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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 188



cared less about taking the city than wreaking his vengeance upon the Greek emperor. Meantime, within the city was an army of forty thousand men. Provisions for a long siege had been conveyed into the town ; the zeal of the defenders had been raised by the exhortations of the Imams; the walls were strengthened and the moats deepened. Communication and relief were possible from the east, where only scattered bands of the Christians barred the way. Immediately before the arrival of the Crusaders, the Mohammedans deliberated whether they should slaughter all the Christians in cold blood, or only fine them and expel them from the city. It was decided to adopt the latter plan ; and the Crusaders were greeted on their arrival not only by the flying squadrons of the enemy's cavalry, but also by exiled Christians telling their piteous tales. Their houses had been pillaged, their wives kept as hostages; immense sums were required for their ransom ; the churches were desecrated ; and, even worse still, the Infidels were contemplating the entire destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This last charge, at least, was not true. But it added fuel to a fire which was already beyond any control, and the chiefs gave a ready permission to their men to carry the town, if they could, by assault. They had neither ladders nor machines, but, covering themselves with their bucklers, rushed against the walls and tried to tear them down with pikes and hammers. Boiling oil and pitch, the best weapons for the besieged, were poured upon their heads, with huge stones and enormous beams. In spite of heavy losses, they managed to tear down and carry a portion of the outer wall, and the besieged retired to their inner works, which were impregnable, at least to hammers and pikes. One ladder, and only one, was found. Tancred, with his usual hardihood, was the first to place his foot on the ladder, but he was forcibly held back by his knights, who


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