for love of you, if he will swear to me with his whole heart and mind that be will never withdraw from the march to Jerusalem, whether for good or evil; and if Tancred will agree not to let anything untoward befall him, either through him or his men." When William had heard these words, he willingly agreed, and Bohemund forthwith dismissed him. Later, indeed, Carpenter, caught in the greatest villainy, slipped away by stealth without long delay. This poverty and wretchedness God meted out to us because of our sins. Thus in the whole army no one could find a thousand knights who had horses of the best kind.

Meanwhile the hostile Tetigus, upon hearing that the army of the Turks had come upon us, said that he was afraid, thinking that we would all perish and fall into the hands of the enemy. Fabricating all the falsehoods which be could industriously scatter, he said: "Seignors and most illustrious men, you see that we are here in the greatest need, and aid is coming to us from no side. So permit me now to return to my country of Romania, and I will, for certain, cause many ships to come hither by sea, laden with grain, wine, barley, meat, butter, and cheese, and all the goods which you need. I shall also cause horses to be brought for sale, and a market to be brought hither in the fealty of the Emperor.

So I will swear all this loyally to you and attend to it. Also, my servants and my tent are still in camp, from which you may believe firmly that I will return as quickly as possible." And so he concluded his speech. That foe went and left all his possessions in the camp, and he remains., and will remain, in perjury.

Therefore in this way the greatest need came upon us, because the Turks pressed us on all sides, so that none of us dared now to go out of the tents, for they constrained us on one side, and excruciating hunger on the other; but of succour and help we bad none. The lesser folk, and the very poor fled to Cyprus, Romania, and into the mountains. Through fear of the most evil Turks we dared not go to the sea, and the way was never made open to us.

Accordingly, when Lord Bohemund heard that an innumerable host of Turks was coming against us, be went cautiously to the others, saying: "Seignors, most illustrious knights, what are we going to do? For we are not so great that we can fight on two sides. But do you know what we may do? Let us make two lines of ourselves; let a portion of the foot soldiers remain together to guard the pavilions, and by feinting they will be able to resist those who are in the city. Let the other portion, however, consisting of knights, go with us to meet our enemy, who are lodged here "ear us in the fortress Aregh beyond the Iron Bridge." Moreover, when evening came the famous man, Bohemund, advanced with the other most illustrious knights and went to lie between the river and the lake. At earliest daybreak he straightway ordered scout to go out and see how many squadrons of Turks there were, where (they were) and definitely what they were doing. They went out., and began to inquire craftily where the lines of the Turks were bidden. Then they saw innumerable Turks, divided into two battle lines, coming from the side of the river, with their greatest valor marching in the rear. The scouts returned very quickly, saying, "Behold! See, they come! Be prepared, therefore, all you, for they are already near us." And the wise man, Bohemund, spoke to the others, "Seignors, most invincible knights, array you selves for battle, each one for himself." They answered: "Wise and famous man! Great and magnificent man! Brave and Victorious man! Arbiter of battles, and judge of disputes! Make arrangements for us and yourself." Thereupon, Bohemund commanded that each one of the princes should himself form his line in order. They did so, and six lines were formed. Five of them went out together to attack them (the enemy). Bohemund, accordingly, marched short distance in the rear with his line.

Thus, when our men were successfully united, one band urged on the other. The clamor resounded to the sky. All fought at the same time. Showers of weapons darkened the air. When their troops of greatest valor, who had been in their rear, came up, they attacked our forces sharply, so that our men fell back a little. As the most learned man, Bohemund, saw this, he groaned. Then he commanded his constable, that is to say Robert, son of Girard, saying: "Go as quickly as you can, like a brave man, and remember our illustrious and courageous forefathers of old. Be keen in; the service of God and the Holy Sepulchre, and bear in mind that this battle is not carnal, but spiritual. Be, therefore, the bravest athlete of Christ. Go in peace. The Lord be with you everywhere." And so that man, fortified on all sides with the sign of the cross, went into the lines of the Turks, just as a lion, famished for three or four days, goes forth from his cave raging and thirsting for the blood of beasts and, rushing unexpectedly among the herds of sheep, tears them to pieces as they flee hither and thither. So violently did he press upon them that the tips of his renowned standard flew over the heads of the Turks. Moreover, as the other lines saw that the standard of Bohemund was so gloriously borne before them, they went back to the battle again, and with one accord our men attacked the Turks, who, all amazed, took to flight. our men, therefore, pursued them even to the Iron Bridge and cut off their beads. The Turks, however, rushed hastily back to their camps and, taking everything they could find there, despoiled the whole camp, set it on fire, and fled. The Armenians and Syrians, knowing that the Turks had utterly lost the battle, went out and watched at the narrow places, where they killed and captured many of them. And so by the favor of God our enemy was overcome on that day. Moreover, our men were sufficiently rewarded with horses and many other things which they greatly needed. And they carried the heads of one hundred dead before the gate of the city, where the envoys of the Emir of Babylon, who had been sent to the princes, were encamped. During the whole day those who had remained in the tents had fought before the three gates of the city with those who were inside. This battle was fought on the Wednesday before the beginning of Lent, on the fifth day before the Ides of February, with the favor of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God forever and ever. Amen. Our men returned triumphant and joyful from the victory which, under God's guidance, they had obtained on that day over their defeated enemy. The enemy, entirely beaten, fled, ever roaming and wandering hither and thither. Some (at length) went to Chorosan, but others entered the land of the Saracens.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 136-39

12. The Fall of Antioch

I can not enumerate all the things which we did before the city was captured, beause there is no one in these regions, whether cleric or layman, who can at all write or tell just how things happened. Nevertheless, I will say a little.

There was a certain Emir of the race of the Turks, whose name was Pirus [Firuz], who took up the greatest friendship with Bohemund. By an interchange of messengers Bohemund often pressed this man to receive him within the city in a most friendly fashion, and, after promising Christianity to him most freely, he sent word that be would make him rich with much honor. Pirus yielded to these words and promises, saying, "I guard three towers, and I freely promise them to him, and at whatever hour he wishes I will receive him within them." Accordingly, Bohemund was now secure about entering the city, and, delighted, with serene mind and joyful countenance, became to all the leaders, bearing joyful words to them in this wise: "Men, most illustrious knights, see how all of us, whether of greater or less degree, are in exceeding poverty and misery, and how utterly ignorant we are from what side we will fare better. Therefore, if it seems good and honorable to you, let one of us put himself ahead of the rest, and if he can acquire or contrive (the capture of) the city by any plan or scheme, by himself, or through the help of others, let us with one voice grant him the city as a gift." They absolutely refused and spurned (the suggestion) saying, "This city shall be given to no one, but we will bold it equally; since we have had equal effort, so let us have equal reward from it."

Bohemund, upon hearing these words, laughed a bit to himself and immediately retired. Not much later we listened to messages concerning (the approach of) an army of our enemy, Turks, Publicani, Agulani, Azimites, and very many other gentile nations that I know not how to enumerate or name. Immediately all our leaders came together, and held a council, saying: "If Bohemund can acquire the city, either by himself, or with the help of others, let us give it to him freely and with one accord, on condition that if the Emperor comes to our aid and wishes to carry out every agreement, as be swore and promised, we will return it to him by right. But if be does not do this, let Bohemund keep it in his power." Immediately, therefore, Bohemund began meekly to beseech his friend in daily petition, holding out most humbly the greatest and sweetest promises in this manner: "Behold, we have now truly a fit time to accomplish whatever good we wish; therefore, now, my friend Pirus, help me." Greatly pleased at the message, be replied that be would aid him in every way, as he ought to do. Accordingly, at the approach of night, he cautiously sent his son to Bohemund as a pledge, that he might be the more secure about his entrance to the city. He also sent word to him in this wise: "Tomorrow sound the trumpets for the Frankish host to move on, pretending that they are going to plunder the land of the Saracens, and then turn back quickly over the mountain on the right. With alert mind, indeed, I will be awaiting those forces, and I will take them into the towers which I have in my power and charge." Then Bohemund ordered a certain servant of his, Malacorona by name, to be called, and bade him, as herald, to admonish most of the Franks faithfully to prepare themselves to go into the land of the Saracens. This was so done. Thereupon Bohemund entrusted his plan to Duke Godfrey, and the Count of Flanders, also to the Count of St. Gilles and the Bishop of Puy, saying, "The grace of God favoring, Antioch will this night be surrendered to us."

All these matters were at length arranged; the knights held the level places and the foot soldiers the mountain. All the night they rode and marched until dawn, and then began to approach the towers which that person (Pirus) was watchfully guarding. Bohemund straightway dismounted and gave orders to the rest, saying, "Go with secure mind and happy accord, and climb by ladder into Antioch which, if it please God, we shall have in our power immediately." They went up the ladder, which had already been placed and firmly bound to the projections of the city wall. About sixty of our men climbed up it and were distributed among the towers which that man was watching. Pirus, upon seeing that so few of our men had ascended, began to tremble with fear for both himself and our men, lest they fall into the hands of the Turks. And be said, "Micro Francos echome There are few Franks here! Where is most fierce Bohemund, that unconquered knight?" Meanwhile a certain Longobard servant descended again, and ran as quickly (as possible) to Bohemund, saying, "Why do you stand here, illustrious man? Why have you come hither? Behold, we already hold three towers!" Bohemund was moved with the rest, and all went joyfully to the ladder. Accordingly, when those who were in the towers saw this, they began to shout with happy voices, "God wills it!" We began to shout likewise; now the men began to climb up there in wondrous fashion. Then they reached the top and ran in haste to the other towers. Those whom they found there they straightway sentenced to death; they even killed a brother of Pirus. Meantime the ladder by which we had ascended broke by chance, whereupon there arose the greatest dismay and gloom among us. However, though the ladder had been broken, there was still a certain gate near us which had been shut on the left side and had remained unknown to some of the people, for it was night. But by feeling about and inquiring we found it, and all ran to it; and, having broken it open, we entered through it.

Thereupon, the noise of a countless multitude resounded through all the city. Bohemund did not give his men any rest, but ordered his standard to be carried up in front of the castle on a certain hill. Indeed, all were shouting in the city together.

Moreover, when at earliest dawn those in the tents outside heard the most violent outcry sounding through the city, they rushed out hurriedly and saw the standard of Bohemund up on the mount, and with rapid pace all ran hastily and entered the city. They killed the Turks and Saracens whom they found there, except those who had fled into the citadel. Others of the Turks went out through the gates, and by fleeing escaped alive.

But Cassianus, their lord, fearing the race of the Franks greatly, took flight with the many others who were with him and came in flight to the land of Tancred, not far from the city. Their horses, however, were worn out, and, taking refuge in a certain villa, they dashed into a house. The inhabitants of the mountain, Syrians and Armenians, upon recognizing him (Cassianus), straightway seized him, cut off his head, and took it into the presence of Bohemund, so that they might gain their liberty. They also sold his sword-belt and scabbard for sixty besants. All this occurred on the third day of the incoming month of June, the fifth day of the week, the third day before the Nones of June. All the squares of the city were already everywhere full of the corpses of the dead, so that no one could endure it there for the excessive stench. No one could go along a street of the city except over the bodies of the dead.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 151-53

13. Kerbogha's Attack

Some time before, Cassianus, Emir of Antioch, had sent a message to Curbara, chief of the Sultan of Persia, while he was still at Chorosan, to come and help him while there was yet time, because a very mighty host of Franks was besieging him shut up in Antioch. If the Emir would aid him, he (Cassianus) would give him Antioch, or would enrich him with a very great gift. Since Curbara had had a very large army of Turks collected for a long time, and had received permission from the Caliph, their Pope, to kill the Christians, he began a long march to Antioch. The Emir of Jerusalem came to his aid with an army, and the King of Damascus arrived there with a very large host. Indeed, Curbara likewise collected countless pagan folk, Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Publicani, Azimites, Kurds, Persians, Agulani and countless other peoples. The Agulani were three thousand in number and feared neither lances, arrows, nor any kind of arms, because they and all their horses were fitted with iron all around, and they refused to carry any arms except swords into battle. All of these came to the siege of Antioch to disperse the gathering of Franks.

And when they neared the city, Sensadolus, son of Cassianus, Emir of Antioch, went to meet them, and straightway rushed in tears to Curbara, beseeching him with these words: "Most invincible chief, I, a supplicant, pray thee to help me, now that the Franks are besieging me on every side in the city of Antioch; now that they hold the city in their sway and seek to alienate us from the region of Romania, or even yet from Syria and Chorosan. They have done everything that they wished; they have killed my father; now nothing else remains except to kill me, and you, and all the others of our race. For a long time now I have been waiting for your help to succor me in this danger."

To him Curbara replied: "If you want me to enter wholeheartedly into your service and to help you loyally in this danger, give that town into my hands, and then see how I will serve you and protect it with my men."

Sensadolus replied, "If you can kill all the Franks and give me their heads, I will give you the town, and I will do homage to you and guard the town in your fealty."

To this Curbara answered: "That won't do; hand over the town to me immediately." And then, willy-nilly, he handed the town over to him.

But on the third day after we had entered the town, Curbara's advance guard ran in front of the city; his army, however, encamped at the Iron Gate. They took the fortress by siege and killed all of the defenders, whom we found in iron chains after the greater battle had been fought.

On the next day, the army of the pagans moved on, and, nearing the city, they encamped between the two rivers and stayed there for two days. After they had retaken the fortress, Curbara summoned one of his emirs whom he knew to be truthful, gentle, and peaceable and said to him, "I want you to undertake to guard this fortress in fealty to me, because for the longest time I have known you to be most loyal; therefore, I pray you, keep this castle with the greatest care, for, since I know you to be the most prudent in action, I can find no one here more truthful and valiant."

To him the Emir replied: "Never would I refuse to obey you in such service, but before you persuade me by urging, I will consent, on the condition that if the Franks drive your men from the deadly field of battle and conquer, I will straightway surrender this fortress to them."

Curbara said to him: I recognize you as so honorable and wise that I will fully consent to whatever good you wish to do." And thereupon Curbara returned to his army.

Forthwith the Turks, making sport of the gatherings of Franks, brought into the presence of Curbara a certain very miserable sword covered with rust, a very worn wooden bow, and an exceedingly useless lance, which they had just recently taken from poor pilgrims, and said, "Behold the arms which the Franks carry to meet us in battle!" Then Curbara began to laugh, saying before all who were in that gathering, "These are the warlike and shining arms which the Christians have brought against us into Asia, with which they hope and expect to drive us beyond the confines of Cborosan and to wipe out our names beyond the Amazon rivers, they who have driven our relatives from Romania and the royal city of Antioch, which is the renowned capital of all Syria!" Then be summoned his scribe and said: "Write quickly several documents which are to be read in Chorosan."

"To the Caliph, our Pope, and to our King, the Lord Sultan, most valiant knight, and to all most illustrious knights of Chorosan; greeting and honor beyond measure.

Let them be glad enough and delight with joyful concord and satisfy their appetites; let them command and make known through all that region that the people give themselves entirely to exuberance and luxury, and that they rejoice to bear many children to fight stoutly against the Christians. Let them gladly receive these three weapons which we recently took from a squad of Franks, and let them now learn what arms the Frankish host bears against us; bow very fine and perfect they are to fight against our arms which are twice, thrice, or even four times welded, or purified, like the purest silver or gold. In addition, let all know, also, that I have the Franks shut up in Antioch, and that I hold the citadel at my free disposal, while they (the enemy) are below in the city. Likewise, I hold all of them now in my hand. I shall make them either undergo sentence of death, or be led into Chorosan into the harshest captivity, because they are threatening with their arms to drive us forth and to expel us from all our territory, or to cast us out beyond upper India, as they have cast out all our kinsmen from Romania or Syria. Now I swear to you by Mohammed and all the names of the gods that I will not return before your face until I shall have acquired with my strong right hand the regal city of Antioch, all Syria, Romania, and Bulgaria, even to Apulia, to the honor of the gods, and to your glory, and to that of all who are of the race of the Turks." And thus he put an end to his words.

The mother of the same Curbara, who dwelt in the city of Aleppo, came immediately to him and, weeping said: "Son are these things true which I hear?"

"What things?" he said.

"I have heard that you are going to engage in battle with the host of the Franks," she replied.

And he answered: "You know the truth fully."

She then said, "I warn you, son, in the names of all the gods and by your great kindness, not to enter into battle with the Franks, because you are an unconquered knight, and I have never at all heard of any imprudence from you or your army. No one has ever found you fleeing from the field before any victor. The fame of your army is spread abroad, and all illustrious knights tremble when your name is heard. For we know well enough, son, that you are mighty in battle, and valiant and resourceful, and that no host of Christians or pagans can have any courage before your face, but are wont to flee at the mention of your name, as sheep flee before the wrath of a lion. And so I beseech you, dearest son, to yield to my advice never to let it rest in your mind, or be found in your counsel, to wish to undertake war with the Christian host."

Then Curbara, upon hearing his mother's warning, replied with wrathful speech: "What is this, mother, that you tell me? I think that you are insane, or full of furies. For I have with me more emirs than there are Christians, whether of greater or lesser state."

His mother replied to him: "O sweetest son, the Christians cannot fight with your forces, for I know that they are not able to prevail against you; but their God is fighting for them daily and is watching over them and defending them with His protection by day and night, as a shepherd watches over his flock. He does not permit them to be hurt or disturbed by any folk, and whoever seeks to stand in their way this same God of theirs likewise puts to rout, just as He said through the mouth of the prophet David,' 'Scatter the people that delight in wars,' and in another place: 'Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not and, against the kingdoms that call not upon Thy name.' Before they are ready to begin battle, their God, all powerful and potent in battle, together with His saints, has all their enemies already conquered. How much more will He now prevail against you, who are His enemies, and who are preparing to resist them with all:, your valor! This, moreover, dearest, know in very truth: these'. Christians, called 'sons of Christ' and by the mouth of the prophets 'sons of adoption and promise,' according to the apostle are the heirs of Christ to whom He has already given the promised inheritance, saying through the prophets, 'From the rising to the setting of the sun shall be your border and no one shall stand before you.' Who can contradict or oppose these words? Certainly, if you undertake this battle against them, yours will be the very greatest loss and disgrace, and you will lose many of your faithful knights and all the spoils which you have with you, and you will turn in flight with exceeding fear. However, you shall not die now in this battle, but, nevertheless, in this year, because God does not with quick anger immediately judge him who has offended Him, but when He wills, He punishes with manifest vengeance, and so I fear He will exact of you a bitter penalty. You shall not die, now, I say, but you shall perish after all your present possessions."

Then Curbara, deeply grieved in his heart at his mother's words, replied "Dearest mother, pray, who told you such things about the Christian folk, that God loves only them, and that He restrains the mightiest host from fighting against Him, and that those Chrisians will conquer us in the battle of Antioch, and that they will capture our spoils, and will pursue us with great victory, and that I shall die in this year by a sudden death?" Then his mother answered him sadly: "Dearest son, behold the times are more than a hundred years since it was found in our book and in the volumes of the Gentiles that the Christian host would come against us, would conquer us everywhere and rule over the pagans, and that our people would be everywhere subject to them. But I do not know whether these things are to happen now or in the future. Wretched woman that I am, I have followed you from Aleppo, most beautiful city, in which, by gazing and contriving ingenious rhymes, I looked back at the stars of the skies and wisely scrutinized the planets and the twelve signs, or count less lots. In all of these I found that the Christian host would win everywhere, and so I am exceedingly sad and fear greatly lest I remain bereft of you."

Curbara said to her: "Dearest mother, explain to me all the in credible things which are in my heart."

Answering this, she said: "This, dearest, I will do freely, if I know the things which are unknown to you."

He said to her: "Are not Bohemund and Tancred gods of the Franks, and do they not free them from their enemies, and do not these men in one meal eat two thousand heifers and four thousand bogs?"

His mother answered: "Dearest son, Bohemund and Tancred are mortals, like all the rest; but their God loves them greatly above all the others and gives them valor in fighting beyond the rest. For (it is) their God, Omnipotent is His name, who made heaven and earth and established the seas and all things that in them are, whose dwelling-place is in heaven prepared for all eternity, whose might is everywhere to be feared."

Her son said "(Even) if such is the case, I will not refrain from fighting with them." Thereupon, when his mother heard that he would in no way yield to her advice, she returned, a very sad woman, to Aleppo, carrying with her all the gifts that she could take along.

But on the third day Curbara armed himself and most of the Turks with him and went toward the city from the side on which the fortress was located. Thinking that we could resist them, we prepared ourselves for battle against them, but so great was their valor that we could not withstand them, and under compulsion, therefore, we entered the city. The gate was so amazingly close and narrow for them that many died there from the pressure of the rest. Meanwhile, some fought outside the city, others within, on the fifth day of the week throughout the day until the evening.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 163-68

14. The Discovery of the Holy Lance

But one day as our leaders, sad and disconsolate, were standing back before the fortress, a certain priest came to them and said: "Seignorss, if it please you, listen to a certain matter which I saw in a vision. When one night I was lying in the church St. Mary, Mother of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, appeared to me with His mother and St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and stood before me and said, 'Knowest thou me?"

I answered, 'No.' At these words, lo, a whole cross on His head.

"A second time, therefore, the Lord asked me 'Knowest thou, me?'

"To Him I replied: I do not know Thee except that I see cross on thy head like that of Our Saviour.'

"He answered, 'I am He.'

'Immediately I fell at His feet, humbly beseeching that He help us in the oppression which was upon us. The Lord responded: I have helped you in goodly manner and I will now help you. I permitted you to have the city of Nicaea, and to win all battles and I conducted you hither to this point, and I have grieved at the misery which you have suffered in the siege of Antioch. Behold with timely aid I sent you safe and unharmed into the city, and lo! (you are) working much evil pleasure with Christian and depraved pagan women, whereof a stench beyond measure arises unto heaven.'

"Then the loving Virgin and the blessed Peter fell at His feet, praying and beseeching Him to aid His people in this tribulation, and the blessed I Peter said: 'Lord, for so long a time the pagan host has held my house, and in it they have committed many unspeakable wrongs. But now, since the enemy have been driven hence, Lord, the angels rejoice in heaven.'

"The Lord then said to me: 'Go and tell my people to return to Me, and I will I return to them, and within five days I will send them great help. Let them daily chant the response Congregati sunt, all of it, including the verse.'

"Seignors, if You do not believe that this is true, let me climb up into this tower, and I will throw myself down, and if I am unharmed, believe that this is true. If, however, I shall have suffered any hurt, behead me, or cast me into the fire." Then the Bishop of Puy ordered that the Gospel and the Cross be brought, so that be might take oath that this was true.

All our leaders were counselled at that time to take oath that not one of them would flee, either for life or death, as long as they were alive. Bohemund is said to have been the first to take the oath, then the Count of St. Gilles, Robert of Normandy, Duke Godfrey, and the Count of Flanders. Tancred, indeed, swore and promised in this manner: that as long as he had forty knights with him he would not only not withdraw from that battle, but, likewise, not from the march to Jerusalem. Moreover, the Christian assemblage exulted greatly upon hearing this oath.

There was a certain pilgrim of our army, whose name was Peter, to whom before we entered the city St. Andrew, the apostle, appeared and said: "What art thou doing, good man?"

Peter answered, "Who art thou?"

The apostle said to him: "I am St. Andrew, the apostle. Know, my son, that when thou shalt enter the town, go to the church of St. Peter. There thou wilt find the Lance of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, with which He was wounded as He hung on the arm of the cross." Having said all this, the apostle straightway withdrew.

But Peter, afraid to reveal the advice of the apostle, was unwilling to make it known to the pilgrims. However, he thought that he had seen a vision, and said: "Lord, who would believe this?" But at that hour St. Andrew took him and carried him to the place where the Lance was hidden in the ground. When we were a second time situated in such (straits) as we have stated above, St. Andrew came again, saying to him: "Wherefore hast thou not yet taken the Lance from the earth as I commanded thee? Know verily, that whoever shall bear this lance in battle shall never 'be overcome by an enemy." Peter, indeed, straightway made known to our men the mystery of the apostle.

The people, however, did not believe (it), but refused, saying: "How can we believe this?" For they were utterly terrified and thought that they were to die forthwith. Thereupon, this man came forth and swore that it was all most true, since St. Andrew had twice appeared to him in a vision and had said to him: "Rise' go and tell the people of God not to fear, but to trust firmly with whole heart in the one true God and they will be everywhere victorious. Within five days the Lord will send them such a token that they will remain happy and joyful, and if they wish to fight, let them go out immediately to battle, all together, and all their enemies will be conquered, and no one will stand against them." Thereupon, when they beard that their enemies were to be overcome by them, they began straightway to revive and to encourage one another, saying: "Bestir yourselves, and be everywhere brave and alert, since the Lord will come to our aid in the next battle and will be the greatest refuge to His people whom He beholds' lingering in sorrow."

Accordingly, upon hearing the statements of that man who reported to us the revelation of Christ through the words of the apostle, we went in haste immediately to the place in the church of St. Peter which he had pointed out. Thirteen men dug there from morning until vespers. And so that man found the Lance, just as he had indicated. They received it with great gladness and fear, and a joy beyond measure arose in the whole city.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 174-76

15. The Defeat of Kerbogha

From that hour we took counsel of battle among ourselves. Forthwith, all our leaders decided upon the plan of sending a messenger to the Turks, enemies of Christ, to ask them with assured address: "Wherefore have you most haughtily entered the land of the Christians, and why have you encamped, and why do you kill and assail servants of Christ?' When their speech was already ended, they found certain men, Peter the Hermit and Herlwin, and they told them as follows: "Go to the accursed army of the Turks and carefully tell them all this, asking them why they have boldly and haughtily entered the land of the Christians and our own?"

At these words, the messengers left and went to the profane assemblage, saying everything to Curbara and the others as follows.. "Our leaders and nobles wonder wherefore you have rashly and most haughtily entered their land, the land of the Christians? We think, forsooth, and believe that you have thus come hither because you wish to become Christians fully; or have you come hither for the purpose of harassing the Christians in every way? All our leaders together ask you, therefore, quickly to leave the land of God and the Christians, which the blessed apostle, Peter by his preaching converted long ago to the worship of Christ. But they grant, in addition, that you may take away all your belongings, horses, mules, asses, camels, sheep, and cattle; all other belongings they permit you to carry with you, wherever you may wish."

Then Curbara, chief of the army of the Sultan of Persia, with all the others full of haughtiness, answered in fierce language "Your God and your Christianity we neither seek nor desire, a we spurn you and them absolutely. We have now come even hither because we marvelled greatly why the princes and nobles who you mention call this land theirs, the land we took from an effeminate people. Now, do you want to know what we are saying to you? Go back quickly, therefore, and tell your seignors that if they desire to become Turks in everything, and wish to deny the God whom you worship with bowed heads, and to spurn your laws, we will give them this and enough more of lands, castles, and cities. In addition, moreover, (we will grant) that none of you will longer remain a foot soldier, but will all be knights, just as we are; and we will ever bold you in the highest friendship. But if not, let them know that they will all undergo capital sentence, or will be led in chains to Chorosan, to serve us and our children in perpetual captivity forever."

Our messengers speedily came back, reporting all this most cruel race had replied. Herlwin is said to have known both tongues, and to have been the interpreter for Peter the Hermit, Meanwhile, our army, frightened on both sides, did not know what to do; for on one side excruciating famine harassed them, on the other fear of the Turks constrained them.

At length, when the three days fast had been fulfilled, and a procession had been held from one church to another, they confessed their sins, were absolved, and faithfully took the communion of the body and blood of Christ; and when alms had been give they celebrated mass. Then six battle lines were formed from the forces within the city. In the first line, that is at the very head, was Hugh the Great with the Franks and the Count of Flanders; in the second, Duke Godfrey with his army; in the third was Robert the Norman with his knights; in the fourth, carrying with him the Lance of the Saviour, was the Bishop of Puy, together with his people and with the army of Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, who remained behind to watch the citadel for fear lest the Turks descend into the city; in the fifth line was Tancred, son of Marchisus, with his people, and in the sixth line was the wise man, Bohemund, with his army. Our bishops, priests, clerics, and monks, dressed in holy vestments, came out with us with crosses, praying and beseeching the Lord to make us safe, guard us, and deliver us from all evil. Some stood on the wall of the gate, holding the sacred crosses in their hands, making the sign (of the cross) and blessing us. Thus were we arrayed, and, protected with the sign of the cross, we went forth through the gate which is before the mosque.

After Curbara saw the lines of the Franks, so beautifully formed, coming out one after the other, he said: "Let them come out, that we may the better have them in our power!" But after they were outside the city and Curbara saw the huge host of the Franks, he was greatly frightened. He straightway sent word to his Emir, who had everything in charge, that if he saw a light burn at the head of the army he should have the trumpets sounded for it to retreat, knowing that the Turks had lost the battle. Curbara began immediately to retreat little by little toward the mountain, and our men followed them little by little. At length the Turks divided; one party went toward the sea and the rest halted there, expecting to enclose our men between them. As our men saw this, they did likewise. There a seventh line was formed from the lines of Duke Godfrey and the Count of Normandy, and its head was Reinald. They sent this (line) to meet the Turks, who were coming from the sea. The Turks, however, engaged them in battle and by shooting killed many of our men. Other squadrons, moreover, were drawn out from the river to the mountain, which was about two miles distant. The squadrons began to go forth from both sides and to surround our men on all sides, hurling, shooting, and wounding them. There came out from the mountains, also, countless armies with white horses, whose standards were all white. And so, when our leaders saw this army, they were entirely ignorant as to what it was, and who they were, until they recognized the aid of Christ, whose leaders were St. George, Mercurius, and Demetrius. This is to be believed, for many of our men saw it. However, when the Turks who were stationed on the side toward the sea saw that that they could hold out no longer, they set fire to the grass, so that, upon seeing it, those who were in the tents might flee. The latter, recognizing that signal, seized all the precious spoils and fled. But our men fought yet a while where their (the Turks) greatest strength was, that is, in the region of their tents. Duke Godfrey, the Count of Flanders, and Hugh the Great rode near the water, where the enemy's strength lay. These men, fortified by the sign of the cross, together attacked the enemy first. When the other lines saw this, they likewise attacked. The Turks and the Persians in their turn cried out. Thereupon, we invoked the Living and True God and charged against them, and in the name of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Sepulchre we began the battle, and, God helping, we overcame them. But the terrified Turks took to flight, and our men followed them to the tents. Thereupon, the knights of Christ chose rather to pursue them than to seek any spoils, and they pursued them even to the Iron Bridge, and then up to the fortress of Tancred. The enemy, indeed, left their pavilions there, gold, silver, and many ornaments, also sheep, cattle, horses, mules, camels, asses, grain, wine, butter, and many other things which we needed. When the Armenians and Syrians who dwelt in those regions heard that we had overcome the Turks, they ran to the mountain to meet them and killed as many of them as they could catch. We, however, returned to the city with great joy and praised and blessed God, who gave the victory to His people.

Thereupon, when the Emir who was guarding the citadel saw that Curbara and all the rest bad fled from the field before the army of the Franks, he was greatly frightened. Immediately and with great baste be sought the standards of the Franks. Accordingly, the Count of St. Gilles, who was stationed before the citadel, ordered his standard to be brought to him. The Emir took it and carefully placed it on the tower. The Longobards who were there said immediately: "This is not Bohemund's standard!" Then the Emir asked and said: "Whose is it?" They answered: "It belongs to the Count of St. Gilles." Thereupon, the Emir went and seized the standard and returned it to the Count. But at that hour the venerable man, Bohemund, came and gave him his standard. He received it with great joy and entered into an agreement with Bohemund that the pagans who wished to take up Christianity might remain with him (Bohemund), and that he should permit those who wished to go away to depart safe and without any hurt. He agreed to all that the Emir demanded and straightway sent his servants into the citadel. Not many days after this the Emir was baptized with those of his men who preferred to recognize Christ. But those who wished to adhere to their own laws Lord Bohemund bad conducted to the land of the Saracens.

This battle was fought on the fourth day before the Kalends of July, on the vigil of the apostles Peter and Paul, in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. And after our enemies bad now been completely conquered, we gave fitting thanks to God, Three and One, and the Highest. Some of the enemy, exhausted, others, wounded in their flight hither and thither, succumbed to death in valley, forest, fields, and roads. But the people of Christ, that is, the victorious pilgrims, returned to the city, rejoicing in the happy triumph over their defeated foes.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 182-85

16. The March to Jerusalem

Accordingly, we left the fortified town and came to Tripoli on the sixth day of the week on the thirteenth day of incoming May, and we stayed there for three days. At length, the King of Tripoli made an agreement with the leaders, and he straightway loosed to them more than three hundred pilgrims who had been captured there and gave fifteen thousand besants and fifteen horses of great value; he likewise gave us a great market of horses, asses and all goods, whence the whole army of Christ was greatly enriched. But he made an agreement with them that if they could win the war which the Emir of Babylon was getting ready against them and could take Jerusalem, he would become a Christian and would recognize his land as (a gift) from them. In such manner it was settled.

We left the city on the second day of the week in the month of May and, passing along a narrow and difficult road all day and night, we came to a fortress, the name of which was Botroun. Then we came to a city called Gibilet near the sea, in which we suffered very great thirst, and, thus worn out, we reached a river named Ibrahim. Then on the eve of the day of the Ascension of the Lord we crossed a mountain in which the way was exceedingly narrow, and there we expected to find the enemy lying in ambush for us. But God favoring us, none of them dared to appear in our way. Then our knights went ahead of us and cleared the way before us, and we arrived at a city by the sea which called Beirut, and thence we went to another city called Sidon, thence to another called Tyre, and from Tyre to the city of Acre. But from Acre we came to a fortified place the name of which was Cayphas, and then we came near Caesarea. There was celebrated Pentecost on the third day of outgoing May. Then we came to Ramlah, which through fear of the Franks the Saracens had left empty. Near it was the famous church in which rested the most precious body of St. George, since for the name of Christ he there happily received martyrdom from the treacherous pagans. There our leaders held a council to choose a bishop who should have charge of this place and erect a church. They gave tithes to him and enriched him with gold and silver, and with horses and other animals, that be might live the more devoutly and honorably with those who were with him. He remained there with joy.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 242-243

17. The Fall of Jerusalem

At length, our leaders decided to beleaguer the city with siege machines, so that we might enter and worship the Saviour at the Holy Sepulchre. They constructed wooden towers and many other siege machines. Duke Godfrey made a wooden tower and other siege devices, and Count Raymond did the same, although it was necessary to bring wood from a considerable distance. However, when the Saracens saw our men engaged in this work, they greatly strengthened the fortifications of the city and increased the height of the turrets at night. On a certain Sabbath night, the leaders, after having decided which parts of the wall were weakest, dragged the tower and the machines to the eastern side of the city. Moreover, we set up the tower at earliest dawn and equipped and covered it on the first, second, and third days of the week. The Count of St. Gilles erected his tower on the plain to the south of the city.

While all this was going on, our water supply was so limited that no one could buy enough water for one denarius to satisfy or quench his thirst. Both day and night, on the fourth and fifth days of the week, we made a determined attack on the city from all sides. However, before we made this assault on the city, the bishops and priests persuaded all, by exhorting and preaching, to honor the Lord by marching around Jerusalem in a great procession, and to prepare for battle by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Early on the sixth day of the week we again attacked the city on all sides, but as the assault was unsuccessful, we were all astounded and fearful. However, when the hour approached on which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer on the Cross for us, our knights began to fight bravely in one of the towers - namely, the party with Duke Godfrey and his brother, Count Eustace. One of our knights, named Lethold, clambered up the wall of the city, and no sooner had he ascended than the defenders fled from the walls and through the city. Our men followed, killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles....

Count Raymond brought his army and his tower up near the wall from the south, but between the tower and the wall there was a very deep ditch. Then our men took counsel how they might fill it, and had it proclaimed by heralds that anyone who carried three stones to the ditch would receive one denarius. The work of filling it required three days and three nights, and when at length the ditch was filled, they moved the tower up to the wall, but the men defending this portion of the wall fought desperately with stones and fire. When the Count heard that the Franks were already in the city, he said to his men, "Why do you loiter? Lo, the Franks are even now within the city." The Emir who commanded the Tower of St. David surrendered to the Count and opened that gate at which the pilgrims had always been accustomed to pay tribute. But this time the pilgrims entered the city, pursuing and killing the Saracens up to the Temple of Solomon, where the enemy gathered in force. The battle raged throughout the day, so that the Temple was covered with their blood. When the pagans had been overcome, our men seized great numbers, both men and women, either killing them or keeping them captive, as they wished. On the roof of the Temple a great number of pagans of both sexes had assembled, and these were taken under the protection of Tancred and Gaston of Beert. Afterward, the army scattered throughout the city and took possession of the gold and silver, the horses and mules, and the houses filled with goods of all kinds.

Rejoicing and weeping for joy, our people came to the Sepulchre of Jesus our Saviour to worship and pay their debt [i.e. fulfil crusading vows by worshiping at the Sepulchre]. At dawn our men cautiously went up to the roof of the Temple and attacked Saracen men and women, beheading them with naked swords. Some of the Saracens, however, leaped from the Temple roof. Tancred, seeing this, was greatly angered.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 256-57 . [Last paragraph from Brundage, Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee: 1962), 64]

18. "The Vision of Peace"

Then our leaders in council decided that each one should offer alms with prayers, that the Lord might choose for Himself whom He wanted to reign over the others and rule the city. They also ordered all the Saracen dead to be cast outside because of the great stench, since the whole city was filled with their corpses; and so the living Saracens dragged the dead before the exits of the gates and arranged them in heaps, as if they were houses. No one ever saw or heard of such slaughter of pagan people, for funeral pyres were formed from them like pyramids, and no one knows their number except God alone.

But Raymond caused the Emir and the others who were with him to be conducted to Ascalon, whole and unhurt. However, on the eighth day after the city was captured, they chose Godfrey as head of the city to fight the pagans and guard the Christians. On the day of St. Peter ad Vincula they likewise chose as Patriarch a certain very wise and honorable man, Arnulf by name. This city was captured by God's Christians on the fifteenth day of July, the sixth day of the week.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 262

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© Paul Halsall December 1997
halsall@murray.fordham.edu