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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 167



enough, of itself, to enable them to endure hardships and privations almost incredible, and to combat with forces numerically, at least, ten times their superior. The way to the Holy Land lay through a hostile country. Asia Minor, overrun by the Mohammedans since twenty years, was garrisoned rather than settled. Numerous as were the followers of the Crescent, they had not been able to do more, in their rapid march of conquest, than to take strongholds and towns, and keep them. There were even some towns which had never surrendered, while of those which belonged to them, many were held by insufficient forces, and contained an element of weakness in the large number of Christian inhabitants. And the first of these towns which came in their way was the town of Nicsea. The miserable remnant of Peter's army, on the arrival of their friends, made haste to show them the places of their own disasters. These fugitives had lived hidden in the forest, and now, on seeing the brassard of the Cross, emerged—barefooted, ragged, unarmed, cowed—to tell the story of their sufferings. They took the soldiers to see the plain where their great army had been massacred—there were the piles of bones, the plain white with them ; they took them to the camp where the women and children had been left. These were gone, but the remains were left of the old men and those who had tried to defend them. Their bodies lay in the moat which had been cut round the camp. In the centre, like a pillar of reproach, stood the white stones which had served for the altar of the camp. . Filled with wrath at the sight of these melancholy objects, the soldiers cried out to be led against their enemy ; and the whole army, preceded by four thousand pioneers to clear the way, was marched in good order towards Nica?a, where the enemy awaited them. The Crusaders—they spoke nineteen different languages—were accoutred with some attempt at similarity. The barons


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